Olivia Ann Ferrante was drawn to her career as a teacher for the visually impaired as a result of her own disability, a visual impairment that was the result of her being born four months premature. While studying at Regis College, she took a summer job as an aide at the Perkins School for the Blind in the summers of 1968 and 1969, during which time she learned about the school’s program for a master’s degree in teaching blind students. Following the completion of her Bachelor of Arts in 1970, she joined Boston College, where she earned a Master of Education in 1971. From there, she served as the chair of the braille department of the National Braille Press for three years, from 1971 to 1974. Completing additional coursework at Middlebury College in 1974, Ms. Ferrante began her career as a traveling teacher for the visually impaired that same year.
Certified in history education as well as in teaching visually impaired students, Ms. Ferrante flourished as a teacher with more than 50 schools and continued to further her education with postgraduate coursework at Boston College from 1977 to 1981 and at Lesley University in 1982. Of particular note in her career, was her time teaching in the special needs department of Revere High School in her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts, where she worked until her retirement from teaching in 1992. She remains active as a consultant for the Revere PTA, a position she has held since 1984, and as a member of the Steven J. Rich Scholarship Committee, which she joined in 1993, following her retirement from teaching.
A dedicated advocate for people with disabilities, Ms. Ferrante has been actively involved in her community and was able to achieve several improvements to her town through submitting proposals to the local government. These included brighter streetlights and a police sub-station in her neighborhood and audio pedestrian signals in front of city hall. In addition, she is responsible for the addition of accessibility aids to her local movie theater, making it the first theater in Massachusetts to adopt such practices. Ms. Ferrante has also been a regular contributor of articles to professional journals and was featured in the Revere Journal in recognition of her many years of experience.
Remaining active in her retirement, Ms. Ferrante has served as the vice president and publicist for the Revere Society for Cultural and Historical Preservation since 1998 and has twice served as the chair of their grants committee. She also serves as the publicist for Animal Umbrella, a no-kill cat shelter; a lecturer for the Revere Commission on Disabilities; a mentor for the Braille Institute of America; and a member of the Catholic League, the Center for Marine Conservation, and the Boston Public Garden and Common. Previously, Ms. Ferrante maintained professional affiliation with the National Education Association, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Revere Teachers Association, and the National Catholic Association for Persons with Visual Impairment, among others.
Attributing much of her success to the support and encouragement she received from her parents, Ms. Ferrante also credits her Catholic faith for helping her to maintain her mental and spiritual wellbeing and providing her with energy and strength. For her excellence, she has been the recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award and been named a Marquis Who’s Who Industry Leader and a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional. In addition, Ms. Ferrante will be appearing in an upcoming edition of Who’s Who of Professional Women.
Born in Revere, Massachusetts, to father Guy Ferrante and mother Mary Carmella Prizio, Ms. Ferrante considers the highlight of her life to be the fact that she was able to travel to 44 U.S. states and 40 countries alongside her parents. Her life has also been enriched by her five nieces and nephews. In her free time, Ms. Ferrante enjoys traveling, music, swimming, ice skating, reading science fiction and fantasy, knitting for charity, and being involved in her local Catholic church.