Peter Groth – CEO

DyslexiaConnect.com was created by Peter Groth, an experienced reading tutor from Wisconsin. Peter created the program to make reading, spelling and comprehension tutoring more convenient and accessible for the children, teenagers and adults who need it.

Peter Groth graduated Summa Cum Laude from Edgewood College, in Madison, WI, in 2002. In 2002, Peter began working as a private tutor for several different subjects. Peter really enjoyed private tutoring, and he decided to pursue tutoring full time.

In 2004, Peter was trained in the Orton-Gillingham Method, the oldest, and most respected method for teaching remedial reading.

In early 2010, Peter became interested in online education. In particular, he was interested in the increased convenience this sort of approach offered to parents, and also the opportunity to reach students who did not live close to reading tutoring providers. After a year of perfecting a method for online reading tutoring, Peter welcomed the first students to our online reading tutoring program.

Since 2010, Peter has overseen the growth of Dyslexia Connect to include students and tutors from six different countries.

Peter manages our team and oversees the daily operations of Dyslexia Connect Online Tutoring.

Our Method

We use the Orton-Gillingham Method. Orton-Gillingham is a well-respected and highly effective method for teaching children, teens and adults who have dyslexia. We have refined and perfected our online tutoring through many years of working with individuals with reading difficulties. Our priorities are to make learning effective, engaging and fun! We have seen our method work with our students time and time again, and as a result, we teach every new student in our tutoring program with the confidence that we will be able to help them succeed.

Our Tutors

Pauline Piner

Pauline Piner moved to North Carolina in 1988 as an Exceptional Children’s teacher at Camp LeJeune Dependents’ Schools. She became trained in the Orton-Gillingham Method and became a member of the North Carolina Board of the International Dyslexia Association for three years.

Pauline is currently teaching at CFCI as an Exceptional Children’s teacher for grades K-8 specializing in reading. In 2008, she received licensure in Birth through Preschool and earned national board certification in 2010. In 2011, she earned licensure in Middle School English Language Arts.

Pauline tutors dyslexic students of all different ages.

In her spare time, Pauline loves to travel with her husband, Stuart. She also loves spending time with family especially her grandchildren, Hunter and Halle.

Pauline joined Dyslexia Connect in 2011.

Linda Burlile

Linda Burlile is a graduate of Ohio State University. She has always had a passion for teaching, and she homeschooled her three children. This led her to seek out effective ways to teach reading and spelling. Eventually, her children started attending public school, and Linda decided to pursue her love of teaching further.

Linda began to tutor in math, reading and cognitive skills. She realized that one of the reading students she was working with was dyslexic, and this led her to pursue training in an Orton-Gillingham based method.

Linda was certified in the Barton method, and completed a graduate-level class in dyslexia screening. She also received training in a multisensory math program. Linda looks forward to every day of tutoring, and helping her students reach their goals.

Linda joined the our team in 2011.

Sharon Hundley-Spangler

Sharon Hundley graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor is Special Education. After graduation, she taught special education in a few different elementary schools, including a special school for children with learning difficulties in California.

In 1991, Sharon was trained in Slingerland, a program developed by Beth Slingerland and Anna Gillingham, one of the creators of the Orton-Gillingham Method. For a time, she taught in school and tutored in the evenings, at a Dyslexia Institute of America center.

Eventually, she returned to Indiana and helped found a Dyslexia Institute of America center there, where she was the assistant director in charge of client testing and training other tutors.  She was also in charge of maintaining the curriculum at the home office, as well as three satellite locations.

Sharon joined our team in 2010.

Trina Harsh

Trina Harsh received a Bachelor’s of Education from Texas Christian University and a Master’s of Education in Literacy Studies from the University of Texas in Arlington. She is a certified Texas educator in general education, English as a Second Language, Educational Administration and a Reading Specialist grades PK-12. She is trained in the Multi-sensory Teaching Approach, MTA, which is a dyslexia therapy program based on the Orton-Gillingham Method. She has taught in the Texas Public Schools for 15 years and is currently a middle school Dyslexia Therapist.

Trina is a married mother of 3 boys, ages 3-13, who keep her very busy! She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2016.

Dianne Moore

Dianne Moore graduated from the Prescott College Adult Degree Program in 1995 with a BA in Environmental Studies and Education. She has since been an educator in various settings, including Arizona State Parks as a program writer and facilitator, Maricopa County Literacy Volunteers as a staff teacher, Edu-Prize Charter School as a hands-on science and Spanish teacher, and Gulfstream Goodwill as a staff teacher. She became certified in the Barton Reading and Spelling System (an Orton-Gillingham based program) in 2012 after taking the required two students through all ten Levels of the program, and has continued to tutor children with dyslexia using the Barton System since then. She is a firm believer in the Barton System based on the resulting improvements her students have achieved.

Geri Breen

Geri graduated from Western Governors university with a degree in Education, and she is a certified teacher for pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. She completed her Orton-Gillingham training at the Mayerson Academy, and she has used the O.G. method in the classroom and in private tutoring.

Geri also has a personal connection to dyslexia. In 3rd grade, her son was diagnosed with dyslexia, and Geri feels that this allows her to easily empathize with other parents of children who have dyslexia. Her son is now in college and successfully pursuing his goals.

Geri joined Dyslexia Connect in 2017

Holly Potter

Holly Potter received her Masters Degree in Diagnosis and Treatment of Reading Disorders from SUNY Fredonia in 2003. This program was fully Orton Gillingham based. She moved to North Carolina in 2004 to become a public school teacher for Alamance Burlington Schools. After 9 years in the regular classroom, she moved to an intervention position where she worked with students with undiagnosed reading and math disabilities, assisting in gathering the data needed to help families either receive a diagnosis or help students by providing intensive interventions.

She has been trained in the Orton-Gillingham and Wilson Language programs, and is currently pursuing certification by the Hill Center in Durham, NC. She has moved from a public school setting to pursue an Exceptional Children’s position in a charter school, allowing her to continue her passion for teaching students with learning difficulties.

She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

Rebecca Neyhard

Rebecca Neyhard graduated from Bloomsburg University with a BS in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University. In 2002, she began her Orton-Gillingham Training at the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Susquehanna Valley. Through the center, she became certified with the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Upon certification, she continued tutoring at the center and is still there today. Rebecca completes 30 hours of training every 3 years, to keep her IMSLEC certification valid. In 2014, Rebecca received her Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from Edinboro University.

Currently, Rebecca is a graduate student at Bloomsburg University pursuing her Reading Specialist Certification, which she hopes to have by the end of 2018.

In addition, to her work at the learning center, Rebecca has taught in a Head Start classroom and is now a Head Start Educational Coach.

Rebecca started with Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

Ana Robins

Ana Robins is currently a public school teacher. She began her teaching career in NJ in 2000 and moved to Florida in the summer of 2007. She has taught almost every grade level between preschool and 8th grade, including Spanish and bi-lingual kindergarten. In an effort to better help her students who had difficulty with reading and writing, she went back to school full time and received a Master’s Degree in Reading Education through the University of South Florida in 2014. She has been specializing in teaching English Language Arts since then. In July 2017 Ana obtained additional training in the Orton Gillingham method through the Institute for Multisensory Education. Ana is a member of the International Literacy Association and keeps up to date with the latest in reading education.

In her spare time, Ana enjoys reading and being outside enjoying the Florida sunshine.

She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2017.

Lola Arnold

Lola Faye Arnold graduated from the University of Charleston with a Master’s of Education degree and a minor in Special Education. She is a certified teacher in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education. She is also certified to teach English as a Second Language. Lola has 30 plus years of experience working with children who have dyslexia in the public education system and privately. She served as the Reading Interventionist for the last three years of her public school teaching career in South Carolina. In 2015, Lola completed the writing of her first novel, “Out With the Tide”.

Lola has been trained in, and has utilized, a number of Orton-Gillingham based programs (Barton Reading, Project Read/ Language Circle, and The Institute of Multi-Sensory Educaton/IMSE). She owned and operated a private reading clinic in Florida.

She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2018

Nancy Smith

Nancy was certified with the Michigan Dyslexia Institute in 1997, where she studied the Orton-Gillingham Method. She tutored students through the 3 R’s program (Reading to Reduce Recidivism), which entailed working with individuals who couldn’t read or write. It was sponsored by the Oakland County Court System in Pontiac, Michigan. She homeschooled her two sons. She has a personal connection to dyslexia, as her youngest son has dyslexia.

She was the Assistant Director at The Boys & Girls Club in Bonita Springs, FL
where she tutored children and taught Healthy Habits and a Street Smart Program.

Nancy and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL which is close to her two sons and grandkids. Nancy joined our team in 2016.

Deb Muth

Deb has a bachelors degree in English education and a masters degree in special education. She is certified in English 7-12 and Special Education K-12 in two states. Deb has taught English at the college and high school level, and she has taught special education at the middle and elementary school level. During her time as a special education teacher, Deb was trained in and used the Wilson Reading Program to help students with reading disabilities to increase both their skills and confidence. Deb has since decided to specialize in teaching students with dyslexia through our online tutoring platform. Her husband has dyslexia, so she knows full well the obstacles he has worked to overcome and is proud of his achievement as a successful businessman. She is passionate about helping others to achieve success as well.

Erin DiPrima

Erin DiPrima received a Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University and Teaching Licensure from the University of St. Thomas. Erin was trained in Orton-Gillingham through Orton-Gillingham of Minnesota.

Erin taught elementary and middle school education for five years in Minneapolis and Chicago. After teaching, she stayed home to raise her family, and home-school her five children.

Erin believes in teaching kids in a way that helps them learn and feel successful. She is passionate about meeting the individual needs of each student with tailored instruction. She enjoys fostering self-motivation and passion for learning. She hopes all her students find joy in reading, writing, and life long learning.

Kathy Ulibarri

Katherine Ulibarri first started her career in teaching shortly after getting her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Diverse Learning from the University of Colorado. She has taught for the past twelve years in the Adams 12 school district in Colorado, working in the elementary education classroom, English as a second language classroom, and also tutoring in grades K-12 through the district’s homebound services program (helping students needing to stay home due to medical needs).

After her nephew was diagnosed with dyslexia, Kathy became passionate about educating herself in the Orton-Gillingham approach. She started working on her certification through the Susan Barton method, tutoring students after school. In 2017 she was hired by the Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Kids where she received further training in OG by the founder of the camp.

Kathy is extremely passionate about her new career path as a private tutor, connecting with parents in her area to help advocate for their students, as well as furthering her learning in the OG approach.

She started working with Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

Tahleen Finley

Tahleen earned her Associate Teaching Permit in California and began her teaching career as a Preschool Teacher, planning and supervising for a classroom of 30 students of 3-4 yr olds for 7 years.

Tahleen has 8 years of tutoring experience in multiple subjects and is extensively trained in The Barton Reading and Spelling Program, an Orton-Gillingham based curriculum; rooted in phonemic awareness, it’s a sequential system that builds on itself to show how letters and sounds are related and how they act in words. Tahleen has successfully taught 10 children to read from the very basics of what a letter is, to forming and reading successful paragraphs and essays. In her free time, Tahleen and her husband enjoy outdoor activities and crafting at their Arizona mountain home.

Haley Speed

Haley Speed earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Texas A&M in 2006. She has been an educator for the last 13 years in the elementary setting as well as a Reading Specialist. In 2017, she attended San Diego State University to work on a Master’s degree in Literacy. During this time, she received a Reading and Literacy certification to work with struggling readers in many capacities. Again in 2018, Haley attended the Dyslexia Training Institute at University of San Diego and became Orton Gillingham certified to teach dyslexic readers using a multisensory OG approach. Haley is a parent to a dyslexic child and is dedicated to help all students feel successful on their education journey.

Diann Richardson

Diann  Richardson graduated from Western Illinois University with a Master’s in Special Education. She also has a Master’s in School Administration and a PhD in K-12 School Leadership. She is experienced as a an elementary special education teacher, principal, and Director of Special Education. She has worked in Iowa, Colorado, and Illinois.  She has participated in many different trainings in regards to teaching reading, including Orton Gillingham training. 

Diann is currently serving as a Director of Student Services and living in the central part of Illinois. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cross stitching, and traveling. Her family includes a husband, son, a dog and cat. 
 
She is appreciative of the opportunity to work with students to improve their reading skills. 
 
Kim Durren
Kim Duren is a native Texan and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.  She has worked in the Irving Independent School District for 25 years teaching reading and dyslexia services.  She is a Certified Academic Language Practitioner and enjoys helping students become successful with their reading.  Kim has worked with students of all ages and is an Assessor for Dyslexia Testing as well.  She is the proud mother of two beautiful girls and resides with her husband in Hurst, Texas.  When she is not working with students, she enjoys watching her oldest daughter in the Color Guard at TCU and her youngest daughter play select soccer.  In her spare time, she enjoys scrap booking and reading.  Kim joined our team in 2019.
 
Becky Stonecypher
Rebecca (Becky) Stonecypher graduated from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana in 1980 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and in 1986 with a M.A.E. in Elementary and Special Education. Teaching in two international mission schools in West Africa brought the realization that further training was needed to meet the needs of those students struggling in both reading and English.
 
Rebecca completed courses with NILD (National Institute of Learning Development) program and taught students using that method for many years. In 2012, a change to a different school and country made it necessary to change teaching methods. During time in the United States, she was able to complete Phonics First Foundations and Structures, an Orton-Gillingham based approach accredited by both IMSLEC and IDA.
 
She is currently certified by the International Dyslexia Association as a Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Specialist. She holds valid teacher licenses from both the states of Indiana and Alabama, as well as certification from England in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
 
Rebecca and her husband retired from overseas service in 2019. She enjoys quilting, reading, and her grandson.
 
She started with Dyslexia Connect in 2019.
 
Nancy Ganiko
Nancy Ganiko has a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education/English, a Master’s degree in Theological studies, along with a Master’s in Counseling Education. She is certified in both Elementary and Secondary Education, English Second Language, and in School Counseling grades K-12.
 

After 21 years in Public Education, she retired early in order to complete the two year Scottish Rite Take Flight Dyslexia Program and to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT)/Dyslexia Therapist. She chose this path due to an incident that occurred during her final year in Public Education. The School District where she worked had lost funding for the Dyslexia program and she offered to oversee it, along with her Counseling duties. It was a life changing decision!

Upon facilitating the older version of Take Flight and helping a 3rd grade student who could not read overcome his Dyslexia and learn to read, she knew that this was something she wanted to devote her life to. For the past six years, that is what she has been doing. She loves her work and loves her students! It is amazing to watch them not only grow and develop in reading, but in believing in themselves.

Nancy started with Dyslexia Connect in 2019.

Beth Fairfield

Beth Fairfield received her Masters in Special Education in 2009. She decided to became certified in Orton Gillingham in 2008 through The International Dyslexia Association after taking a phonics class in college. Beth has worked as a Title 1 Reading teacher in a small private school for 6 years using OG with grades K-4. Beth also has tutored privately in homes using OG methods. Besides tutoring online, Beth also subs for multiple grades at a local private school.

Beth joined Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

Leslie Weissglass

Leslie was trained as an Orton- Gillingham Academic Language Specialist at Teachers College, Columbia University in the early 1990’S, while receiving her Ed.M. in Instructional Practices in Special Education. Since then, Leslie has been teaching and tutoring students with a variety of learning styles. Alphabetic Phonic, Dyslexia Training Program, and The Gillingham Manual are the foundational pedagogy from which she develops individualized OG programs.

As a dedicated, passionate teacher, her purpose is to inspire joyous, stimulating and engaging learning environments that will encourage all types of learners to reach their highest potential. Rooted in a commitment to holistic education, it is Leslie’s goal to combine her range of experience with her ability to be a compassionate, enthusiastic, and flexible tutor.

Leslie has a NJ Standard Certificate, 2470 – Teacher of the Handicapped. She is also Montessori Method of Education for Children certified.

She enjoys taking walks with her husband and two miniature poodles. She also enjoy yoga, especially teaching kids yoga.

Leslie joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2019.

Betsy Emerson

Betsy Emerson received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a Minor in Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee.  In 2017 she completed the Associate Level Training in the Orton Gillingham Method at Greengate School for Dyslexia in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Betsy now works summers at the Greengate (now Randolph) summer camps for students with Dyslexia. She also tutors during the school year, both privately and through The Loft Literacy Center in Huntsville. 
 
In addition to Orton Gillingham tutoring, Betsy tutors ESL students online and works as a coach for students who struggle with Executive Functioning skills. 
 
She is raising five children, three of whom she has homeschooled through their middle and high school years. 
 
As a lover of words and literature, Betsy is passionate about building confidence in struggling readers. She is passionate about the Orton Gillingham method because – it works! 
 
Betsy joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2020.
 
Amy Coley
Being the only non-dyslexic in the household, Amy has come to have a deep understanding and appreciation of dyslexia.  Their strengths, weaknesses, remarkable resilience, and talent. She has also become keenly aware of the need for Orton-Gillingham instruction and the need to make it accessible to children and families. Over many years and 3 Orton-Gillingham training courses, Amy has come to love tutoring and being part of each student’s unique journey. Amy uses the Wilson Reading System and is particularly pleased with the new 4th edition.
 
Amy has a MA in Counseling and has been tutoring for five years. She is also the director of development of a nonprofit, which helps low-income, struggling readers receive the long-term reading instruction they need for free.
 
Amy is grateful to be part of Dyslexia Connect, yet another avenue for children to access the reading instruction they need, and also to be part of each student’s success. 
 
Amy joined Dyslexia Connect in 2020.
 
Dari Jones

Dari Jones spent several years working in the accounting field until her son was diagnosed with dyslexia.  She saw the struggles, frustration, and lack of confidence that her son was facing. It was at that point that she decided to make a career change.  She took her son out of the public school system and began to homeschool him.  She went back to school and received her Master’s degree in Dyslexia Therapy in Orton-Gillingham and Master’s degree in Education. 

In addition, Dari completed the Connections: Orton-Gillingham in 3D Program and gained experience with Barton Reading and Spelling System. She has provided dyslexia therapy and reading readiness services for several years at different locations such as the Mississippi Dyslexia Centers, Mississippi Dyslexia Evaluation Center, private schools, and virtually.  

Dari joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2020.

Christi McCall

Christi McCall has taught 27 years in public school. She graduated from Arkansas State University in 1993 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. In 1994, Christi received a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Christi taught Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade, as well as Kindergarten Special Education.  As she saw more and more of her students struggling in reading, she became interested in and certified in Orton Gillingham in 2019. This program has proven to be very beneficial in helping her students. Christi spent the last two years in public education as a Dyslexia Interventionist.  She has also been a Nationally Board Certified teacher in the state of Arkansas since 2002.

Christi recently retired from public education to pursue Dyslexia tutoring full-time with Dyslexia Connect.  Helping students reach their full potential is her passion. Christ currently lives in Arkansas with her husband, Tim. They have two adult children – a daughter, Morgan, who recently married her husband, Matthew, and a son, Britton, who has graduated college. In her free time, Christi keeps up with her three furbabies – Annie, Honey, and Millie. She also enjoys being outdoors and loves to travel.

Christi joined Dyslexia Connect in 2020.

Amy Starling

Amy Starling graduated from Arkansas State University with her BSE in 1991 and MSE in Early Childhood Education 1993. She taught in public school for 29.5 years in the areas of kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade. Amy received her National Board Certification in 2003.

As a 3rd grade teacher in 2009, Amy had a student who was diagnosed with dyslexia. To be better equipped to meet his needs, she went through Connections OG in 3D, Orton Gillingham based training. Her passion for teaching the Orton Gillingham method and her desire to help students with dyslexia continued to grow. 

Amy worked as an interventionist from 2010 through 2020 to help students struggling with reading and dyslexia. She retired from public school teaching and joined Dyslexia Connect in 2020, where she plans to continue her commitment of helping students through tutoring.

Kirstin Ivy-Waybourn

Kirstin Waybourn graduated from the University of North Texas summa cum laude with a degree in English. She has two Master’s degrees from the University of North Texas; one in Educational Leadership and the second in Curriculum and Instruction. Kirstin is currently working toward a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on equity in education, also from UNT. She is certified to teach Special Education EC-12, and ELAR from 4th-8th grades. Kirstin is in her fourth year of teaching and is completing the requirements to become a Certified Academic Language Practitioner. She is presently working as a Dyslexia specialist for a middle school implementing the MTA program, which is modeled after Orton-Gillingham.

Kirstin is the proud mother of five children, from twenty to four years old. She also has three dogs, three cats, and some fish. She discovered long ago that loving and learning are her two favorite things to do! 

Kirstin joined Dyslexia Connect in 2020, and she looks forward to offering personalized and individual instruction to students. 

Kevin Randall

Kevin Randall graduated from the University of West Florida in 1982 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She taught Kindergarten – 2nd grade in Florida for eleven years before moving to the Philippines, where she taught English and Library classes to elementary and high school students for ten years.

Kevin then received training in Chicago, Illinois by Wilson Reading System, which is based on the Orton-Gillingham method. She worked at Nicaragua Christian Academy as the Resource Teacher from 2006 – 2016 where she taught students with dyslexia and other learning needs. Kevin also oversaw a tutoring program in Nicaragua and taught Study Skills to middle and high school students.

Kevin enjoys teaching and providing resources for underprivileged children and adults in the community. Besides teaching reading skills, she also enjoys teaching sewing and cooking classes.
 
Kevin joined the Dyslexia Connect team in November, 2020.
 
Trudi Wilcox
Trudi Wilcox graduated from Northern Colorado University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders/Speech Language Pathology.   In 2010, she graduated from Southern Methodist University with her Master’s degree in Education and became a certified Academic Language Therapist (Dyslexia Therapist).    

For over the last ten years, Trudi has been working with students diagnosed with dyslexia using Orton- Gillingham methods and recently became a Dyscalculia Specialist for Pre-K and elementary students.   She is a mother of two boys who were diagnosed with learning disorders at a young age.

Trudi enjoys helping children become more confident and successful in the areas of math, reading, and spelling.

Trudi joined Dyslexia Connect in 2020.

Lori Harrington

Lori Harrington received her Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2013. She is trained in the Wilson Reading System, and is a certified IMSLEC elementary educational specialist. Additionally, she holds certifications as a Supervisor, as well as an Elementary Teacher. For almost two decades, Lori worked as a public school educator, teaching in grades K-8, specializing in Language Arts intervention with special needs students focusing on structured literacy instruction which is characterized by the provision of systematic, explicit instruction that integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Lori is a strong believer in the OG methodology, as she has seen successful results time and time again with her students. She has a personal connection to a student’s struggles, as she ventured into the field of education, in 2003, when her son, then five years old was diagnosed with learning issues, and she became deeply involved in learning all about Special Education Laws. That circumstance led her to pursue her degrees in the educational field, and to this day, she feels honored and humbled to be working with students every day who struggle with reading difficulties, where she firmly holds the belief that each student can learn to read, to their potential, using the Orton-Gillingham method.

In her spare time, Lori enjoys reading, cooking healthy meals, biking in the countryside, gardening, spending time with her husband with their classic cars, as well as with her dear family and friends. At this time, she does not have a dog, but in the future she dreams she will.

Lori joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Sandra Norman

Sandra Norman is passionate about the work that she does as a Dyslexia Therapist and feels that it is a privilege to be in this role. With a degree in Education; a specialization in Early Childhood Education; and a degree in child psychology; when her daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia and she was determined to learn even more about teaching students how to read. There is no passion like that of a mother with a child who has dyslexia! Determination is helpful, but not a substitute for expertise. Sandra continued her studies with training in several Orton Gillingham methodologies. She pent a year training as a Dyslexia Therapist at William Carey University and is presently studying for her Masters of Reading Science at Mount St Joseph University.

Professionally, Sandra has had a wide range of experiences in elementary education, having taught pre-K, kindergarten and fifth grade. She has also worked as an intervention consultant for elementary ELA. With a blend of structured literacy programs (including Barton, Neuhaus, Kendore, SPIRE, IMSE; and most recently Brainspring, Pride, and Sounds-Write), Sandra is using her expertise to develop explicit, structured programming catered to each of her students. Together with her students, Sandra has helped flip the script for many as they begin to visualize a successful life as a reader, writer and speller. She is dedicated to helping students find their voice by instilling the belief that everyone is important, it is never too late to gain skills, or redefine who they are as a learner.

Sandra joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Natalie Cook

Natalie Cook graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Reading Education. She is a certified Reading Specialist and Early Childhood and Elementary teacher. She also has a Teaching English as a Second Language certificate.

Natalie taught first grade for five years and second grade for two years. She has experience in private tutoring as well. Natalie received Orton Gillingham training through the Institute for Multisensory Education in 2019.

Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband, baby boy, pets, and reading.

Natalie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Julie Heath

Teaching English and reading has been a passion of Julie’s for twenty years. Having graduated from college, her first experience teaching beginning readers was at a small private school in Seoul, Korea, where her students were not only beginning readers, but many also did not speak English. She became a fast believer in the efficacy of sound phonics instruction as she watched her first and second graders become fluid readers, spellers, and writers while simultaneously learning to speak the English language!

Through the years of teaching English from pre kindergarten to high school English (she has had the privilege to teach ELA classes in every grade level), Julie found that some individuals need explicit, structured, multisensory instruction known as Structured Literacy (the Orton Gillingham Approach) in order to efficiently acquire reading and writing. Intrigued and empowered, she obtained her certification as a dyslexia specialist through Brainspring’s Phonics First program, accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council to best meet her students’ needs. It is her utmost belief that with sound, careful instruction, every person can read and write.

Julie’s passion for independent reading contributed to her resolve to be sure that others have the skill. When she was younger, she enjoyed mostly fiction novels; Jane Austen was among her favorites. Lately, she gravitates more towards nonfiction as she seeks to grow in her knowledge of history and education. Julie has taught in several private Christian schools and enjoys assisting parents and helping students construct education plans that will make them most successful. Her life is full with a wonderful family including her husband, her son (16), and her daughter (13). They enjoy rich conversations, long walks in their neighborhood and on the shore of Lake Erie, playing with their Havanese dog, worshiping at church, and spending time with extended family in Julie’s hometown of Buffalo.

Julie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Brittany Dzuka

Brittany Dzuka graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with Bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She has been teaching Special Education to students of all ages for 7 years.

She is currently teaching third grade at a charter school designed for students with dyslexia and other language based difficulties. She started by teaching Mathematics and Science at this school, where she was trained in multi-sensory math interventions.

Brittany quickly saw the positive impact that the Orton-Gillingham based methods had on her students’ reading abilities, so she pursued training in the Wilson Reading System and is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner.

Brittany joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Tammy Carpenter

Tammy Carpenter struggled with learning to read in early elementary school. Through the efforts of teachers and parents she not only learned to read well, but she developed a lifelong love of reading. Tammy decided she wanted to share this love of reading with others by becoming a reading teacher. She graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria in 1991 with a degree in Elementary Education. She started working for Sweeny ISD in Sweeny, Texas in 1991 and is still working there full time as a dyslexia interventionist.

Tammy completed her dyslexia training in Take Flight at the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia (Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital) in Dallas, Texas in 2015 and became a Dyslexia Connect tutor in 2017. Tammy also completed dyslexia training in Reading by Design, another Orton-Gillingham based program through Region IV Educational Service Center in 2018.

When she is not working, Tammy enjoys traveling with her husband, reading, and raising and training miniature donkeys, mules, and horses.

Tammy joined Dyslexia Connect in 2017.

