Board of Directors

 Beth McGaw, President

Beth McGaw is an outspoken advocate for children with learning disabilities and has been an active member in LDA for over 10 years. Elected to the LDA Board of Directors in 2012, she currently serves on the Executive Committee as President. Other activities within LDA include Marketing, Affiliate Support, Adult Topics and VP of LDA Georgia. Beth started her career as an Industrial Engineer before earning her M.Ed. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She co-founded the Atlanta-based, award-winning magazine Kids Enabled and currently works as an Independent Educational Consultant at Launch Pad Consulting Group in Dallas, which assist families and their students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and/or autism spectrum disorders locate post-secondary options, including college, job search, and residential living options. She also volunteers for LaunchAbility, a nonprofit that offers supportive employment services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Beth and her husband have three adult sons, one diagnosed with learning disabilities as a young child. They enjoy adventurous vacations with their family to stay connected.

Jonathan Jones, First Vice President

Jonathan Jones is founder and director emeritus of S.O.A.R., a non-profit organization providing year-round wilderness adventure and experiential education services for youth identified with learning disabilities and/or diagnosed with attention deficit disorders. He is also a registered nurse and travels the world doing medical mission work. Nationally, he served on the LDA Board of Directors, has been treasurer, and served on or chaired multiple committees including finance, mental health, juvenile justice, adult issues, adult life span, and adult literacy. In addition to authoring numerous fact/info sheets and LDA Today articles and presenting conference workshops, he has assisted the board as facilitator in discussions including strategic planning, needs assessment, and town hall meetings. For the LDA of North Carolina, Jonathan served in a number of capacities including president, treasurer, board member, committee chair, and conference convener. He has delivered more than 550 professional presentations at state, national, and international conferences which focus on LD and ADHD issues through the lifespan. Jonathan brings to LDA an interest and strength in organizational and fiscal management. He would like to see LDA return to the role of representing thousands of parents and providing support to like numbers of professionals and adults with LD. Jonathan is an adult with learning disabilities and has an adult son, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, with his own unique mix of LD and ADD characteristics.

Loreena Parks, Second Vice President

Loreena ParksLori Parks is an associate professor in the special education department at Eastern Michigan University.  She has degrees from Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University and attended the University of Western Ontario.  She has acquired a Sp.A. (Specialist of Arts in Curriculum), a M.A. in Learning Disabilities, a B.B.A. in Marketing and a B.S. in Hearing Impairment (K-12) and General Education (K-8).  Prior to joining the faculty at Eastern Michigan University, Lori taught and consulted in public and private schools, at the Kindergarten through University level in Michigan and Ontario, Canada. She has presented at numerous conferences, written many articles and serves on various volunteer committees such as the Pre-Ed Advising Committee for Henry Ford Community College. Lori has been involved with LDA and LDA of Michigan (LDAMI) for many years.  She started as a member of LDAMI and became quickly involved with LDA. As an active LDAMI member, Lori was on the Board of Directors, Conference Co-chair and was State President for two years. As an active member of LDA Lori is currently on the Executive Committee, is on the Education Committee, is Co-Chairing the Program Committee for 2019, and has been the facilitator for the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. Other positions and committees Lori has served on include:  Assistant State Representative, States’ President Representative, Healthy Children Project, Conference Program Committee, Affiliate Support/Membership Committee, and the Nominating Committee. She presents on a regular basis at the national conference. In her spare time Lori enjoys sailing, reading, her grandchildren, watching cooking shows, and attempting to learn to play the violin.

Jennifer Harkins, Secretary

Jennifer has worked at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, CT, a school for children with language-based learning disabilities, for 24 years.  She began as a special education teacher and moved into administration 9 years ago. Jennifer has three children and her oldest was diagnosed with ADD in the 6th grade.  Her involvement with LDA includes presenting at the annual conferences, serving on the Program Committee and as the Program Committee co-chair. She has also served on the Finance Committee this past year.  Jennifer holds a B.A. in Psychology from Colby College, a M.S.Ed. in Literacy from University of New England and a 6th year degree in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University. Jennifer is particularly passionate about technology and teacher training and looks forward to working with LDA to continue to support those with learning disabilities and the parents and professionals who work with them.

