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
(also provides math tutoring)

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
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

Lola Hinkle

Lola Tripp Hinkle 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.

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.

Erin joined Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

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
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

Tahleen joined Dyslexia Connect in 2018.

Haley Speed
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

Haley joined Dyslexia Connect 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.

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.
 

Amy Starling
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

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.

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.

Tammy Carpenter
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

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
(also provides math tutoring)

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
(also provides math tutoring)

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.

Jacquie Poirier

Jacquie is a Wilson Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with over 10 years of experience working with students who have learning disabilities.

Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University, an M.S. in Counseling from San Diego State University, and Education Specialist teaching credential through Azusa Pacific University.

In addition, she is certified by the Dyslexia Training Institute in using the Orton-Gillingham approach and am trained in MTA (Multisensory Teaching Approach).

In her spare time, Jacquie loves reading historical fiction, traveling, playing with her dogs, and spending time with family.

Jacquie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Traci Yoder

Traci Yoder graduated from Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana with a degree in Music Education in 1992. She has spent the last 23 years educating her 9 children. She knows what it is like to be a mom and not know how to help her child. She is a homeschooling mom, and several of her children are dyslexic and have other learning challenges.

Traci has educated herself and her children with many different curriculums to attempt to teach her dyslexic children to read. She eventually succeeded in finding the Orton-Gillingham method and is formally trained by the Dyslexic institute of Indiana. Her current adult children all have advanced degrees and are thriving in life.

Traci follows the maxim of Anna Gillingham of the Orton-Gillingham method. As Anna Gillingham once said, “Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you must.” Traci strives for confident happy students.

Traci and her family live on and manage a mini farm. They raise and care for dairy goats, meat and egg chickens, pigs and sheep, as well as thousands of bees in their 4+ beehives.

Traci joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Erin Hillis

Erin Hillis has a Master of Education from William Woods University and a Bachelor’s in Special Education from Southeast Missouri State University. She has taught special education for over 15 years, and she continues to love helping her students reach their goals. Erin also has experience working with English Language Learners online, where she got the privilege of assisting students in improving their English through phonics, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, listening, and reading instruction.

In 2008, Erin was trained in the Wilson Reading System (WRS), a program developed by Barbara A. Wilson to help adolescents and adults with a dyslexia diagnosis. It is based on an Orton Gillingham philosophy, that utilizes a step-by-step approach that makes learning to read manageable. She has loved the results this system has provided for her special education students, and she is excited to expand this success to her Dyslexia Connect students.

Erin joined Dyslexia Connect in 2021.

Bob Schmalzried 
(math tutor)

Bob has a Master’s in Math from Kent State University and a Master’s in Education from Youngstown State University. He has a Bachelor’s from Youngstown State University in Secondary Math Education.

He has taught math for 23 years, and those include 1 year of junior high teaching, 8 years of high school teaching, and 14 years of college/university teaching.

He has worked as a math tutor for 25 years, and he has tutored students ranging in grade levels from elementary through college.

Bob enjoys helping students to reach their potential in mathematics.

Bob joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Tina Halbert

Tina Halbert graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s in Special Education, and from The University of West Georgia with a Master’s in Interrelated Learning Disabilities. She obtained National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in 2003. After teaching in public school systems in Georgia for 18 years, she decided to homeschool her daughter, who has dyscalculia and dysgraphia. That experience led her to start tutoring students with dyslexia, and after researching various methods, she trained and became certified in Orton-Gillingham.

Tina currently oversees a school that she founded for students with learning differences. The school serves 70 students, and Orton-Gillingham methods are widely used. Her teaching philosophy revolves around making sure that instruction is individually tailored to each child and that various methods are used to ensure that the child’s learning style is accommodated. She loves getting to know the students and to watch them blossom as they become more confident in their reading abilities.

Tina has three grown children, and now that she is semi-retired, she spends her days taking care of her grandson, catching up on reading, and tutoring students of all ages.

Tina joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2022.

Maria Arias

Maria Arias graduated from Vancouver Island University with a master’s degree in Special Education in 2020. She has another master’s in Psychopedagogy and a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology. Additionally, she has been trained in the Orton Gillingham Approach by the Fraser Academy in Vancouver.

Her passion for helping children that struggle with reading, motivated her to continue to get trained in the Science of Reading. She wanted to be able to help children to the best of her ability using evidence-based practices.

Maria was a teacher for ten years as well as a private tutor. She tutors children in both English and Spanish Languages.

Maria loves to dance flamenco and play volleyball. She currently lives in Canada with her husband and dog.

Maria joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Leah Foell

Leah Foell graduated from Luther College in Decorah, IA. She completed a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a concentration in Psychology.

