Residing in Tucson for over a decade, Chris Desborough has been very active throughout the state advocating for the rights of the disabled, most notably those living with both hearing and vision loss.
He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the State capital in 2017 by the Arizona Commission for the deaf and hard of hearing in support of their efforts to secure funding for specialized services for those living with combined vision and hearing loss. He has also spoken at VRATE, served on the City of Tucson’s committee on disability issues, was President of the Arizona Association of the deaf blind, served for 4.5 years on the GCBVI deafblind issues committee,elected as Director for AZCB in April 2018, and runs his own small non-profit, DeafBlind Connections in Arizona, Inc.
Chris holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University and was a recipient of the Gabe Zimmermann Award for Community service in 2017.
He currently works as a staff member to one of the members of the Tucson City Council and is a passionate advocate of disabled rights and equal opportunity in the workplace.
Having been born and raised in London, England he is a lifelong supporter of the Premiership soccer clubs Arsenal and Watford, and is also a lifelong, and passionate fan of the San Francisco 49ers and san Francisco Giants.
Melanie Sinohui is currently the 1st Vice President of AZCB’s Central Arizona Chapter, a Director of the Arizona Council of the Blind, Chair of the ACB Next Generation Convention Committee and resides in Phoenix, AZ. She has been involved in ACB at the national, state and local levels since the mid-1990s in Texas, West Virginia and California, elected to the Board of Directors for ACB Texas when she was 20 and was the 2005 Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) First-Timer winner for the West.
Melanie obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a Public Relations concentration from the University of North Texas and her Masters degree in Project Management. In her spare time, she has worked for a telecommunications company for the last 13 years and is currently a project manager in Customer Experience.
Melanie and her husband enjoy cooking, traveling, wine tasting especially in the Santa Ynez Valley in California and, of course, spending time with family and friends.
John McCann is a relatively new Arizona resident having relocated to Tucson in June 2015 subsequent to his retirement. After receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1980, He began his career of federal service with the Health Care Financing Administration, then left federal employment to served as the Commissioner of the Virginia state agency for the Blind. In 1990 he returned to federal service with the Social Security Administration, holding a variety of responsible positions until retirement.
While living in Virginia during his working years, John had been very active in ACB at both the state and local levels. He was elected to the ACB board in 2012 and then as ACB second vice president in 2015. He declined to run for national office in 2019 in order to devote more time to the Arizona Council and to pursue other fulfilling life activities; specifically, playing mandolin in a newly formed bluegrass band, amateur radio, and leisure reading.
GailElaine Wilt has been legally blind since a childhood accident. She is a retired psychologist. After 18 years as a psychotherapist in community mental health, she worked 16 years in the blindness field – as an adjustment counselor and braille instructor. She and her husband live in Phoenix.
Director at Large
Kaila is from Mesa, Arizona where she lives with her husband, 2 children and 2 dogs. She has been instrumental in the development and management of ACB Crafters, where she is a team leader of five other volunteers. She has served on committees on both the state and national levels of the American Council of the Blind, as well as on Next Generation’s program committee. She is currently a volunteer on the ACB Community Morning Crew as well as a community host. She received the 2021 DKM from the west award. Kaila has advocated for Blind and low vision parents rights in the state of Arizona with success in a bill being passed.
Kaila is an Assistive Technology/Activities Facilitator at Future in Sight, Where she creates content and provides instruction for remote technology workshops, online activities and crafts, for people who are blind and visually impaired around the globe! She also has experience working with individuals with Developmental disabilities. In addition to her people skills, she has developed administration skills through various employment.
Kaila is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for the blind and visually impaired. Aside from crafting and volunteering, Kaila enjoys spending time outdoors with her family riding bicycles and having picnics at the park. She likes to travel almost as much as she likes to learn. Kaila’s mantra is where there’s a will there’s a way, even if that way hasn’t yet been created.
Director at Large
Daniel Martinez is a native of Arizona. He attended Tolleson Union High School and graduated from Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB).
Dan is a long-time member of the Arizona Council of the Blind and has served as President and was the newsletter editor for several years.
Dan has served in leadership positions on numerous State of Arizona and City of Phoenix Boards, Commissions and Councils. In 2018 he received the Detective Walter Olsen Lifetime Achievement Award from the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities for demonstrating a life-time of commitment to those with disabilities and helping advance the full inclusion of all people in our community.
Dan retired from Arizona Industries for the Blind in 2020 after over 30 years of employment. He received his Certificate in Supervision from Rio Salado Community College and Certificate in Business Management from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Executive Management through the National Industries for the Blind Leadership Program.
CAZCB Chapter Representative
Though Ted Chittenden has been in Arizona for a long time, he was born in California in 1963. His father, a carpenter, moved to the state looking for work in 1971, and the rest of the family, (including a younger blind brother, followed a year later when Ted was nine. Ted was educated in both schools for the blind (in both California and Arizona); public schools, (Arizona), and a private Jesuit-run high school, (Brophy, being the first totally blind student to attend and graduate from that institution.) He received his Bachelors in Communications from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, (1985), and a masters in Business from Arizona State University, (1990).
In 1991, Ted went to work for HFS, a hotel franchising service. He worked for two years in reservations and then another seven years in Inventory Control, a department that was tasked with getting the franchisees to make more of their hotel rooms available for the reservation agents. In 2000, he left to train in the BEP (Arizona’s blind vendor program), an when that didn’t pan out, he became a scheduler for a local plumbing outfit for a couple of years. In 2004, he began proofreading braille textbooks for Arizona State University, a job he held for seven years. He still proofreads part time for the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC) and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE.)
Organizationally, Ted was involved with the National Federation of the Blind, (NFB), while attending Loyola Marymount University. Upon returning to Arizona after his graduate studies, he decided to step away from blindness organizations. The late Barbara McDonald encouraged him to join the Arizona Council and then the Governor’s Council on Blindness and Visual Impairment, (GCBVI), where he has represented AZCB since 2010. he has previously served as secretary for both the central Arizona chapter, (CAZCB, formerly the Phoenix chapter), and the state affiliate. He has also served as Constitution and Bylaws committee chair for both AZCB and CAZCB for several years and has chaired AZCB’s nominating committee. Ted became the CAZCB’s chapter representative to the AZCB Board at the chapter’s April 24, 2021 meeting.
SAZCB Chapter Representative
Jordan moved to Tucson in 2003 to attend the University of Arizona where he obtained a bachelor’s in psychology. Dealing with chronic eye-issues since birth, he always had a fascination with the idea of perseverance and the splendor of how people overcome trials. This led to Jordan obtaining his master’s in social work and is licensed at the state level to provide counseling. After becoming legally blind in 2016, Jordan went through blind rehabilitation and was able to become a practicing therapist again. He continues to work in social services in the incredible city of Tucson.
He is a big sports fan and always welcomes the discussion of the Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, and anything UFC. Other hobbies include working on his koi pond with 5 koi fish, 2 goldfish, and a mini type of shark. Also, he loves talking about health and nutrition; and is currently going to school to become a certified health coach.