2024 Speakers

We’re looking forward to hearing from these exceptional speakers!

Anita Archer Ph.D.Educational Consultant & Author

Anita Archer, Ph.D., serves as an educational consultant to state departments and school districts on explicit instruction and literacy. She has presented in all 50 states and many countries including Australia and is the recipient of ten awards honoring her contributions to education. Anita has served on the faculties of three universities including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and San Diego State University. She has co-authored numerous curriculum materials including Phonics for Reading (Curriculum Associates), a three-level intervention program, REWARDS (Voyager/Sopris), a five-component literacy intervention program, and a best-selling textbook titled Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching (Guilford Publications).

Anita Archer Ph.D.Educational Consultant & Author

Anita Archer, Ph.D., serves as an educational consultant to state departments and school districts on explicit instruction and literacy. She has presented in all 50 states and many countries including Australia and is the recipient of ten awards honoring her contributions to education. Anita has served on the faculties of three universities including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and San Diego State University. She has co-authored numerous curriculum materials including Phonics for Reading (Curriculum Associates), a three-level intervention program, REWARDS (Voyager/Sopris), a five-component literacy intervention program, and a best-selling textbook titled Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching (Guilford Publications).

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Joanne BertrandStructured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist & Vice-President of IDA Ontario

Joanne Bertrand is a certified IDA and CERI (Center for Effective Reading Instruction) Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist. She is also a certified Wilson Reading System Level 2 Instructor, a program based on the Orton Gillingham approach. Joanne is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She began her career as a Child and Youth Worker and then went on to teach and be a school principal for 27 years. She obtained her Specialist Qualifications in Reading, Special Education, and French as a Second Language early in her career. Helping children and adults with dyslexia and their families is a priority for her. This is why she became a volunteer with IDA Ontario, contributing in many areas, most recently as Vice President and Chair of Webinars and Training. Joanne posts French Structured Literacy Resources on OnLit.org for francophone and FSL students. Remaining current with research and information about effective structured literacy instruction and effective interventions helps her ensure that her students achieve their true potential as readers and writers. With IDA Ontario, Joanne hopes to bring structured literacy instruction to all students and educators in Ontario schools.

Joanne BertrandStructured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist & Vice-President of IDA Ontario

Joanne Bertrand is a certified IDA and CERI (Center for Effective Reading Instruction) Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist. She is also a certified Wilson Reading System Level 2 Instructor, a program based on the Orton Gillingham approach. Joanne is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She began her career as a Child and Youth Worker and then went on to teach and be a school principal for 27 years. She obtained her Specialist Qualifications in Reading, Special Education, and French as a Second Language early in her career. Helping children and adults with dyslexia and their families is a priority for her. This is why she became a volunteer with IDA Ontario, contributing in many areas, most recently as Vice President and Chair of Webinars and Training. Joanne posts French Structured Literacy Resources on OnLit.org for francophone and FSL students. Remaining current with research and information about effective structured literacy instruction and effective interventions helps her ensure that her students achieve their true potential as readers and writers. With IDA Ontario, Joanne hopes to bring structured literacy instruction to all students and educators in Ontario schools.

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Sonia Cabell Ph.D.Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education

Sonia Cabell, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education/Language Arts in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University and Research Faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Dr. Cabell’s research focuses on the prevention of reading difficulties among young children who are at-risk, particularly those who are living in poverty. As a group, these children are more often exposed to lower quality language and literacy interactions both at school and at home than their more economically advantaged peers. The early years (birth – age 8) are especially critical because high-quality interactions and environments during these years lay the foundation for children’s future reading success. Innovative ways to accelerate language and literacy learning are crucial to narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty. Consequently, Dr. Cabell’s work spanning pre-kindergarten through second grade consists of how to strengthen children’s language and literacy skills that serve as precursors to both successful reading comprehension and word recognition.

Sonia Cabell Ph.D.Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education

Sonia Cabell, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education/Language Arts in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University and Research Faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Dr. Cabell’s research focuses on the prevention of reading difficulties among young children who are at-risk, particularly those who are living in poverty. As a group, these children are more often exposed to lower quality language and literacy interactions both at school and at home than their more economically advantaged peers. The early years (birth – age 8) are especially critical because high-quality interactions and environments during these years lay the foundation for children’s future reading success. Innovative ways to accelerate language and literacy learning are crucial to narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty. Consequently, Dr. Cabell’s work spanning pre-kindergarten through second grade consists of how to strengthen children’s language and literacy skills that serve as precursors to both successful reading comprehension and word recognition.

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Melinda CameronDirector, Halifax Learning

Melinda Cameron has dedicated her life to teaching literacy, and recently earned her Research Master of Arts in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University to further her knowledge of effective reading instruction.

Melinda CameronDirector, Halifax Learning

Melinda Cameron has dedicated her life to teaching literacy, and recently earned her Research Master of Arts in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University to further her knowledge of effective reading instruction.

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Nellie CarusoFrench Immersion Teacher

Nellie Caruso has been a French Immersion teacher since 1999. In addition to teaching in various elementary grades, she also spent several years working as a Literacy Coach. Nellie has completed the Orton-Gillingham course at the Classroom Educator level. In her current role, Nellie not only provides French structured literacy instruction in her classroom, but she is also actively focused on disseminating knowledge and building teacher capacity in her school and beyond. With a Masters degree in French, Nellie is passionate about the intersection of reading science research and FSL instruction. Nellie has a particular interest in using universal screening to inform instruction in the immersion context; she is trained to administer and interpret the data from IDAPEL and Acadience K-6 measures. She is currently a volunteer for IDA Ontario, showcasing her own journey with universal screening in the Literacy Leaders webinar series, and is in the process of completing LETRS training.

Nellie CarusoFrench Immersion Teacher

Nellie Caruso has been a French Immersion teacher since 1999. In addition to teaching in various elementary grades, she also spent several years working as a Literacy Coach. Nellie has completed the Orton-Gillingham course at the Classroom Educator level. In her current role, Nellie not only provides French structured literacy instruction in her classroom, but she is also actively focused on disseminating knowledge and building teacher capacity in her school and beyond. With a Masters degree in French, Nellie is passionate about the intersection of reading science research and FSL instruction. Nellie has a particular interest in using universal screening to inform instruction in the immersion context; she is trained to administer and interpret the data from IDAPEL and Acadience K-6 measures. She is currently a volunteer for IDA Ontario, showcasing her own journey with universal screening in the Literacy Leaders webinar series, and is in the process of completing LETRS training.

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Ayesatta ContehElementary Classroom Teacher and Curriculum Assistance Team Member

Ayesatta Conteh has been teaching with the Toronto District School Board since 2000 and has taught primary, junior, and intermediate grades throughout my career. She is currently the Primary/Junior SERT (Special Education Resource Teacher/Reading Intervention using EMPOWER (Tier 3 reading program) and also teaches Integrated Arts (Dance, Drama, Music) at a K-8 Dual Track school. From a very young age, her late father, a U of T linguistics professor, instilled in her a love for reading and a curiosity for learning and she keeps that flame burning bright in the spaces she occupies. She has completed her Reading Specialist, Reading Teachers Top 10 Tools, Principal's Qualifications Part 1 and is completing her Acadience K-6 Training. As an ETFO AQ Lead Instructor, she enjoys building community and supporting the learning of other educators across Ontario. As a ETFO Professional Learning Standing Committee member, she continues to advocate for changes that re-ignite the joy in teaching and ensure consistent teacher support and success. Recently, she completed an ETFO video project to create a webcast series about the Language curriculum. Ayesatta is particularly interested in learning how to effectively implement multi-tiered support systems in the school setting to decrease the number of students requiring Tier 3 interventions. She advocates for equity, student achievement and success and strongly believes in the power of collaboration.

Ayesatta ContehElementary Classroom Teacher and Curriculum Assistance Team Member

Ayesatta Conteh has been teaching with the Toronto District School Board since 2000 and has taught primary, junior, and intermediate grades throughout my career. She is currently the Primary/Junior SERT (Special Education Resource Teacher/Reading Intervention using EMPOWER (Tier 3 reading program) and also teaches Integrated Arts (Dance, Drama, Music) at a K-8 Dual Track school. From a very young age, her late father, a U of T linguistics professor, instilled in her a love for reading and a curiosity for learning and she keeps that flame burning bright in the spaces she occupies. She has completed her Reading Specialist, Reading Teachers Top 10 Tools, Principal's Qualifications Part 1 and is completing her Acadience K-6 Training. As an ETFO AQ Lead Instructor, she enjoys building community and supporting the learning of other educators across Ontario. As a ETFO Professional Learning Standing Committee member, she continues to advocate for changes that re-ignite the joy in teaching and ensure consistent teacher support and success. Recently, she completed an ETFO video project to create a webcast series about the Language curriculum. Ayesatta is particularly interested in learning how to effectively implement multi-tiered support systems in the school setting to decrease the number of students requiring Tier 3 interventions. She advocates for equity, student achievement and success and strongly believes in the power of collaboration.

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Valentina Contesse Ph.D.Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education

Valentina Contesse is a clinical assistant professor of special education in the school of special education, school psychology, and early childhood studies at the University of Florida (UF). Contesse works for the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) and is the co-author of UFLI Foundations: An Explicit and Systematic Phonics Program. Contesse teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in various UF teacher preparation programs and coordinates professional development for practicing teachers focused on evidence-based reading instruction. Contesse’s scholarship focuses on early literacy instruction and intervention, teacher preparation and training in the area of reading, and the effects of performance feedback on the implementation of evidence-based instructional practices. 

Valentina Contesse Ph.D.Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education

Valentina Contesse is a clinical assistant professor of special education in the school of special education, school psychology, and early childhood studies at the University of Florida (UF). Contesse works for the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) and is the co-author of UFLI Foundations: An Explicit and Systematic Phonics Program. Contesse teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in various UF teacher preparation programs and coordinates professional development for practicing teachers focused on evidence-based reading instruction. Contesse’s scholarship focuses on early literacy instruction and intervention, teacher preparation and training in the area of reading, and the effects of performance feedback on the implementation of evidence-based instructional practices. 