Kevin Gailey, Treasurer

As the Head of School for Midwest Academy and as a parent of a child with learning differences, Kevin’s focus is keeping the child at the center. His passion is providing a progressive education for kids with learning differences since he has seen the tremendous difference that it makes in their lives. After being drawn to these complex learners as a teacher over 25 years ago, he believes that progressive education fits with students’ unique stages of development.  Kevin received his B.S. in Psychology from Springfield College; an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Lesley University; and his  M.A. in Administration/Exercise Sports Science from the University of North Carolina. He has also earned Certificates from Fundraising Management at the IU School of Philanthropy; Non-Profit Business Management at  IU Kelley School of Business; and Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership from Georgetown University. He enjoys coaching soccer, tinkering with tools, reading, kayaking, hiking, and fly fishing.

Pat Lillie, Immediate Past President

Pat LilliePat has served as president for her local and state (LDA of North Carolina) affiliates and is an active LDANC Board Member. She has served as an advocate and a liaison to the North Carolina State Board of Education and the State Legislature. She is a parent of four children, two sons who have LD/ADD and a grandchild who received benefit from early identification while in preschool. Pat has served on the LDA Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and is a Past President of LDA. She has served on the following committees: Education, Grievance and Ethics, Nominating, Publications and is Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee. As an advocate Pat is committed to helping parents gain a better understanding of State and Federal policies and issues such as Response to Intervention (RtI), Common Core Standards and mandated statewide standardized testing programs. Pat’s interests also include increasing the SLD/ADHD high school graduation rate and insuring students are prepared to enter the workplace or postsecondary education after leaving high school.

Rose Calloway, Board Liaison

rosecallowayRose Calloway is passionate about helping those who want help but lack the means or ability to obtain the appropriate resources needed. Her primary focus is addressing the needs of those who fall through the cracks because of an “invisible disability” (e.g., ADHD, SLD). Diagnosed with a learning disability and ADHD as an adult, Rose developed a tough exterior early in life to survive the challenges of being bullied. With a passion for math, she majored in statistics at the University of Georgia, launching a professional career in corporate America as a business and data analyst. However, she quickly realized she wanted to do something that impacts people’s lives more directly. She credits a spiritual awakening – and the struggles of her adopted daughter diagnosed with learning disabilities– with her decision to be part of solutions rather than focusing on system failures.  After completing the Georgia Leadership & Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program 2015-2016 trainee class she took on a leadership role at Parent to Parent of Georgia as Transition Service Support Manager.   She transitioned from Corporate America to the Education by serving years as Atlanta Public Schools’ Parent Mentor.  As Parent Mentor she sat on panels, hosted workshops, coordinated events, developed leader and provided one-to-one consultation with parents at their request. Former position as a family engagement specialist for the Morehouse School of Medicine’s REACH (Racial & Ethical Approaches to Community Health) she performed community outreach and function as liaison for  Atlanta’s Promise Neighborhood.   She is a graduate of All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) and their Partners in Policy Making program.  She is a Person-Centered Planning graphic facilitator, and she annually shares family-centered practices with new teachers entering Teach For America.

JoAnna Barnes

JoAnna is the parent of two young adults with learning disabilities.  She has been involved with LDA since 2002 when her older child, then in 2nd grade, was struggling in school.  She credits LDA for her daughter finally being identified as LD in 3rd grade. JoAnna lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and is active with LDA of North Carolina serving on its Board of Directors and now as President. She is Chair of the LDA Advocacy Committee, and one of two LDA representatives to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities.  In 2015 she chaired a LDA task force on accessibility of testing accommodations for adults with LD who apply to take the high school equivalency exam.  JoAnna holds a B.A. and J.D. from Georgetown University, and is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars.

Allen Broyles

Allen Broyles is the Assistant Head of School at The Children’s School, a 3 years-old through 8th grade progressive school committed to childhood and play. With 26 years of experience in independent school education, he has held positions that include administration at the lower and middle, and school-wide levels, teaching positions at the lower, middle and high school levels, director of technology initiatives, music and math instruction, and outdoor education.  Allen has presented and consulted at regional, national, and international conferences and schools on the topics of applying current neuroscience to teaching, the neuropsychology of math, and how mainstream schools might structure their programs to be more responsive to and inclusive of students who struggle. Allen has served on the national board of directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America for the last four years, participating as a member of the executive, adult topics and education committees. He holds a M.Ed. in educational leadership and a BA in music and French.

