2015 Conference Speakers

Margie B. Gillis

President, Literacy How, Inc.
Research Affiliate, Fairfield University and Haskins

Margie became interested in reading over 40 years ago while at the University of Connecticut, where she studied with Isabelle Liberman. She was a special educator in public and private schools for 15 years, during which time she became certified as an Academic Language Therapist through Teachers College, Columbia University. Subsequently, she received her Doctorate of Education from the University of Louisville in Special Education, where she began her work training teachers of reading.

In 2009, Margie founded Literacy How, Inc. to provide professional development opportunities for teachers on how best to implement research-based reading practices in the classroom. As president of Literacy How and as a research affiliate at both Fairfield University and Haskins Laboratories, Margie creates new opportunities to empower teaching excellence.

In 2010, Margie founded the Anne E. Fowler Foundation to continue the work of her mentor Anne Fowler. The Foundation supports scholarships for teachers to earn their sixth year degree in Reading and Language Development at Fairfield University.

Margie continues to present and publish research on language and literacy skill building at scholarly conferences and in journals and has worked at the policy level through the Connecticut Sate Department of Education.

She is the co-founder, former president and a board member of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, the former president of the CT Branch of the International Dyslexia Society, a board member of the Dyslexia Society of CT and New Alliance Foundation and an executive board member of the Academic Language Therapist Association.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley

MA/CCC, Speech-language Pathologist,
Chief Knowledge Officer of Lexercise.com

Sandie has a Bachelors Degree in Speech and Dramatic Arts and a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She did a post-graduate fellowship at the University of Washington-Seattle.

Sandie is the founder and owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice specializing in disorders of reading and written language. She is co-founder / Chief Knowledge Officer of Mind Information, LLC and Lexercise.com, a provider of online services for struggling readers and writers.

She is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of NC –Greensboro where she taught online courses in the structure of English and language intervention for language-literacy disorders and where she continues to supervise ongoing research on the evaluation and treatment of language processing differences like dyslexia.

Professional memberships include the International Dyslexia Association and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, to which she was elected a Fellow in 2008. Sandie was appointed by Governor Hunt and served two terms in the NC Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology.

In 1998 the North Carolina Speech, Hearing Language Association awarded Sandie the Clinical Services Award as North Carolina’s most outstanding speech-language pathologist. In 2012 she received The Association’s Public Service Award for work related to dyslexia.

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Jamie Martin

Assistive Technology Consultant and Trainer

Jamie Martin has been an educator for over 20 year. He has worked with dyslexic students for the majority of that time, both as an Orton-Gillingham language tutor and an assistive technology instructor. He is currently an AT consultant and trainer. He is an experienced speaker, having presented at several educational conferences, including ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association), AOGPE (Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators), and IDA (International Dyslexia Association). He also presented at the first Spotlight on Dyslexia in December 2014. He is on the advisory board for the children’s website, Dyslexiaville, and he contributes articles about assistive technology to the education website, Noodle.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley

Ed.D., Dyslexia Expert/Advocate,
Dyslexia Training Institute

Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D. is the co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. She received her doctorate in literacy with a specialization in reading and dyslexia. She is a certified special education advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process. Kelli is trained in Structured Word Inquiry, Orton-Gillingham, Lindamood-Bell, RAVE-O and Wilson Reading Programs. Kelli is the Past-President of the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She co-created and produced “Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia,” is a frequent speaker at conferences, and is currently writing “Dyslexia: Decoding the System.

Tracy Block-Zaretsky

Dyslexia Expert/Advocate,
Dyslexia Training Institute

Tracy Block-Zaretsky is the co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. She is a certified Special Education Advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process. She has been a trainer for the past 15 years training teachers, adult literacy staff, and professional and volunteer tutors. She is the past-President of the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Tracy is trained in Structured Word Inquiry, the Orton-Gillingham approach, Wilson Reading System,and Lindamood-Bell programs, Read Naturally and a variety of reading and writing assessment tests. Tracy has presented at numerous conferences on learning disabilities, phonics, reading and writing instruction, as well as provided professional development for K-12 teachers.She co-created and produced “Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia,” is a frequent speaker at conferences.

