Candidates for 2016-2017 LDA Officers and Board Members

The 2015-2016 LDA Nominating Committee announces the following candidates for the 2016-2017 slate of LDA officers and members of the LDA Board of Directors. These names will be placed in nomination during the LDA Annual Assembly of Delegates, February 16, 2016, at the conference in Orlando, Florida. The candidates bring a variety of skills and experiences to their respective positions and years of service to LDA, both nationally and in their state affiliates. LDA is fortunate to have these committed volunteers who are willing to accept leadership roles in the organization. President Nancie Payne will complete her second year of office in 2016 and as past president will continue on the Executive Committee for 2016-2018.

LDA Nominating Committee: Suzanne Fornaro-Alabama, Chair, Donna Brigham-Tennessee, Bev Johns-Illinois, Analisa Smith-South Carolina, John Willson-North Carolina

President, 2-year term, 2016-18
Patricia Lillie North Carolina

Officers, 1-year term, 2016-17
1st Vice President: Allen Broyles, Georgia
2nd Vice President: Sylvia Youngblood, California
Secretary: Lori Parks, Michigan
Treasurer: Jonathan Jones, Wyoming

Board Members, 3-year terms, 2016-2019
Jo Anna Barnes, North Carolina
Ernie Florence, Illinois
Ginny Simank, Texas
Myrna Soule, Oregon

Board Members, 1-year term, 2016-2017
Evie Lindberg, Oklahoma
Marcia Livingston, Oklahoma

Pat Lillie (North Carolina) has been a member of LDA since 1983. At the national level, Pat has served on the LDA Board of Directors, is currently an appointed board member, served as first vice president, second vice president and was the national president for LDA from 2010 to 2012. Pat currently co-chairs the Public Policy Committee and has chaired the Education, Legislative, Grievance and Ethics, Nominating, and Publications Committees. She was local chapter president for four years, LDA of North Carolina state president for four years, and co-president for two years, and was LDANC state office administrator for four years. She is an active state board member continuing to serve as an advocate and a liaison to the North Carolina State Department of Instruction and the State Board of Education. Pat spearheaded the group of over 50 professionals developing LDA’s “White Paper on Evaluation, Identification, and Eligibility Criteria for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities” (2010) and led the Education and Publication Committees in compiling a book of papers published by LDA, Secondary Education and Beyond: Providing Opportunities for Students with Learning Disabilities (1997). She is concerned about the lack of awareness of the needs of students exiting high school with or without diplomas who will not be going on to post-secondary education or vocational training programs; she already has an outline for a publication addressing support for these young adults. As an advocate, Pat believes LDA must be: continually vigilant in safeguarding IDEA, continue to strongly support the use of a cognitive assessment in SLD evaluation criteria and be aware of the push to use Response to Intervention (RTI/MTSS) as an instrument/methodology for SLD evaluation/identification. One of Pat’s major concerns is confronting and overcoming the critical issues facing LDA and the LDA Board of Directors including the need to give strong support to increasing membership for LDA state affiliates, being more aware of policy issues facing state affiliates and last but not least, funding for both national and state organizations. As the parent of four children including two (now adult) sons who have learning disabilities, she has lived the life of a full time parent/advocate and continues in that role as she watches the parents of her grandchild with SLD and ADHD as they advocate for their child.

1st Vice President
Allen Broyles (Georgia) is currently serving as first vice president of LDA and is a member of the Adult Topics, Advocacy, and Education Committees. As first vice president, his responsibility is to oversee and coordinate planning for LDA. In this position, he has moved the committees to a consistent reporting standard while using Google Docs for committee reports and meeting calendars. Allen is the assistant head of school for The Howard School, a K-12 school for students with language-based learning disabilities, has over 24 years in educational experience, and believes in responsive, research based instructional approaches. He 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 feels it may be strategically wise for organizations advocating for individuals with learning disabilities to broaden their focus and view of learning struggles beyond SLD. He supports getting the research in front of teachers and encouraging the translation of research into practice in the classroom.

