The current member organizations of NJCLD are the following:
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Current NJCLD Representatives
Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.D., CALT-QI, represents the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). She has served on the NJCLD since 2019 and currently works on the Public Policy subcommittee. Lynne is the Founder and President of the Colorado Literacy & Learning Center which opened Orton Academy in fall, 2020, a Colorado public school for children with dyslexia. Additionally, she is Director and Lecturer of the Master of Arts in Teaching – Dyslexia Specialist program at Colorado College. Currently, Dr. Fitzhugh is President of the Academic Language Therapy Association and serves on the board of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. She is a contributor to the Barbara Bush Foundation National Action Plan for Adult Literacy and is a former board member of the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Fitzhugh was the 2018 recipient of the Council of Learning Disabilities Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award and the Colorado Council of Learning Disabilities 2018 Professional of the Year Award. Dr. Fitzhugh has a mother’s heart for those with learning disabilities: she has four adult children, three of whom are successful dyslexics, and three grandchildren.
Vicki King M. Ed., CALT, QI is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and a Qualified Instructor representing the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). She works as the Dyslexia Specialist and Program Advisor for the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). Prior to taking the position with DESE, she had a private practice providing dyslexia therapy and dyslexia therapist training for teachers. Vicki has a total of 26 years in education and has held positions as K-12 Special Education Resource Teacher, K-4 Literacy Interventionist, Reading Specialist, Literacy Facilitator, Dyslexia Therapist, and adjunct instructor. Vicki was the 2017 Arkansas Reading Association Educator of the Year recipient. Vicki lives in Central Arkansas with her husband, Walter (Bronco), and children, Quaid and Aiden.
Joyce S. Pickering, Hum. D., M.A. SLP/CCC, CALT, QI, AMS/EC a 40-year Montessorian, speech and hearing pathologist, and learning disabilities specialist who has devoted her life to addressing the needs of students with learning differences. Joyce is Executive Director Emerita of Shelton School & Evaluation Center in Dallas, Texas, the world’s largest independent school for intelligent children with learning differences. Joyce is the 2013 Living Legacy Recipient for American Montessori Society (AMS) as well as Past President of AMS Board of Directors and an active member of several AMS committees. MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) awarded the Wisdom of the Elders award to Joyce in 2015. ALTA (Academic Language Therapy Association) awarded Joyce the 2019 Luke Waites ALTA Award of Service. She is an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University, a clinical assistant professor at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and a committee member for accreditation of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Joyce travels the world to present classes and keynote speeches about Montessori education and how to meet the needs of learning-different students. Joyce is married to Dr. Robert Pickering, a former AMS president. She has five children and 13 grandchildren.
Jon Clancy, M.S., CCC-SLP, represents the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). He has served on the NJCLD since 2016 and currently works on the Content and Communications Committee. Jon is a speech-language pathologist in the Early Supports and Services program at Community Bridges, Concord, NH. He also works in private practice and provides services for adults with neurologically-based communication and swallowing disorders. He is a school board member for the John Stark Regional High School District. He is a former member of ASHA’s School Finance committee and past president of the New Hampshire Speech-Language Hearing Association, where he currently serves as treasurer. For four years, Jon was an adjunct faculty member in the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Program at Nashua Community College, Nashua, NH. His research interests lie in the area of receptive and expressive language disorders in the adolescent population. Jon’s interest in LD came from 12 years working in high school and middle school students. He lives in Concord, NH with his wife Jackie and children Madeline, 19, and Jared, 17.
Rebecca Wiseheart, PhD, CCC-SLP represents the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). She has served on the NJCLD since 2015 and currently leads the Content and Communications Committee. Rebecca is an associate professor and assistant chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at St. John’s University. She is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist and serves as CE Content Manager of ASHA’s Perspectives in Language Learning and Education. Her interest in learning disabilities began during her 17 years serving students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities in public schools and clinical practice. Before joining the faculty at St. John’s, she was a clinical supervisor in the Reading Disorders diagnostic clinic at the University of Florida. She teaches courses in assessment, language and literacy, and school-based speech-language pathology practice. Her research focuses on cognitive and linguistic processing in dyslexia. Rebecca has two adult sons and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband.
