The Optical Training Institute team is made up of career educators, industry practitioners and service professional. We look forward to creating industry leading content and continuing to serve the optical industry. We are a high-performing team at a mission-driven company. If you are a curious problem solver with an owner mentality and the desire to delight, join us for exciting challenges ahead!
Optical Sciences Instructor
Debbi Bennett is an Optical Sciences Instructor at Optical Training Institute. As an Instructor, her responsibilities include researching, writing and editing courses; providing customer service, outreach and personal guidance to the optical professionals studying the OTI coursework; rendering insight on current optical industry trends and standards; conducting specialized optical research and providing personal guidance to opticians studying the OTI materials.
Prior to joining Optical Training Institute in 2014, Debbi was the Optical Sciences Director at the American Career College, working in many capacities with this esteemed adult vocational college for 15 years. In this role, she advanced from instructor to lead instructor, and was promoted to Program Director for one of the California campuses. Additionally, Debbi co-wrote American Career College’s Optical Dispensing Manual. As a trusted expert in this Allied Health field for over 20 years, Debbi continues her work as an optical sciences author, lecturer and instructor in her current role at Optical Training Institute.
Prior to her leadership at the American Career College, Debbi successfully served as an active dispenser, contact lens fitter, office manager, test preparation tutor, test question reviewer, and corporate health division liaison.
Debbi holds a diploma in Optical Dispensing from the American Career College by which she was named Valedictorian. She has attained ABO and NCLE-Advanced certification by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners.
Debbi is an ABO-NCLE ophthalmic speaker approved by both national boards to conduct ABO-NCLE approved courses for the issuance of continuing education credits. Additionally, her professional credentials have included licensing in the State of California and an educational authorization from the American Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Debbi has received awards from both ABHES and Elsevier Publishing.
Brianna Cuenca is a Program Manager at Optical Training Institute. With her expertise in opticianry, she manages the day-to-day operations of the company, ensuring an overall smooth operation of the team. Brianna’s responsibilities include overseeing project development, coaching and supporting the team, assisting opticians with their certification and licensing requirements, and maintaining optimal customer and vendor relations.
Prior to joining Optical Training Institute, Brianna excelled as an Optical Manager of a small boutique in a privately-owned ophthalmologist office. While working in this role, she successfully expanded the customer base and increased sales and profitability through her marketing and customer relations abilities. Brianna also trained and coached employees in their opticianry skills to enhance their performance and become proficient, certified opticians.
Brianna’s earlier experience as a dispensing optician in various practices and as a Store Support Specialist at a premier optical laboratory has provided her with a well-rounded background that she brings to her current position at Optical Training Institute.
Brianna holds an Associate’s in Arts and Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley. She has attained ABO and NCLE certification from the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners. Brianna is an ophthalmic speaker and author approved by both national boards to conduct ABO-NCLE approved courses for the issuance of continuing education credits.
Patric Germay is a Program Coordinator at Optical Training Institute. As Program Coordinator, his responsibilities include assisting developing opticians with educational needs, managing OTI coursework and projects, inventory management, and reporting and compliance to appropriate licensing boards.
Prior to joining Optical Training Institute, Patric was the Communications Coordinator for a large optical practice. In this role, he managed company-wide communications and updates, coordinated and oversaw the milestone recognition program, and led efforts to increase awareness of mental health, women’s eye health, and eye safety in the workplace through video testimonials and staff interviews. With over six years of optical experience, Patric began as a student optician at a privately owned boutique eyeglass shop where he pursued his ABO certification.
Following his certification, Patric worked in the Marketing department, acquiring new clients and providing vision screenings for various partners. He later transitioned to Human Resources, where he assisted in training new opticians. When the company integrated into a larger entity, Patric supported the integration process by creating training guidelines and converting offices to the new systems.
Patric's extensive optical background, with emphasis on training and assisting opticians, provides a solid foundation for helping opticians grow in their careers and optical development. His skills in teaching student opticians and fortifying existing opticians are utilized daily at Optical Training Institute.
Patric holds a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration from Ferris State University, along with certificates in E-Commerce, Direct Marketing, and Business-to-Business Marketing. He has attained ABO certification from the American Board of Opticianry.
Dr. Kearney serves as Optical Training Institute’s Instructional Designer. As the Instructional Designer, she has created a one-of-a-kind pedagogy for the Optician Development Program curriculum that is based on the tenets of self-efficacy. While developing the pedagogy, Dr. Kearney was deeply engaged with OTI’s team of instructors and subject matter experts, extensively reviewed the current literature on self-efficacy, professional education, and relevant frameworks, and guided the structuring of the program.
In addition to serving as Instructional Designer for the Optician Development Program, she serves as the Director of Wellness at an independent school in New England.
Prior to joining OTI and her recent role as a Director of Wellness, Dr. Kearney worked as an independent researcher and writer. While her research expertise is primarily qualitative, she has had quantitative engagements. Her writing and consulting focus on curriculum and course design projects.
Throughout her career, Dr. Kearney has had extensive instructional design and educational experiences. She has a master’s in clinical social work and a doctorate in health education, promotion and behavioral change from Columbia University. She has also served as a lecturer at numerous universities.
Gerald R. Ludwin, B.A., FOAA, is an author of Optical Training Institute’s Optician Development Program. His work included researching, writing and editing courses and coaching optical professionals studying OTI coursework.
