The LDA Nominating Committee is pleased to introduce the candidates who will be placed in nomination at the Assembly of Delegates during the Annual Meeting, February 22, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. The Committee worked diligently to select candidates who bring a variety of skills and experience to their respective positions and to the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
Beth McGaw, President
Beth McGaw became an outspoken advocate for children with learning disabilities after her youngest son was diagnosed at an early age. She has been an active member in LDA for over 10 years and in 2012 was elected to the LDA Board of Directors, currently serving on the Executive Committee as 1st Vice President and as co-chair of the Communications Committee. Other activities within LDA include Marketing, Affiliate Support, Adult Topics and VP of LDA Georgia. Although Beth started her career as an Industrial Engineer, she pursued her passion for education by obtaining her M.Ed. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She co-founded the Atlanta-based, award-winning magazine Kids Enabled in response to her frustration in locating appropriate resources for her son. Beth 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 in New York, another in California and the third in college. 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 D. Parks, Second Vice-President
Lori 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. Parks also presented regularly at LDAMI’s fall conferences and contributed many articles for their quarterly newsletter “Outlook”. As an active member of LDA Lori is currently serving as secretary on the Executive Board, is on the Education Committee, is Co-Chairing the Program Committee for 2017, and has been the facilitator for the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. Other positions and committees Lori has served on include: Assistant States’ Representative, States’ President Representative, Healthy Child Project, Conference Program Committee, Affiliate Support 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.
Allen Broyles, Board of Directors
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.
Monica McHale-Small, Board of Directors
Monica 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 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. Monica 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. Monica 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 International Dyslexia Association and the National Association of Pupil Services Administrators. She earned her doctorate and masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education.
Jim Russell, Board of Directors
Jim Russell has over 25 years of experience with learning disabilities, mental health issues, Twice Exceptional learners (2E), and assessment. He is a Licensed Counselor in Missouri, holds national board certification, and is a Certified School Psychological Examiner. He assesses and counsels people who have special learning needs from preschool to medical school. He did a TEDx Talk about (2E). He is an Adjunct Instructor at Washington University, helping students with LD and ADHD transition into college. He is a practicum supervisor, where the Provisional Counselors under his direct supervision have provided over 25,000 hours of services in the community. Jim does assessments for children and adults who are being treated for cancer at the Mercy Cardinal’s Kids Cancer Center. He is presently serving on the St. Louis Community College Access Office Advisory Committee, and the Miriam Learning Center Advisory Committee (a school where LD experts teach). He has been a volunteer for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the Adult Issues committee, NIFL Training project, and Mental Health Quality of Life Subcommittee. At the state level, he served as the Missouri LDA Co-President, Second Vice President, chaired the Public Affairs committee and the Professional Advisory Board, and was a Board Appointee. He also volunteered on the LDA 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 was a presenter for the St. Louis LDA Teacher Training Institute and Professional Development series. He travels across the country and had done hundreds of workshops on a wide range of LD related topics.
Kristina Scott, Board of Directors
Kristina 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 seven years working in higher education teacher preparation. Kristina is the state president of the New Hampshire Learning Disabilities Association. She is also the committee chair for the Affiliate Support and Membership 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.
Gabrielle Miller, Board of Directors
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. Her responsibilities include successful engagement of internal and external stakeholders, ensuring both program integrity and innovation, securing additional funding, and extending the reach of the SALT model to a wide range of constituents. Prior to her current role, Gabrielle spent ten years in the nonprofit world, first as VP of Programs at Reading Is Fundamental and, for the last nine years, leading Raising A Reader(RAR) National Office; first as Executive Director then as President and CEO. During her tenure, RAR operated at more than 2,700 locations across the nation enabling families across the nation, particularly those at very high risk for educational failure, to develop the knowledge, skills and home literacy routines essential for language development and literacy development. Among her accomplishments at RAR, she was able to incorporate her background in special education and secure private funding that led to the development of comprehensive program adaptations so that families of children with disabilities could participate in the program and experience the joy of ‘book cuddling.’ In addition, program supports were developed to help families and children prepare for the critical transition into Kindergarten. 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).