BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KATPO, the Kentucky Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology, is a state chapter of the national chapter, ATPO. As such, KATPO represents the profession of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel (OMP) in and around the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The KATPO Board of Directors is composed of ten leaders, who are OMP who live and/or work in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Each board member is a member in good standing of ATPO and KATPO, and has a desire to promote ophthalmic education and professional advocacy.

The Board of Directors is in place to serve and represent all of the members of KATPO.  If you have comments or concerns that you wish to share with the Board, please email one of us.

President: Meranda Sandlin, COT

Meranda had a career in ophthalmology for 14 years.  Her background includes many sub-specialties but most of Meranda’s years were spent with cornea.  Recently, Meranda accepted a position as a PR representative with Avesis in Kentucky.  She looks forward to using her COT knowledge in a whole new way.  Meranda has served 3 for years as KATPO secretary and is excited about serving as your new President. 

President Elect:   Steven Vaught, COA

Steven Vaught comes to KATPO with 19 years’ experience in eye care as a Member at Large. Steven’s background is largely in optical before joining an ophthalmology practice 4 years ago; having since obtained his COA. He works primarily in the contact lens clinic but also assists in diagnostic testing, general, cornea, and glaucoma. In his free time, Steven volunteers at various free clinic settings, writes and performs music, and spends time with his wife of 24 years.

Vice President:  Mary A. Bledsaw, COA

Mary has been in Ophthamololgy for 18 years. A senior technician at Robley Rex VA Medical center, she believes in Lincoln’s promise “to care for him whom shall have borne the battle..” and considers it an honor to serve our veterans. She contributes to ATPO as a Super Tech committee member, an ATPO ambassador and a presenter at ATPO 2018 Grand Rounds. As KATPO’s Tech Bowl chair Mary enjoys making learning fun.

Immediate Past President:  Deborah McDonald, CRA, COT, (f) KATPO, (f) ATPO

Deborah started her ophthalmic career 40 years ago.  As a COT and CRA she is currently working at the University of Kentucky Advanced Eye Care in Lexington, KY.   She is an active member and past president of both KATPO and ATPO and holds the honor of being a fellow member of both organizations.  Additionally, she is the founding member of Ray of Hope Eye Care, Inc. that provides educational resources and support staff locally and abroad.  She received the Virginia Boyce Humanitarian Award in 2001.  

Secretary:  Nicole Smith, COT

Nicole Smith is a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) at Cincinnati Eye Institute. Her current role is Technician Trainer Coordinator.  Nicole teaches new technicians basic work up skills and how to be effective at their job. Her background is mostly in glaucoma, but her true passion is education. She has been in the field of ophthalmology since 2015 and have held many responsibilities during that time, such as technician, scribe, and departmental trainer.  Nicole states, I have been with my wonderful husband, Craig, for twenty years and we currently reside in Milford, OH. I am excited to be a part of this wonderful group called KATPO!

Treasurer:  Kristena Pennington, COA

Kristena Pennington joined the ATPO Board of Directors in February of 2020 serving as our Treasurer.  Kristena has been in the eye care field since 2007 starting off as an Optometry Technician for Dr. Cindy Elrich, OD and then she moved to Kentucky and joined the staff at UK as an Ophththalmic Technician and obtained her COA in 2013.  While at UK, Kristena worked primarily with the Retina team and with Genetic Ophthalmologist and performed ERG testing.  In August of 2019 Kristena accepted a float technician position with Cincinnati Eye Institute and moved to Ohio.   While at Cincinnati Eye, Kristena has worked with many specialists including Cornea, Refractive Surgery, and Glaucoma.

Member-at-Large:  Danielle Saylor, COA

Danielle Saylor currently works at Huffman and Huffman PSC in Harlan KY. She has worked in ophthalmology for 6 years and currently holds her COA. Her job duties include everything from performing diagnostic tests, helping train new employees and handling all equipment issues. Additionally, she is also working toward becoming a licensed optician. Her favorite thing about ophthalmology are her patients because they make each and every case interesting.

Member-at-Large:  Katrina Gjuraj, COT, (f) KATPO

Katrina, as KATPO past president is excited to return to serve on the board of directors as a member at large.  Katrina is a certified ophthalmic technician for 27 years and has a passion in training the next generation of COA/COT's.  She currently live and work in Danville, Kentucky for a general ophthalmologist.  She is especially proud to be a Fellow member of KATPO.

Member-at-Large:  Laure Ulichney, COT

Laure started her career in the eye world by answering an ad for a receptionist in a tiny Optometrist office in New Jersey.  The ad said "contact lens wearer preferred."  Working there only 9 months before getting married and moving to Maryland, an interest was sparked!  Who knew 35 years later she'd still be in the business?  After settling in Maryland/southern Pennsylvania , Laure answered another ad for an Optician.  "Will Train" the ad said.  Laure learned about eye exams and contacts at the first job, next came eye glasses.  A few years later she became an ABO certified Optician.  The more she learned, the more she wanted to learn!  Because of her desire to increase her knowledge.  Laure moved into a tech position.  It was then, while raising 2 daughters by herself she earned her COA.  For a while that was enough, but then that desire to learn was nagging at her!  She pulled out the books again, and began studying!  Laure became a COT in September of 2019.  She is an active member of ATPO and KATPO.