Laura Nolan

Laura Nolan has been an educator for over 20 years. She currently works as the Learning Specialist for a private school in Florida, where she works with students K-8 in Language Arts and math.

Laura loves helping students work through challenges to reach their personal academic goals. She has a Master of Education with an emphasis in Special Education, as well as a BS in Child Development from the University of Kentucky. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham. She is also trained in Lindamood Bell Seeing Stars and Visualizing Verbalizing.

Although she lives in Lake Mary, Florida now, Laura still loves to visit Kentucky and cheer on the University of Kentucky basketball team.

Laura joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2020.

Lisa Diefenderfer

Lisa has had a 32 year special education teaching career, comprising teaching experiences in both a private school (Easter Seal Society in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and in Virginia public schools in Caroline County, Albemarle County and Hanover County. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and a Master’s Degree and teacher certification in Special Education.

Lisa has been trained in Wilson Reading System (WRS), an Orton Gillingham based reading program. and she has been teaching WRS in small classroom groups and one to one tutoring sessions. She has tutored many students who have successfully completed the entire WRS 12 step program. Lisa is passionate in her commitment to teaching struggling readers.

Lisa lives with her husband, son, and 3 dogs. When she is not teaching reading, she enjoys photography and making jewelry.

Lisa joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Elizabeth Baird

Elizabeth Baird graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in English. After graduating, Elizabeth worked in nonprofit and volunteer management for several years in Nashville, TN. She left Nashville after getting married and has moved 13 times in the United States and Canada during the last 20 years due to her husband’s military career.

One of those moves took Elizabeth and her family to Ottawa, Ontario. It was there Elizabeth first discovered her love of helping kids struggling with reading. Lacking a work visa, Elizabeth started volunteering in her son’s class regularly and giving kids struggling with reading some extra one on one attention. For the next several years, Elizabeth volunteered weekly in various elementary schools helping kids at all skill levels with reading and writing. She used creative techniques to motivate and connect with students.

Elizabeth decided she would like to learn how to better help those struggling with reading. She trained with The Reading Center (Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota) to learn the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading.

Elizabeth and her husband have two teenagers, plus two rescue dogs. After living in Canada twice, she is an ice hockey fan (particularly of her son and daughter). She also enjoys photography and traveling.

Elizabeth joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Joyce Siratt

Joyce has lived in Texas since 1983, and as a child of a parent in the military, she spent her childhood moving around the United States. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education, specializing in mathematics. She then received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University and is working on a Doctoral Degree in Teacher Leadership. She has taught math in various grade levels (4th – 8th grade) and spent four years as a math specialist for an elementary school.

Joyce teaches the MTA (Multisensory Teaching Approach) program that was developed by Margaret Taylor Smith, specifically for those identified with dyslexia. Joyce works with small groups of students identified with dyslexia, and also conducts full assessments on students referred for dyslexia testing.

Joyce has a real passion for students with dyslexia that developed from the struggles her own child faced, due to his dyslexia. She strives to make every student realize how brilliant they are, to recognize their gifts, and that with some hard work, they can accomplish anything.

Joyce tutors students with dyslexia in reading, as well as in math. She also acts as an advocate for parents who need help communicating with their child’s school and teachers.

Joyce joined Dyslexia Connect in 2017.

Patrice Green

Patrice Green has been a Special Education teacher at a public elementary school in Connecticut for the past twelve years and previously a Special Education Tutor for three years.

Patrice holds a Masters Degree in Education with elementary education certification from the University of New Haven and Special Education from Fairfield University.

Patrice is trained in Orton-Gillingham through the Institute for Multisensory Education. She is also trained in the Wilson Reading Program. Patrice is a member of the International Dyslexia Association.

Patrice has assessed students referred for dyslexia evaluation. She has taught students with a variety of learning styles and reading difficulties (including dyslexia) in small groups and one-on-one using Orton-Gillingham. Patrice believes all students can achieve their goals given the right methods, tools, and resources.

Patrice has three adult children and two grand dogs. In her spare time, she volunteers in various community service organizations and also enjoys reading, knitting, yoga and traveling.

She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

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