Previously, he served for five years as an instructor of Ophthalmic Optics at Citrus College in Glendora, CA., and was actively involved in all phases of the optical industry for over twenty years.
With an ABO Master in Ophthalmic Optics, Gerald holds a Lifetime Teaching Credential with the California Community Colleges.
Content Development & Editor
Dr. Eilene Kinzer is an Editor for Optical Training Institute. As an Editor, her responsibilities include reviewing content for the Optician Development Program and continuing education courses as well as evaluating content for technical accuracy.
In addition to serving as an Editor for the Optician Development Program, Dr. Kinzer serves as an Associate Professor of Optometry at University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Optometry. In this role, she teaches myriad courses ranging from Basic Optometry Theory and Techniques I and II to Ophthalmic Optics and Ocular Anatomy to Leadership in Health Care and Personal Development. Her research interests include diabetes and glaucoma.
Dr. Kinzer earned her Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) from Pacific University College of Optometry, where she graduated with honors. Dr. Kinzer completed an Advanced Ocular Care residency at Indiana University College of Optometry. She also earned a Master of Education, Visual Function in Learning (M.Ed. / V.F.L.) degree from Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology (B.S.), summa cum laude, from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Dr. Kinzer is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.
June Rogers is an Editor at Optical Training Institute. As an editor, her responsibilities include creating and reviewing new content for the Optician Development Program and continuing education courses as well as evaluates content for technical accuracy. June also contributes to the process of creating recognized education programs for Licensing requirements.
In addition to serving as Editor for the Optician Development Program, June serves as a Customer Service Specialist with Essilor Labs of America. In this role, she provides customer service; and maintains the continuity between the lab and Eye Care professionals. She helps manage order pipelines to include order entry, researching complications and solutions and providing product knowledge and training to practitioners.
Prior to joining Essilor, June was an adjunct instructor at Reynolds Community College. In this role, she taught optical students and guided them in the development and refinement of the skills necessary to become a licensed dispensing optician, including patient measurements, frame and lens materials, frame and lens selection, prescription analysis, and adjustment techniques, among others.
Throughout her career, June has had extensive teaching and education experience. While at Luxottica, June was a General Manager and Regional Mentor responsible for training opticians in sales techniques, adjustment techniques, and office management. She also served as a General Manager and regional mentor with US Vision for future licensed opticians.
June holds an Associate’s of Applied Science in Opticianry as well as Associate’s of Science in Mathematics. She has attained ABOC and NCLEC certifications by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners. Additionally, her professional credentials include holding a Dispensing License in Virginia as well as a Contact Lens Endorsement for the state of Virginia to fit contact lenses. June also sat on the Board of Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians for Virginia, including multiple years as the Board Chair.
Content Development & Editor
Justin Mathias is a content writer and editor at Optical Training Institute. As an editor and writer, his responsibilities include writing and editing scripts for educational courses, videos, and ensuring content is both accurate, and presented in a manner that is easily understood by students.
In addition to his work with OTI, Justin works as a Licensed Dispensing Optician in Nashville, Tennessee for Lenscrafters. In this role, he is engaged in the daily duties of an Optician working with the public. He is responsible for optical sales, finishing lab activities, eyewear inspection, fitting and adjustments, and troubleshooting.
Prior to working with Lenscrafters, Justin worked as a Licensed Dispensing Optician for Morgenthal Frederics in Miami, Florida at the Bal Harbour Shops. In this role he was responsible for luxury optical sales as well as inspecting, fitting, and adjusting eyewear.
Justin is experienced in many facets of the optical industry. His career spans over 20 years during which time, he has worked in nearly every aspect of the profession, beginning with optical lab, progressing to dispensary management, eyewear distribution, and boutique ownership. Over the years, he has trained and guided apprentices who have become licensed dispensing opticians.
Justin holds an Associate’s of Applied Science in Opticianry degree from Hillsborough Community College. He is licensed as a Dispensing Optician in both Tennessee and Florida. Justin is also certified by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners. Further, he holds additional certification by ABO-NCLE as a Level III technical speaker and is qualified to teach and develop continuing education courses.
Kelsey Wheeler is an Editor with Optical Training Institute. As an Editor, her responsibilities include reviewing and editing all published content for the Optician Development Program.
In addition to serving as Editor for the Optician Development Program, Kelsey serves as a Certified Optician & Eyewear Stylist at Image Optical in Nashville, Tennessee. In this role, she is responsible for providing best-in-class service and expertise to her clients in styling and fitting luxury eyewear.
Prior to her current position, Kelsey held roles with Warby Parker and LensCrafters, accumulating over 14 years of experience in retail and lab operations. As a Store Leader with Warby Parker, she managed all aspects of retail operations, while in her role as a Lab Manager with LensCrafters, Kelsey managed all aspects of lab operations in a one-hour lab setting, including training new employees.
During her time with Warby Parker, Kelsey also served as the District Optical Lead for the Southwest District. In this role, she was responsible for screening optician candidates for technical knowledge, supporting the development of apprentice opticians, and driving success in eyewear quality and customer satisfaction. Following her relocation, she transitioned to the position of District Training Lead for the Southeast District where she was responsible for creating and implementing new Warby Parker training initiatives.
Kelsey is licensed in the state of California, and is also certified by both the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners.