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The LDA Annual Conference is February 18-21, 2021

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Monica McHale-Small, President

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.

JoAnna Barnes, First Vice President

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.

Kevin Gailey, Second Vice President

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.

Gabrielle E. Miller, Ed.D., Treasurer

Gabrielle E. Miller, EdD, is the Assistant Vice Provost for Learning Services and Executive Director of the SALT Center; Student Support and Retention Innovation (SSRI) at the University of Arizona. In her role as Assistant Vice Provost, Dr. Miller leads UA’s SALT Center, Think Tank and Wellness Services. Using a strengths-based entrepreneurial approach, evidence-based practices, and robust assessment; she is responsible for strengthening the capacity of units to support student learning. She is also responsible for engaging a wide range of UA and external stakeholders in support of fundraising efforts to build programmatic and financial sustainability of SSRI learning services.

As Executive Director of the SALT Center she leads one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for undergraduates who learn differently. The SALT Center consists of a large multi-disciplinary team of professionals providing a comprehensive range of services to students with learning and attention challenges. She also oversees the newly formed applied, multidisciplinary research unit within the SALT Center, Bartlett Labs.

Dr. Miller began her career as a special education teacher in Queen Anne’s County Maryland public school system where her interests in transition at all stages of development (early education, adolescent, and post-secondary), family engagement, and research to practice began.

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.

Anne Huntington, Secretary

Anne Huntington is President of 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.

Beth McGaw, Immediate Past 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 Past 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.

Joan K. Teach, Board Liaison

Joan K. Teach, PhD has been a special educator working with the LD/ADHD population for over 50 years. As the former Director of Lullwater School, a center for students with neurobiological needs, she investigated techniques that increase success and survival for individuals. Her passion is to initiate strategies that lead to personal understanding. She facilitates support groups for parents, adults, and women with LD/ADHD. Upon retirement, she developed a client specialty with late adolescents–young adults and women–with the specific goal to help them overcome interference with learning and attention difficulties, allowing them to discover their inner strengths. As a gamer, she develops games and simulations for the learning community. Nationally she has served on the AIGE, CHADD LDA Boards, and is involved with CHADD GA, LDA GA. She has lectured on 5 continents, in 22 foreign countries and in over half of the contiguous states. Her passion is to make a change in individuals’ lives to facilitate a richer and fuller life.

Vincent Alfonso

Vincent C. Alfonso, PhD, is Interim Dean of the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. Prior to this position, he was Professor in and Dean of the School of Education at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and Professor in and Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Fordham University, New York City. He is past president of Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and Fellow of Divisions 16, 5, and 43 of the APA. He is also Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. In February 2014, he received the Outstanding Contributions to Training award from the Trainers of School Psychologists and in August 2017, he received the Jack Bardon Distinguished Service Award from Division 16 of the APA. He is co-author of Essentials of WISC-V Assessment, Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment (3rd Edition), co-editor of Essentials of Specific Learning Disability Identification (2nd Edition) and Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for the Unique Learner all published by Wiley. In addition, he is co-editor of Promoting Healthy Growth and Development in Young Children: Bridging the Science-Practice Gap in Educational Settings published by the APA and Psychoeducational Assessment of Preschool Children (5th Edition) published by Routledge.

Manju Banerjee

Manju Banerjee, PhD is Vice President of Educational Research and Innovation at Landmark College, Putney, Vermont. She oversees the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) and the Division of Educational Technology and Online Programs (ETOP). Dr. Banerjee has over 35 years of experience in the field of learning disabilities, ADHD, and postsecondary disability services. She is a certified diagnostician and teacher-consultant on learning disabilities. She has published and presented extensively, both nationally and internationally, on topics such as, disability documentation and accommodations, postsecondary transition, online learning, and universal design.

She has been and currently is PI/Co-PI on several federal, foundational, and NSF grants. Manju Banerjee is on the Executive Board of the Learning Disability Association of America and an editorial board member of the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability; LD: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal, Professional Advisory Board member to the National Center on Learning Disabilities (NCLD), Learning Disability Association of America, and a consultant to Educational Testing Service, and Understood.org. She received her doctoral degree from the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, on the application of universal design to high stakes assessment. See Dr. Banerjee’s clip on UDL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HHvRzemuHA.

