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Kevin Gailey, Chair

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.

Monica McHale-Small, Past Chair

Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D., 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.

Mark DiPietro, Vice Chair

Mark DiPietro is Vice President for Marketing & Communications at Landmark College, the first college for students with learning disabilities and attention challenges. Prior to joining the college in 2013, he had been an editor, a newspaper reporter, and a public relations consultant with Gehrung Associates, whose clientele includes many colleges and universities.

At Landmark College, Mark has been responsible for international brand-building efforts across digital and traditional media outlets. He has organized media appearances, speaking engagements, and panel presentations for Landmark College faculty and staff, and he has presented on topics related to marketing and enrollment, including at the National Association of College Admissions Counselors’ national conference. Mark has also served on the steering committee of the Landmark College Center for Neurodiversity. In 2023, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Mark earned a B.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and is currently enrolled in Landmark College’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, with whom he has two adult children, and he enjoys outdoors activities, physical fitness, and the arts.

Charles (C.J.) Pascarella, Treasurer

C.J. Pascarella is a Senior Vice President of PNC Bank, a member of The PNC Financial Services Group. He is a Sales Leader within PNC’s Corporate Bank overseeing $5+ billion of commitments covering Western Pennsylvania based companies ranging from $50 million to over a $1 billion in revenue. Since joining the Bank over twelve years ago, C.J. has worked extensively on leading a sales team, client management, prospecting, risk identification, negotiating, problem solving, and complex credit analysis and structuring.

In addition to banking, C.J. has over five years of public accounting experience assisting clients with comprehensive merger and acquisition due diligence, post-acquisition integration strategy, forensic accounting investigations, litigation support, complex insurance claim recovery, and audit services.

Prior to joining PNC Bank, C.J. worked as a Manager in the Transaction Advisory Services group of Grant Thornton, LLP in Charlotte, NC. During that time, C.J. managed numerous transactions for financial and strategic buyers, sellers, and lenders in various industries, ranging from $10 million to $3.5 billion in acquisition value. C.J. also spent nearly three years with Deloitte in Pittsburgh, PA.

C.J. holds a degree from the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and minor in Management Information Systems. C.J. is also a Certified Fraud Examiner and a PNC Certified Women’s Business Advocate.

Kaci Smith, Secretary

Kaci Smith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and has 26 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 past President and current Secretary of LDA of Arkansas and strives to strengthen Advocacy and Public Policy within her state.  Kaci is a mom of three, one of whom has learning disabilities and autism. She values the importance of advocacy and works with other parents to bridge the path from school to adult transition.

Kevin M.R. Mayne, Development Committee Chair

Kevin M.R. Mayne currently serves as the Head of School for Hill Top Preparatory School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. A creative and disruptive innovator, student advocate, and educational thought leader, he has a long and comprehensive background across the educational sector. A strong focus of his work has been in the area of learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism. He has developed successful programming to assist students at all age levels to overcome barriers to their education, as well as expanded brand recognition and revenue generation for his institutions. His knowledge base in education includes leadership, non-profit administration, fundraising, recruitment, stakeholder engagement, donor relationship management, global citizenship, marketing, learning disabilities, growth strategy, revenue optimization, and board development. Through his commitment to working with neurodiverse students, he created Thames Academy at Mitchell College.

Kevin earned both his B.A. (psychology/art therapy) and M.B.A. (management/ marketing) from Anna Maria College, Paxton, MA. In addition, he has completed advanced graduate studies in the areas of management, leadership & curriculum design. He is also a certified PEERS® Social Pragmatics Trainer for both adolescents and adults through UCLA.

The winner of numerous national awards for his work in writing, publications design, advertising, and marketing/recruitment, Kevin is a frequent guest lecturer in the areas of institutional branding, staff development, learning disabilities and developmental education.

Elizabeth Alves

Elizabeth Alves is a dedicated humanitarian who’s work focuses on educating professionals at the state, national, and global level to impact positive post graduate outcomes. Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities in 2006 with a concentration in Elementary Education, a MAT in 2007 from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. She has since had her Masters endorsed in Early Childhood, Special Education, and Supervision from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. She holds teaching certificates in P-12 General and Special Education and Supervision.