Leah worked with students with Learning Disabilities in Wisconsin at both the elementary and the high school levels. She became interested in and took a course in the Orton-Gillingham approach. She decided to tutor in her home and she loved it. After raising three children, she was ready to go back to tutoring. Leah took an additional Orton-Gillingham course at The Reading Center in Rochester, MN which featured an online practicum.

Leah believes in working together with the student as a team. She loves to see students encouraged by their own small steps to success. It is that success that creates a love of reading.

Leah joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Julie Browne
(also provides math tutoring)

Julie began her teaching career as a high school (or secondary school – as they are called in Julie’s home in the Caribbean) Chemistry teacher. After four years there, she moved on to a new position with responsibility for training.

She had never heard the word dyslexia until her son was diagnosed. Julie was amazed at how much progress he made with intervention and how much his tutor lifted his self-esteem. This prompted her to return to school and complete an MA in Educational Psychology and to learn the Orton-Gillingham method.

She has now been delivering intervention for six years, and it’s one of her greatest passions.

Julie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Billie Shaw

Billie completed Orton-Gillingham training through the Institute of Multisensory Education in 2012. She has a BA in Elementary Education, an AS in American Sign Language Interpreting and a MS in Speech Pathology.

Billie has specialized in dyslexia interventions for more than 10 years in therapeutic and educational settings.

In addition to working with children of all ages, Billie volunteers as an adult literacy tutor through her local library system.

Billie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Jessica Mason

Jessica Mason is a native Idahoan. She graduated from the University of Idaho in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

With over 20 years of experience teaching in K-2 classrooms, she has a passion for teaching foundational reading skills.

In the summer of 2021, Jessica was trained in Orton-Gillingham through IMSE. She is currently working on obtaining her certification to become a Dyslexia Therapist.

In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, embroidery and fostering dogs.

Jessica joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Simone Parillon 
(math tutor)

Simone graduated from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, with a BSc in Mathematics, followed by an MSc in Development Economics from The University of Wales, Bangor. She has been teaching math for 12 years to students at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Her years as a teacher and private tutor have given her the opportunity to work with students with learning differences. Her passion for helping students overcome their challenges has led her to pursue an MA in Education.

In addition to teaching, Simone loves going to church and spending time with family

Simone joined Dyslexia Connect in 2022.

Miranda Harris
(also provides math tutoring)

Miranda Harris lives in Arkansas and has taught 3rd and 4th grade for many years. Recently, she became a Literacy and Math Interventionist at her elementary school. Miranda graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2014 and a Master’s Degree in Reading in 2021. Since then, she has been busy adding to her teaching license! She is currently licensed in English as a Second Language (k-12), Reading Specialist (k-12), Dyslexia (k-12), and Special Education (k-6). She is also seeking her Education Specialist Degree at Arkansas State University, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2024.

Miranda currently uses the Phonics First and Barton curriculum designs for students with characteristics of Dyslexia. With a strong background in Latin, Miranda loves to teach morphology too!

When Miranda isn’t busy doing what she loves the most (teaching), she is spending time with her family. She has a loving husband, three great kids, and two dogs!

Miranda joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Tabatha Class

Tabatha Class received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Ohio Northern University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. She also worked with Western Governors University to receive administrative credentials. Tabatha trained at Neuhaus Education Center to be a dyslexia specialist, using a multisensory model that is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach.

Tabatha has been a teacher and principal in Ohio public schools for 25 years, teaching preschool through fifth grade inclusive classrooms in Title One schools. The greatest joy of her career is helping students master reading skills.

Beyond the classroom, Tabatha has a husband and three children. She enjoys volunteering with Project Linus and spending time with family.

Tabatha joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Vanessa Hand
(also provides math tutoring)

Vanessa Hand graduated from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She also has graduate level courses from Purdue University to achieve a certificate in teaching English Language Learners. She has worked for the Portage Township School District for going on 11 years as the Reading Specialist and Multi Language Learner Facilitator. Vanessa is trained through Brainspring in the Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach. She has been working with students K-5 in small group and one on one for 14 years.

Vanessa lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband. She loves to snuggle her 5 year-old mutt, June, and watching her robo hamster Rosita. Vanessa keeps busy by playing video games and crafting! Anything involving a mess and glitter is a good time! She also enjoys reading and learning new skills to help her students.

Vanessa joined our team in 2023.

Michelle Franz

Michelle’s passion is bringing a love of reading to students who have been through stressful reading experiences. She helps students to strengthen their reading development so that they can know themselves as a confident reader and writer.

Michelle has been trained in a range of grade K-6 literacy programs, including Orton-Gillingham and Wilson Fundations. She is a member of the International Dyslexia Association. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten Endorsement.

Michelle has been a certified teacher for Indiana Title I public elementary schools for 18 years. Within this time, she served in various capacities, including grade 2-4 classroom teacher, grade K-6 literacy coach, and grade K-4 reading and English language interventionist.

