Board of Directors
- Nancy Hennessy, Vice President
Nancy Hennessy, literacy consultant and past president of the International Dyslexia
Association is an experienced educator. While in public schools, she provided leadership in the
development of professional learning systems and innovative programming for special needs
students. Nancy has and continues to design and deliver keynotes, as well as workshops and
courses, related to reading proficiency. She is a former Lead Trainer of Wilson Language Systems & National Trainer for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). Nancy co-authored Module 6 of LETRS, Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension (2 nd edition) with Louisa Moats. Her chapter, Working with Word Meaning: Vocabulary Instruction, is in the fourth edition of Multisensory Teaching of Basic Skills. More recently, she authored the book, A Blueprint for Reading Comprehension Instruction: Helping Students Make Meaning from Text. Nancy has served on multiple boards including the National Joint Commission on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD). In 2011, Nancy received the International Dyslexia Association’s Margaret Byrd Rawson
Lifetime Achievement Award and was the recipient of NCIDA’s June Lyday Orton Award in 2012. She believes that all children have the right to learn how to read and that educators have the responsibility to learn how to teach them.
- Laura Daniels
Laura Daniels has taught elementary school for sixteen years. She has enjoyed teaching second, third and fourth grades and serving as a Reading Interventionist. Laura’s passion for helping all children learn to read led her to be trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Laura has served as a private tutor for elementary aged children.
- Callie Luker
Callie is an elementary special education teacher with licensure in both General and Adaptive Special Education. She has taught learners of all ages in the NC Public Schools for 16 years. Callie is an active member of the Council for the Exceptional Children and has delivered multiple workshops. While employed by the Edenton Chowan Public Schools, she was recognized as a Teacher of Excellence and named Teacher of the Year. She was also recognized as Mattamuskeet Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2019 while serving as a Special Education Teacher. Callie is passionate about empowering administrators and teachers and believes in the importance of using a multisensory approach when teaching reading. She also believes that every person given the right strategy on a consistent basis can learn to read. Above all Callie believes that learning to read should be fun and accessible to all.
- Nikki Whitley
Nikki Whitley received her B.A. in Elementary Education at Elon University. She has taught in public and private school settings. Nikki taught at The Hill School of Wilmington for seven years and is level 2 IMSLEC certified. She currently works in Wilmington as a tutor and consultant with families of children with learning differences. She enjoys educating parents and teachers on implementing best practices and helping them establish achievable goals for their children. She advocates for and seeks to find answers for families navigating the world of dyslexia and other learning differences.
- Nikki Snow
Nikki has a passion for promoting the understanding of the best practices in education that support the needs of all learners, but specifically those learners with dyslexia. In her 17 years in education, Nikki has worked as a literacy coach, reading specialist and classroom teacher and currently teaches at the Hill School of Wilmington where she is also the Tutoring Program Coordinator.
- Dr. Trang Huynh-Watts
Trang Huynh-Watts is a Scientific Review Analyst Advisor with a background in biomedical research. She has training in the Wilson Reading System program and Orton Gillingham which she has used to instruct her own children to read. Trang has first-hand experience of the struggles that her family encountered with all aspects of early reading and writing acquisitions. Her advocacy work focuses on oral language skills with the importance of early literacy success and structured literacy practices that align with the science of reading. She is especially passionate about advocacy endeavors for older students, and 2E students that have not yet mastered foundational literacy skills, particularly advanced phonemic awareness.
- Laura Britt
Laura –UNCP Graduate 1987 and 2008. I have my BS in Special Education and a Masters as a Literacy Specialist, both from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. From January 2010 – September 2016 served as Instructional Strategies and Literacy Consultant for NCDPI in Exceptional Children’s department for the Sandhill’s region. Previously, I was an EC Resource teacher for 12 years and an EC Program Specialist for Scotland County Schools. I am a National Board Certified Teacher since 2001 and renewed in 2010. I serve as a NB mentor to current candidates and renewals. I have been an NCSIP-Reading Research to Classroom Practice (Reading Foundations) Instructor since 2003. . I am a certified trainer/coach for Keys to Literacy: Comprehension Routine (K-12) by Joan Sedita. I retired from NC in 2016, but currently work in SC as a Reading Coach at Bennettsville Intermediate School. I also continue to provide RRtCP (Reading Foundations) on a contractual basis to districts in NC.
- Dr. Gretchen Robinson
Gretchen G. Robinson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Leadership & Specialties (ELS) at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She serves as Interim Chair of the departments of Teacher Education and ELS, and Program Director of the Master of School Administration Program. She received her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from UNCG, her M.S. in Communication Sciences & Disorders from WCU, and her Ph.D. in Special Education from UNCG. She has over 20 years of experience working in higher education and in the public schools. Her research interests include multitier systems of support, culturally responsive practices, equity education, and language and literacy practices for students who are at-risk or who have disabilities. She has published articles, presented workshops locally and internationally on evidence-based teaching strategies in reading, and has disseminated research at national and regional conferences.
- Lynne Loeser, Secretary
Lynne Loeser graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education and a Master’s Degree from the University of Louisville in Learning and Behavior Disorders. She is a National Board Certified teacher (Exceptional Needs Specialist). Lynne has worked in public education for over forty years in various capacities including special education teacher, compliance and monitoring, educational diagnostician, mentor to beginning teachers, instructional coach, and professional development instructor. In 2019, she retired from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as the statewide consultant for Specific Learning Disabilities and ADHD where she led statewide efforts on specially designed instruction and progress monitoring, dyslexia and revisions of state policy for the evaluation and identification of Specific Learning Disabilities. She currently works for Lexia Learning where she is a Professional Learning Facilitator for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). She is passionate about ensuring teachers have access to the scientific evidence base to deliver effective reading instruction for all and that students with disabilities receive the necessary specially designed instruction that closes achievement gaps.