Within the state of New Jersey Alves works at Benway School, a therapeutic out of district placement special education school for students with behavioral and emotional difficulties. She has developed a Transitional Program, coached teachers on Career Ready Practices, Literacy Intervention, and STREAM. She also collaborates with administration and staff to provide engagement activities. Alves started as the Treasurer and Scholarship Chair of the Learning Disabilities Association of NJ and recently has become the President. Alves serves as a member of the NJ Special Education Advisory Council where she is on several committees related to Recruitment and Retention, Internal Engagements, and External Engagements. Additionally, Alves serves as an Advisory Member for Rutgers Boggs Center Person Centered Approaches in School and Transitions Project. At the national level she was named the Affiliate Council Chair for LDA and works diligently to facilitate dialogues pertaining to our affiliates priorities. Finally, Alves is the lead in a lesson planning working group within the Pre University Coordinating Committee for IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. In addition to leading a group she participates in several other groups within the Educational Activities Board with a focus on empowering volunteers to empower our youth by creating course content, evaluating grant proposals, and utilizing strategic planning. Alves’ personal mission is to aid in the progress of filling the 30% gap in the engineering workforce by diversifying the field with women, underrepresented cultures and neuro-diverse students. She envisions leveraging her position at each level to work collaboratively toward shared goals.

Amy Barto, Council of State Leader Representative

EunMi Cho

Along with serving on LDA as the Professional Advisory Board Chair/Member and President of LDA-CA, EunMi has been a Special Education Researcher, Professor, and Program Coordinator at Sacramento State and Parent Advocate in her community. She is also a Founder and Coordinator, “One Mind Group: Parents Support Group” in Northern California since 1998 and has been developing Special Education Teaching Credential Programs and training teachers in Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Philippines, China, S. Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Mexico since 2002.

Jaumeiko Coleman, Board Liaison

Jaumeiko Coleman, PhD, CCC-SLP, FNAP is the Director of Clinical Services at the Atlanta Speech School. Her responsibilities include supporting the implementation of audiology; occupational therapy; reading, writing, and mathematics intervention; and speech-language-pathology clinic programs for children and adults. Her current position and past work in school-based settings, universities, a research unit, a continuing education accrediting unit, and as Director of School Services for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have included a strong interprofessional practice focus. 

Gad Elbeheri

Dr. Gad Elbeheri is the Founder and Managing Director of Global Educational Consultants (Egypt). Previously, Dr. Elbeheri was the Dean of the Australian College of Kuwait (2012/2017) and the Executive Director of the Centre for Child Evaluation & Teaching (2006/2011). An applied linguist who obtained his PhD from the University of Durham, UK, Dr. Elbeheri has a keen interest in cross-linguistic studies of specific learning difficulties and inclusive education. Dr. Elbeheri has made over 40 conference and seminar presentations around the world. He has published over 9 books in both English and Arabic in the field of dyslexia, and over 10 peer reviewed journal articles on dyslexia and its manifestations in Arabic. He has participated in producing nationally standardized tests and computer-based screening programs in Arabic.

Dr. Elbeheri brings a global perspective to learning disabilities assessment and intervention. He presented at the October Science to Practice Forum on how RTI is being implemented in the Arabic world. Dr. Elbeheri believes there are many individuals in the Arabic world that would benefit from learning of the work of LDA.

Kari Fotis

Kari Fotis, M.Ed., C-SLDS, is the Founder and Director of the Hampton Roads Dyslexia Center (HRDC) in Newport News, VA. Kari opened the center after nearly 20 years teaching and tutoring as a special education teacher. HRDC provides diagnostic testing and evidence-based intensive intervention for people with learning disabilities. HRDC also provides professional development, education, support, and advocacy services for families in the surrounding areas. Additionally, Kari works as an educational diagnostician for the Virginia Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities (VCARDD) in Richmond, VA.

