Leadership

The AOA Leadership is responsible for meeting the needs of our members and advocating for the profession.

A House of Delegates and an 11-member Board of Trustees govern the American Optometric Association (AOA). The House is comprised of affiliated association representatives, doctors of optometry in federal service, District of Columbia and optometry students. It meets at AOA's annual Optometry's Meeting® to:

  • Conduct AOA business.
  • Establish AOA policy.
  • Elect officers and trustees to the board of trustees.

The board of trustees consists of six trustees plus these officers: President, president-elect, vice-president, secretary-treasurer, and immediate past president. It is empowered to conduct AOA business when the House is not in session.

2022-2023 American Optometric Association Board of Trustees

2022-2023 AOA Board of Trustees

AOA Officers

President Robert C. Layman, O.D.

President-elect Ronald L. Benner, O.D.

Vice President Steven T. Reed, O.D.

Secretary-Treasurer Jacquie M. Bowen, O.D.

AOA Trustees 


Teri K. Geist, O.D. 

Terri A. Gossard, O.D., M.S. 

Curtis A. Ono, O.D. 

Belinda R. Starkey, O.D.

Marrie S. Read, O.D., M.B.A.

Paul M. Barney, O.D.

William T. Reynolds, O.D.

Robert C. Layman, O.D. 

President
Ohio

RLayman@aoa.org

Robert Layman, O.D.Robert C. Layman, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees at the 116th Annual AOA Congress & 43rd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in June 2013 and elected to the office of president during the 124th Annual AOA Congress & 51st Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June 2021.
Prior to his election to the AOA Board of Trustees, Dr. Layman's 30-plus years of consecutive AOA volunteer service include the following chairmanships: Diabetes Project Team, Optometric Executive's Project Team, Information and Member Services Group Executive Committee Chair, Non-Dues Income Committee, Assistance to Graduates Project Team, and 401(K) Committee Chair.

Dr. Layman has also served on several AOA committees including the AOA Clinical Care Group, Executive Committee, Glaucoma Project Team, Communications Technology Project Team, Student Membership Project Team, Membership Development Committee, Program Planning Committee for the AOA Board of Trustees, New Practitioners Practice Management Advisory Committee, the Content Review Board, Federal Legislative Action Keyperson Committee, Federal Relations Committee, InfantSEE & Children's Vision Committee, State Government Relations Committee, Third-Party Center, AOA-Political Action Committee, VisionWeb, Advocacy Committee, Meetings Center Committee and the Resolutions Committee for the 1995 Congress. He is a charter member of the AOA Contact Lens Section and has been a participant in the AOA Leadership Institute. For ten years, he served as moderator for Presidents' Council from 2001--11.

Dr. Layman was honored with the AOA Optometrist of the Year award in 2006. He has also received the Ohio Optometrist of the Year, Ohio Young Optometrist of the Year, Ohio Key Optometrist of the Year and Outstanding Senior Student awards. Dr. Layman is a past president of the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA). He served as the OOA Electronic Health Records Task Force liaison to the Northwest Ohio Regional Extension Center/Health Information Partnership from 2010--2014. Dr. Layman chaired the EastWest Eye Conference from 2009--11. He has presented the RealEyes Classroom Initiative curriculum in his community since the program's inception in 2001.

Dr. Layman is a graduate of The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry, where he was named one of OSU College of Optometry’s Top 100 Notable Alumni during the 100th anniversary of the college. He has served as a vision consultant to the University of Toledo Athletic Department over 25 years. He has been an adult leader in Boy Scout Troop 87, a volunteer with the Mildred Bayer Homeless Clinic of Toledo, and a member of the YMCA Board of Managers.

Dr. Layman is an owner of Pinnacle Eye Group in Lambertville, Michigan and Great Lakes Vision Care in Monroe, Michigan, and lives with his wife, Barb, in Toledo, Ohio. They have four grown children. He is energized to continue advancing the profession by working closely with affiliates, increasing membership, and securing the proper place for optometry in health care reform.

Ronald L. Benner, O.D. 

President-elect
Montana 

RBenner@aoa.org

Ronald Benner, O.D.

