2020 Conference

Live Q&A with RSA

Session Date: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm CDT


Representatives from the Rehabilitation Services Administration answered questions provided in advance and also answered live questions. Download the questions and answers from this session here. Questions addressed in this document include:

  1. Can Chapter 2 dollars be spent to purchase masks, gloves, and other PPE needed to provide in-person services safely?
  2. Could you provide some guidance for how to determine the race for those individuals who report they are Hispanic, as this is no longer included in the race options?
  3. What are your thoughts on electronic signatures from consumers?
  4. If we send back funds for reallotment, how will that affect next year's budget?
  5. What are your thoughts on using verbal consent for signatures when electronic signatures are not available?

The representatives were David Steele, James Billy, Mary Williams, and RoseAnn Ashby.


David Steele

David Steele

David Steele has served as the Fiscal Unit Chief for the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration for nine years. He is responsible for the financial oversight of over 300 grant awards and more than three billion dollars in federal funds. David has worked for the Department of Education for over fifteen years and has specialized in the financial management of grant awards. 

David received a Master of Arts in Public Administration from The Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs and a Master of Social Work with a specialization in administration. David is a Certified Grants Management Specialist.

David also has practical experience in grants management.  Before his work with the Department of Education, David was the Part C Coordinator for the state of South Carolina under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

James Billy

James Billy

Cultural perspectives of disability vary based on history, traditions, and education. Being aware of the cultural barriers that exist in your working environment, the programs you facilitate, and in those that are inherited within your customers are an essential part of working with a diverse population. Do not be afraid to ask the question...,

James Billy joined the Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), on December 18, 2000. He has program management responsibilities for the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind program under Title VII, Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA. He is also the program liaison for state grantees, providing technical assistance to enable state agencies to improve performance.

He received his master’s degree in education from Hofstra University, Hempstead New York, specializing in Rehabilitation Counseling, and his undergraduate degree in Special Education from New York University, New York, NY. Formerly a Special Education Teacher at the elementary school level, he concentrated on the early detection of learning disabilities in elementary school children. He also spent time as a clinician at the New York Institute of Child Development, working with children with learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and traumatic brain injury.

Prior to coming on board at RSA, he served as the Executive Director at the Harlem Independent Living Center, New York NY for ten years, served on the board of the National Council on Independent Living, served as a  board member on the New York State Independent Living Council, and the State Rehabilitation Council, as well as having assumed leadership roles on numerous local community and civic advisory boards. 

James was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and now resides in Silver Spring, MD. He enjoys traveling and exploring different counties and experiencing the different cultures of the world from the Northern Marianna’s, Spain, the Republic of Austria, and back to the Caribbean islands. Most recently, his interest has led him to visit Latin American countries like Panama, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic.  

When not working, James is an avid cyclist and enjoys riding long distances logging several 100-mile day trips. Life lesson learned is that there will always be hills to climb, goals to meet, and challenges and disappointments to rise above. It is not how many times you fall, but how many times you get up.

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”
-Virginia Satir

Mary Williams

Mary Williams

Mary Williams is the project officer for the Older Individuals Who Are Blind Training and Technical Assistance Center (OIB-TAC) grant in the US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).  Ms. Williams works closely with RoseAnn Ashby, the Technical Assistance Unit Chief in RSA, to administer the grant. Also, Mary works with James Billy, the OIB program manager in RSA, to address questions from State OIB program managers and service providers.  Among Mary’s other duties in RSA, she serves as the state teams coordinator in the State Monitoring and Program Improvement Division (SMPID).  In that role, she assists and coordinates the activities of the four SMPID state teams.  Mary has been with RSA since 2008 and is a native of Louisiana.

RoseAnn Ashby

Roseann Ashby

RoseAnn Ashby is currently the Chief of the Technical Assistance Unit at the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). She has been with RSA for 33 years and has held a variety of staff and management positions both within RSA and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). Independent living is near and dear to RoseAnn, as she began her career at an independent living center in Miami. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from the University of Miami.