Annie Eisley Departs NDA with Gratitude, Praise for Student Services


Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The seniors are not the only familiar faces that will not return to the halls of the Academy next year. Annie Eisley is a paraprofessional for the visually impaired working with James Bosco. As he goes on to explore the next chapter in life, she will too.

Eisley (known as Annie to friends and family) got her BS in psychology at UW Oshkosh before coming to NDA.

“In college, I worked as an autism therapist with kids on the spectrum in their homes, working on social skills and homework and stuff like that. I loved it and from there I knew I wanted to work one-on-one with kids.”

After she graduated, she got a job as a para for a student who was a refugee from Pakistan. “He was completely nonverbal and could barely reach out onto his wheelchair tray. He was very low-functioning, and I just fell in love with the kid,” she said.

From there, Eisley knew she wanted to be in a school with one kid. Eisley’s sister was a special ed teacher in Luxemburg-Casco at the time, and she gave Eisley’s name to one of her friends who was a vision teacher. This teacher ended up connecting Eisley with James Bosco and the rest is history!

“I tend to flourish in environments when I am just thrown into a situation and left to figure it out on my own. I would rather ask too many questions than to assume,”said the paraprofessional.

Eisley received her teaching license this year as well as made strides in working one- on-one with the visually impaired.

“I knew how to interact with blind people but I had to learn all of the technical aspects of the job,” she explained.

Before meeting James, Eisley had no prior experience with Braille, and now she is certified in both grades of it. “That, along with the technology was really challenging but it’s definitely a victory now that I have made so much progress.”

Eisley plans to continue her education and pursue a career as a vision teacher. Next year, she will pursue her Masters of Education in teaching children with visual impairments at Western Michigan University. She will also be involved with CESA 8 (Cooperative Educational Service Agency), which acts a resource for school districts.

Eisley will miss the Student Services department at NDA.

“It’s definitely a community where everyone has each other’s backs,” she said.

She will also miss Bosco. “James is a hard worker and he’s very flexible. I know he will go places.”

Eisley believes that Student Services is blazing the trail for better special education at Notre Dame. “I think it’s important to teach teachers that ‘Equity isn’t fair.’”

Eisley is also getting married in almost three months.

“I’m getting married at my future husband’s parents’ old farm in Sturgeon Bay. Hopefully it’s not raining.”

Eisley met her husband on a blind date.

“Appropriate, right?” she teased.

Eisley hopes to succeed in the future, both professionally and personally. She wants to thank Notre Dame for the opportunities and community it has given her, especially in Student Services.