Kari graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Psychology and then went on to earn a M.Ed. in Special Education Curriculum and Instruction from the College of William and Mary. After her initial training in the Wilson Readying System (WRS), Kari went on to earn the highest level of certification as a Wilson Language Dyslexia Therapist. Additionally, she is a certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist with the Center for Effective Reading Interventions (CERI), a subsidiary of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).

Kari works to increase understanding and awareness of challenges in special education by presenting at conferences at the state and national level. She also serves as a guest lecturer at Christopher Newport University and for The College of William and Mary’s law students serving with the PELE Advocacy Clinic.

Kari holds professional membership with the IDA, CERI, ILA, and the Council for Exceptional Children. As an active member in her community, Kari also serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Beach branch of the IDA. In her free time, Kari enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Fern Goldstein

Fern Goldstein, President of G Whiz Educational Resources and the LDA 2009 Sam Kirk National Special Educator of the Year, holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a master’s degree in Special Education and has spoken at national, regional, and state conferences for ASAH, CEC, IDA, and LDA, among other organizations.

As former Vice President and Recording Secretary of LDANJ and now President of LDA Delaware, she has been active in LDA since 2005, speaking at conferences, organizing regional conferences, writing and editing the newsletter, organizing fundraising dinners, evaluating scholarship applications and more.

Since moving to Delaware, Ms. Goldstein has launched an educational consulting business, G Whiz Educational Resources, to use her over three decades of experience as a master teacher of English Language Arts and literature and in writing curriculum for students with learning disabilities in grades 2-12, to continue to train and mentor other teachers. She is the author of “Exceptional Resources for Exceptional Students” available on her website including: Looking Glass Spelling, G. Whiz! I Finished My Homework, and Oops: Grammar in Context.

Lorelei Jackson

Lorelei Jackson leads the Student Services Department within a middle school in the Denver Public Schools system. She is former school teacher who has assisted in the development of Gifted & Talented programs, MTSS/RtI programs, Special Education programs, Multi-Language Learner & Newcomer programs, and differentiated mathematics programs for accelerated and struggling learners. Lorelei believes that access to culturally responsive curriculum and ongoing teacher training are not only fundamental parts of academic excellence, but are also the building blocks of critical thinking for all. Her teaching philosophy is based on a solid premise and strong belief that education is necessary for discovery and knowledge generation, and for individuals to become engaged citizens. She works towards increasing the knowledge and skills of general education teachers to better support neurodiverse students.

Through program development, Lorelei assists students in grades 5-8 overcome barriers to their education. She is an active advocate for student rights and frequently communicates and advocates for policy changes to support students with disabilities at the state and local level.

In addition to supporting academic programming within schools, Lorelei is an honored education coach and mindfulness instructor. She has been nominated for the Denver Distinguished Teacher Award and the Helen Phelps Recognition for Individual Volunteer. Lorelei holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology, and a second Master’s Degree in Special Education & Teaching. She has also received a graduate certification in Inclusive Schools Leadership, allowing her to build inclusive schools and improve academics & social-emotional outcomes for exceptional learners.

Anthony Pacilio

Anthony Pacilio, is recognized domestically and internationally, as an expert in neurodiversity employment and currently serves as Vice President, Neurodiverse Solutions at CAI. Pacilio specializes in advancing neurodiversity programs and leads the global expansion efforts of CAI Neurodiverse Solutions.

As the previous Vice President and Global Head of Autism at
Work for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Mr. Pacilio brings a wealth of experience to CAI Neurodiverse Solutions. He has expertise
in managing neurodiversity recruiting efforts, developing
candidate pipelines, and ensuring best practices for onboarding support, training, and organizational success. Throughout his career, he has served in a variety of technical and commercial roles in the banking, finance, and healthcare industries with roles at MBNA America, Bank of America, and CIGNA.

As an author, speaker, and lecturer, Pacilio has been speaking
on the topic since 2015. He has given over 200 presentations
at conferences, universities, non-academic organizations,
and student groups around the world. Disability:IN, Asperger/
Autism Spectrum Education Network (ASPEN), ISACA, UiPath,
Diversity Research Inclusion Conference, India Autism At
Work Summit and the Association of Corporate Counsel are
key organizations that have featured Pacilio as a speaker and
leading expert in neurodiversity.