Michelle is happily married with two children and two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends.

She joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Ashly Vallecilla

Ashly Vallecilla received her Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of Houston Downtown in 2016. She has taught language learners, gifted and talented students, and currently is a dyslexia interventionist. Ashly was trained in Reading by Design, which is a program based on the Orton-Gillingham Method.

Ashly’s heart thrives on building proficient readers and writers. Her goal is for every student to be confident in themselves, and to help them reach their maximum potential academically and socially by providing engaging and individualized lessons, as well as setting high expectations.

In 2018, Ashly’s son was identified with dyslexia, and ever since then it has been her mission to educate herself, and others on how to support these students. She believes in advocating for students with dyslexia so they can have the necessary tools and resources to be successful in school, and their daily lives. Ashly looks forward to making a lasting impact for every student at Dyslexia Connect.

Ashly joined our tutoring team in 2023.

Rachel Miller
(also provides math tutoring)

Rachel Miller graduated from Western Governors University in 2019 with a BA in Special Education and Elementary Education.

She quickly entered the teaching field and taught a self-contained special education classroom for 4 year. During this time she was trained in the basics of Orton-Gillingham by IMSE. This ignited her passion for teaching and reminded her why she got into teaching.

Now, Rachel is switching gears and diving further into the realm of working with people with Dyslexia. She firmly believes that everybody can learn to read no matter their ability levels.

Rachel joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Carrie West
(also provides math tutoring)

Carrie West holds a Master’s Degree in elementary education with a concentration in reading from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She became a certified academic language therapist (CALT) in 2017. During her 25 years in public education, 17 years were dedicated to teaching literacy, math, science, and social studies to 5th and 6th grade students. The remaining eight years were spent working with dyslexic students as a therapist. She also served as a reading interventionist coordinator overseeing the screening of students with reading difficulties and determining the best intervention for these students.

During her time as a dyslexia therapist, she used the Take Flight curriculum; seeing up to 40 students ranging from grades 3-12 daily. In addition to her work in the public school system, she has tutored students in all areas of literacy both virtually and in person for the last four years.

Carrie is married and has two daughters ages 17 and 23. It is the 23 year-old that sparked Carrie’s passion for helping students grow as readers as she was diagnosed with dyslexia at age nine. In addition to loving her role as an educator she enjoys all things outdoors, road trips, and great food!

Carrie joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Mallory De La Garza

Mallory De La Garza received her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas in 2014. She has been an educator for nine years with experience as a Kindergarten and 2nd-grade teacher, a reading specialist for 3rd-6th grade, and a dyslexia therapist.

Mallory completed dyslexia training in Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia. She has also completed dyslexia training in Reading by Design, a systematic, explicit, and intensive reading program.

Mallory is a certified academic language therapist through The Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA).

Mallory’s mission is to improve the reading of children with specific learning disabilities through high-quality instruction, family support, and education.

Mallory joined the Dyslexia Connect team in 2023.

Jen Abeles

Jen Abeles lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing her master’s online as a Dyslexia Specialist through Fitchburg State University. She is a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner and has worked with students between kindergarten and seventh grade.

She has always loved reading and learning languages, and has studied Spanish, Hebrew and American Sign Language. Jen works hard to build self-efficacy in her students, asks what’s happening in their lives, and incorporates texts based on their interests.

In her spare time, you can find Jen playing pickleball, reading, or doing puzzles.

Jen joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Kelly Stokes

Kelly Stokes graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has been teaching for the past 24 years, primarily in Pre-K to 5th grade classrooms. However, for the past 6 years, she has specifically focused on teaching students with dyslexia.

Kelly is trained in Reading by Design, an explicit and systematic program that is similar to the Orton-Gillingham approach. This program is designed to help students with dyslexia develop their reading and spelling skills.

Kelly’s passion for dyslexia education grew when her own son was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade. He is now in seventh grade and has successfully completed the dyslexia program.

In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her three children, who are aged 10, 13, and 21. She strongly believes that with the right tools and support, everyone has the ability to learn to read and spell effectively.

Kelly joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Maria McKinney

Maria has been an educator for 19 years. She is a certified Texas educator in general education, English as a second language, and bilingual education.

She is trained in Reading by Design, a systematic, explicit, and intensive reading program which is a Texas Dyslexia approved program. Additionally, Maria obtained the Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist Certification (C-SLDI) through CERI. Presently, she works as a Dyslexia Interventionist in a public school in the Houston area.

Maria is married and has one son who is currently attending college in Columbus, Ohio. She enjoys traveling with her family, watching her son play college baseball, and playing with her German Shepherd, Luna.

Maria started working with Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Chrisi Gillam

Chrisi Gillam holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, she attended Arizona State University, where she obtained a bachelor’s in Psychology. She then went on to complete a post-baccalaureate program in Elementary Education from Arizona State University West.