2nd Vice President
Sylvia Youngblood (California) Sylvia is first vice president of LDA California and serves on the Governmental Affairs, Public Policy, and Nominating Committees. She is also secretary of the Learning Disabilities Association of Los Angeles. She currently serves on the LDA Board of Directors and is a member of the Public Policy and Finance Committees. She also serves on the Research and Testing Accommodations Ad Hoc Committee. As a parent of four children with specific learning disabilities, Sylvia is a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities at the local, state and national levels. Sylvia has served on many committees with groups advocating for children. She is the Co-founder and Southern California administrator of the Community Advisory Committee Leadership Collaborative, a grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness in the special needs community on the importance of the legislative process and community involvement. She participates in many collaborative groups, TASK forces, professional meetings and events emphasizing concerns and advocacy related to the special needs community. Sylvia’s concerns include students with learning disabilities being misidentified and misdiagnosed as ASD or Asperger’s Syndrome, black and brown males not being assessed by school districts thus strengthening the pipeline-to-prison, school districts not assessing for special education, and lack of education on transition for students and parents.

Loreena “Lori” Parks (Michigan) is a special education specialist who served as state president for LDA of Michigan and has been active at the state and national levels of LDA since 2003. She is currently on the LDA Board and is known for her dynamic and informative presentations with practical teaching ideas at the state conference and at the LDA national conference. She has chaired the Affiliate Support Committee, served on the national board as State Presidents’ Representative, and served on the Nominating and the Conference Program Committees. Lori believes the most critical issues facing the field are public awareness, ongoing research, and education. To increase membership she wants to work with other organizations, encourage new niches, and continue to encourage international membership. She feels the public still does not understand the “invisible” aspect of LD and that education systems, as a whole, are not on board with accountability, recognition and accommodations for those with learning disabilities. She sees the continuation of the national conference, state conferences, webinars and the ongoing improvement of the website as ways to reach specific audiences. In 2014, Lori received the College of Education’s Outstanding Service Award at Eastern Michigan University where she is an associate professor.

Jonathan Jones (Wyoming) 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 Newsbriefs 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 Learning Disabilities Association 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 life span. Jonathan brings to LDA an interest and strengths 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.

Board of Directors, 3-year term
JoAnna Barnes (North Carolina) is a lawyer and the parent of two children with learning disabilities. She has been involved with LDA since 2002. She is currently serving as second vice president on the LDA Board of Directors. At the local level, JoAnna has been active in Texas with Park Cities LDA and was a member of the board of directors. She is serving LDA of North Carolina as secretary and is the current president-elect. She currently serves on the LDA Public Policy Committee and leads a project researching the accessibility of test accommodations for persons with LD who apply to take a high school equivalency exam. Locally, she has participated in the Special Education PTA, served on her school district’s Special Needs Advisory Committee and served on the 504 Working Group. Although no longer practicing law, JoAnna has the experience of having worked in her practice with nonprofits of all sizes. She brings the perspective of looking at issues as they proceed from federal and state laws and regulations, and how issues occur in the day to day school setting. She is interested in making sure parents are educated about the rights of their child and not shuffled through the system. JoAnna brings many years as an advocate to the board and looks forward to analyzing which venues are the most successful in reaching parents and educators. “My interest comes from a legal perspective, specifically, equal protection.”

Ernie Florence (Illinois) brings experience at all levels of LDA since the 1980’s and currently serves on the LDA Board. He served as secretary of LDA and as president of Kane Kendall Chapter, LDA of Illinois for several terms. He was the State Presidents’ Representative and is a longtime member and chair of the Affiliate Support/Membership Committee, where he helped create LDA’s Volunteer Recognition program and coordinates conference activities for state presidents. This past year he served on the Bylaws and Policies Committee and has brought his skills to that task. Ernie resides in Illinois and is a retired teacher of students with behavioral disorders. Ernie believes a critical issue facing LDA of America is the continuation of the loss of the recognition of learning disabilities. He is known for his problem-solving and collaborative skills. Ernie believes that LDA of America should utilize new methods of connections and reaching out, such as video conferencing.