Marcus Soutra

Chief Operating Officer, Eye to Eye

Marcus Soutra was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at a young age and spent most of his childhood feeling stupid, misunderstood, and ashamed of his learning disability. Over time, Marcus grew to understand that his learning disability was, in fact, not going to determine his fate—and after finding success in school, he chose to devote his life to paving the way for all students to find success in their education.

After joining Eye to Eye in its early days, Marcus helped to build the foundation for the organization and quickly became instrumental in our strategic growth. He has developed much of our innovative work, and as Chief Operating Officer he currently oversees Eye to Eye's day-to-day operations.

Marcus has advocated for different thinkers in all types of settings. He has given lectures at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Radford University, Brown University, and the Wyoming Department of Education Statewide School Improvement Conference. He was also the keynote speaker for Purdue University's Focus Awards, the Maryland Department of Disabilities' Statewide Summit, and the New Jersey City University Conference on Transition. All of his work is done with the goal of ensuring that other students who are labeled with learning disabilities are able to celebrate their differences and find success in that celebration.

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Beverly J. Wolf

M.Ed., Certified Slingerland Instructor of Teachers

Beverly J. Wolf, M.Ed. is a former classroom teacher, head of an elementary school for dyslexic children, teacher of the Slingerland® Adaptation of the Orton Gillingham Approach and related courses. She is the author of articles, books, and guides for teachers, and Board Member of Washington Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Arlene W. Sonday

Fellow/AOGPE, OG-TTh
Author, Sonday System

Arlene Sonday, Author, Educational Consultant and Speaker has taught struggling readers, including those with dyslexia, for 50 years. Arlene is an adjunct instructor at Hamline University in Minnesota, and has taught graduate courses at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and other universities and colleges. She is listed in Who's Who in American Women in Education.

Arlene is a Founding Fellow and first president of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, on the Advisory Board of the Fairleigh Dickinson Dyslexia Specialist Certificate program, a Certified Trainer of Therapists through IMSLEC and the 32d Degree Masons, a founding member and board member of Orton-Gillingham Minnesota, past Vice-President of The International Dyslexia Association, past president of The International Dyslexia Association – Upper Midwest Branch, and past member of the Advisory Council of the Scottish Rite Children's Learning Centers.

Arlene received the John Philip Berquist Award of Excellence and an award from the Children’s Dyslexia Centers of New Jersey in 2015, the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award given by the International Dyslexia Association in 2009 and the 2008 award as Outstanding MSLE Professional from IMSLEC, International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. In 2009, Fairleigh Dickinson University established the Arlene Sonday Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually to a teacher who has earned the FDU Dyslexia Specialist Certificate and brought the program into his/her public school system.

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Speaker Sessions

Michael Hart, Ph.D.

Psychologist, Learning Specialist

Michael Hart, Ph.D. is a child psychologist with 25 years of experience in parent and teacher training, learning differences and diagnostic assessment of dyslexia and attention problems. He is the founder/owner of www.doctormichaelhart.com and is currently providing online webinars and courses regarding the proper educational care of our dyslexic students.

Dr. Hart is intensely focused on supporting parents, specialists and educators as they become experts in the world of dyslexia.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D.,

Licensed Psychologist, Nationally Certified School Psychologist; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

Dr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist and the Director of the Cooper Learning Center, Department of Pediatrics, Cooper University Healthcare (www.cooperlearningcenter.org). The author of three books, “The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child,” “School Struggles,” and his most recent, “Dyslexia Screening: Essential Concepts for Schools & Parents.” Dr. Selznick has devoted his +25 year career to helping parents, schools and kids understand learning and school problems in down-to earth, jargon-free terms. Dr. Selznick is also the host of the internet-based radio show, “School Struggles,” which is part of The Coffee Klatch Network. To learn more, go to www.shutdownlearner.com.

