Speaker Bios


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41st ANNUAL PBIDA CONFERENCE

READING AND THE ROAD TO RESILIENCY

Saturday, October 19, 2019
at

The Philadelphia Marriott West in Conshohocken

 

SPEAKERS BIOS

Kelly Cartwright, Ph.D.

Kelly B. Cartwright serves as Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and
Teacher Preparation at Christopher Newport University (CNU) where she directs the
Reading, Executive function, and Development Lab (READ Lab). Kelly’s research explores
the development of skilled reading comprehension and the neurocognitive, linguistic, and
affective factors that underlie reading comprehension processes and difficulties from
preschool through adulthood. Kelly has a particular interest in the role of executive function
processes (mental skills that support goal-directed activities), such as cognitive flexibility, in
the development of skilled reading comprehension, and she wrote the first comprehensive
text on this topic (Executive Skills and Reading Comprehension, Guilford, 2015). Kelly’s has
developed reading-specific executive function assessments and interventions, and her
graphophonological-semantic cognitive flexibility assessment has been adapted for use in
several languages. More recently, she has turned her attention to the roles of executive function
processes in particular domains of reading comprehension, such as health literacy and mathematics
word problem comprehension; contributions of executive functions to other individual difference
variables that support reading comprehension, such as strategic processing; and to reading
comprehension development in Spanish-speaking English learners.
Saturday Keynote & Saturday AM 1 Workshop

 

Dean Bragonier

Dean Bragonier is the Founder and Executive Dyslexic of NoticeAbility Inc, a nonprofit
organization dedicated to helping students with dyslexia identify their unique strengths
and build self-esteem. Shaped by the challenges associated with his dyslexia and after
struggling through the traditional secondary education system, Dean became a diligent
and successful college student who developed a true love of learning at Bates College.
Upon graduation, Dean embraced his entrepreneurial instincts and acquired a small seasonal
restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard Island that he transformed into a successful full-scale
enterprise. It was through this endeavor that he was able to contextualize his years of
laborious academic learning and discover the true gifts of his dyslexic mind. As a social
entrepreneur, Dean has founded his own nonprofit organizations and served as board member
and advisor to a number of others. NoticeAbility is the culmination of Dean’s passion for
education and his conviction that the advantages of dyslexia far outweigh its associated challenges.
Saturday PM Plenary Session

 

Steve Dykstra, Ph.D.

Steve Dykstra is a clinical psychologist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has worked in public
sector community mental health for more than 25 years. He is a founding member of the
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, and vice president of the Coalition for Reading Excellence, but he
has never tutored or taught a child to read. Except for parts of one or two courses in graduate
school, he has no formal training on the topic. Instead, through the course of his work and life,
he has come to see the role of reading, reading struggles, and reading failure in the lives of the
thousands of children he has served, as well as in their families, schools, and communities.
Building on knowledge and training he sought for himself, he brings together the science of
reading he has discovered, with the lessons he has learned from the children he serves, and
what he knows about people to understand how we got to where we are, and how we might
change that. Steve is a member of the advisory board of the International Foundation of
Effective Reading Instruction. Friday Evening Keynote & Saturday AM 2 Workshop

 

 

Linda Farrell, MBA, M.Ed.

Linda Farrell is a founding partner at Readsters, where she is immersed in the world of
beginning and struggling readers. Linda designs and presents workshops, writes books, and
develops instructional materials for effective reading instruction. She has coauthored several
publications with her business partner, Michael Hunter, including Phonics Plug-In, Phonics
Blitz, Phonics Boost, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys. She is also a coauthor of
the Teaching Reading Essentials Program Guide and Coach’s Guide (coauthored with Louisa
Moats), and DIBELS: the Practical Manual. Linda was a National LETRS Trainer for seven
years. Linda has been presenting workshops and giving speeches on reading instruction
throughout the country since 2000. She taught junior high English and was a high school and
elementary school counselor. However, it was only when Linda volunteered to teach adults to
read that she understood older struggling readers’ needs for explicit phonics and phonemic
awareness instruction at the most basic levels. Linda keeps her skills fresh and innovative by
working with struggling readers of all ages whenever she has time. Saturday AM 3 Workshop

 

Tatyana Elleseff, MA CCC-SLP 

Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP is a bilingual SLP, specializing in issues of multicultural,
internationally & domestically adopted, at-risk children with communication disorders
in school and private practice settings. She has been published in several peer-reviewed
journals as well as presented for numerous medical, academic and non-profit organizations and
speech-language-hearing associations in the United States as well as Canada. She is a clinical instructor at the
RWJ Medical School Dept. of Psychiatry and a Clinical Supervisor at Rutgers Day School,
an outpatient facility located in a hospital setting for children with significant psychiatric disturbances
and concomitant language and literacy impairments. ” Saturday AM 4 Workshop

 

Kelly Butler, M.Ed.