Ernie Florence


Ernie Florence recently completed a three-year term on the Board of Directors. He became an active member of LDA in the 1980’s and served his local affiliate, Kane-Kendall LDA, in many capacities including president, vice president, as well as a variety of committees. At the state level, he served two terms as president of LDA of Illinois as well as many committees including Membership, Awards, Nominating, Conference, and others. At the national level Ernie served a term as State Presidents’ Representative along with heading several committees including Membership/Affiliate Support, Nominating, and Program. He presently serves on the Membership/Affiliate Support and Bylaw/Policy Committees. He enjoyed a 33 year career teaching children with behavior/emotional disorders and learning disabilities before retiring in 2009. Ernie lives in Montgomery, IL.

 Suzanne Fornaro

Suzanne Fornaro serves as Co-Chair, Marketing & Communications Committee; Co-Editor, THE LD SOURCE; and was President of LDA from 2004-2006. Currently serving as a presidential appointee to the Board of Directors, she has served on the Board, Executive Committee, and/or chaired committees for LDA since 1990. In addition to Marketing & Communications, she is serving on the Public Policy, Program, Development, and By-Laws and Policy Committees. At the local level, she was president of the Alabama state and Mobile County affiliates and continues to serve on the state Board of Directors. She is the parent of an adult child with learning disabilities. Suzanne brings her expertise and education in Communications and Public Relations to LDA. She is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board and retired as Director of Public Relations with a national engineering firm. She has 30+ years of experience in communications and public relations with expertise in public relations planning, external and internal communications, community and media relations. She has served on the board of directors for Public Relations Council of Alabama-PRCA (President), Southern Public Relations Federation-SPRF (VP and Secretary), and Mobile Public Relations Council (President). She has received 14 awards from public relations organizations for creation and execution of projects ranging from brochure development to strategic communications planning. Suzanne was named to the Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2015 and was previously recognized with the Practitioner of the Year Award, Professional Achievement Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award from PRCA and SPRF. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism (Advertising and Public Relations) from the University of Georgia, and an M.S. in Communications (Mental Health Information) from Syracuse University.

Evalynne W. Lindberg

evieEvalynne (Evie) W. Lindberg has experience in special education, academics, accreditation, and assessments to provide knowledgeable background for the issues facing special education today. During her career she has held the following positions: Associate professor, Undergraduate Department, College of Education at Oral Roberts University, where she prepares special education teacher candidates and published numerous articles and has authored a chapter, Religion, Culture, Curriculum, and Diversity in 21st Century America. Her most recent accolades: “Top Female of the Year” by Worldwide Branding for Excellence in Special Education Management; Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society, and Scholar of the Year for the College of Education. She was a special education instructor for over 35 years; a Psychiatric Adolescent Unit instructor; a visual therapist, and advocates for individuals with disabilities. She also served as a committee member for the National Evaluation Systems and has experience administering in-service training, and diagnostic assessments for ORU and Tulsa communities. Her LDA positions include over 35 years as an LDA member and Past-President of LDA of Oklahoma. Currently, Evie serves on the LDA Board of Directors and served on the Executive Committee and co-chaired the Education Committee. She presents at the local, state, and national levels. Lindberg holds a B.A. from Oral Roberts University, an M.A. from the University of Tulsa, and an Ed. D., Educational Leadership: Public School Administration from Oral Roberts University.

Gabrielle Miller

As the Director of the SALT Center at the University of Arizona, Gabrielle E. Miller leads one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for undergraduates who learn differently. She leads a large multi-disciplinary team of professionals providing a comprehensive range of services to students with learning and attention challenges. Prior to her current role, Gabrielle served as VP of Programs at Reading Is Fundamental and, for the last nine years, leading the Raising A Reader(RAR) National Office; first as Executive Director then as President and CEO. Gabrielle began her career as a special education teacher where her interests in transition at all stages of development (early education, adolescent and post-secondary), family engagement, and research to practice began. Additionally, she has assumed roles in special education clinical service, program administration and graduate teacher training/research at The Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) and The Johns Hopkins University (JHU). During her time at KKI she began as a classroom teacher and ultimately held a leadership role in the development of a model school-to-work secondary program for students with multiple and complex disabilities (Kennedy Krieger High School). She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from the University of Delaware and completed her Masters and Doctorate in special education and administration at The Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves as a founding board member of the National Association of Family, School and Community Engagement (NAFSCE). Gabrielle has served on the Early Childhood Committee and Conference Program Committee of LDA.

