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 (ASDEC) from 2004 to 2009. She currently teaches the ASDEC Summer Program for middle and high school students. She lives in Rockville, Maryland.
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.
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.
Bekah Atkinson currently serves as the director of admissions and marketing at The Siena School and has worked in schools serving students with language-based learning differences for more than twenty years. She was previously director of admissions and registrar at the Pershing and Chelsea Schools in Silver Spring, where she oversaw all aspects of enrollment, recruitment, assessment, retention, and financial aid. She also served in a variety of administrative leadership roles at Grace Episcopal Day School and The Gow School in South Wales, NY. In addition to supporting admissions functions, her roles at these schools included: directing and managing summer school programs; directing extended day, after-school and enrichment programs; and supporting business office functions. She supports WISER (Washington Independent Services for Educational Resources) by serving as a board member and has served as a past board member of the D.C. Capitol Area branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Ms. Atkinson also has extensive experience in athletics, having coached and/or participated in high school and collegiate soccer, lacrosse, swimming and diving programs. Ms. Atkinson holds a B.S. in health sciences/leadership studies from Marietta College.
Sonya Atkinson is in her 9th year as an ADHD/Executive Functioning Skills Coach and a Learning Specialist in Flint Hill’s Upper School. For the past eight years, she has also been the Siena School’s Academic Enrichment Coordinator during their Summer at Siena program. Sonya holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology, with a Minor concentration in Archeology from the State University of New York at Fredonia and Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er-Sheva, Israel. She received her Masters in Education from Lesley University in Reading, Writing, and Language Development. Sonya has also completed post-graduate work at Towson University, focusing on Educational Psychology. Sonya is in her 5th year of service on the DCIDA Board. In her time, she has presented several workshops on behalf of the branch, covering topics on Digital Organizational Strategies and Assistive Technologies for students with language-based learning differences. When she is not working at Flint Hill, Siena, or serving on the DCIDA Board, she enjoys spending time with her family & friends, traveling to bucket-list destinations, and tackling athletic endeavors such as hiking, half-marathons, weight-lifting, pilates, and yoga. She resides in Oakton, VA.
Christine Bellotti is an Academic Language Therapist, working with individual students in Montgomery County. Christine has been an advocate for evidenced-based instruction for dyslexic students in Maryland public schools with Decoding Dyslexia Maryland for the past four years. Christine is a graduate of Providence College with a BA in English. She lives in Kensington, MD with her husband Stephen and two children.
Laurie Friedman is an executive coach. In addition, she has been active in school program development and management since 2007. She serves on several boards and committees in the community — most focused on supporting the needs of at-risk populations. She is the parent of a dyslexic and an advocate for evidence-based instruction in schools. Laurie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing & Business from the University of Maryland. She lives with her husband and two children in Bethesda, MD.
Janique Parrott Gaffney
Janique Parrott Gaffney has spent most of her professional career teaching in schools that serve students from disenfranchised communities. She strongly believes that learning to read and write is a human right, for without these skills, individuals cannot fully participate in society. Currently, she teaches 7th and 8th grade English in a self-contained setting in South East D.C., in a school where there is no comprehensive plan to support dyslexic students. She is pursuing her credential in academic language therapy through ASDEC so that she can explicitly teach students the foundational language skills they lack.
Committed to raising awareness about dyslexia, appropriate interventions, and accommodations, especially in schools that serve students in disenfranchised communities, she leads presentations and workshops for parents and teachers in the D.C. area. Janique attended Bryn Mawr College and received her Master of Arts Degree in Secondary English Education from Brown University. She lives in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Jane Wilson Hanson
Jane Wilson Hanson has been in the field of education since 1977. She is currently a writing and reading teacher at the Lab School of Washington in Washington, D.C. 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.
Sarah Irvine Belson, Ph.D.
Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson serves as the Director of the Master of Arts in Special Education program and as the principal investigator in the Institute for Innovation in Education at American University. Her research explores educational opportunity for children with disabilities and teacher education policy. Her focus is on applied interventions for children at risk in two major areas, including special education technology and teacher education policy and practice. Dr. Belson’s experience as a K12 special educator and her focus on interventions to educational outcomes for children with disabilities and reduce cognitive load in children with specific learning disabilities is a cornerstone of her research and teaching. Dr. Belson earned her BA, MAE, and PhD from Arizona State University and has worked in schools, school systems, industry, and higher education for more than 30 years.
Mary Clayman is an elementary teacher at DCPS and Founding Director of the DC Reading Clinic (opening January, 2019). The DC Reading Clinic is the first free intervention clinic for students with decoding difficulties in DC. The Clinic will also train aspiring reading specialists in structured literacy using a practicum model. Mary began her career at KIPPDC as a literacy teacher and reading specialist. She holds a Masters in Reading from Teachers College (Columbia University). She is the recipient of two KIPPDC teaching awards and the DCPS Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching.
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 twelve 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.
Alex Wolitzer, M.Ed
Alex Wolitzer holds a Master’s Degree in Education and works with students with learning differences and ADHD at Flint Hill School. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Skidmore College, Alex served as a Special Education Fellow with the DC Teaching Fellows program. She has since taught both Special and General Education in public, charter, and private school settings as well as counsel students and their families on school choice. Alex is passionate about policies and programs that grant opportunities to promote educational equity, especially to historically underserved populations.
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