Board of Directors
E. Judith Cohen
Dr. E. Judith Cohen is the director of Clinical Experiences and teaches literacy courses in the Special Education Program in the School of Education and Human Development, at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida. Previously, she was a classroom teacher and clinician at the McGlannan School for 20+ years, where she taught students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and related language and reading disabilities. She is an accomplished author and has presented at numerous conferences and professional development workshops, both locally and nationally. Her research focuses on research-based strategies that promote student growth in language and literacy, particularly for students with dyslexia. Selected Publications:
- Cohen, E. J., & Brady, M. P. (2011). Acquisition and generalization of word decoding in students with reading disabilities using vowel pattern analysis and children’s literature. Education and Treatment of Children, 34, (1), 81-113.
- Cheyney, W.J., & Cohen, E. J. (2007). The Wright Skills Program: Grades PreK – 3. Chicago, IL: Wright Group / McGraw-Hill.
- Cohen, E. J. (2002). Fast Track Reading, Phonics Component. Chicago, IL: Wright Group / McGraw-Hill.
- Cheyney, W. J., & Cohen, E. J. (1999). Focus on phonics: Assessment and instruction. Bothell, WA: The Wright Group.
Frank McKeown is passionate about helping children with dyslexia and their families. He earned a B.A. from Florida State University in English, an M.A. from Carnegie Mellon University in English, and an M.A. from American University in anthropology, with an emphasis in linguistics. He is a member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators at the Associate level. In addition to private tutoring, Frank has served as the director of two privately owned learning centers, and a non-profit learning center for children with learning differences and developmental delays in Palm Beach Gardens.
Through his private practice in Tallahassee, he provides reading, writing and mathematics instruction to students with learning differences. In July 2016, Frank became the founding Director of the newly opened Center for Learning at Maclay School, a private, independent college preparatory school in Tallahassee which is committed to meeting the needs of all learners. The Center provides classroom supports, a separate skills-based program, tutorial instruction, consultation with parents and classroom teachers, review of records or assessments, and coordination with other service providers.
When he is not working, Frank enjoys gardening and vacationing with his family.
Charlotte Chase brings dynamic energy and expertise to our shared mission to serve Floridians whose lives are impacted by dyslexia until everyone can read by serving as the Registrar at our conferences and educational events. Charlotte is a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner and the Director of Student Services for Green Apple School Management where her leadership responsibilities revolve around the mission to serve students with disabilities, including dyslexia.
Charlotte’s enthusiasm is not limited to her work as an educator. She loves all things Disney, so that she describes herself as a “Disney fanatic” while her husband, Brian, is a die-hard Gator fan. They and their children enjoy frequent weekend trips to the various Disney attractions where there is always magic and fun to be enjoyed by all.
Colleen Crooms is a licensed psychologist practicing in the Clearwater/Tampa Bay area with Katie Merricks Counseling, LLC. Colleen completed her doctoral degree in School Psychology from Oklahoma State University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology: School Psychometrics. She has worked in private practice settings for the last six years in North Florida/South Georgia before she relocated to Clearwater. As a private practice psychologist, Colleen specializes in the evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. These include Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disorders, Attention Disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Colleen is passionate about the assessment process as well as differentiating diagnoses in order to guide the most appropriate treatment. While at Oklahoma State University, she was member on several research teams to advance the knowledge on academic and behavioral interventions in the classroom. She joined the International Dyslexia Association, Florida Branch, in order to bring awareness of Dyslexia to other professionals as well as school communities. In addition to providing comprehensive evaluations, Colleen provides empirically supported treatment, school consultation, and/or service coordination.