Kelly Butler is The Barksdale Reading Institute’s (BRI) managing director for policy and
partnerships. She brings BRI’s research knowledge and teaching expertise to improve reading
instruction in Mississippi public schools at all levels – teacher preparation, K-3 classrooms,
instructional coaching, and school leadership. Kelly also develops partnerships with state and
national organizations that promote evidence-based practices in early literacy instruction. Kelly
spearheaded BRI’s development of The Reading Universe©, a detailed scope and sequence for
training teachers on how to deliver sequential, systemic, explicit reading instruction; and the
development of a Social/Emotional Literacy project for pre-K through 8th grade. She is the
project coordinator for a BRI-sponsored statewide initiative to improve teacher preparation
programs focused on early literacy instruction in Mississippi’s 15 public and private universities
and is lead author of Mississippi’s Statewide Study on Teacher Preparation for Early Literacy
Instruction. She has active partnerships with the Governor’s Task Force on Teacher Preparation
for Early Literacy Instruction, the Higher Education Literacy, and the Advisory Board of the
Southeast Regional Educational Lab. Previously, Kelly was a teacher in the Greenwich,
Connecticut public schools; served as special assistant to the Region IV Secretary of Health,
Education, and Welfare; and worked extensively with a variety of nonprofit organizations in
social service, health care, and education in the areas of program development, support, and
evaluation. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in special education, and a master’s degree in
administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. Saturday PM 1 Workshop

 

Michael Hunter, M.Ed.

Michael Hunter a founding partner of Readsters. Michael found his passion for teaching
struggling readers by volunteering to teach adults to read in Washington DC. In 2001, Michael
left his job as president of a concrete construction company to pursue a career helping students
learn to read using the most effective methods available. Michael is co-author with his business
partner, Linda Farrell, of Phonics Plug-In ONE, the Practice Packets to Fix Common
Confusions, Phonics Blitz and Phonics Boost lessons, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys.
Michael presents professional development workshops nationally and advises schools and
districts on implementation of effective reading instruction. He also continues to create
assessments, lessons and other materials to help beginning and struggling readers. He enjoys
working with and learning from struggling readers of all ages whenever he finds time. Michael’s
work has even taken him to the Republic of Gambia and Rwanda in Africa to train and advise on
early reading instruction for the Global Partnership for Education. Saturday PM 2 Workshop

 

Panel Presenters

Dawn Brookhart serves as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology in the Danville Area School District.
Since 2010, the district has embraced the teaching of reading using applied science by implementing a multisensory,
structured literacy curriculum based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology in grades PK-4.
Under Dawn’s leadership, Danville served as a model school for the PA Pilot Schools through numerous site visits
and established the first public school teacher training program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
through the Danville Area Reading and Dyslexia Academy, where Dawn leads all internal and external training.

Penny Moldofsky is the Director of the Literacy Institute at Woodlynde School with more than 45 years
of experience as a reading specialist. She is a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer who teaches and coaches
educators from a wide range of schools so they can infuse instruction with the concepts and
elements of Structured Literacy.  In addition to providing a speaker series for parents and professionals in the larger
community, she guides Wilson Reading System® instructors in staying current with research findings and best practices.

Susie Macik is the Elementary Principal for the Bentworth School District and she also serves as the
district’s Federal Programs Coordinator. Before coming to Bentworth in 2006, she was a principal in the
West Greene School District.  During her time at Bentworth, Susie has been instrumental in developing a schoolwide
RTII program and in 2015, Bentworth Elementary was chosen as one of eight schools in
Pennsylvania to be part of the Dyslexia Pilot Program. She is a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals
and the Pennsylvania Principals Association.  She earned her Master’s of Education at Carlow College
and her Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from Edinboro University.

Kirk Smothers is Head of School at Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli, a Quaker school that serves
bright students who learn differently in Paoli, Pennsylvania. Prior to Delaware Valley Friends, he served as a
teacher in specialized and mainstream independent schools in New York and Maryland, in addition to
being a director of college counseling and college admissions officer. He holds a BA in History and
Economics/Business from Cornell College, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, and an EdM in Educational
Leadership from the Klingenstein Center of Teachers College, Columbia University.

Megan Fairchild is Assistant Teacher Trainer at Delaware Valley Friends School in their Adolescent Literacy Program.
Additionally, Megan is a lead teacher in DV’s Lower School. She obtained her BA from Bryn Mawr College
and her MS Ed. from Saint Joseph’s University. Megan is certified as a CALP and Wilson Level 1 Instructor.

Suruchi serves as the Director of Instructional Coaching and Training at the AIM Institute for
Learning and Research. In that role, she leads the development and execution of training and
coaching programs for educators and school administrators to provide effective, evidence-based literacy instruction.
Suruchi earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Linguistics, and Spanish at the University of Michigan and her
Masters of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in learning disabilities at American University. 

Saturday PM 3 Workshop

 

Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D

Monica McHale-Small is an Adjunct Associate 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, 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, joined the PA Dyslexia
Literacy Coalition and served on the advisory committee for Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening
and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot. This pilot is 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. She has served on the Board of Directors of the
PA Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, the Learning Disabilities Association of America,
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.
Saturday PM 4 Workshop

 

 

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