Ronald L. Benner, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees at the 118th Annual AOA Congress & 45th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in June 2015 and elected president-elect during the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting in June 2022.

As a member of the AOA Board, Dr. Benner serves as chair of the 401(k) Committee and is a member of the Agenda Committee, the Personnel Committee, and the Executive Committee. Dr. Benner is also the liaison trustee to the American Academy of Optometry, the AOA Political Action Committee, and the National Optometric Leadership Conference. His board assignments also include the Advocacy Committee, the Meetings & Member Experiences Committee, the Faculty & Student Membership Liaisons Committee, the Future Practice Education Task Force and the Advocacy Roundtable Committee. He also serves as a liaison to affiliate associations in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin and is the trustee liaison to optometry schools including Chicago College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry, Indiana School of Optometry and Michigan College of Optometry-Ferris State University

A past president of the Montana Optometric Association (MOA), Dr. Benner has held numerous roles within the MOA, as well as within the Great Western Council of Optometry, serving as chair of the board of directors. Dr. Benner has been honored with the MOA Young Optometrist of the Year Award, MOA Distinguished Service Award and, twice, MOA Optometrist of the Year Award.

A graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry, Dr. Benner has been active in his community, serving in numerous civic and faith-based organizations. He owns and operates a private practice clinic in Laurel, Montana.

Steven T. Reed, O.D. 

Vice President
Mississippi

SReed@aoa.org

Steven Reed, O.D.

Steven T. Reed, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees at the 119th Annual AOA Congress & 46th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in July 2016 and elected to the office of vice president during the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting in June 2022.

As a member of the AOA Board, Dr. Reed chairs the Investment Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee, the 401(k) Committee, the Future Practice Education Task Force, the New Trustee Orientation Task Force and the Center for Independent Practice group. Additionally, Dr. Reed is currently the Speaker of the House of Delegates Pro Tem and is also liaison trustee of the Paraoptometric Resource Center Committee, the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification Committee, the Industry Relations Committee, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety group, World Council of Optometry and the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. He is also the liaison trustee to affiliate associations in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona College of Optometry—Midwestern University.

Dr. Reed is a past president of the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA) and the Southwest Optometric Society. In his role with the MOA, he served as chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee, Optometry for Progress PAC, the Legislative Committee, the Assistance to Graduates and Undergraduates Committee, and the Nominations Committee. He was also chair of the Board of Trustees at Southern College of Optometry and Mississippi's Trustee for SECO International.

A graduate of Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Reed was the 2010 and 2016 recipient of the MOA James P. Brownlee Optometrist of the Year Award.

In Mississippi, Dr. Reed owns and operates private practices in Magee, Collins and Prentiss, and is co-owner of practices in Clinton, Flowood, Forest and Vicksburg.

Jacqueline “Jacquie” M. Bowen, O.D.

Secretary-Treasurer
Colorado

JBowen@aoa.org

Jacqueline Bowen, O.D.

Jacquie M. Bowen, O.D., was initially elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 119th Annual AOA Congress & 46th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in July 2016, and elected secretary -treasurer during the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting in June 2022.

As a member of the AOA Board of Trustees, Dr. Bowen serves as chair of the Finance Committee and is a member of the Investment Committee, the Executive Committee, the 401(k) Committee and the Advocacy Roundtable. Dr. Bowen is also a member of AOAExcel®, Optometry Cares®–The AOA Foundation board of directors, the Membership Development Committee, the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry Committee, and the National Optometric Association group. She also serves as liaison to association affiliates in California, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, the American Optometric Student Association®, Northeastern State University Oklahoma's College of Optometry, Rosenberg School of Optometry at the University of the Incarnate Word, University of Houston College of Optometry and the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry.

Dr. Bowen is a past president of the Colorado Optometric Association (COA), also serving on the COA Board from 1998-2005. She is a member of the Northern Colorado Optometric Society and the Colorado Optometric Glaucoma Society, and a legislative keyperson to Colorado. Dr. Bowen was awarded the Colorado Young Optometrist of the Year in 2000 and Colorado Optometrist of the Year in 2012.