Dr. Grizel Arencibia graduated from Florida International University summa cum laude in Education, earned her Master of Science in Reading Education from Barry University, and her Doctoral Degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Arencibia began her career as a classroom teacher and reading specialist. She was the Director of Program Development and Innovation for Take Stock in Children, a non-profit organization in Florida that provides opportunities for students to improve their lives through education. In her role, she directed the development and implementation of program standards and materials for enhanced state-wide student/mentor grade specific curriculum and college transition. With a broad scope of knowledge and experience, she founded her own private practice specializing in remediating reading difficulties and language-related learning challenges. As an independent educational consultant, she assisted students with their preparation and successful transition into colleges and universities. Currently, she is the Middle School Division Director at McGlannan School, an accredited, research-based private school that remediates academics impacted by dyslexia and related language-based learning difficulties through an evidence-based, structured, multi-sensory instructional approach.
Amy Diaz has devoted her professional career to appropriately educating students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. She received her Bachelor of Science in Special Education (with a focus on specific learning disabilities) and Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University.
Since 1998, she has worked at McGlannan School, a specialized, research-based school which utilizes a structured, multisensory approach to remediate academics adversely impacted by dyslexia and related language-based learning challenges. Throughout the years, she has had many roles at McGlannan including classroom reading and math teacher, reading clinician, Assistant Director of the Reading Clinic, Division Director of the 3rd and 4th grade students, and Admissions Committee member. In Fall 2019, Amy began a new role at McGlannan as the Director of Admissions where she carefully guides prospective families through the often challenging process of diagnosis and appropriate school placement.
Amy also enjoys organizing and leading the Experience Dyslexia®- A Learning Disabilities Simulation workshop as a part of McGlannan’s outreach program to further educate the local community about dyslexia. It is Amy’s hope that through IDA-FL she can make an even greater impact on dyslexia awareness and education in Florida and beyond.
Lida Grillo is the Elementary Coordinator for Exceptional Student Education (ESE) with Volusia County Schools. She has dedicated 27 years to public education to support students with disabilities and our most fragile learners.
During her tenure as ESE Coordinator, she developed a tiered system of supports for students with dyslexia. She facilitated district wide implementation of Wilson Reading System at the elementary level so that all 46 schools have at least 2 trained teachers. She also created a coaching plan, set up 2 demonstration sites, and provided follow up training with a venue for teacher collaboration.
Lida also designs the district’s ESE professional learning plan for over 150 ESE teachers who are working with students in the general education setting. She included the work of Dr. David Kilpatrick and his book, Equipped for Reading Success.
Lida worked with the district MTSS ELA Committee to implement Dr. David Kilpatrick’s Phonological Awareness Screening Test (PAST) to all kindergarten and first grade students as part of the universal screening process and diagnostic tool for all students with reading disabilities in grades K-5. She assisted the committee with providing teachers with recommended resources to provide intervention to students in need based on the PAST. She also provided training to reading intervention teachers on the importance of phonemic awareness instruction and the relationship between advanced phonemic awareness skills and automatic word reading.
Since the inception of proposed dyslexia legislation, Lida has provided professional learning to various groups across her school district including ESE teachers, general education teachers, reading coaches, district staff, administrators, community members, and parents on understanding the characteristics of dyslexia and ways to support these students. She worked collaboratively with her staff and a state discretionary project to offer training at every elementary school on assistive technology for accessible educational materials. She continues to guide teachers and families with strategies, programs, and supports to assist students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.
Prior to becoming an ESE Coordinator, Lida was an ESE Program Specialist and provided technical assistance, professional learning, and support to school- based staff and families for supporting students with disabilities. In addition, she collaborated with the district intervention coordinator to create and deliver ongoing training to reading intervention teachers.
Lida had various roles while teaching at the elementary school level. She was a Reading First literacy coach, reading intervention teacher, and taught students with disabilities grades pre-k through 5. While serving as a literacy coach and intervention teacher, the school was recognized by the Florida Department of Education and Florida Center for Reading Research for significantly increasing reading achievement data.
During her leisure time, she enjoys being outside with her husband, dogs, and cats. She loves listening to the birds, observing wildlife, walking, and hiking. Her favorite vacationing spots include the mountains near Asheville, NC and Bar Harbor, MN. Lida believes that laughter is the best medicine and prefers comedic relief from the everyday stressors of life.