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Michelle CourvilleConseillère pédagogique en français langue seconde

Michelle Courville, originaire de Sudbury, Ontario, est conseillère pédagogique en français langue seconde au conseil scolaire de Durham. Avec 27 ans d'expérience dans l'enseignement de divers programmes de FLS, y compris le français de base et l'immersion française, Michelle est une avocate passionnée de l'éducation en français. Sa connaissance approfondie des techniques pédagogiques, des programmes d'études et des meilleures pratiques d'enseignement a contribué de manière significative à l'amélioration des programmes de français et à l'acquisition du français langue seconde. Au-delà de son rôle, elle soutient activement ses collègues éducateurs sur son compte Instagram, en partageant des ressources et des idées précieuses. De plus, Michelle détient des certifications démontrant son engagement à l'amélioration continue. Michelle motive les enseignants dans sa quête de renforcement des capacités des enseignants au sein de son conseil en partageant ses expériences et ses connaissances sur l'enseignement de la lecture fondé sur les données probantes et la littératie structurée.

Michelle CourvilleConseillère pédagogique en français langue seconde

Michelle Courville, originaire de Sudbury, Ontario, est conseillère pédagogique en français langue seconde au conseil scolaire de Durham. Avec 27 ans d'expérience dans l'enseignement de divers programmes de FLS, y compris le français de base et l'immersion française, Michelle est une avocate passionnée de l'éducation en français. Sa connaissance approfondie des techniques pédagogiques, des programmes d'études et des meilleures pratiques d'enseignement a contribué de manière significative à l'amélioration des programmes de français et à l'acquisition du français langue seconde. Au-delà de son rôle, elle soutient activement ses collègues éducateurs sur son compte Instagram, en partageant des ressources et des idées précieuses. De plus, Michelle détient des certifications démontrant son engagement à l'amélioration continue. Michelle motive les enseignants dans sa quête de renforcement des capacités des enseignants au sein de son conseil en partageant ses expériences et ses connaissances sur l'enseignement de la lecture fondé sur les données probantes et la littératie structurée.

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Leigh FettesFrench Immersion Teacher

Leigh is a Teaching and Learning Coach in Muskoka, and a part-time MEd student in Reading Development and Instruction. She advocates for the use of evidence-based structured literacy instruction in French Immersion (and all) classrooms. Leigh has completed LETRS, Orton-Gillingham for the Classroom Educator, and Reading Teachers Top 10 Tools. In the fall of 2022, Leigh was a teacher panelist for the IDA Literacy Leaders series on assessment and screening, and co-presented with Nellie Caruso and Kate Winn at the IDA Literacy and Learning Conference in 2023. She believes strongly in the power of universal screening and is an Acadience Mentor. She is also trained in and uses IDAPEL/Acadience French. Leigh presented to the Minister of Education on two separate occasions with IDA Ontario about the Right to Read and Early Screening. She is a proud member of the Onlit team!

Leigh FettesFrench Immersion Teacher

Leigh is a Teaching and Learning Coach in Muskoka, and a part-time MEd student in Reading Development and Instruction. She advocates for the use of evidence-based structured literacy instruction in French Immersion (and all) classrooms. Leigh has completed LETRS, Orton-Gillingham for the Classroom Educator, and Reading Teachers Top 10 Tools. In the fall of 2022, Leigh was a teacher panelist for the IDA Literacy Leaders series on assessment and screening, and co-presented with Nellie Caruso and Kate Winn at the IDA Literacy and Learning Conference in 2023. She believes strongly in the power of universal screening and is an Acadience Mentor. She is also trained in and uses IDAPEL/Acadience French. Leigh presented to the Minister of Education on two separate occasions with IDA Ontario about the Right to Read and Early Screening. She is a proud member of the Onlit team!

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Tara FuerthPrincipal

Tara Fuerth started her teaching career with the Greater Essex County District School Board in 1999. She was an elementary special education teacher for her Tara Fuerth started her teaching career with the Greater Essex County District School Board in 1999. She was an elementary special education teacher for her first eleven years of teaching, then a homeroom teacher for a couple of years, and then a special assignment teacher/instructional coach for three years. Tara was a vice principal for eight years and is currently a principal at a downtown school in Windsor.

She is passionate about learning and embraces her role as the instructional leader of the school. She is fortunate to be a member of an Administrative Learning Team with a small group of principals that are committed to learning more about effective instruction in writing so that they can better support their staff and students. They read the book, “The Writing Revolution” and explored The Syntax Project resource, and it changed how Tara looks at explicit instruction in writing. She is excited to share and engage in this learning with her school staff and is confident that this will lead to an improvement in student writing.

Tara FuerthPrincipal

Tara Fuerth started her teaching career with the Greater Essex County District School Board in 1999. She was an elementary special education teacher for her Tara Fuerth started her teaching career with the Greater Essex County District School Board in 1999. She was an elementary special education teacher for her first eleven years of teaching, then a homeroom teacher for a couple of years, and then a special assignment teacher/instructional coach for three years. Tara was a vice principal for eight years and is currently a principal at a downtown school in Windsor.

She is passionate about learning and embraces her role as the instructional leader of the school. She is fortunate to be a member of an Administrative Learning Team with a small group of principals that are committed to learning more about effective instruction in writing so that they can better support their staff and students. They read the book, “The Writing Revolution” and explored The Syntax Project resource, and it changed how Tara looks at explicit instruction in writing. She is excited to share and engage in this learning with her school staff and is confident that this will lead to an improvement in student writing.