She is a graduate of Southern California College of Optometry and completed a residency in ocular disease at Omni Eye Specialists in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bowen has owned and operated a private practice clinic where she recently partnered with MyEyeDr. in Greeley, Colorado. She has provided eye care to the community for more than 30 years. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Optometry and continues to be active in her community, serving with numerous civic, faith-based and chorale groups.

Teri K. Geist, O.D. 

Trustee
Nebraska

TGeist@aoa.org

Teri Geist, O.D.

Teri K. Geist, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 122nd Annual AOA Congress & 49th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in June 2019 and re-elected during the AOA annual elections in June 2021.

Dr. Geist serves on several AOA board committees, such as the Investment Committee, the Finance Committee, the New Trustee Orientation Task Force, the Program Reprioritization Task Force, the Eye Deserve More Committee and the Advocacy Roundtable. Her liaison assignments also include the State Government Relations Committee, the Third Party Center Executive Committee, the Clinical Content Development Committee, the Strategic Communications Committee, the Optometric Extension Program group, the American Board of Optometry and Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation. She is also the liaison trustee to affiliate associations Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, along with The Ohio State University College of Optometry and Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

Dr. Geist is a past president of the Nebraska Optometric Association and also served on multiple NOA committees including as Legislative hair. She served as president of the North Central States Optometric Council and was the director of the Healthy Eyes Healthy Children grant aimed to address gaps in awareness and public policy in vision care that present impediments for underserved students in Nebraska schools. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. Additionally, Dr. Geist has been a consultant for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education and chaired the Nebraska Foundation for Children’s Vision. Dr. Geist was awarded the NOA Young Optometrist of the Year in 2001, the NOA Optometrist of the Year in 2005 and 2019, NOA Distinguished Service Award in 2015, and four presidential citations.

She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned her doctor of optometry degree from Pacific University in 1996. Dr. Geist practices at Midwest Eye Care, PC in Omaha, Nebraska. She lives in Omaha with her husband Rod. They have two grown sons, Noah and Zachary and daughter-in-law Caroline.

Terri A. Gossard, O.D., M.S. 

Trustee
Ohio

TGossard@aoa.org

Terri Gossard, O.D.

Terri A. Gossard, O.D., M.S., was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 122nd Annual AOA Congress & 49th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in June 2019 and re-elected during the AOA annual elections in June 2020.

Dr. Gossard is serves a chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee and is a member of the Investment Committee and the Finance Committee. She is also the liaison trustee to the Telehealth Council, Federal Relations Committee, the Third Party Center Executive Committee, the Advocacy Committee, the Leadership Development Committee and the Membership Development Committee. Her board liaison assignments include affiliate associations Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massacusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the New England College of Optometry and The State University of New York College of Optometry. Dr. Gossard is also assigned to the PowerPoint for State Visits Committee and the Advocacy Roundtable Committee.

Dr. Gossard is a past president of the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA), also serving on the OOA Board and chaired the OOA’s Children’s Vision Task Force and Legislative Committee. She serves on the executive project team for the OneSight Vision Center at Oyler School and volunteers for the RealEyes Save Our Sight classroom initiative. She is on the selection committee for the Young Investigator Student Fellowship Awards for Female Scholars in Vision Research as well as Healthy Eyes, Healthy Children. Dr. Gossard was awarded the OOA’s Optometrist of the Year in 2017.

She is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry with both her doctor of optometry and master’s degrees in physiological optics in 1996. She practiced for 20 years in Cincinnati, Ohio, 17 of them in a multidisciplinary practice and consulted for the Eye Care Provider Network, Primary Eyecare Network, and the Northmark Integrated Eyecare Network. Dr. Gossard is the Midwest Director of Professional Relations for Cincinnati Eye Institute Vision Partners.

Dr. Gossard lives in Cincinnati with her husband Ted. They have two grown children, Maggie and Will. She enjoys snow skiing and rooting for her hometown Buckeyes, Bengals and Reds.

Curtis A. Ono, O.D. 

Trustee
Washington

COno@aoa.org

Curtis Ono, O.D.

Curtis A. Ono, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees during the 2020 House of Delegates.