Jim Russell

Jim Russell has over 25 years of experience with learning disabilities, mental health issues, twice exceptional learners (2E), and assessment. In private practice as a licensed counselor and certified school psychological examiner, Jim assesses and counsels people who have special learning needs from preschool to medical school. He did a TEDx Talk about (2E). As an adjunct instructor at Washington University, he helps students with LD and ADHD transition into college and supervises counseling students. Jim does assessments for children and adults who are being treated for cancer at the Mercy Cardinal’s Kids Cancer Center. He serves on the St. Louis Community College Access Office Advisory Committee, and the Miriam Learning Center Advisory Committee. He has been a volunteer for LDA through the Adult Issues committee, NIFL Training project, and Mental Health Quality of Life Subcommittee. He has served in his state as the Missouri LDA Co-President, Second Vice President, chaired the Public Affairs committee and the Professional Advisory Board, and was a Board Appointee, along with volunteering on the state Conference Committee, Post-Secondary Night program, and LDA Golf Tournaments. He received the LDA Professional of the Year Award, the President’s Award, and a lifetime achievement award from the Missouri LDA. At the local level, he has been a presenter for the St. Louis LDA Teacher Training Institute and Professional Development series. He travels across the country and has done hundreds of workshops on a wide range of LD related topics.

Kristina Scott

k1Kristina Scott is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. She has eight years of K-12 special education teaching experience, and six years of teaching in higher education teacher preparation. Kristina is the state president of the New Hampshire Learning Disabilities Association. She is also the committee co-chair for the Education Committee of LDA. Kristina often presents and consults at state, regional, and national conferences and schools on topics including: social development, social and emotional learning, behavior as communication, universal design for learning, and creating smooth transitions for students as they exit the high school setting. Kristina holds a doctorate in educational leadership, a master’s in special education, and undergraduate degrees in English and exercise physiology. When not working, you can often find Kristina out running, cycling, or playing golf.

Monica McHale-Small

Monica McHale-Small Image

Dr. McHale-Small retired from public education after twenty-seven years of service in Pennsylvania. Monica started her career as a school psychologist but has spent the last thirteen years in a variety of administrative positions including, most recently, Superintendent of the Saucon Valley School District. She earned her doctorate and masters’ degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. She has long advocated bringing sound research into practice in public schools. One example of this is her role on the advisory committee for Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot. The pilot has been designed to support best literacy practices and evidenced based structured literacy instruction and intervention beginning in Kindergarten with the goal of improving reading outcomes for all.

Dr. McHale-Small has long advocated for inclusion and equity for historically underserved students including racially, culturally and linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities. While in Saucon Valley, she co-founded the Greater Lehigh Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence and established the Saucon Valley School District Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Dr. McHale-Small serves her own community as a board member and volunteer advocate for Coatesville Citizens Who Seek Educational Equality. Monica has served on the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association, the International Dyslexia Association, and the National Association of Pupil Services Administrators.

Analisa Smith

Analisa L. Smith has served LDA for many years, being active at the national and state level. Smith has served on the Advocacy, Marketing, Affiliate Support/Membership, Early Childhood, and Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Committee. She is currently co-chair of the Affiliate Support and Membership Committee. Dr. Smith is President of LDA of South Carolina and has served in several positions on the State Executive Board of Directors. Smith has worked for 20+ years in the public and private education. Dr. Smith is a distance educator, SME, and an educational consultant. Smith holds a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Columbia College, a M.Ed. in Education from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate of Education in Education Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Smith is the author of Transition Toolbox, a book that focuses upon transition issues and services for the mildly disabled individual. She is the mother of two children, with one son having Asperger’s and several learning disabilities. Smith’s passion is to work with LDA to promote advocacy and support for individuals with LD to ease the path of learning for them.