She has a passion for helping students develop both an understanding of the mechanics of reading and an enjoyment for reading. Chrisi has over 20 years of experience in education, with over a decade of that time spent teaching Kindergarten. During her time as a Kindergarten teacher, she was trained in the Spalding Method, which allows her to meet her students where they are at in their understanding of reading, while also helping them to grow as readers.

Chrisi currently lives in Oregon with her husband. She has one son who is currently attending college. She enjoys spending her time baking, reading, and going to the Oregon coast.

Chrisi joined the Dyslexia Connect Team in 2023.

Amy Ellis

Amy began her adventures in education designing and publishing career education books and assessments for CFKR Career Materials in the early 2000s. She later moved on to become an elementary teacher for Alpine Montessori and pursued certification in both lower and upper elementary education. During her tenure as an elementary teacher, she discovered that there were no local services available for her dyslexic students. After working with struggling students, she learned that one of her students was receiving assistance from a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner remotely. Inspired by watching this student progress in reading and comprehension, she determined that she would pursue WDP certification so that she could better serve her students and offer services to her community.

Amy wrapped up her studies and practicum in the late spring of 2020, receiving her Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner certification. She loved the work and left her Montessori classroom at the end of the 2022/23 school year to pursue tutoring full time. In her spare time, she continues to broaden her education. She is currently pursuing TEFL/TESOL licensure in order to expand her work to include English Language Learners. Her family resides near the beautiful Big Bend region of Texas, but hopes to relocate to New England within a year.

Amy joined Dyslexia Connect in 2023.

Heather Mayhew

Heather received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1998 and Master of Public Administration in 1999 from Bowling Green State University. In 2001, she completed another undergraduate degree in information technology. After working at a consulting firm for a few years, she completed teaching coursework.

Heather has worked in education for nearly two decades. She taught early elementary education for 14 years and special education for the past four years. Heather was a certified Spalding language arts instructor and Thinking Maps instructor. She is also trained in Wilson and used Logic of English. She is a member of the Arizona Academic Language Therapy Association, where she is a Certified Academic Language Practitioner. Heather is also a Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner in Texas.

She considers herself to be a professional student and loves teaching others to read, thereby empowering them to become lifelong learners as well. Heather is also a military veteran and lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Heather joined Dyslexia Connect in 2024.

Stacy Erwin

Stacy Erwin lives in Texas and earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Masters of Reading from Angelo State University.

Stacy is also a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist. She has been a classroom teacher and dyslexia teacher in the public education system.

Stacy’s passion for teaching reading has led her to tutor students of all ages in dyslexia, reading, writing, GED, high school and college courses.

In Stacy’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and reading.

Stacy started working with Dyslexia Connect in 2024.

Kim Howard

Kim Howard received a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Texas A & M-Commerce. She has taught elementary students since 2008.

In 2021, she began providing dyslexic services. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) through The Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA).

She is trained in MTA (Multisensory Teaching Approach).

Kim is happily married with two children and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys the lake life, shopping, and spending time with her family.

Kim joined Dyslexia Connect in 2024.

Kathleen Maher

Kathleen Maher has a Master’s in Education and a Reading Specialist credential from San Diego State University. She also has a Bachelor’s in English with High Honors from Clark University.

Due to her desire to teach beginning readers, Kathleen initially taught first grade before spending 15 years working as a reading specialist in both California and New York City.

She is trained in Wilson reading programs that are based on the Orton-Gillingham philosophy and utilize a step-by-step approach to reading intervention. Kathleen has taught Wilson’s Fundations since 2005 and enjoys watching students on all levels of the Dyslexia spectrum make great progress.

Kathleen also volunteers to teach English Language Learners online. She teaches adults through her local church, and for the past ten years, she has taught genocide survivors living in tents in the Middle East. She partners with a translator and teaches these students using Zoom and an English-Learner platform.

Kathleen joined the Dyslexia Connect team n 2024.

Lee Ann Smith

Lee Ann received her bachelor’s in education from the College of New Jersey and a Master’s in Reading with Reading Specialist certification from Rowan University. In 2019, she began her Orton-Gillingham training at Farleigh Dickinson University, where she completed the requirements for initial and advanced practitioner and MSLE certification.

Lee Ann taught for 30 years in the New Jersey public school system. She was a first and second grade teacher and taught basic skills reading in kindergarten through fourth grade. She was also a literacy coach in kindergarten through eighth grade and a preschool instructional coach. Lee Ann enjoys working with her students to find the strategies that help to strengthen their reading and build their confidence.

In her spare time Lee Ann enjoys spending time with her family, boating, reading, and going to the beach.

Lee Ann joined Dyslexia Connect in 2024.

Scroll to Top

Join Facebook Parent Support Group