Dr. Ono is the board liaison to the State Government Relations Committee, Federal Relations Committee, Vision Rehabilitation Committee and InfantSEE® and Children's Vision Committee. His board affiliate liaison assignments include Armed Forces Optometric Society, California, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota and the American Optometric Student Association. Outside of AOA, he serves as board liaison to the World Council of Optometry. Dr. Ono is also a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, Program Reprioritization Task Force and the Advocacy Roundtable Committee. Prior to his service on the AOA board, Dr. Ono served as chair of the AOA Membership Development Committee and chair of the AOA Affiliate Relations and Membership Executive Committee. In addition, he was a member of the Practice Modalities, Resolutions and Vision USA committees. In 2019, Dr. Ono received the AOA President’s Award.

Dr. Ono is a past president of the Optometric Physicians of Washington and also served as chair of the Annual Convention Planning, Awards, Children’s Vision, Legislative Grassroots, Membership Development and VISION USA committees. In 2017, OPW recognized his optometric and community contributions with the Jack Hale (Lifetime Achievement) Award. In addition, he is the recipient of the Optometric Physician of the Year Award in 2016 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2016 and 2005.

Dr. Ono also served as president of the Great Western Council of Optometry’s board of directors. Additionally, he was chair of the Congress Planning, Industry Relations, Leadership Development, Medical Grants, Nominating, Education, Executive Director Search, President’s Council Planning and Student Program committees. In 2017, he was awarded the GWCO President’s Leadership Award.
Before moving to Washington state, Dr. Ono was a member of the Minnesota Optometric Association and served as the Metro-area Legislative Grassroots Coordinator and chair/co-founder of the Minnesota Vision Project, part of the national VISION USA initiative. The MOA awarded Dr. Ono the President’s Award in 1994.

Dr. Ono is a co-owner of Puget Sound Eye Care in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. He lives with his spouse, Wendy, and has a grown son, Alex. Alex is a student at the Southern California College of Optometry.

Belinda R. Starkey, O.D.

Trustee
Arkansas

BStarkey@aoa.org

Belinda Starkey, O.D.

Belinda Starkey, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 124th Annual AOA Congress & 51st Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June 2021 and was re-elected during the AOA annual elections in June 2022.

Dr. Starkey is a member of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, New Trustee Orientation Task Force and Center for Independent Practice. She is also the trustee liaison to the Education Committee, Telehealth Council, Advocacy Committee, the Research and Information Committee, the Association for Pediatric Vision Committee, the Lions Eye Institute Pediatric Vision Advisory Board, Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation and the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity Committee. Her board liaison assignments include affiliate associations in California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry and Southern College of Optometry.

Dr. Starkey served as a member of the AOA’s Industry Relations Committee and the House of Delegates Credentials Committee. She served on various volunteer committees for the Arkansas Optometric Association (ArOA) where she was a past president and is currently the co-chair of the State Legislative Committee. Dr. Starkey served as treasurer of Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, a coalition group advocating for Arkansas’ scope expansion law, during the state’s recent referendum battle.

A founder/chair of Networking Optometric Women (NOW), Dr. Starkey received the ArOA’s Optometrist of the Year and Special Service awards in 2020, the Theia Award in 2020 from Women of Optometry, and the AOA’s Optometrist of the Year Award in 2021.

A graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Starkey is a partner at Parenti-Morris Eyecare in Rogers, Arkansas. She lives in Rogers with her husband, Clay, and dog, Jett. Dr. Starkey enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and is an avid Razorbacks fan.

Marrie S. Read, O.D., M.B.A.

Trustee
Armed Forces Optometric Society

MRead@aoa.org

Marrie S. Read, O.D., M.B.A.Marrie S. Read, O.D., M.B.A., of Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS), was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June 2022.

Dr. Read is a liaison trustee for the AOA Contact Lens & Cornea Section, the Evidence-based Optometry Committee, the Sports and Performance Vision Committee, the New Technology Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development Committee and the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety. She is the liaison trustee for affiliate associations Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky College of Optometry and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

Dr. Read is a past president of AFOS, also serving on the AFOS Board and chaired the AFOS Awards Committee. Prior to her election to the AOA Board of Trustees, she chaired the Nominating Committee, and served on several AOA committees including Quality Improvement, Registry, Federal Relations, Federal Advocacy Representative, and Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety. Dr. Read was awarded the AFOS Navy Optometrist of the Year in 2013.