Despite being diagnosed with Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder as a child, Gannon Hunt has become an experienced interior designer and accredited staging professional working with nationally renowned institutions like Christie’s Auction House in New York, Architectural Digest and Veranda Magazine. Hunt, a native Texan who has lived in North Florida/South Georgia for the past 16 years with her son, Beau, has also earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Florida State University, Bachelor’s in Art History from Sweet Briar College in Virginia and graduated from the Brooks School in Andover, MA.
Hunt’s passion for educating the community about Dyslexia stems from her own experience with the stigma attached to learning challenges before educational programs were readily available to children like her. She often felt ‘stupid’ and was told she was just being ‘lazy.’ Like many children growing up with Dyslexia, she learned to manipulate the system by using her intelligence to get by and realized that when she studied she would get straight C’s and when she didn’t study still got straight C’s. Her lack of support with her learning challenges began to take its toll and she started to ‘hate school.’ Hunt’s personal experience, and that of her son’s struggle with Dyslexia, fuels her passion to ensure that no child ever has to feel the way she did growing up. Her son has become the poster child for embracing his learning challenges and although he must work twice as hard as other students, he makes all A’s and B’s. Hunt currently serves on the Board of Directors of Boys Town North Florida and volunteers at the Maclay School. In her free time, you will find Hunt traveling with family and friends, cheering her son at the ballpark, competing at World Food and BBQ Championships with her boyfriend or spending time outdoors hunting and fishing.
Dr. Sharon Israel is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist in Miami. She is the Training and Education Manager for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Office of Employee Support and Community Assistance, and a Team Lead and Field Chaplain for the Peer Support and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program. Dr. Israel teaches Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (LivingWorks Education). Her work in post-traumatic stress informs her work in the area of dyslexia and reading instruction since we know that, without proper instruction and understanding, struggling readers suffer daily trauma in the classroom, leading to life-long anxiety. Dr. Israel holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Master of Public Administration (MPA). She is a Florida Certified Elementary Education Teacher and holds a Florida Reading Endorsement. She is a member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) at the Associate level and is an IDA Certified Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Interventionist. Her other professional memberships include the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Dr. Israel is a Steering Committee Member for Decoding Dyslexia – Florida Branch and is incredibly pleased to now serve on IDA-Florida’s Board of Directors. She focuses her efforts on advocacy at both the local district level and the state level.
Lauren Kile earned her B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education from Messiah College in 2014. She began her teaching career and quickly realized that she needed to learn more about the science of reading to be able to help her struggling readers. In 2018, she completed her coursework and practicum through Mayerson Academy (an IDA certified program) and earned her Practitioner Level Certification in Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Structured Reading. Lauren is an ESE Support Facilitator in Martin County, Florida and tutors privately in the evenings. Additionally, Lauren is a trainer for the S.P.I.R.E. curriculum. Lauren is extremely passionate about making explicit, structured, multisensory language instruction available to all students so that EVERYONE can learn to read!
Sandi Soper, recipient of the Sylvia Richardson Award, received her M.S.E. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin. Her work included serving as a Specific Learning Disabilities Program Specialist for the School Board of Sarasota County, Florida, and as an adjunct professor of Special Education at the University of South Florida where she taught Clinical Education, Assessment, Foundations, and Perspectives in Learning and Behavior Disorders courses.
Sandi is a National Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) Professional Developer for the University of Kansas-Center for Research on Learning, and she serves on the State of Florida SIM Advisory Committee.
Sandi has served as the Vice President of the International Dyslexia Association, as well as the President of the Florida Branch of the IDA. She has chaired numerous IDA and IDA-FL committees and has served on the Executive Committee of the IDA Branch Council.
Currently, Sandi serves as a private educational consultant for Strategic Consulting SS, LLC, in Sarasota.
Milaura Spelman is a speech/language pathologist and a reading specialist, with a private practice focusing on children and adolescents in the Orlando, Florida area. Ms. Spelman is nationally certified through ASHA and holds Florida licensure in Speech/Language Pathology. She is also an instructor at the University of Central Florida, in both the Early Childhood and Development program and the Communication Disorders program. Ms. Spelman is a certified WILSON reading instructor, but also uses various instructional methodologies in working with language/literacy impaired children to help them succeed. In her practice, Ms. Spelman provides comprehensive language/literacy evaluations and 1:1 language and educational therapy for children and adolescents.