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Megan Gierka Ed.D.Senior Content Developer at AIM Institute for Learning and Research

An architect of school improvement systems, Megan Gierka, Ed.D. is a Senior Content Developer at AIM Institute for Learning and Research. In this role, Megan writes course content, develops training, and synthesizes the latest research findings into classroom practice and applicable tools. Prior to this role, she served a decade in the public school system as a teacher, reading specialist, and instructional coach. Megan holds a BS.Ed. in Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Reading Education, and Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Megan Gierka Ed.D.Senior Content Developer at AIM Institute for Learning and Research

An architect of school improvement systems, Megan Gierka, Ed.D. is a Senior Content Developer at AIM Institute for Learning and Research. In this role, Megan writes course content, develops training, and synthesizes the latest research findings into classroom practice and applicable tools. Prior to this role, she served a decade in the public school system as a teacher, reading specialist, and instructional coach. Megan holds a BS.Ed. in Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Reading Education, and Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

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Melinda HinchSpeech-Language Pathologist

Melinda Hinch is a Speech-Language Pathologist registered with the College of Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologists of Ontario (CASLPO) and a certified member of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Canada (SAC). In 1991, Melinda graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Master of Clinical Science and Bachelor of Communication Disorders in Speech-Language Pathology. In 1997, she graduated from the University of Windsor with a Master of Education.

Melinda has worked for the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) for almost 30 years and has been recently assigned to the GECDSB Curriculum and Program Department to help lead evidence-based practice in the development of reading and writing. She has demonstrated commitment to life-long learning in her field. Melinda has been an advocate of “good for all” interventions that support language and literacy. Look for her adaptation of The Syntax Project and The Morphology Project in ONLit as well as BEE (Brain Ears and Eyes) for Reading, a kindergarten speech to print multisensory program.

Melinda HinchSpeech-Language Pathologist

Melinda Hinch is a Speech-Language Pathologist registered with the College of Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologists of Ontario (CASLPO) and a certified member of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Canada (SAC). In 1991, Melinda graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Master of Clinical Science and Bachelor of Communication Disorders in Speech-Language Pathology. In 1997, she graduated from the University of Windsor with a Master of Education.

Melinda has worked for the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) for almost 30 years and has been recently assigned to the GECDSB Curriculum and Program Department to help lead evidence-based practice in the development of reading and writing. She has demonstrated commitment to life-long learning in her field. Melinda has been an advocate of “good for all” interventions that support language and literacy. Look for her adaptation of The Syntax Project and The Morphology Project in ONLit as well as BEE (Brain Ears and Eyes) for Reading, a kindergarten speech to print multisensory program.

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Angeline HumberFSL Teacher & Teacher Consultant

Angeline Humber is a Teacher Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board supporting Early Years (birth to age 8) and French as a Second Language from Kindergarten to Grade 12. In her role, Angeline collaborates with colleagues within her school board as well as regionally, provincially and nationally to build capacity and support educators, students and programs.

Angeline HumberFSL Teacher & Teacher Consultant

Angeline Humber is a Teacher Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board supporting Early Years (birth to age 8) and French as a Second Language from Kindergarten to Grade 12. In her role, Angeline collaborates with colleagues within her school board as well as regionally, provincially and nationally to build capacity and support educators, students and programs.

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Marc Joanisse, Ph.D.Professor

Dr Joanisse has been a professor at Western University since 2000. His research program studies the cognitive and brain bases of language and reading in children, focusing on the joint contribution of biological factors and experience on typical development and impairments. This includes studying phonology, reading and grammar abilities in children with dyslexia and/or developmental language disability, using everything from traditional behavioural techniques to eyetracking and neuroimaging with MRI and EEG.

Marc Joanisse, Ph.D.Professor

Dr Joanisse has been a professor at Western University since 2000. His research program studies the cognitive and brain bases of language and reading in children, focusing on the joint contribution of biological factors and experience on typical development and impairments. This includes studying phonology, reading and grammar abilities in children with dyslexia and/or developmental language disability, using everything from traditional behavioural techniques to eyetracking and neuroimaging with MRI and EEG.

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Mara HockenhullOCT, CE/OGA

Mara has 21 years of diverse experience at Thunder Bay Catholic and has primarily focused on teaching beginning and struggling readers. As a mother of a child with dyslexia, Mara's firsthand experience with learning differences drives her quest for effective teaching methods, recognizing that traditional approaches may not be suitable for all learners. Mara is an Orton Gillingham Certified Classroom Educator, is trained at the Associate Practitioner Level, coupled with a 100-hour practicum supervised by Liisa Freure, and presently studies SWI with various mentors. She has been a catalyst for positive change within her educational community. Mara demonstrates her commitment by sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow teachers, families, and teacher candidates.

Mara HockenhullOCT, CE/OGA

Mara has 21 years of diverse experience at Thunder Bay Catholic and has primarily focused on teaching beginning and struggling readers. As a mother of a child with dyslexia, Mara's firsthand experience with learning differences drives her quest for effective teaching methods, recognizing that traditional approaches may not be suitable for all learners. Mara is an Orton Gillingham Certified Classroom Educator, is trained at the Associate Practitioner Level, coupled with a 100-hour practicum supervised by Liisa Freure, and presently studies SWI with various mentors. She has been a catalyst for positive change within her educational community. Mara demonstrates her commitment by sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow teachers, families, and teacher candidates.