Virginia “Ginny” Simank (Texas) Ginny is an experienced presenter at the LDA conference, serves on the LDA Affiliate/Membership Committee, and is collaborating with two LDA board members to start a support group for Texas LDA in the Dallas area. Ginny was the lead presenter for an LDA webinar “Fun and Engaging Reading and Math Activities” that also included activities for parents to use during the summer. She is an independent contract instructor in Orton-Gillingham training for the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education and teaches reading and language arts at Dallas Academy, a specialized private school serving students with learning disabilities. She is the parent of a son with learning disabilities and has a brother-in-law with autism. Ginny considers the three most critical issues facing LDA today to be assessment and evaluation, state standards, and Response to Intervention (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support). She is passionate about literacy instruction using multi-sensory strategies. Ginny expresses excitement and support for advocacy, education and opportunity for all individuals with learning disabilities and their loved ones.

Myrna Soule (Oregon) is passionate about the subject of learning disabilities and, as a member since 1970, is committed to LDA. She currently serves as treasurer of LDA, chairs the Finance and By-Laws and Policies Committees, co-chairs the Education Committee, and serves on the Development and Research Committees. She rewrote LDA’s By-Laws and Policies, chaired the Sam Kirk Award, presented workshops and obtained conference speakers. Myrna organized LDA of Oregon and has served as secretary, treasurer and president—more than once per office. She continues to be the mainstay for the state affiliate, while serving on boards of related organizations. In the past 49 years, Myrna has been a teacher of students with LD, started three schools for the LD population, and is currently a tutor and consultant with specialization in specific learning disabilities. For all education students, Myrna supports training with a focus on serving students with SLD. She believes we could advance the visibility of LDA and recruit members through one-day seminars and workshops held in locations around the nation to keep LDA at the forefront of information sharing. Her life is devoted to helping individuals with learning disabilities learn how to learn and to advocating for them.

Board of Directors, 1-year term
Evalynne (Evie) W. Lindberg (Oklahoma) currently serves as secretary for LDA and co-chairs the Education Committee. For 40 years she has been involved with LDA of Oklahoma and currently is vice-president. As an adult with learning disabilities, Evie has an enthusiasm and compassion for working with students with learning disabilities and training teacher candidates who will impact students with disabilities. She is an associate professor with tenure at Oral Roberts University. Her recent accolades include: Scholar of the Year for the ORU College of Education, recognition by the International Women Leadership Association, and membership in Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society. Evie feels the critical issues she wants to focus on this year are to participate with a team to bring more recognition to the IDEA category of Specific Learning Disability and the accommodations and services needed for SLD students to be successful in our present education system, and to do her part to train and produce teacher candidates in higher education to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Marcia Livingston (Oklahoma) is an associate professor and coordinator of the English Language Learner (ELL) degree program at Oral Roberts University. She brings a wealth of experience in working with individuals who are English language learners. Marcia is a member of Oklahoma Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages and was recognized last year as Professional of the Year. She serves on the LDA Education Committee and has created a bookmark for Oklahoma LDA that identifies strategies to work with ELL students with or without a disability. Marcia often serves as guest speaker/lecturer, professional development presenter, and volunteer teacher. ORU’s College of Education recognized her as the outstanding faculty for the academic year 2013-14. She was named Outstanding Instructor at Florida Metropolitan University and has been president and co-councilor for ORU’s Kappa Delta Pi Chapter of the KDP International Honor Society for Educators. She desires to increase LDA’s work with teacher’s colleges and universities. Marcia sees the most critical issues facing our field as the lack of trained teachers/professionals to serve the needs of students with learning disabilities, the paucity of special education funding, and the ongoing practice of assessing special needs students without accommodations or adaptations in the same way as their peers without disabilities.

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