Leadership Team Members:
Kristin Allen is currently a Literacy Specialist in Regional School District 13. Prior to that she has been a Special Education teacher for 15 years. She is a certified Dyslexia Practitioner through IDA and IMSLEC and is s Orton Gillingham trainer through Western Mass Learning Center. Kristin lives and operates a small farm in Durham, CT with her husband and two children.
Nancy Cavanaugh was a special education teacher in Regional District 13 for 35 years. She is passionate about supporting individuals with dyslexia as both a teacher and a parent of a son with dyslexia. Since retiring three years ago she has been tutoring students, traveling, and volunteering cuddling babies in the NICU at CCMC.
Sean Cavanaugh is an employee in the Plant Accounting Department at Eversource Energy and attained his BA in Economics from Marist College in 2017. He is an adult with dyslexia and during his college years was a treasurer for Alpha Delta Pi, an honor society for high-achieving college and university students with disabilities. Sean brings to the IDA board his firsthand experience with dyslexia and knowledge of the services available at the high school and college level that helped him succeed.
Sandra Newbury is a special education teacher for Regional School District #6. She loves reading and learning and has a fiery passion for teaching others how to read. She is certified at the Associate Level with AOGPE and is also certified by the International Dyslexia Association as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist. She believes strongly that, in school, there is nothing more important than learning to read. “There is nothing we can teach them in high school that they can’t learn on their own if they know how to read.” Sandra lives in the northwest corner of Connecticut with her husband and two children.
Dr. Kearns is an assistant professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He is a research scientist for Haskins Laboratory and the Center for Behavioral Education & Research (CBER). He has a Master’s degree in Elementary Literacy from Loyola Marymount University and a Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Kearns researches reading disability—including dyslexia—in elementary- and middle school-age children. He is an investigator on multiple projects to prevent and remediate reading difficulties funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and other national and local organizations. He has published research in journals like Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Reading Research Quarterly, and Scientific Studies of Reading. He has also published papers for teachers in Teaching Exceptional Children and The Reading Teacher. Dr. Kearns is on the editorial boards of Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, and several other journals.
Dr. Kearns has extensive experience as an educator, professional development provider, and curriculum developer. He has seven years of classroom experience as a teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist. He still regularly works in schools, supporting teachers and teaching reading lessons to students. Dr. Kearns has worked with large and small school districts in urban and rural areas in all regions of the United States and with multiple school boards in Canada.
Brynn Lipstreu is an elementary school teacher in eastern Connecticut. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Connecticut State University, a M.Ed of Educational Technology from American College of Education, and a M.Ed of Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. Brynn has always had a great desire in helping all students access learning in their own ways and became passionate about dyslexia when her own daughter was diagnosed.
Amy Geary, M.S. Ed., is a reading consultant. She holds master’s degrees in special education, literacy and remedial reading, along with an administrator’s certificate. She is also certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Therapist (Wilson Level II) and as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist through CERI-IDA. As a public educator for almost 20 years, Amy is passionate about teaching literacy skills to struggling students, as well as educating people about dyslexia.
Migdalia Fletcher, M.S. CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and the founder of A.L.L. Diagnostics & Consulting LLC, an educational evaluation and consulting company that specializes in language and literacy assessment, intervention, and professional development. In addition to her private practice, Migdalia holds a part-time position with West Hartford Public Schools as their districtwide Pupil Services Curriculum Specialist which enables her to work collaboratively with teachers, school teams, and administrators to design practical and effective language and literacy interventions for students with special education needs. Migdalia graduated with a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Gallaudet University in 1998 and has over 20 years of experience working with children in both private and public school settings.
Elissa Arndt Rader, Ph.D. CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and reading specialist residing in central Connecticut. She teaches in the graduate education program at Gordon College. Elissa has taught courses ranging from assessment, remediation, and intervention to language acquisition and literacy coaching/professional development. She graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a Ph.D. in Reading and Language Arts and worked at the Florida Center for Reading Research from 2005-2010.
Cindy Jackson is a Special Education teacher in Rocky Hill. She is a certified Orton Gillingham practitioner through IMSLEC and certified by the International Dyslexia Association as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist. Cindy is currently in the process of receiving her 6th-year certificate in Literacy and Language Arts at CCSU. She is very passionate about reading and teaching children to read. Cindy lives in the house that she grew up in with her husband and two sons.
Richard P. Zipoli, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an associate professor and clinical instructor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Southern Connecticut State University. He received a Ph.D. in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, with a program of study in special education emphasizing learning and reading disabilities. In 2018, Richard was awarded the Connecticut State Universities Board of Regents Systems-Wide Teaching Award. Richard’s clinical and research interests include childhood and adolescent language disorders, learning disabilities, and reading difficulties, as well as service delivery in high need schools.
Jaclyn Manzo has been providing specialized instruction to students both in the public school and private setting for over ten years. Jaclyn received her bachelor’s degree from Providence College in Elementary and Special Education and then went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Reading. She received her associate-level Orton Gillingham Certification and IDA Dyslexia Practitioner certificate in 2017 and is currently pursuing the Orton Gillingham certified level through the Southport School. She also received training in the Lindamood-Bell Phoneme Sequencing Program (LiPS). She has taught in both the Massachusetts and Connecticut School Systems, in Marlborough and Fairfield respectively.
Nina Healy has a masters degree in Elementary Education from Lesley college and was a first grade teacher for 10 years before staying home to raise her three children. She currently works as a para professional. Mom to two dyslexic children, Nina’s passionate about supporting other parents of dyslexic children and getting information about early detection signs, as well as what to expect when your child is diagnosed with Dyslexia out into the community.
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