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.

Monica McHale-Small, First Vice President

Monica McHale-Small is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Temple University. She retired from public education after twenty-seven years of service in Pennsylvania. Monica started her career as a school psychologist but spent the last fourteen years in a variety of administrative positions including, most recently, Superintendent. She earned her doctorate and masters’ degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. Dr. McHale-Small 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; designed to support researched based structured literacy instruction and intervention beginning in Kindergarten. Dr. McHale-Small is an advocate for responsible inclusion and equity for historically underserved students including racially, culturally and linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities. She co-founded the Greater Lehigh Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence and she currently consults with the ACLU of PA on School to Prison Pipeline issues. 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. Monica serves her own community as a board member and volunteer advocate for Coatesville Citizens Who Seek Educational Equality.

Suzanne Fornaro, Second Vice President

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.

Anne Huntington, Secretary

Anne HuntingtonAnne Huntington is a Board Member and Vice President of Business Development for Huntington Learning Center, the nation’s leading tutoring and test prep provider. Since 2015, Anne has led Huntington Compensatory Education Services, a program designed to support special education students who have been denied their federal right to a free and appropriate education. Before joining Huntington Learning Center in 2014, Anne launched and remains the Principal of AMH, a creative agency for contemporary art and culture. In this capacity, she has curated over 30 exhibits across the country with organizations to help build awareness and raised over $30 millions of dollars for various causes. Her involvement with LDA began in 2014 and has included speaking at the annual conferences, company sponsorship of local (New Jersey) and national events, as well as serving as head of the Development Committee. Anne is an active chair and member of other education and arts-based groups such as the Young Collectors Council at the Guggenheim Museum, the Future Leadership Council at the Whitney Museum, the Women’s Franchise Committee for the International Franchise Association, NYC’s Coalition for the Homeless, Teaching Matters, CHADD and COPAA. Anne received a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University.

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 in 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.

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.

 

Donna Brigham

Donna Brigham currently lives in Memphis, TN where she is the Director of Special Education for three charter schools. She received her masters degree in education and has been in the field for 27 years serving in both the General Education & Sped Population & public/private schools. Having served in various populations, Donna is able to bring to LDA a wide range of experience. Donna has devoted the last 16 years to advocating for students with learning differences. Donna has been married for over 25 years to her husband, Keith & has two adult daughters. One of her daughters was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD which led to researching the effects of ADHD and academic performance & advocating for her daughter. Donna has lobbied on several occasions in Washington, DC for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Donna has been a member of LDA for over 15 years & has served on the Board of Directors & multiple committees. When Donna is not working, you can find her traveling, gardening, reading on the beach or spending time with her family.

Vicki Goshon

Vicki Goshon is the parent of two adult children with Learning Disabilities and has a grandchild with special needs. Vicki has been a leader in the field of Learning Disabilities for many years, being active at both the state and national level. She is a past president of LDA Iowa and has served numerous times in that position. Vicki has taught students with Learning Disabilities for 35 years, and has a passion for helping parents, teachers, and students obtain the knowledge they need to be successful. In addition to her work with LDA she has served on the Iowa Department of Education’s Special Education Advisory Panel. Throughout her career in special education, Vicki has written many successful grants in order to obtain funding for materials and educational services for individuals with learning disabilities. These range from materials and services for elementary students to programs in Iowa Correctional Institutions. She has a unique ability to see and understand the needs of parents, students and teachers. Vicki also operates a private tutoring and consultation service in order to provide affordable academic support to students. Vicki has developed a Summer Academy program for LDA of Iowa which implements instructional services to children. She has been an adjunct professor for the University of Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa University. Vicki holds a Master’s Degree in Education and an Administrator of Special Education degree. She has served on the Finance, Education, Early Childhood, Juvenile Justice, Grievance, and Nominating Committees at the national level in her desire to help students and parents.

Bev Johns

Bev Johns has been an active member of the Learning Disabilities Association for many years serving as a previous State President, State President’s representative, and currently as President-Elect of LDA of Illinois. She is very active in the Healthy Children’s Project. She has over 35 years experience in speciaL education in the public schools in Illinois. She is now a Professional Fellow at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and is a learning and behavior consultant. She has chaired legislative committees for a number of professional organizations and was the recipient of the 2000 Outstanding Leadership Award of the Council for Exceptional Children. She is the author of over 20 books in the area of special education and working with children with challenging behaviors.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. 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.

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