Tom Barry

As Executive Vice President of External Relations and Chief Development Officer of Easterseals Midwest, Tom is responsible for guiding and developing the organization’s relationships with external stakeholders through strategic marketing, government relations, and philanthropic endeavors.

Tom is an expert in the field of organizational leadership, specializing in developing nonprofit strategies as it relates to fundraising, advocacy, communication, and stakeholder engagement.

Tom brings nearly 20 years of experience in philanthropy, advertising, and government relations. He has spent the last ten years focused on health-care and intellectual and developmental disabilities within social justice organizations. 

Tom is the recipient of many industry accolades, including Fundraiser of the Year (2012), State Public Affairs Award for Leadership (2013), Annet Ruiter Award for Leadership and Service (2014). Tom lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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.

Jamie Brown

Jamie has been a nurse for 25 years as a professional serving in various capacities. Currently, she works as a Healthcare Coordinator at Joint Base Andrews AFB. Prior to working at Andrews Air Force Base, she worked at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC for five years as a Healthcare Manager. Working at Andrews AFB Jamie received Civilian of the Quarter and Department of Defense National Capital Area Public Service Nominee (DoD National Capital Region “Spirit of Service” Award”). It gives her great pleasure to have served as Learning Disabilities Association of Maryland (LDAMD) President for the last 2 years and as Secretary for LDAMD for 2 years. Jamie has been a member of LDAMD for 9 years. Jamie obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University and obtained a Master’s Degree from Bowie State University. With hopes of leveraging her skills in additional leadership roles and family advocacy opportunities, other volunteer efforts consist of serving as a Volunteer Coordinator for Military families, member of the Decoding Dyslexia Association, and volunteer member of the PTA for her children’s respective schools, LDA Justice Committee member, and PG County Coalition Committee Board member. 

Jamie is a mother of four beautiful children and an active community leader. Three of her children have Learning differences (Dyslexia and ADHD). She is their biggest advocate. Jamie has, a passion to connect and be an advocate for all students and their families. She strongly feel that schools should ensure that all children receive the appropriate educational requirements needed to be successful independent citizens in society.

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Collin Diedrich

Dr. Collin Diedrich has a PhD in Molecular Virology and Microbiology from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, a Certificate in Disability Legal Studies from University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is a postdoctoral associate researching how HIV changes immunological responses to tuberculosis. Dr. Diedrich has multiple learning disabilities and personally understands how thinking differently can be a struggle and a gift.

Dr. Diedrich is an advocate, author, and professional speaker (www.ldphd.org) for students who have learning disabilities. Dr. Diedrich advocates the importance of finding your jet packs (i.e. allies and techniques used to overcome barriers in life)! He is also the founder and president of the reinstated Learning Disabilities Association of Pennsylvania (www.ldaofpa.org). Dr. Diedrich believes everyone has a talent and everyone has a gift! He wants to help you find yours.

Suzanne Fornaro

Suzanne Fornaro serves on the conference Program Committee, is Co-Editor of 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. 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). 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.

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 State President and State Presidents’ representative. She is very active in the Healthy Children 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.

Rachel Krueger (Council of State Leaders Chair)

Rachel Krueger is the mother of three children, one of which has Learning Disabilities. She is a former preschool teacher and has training in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Pediatric Occupational Therapy. Rachel is also a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is a certified Mental Health Advocate, and a Board Certified Special Education Advocate. She has worked with children who have bipolar issues, are on the Autism Spectrum and have Oppositional Defiance Disorders. In addition to being chair for the Council of State Leaders, she is Co-Chair of the Mental Health Committee, and Assistant Chair for the 58th International Conference.

Rachel is passionate about educating parents about learning disabilities and how to have their child diagnosed at an earlier age. She is thankful for LDA of America and is grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization. Rachel lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and three beautiful children.

Charles (C.J.) Pascarella

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.

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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. 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 public and private education. Dr. Smith is a distance educator, SME, and an educational consultant. Smith holds a Doctorate of Education in Education Administration from Nova Southeastern University, a M.Ed. in Education from the University of South Carolina, and a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Columbia College. 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 three awesome young men, two with learning disabilities, and a grandmother of two. Smith’s passion is to promote advocacy and support for individuals with LD.

Kaci Smith

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.

Kristina Scott Quinlan

Kristina Scott Quinlan 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.