Vision Education Department

Staff Bios

Shani Cohen, Director of Vision Services

Shani Cohen, Director of Vision Services

Name: Shani Cohen
Title: Director of Vision Services, B.A, MSED
Occupation: Teacher of the Visually Impaired
iHOPE Email:
Bio: After earning an undergraduate degree in Speech Communications at Queens College, and working in the field of marketing and event planning, Shani went back to school, to Hunter College, in order to pursue her passion of working with children with special needs. She received a Master’s Degree as a teacher in the field of Blind and Visually Impaired in 2006 and has since worked with infants, children, and young adults who have visual impairments. Shani has enjoyed working with her students in many settings, including at home, in the community, and in school. The most rewarding aspect of this job for Shani is seeing the joy in her students when they achieve any progress. “Progress, not perfection” is her motto and she works hard to connect on all levels with the children she works with. Shani loves to put her creative side to use at iHOPE in planning fun and interactive lessons as well as collaborating with her co-workers on designing accessible curriculum for every student.
Family Origin: American


Amanda Makson

Amanda Makson, B.A, MSED

Name: Amanda Makson
Title: B.A, MSED
Occupation: Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired
iHOPE Email:
Bio: Amanda Makson is a NYS Certified Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired at The International Academy of Hope. She has a B.A. in Social Sciences from Dowling College and an MSED in Special Education from the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College. In addition to her license, Amanda also has dual certification (from Hunter College) in General Education: Grades 1-6.  She has worked in a variety of preschool and elementary school settings.  Amanda is passionate about ensuring that all students reach their full potential.  She continues to motivate her students every step of the way.


Daria Schevchenko

Daria Schevchenko, M.Ed

Name: Daria Shevchenko
Title: B.S, M.Ed
Occupation: Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired
iHOPE Email:
Bio: Daria is originally from Russia. She has a BS in History and a minor in Special Education. Daria went on to receive her Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studied Vision Education and became a licensed Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Daria has worked in a variety of educational settings with students with visual impairments and a variety of other special needs. Daria is a passionate educator and an advocate for children with disabilities.  Working closely with families, educators and therapists Daria enjoys creating individualized instruction for each of her students.
Family Origin: Russian, Ukrainian