Nadine Gaab, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hosptial/Harvard Medical School and faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Education

Nadine is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her current research within the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Children’s Hospital Boston focuses on auditory and language processing in the human brain and its applications for the development of typical and atypical language and literacy skills. The Gaablab utilizes structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as behavioral measurement tools. The Gaablab is currently working on various topics such as the identification of possible pre-markers of developmental dyslexia in the pre-reading and infant brain, the identification of the underlying neural mechanism of comorbidity of developmental dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, brain plasticity following sound and music based remediation programs for reading and language impaired children, the influence of musical training on cognitive and academic abilities and the neural correlates of language and reading development across the life-span. The Gaablab employs cross-sectional and longitudinal study designs and work closely with over 20 private and public schools within the Greater New England area.

Cindy Goldrich, Ed. M., ACAC

PTS Coaching: Creating Pathways to Success

Cindy Goldrich, Ed. M., ACAC, is a Mental Health Counselor, Certified ADHD Coach and Teacher Trainer who works nationwide with parents, teachers, and related services professionals for the education, treatment and support of children with ADHD and Executive Function Deficits. She is the creator and lead facilitator of the workshops Calm and Connected: Parenting Children with ADHD© and Managing Homework for Kids with ADHD©. Both workshops are designed to teach parents and caregivers how to manage and support their children’s unique needs successfully.

Serving the education industry, Cindy conducts Training workshops nationally for Teachers, Mental Health Professionals, Speech and Language Therapists, and paraprofessionals addressing how ADHD and Executive Function Deficits impact children and how to help boost behavior and performance in school and at home. She is the Co-Founder and President of the Long Island Professionals ADHD Consortium and is on the Executive Board of Nassau CHADD.

Cindy is the author of 8 Keys for Parenting Children with ADHD, a regular blogger on the PTS Coaching blog, and a content contributor who has been published on a wide range of industry sites. She is also a frequent public speaker for community groups and school organizations. Cindy received her Master’s in Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College and her ADHD Coach Certification from the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching. She is a Certified Mentor for Think: Kids, formally The Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Institute dedicated to understanding and helping challenging children and adolescents.

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Stacy Goldfarb, MA.Ed, LDT-C

Reading Specialist, Special Education teacher;
Learning Disabilities Teacher –Consultant,
Paramus Board of Education

Stacy Goldfarb received her Master’s in Education from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is certified in elementary education, as reading specialist, special education teacher and LDT/C. Stacy has been teaching in the Paramus School District since 2004. Stacy has presented numerous workshops to teaching staff, administrators, parents and the board of education on Dyslexia ranging from literacy and vocabulary instruction to writing meaningful IEP’s goals and objectives.

Julia (Jules) Csillag, BA, MS, CCC-SLP

Google Educator

Jules Csillag is a licensed speech language pathologist, learning specialist, and a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD), who has worked in a variety of settings throughout New York City, including independent schools, public schools, clinics, and in private practice. Her research experiences include working at a child langauge development laboratory at Mcgill University and a Neurocognition of Language Laboratory at Teachers College, Columbia University. While in graduate school, Jules received the prestigious Students Preparing for Academic and Research Careers (SPARC) award, and she continues to stay research-driven by attending and presenting at conferences. Most recently, she presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, the Everyone Reading conference, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Schools Conference. Jules is also an Expert Contributor (on the topic of learning disabilities and special education) on the education website, Noodle.com, which she enjoys because it allows her to disseminate evidence-based research to parents in an accessible way.

Sarah Zelenak, BA, MS, CCC-SLP

Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP),
Certified at Teaching Level in an IMSLEC and IDA accredited program,
B.S. Elementary Education and B.A. English and Classical Civilizations

Sarah Zelenak is an instructor at Reading and Language Arts Centers (RLAC), where she is certified at the teaching level in an IDA and IMSELC accredited program. At RLAC, her main focus is training teachers to address the needs of struggling readers in their classroom, along with tutoring students with reading and learning disabilities. Prior to RLAC, she worked as an interventionist after receiving her teaching certificate.

Sarah is a Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) through the Academic Language Therapy Association. She received her BA in English and Classical Civilizations from the University of Michigan, and then a BS in Elementary Education from Oakland University.