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Pam Kastner, Ed.D.Educational Consultant

Pam Kastner, Ed.D., is an educational consultant at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Harrisburg, where she serves as the state lead for literacy in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kastner along with the PaTTAN Literacy team has led Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program, extension and expansion.

Dr. Kastner serves on the Pennsylvania Taskforce for Higher Education. The taskforce's goal is to embed the science of reading and Structured Literacy in higher education institutions. She presented at the National Summit on the Science of Reading in Higher Education in 2022, and is on the steering committee developing a Summit on the Science of Reading in Higher Education in Pennsylvania planned for May 2023.

Dr. Kastner is an adjunct professor at Mount Saint Joseph University in the reading science program, where she teachers in the Masters’ and Doctoral program.

She serves as president of The Reading League Pennsylvania, The Reading League Journal’s Practitioner Editorial Board, and is a member of The Science of Reading: A Defining Movement coalition.

Pam Kastner, Ed.D.Educational Consultant

Pam Kastner, Ed.D., is an educational consultant at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Harrisburg, where she serves as the state lead for literacy in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kastner along with the PaTTAN Literacy team has led Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program, extension and expansion.

Dr. Kastner serves on the Pennsylvania Taskforce for Higher Education. The taskforce's goal is to embed the science of reading and Structured Literacy in higher education institutions. She presented at the National Summit on the Science of Reading in Higher Education in 2022, and is on the steering committee developing a Summit on the Science of Reading in Higher Education in Pennsylvania planned for May 2023.

Dr. Kastner is an adjunct professor at Mount Saint Joseph University in the reading science program, where she teachers in the Masters’ and Doctoral program.

She serves as president of The Reading League Pennsylvania, The Reading League Journal’s Practitioner Editorial Board, and is a member of The Science of Reading: A Defining Movement coalition.

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Martha KovackDyslexia Interventionist

Martha Kovack, a seasoned dyslexia interventionist, delivers introductory structured literacy courses with a dynamic approach. She specializes in empowering non-readers with dyslexia, DLD, ADHD, and/or autism, as well as educators within school boards and teacher-training institutions. Martha is also the founder/creator of Sound Readers and LetsGetReadingRight.com, offering vital resources for those beginning their Science of Reading/Structured Literacy journey.

Martha KovackDyslexia Interventionist

Martha Kovack, a seasoned dyslexia interventionist, delivers introductory structured literacy courses with a dynamic approach. She specializes in empowering non-readers with dyslexia, DLD, ADHD, and/or autism, as well as educators within school boards and teacher-training institutions. Martha is also the founder/creator of Sound Readers and LetsGetReadingRight.com, offering vital resources for those beginning their Science of Reading/Structured Literacy journey.

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Shari KudsiaOCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Teaching in the TDSB for 24 years, Shari Kudsia's journey is marked by a commitment to improving literacy education. Trained in Reading Recovery, Shari, unsatisfied with its effectiveness, explored Orton-Gillingham and SWI under Liisa Freure of Fundamental Learning. Certified by AOGPE at Classroom Educator and Associate levels, she's facilitated dyslexia-focused workshops and courses and serves on the board of the International Dyslexia Association. In the last five years, Shari has successfully integrated structured literacy, based on SOR, into her classrooms, witnessing significant literacy improvements in all students. Shari is committed to supporting educators in their efforts to improve spelling skills and has recently launched her business, Spelliosity.

Shari KudsiaOCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Teaching in the TDSB for 24 years, Shari Kudsia's journey is marked by a commitment to improving literacy education. Trained in Reading Recovery, Shari, unsatisfied with its effectiveness, explored Orton-Gillingham and SWI under Liisa Freure of Fundamental Learning. Certified by AOGPE at Classroom Educator and Associate levels, she's facilitated dyslexia-focused workshops and courses and serves on the board of the International Dyslexia Association. In the last five years, Shari has successfully integrated structured literacy, based on SOR, into her classrooms, witnessing significant literacy improvements in all students. Shari is committed to supporting educators in their efforts to improve spelling skills and has recently launched her business, Spelliosity.

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Chantal LafontaineConseillère pédagogique en Littératie, ALF et PANA

Chantal Lafontaine œuvre depuis 21 ans au Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, en tant qu'enseignante au primaire/moyen et conseillère pédagogique en littératie, ALF et PANA. Depuis ses débuts en enseignement, sa passion pour l'enseignement de la littératie l'ont incité à s'impliquer dans l'élaboration de nombreuses ressources pédagogiques pour le personnel enseignant francophone de l'Ontario telles que des vidéos de modélisation, des plateformes d'apprentissage interactif pour les élèves et des guides pédagogiques pour les enseignants. Au cours de ses dernières années en tant que conseillère pédagogique, le cœur de ses efforts a été consacré à l'accompagnement du personnel enseignant francophone dans la mise en œuvre de pratiques d'enseignement de la lecture et de l'écriture fondées sur des données probantes. D'ailleurs, elle collabore présentement avec ONLit.org afin de pouvoir naviguer avec tous les enseignants francophones de la province vers l'adoption du nouveau programme-cadre de français.