Ms. Spelman attended undergraduate studies at the University of Central Florida, and received her Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has been a practicing speech/language pathologist for 25 years, and a reading specialist for over 15 years. Ms. Spelman counts herself lucky to have worked with children in various settings, all with various needs. Ms. Spelman previously provided services within several public school programs in Florida, including self-contained programs for children with learning and language based impairment. She also provided services within a specialized pilot program in Hawaii, focusing on the needs of children with autism and significant learning disabilities. Ms. Spelman was previously the supervisor and instructor for the Social Bridges Social Skills program, which focuses on children with social pragmatic difficulties. Ms. Spelman has worked in both private and public educational settings, within varied private settings, and within rehabilitation and hospital networks.
Ms. Spelman presents at national and local conferences, in regards to children with language/literacy based impairments and how to implement effective therapy practices when working with those children. She also provides seminars and workshops to public and private schools, community groups, and parent organizations. Workshop topics include dyslexia and reading/spelling disability, dyslexia and dysgraphia simulation activities, language processing and expression disorders, and early childhood speech and language development.
Jesse Steif Ed.S., NCSP is a licensed and Nationally Certified School Psychologist working in both private practice and the public schools in the Tampa Bay area. He has dedicated his career to working with families and children with Dyslexia and other learning differences. He is an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). His areas of expertise include assessment and remediation of Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, and other conditions that may affect an individual’s ability to learn.
He has presented numerous workshops for parents, teachers, and administrators on topics including phonological awareness assessment and intervention, the simple view of reading as an instructional framework, anxiety and attention difficulties in children with Dyslexia, and navigating the response to intervention process for parents. Jesse is also a certified trainer for the National Association of School Psychologists’ school safety and crisis preparedness model.
Jesse is passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice in order to improve educational and mental health outcomes for all children regardless of circumstance. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Florida state certification in Elementary Education and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in School Psychology, both from the University of Central Florida. He currently lives in the Tampa Bay area with his wife and is an avid home cook and voracious reader.
Dr. Maria Tsalikis has been serving students for 25 years. Dr. Tsalikis began her career as a teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. As a public school teacher, Dr. Tsalikis taught a variety of grade levels ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade and worked with struggling readers and students with special needs. As Senior Instructor in higher education, Dr. Tsalikis has developed and taught graduate and undergraduate literacy courses in varying modalities. She currently serves as the Elementary Education Program Director, the MSCI-Elementary Education Strand Faculty Lead, and a fellow for the Provost’s Hybrid Initiative at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Tsalikis’ background is in curriculum and instruction, with a focus in literacy education and special education; her interests include research in the areas of language and early literacy development. She has presented at state and national conferences in the areas of literacy and teacher preparation, she has also collaborated on several grants. Dr. Tsalikis is involved with the community through her leadership with projects at local public schools that focus on teacher preparation programs, teaching academies, teacher professional development, and more recently, with efforts bridging the achievement gap for struggling readers and students with dyslexia.
Tanya Vickers is an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who has been advocating for children and adults as a practicing clinician for more than 20 years. Tanya is a specialist in Assistive Technology and found her passion working with individuals who were minimally or nonverbal. While using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with children who were discovering the power of communication, Tanya began utilizing Assistive Technology to assist these students to read and write. Tanya then developed an eagerness to use Assistive Technology with all students who were struggling readers and writers in general education classes, as well as special education classes, to give them ways to access academic text and help them become lifelong learners. Tanya was instrumental in encouraging fellow educators to utilize the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which includes use of Assistive Technology, to create classrooms which allowed students to learn, and demonstrate their knowledge, based on their own learning profile.
