Our Staff

Patient Care Coordinators

Daphne Portrait

Daphne

Therapy Coordinator

Daphne joined our office staff in 2011 as a Perceptual Testing Assistant to assist Dr. Vicky Vandervort and Dr. Will Ferguson in the evaluation of children’s visual perceptual abilities. Beginning in 2016 she became the Vision Therapy Coordinator. She helps with the enrollment and coordination of patients in our Vision Therapy Program.

Daphne earned her Bachelor of Science at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, and her Masters of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings as a teacher and therapist. Daphne says, “I’m a positive person so, working at Heartland Eye Consultants is a pleasure because positive professionalism is paramount in the office and is kept through a sense of ownership and teamwork. Further, the focus is on individualized cutting edge treatment for our patients offered through knowledgeable and friendly staff.”

Daphne is married to Ken and she has home-schooled their four children. She enjoys her faith, history, and music along with needlework and physical fitness.

Kelli Portrait

Kelli

Patient Care Coordinator

Kelli joined Heartland Eye Consultants earlier this year as a Patient Care Coordinator. Kelli was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and has lived in Nebraska since 1994. Kelli earned her Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology and Communication Arts with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations, from Hastings College. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family, traveling, reading, needlepoint, golf, and attempting to train an unruly Labrador retriever!

“I am the parent of a vision therapy graduate, so I understand the time commitment for the whole family when undertaking vision therapy. When school and homework became easier, when grades improved, and when my child started to enjoy reading, I truly understood the depth of the gift we had given her. Now, as a member of the Heartland staff, I get to be a part of helping all our patients and families get the most out of their life with great vision.’

Cassie

Patient Care Coordinator

Cassie has returned to Heartland earlier this year as a Patient Care Coordinator after spending a year pursuing other adventures. She double majored in English and Biology with the plan to use them to communicate about medicine. She enjoys working in the medical field and takes great pride in doing her part to provide the best patient care possible. In her spare time, she loves traveling, thrift shopping, crafting, and spending time with friends, family, and pets. Cassie grew up in Indiana and still roots for the REAL Big Red

Accounts Receivable

Jackie Portrait

Jackie

Manager

Jackie has been working with insurance claims for 12 years. She is full time and has been with Heartland Eye Consultants since March 2008. Jackie enjoys helping patients with any questions or concerns they might have regarding the processing of their claims.

Jackie loves spending time with her family.

Optometric Technicians

Melisa Portrait

Melisa

Technician Manager, CPOA

Melisa has a background in nursing working in an Alzheimer’s unit for 2 years. She earned an associate’s Degree in Health and Science at Breckenridge School of Nursing. She says, "My favorite part of working here is that I get to learn something new every day. Then I get to take my knowledge and share it with our patients and really help make their quality of care better. In my spare time I am a volleyball coach who still loves to play recreationally. I have a Miniature Dachshund named Maci whom I enjoy snuggling with during my time off, and I am a diehard Husker fan, and love spending time with my family and friends."

Renee Portrait

Renee

Optometric Technician

Renee earned her Associates of Applied Sciences Degree for Medical Assisting from Hamilton College in Lincoln. She has been an Ophthalmic Technician at Heartland Eye Consultants since October of 2007. Renee has also earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology-Substance Abuse from Kaplan University. Renee says, “My job is very rewarding to me. I like knowing that the doctors at Heartland Eye Consultants are helping our patients make the most of the vision they have to improve their lives.”

In her spare time Renee loves to spend time with her children, family, and friends. She enjoys reading and outdoor activities. She and her family also love to go to the movies and have picnics.

Jeanie Portrait

Jeanie

Optometric Technician

Jeanie is originally from Ojai, California, a small city not far from Santa Barbara. In 1998, she moved to Nebraska where she started her training and work as an ophthalmic technician. She joined Heartland Eye Consultants in June of 2016 after a 10 year break to be a stay-at home mom to her two kids.