Glennis Daniels–Bacchus represents the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). She has been a member of NJCLD from 2016 and is on the Public Policy committee. Glennis is currently the Director of Disability Support Services and the ADA Coordinator for the College of Southern Maryland. She holds a B.A from Fordham University and M.S from Polytechnic/NYU. In her current position, Glennis is responsible for the development of policies and procedure for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amended Act (ADAAA) of 2008. Glennis develops and provides training programs for faculty and staff on the various laws, including the responsibility of post-secondary to adhere to those laws. Glennis developed a collaborative transition team that works to helps students with disabilities and their parents through transition to post-secondary institutions. She also represents Maryland’s post-secondary institutions on the Governor’s Interagency Transition Council (IATC) for youth with disabilities. With over 30 years of experience in the higher education, including services for students with disabilities, auditing DSS programs, processing post-secondary international students with Immigration and Naturalization rules and regulations, and presenting at state and national conferences on a wide variety of topics. Glennis is from Guyana, South America; married, and the parent of a daughter.
Janet Medina, Psy.D., represents the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Janet has served on the NJCLD since 2012 and currently works on the Public Policy committee. Janet is Associate Professor of Education Emerita at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD where she taught for 19 years. Originally trained as an anthropologist, she worked as an archaeologist for a few years and taught PreK-12th grade Special education for a number of years in New York state. At the postsecondary level, she worked with college students with disabilities at the time when colleges and universities were first developing postsecondary Disability Support Services (DSS) programs. Her two most recent publications include a chapter in the book, Behavior Management: Positive Applications for Teachers, 7th edition (2016) by Tom Zirpoli entitled: Diversity in the Classroom, and a book published by AHEAD entitled, Interpreting Diagnostic Assessments of Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities, 2nd edition (2017). In her spare time, she likes to read books, hike, travel, quilt, and spin, knit, and weave fiber.
Sandra E. Clifton, M.Ed., BCET, PCC, CEP, CDP represents the Association of Educational Therapists (AET) as a Board Certified Educational Therapist in private practice these past fifteen years. After teaching high school English for over decade, Sandra was hired at Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence as a Program Coach and Master Trainer. She then opened the Clifton Corner, a safe space of social-emotional support and individualized interventions for overwhelmed students who struggle with various angles of academic anxiety–including perfection, motivation, organization, learning differences, and low self-esteem. As a Certified Educational Planner (AICEP) Sandra also helps to educate both families and schools about the special needs of gifted, sensitive and twice-exceptional students. She is currently working to earn a doctorate in Cognitive Diversity at Bridges Graduate School, in Studio City, California. After thirteen years in Brooklyn, Sandra is enjoying the beauty of the Hudson Valley and now lives just outside of New York City with her sweet cat, Ginger Rogers.
Kaye Ragland, Ed.D, LMFT, BCET represents the Association of Educational Therapists (AET). Kaye has served on the NJCLD since 2016 and currently leads the Public Policy Committee. Kaye is an AET board certified educational therapist in private practice. Over the course of her 50 year career, she has been a teaching assistant, classroom and RSP teacher, school counselor, principal, director of special education and university instructor. She holds an MA in Marriage, Child, Family Counseling, and Ed.D in educational Leadership and Change. She has an Education Specialist Credential, a Marriage and Family Therapist license. Kaye is President Elect of the Board of the Association of Educational Therapists (AET), and also serves as Chairperson of the Membership and Public Information Committee. Her greatest SPED credential is her role as parent of two children with learning disabilities.
