Meet the Staff

Use the Where to Turn Guide to find the Academy contact that can best answer your questions.

For contact information for the Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff, please visit those respective pages.

Lois Schoenbrun

Lois Schoenbrun, CAE, FAAO
Executive Director

Lois is Executive Director of the Academy and the American Optometric Foundation, with responsibility for leading staff in carrying out the policies set by the governing bodies of each. Lois also works closely with the volunteer leadership in planning for the future of the organizations.
Lois has been with the Academy and AOF since June of 1996. She has more than thirty years of experience in executive leadership of medical and health-related associations, and earned the Certified Association Executive designation in 1995. She earned her Academy Fellowship in 2000.
In her spare time, Lois is a 5th degree black belt and International Referee in the Korean martial art of Taekwondo. She has a son, 26.

Darryl Beatty
Project Manager, Administration

Darryl has been with the Academy for four years working in Operations Support.  He holds Bachelor Degrees in Political Science from Saint Louis University and International Studies from the University of North Texas.  Darryl and his wife, Mary Ellen, moved with the Academy from Maryland to Orlando, and are enjoying the new found sunshine and southern pace. Darryl has a love for college basketball (Saint Louis and Marquette), Cubs baseball, and cars.


Jasmin Branchcomb
Receptionist/Office Assistant

Jenny Brown, MBA
Program Manager, Membership & Communications

Jenny has over ten years of nonprofit program and marketing experience gained from her work at the Rollins College Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center and the Boise State University Center for School Improvement & Policy Studies. She received a BBA in Marketing from Boise State University and an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing from the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. In her spare time, Jenny enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Dana Edwards, MLIS
Database Administrator

Dana joined the Academy with over 10 years of data management experience. She graduated from Florida State University with a BS in Information Studies and a MLIS in Information Studies with a concentration in Data Management. In her spare time, Dana enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Richard Jones, CPA
Senior Director, Finance

Rich brings nearly 20 years of nonprofit financial experience to the organization. Prior to joining the Academy, Rich served as Chief Financial Officer for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He also has five years of public accounting experience. Rich received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland and his CPA certification in 1989. In his spare time, Rich is a movie buff and enjoys reading and exercising.

Sarah Kidd
Executive Assistant

Sarah joined us in 2012 as our receptionist and to assist with various office duties as the need arises. Away from the office, she is the proud mother of a very active daughter. In their spare time, Sarah and Madison enjoy playing various sports and traveling.


Ian Mitchell
Accounting / Data Entry Clerk

Betty Rodriguez, MS
Program Manager, Education

Betty possesses a unique combination of 18 years of hands-on non-profit experience and a thorough understanding of office management. Betty has a passion for helping others and provides volunteer support for local communities. Her involvement in the philanthropy arena has made her an avid donor and supporter to various charities. Betty is an honorary member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and a member of the American Psychology Association. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Thomas Edison State College and an MS in Education with a specialization in Management and Administration of Educational Programs from Nova Southeastern University.

Jennifer Rubin
Administrative Assistant, Programs

Jennifer has over fifteen years of exceptional administrative experience. Although the majority of it was in the accounting industry, she brings a work ethic and drive that will be an asset to the Programs team.  She is married and has a 14 year old daughter who keeps her quite busy with soccer and various youth group activities. On her spare time she enjoys cooking and swimming.

Betty Taylor, CEM
Exhibits Manager

Betty is responsible for the entire exhibits program, including exhibit sales, logistics and exhibitor relations. Betty has been with the Academy since 2006. She has been in the tradeshow meeting industry for 20 years, including a long tenure with a general services contractor serving in several different capacities, and various trade associations.

Helen Viksnins, MEd, FAAO, CAE
Senior Director, Programs

Helen is in charge of Education, Membership and Communications programs. She has been with the Academy since 1999 in a variety of capacities. Helen's educational background includes a BSFS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an MEd from George Washington University in Human Resource Development, and a Certificate in Critical Languages from Western Michigan University in the Latvian language. She previously worked for the Peace Corps as the Country Desk Officer for North and Central Europe. In her personal time, Helen sings as a part of a Latvian folk ensemble, Sudrabavots, enjoys gardening and playing with her nephews.

Maureen Dimont
Development Director

Maureen is Development Director of the American Optometric Foundation, with the responsibility for educating corporate partners and colleagues on the Foundation's achievements and the critical role it plays in the optometric profession. She has over 25 years of fundraising experience including annual giving, major gifts, corporate and foundation grant and proposal writing, planned giving and special events.  

Maureen most recently served as Director of Development for the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, where she had been since 2008. She served in similar senior capacities for the Washington Home and Hospice, in Washington, DC, and Montgomery Hospice Foundation in Montgomery County, Maryland. In her spare time, Maureen and her husband, Rick, enjoy traveling.

Tracy Kitts
Foundation Coordinator

Tracy attended the University of Toledo and The Ohio State University with a primary focus on Strategic Communications. She has over 27 years in the optical field in a variety of diverse roles including Optician, lab technician, retail optical manager, BV&Peds office manager and research coordinator. Her clinical trial coordinator experience includes multiple Amblyopia Treatment Studies (ATS) developed by the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG), the US Pirenzepine Study Group, Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT), and the Study of the Progression of Adult Myopia (SPAM). Tracy has served as Chair of the Staff Advisory Committee at The Ohio State University College of Optometry and is a two-time recipient of the college's Research Staff Award.

Kurt Zadnik
Managing Editor, Optometry and Vision Science

Kurt A. Zadnik has been the Managing Editor of Optometry and Vision Science since 1996. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in horticulture and has extensive experience in the areas of California native plants and cacti and succulents. His is an avid hobbyist with expertise in gardening and woodworking. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, 2011-12 Academy President, Karla Zadnik. They have two daughters, Andra and Nina Marie.