Tanya is grateful for the professional mentors she has collaborated with and is fortunate to have worked with an amazing network of professionals, while working in dynamically different roles, in the education field. She has practiced as an SLP in multiple school districts in West Virginia and Florida. Tanya has also served as an Exceptional Student Education Program Specialist in Martin County leading more than 50 therapists and managing the programs of Speech/Language Therapy, Assistive Technology, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. Currently, Tanya is a Client Development Manager for Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services. She supports school districts in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama by fulfilling their staffing needs for Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Psychology.
A West Virginia native, Tanya graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, WV with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication Disorders. Tanya is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a five-time ASHA ACE award recipient.
Tanya has lived in Florida for 12 years. She loves the beach and enjoys “living the Florida lifestyle” with her husband and two teenage children.
Mandy Horton Walker
Mandy Horton Walker has taught students from kindergarten through adulthood in a variety of settings in Florida. She is passionate about her calling to serve reading strategies to learners, parents, and colleagues. She believes that every age and every stage of learning is the best. She describes students who struggle with reading as learners with dynamic learning profiles and great gifts. Currently, she serves as the Instructional Coach for ESE in a public school district.
In addition to earning a M.Ed., ESE-VE and several areas of certification and endorsement, Mandy has earned the Wilson Language System Level II and WDT Certificates, the University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning Strategic Instruction Model Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routine Professional Developer (KU-CRL: SIM LS & CER) Certificates, and the Certified Dyslexia Therapist credentialed by the International Dyslexia (CDT-IDA).
On a personal note, Mandy, who has two grown children, and her husband, Reed, are delighted with beloved grandchildren who bring joy and excitement to everyone. Mandy also enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, floral arts, walking, and visiting with family and friends.
Dr. Don Compton is Professor of Psychology at Florida State University/Florida Center for Reading Research. He was formerly Professor and Chair of Special Education and a John F. Kennedy Center Investigator at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. He earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a specialization in learning disabilities. While working on his Ph.D., and for several years after its completion, he was employed as a learning disabilities resource teacher in Skokie, Illinois. Compton then worked for four years as an assistant professor in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He then accepted a NICHD post-doctoral research fellowship at the Institute for Behavior Genetics, University of Colorado. From there he accepted a position at Vanderbilt University that he held until the spring of 2015. He then accepted his current position with the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida Sate University. Compton is experienced in designing, managing, analyzing, and disseminating data from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies as well as randomized control studies. His research involves modeling individual differences in the development of children’s reading skills and the identification and treatment of children with reading disabilities. Compton has served as PI and Co-PI on multiple NICHD and IES studies using randomized controlled trials to evaluate academic interventions for children with learning difficulties. He has over 75 peer-review publications and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Scientific Studies of Reading, and Exceptional Children. Compton is the past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and currently serves as associate-editor of Scientific Study of Reading.
Rep. Gayle Harrell was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. She was re-elected 3 times and served until 2008 when she was termed out. She was subsequently elected again in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
With over 16 years of service in the Florida House of Representatives, Rep. Harrell is a leader in setting policy for the State of Florida. She is currently Chair of Children’s, Families & Seniors Subcommittee, and is a sitting member of the Health & Human Services Committee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. She has also served as Chair of the Health and Human Services Access Sub Committee, the Healthcare Quality Committee, Healthcare General Committee, and the Healthcare Standards Subcommittee.
Gayle Harrell also has over 28 years of experience in healthcare. She is President and CEO of Health IT Strategies, LLC and has worked as a Healthcare Administrator, managing the Ob-Gyn. practice of Dr. James E. Harrell and founder of the Breast Imaging Center, a mammography center specializing in preventive care for women.
In addition, Harrell is a nationally recognized leader in Health Information Technology and was appointed by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to the national Health Information Technology Policy Committee as established under ARRA 2009 (Stimulus Bill). As a part of the Policy Committee she also was appointed to serve on the Health Information Exchange Work Group and the Privacy and Security Tiger Team. In addition, she was one of four legislators nationally to serve on the National Governor’s Association State Alliance for e-Health. She also serves on the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Healthcare Reform Committee.