Debi Gartland represents the Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD). She has served on the NJCLD since 20 and currently works on the Content and Communications Committee. She has a Ph.D. from Penn State and has worked as a Special Education teacher and Assistant Principal. Debi is Professor of Special Education at Towson University (Maryland) and coordinates the Elementary Education-Special Education (EESE) Professional Development School program, working with EESE undergraduates in Howard County Public Schools in their senior internship year. In addition to dual-certification teacher preparation, her scholarship interests include advocacy and national policy, especially in the field of Learning Disabilities. Debi hails from Newton, MA, but currently lives in Maryland with her husband and their two daughters.
Roberta Strosnider, Ed.D., Professor Emerita of Special Education, Towson University, has been in the field of Education for fifty years and has had the opportunity to work with many students of all ages. Her most recent work has been in advocacy for students with learning disabilities and training teachers to provide executive function skill training to their students. She co-founded and directed Project Boost to enhance students’ executive function skills. She represents Council for Learning Disabilities on NJCLD. Roberta and her husband split their time between North Carolina and Florida.
Diane Paul, PhD, CCC-SLP, CAE, represents the Council for Exceptional Children/Division for Communication, Language, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing and has served since 2001. She is currently the Director of Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing
Association (ASHA), in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Paul, an ASHA Fellow, has worked for ASHA for 31 years and provides professional consultation,
develops education programs, and creates practice resources. She is the co-author of the ASHA Functional Assessment of Communication Skills for Adults, Quality of Communication Life Scale, Talking on the Go, and RTI in Action. She serves as ex officio to the Joint Committee for Interprofessional Relations Between the American Psychological Association and ASHA, the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities, and ASHA’s Special Interest Group 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders.
Froma P. Roth Ph.D., CCC-SLP represents the Division for Communicative Disabilities and Deafness (DCDD) and currently works on the Public Policy Committee. Froma is Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland at College Park and an ASHA Fellow. She studies children with and without language and learning disabilities, the variety of communication, linguistic and environmental factors that place children at-risk for language disorders and school failure, and the translation of research findings to evidenced-based instructional practices. She is the co-author of the Treatment Resource Manual for Speech-Language Pathology (5th edition) and PASS (Promoting Awareness of Sounds in Speech), a research-supported phonological awareness program for preschool/primary school settings. Her numerous publications and presentations emphasize issues related to the assessment and treatment of language and literacy problems from preschool through adolescence.
Michael Faggella-Luby, Ph.D. represents and is the President of the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Faggella-Luby is a Professor of Special Education and Director of the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service (ANSERS) Institute. He teaches courses related to preparing educators to use research-based methods and instructional materials for teaching students with and without disabilities. His scholarly interests focus on learning disabilities, literacy, instructional design, secondary education, and school reform. He has written publications related to cognitive learning strategies, systems change, self-determination, and literacy. Dr. Faggella-Luby is a former high school administrator and teacher of both English and Chemistry.
Elsa Cardenas Hagan, President Valley Speech Language and Learning Center, Brownsville, Texas. Elsa currently serves as the Chairperson of the NJCLD and Vice-Chairperson of the International Dyslexia Association. Elsa’s interests include the diagnosis and treatment of English learners with language and learning disabilities.On April 27th, 2018 Elsa received the Dr. Lucias Waites Award for Service to Individuals with Dyslexia from the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Eric Tridas, M.D., represents the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). He has served on the NJCLD since 2016 and currently works on the Content and Communications Committee. Dr. Tridas is a Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in the diagnosis and management of neurodevelopmental conditions. He is the Medical Director of the Tridas Center for Child Development, a Clinical Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, and an Associate member for the Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children and Youth for the Office of Oversea Schools, United States Department of State. Dr. Tridas is Past President of the International Dyslexia Association and the 2017 recipient of IDA’s Margaret Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award. He edited and co-authored From ABC to ADHD: What Every Parent Should Know About Dyslexia and Attention Problems.