She is a graduate of Saint Louis University, earned her doctorate of optometry from Southern College of Optometry, completed a residency in primary care and ocular disease from the Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital, earned a master of business administration from Naval Postgraduate School, and completed a legislative fellowship on Capitol Hill. For more than 25 years, Dr. Read has served in the U.S. Navy in various leadership and clinical positions.

Dr. Read lives in Virginia with her husband John. They have three children: Joby, Emma and David.

Paul M. Barney, O.D.

Trustee
Alaska

PBarney@aoa.org

Paul M. Barney, O.D.Paul Barney, O.D., of Alaska, was elected to the American Optometric Association (AOA) Board of Trustees at the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June 2022.

Dr. Barney is a liaison trustee to the Coding and Reimbursement Committee, Commission on Ophthalmic Standards, Quality Improvement and Data Committee, Optometry Cares®--The AOA Foundation and the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety. He is also a member of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Dr. Barney's liaison trustee assignments include affiliate associations in Oregon, Washington, Pacific University College of Optometry, Southern California College of Optometry, University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry and Western University College of Optometry.

Dr. Barney has dedicated more than 20 years of volunteer service to the Alaska Optometric Association (AKOA), where he has held almost every leadership title, including president, chair of the Education Committee and chair of the Legislative Committee. He also has served as a member of the Board of Examiners in Optometry for the state of Alaska for eight years, including five years as chairperson. Dr. Barney has devoted countless hours over many years advocating for the advancement of the practice of optometry in Alaska so that the needs of optometric patients in the rural areas and villages of the vast state can have access to the best care possible. He currently serves as chairperson of the Legislative Committee for the AKOA. He was instrumental in passing H.B.103 in 2017, an Alaska statute which gave the Alaska Board of Examiners in Optometry the autonomy and the authority to write regulations for anything that is taught at an accredited school or college of optometry. Dr. Barney served as Alaska’s director to the Great Western Council of Optometry for several years and served as its president from 2014-2015.

William T. Reynolds, O.D.

Trustee
Kentucky

WReynolds@aoa.org

William Reynolds, O.D.William T. Reynolds, O.D., was elected to the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees in June 2012 and took office as President during the 2020 Annual AOA Election & Installation on June 27, 2020. He became immediate past president during the 124th Annual AOA Congress & 51st Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June 2021. He was reinstalled as Trustee in August 2022.

In addition to his position as Trustee, Dr. Reynolds serves as Advocacy Chairman. He also serves as the trustee liaison on the Education Committee and the Vision Health Alliance (formally known as TAYE). His previous assignments include serving as liaison to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the AOA Investment Committee, the Advocacy Committee, Meetings Center Committee, the AOA Political Action Committee, the VisionWeb Content Review Board, Industry Relations Center Committee, New Technology Committee, Sports and Performance Vision Committee, American Academy of Optometry, Great Western Council of Optometry, North Central States Optometric Council, Southern Council of Optometrists, EastWest Eye Conference and Universidad InterAmericana.

Prior to his election to the Board, Dr. Reynolds served on the AOA Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Committee and spoke at the AOA's School Readiness Summit. He also has served on the AOA State Government Relations Center Executive Committee.

Dr. Reynolds has been active in the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA) for more than 25 years. He served as president of the KOA in 2001-2002. Dr. Reynolds has a long history of service on the KOA Legislative Committee and served as Legislative Chair from 2005-2011. He has been instrumental in the passage of access, children's vision and scope legislation. Dr. Reynolds has also served on the Kentucky Board of Optometric Examiners since 2009, as well as serving as chair of the Kentucky Optometric Medicaid Technical Advisory Committee and as president of the Kentucky Vision Project (VISION USA). Dr. Reynolds has been clinical director for Kentucky Special Olympics Opening Eyes program and the clinical co-director of the St. Pius X Vision Clinic in Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr. Reynolds is an adjunct faculty member at Southern College of Optometry, University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry, Indiana University School of Optometry and Kentucky College of Optometry at the University of Pikeville.

Past Presidents of the American Optometric Association 

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