Harrell has won numerous awards for her legislative service. Among her many awards she has received the Legislator of the Year by the Florida Medical Association, the Legislative Leadership Award by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Legislative Award by the Florida Children’s Forum, an “A” Ranking by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Friend of Free Enterprise Award by the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Legislative Achievement Award by Keep Florida Beautiful, and the Distinguished Legislator Award by the Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Harrell has been married to Dr. James Harrell for 50 years, has four children and eight grandchildren, and is an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Stuart.
Dr. Holly Lane is an associate professor of special education and director of the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. She also coordinates the doctoral program in special education and directs the University of Florida Literacy Initiative. Her research focuses on literacy intervention and prevention of reading difficulties through effective early literacy instruction and teacher education. She has conducted studies of tutoring interventions, increasing access to books in the homes of children from low-income families, and teacher knowledge of literacy. She has worked on projects to study reading intervention in juvenile correctional facilities and to develop professional development materials for teachers. Dr. Lane has also been the principal investigator of two doctoral training projects focused on preparing scholars in literacy intervention research.
Dr. Carole Repensek began her career in dyslexia in New Jersey almost by accident. Graduating with a BS in Elementary Education in 1970 at a time when there were no jobs available, she was offered a job and training in a school for children with dyslexia. She immediately developed a passion for teaching reading to students with reading differences and embarked on a lifelong journey which continues today. She obtained a MS degree in Special Education from Hunter College, and later, an Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Moving to Miami in 1976, she joined the staff of McGlannan School, a clinical school for students with dyslexia. She became the Assistant Director spending almost 30 years there. In 2008, Carole moved to Scheck Hillel Community School where she developed the Nativ program for students with dyslexia. She also taught graduate classes in reading and dyslexia. Presently, Carole is the Director of Academic Advancement at Riviera Preparatory School in Miami.
Carole has served as IDA-FL branch president as well as regional representative on the National IDA Branch Council Board. She has also been a board member, vice president for programming and president of the Association of Independent Schools of Florida for almost thirty years. Education has clearly been Carole’s life work and joy.
Dr. Pat Sekel is a speech pathologist, academic language therapist, educator, avid reader, and life-long learner. She recently moved to the Daytona Beach area from Austin, TX, where she retired as the Section 504/Dyslexia Director with a local school district and Graduate Reading Professor at Concordia University. Since moving to Florida, she has been tutoring students and continues working with parents and school districts nationwide. As a lifetime member [and Orton Oak] of The International Dyslexia Association, Pat is committed to the organization and its mission. Nationally, she has served as Chair of the National Nominating Committee, Secretary of Branch Council, and facilitated several years of the Public School Administrators’ Symposium at The IDA annual conferences. Currently, Pat is a reviewer of proposals for annual IDA conferences, and has been a team member and Chair for The IDA’s national accreditation of training centers and universities. She also continues to be an invited speaker at local, state, and national conferences.
At a local and state level, Pat has served on the Austin Area Branch of IDA as board member and President for three terms. She worked on the Governor’s Committee [George W. Bush] revamping the instruction and competency testing of pre-service teachers in the area of written language, worked within her professional organizations to see the passage of the Texas State Dyslexia law and the state licensing of Dyslexia Therapists. She also served as a Master Trainer for the Texas First Grade Reading Initiative and reader of literacy grant proposals statewide. While completing her doctorate in Reading at The University of Texas at Austin, she was Executive Director of the Scottish Rite Learning Center, where she led the teacher training to national accreditation through ALTA and IMSLEC. She also enjoyed serving as Head of School for Rawson-Saunders School for Dyslexic Children where she established a teacher training center. During her career, Pat has been a national board member and Secretary of the Academic Language Therapy Association, and currently serves on the Council of Educators for Students with Disabilities [CESD] national board. She authored The New Herman Method, and has served as editor for numerous scholarly publications. Dr. Sekel was honored to be one of the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling [LETRS] elite national trainers.
