Board of Directors
Laurie Moloney is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and currently maintains a private practice, serving students of all ages — from the mildly involved to the severely learning disabled. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Delaware and was a business writer and editor before beginning her training in Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) in 1989. Laurie served on the board of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center from 2004 to 2009, served on its faculty, supervised interns, and led its fundraising activities. She currently teaches the ASDEC Summer Program for middle and high school students. Laurie also presents workshops locally on study skills and academic writing.
Deb Spear, M. Ed., CALT
Deborah Spear, M. Ed., CALT is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Clinical Director of ASDEC’s Northern Virginia Training Program. She has been in private practice since 2002 providing one-on-one and small group academic therapy for students with dyslexia and other language difficulties. She is Vice-President of the DC Chapter of the International Dyslexia Association, a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and a certified member of the Academic Language Therapists Association.
Sue Christakos is a former attorney who, in this capacity, drafted policy pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). She has also served as a reading tutor for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and contributed her time as a parent surrogate, wherein she advocated for students pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Sue currently works as an educational consultant for students with learning differences, assisting them and their families during the college selection process.
She also assists families in obtaining the proper accommodations under IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Sue holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Bucknell University and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Sue lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Donna L. Brooks is an ALTA-certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) and founder of Blessings Through Dyslexia, an intervention services provider. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from National Louis University in Chicago, IL. She is also certified as a Myers-Briggs Facilitator, an Equipping Minds (EM) Mediator, a Feuerstein Method Mediator, and The Listening Program (TLP) Provider. Donna is currently enrolled in a Master of Counseling Program at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. She is retired from the United States Air Force. Donna and her husband, Gary, have four children and live in Fairfax, Virginia. Donna and her daughter, Grace, understand the challenges and blessings that come with having dyslexia.
Marie Carpenter is a certified public accountant, specializing in the area of taxation. She started her career as a government contractor, traveling around the nation auditing contract and grant compliance for various government agencies. She then moved to a small firm in McLean, where she was on financial statement audit engagements and worked in the tax department. After two years at that firm, she moved permanently into the tax department. During this time, she obtained her CPA license and worked her way up to Senior Tax Accountant. In 2012, she decided to join her family business, which works only in the area of tax law. She serves several clients, including individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, crafting, and spending time with her family.
Allan Freedman is an energetic and accomplished association professional with more than twenty years’ experience in nonprofit management. Since 2013, he has held the positions of Executive Vice President of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, a credentialing agency. Prior to that, he held several executive management positions in national trade associations. Allan holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland and a Master’s of Business degree in Finance from Johns Hopkins University.
Allan is a trainer and former board member of 40 Plus of Greater Washington, DC, a community resource for economic empowerment. He also leads the Decoding Dyslexia movement in Montgomery County, Maryland. Allan lives in Bethesda, MD.
Jane Wilson Hanson
Jane Wilson Hanson has been in the field of education since 1977. She is currently a writing and reading teacher at Commonwealth Academy in Alexandria, VA. Jane holds a Bachelor’s degree in German from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Marymount University. She taught for three years at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Washington, DC; at a small non-profit placing and training volunteers; and at a small alternative high school where she taught Spanish. She then shifted into education for adults by working for 15 years in the field of management development and training. In 2001, Jane sought further training and education to specialize in teaching multi-sensory structured language (MSLE) to dyslexic students. She maintains a private practice in academic language therapy, working with children and adults with language based learning differences. Jane lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Cameron Sell Hoffman
Cameron Sell Hoffman is a nurse practitioner and member of a mobile van unit serving uninsured, impoverished, and often illiterate citizens. Previously, she worked as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse and as an Emergency Room nurse. She recognized signs of dyslexia in her youngest son, then in kindergarten, yet school personnel refused to recognize the term. She still advocates for her son, now in 7th grade, on a daily basis. Believing that the 40 years of research on dyslexia prove that it does exist, is not an antiquated term, and needs specific remediation given with fidelity, Cameron and several parents organized Decoding Dyslexia Virginia (DDVA), linking the NOVA region to the Richmond founding parents. She helped raise dyslexia awareness at the state and federal levels in 2013 and 2014, after which five of 11 federal Congressman from Virginia joined the Dyslexia Caucus. Cameron hopes to affect positive change for future generations by continuing to collaborate with local school officials and legislators. She believes our teachers, through no fault of their own, do not know enough about the warning signs of dyslexia, nor understand the appropriate remediation, and that with appropriate training, they can serve their students more effectively.
Currently working as an Educational Therapist in private practice, Fiona James has been a special education teacher since the late 1980’s and has worked in private and public schools in Canada and the U.S. She has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University and an Education Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University. She has worked at the Lab School and in the Montgomery County Public School system as a classroom teacher and Learning Specialist, among other places. Fiona is a professional member of the Association of Educational Therapists. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Warren Phenegar is currently a high school social studies teacher at The Siena School in Silver Spring, MD. Warren is a passionate and dedicated educator with more than ten years of experience teaching core requirements and honors electives in Social Studies for middle and high school students.
Warren received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Education from Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey. He also worked as a Test Development Specialist for the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC. Warren lives in Takoma Park, MD.
Amy Siegel is currently has a private tutoring practice in the Silver Spring-Howard County areas; she coaches study skills, reading comprehension, and writing skills. Her special area of interest is cultivating strong writing strategies to “ease” the writing process for students from middle school through graduate school. Amy has advanced degrees in English, is certified in Secondary Education, and is a graduate of the National Writing Project. Currently, she is pursuing a M.Ed. in Special Education. She has extensive training in learning differences and has most recently worked as a high school learning specialist.
For the last ten years, she has tutored in private school and home settings. Before that, she worked for ten years as a college professor and high school English teacher.
Amy Vanden Boogart
Amy Vanden Boogart is the Director of Curriculum and Product Development for Really Great Reading, where she writes and manages the development of materials for beginning and struggling readers. She also has leadership experience at the central office level of a charter school network. She has worked as a reading and language arts curriculum designer and assessment writer, and she is a certified and experienced elementary teacher. In addition, as an adjunct professor, Amy teaches reading/literacy and educational statistics courses at George Washington University, where she recently earned her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction.
Her research interests include upper elementary teacher knowledge and practice for teaching reading (particularly to struggling readers), the use of iPads and other emerging technologies for reading and writing instruction, professional development for teachers of reading, and multi-sensory reading instruction. Amy lives in Alexandria, VA.
Rachna Varia, PhD
Dr. Rachna Varia co-founded MindWell in 2004 and serves as the Director of Testing and Diagnostics. Dr. Varia has been a licensed clinical psychologist for 18 years. After becoming a parent, she saw a need to create a professional clinic in a warm, family friendly setting that understood the needs of parents and children.
Dr. Varia’s expertise lies with comprehensive assessment that teases out subtle and complex diagnostic questions. She works hard at understanding and explaining in plain language the interaction between behavioral, educational, and emotional findings to best inform both home and school recommendations.
Dr. Varia enjoys conducting learning disability (psychoeducational) testing and has a special interest in ADHD and the early detection of reading disorders, particularly the different subtypes of dyslexia. During feedback sessions, she also encourages parents to promote critical thinking and the concept of grit in their children.
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