Chantal LafontaineConseillère pédagogique en Littératie, ALF et PANA

Chantal Lafontaine œuvre depuis 21 ans au Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, en tant qu'enseignante au primaire/moyen et conseillère pédagogique en littératie, ALF et PANA. Depuis ses débuts en enseignement, sa passion pour l'enseignement de la littératie l'ont incité à s'impliquer dans l'élaboration de nombreuses ressources pédagogiques pour le personnel enseignant francophone de l'Ontario telles que des vidéos de modélisation, des plateformes d'apprentissage interactif pour les élèves et des guides pédagogiques pour les enseignants. Au cours de ses dernières années en tant que conseillère pédagogique, le cœur de ses efforts a été consacré à l'accompagnement du personnel enseignant francophone dans la mise en œuvre de pratiques d'enseignement de la lecture et de l'écriture fondées sur des données probantes. D'ailleurs, elle collabore présentement avec ONLit.org afin de pouvoir naviguer avec tous les enseignants francophones de la province vers l'adoption du nouveau programme-cadre de français.

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Holly Lane Ph.D.Director, UF Literacy Institute

Dr. Lane is the Director of the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) and an associate professor of special education. She is also the Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professor of Education and the director of the James Patterson Literacy Challenge.

Holly Lane Ph.D.Director, UF Literacy Institute

Dr. Lane is the Director of the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) and an associate professor of special education. She is also the Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professor of Education and the director of the James Patterson Literacy Challenge.

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Lee-Ann LearOCT, A/OGA

Lee-Ann has spent over 20 years teaching in Ontario elementary schools. She has always been fascinated by the process of teaching reading and working with struggling readers. Throughout her career, she has sought experiences to help her grow her understanding of the current best practices in reading instruction. This journey has included Reading Recovery, Empower Reading, Orton Gillingham (through Fundamental Learning, Liisa Freure), Structured Literacy, and most recently, an exploration of Structured Word Inquiry. In 2022, Lee-Ann became certified by AOGPE at the Associate level. She has now resigned from teaching to focus on growing her company SyllaSense, where she writes and publishes decodable books, and shares her knowledge of structured literacy through workshops and free teacher resources. Lee-Ann Lear, OCT, A/OGA

Lee-Ann LearOCT, A/OGA

Lee-Ann has spent over 20 years teaching in Ontario elementary schools. She has always been fascinated by the process of teaching reading and working with struggling readers. Throughout her career, she has sought experiences to help her grow her understanding of the current best practices in reading instruction. This journey has included Reading Recovery, Empower Reading, Orton Gillingham (through Fundamental Learning, Liisa Freure), Structured Literacy, and most recently, an exploration of Structured Word Inquiry. In 2022, Lee-Ann became certified by AOGPE at the Associate level. She has now resigned from teaching to focus on growing her company SyllaSense, where she writes and publishes decodable books, and shares her knowledge of structured literacy through workshops and free teacher resources. Lee-Ann Lear, OCT, A/OGA

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Helen MacleanOCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Throughout her career, Helen has made literacy a top priority. Despite having a Reading Specialist and training in Reading Recovery, Helen noticed that many of her students encountered difficulties in both reading and writing. Introduced to SOR Instruction by the SLP at her school, she eagerly sought further knowledge. Helen pursued Orton Gillingham training and SWI with Liisa Freure at Fundamental Learning, earning her A/OGA and Classroom Educator from the Orton Gillingham Academy. Over the past five years, Helen implemented Structured Literacy in her kindergarten class, passionately advocating for explicit teaching. She conducts ongoing professional development for her staff, and welcomes classroom observations to enhance literacy support.

Helen MacleanOCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Throughout her career, Helen has made literacy a top priority. Despite having a Reading Specialist and training in Reading Recovery, Helen noticed that many of her students encountered difficulties in both reading and writing. Introduced to SOR Instruction by the SLP at her school, she eagerly sought further knowledge. Helen pursued Orton Gillingham training and SWI with Liisa Freure at Fundamental Learning, earning her A/OGA and Classroom Educator from the Orton Gillingham Academy. Over the past five years, Helen implemented Structured Literacy in her kindergarten class, passionately advocating for explicit teaching. She conducts ongoing professional development for her staff, and welcomes classroom observations to enhance literacy support.

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Jamie Metsala, Ph.D.Professor of Education

Dr. Jamie Metsala is a professor of Education and the Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Learning Disabilities at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS. She received her Ph.D. from the Centre for Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto/OISE and was previously an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Maryland and at Western University. Dr. Metsala conducts research on reading acquisition, reading disabilities and interventions. One of two content area experts on the recent Ontario Human Rights Commission's Right to Reading public inquiry, she is a vocal advocate for evidence-based practices in instruction, interventions, and psychoeducational assessments. Dr. Metsala, a registered clinical psychologist, teaches courses to those studying to become school psychologists as well as to practicing teachers. Dr. Metsala's research with the centre includes quantitative examinations of contributors to changing teacher efficacy for inclusive educational practices.

Jamie Metsala, Ph.D.Professor of Education

Dr. Jamie Metsala is a professor of Education and the Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Learning Disabilities at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS. She received her Ph.D. from the Centre for Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto/OISE and was previously an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Maryland and at Western University. Dr. Metsala conducts research on reading acquisition, reading disabilities and interventions. One of two content area experts on the recent Ontario Human Rights Commission's Right to Reading public inquiry, she is a vocal advocate for evidence-based practices in instruction, interventions, and psychoeducational assessments. Dr. Metsala, a registered clinical psychologist, teaches courses to those studying to become school psychologists as well as to practicing teachers. Dr. Metsala's research with the centre includes quantitative examinations of contributors to changing teacher efficacy for inclusive educational practices.