Jeanie says “I am very grateful to be back doing the kind of work I enjoy and being part of the team at Heartland Eye Consultants. I am continually learning new things and am proud to be part of a practice that excels in patient care.”

Jeanie enjoys spending time with her family and is also up for a good book.

Allison Portrait

Allison

Optometric Technician

Allison was an optician before joining Heartland Eye Consultants. Allison says, “I look forward to learning something new every day while at work, that way I am better able to apply my knowledge in the future to assist other patients!” Allison spends her free time coaching softball, playing recreationally, or spending time at home knitting and reading.

Vision Therapists

Kari Portrait

Kari

COVT

Kari earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood from University of Nebraska-Kearney. Kari enjoys pairing her love of teaching with this unique aspect of health care. Kari says, “I love to see my patients develop new skills which help them improve their quality of life.” Kari works full time with therapy patients and has been a part of the Developmental Vision Associates team since November 2006.

In 2013-2014, Kari successfully completed a rigorous course of study, case writings, written testing, and oral examination passing the highest level of accreditation for Vision Therapists. She obtained her Certified Optometric Vision Therapy endorsement in October of 2014. This puts Kari in the top 10-20% of therapists in the country.

In Kari’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys reading and any outdoor activities.

Lauren Portrait

Lauren

Vision Therapist

Lauren is originally from Sioux City, Iowa. She is a graduate of Morningside College and received her Bachelors of Science degree in Biopsychology. In college she enjoyed volunteering with children and adults doing therapeutic horseback riding, which is centered around occupational therapy. From there she found her gravitating toward the discipline of vision therapy. She has a passion for helping people reach their full potential and has learned how much vision therapy can impact a person’s life. Lauren says, “I love being able to give people the tools needed to succeed in all aspects of their life!” In her free time, Lauren enjoys doing anything outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.

Debonnie Portait Option Two

Debonnie

Vision Therapist

Debonnie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Mental Health from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In college she enjoyed being a Learning Assistant where she first learned about metacognition and teaching students how to learn. “I love being a Vision Therapist because I get to help my patients understand and take control of their visual system, but I am also able to give them learning tools that will impact their academic success for years to come.” Debonnie has been a part of the Developmental Vision Associates team since March 2020.

In Debonnie’s spare time she enjoys coaching volleyball, doing photography, reading, and spending time with her friends, family, and her dog Max.

jessie.

Jessie

Vision Therapy Coordinator

Jessie joined Heartland Eye Consultants in December 2019 after her son started Vision Therapy. She is born and raised here in Omaha, Nebraska. Jessie has earned her Bachelors’ Degree in Business Management from Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska, and also her Associates’ Degree in Veterinary Technology. She also holds a Nebraska Veterinary Technician License.  She worked in a companion animal hospital for many years before moving into a sales management role in pharmaceutical sales. Jessie combines her past medical and managerial skills along with her experience as a VT mom to her job here at Heartland Eye Consultants. She enjoys spending time with her husband, kids, and 2 cats. When she isn’t doing the mom thing she enjoys crafting, scrapbooking, game nights with friends, and binge watching her favorite shows.

“I am a mother of a VT graduate. My son had been struggling with reading and writing for years! We could never figure out why. His pediatrician kept telling us his sight was fine. It wasn’t until a friend of mine suggested we take him to an actual eye doctor that we found the answer. He was diagnosed with Convergence Insufficiency and referred to see Dr. Will here at Heartland Eye Consultants.  Within just a couple of month we saw a huge change in our son not only with his school work but his focus, attitude, and most of all his confidence. It was like we had a completely new kid. He went from hating reading to loving reading, drawing, and learning. We went from me yelling at him to read to me yelling at him to stop reading and go to bed. It truly is the most amazing gift that Heartland Eye Consultants gave my son. It’s a gift he will use for the rest of his life and will propel him into success in the future. So when I saw Heartland Eye Consultants had a position open I jumped at the chance to be a part of that amazing team. I am so blessed and honored to be a part of the Heartland Family and help other patients and families get the gift we were given!”

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