Nancy Cushen White, EdD, represents The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) on the NJCLD (2003-2012; 2015 to present) and currently serves on the Public Policy and Symposium subcommittees. Nancy is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics-Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine-University of CA-San Francisco and a member of the UCSF Dyslexia Research Team. She has 40+ years in public schools as classroom teacher and special education teacher with San Francisco Unified School District. She piloted a special day class for 2e students diagnosed with dyslexia and intellectually gifted; has been working as a Literacy Intervention Consultant and Case Manager for Lexicon Reading Center in Dubai—United Arab Emirates since 2010; and has taught literacy skills classes to young adults (ages 19-24) in the Pre-Trial Diversion Project through the Mentor Court Division of San Francisco Superior Court. Currently, she is editor of the Examiner, IDA’s on-line newsletter. Her most recent publication will be (August 2018) Farrell, ML & White, NC. (in press) Structured Literacy Instruction, in Birsh, J and Carreker, S, Ed. Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills (4th edition), Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Nancy lives in San Francisco with her husband Bebo and is the humble mother of two adult sons, aged 36 and 40; she has two grandsons, 6 years old and 3 years old.
JoAnna Barnes, J.D., represents the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). She has served on the NJCLD since 2015 and currently works on the Symposium Committee. JoAnna holds a B.A. and J.D. from Georgetown University and is a member of the Maryland and D.C. Bars. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) and serves as Co-Chair of its Public Policy & Advocacy Committee. JoAnna is also President of the Learning Disabilities Association of North Carolina. She practiced law from 1986 to 1999 in Maryland and D.C.; her practice primarily focused on affordable housing finance and federal housing programs. Since 1999 JoAnna has focused her legal skills and energies on community service and in the last decade has been active advocating on issues impacting those with learning disabilities. JoAnna lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is the parent of two adult children (ages 24 and 21) with learning disabilities who were each identified in early grade school.
Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D. represents the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). She has served on the NJCLD since 2017 and currently works on the Public Policy and Symposium subcommittees. Monica is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Temple University. Having retired from public education after twenty-seven years of service in Pennsylvania. Monica started her career as a school psychologist and later moved into administration. She earned her doctorate and masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. An advocate for translating research into action, she served on the advisory committee for Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot. Monica advocates for responsible inclusion and equity for historically underserved students including racially, culturally and linguistically diverse learners 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. Most importantly, Monica is parent to four successful adult children who navigated their own learning challenges.
Arlene Stewart, Ed.D. has been a representative for the Learning Disabilities Association of America since 2016. She has worked with students with learning and attention issues for over 40 years in a variety of roles including public school teacher, college service provider for students with LD and/or ADHD, transition trainer and service provider, NC Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Specialist and as a vocational training program director. She is particularly interested in transition planning and implementation and all issues affecting young people planning for or currently involved in higher education or work. She wrote the Post-Secondary Learning Disabilities Primer for college faculty and administrators.
Arlene most recently served as the Director of Student Disability Services at Clemson University. She is a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences, and is Co-Program Chair for the LDA 2019 conference, an LDA North Carolina Board member, and a past LDA state president. In addition, she is a member of the editorial board of the Non-Partisan Education Review. In addition to her professional experience, Arlene has the personal experience of parenting two bright, challenging young men with learning and attention issues.
Sheila Desai, Ph.D., NCSP represents the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). She has served on NJCLD since 2017 and works on the Public Policy Committee. Sheila is Director of Educational Practice at NASP. She has been in the field of school psychology for 10 years engaging in practice, teaching, and research. Seven of those years, she served children with disabilities in public school and clinical day treatment settings. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she worked as a school psychologist in Boston Public Schools for 4 years. Her dissertation research focused on supervision and the supervisory relationship. During her predoctoral and postdoctoral training, she was a member of the Psychological and Behavioral Consultation department at EASTCONN, in Northeastern Connecticut, where she provided school psychological and behavioral consultation services in clinical day treatment and public school settings. On a personal note, this past year was one of many milestones – she got married, moved from Massachusetts to Maryland, started my job at NASP and had their first child!