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Karee Atkinson MS

Parent Advocate
Decoding Dyslexia Utah

Karee Atkinson attended Brigham Young University and received a B.A. in Political Science. She then attended the University of Utah where she received her Master’s Degree in Political Science. Karee worked as a lobbyist for the American Federation of Teachers and the Utah State Department of Health as a trainer, before deciding to be a stay at home mom. Karee has extensive experience in negotiations, meeting facilitation and instructional design (specializing in adult learning and internet based trainings). Karee is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Utah.

Ann Rowe, Ph.D,

Licensed Psychologist

Ann Rowe, Ph.D. has been a clinical psychologist at the Kingsbury Center in Washington DC for over twenty years where she specializes in the neuropsychological assessment of gifted students with learning differences. She is co-author of the book Creating Effective Programs for Gifted Students With Learning Disabilities (Prufrock Press, 2013) which provides an in-depth discussion of diagnostic testing for specific learning disabilities in gifted students and she has presented at many conferences on learning challenges in gifted students. In addition to diagnostic testing, she works with students and teachers at the Kingsbury Day School, a nonpublic full-time placement for students pre-K to 12th grade with complex learning challenges.

Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D,

Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, Lexington, MA

Dr. Roberto Olivardia is a Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Associate at McLean Hospital. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Lexington, MA, where he specializes in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), executive functioning issues, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He also treats the various issues that accompany learning disabilities, such as stress and negative self- esteem. He is co-author of The Adonis Complex, a book which details the various manifestations of body image problems in men. He has taught courses at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Boston College. He has presented at many talks and conferences around the country. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board for ADDitude Magazine, a publication serving the needs of individuals with ADHD and Learning Disabilities.

Judith M. Glasser, Ph.D,

Clinical Psychologist

Judith Glasser is a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience working with families in the Washington, DC metro area. She specializes in therapy and assessment with children and teenagers. She has co-authored a chapter in the book edited by Sam Goldstein, Jack Naglierie and Melissa DeVries : Learning and Attention Disorders in Adolescence and Adulthood: Assessment and Treatment, (second edition, 2011). She has co-authored a book for children with Kathleen Nadeua, Ph.D. , Feel Good and Stay Cool: Emotional Regulation Tools for Kids with ADHD (Magination Press, 2013). Judith is currently working on a new book with her publisher, tentatively titled Learning to Understand How Other People Think and Feel: Helping Kids with Ad/HD Develop Empathy.

Catrina Hays

MA, Wilson Trainer
Owner, Independent Learning Tools, Inc.

Catrina Hays, owner of Independent Learning Tools, Inc. in Northbrook, IL has taught multisensory phonics using the Wilson Reading System for the past 14 years. Besides teaching school-aged dyslexics to learn to read and spell, she also is a Wilson Trainer presenting Wilson’s three literacy programs monthly. Catrina also administers educational and cognitive assessments as part of a full neuropsychological evaluation to identify any number of learning issues. She is passionate about her work with students and never ceases to be in awe of their persistence in the face of the many challenges they confront every day, especially at school.

Dawn Hillstrom

MA, Wilson Trainer
Owner, Learning Techniques, Ltd.

Dawn Hillstrom founded Learning Techniques, Ltd., an educational center for diagnostic evaluation and instruction for children and adults in 1981 in Orland Park, Illinois,. Dawn became a Wilson Trainer in 1997. Presently, Learning Techniques, Ltd. is a Wilson Accredited Partner, in recognition that all Wilson Language Training guidelines and standards in the delivery of Wilson and professional development have been met. She remains actively involved in the field, keeping abreast of state of the art approaches and innovations in learning. Her continued professional involvement demonstrates her high interest level and commitment to the field and affords her the professional growth that allows her to best serve her clients.

Barbara Steinberg

M. Ed.,
Dyslexia & Educational Consultant

Barbara Steinberg has been educating, mentoring and inspiring students for over 15 years, first as a classroom teacher and now as a dyslexia and literacy consultant. She is the founder of PDX Reading Specialist, an organization whose mission is to create confident and capable learners through remediation, accommodation and inspiration. Barbara is passionate about educating and supporting those who work with struggling learners, and when not working with students herself, shares her wealth of knowledge and years of experience with parents, fellow educators and students themselves.