- Aimee Picon
Aimee Picon holds her B.A. in Special Education and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education both earned from the University of Florida. She has taught in public and private schools, in both general education and special education settings. In her current role as Director of Educational Outreach and Wilson® Credentialed Trainer at Noble Academy in Greensboro, NC she supports teachers in their instruction of students with Dyslexia and provides training in The Wilson Reading System®nationally. She is passionate about working with children with special needs and their families She brings 24 years of experience as an educator and parent in the special needs community to NCIDA.
Darci earned her BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY and her Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Winthrop University. After graduating from Winthrop, she worked in a variety of schools within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, not only as a School Psychologist, but also as a School Counselor for 7+ years. Currently, and for the last 10+ years, she has provided educational advocacy and consulting for Southeast Psych. Through her own professional and personal experiences (raising 2 daughters, one with a diagnosed learning disability), Darci helps to simplify the Special Education and 504 processes for parents, while advocating for their children’s rights. In addition, she assists current Charlotte families and those relocating to the Charlotte area, with finding schools that fit their child’s educational/learning needs. Darci is an NCIDA board member as well as a committee chair.
- Kyla Crews
As the reading specialist for my school, I believe that it is part of my role to consistently obtain/expand on any knowledge as it relates to literacy/language instruction. This supports my instruction/interventions for my students as well supports the knowledge I deliver to other educators. I believe becoming a candidate for board membership will deepen my knowledge on dyslexia. This will then help me in spreading awareness, educating, and supporting teachers, colleagues, and students.
- Margaret Hemric
I began my career providing therapy for adult stroke and head injury patients in hospitals and clinics, and I continued to build on those language-based and cognitive skills as I moved to a school setting at Charlotte Country Day School to provide support for students struggling with reading and learning. My focus on JK-4th grade students gave me a great lab in which to develop strengths in early intervention, assessment, and discernment about the most important skills needed for teachers and students. While I retired two years ago, I consider myself a lifelong learner and remain interested in and passionate about dyslexia and other factors that impact learning.
- Dawny Hill
Dawnyale “Dawny” Hill is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) with over 20 years of experience in the field. Dawny is currently the owner of Fostering Communication, a private practice that provides virtual speech, language, and intensive reading services to children grades K-12. Dawny has also worked in public and private schools settings. She is a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.) as well as a Coach for the Reading Teacher’s Top Ten Tools. Dawny enjoys partnering with families and she loves seeing the smiles on students’ faces as they become more confident readers.
- Jennifer McConnell
Jennifer McConnell is a psychological associate with Southeast Psych in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and both an MA in Psychology and an Ed.S. in School Psychology from The Citadel. She has worked both in public schools and in private practice completing evaluations with children in order to better understand their overall learning strengths and weaknesses, learning differences, attention challenges, and/or emotional challenges. She also provides counseling support for children and their families related to a variety of concerns such as anxiety, depression, and behavior management, as well as academic consultations and coaching. She is passionate about helping children with learning differences and their families better understand their learning profiles, determine strategies to help them compensate for or remediate any underlying challenges, and find more success in all environments.
- Pryor Rayburn, Immediate Past President
Pryor is the Director of the Lower School Educational Resource Program at Charlotte Country Day School. Pryor taught in the classroom for 4 years and she was a reading tutor at Charlotte Country Day School for two years. After having children, she was a private tutor for ten years. She is a Certified member of the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and completed her training under AOGPE fellows Pat Langston and JoAnn Crawford. Pryor is passionate about helping teachers, parents, and students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. She has a BA in Art History. Credentials include CALP (ALTA), Certified AOGPE Orton Tutor, and Dyslexia Practitioner (IDA).
- Hallie Rojeski
Hallie Rojeski serves as the Head of School at The John Crosland School in Charlotte, NC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Low Incidence Disorders – both earned with honors from East Carolina University. She also holds a Post-Master’s Certificate in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She brings over 20 years of teaching and leadership experience to this Board. She is passionate about supporting IDA efforts and is currently serving as a conference chair for the October IDA Conference in 2021.
Sara Gray Horne received her BA in Elementary Education and MEd. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Instructor of Therapy (Level 4, IMSLEC) and a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (CERI). Sara Gray has had many roles at Hill Learning Center over the course of nearly four decades including teacher, level coordinator, Director of Studies, and trainer/project manager. Sara Gray is passionate about mentoring teachers who are working with struggling readers.
Nancy Coffman has proudly served students with dyslexia and related disorders for over 30 years. She first taught middle school students at the Shelton School in Dallas, Texas, and then transitioned to delivering certificate level instruction in Structured Literacy to teachers across the country. Though recently retired, Nancy continues to consult and provide training in Structured Literacy techniques. Nancy has served as a board member for the International Dyslexia Association, as president of ALTA and of the Alliance board, and as a board member of IMSLEC. She is currently the President of the IDA North Carolina Branch. She is a Certified Academic Language therapist (CALT) and Qualified Instructor (QI). Nancy is the proud parent, sister, daughter, and potentially grandmother of individuals with dyslexia. These individuals ignited her passion for serving students who learn differently. Nancy lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
- Candi Sellars, Treasurer
Candi Sellers received her undergraduate in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities. She has taught in public, private, and homeschool settings. Candi is a Fellow of OGA, CALT-QI with ALTA, SLDS with CERI, and North Carolina licensed teacher. She currently trains individuals in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, tutors individuals with learning differences, and consults with educators and families. Candi enjoys working with learners of all ages, providing support to families through their journey, and creating resources that can be easily implemented to support the success of students. As a lifelong learner herself, serving with NCIDA allows her to grow, lead, and spread awareness.
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