Elizabeth (Liz) Niemiec, CAGS, NCSP, represents the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). She has served on NJCLD since 2016 and is the chairperson for the Communications Subcommittee. Liz is a school psychologist practicing in Baltimore City Public Schools. After six years of traditional, site-based practice, she joined the Prevention and Intervention for Early Learners (PIEL) team, where she provides consultation and builds the capacity of school-based staff to utilize a multi-tiered system of supports. Liz currently serves as the immediate past president of the Baltimore City Association of School Psychologists, as well as the communications coordinator for the Maryland School Psychologists’ Association. Liz is a proud graduate of William James College, where she developed her professional areas of interests of advocating for social justice, supporting LGBTQIA students, and creative arts integration. Liz looks forward to continuing the work of the NJCLD to help school-based staff accurately identify and support students with specific learning disabilities.
Catherine Perkins, Ph.D. represents National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). She has served on NJCLD since 2018 and is currently the secretary for NJCLD. Catherine is the Coordinator of the Educational Specialist Program in School Psychology at Georgia State University and a research fellow with the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management. She has been a practicing school psychologist in the state of Georgia for over 25 years. She has worked in the public school setting as a paraprofessional, a school psychologist and later as an administrator. Dr. Perkins is a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Georgia and affiliated with the International School Psychology Association (ISPA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the Georgia Association of School Psychologists, for whom she served as President in 2010. She currently represents the state of Georgia as an elected delegate to the NASP Leadership Assembly. Dr. Perkins received her doctorate from Georgia State University with a concentration in School Psychology. Areas of specialization include developmental neuropsychology, biopsychology, and social-emotional development of children and adolescents. Additionally, Dr. Perkins is interested in preparing school psychologists to meet the demands of a diverse society. Dr. Perkins has recently participated in a research project sponsored by the International School Psychology Association that focuses on promoting psychological well-being of children and youth globally. Her research explored conceptions of Mental Health for Youth in Mexico. Other research interests include the prevention and intervention of bullying in schools as well as the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of youth.
Sheldon H. Horowitz is the Senior Advisor of Strategic Innovation, Research & Insights at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). He provides leadership and oversight of key programs, and serves as an in-house expert on learning and attention issues to the NCLD and Understood teams. Prior to his arrival at NCLD in 1996, Dr. Horowitz served as associate director of the Learning Diagnostic Center at Schneider Children’s Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. Before that he was assistant unit chief, educational supervisor, and grand rounds chairperson of the Center for Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Sheldon has taught at primary, secondary and college levels, and worked as a consultant to school districts throughout the New York metropolitan region. His special interests include neurobiology of learning, educational assessment, fetal alcohol effects in children, language-based learning disabilities, disorders of hyperactivity and attention, and learning disabilities in adolescents. Sheldon completed his master’s degree at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, and holds a doctorate in learning disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York, with a specialization in learning disabilities and neurosciences in education. He is a regular presenter at professional conferences in the field of special education, and is frequently cited in the popular press. During his more than twenty years at NCLD, Sheldon has provided leadership on many of NCLD’s projects and programs as well as oversight of NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board. He enjoys being the ‘go to’ person for questions about learning and attention issues across program areas, and is co-author of NCLD’s signature publication, The State of Learning Disabilities Report.
Meghan Whittaker, J.D., MSW, represents the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). She has served on NJCLD since 2017 and works on the Public Policy Committee. Meghan is the policy and advocacy manager at National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) where she has been for nearly five years. In her work, Meghan analyzes state and federal policies and proposals, conducts research, and develops content for parents, advocates, and Congressional staff. She has worked on a variety of issues including K-12 education, early learning, and higher education, personalized learning, state laws, and vouchers. Before joining NCLD, Meghan completed her law degree and master’s degree in social work at the Catholic University of America. Meghan grew up in Connecticut and attended college in Massachusetts before calling the DC area home with her husband and her dog.