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Melissa Monette-SmithKindergarten Teacher and ONlit: Curriculum Assistance Team

I have been a teacher for 17 years with the York Region District School Board, teaching everything from Core French, Junior Homeroom, Special Education, Regional Literacy and currently, Full-Day Kindergarten. My Structured Literacy journey began when I started teaching in the Student Support Centre. I realized that my pre-service training, the curriculum, and the resources available did not meet my students' needs. I began consuming information as if my students' lives depended on it, ultimately leading me to take my Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive and Morphology Plus with the Institute of Multi-Sensory Education. I have since completed other Structured Literacy courses, including Acadience Reading K-6, Acadience Reading Survey and Acadience Data Interpretation, Framing Your Thoughts: Sentence Structure and Paragraph Writing, Morpheme for Littles, and the Reading Teacher's Top Ten Tools. I currently share my passion for Structured Literacy as a Coach for IDA Ontario's Introduction to Structured Literacy Course: The Basics of Decoding and Spelling Instruction and as a proud member of the Curriculum Assistance Team for ONlit.org.

Melissa Monette-SmithKindergarten Teacher and ONlit: Curriculum Assistance Team

I have been a teacher for 17 years with the York Region District School Board, teaching everything from Core French, Junior Homeroom, Special Education, Regional Literacy and currently, Full-Day Kindergarten. My Structured Literacy journey began when I started teaching in the Student Support Centre. I realized that my pre-service training, the curriculum, and the resources available did not meet my students' needs. I began consuming information as if my students' lives depended on it, ultimately leading me to take my Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive and Morphology Plus with the Institute of Multi-Sensory Education. I have since completed other Structured Literacy courses, including Acadience Reading K-6, Acadience Reading Survey and Acadience Data Interpretation, Framing Your Thoughts: Sentence Structure and Paragraph Writing, Morpheme for Littles, and the Reading Teacher's Top Ten Tools. I currently share my passion for Structured Literacy as a Coach for IDA Ontario's Introduction to Structured Literacy Course: The Basics of Decoding and Spelling Instruction and as a proud member of the Curriculum Assistance Team for ONlit.org.

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Nicole Ormandy, M.S. Ed.Senior Director of Content Development at AIM Institute for Learning and Research

Nicole Ormandy, M.S. Ed. is the Senior Director of Content Development at AIM Institute for Learning and Research. In this role, Nicole consults with researchers and literacy experts across the nation to synthesize and disseminate practical information and evidence-based strategies through presentations and online course content. Nicole was previously an Elementary and Special Education teacher, where she wrote curriculum and mentored colleagues and student teachers. She received a Master’s of Science in Special Education and a CERI Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher certificate.

Nicole Ormandy, M.S. Ed.Senior Director of Content Development at AIM Institute for Learning and Research

Nicole Ormandy, M.S. Ed. is the Senior Director of Content Development at AIM Institute for Learning and Research. In this role, Nicole consults with researchers and literacy experts across the nation to synthesize and disseminate practical information and evidence-based strategies through presentations and online course content. Nicole was previously an Elementary and Special Education teacher, where she wrote curriculum and mentored colleagues and student teachers. She received a Master’s of Science in Special Education and a CERI Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher certificate.

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Jessica OrtegaEnseignante d'immersion française

Jessica Ortega est une enseignante d'immersion française au conseil catholique de Durham. Titulaire d'une maîtrise en éducation sur les langues et la littératie et d'un certificat d'enseignement de l'anglais à l'étranger, Jessica a développé une passion pour favoriser la compétence linguistique. Son dévouement pour l'apprentissage et son expérience de l'acquisition d'une langue seconde se transmettent facilement à ses élèves qui participent à des leçons de littératie structurée fondés sur la science de la lecture. Avant de devenir enseignante, Jessica travaillait comme conseillère d'apprentissage pour une organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) au Pérou avec des communautés autochtones. Jessica s'est engagée à faire progresser l'éducation en littératie et en langues en les rendant accessibles et efficaces pour divers apprenants en créant et en partageant des vidéos sur ses médias sociaux. Ses ressources permettent aux élèves, aux enseignants et aux parents de renforcer les compétences linguistiques à la maison et en classe.

Jessica OrtegaEnseignante d'immersion française

Jessica Ortega est une enseignante d'immersion française au conseil catholique de Durham. Titulaire d'une maîtrise en éducation sur les langues et la littératie et d'un certificat d'enseignement de l'anglais à l'étranger, Jessica a développé une passion pour favoriser la compétence linguistique. Son dévouement pour l'apprentissage et son expérience de l'acquisition d'une langue seconde se transmettent facilement à ses élèves qui participent à des leçons de littératie structurée fondés sur la science de la lecture. Avant de devenir enseignante, Jessica travaillait comme conseillère d'apprentissage pour une organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) au Pérou avec des communautés autochtones. Jessica s'est engagée à faire progresser l'éducation en littératie et en langues en les rendant accessibles et efficaces pour divers apprenants en créant et en partageant des vidéos sur ses médias sociaux. Ses ressources permettent aux élèves, aux enseignants et aux parents de renforcer les compétences linguistiques à la maison et en classe.