Pacilio is one of the authors of the Autism at Work Playbook,
a leading guide for neurodiversity employment practices,
written in partnership with Microsoft, SAP, EY, JPMorgan
Chase & Co., and Washington University’s Information School. Pacilio lectures annually on the future of neurodiversity in the workplace at Cornell University’s School of International Labor Relations and previously lectured at Stanford University School of Medicine’s Neurodiversity Project.

Pacilio is an alumnus of CAI’s Managing Diversity Leadership
Program and in conjunction with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s
Autism at Work program, was awarded the Adam Heavner
Award by the Autism Society in 2019. He also serves on the
Advisory Board of the Exceptional Academy and previously
served as a board member for Specialisterne, Inc.

In his free time, Pacilio is a passionate advocate for autism
initiatives and is committed to developing inclusive workforces for all organizations. A graduate of the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and holds a BS in Mass Media and Communications, Pacilio lives in Cortland, New York.

Kristina Scott Quinlan

Dr. Kristina Scott-Quinlan, Ed.D. is an associate dean, professor, and program director for the special education and autism programs at Salem State University. She teaches courses to prepare early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education teachers to enter today’s diverse classroom environments. She also oversees all areas of education licensure and works with partner districts to develop, provide programming, and redesign preparation courses at the university to reduce the theory-to-practice gap. Kristina’s research focuses on teacher preparation practices and developing social skills alongside academic content knowledge for academic and career success in preschool through university classrooms. She regularly presents at both national and international conferences. She also works nationally to evaluate teacher preparation programs. She has worked with seven different state education departments to provide technical assistance and training, ensuring high-quality teacher preparation experiences for all teacher candidates to meet the needs of the K-12 students they serve.

Janeen Steel

Ms. Steel is a leading attorney in education, disability & civil rights law. She is the founder of the Learning Rights Law Center in Los Angeles, CA (LRLC). The LRLC fights to achieve education equity for underserved families in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. The LRLC provides free and low-cost legal representation, advice, advocacy and training to children, their families and communities who, as a consequence of disability or discrimination, have been denied equal access to a public education. Their vision is for all children to receive a meaningful and equitable public education which empowers them to grow into happy, productive, and independent adults.

The LRLC is an extraordinary legal services provider that focuses entirely on the education of children with disabilities. Ms. Steel founded it shortly after graduating from law school. Ms. Steel has a learning disability, and she shares this in her public speeches.

Mark Stoddart

Mark Stoddart is a renowned Scottish artist celebrated for his exquisite bronze sculptures, which often feature marine and wildlife themes. His artistry is characterized by intricate detail and a profound connection to nature, making his works highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Beyond his artistic achievements, Mark is passionately dedicated to supporting individuals with learning disabilities. As an active supporter of Dyslexia Scotland, he works tirelessly to raise awareness and provide assistance to those with dyslexia and other learning challenges. His advocacy extends globally, impacting countless lives and fostering a more inclusive and understanding environment for individuals with learning disabilities. Through his art and humanitarian efforts, Mark Stoddart continues to inspire and make a significant difference in the world.

Kelly Tanzi, AOD Liaison to the Board

Robin Thoma, Ph.D.

Dr. Robin Thoma is the Project Manager of the SLD Support Project, a federally funded grant project through the Illinois State Board of Education in partnership with Eastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education. The SLDSP provides professional learning opportunities to educators and school personnel who support students with specific learning disabilities across the state of Illinois. She spent the first eighteen years of her career as a high school special teacher where she specialized in supporting students with specific learning disabilities and autism. In this role, she collaborated with general education teachers, guidance counselors, related service providers, and parents to support students with IEPs. Following her time in the classroom, Robin served as the interim Chairperson of the Education Department and Licensing Advisor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. While at SMWC, she developed curricula for the P-12 Mild Intervention and Intense Intervention programs. In addition to serving as the Project Manager for the SLD Support Project, Robin is an adjunct instructor at Indiana State University and Minot State University.

Robin earned her PhD from Indiana State University in December 2022. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America in 2024. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.