Kaci Smith, State Presidents’ Representative

Kaci Smith holds a B.S. degree in Special Education and has 25 years of experience instructing students with disabilities in a wide range of settings and across multiple content areas. She currently teaches in the Springdale Public School District where she empowers teachers to utilize technology to equal the playing field in the classroom for students who not only have learning disabilities but also are English Language Learners. Kaci is the state president of the Arkansas Learning Disabilities Association and strives to strengthen Advocacy and Public Policy within her state. Kaci currently serves as the State Presidents’ Representative and also Co-Chairs the State Affiliate and Membership Committee and holds a position on the 2019 Conference Planning Committee. Kaci is a mom of three, one of whom has a learning disability and autism. She values the importance of advocacy and works with other parents to bridge the path from school to adult transition.

Myrna Soule


Myrna has been a member of LDA for over 30 years. She holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and an M.A. with an emphasis in Special Education from Santa Clara University. She has been Oregon’s President four times and continues to serve on LDA of Oregon’s state board. She is chair of LDA’s Grievance/Ethics Committee, serves on the national Bylaws/Policies Committee and Finance Committee. She has co-chaired its Education Committee, has been treasurer twice and has served on the Research Committee. She is a Slingerland trained tutor and consultant after teaching for 49 years. She presently has 14 students to tutor and she tutors adults as well as elementary students including those with Asperger’s and Autism. She has started three private schools for students with learning disabilities. She is on a state committee with the Dept. of Education to establish standards for the new Dyslexic Bill passed in the state and to set up teacher training. Her life is devoted to helping individuals with learning disabilities, learn how to learn, advocate for them and to train teachers in how to teach them.

BJ Wiemer

BJ Wiemer has many years of LDA service in her experience. She has previously served as First and Second Vice-President, Secretary, Board Liaison, State Presidents’ Representative, and  member of the National Board of Directors, as well as having served on numerous committees, including Advocacy, Affiliate Support, Membership, Education, Public Policy, Bylaws and Policies, Conference, Conference Program and Nominating. BJ is currently chair of the 2019 Conference Committee, a huge undertaking. She has also served as president of her state and local affiliates. BJ is a special educator, national teacher trainer, educational consultant, and adjunct professor in special education. She has spent 40+ years working in public and private settings with students with special needs, most notably as a specialist in specific learning disabilities, behavioral/emotional needs, and the at-risk reader. In 1997, she founded and directed the Special Services program at the Kirk Day School in St. Louis, Missouri. She continues to oversee the program in her current role as Director of Academics at KDS. BJ is passionate about coming alongside families to provide strong support through proactive instruction and advocacy, as well as providing for faculty and parent education, an extensive resource library, and community awareness. She trains and consults with teachers and administrators across the country to address the needs of the at-risk learner. She and her husband, Jack, have three grown daughters, one of whom was diagnosed with a learning disability as a young child. Their recreational time is often shared with their four grandchildren. BJ holds a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, a M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Louis University.

Sylvia Youngblood

SylviaSylvia is the mother of four children, one girl and three boys, all of whom have Specific Learning Disabilities. Her 3 boys are on the Autism Spectrum. For over 20 years, Sylvia has been advocating for her children and assisting parents in their advocacy. Her qualifications are not from formal training, they are qualifications from real life experience. Sylvia has attended many conferences, seminars, presentations, workshops, trainings, and classes to further her advocacy skills. As the parent of children with special needs, Sylvia finds that you now have to become the educator, doctor, psychologist, therapist, social skills, service provider, and attorney for your children in order to understand and best advocate for their unique needs.  By trade Sylvia’s work is in administration, with over 25 years of administrative experience Sylvia has had the opportunity to work for great companies with leadership that allowed for her knowledge and experience to grow on the job. This experience proved invaluable. She applied her administrative skills in IEPs and when advocating for her children. Sylvia is also the Co-founder and Southern California Administrator of the Community Advisory Committee Leadership Collaborative (CACLC). CACLC is a grassroots organization dedicated to connecting CAC’s across California and raising awareness in the special needs community on the importance of the legislative process, community involvement, decision making, and the important and vital role of public input in the special needs community. She participates in different Collaborative groups and TASK forces that address the needs of the Special Needs community as well as assisting parents, students, and adults in their advocacy. Sylvia is a strong supporter of giving back, positive, effective and meaning collaborations, advancing forward, and most important bridging and filling the gaps to strengthen and build positive role models and leaders within our special needs community.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email