At home, Pat enjoys relaxing with her three dogs [the “grrls”], exploring Florida with her husband of over 40 years, tutoring students, and being reunited with her childhood best friend. She is excited about the pending Florida state dyslexia law, working with other dedicated professionals, and looks forward to the next chapter of life in the Sunshine State.
Susan Sentell is passionate in her quest for reaching and teaching all learners, particularly those with dyslexia. Her mission and vision form the foundation for her professional career as an educator. Susan has taught students of various ages in a variety of settings in Florida. Her work as a Wilson Credentialed Trainer have taken her across the country providing the professional development and coaching required for teachers to become successful in their approach to literacy instruction for learners who struggle with reading. Susan’s educational consultant credentials include being a Wilson Accredited Partner and a Wilson Credentialed Trainer.
She served as President of the IDA-FL. During her term, she kept her focus on building a cohesive and positive team which continues to empower the current and future accomplishments of this dynamic organization.
She and her husband are delighted to be grandparents and pet parents, which fill their lives with love and joy. Traveling for work and for pleasure round out their family adventures.
Dr. Edward C. Taylor is a licensed psychologist and has been in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida for thirty years. He received his PhD from the University of Florida.
He has held faculty appointments in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Kansas School of Medicine and in the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Florida Medical School. His clinical practice integrates psychological and education services into cohesive interventions for students and families affected by learning difficulties.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Taylor provides educational interventions to students through The Learning Specialists, Inc. The teaching staff of The Learning Specialists utilize research based educational interventions to address challenges with fundamental academic skills in reading, math, and writing in younger students. They teach strategic learning, problem solving, time/task management, and test taking skills to older students.
Dr. Taylor serves on the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association. He is a member of the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Eric Tridas is the Medical Director of the Tridas Center for Child Development and the State Medical Director for Pediatric Health Choice-Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Facilities (PPEC). He is a Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in the diagnosis and management of neurodevelopmental conditions including ADHD, learning differences, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities and other developmental and behavioral problems.
He is Clinical Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, a member of the National Joint Committee on Learning disabilities (NJCLD) and Immediate Past President of the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Tridas is also Dr. Tridas is a founder and partner of Tridas, LLC, a software company that developed the Tridas eWriter, an application for web based structured interviews of caregivers and teachers that generates a customized evaluation report and provides hundreds of specific recommendations.
Dr. Tridas has resided in the Tampa Bay area since 1982. He completed his fellowship in Ambulatory Pediatrics with emphasis on Developmental Disabilities at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston. During that time he held an appointment as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Tridas completed his residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine in 1977.
Dr. Tridas lectures nationally and internationally on topics such as dyslexia, learning disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, executive functions and other behavioral and developmental pediatrics related subjects.
Dr. Tridas edited a book for parents titled From ABC to ADHD: What Every Parent Should Know About Dyslexia and Attention Problems.
Dr. Joyce V. W. Warner holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania with a specialization in reading, a Masters in Curriculum Development from Monmouth University and Bachelors in English from Syracuse University. Currently, an associate professor of literacy, she joined the Reading and Literacy Studies Faculty in the Barry University Adrian Dominican School of Education in 2003. Prior to that, from 2001 through 2003, she was Regional Coordinator for the Florida Literacy and Reading Excellence (FLaRE) Center at the University of Central Florida, a program which provided professional development and support for literacy in K-12 public schools throughout the state of Florida. She has taught Reading Practicum, Remedial Reading, and Language Arts graduate degree and certification courses at Florida Atlantic University, where she also was a supervisor of developing teachers, and Wayne State University in Michigan. In addition to her university background, Joyce has 30 + years of K-12 classroom teaching, professional development and whole school literacy program implementation experience. She is expert in Orton Gillingham practices and procedures and holds the trainer or trainer certificate from the Michigan Dyslexia Institute.She and her husband live in Delray Beach, Florida. They have two grown children.
Liz Woody Remington
Elizabeth Woody Remington is one of the three original founders of the Learning Alliance. She has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Special Ed-Learning Disabilities from American University and is on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association. She lives in Vero Beach, Florida, and is the mother of two boys who have struggled with learning challenges.
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