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Stacey RickmanSLP & OCT

Stacey is a school board speech-language pathologist who is passionate about helping students with developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia. She has been registered with the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario for over 20 years. Many students who are referred to Stacey for speech-language concerns also experience difficulty acquiring reading and writing skills. Much of Stacey’s work in Ontario schools involves assessing students with speech, language, and literacy disorders and consulting with their families and educators. Most recently, Stacey was a consultant and content contributor to the newly revised Ontario Language curriculum as well as a lecturer and clinical educator at Western University. She takes great pride in her advocacy work with IDA Ontario.

Stacey RickmanSLP & OCT

Stacey is a school board speech-language pathologist who is passionate about helping students with developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia. She has been registered with the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario for over 20 years. Many students who are referred to Stacey for speech-language concerns also experience difficulty acquiring reading and writing skills. Much of Stacey’s work in Ontario schools involves assessing students with speech, language, and literacy disorders and consulting with their families and educators. Most recently, Stacey was a consultant and content contributor to the newly revised Ontario Language curriculum as well as a lecturer and clinical educator at Western University. She takes great pride in her advocacy work with IDA Ontario.

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Jordan SloanBilingual Literacy Coach

Jordan is a Bilingual Literacy Coach with the Renfrew County District School Board, supporting Educators in English K-8 and in French as a Second Language K-12. She is a contributor to the work being done with ONLit, is past-President of the OMLTA, and works with colleagues regionally and provincially to promote structured literacy in English, French Immersion and français.

Jordan SloanBilingual Literacy Coach

Jordan is a Bilingual Literacy Coach with the Renfrew County District School Board, supporting Educators in English K-8 and in French as a Second Language K-12. She is a contributor to the work being done with ONLit, is past-President of the OMLTA, and works with colleagues regionally and provincially to promote structured literacy in English, French Immersion and français.

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Cheryl UrbanczykOCT & OGA/FIT

Cheryl Urbanczyk, OCT, is career educator who has been a classroom teacher and administrator in various settings in the US and Canada. Currently, Cheryl is a Principal in the Ontario public school system. When her own daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, it led to many years of learning about how best to teach literacy. Cheryl is a Fellow-in-Training with the Orton-Gillingham Academy and a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (CERI/IDA). These experiences, both personal and professional, give her a unique expertise to understand literacy and dyslexia in the wider education context as well as understand the impact of literacy as an equity issue on student success. Cheryl developed ‘The Culture View of Reading’ as a way to support this effort. Learn Literacy is an educational platform through which Cheryl provides training, advocacy, and consulting work. Learn more at: learnliteracy.com.

Cheryl UrbanczykOCT & OGA/FIT

Cheryl Urbanczyk, OCT, is career educator who has been a classroom teacher and administrator in various settings in the US and Canada. Currently, Cheryl is a Principal in the Ontario public school system. When her own daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, it led to many years of learning about how best to teach literacy. Cheryl is a Fellow-in-Training with the Orton-Gillingham Academy and a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (CERI/IDA). These experiences, both personal and professional, give her a unique expertise to understand literacy and dyslexia in the wider education context as well as understand the impact of literacy as an equity issue on student success. Cheryl developed ‘The Culture View of Reading’ as a way to support this effort. Learn Literacy is an educational platform through which Cheryl provides training, advocacy, and consulting work. Learn more at: learnliteracy.com.

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Kate WinnElementary School Teacher

Kate Winn has been teaching since 2000 with the PVNCCDSB, and is currently in a kindergarten classroom. She is a passionate advocate for evidence-based literacy instruction for all students, and her IDA Ontario webinar “Structured Literacy in Kindergarten: 5 Changes That Made All My Students Readers” has been viewed by more than 12,000 educators worldwide. She is the host and coproducer of IDA Ontario’s hit podcast, Reading Road Trip. Kate has presented to the Minister of Education, OCSOA (Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers Association) and teacher federation representatives, and presented on Fluency with Nellie Caruso and Leigh Fettes at last year's Literacy Learning Conference. A trained Acadience Reading K-6 Mentor, she was a panelist for the IDA Ontario Literacy Leaders series on assessment. Kate is a Content Lead with ONlit and has facilitated professional development at PVNC and for Ontario boards such as NCDSB, TBCDSB, PDSB, ADSB and HPCDSB. She was a keynote speaker at this year's Alaska Science of Reading Symposium.

Kate WinnElementary School Teacher

Kate Winn has been teaching since 2000 with the PVNCCDSB, and is currently in a kindergarten classroom. She is a passionate advocate for evidence-based literacy instruction for all students, and her IDA Ontario webinar “Structured Literacy in Kindergarten: 5 Changes That Made All My Students Readers” has been viewed by more than 12,000 educators worldwide. She is the host and coproducer of IDA Ontario’s hit podcast, Reading Road Trip. Kate has presented to the Minister of Education, OCSOA (Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers Association) and teacher federation representatives, and presented on Fluency with Nellie Caruso and Leigh Fettes at last year's Literacy Learning Conference. A trained Acadience Reading K-6 Mentor, she was a panelist for the IDA Ontario Literacy Leaders series on assessment. Kate is a Content Lead with ONlit and has facilitated professional development at PVNC and for Ontario boards such as NCDSB, TBCDSB, PDSB, ADSB and HPCDSB. She was a keynote speaker at this year's Alaska Science of Reading Symposium.

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