About the IDA-NNEA

Our Mission, Goals & Board of Directors

Our Mission & Goals

IDA-NNEA (formerly known IDA New Hampshire) Branch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit scientific and educational organization, promoting awareness about dyslexia and serving Maine,  Vermont and New Hampshire.

IDA-NNEA is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and research of dyslexia (language-based learning disability). We educate the community about the causes, symptoms, assessment and remediation of dyslexia; disseminate information about available resources; teach multi-sensory structured language instructional approaches to educators and other professionals; and collaborate with organizations working on behalf of people with dyslexia.

This branch’s goals are to increase public awareness of dyslexia, and through our seminars, conferences, and workshops, service individuals with dyslexia, their families, and professionals in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. The IDA-NNEA Branch sponsors workshops, conferences, trainings and scheduled community based trainings each year designed to provide information about different aspects of dyslexia. To find out more about what is happening, go to our Events page or click the button below.

About the NHIDA - Girl sitting on books reading

2023 IDA-NNEA Board of Directors

Susan Hourihan, ICALP, President

Committees ~ Executive, Finance, Email, Conference, Nominating, Membership

Susan Hourihan is currently the President of the International Dyslexia Association-Northern New England Alliance. She is also an Instructor of Practitioners at the Seacoast Children’s Dyslexia Center in Rochester, NH. She began her Initial Level Orton-Gillingham training in 2006, graduating in 2007. Over the next two years, she continued with the Advanced Level Orton-Gillingham training, while tutoring students both at the Children’s Dyslexia Centers and privately. She became a supervisor and trainer at the Initial Level. She has been the lead trainer in the Center’s school-based Orton-Gillingham collaboration which trains and certifies area teachers. She graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Susan lives in Southern Maine with her husband and has three adult children living in Maine. Susan likes socializing with friends and family, swimming, doing puzzles, watching murder mysteries, playing with her dog, Lily, and reading in her free time.

Brenda Peters, MA, MEd, SAIF, ICALP, Immediate Past President

Committees ~ Executive, Finance, Communication and Outreach

Brenda Peters has been Director of the Children’s Dyslexia Center – Seacoast Learning Center located in Rochester, NH since 2014. Brenda started her Orton-Gillingham/Structured Literacy journey on April 1, 2004, as a Level 1 Dyslexia Practitioner trainee at the CDC of Nashua. Brenda currently serves as president of the International Dyslexia Association-Northern New England Alliance, serving Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Brenda has ten years of case management experience in public schools and over 5000 hours of Structured Literacy teaching experience. In private practice, Brenda evaluates children with reading challenges/dyslexia and advocates for these families. Prior to her immersion in the world of structured literacy, Brenda was an organizational behavior/development consultant with the international accounting and consulting group, Coopers & Lybrand, at their headquarters in New York City. Brenda received her bachelor’s in psychology from Clark University, her Master’s in Organizational Behavior and Development from Columbia University, and her Master’s in Education from Rivier University with certifications in Special Education, Learning Disabilities, Reading and Writing Specialist, and Specialist in the Assessment of Intellectual Functioning. Brenda has a husband, 2 sons, a brother, and many others in her extended family with dyslexia who have inspired her on this journey. As a struggling reader herself, Brenda says “I believe all my training over the years has led me to this unique place in the world of structured literacy where we are currently at a precipice and structured literacy has a chance of winning over balanced literacy thus improving the life outcomes of all children and especially those with dyslexia.” In her free time, Brenda enjoys hanging out with other word nerds, playing with her dog, watching birds, and of course, thinking about structured literacy and reading.

Kristine Reilly, Ed.D., Vice President

Committees ~Executive, Communication and Outreach, Conference, Website, Scholarship and Fundraising, Newsletter

Kristine Reilly is a reading specialist in the Hollis School district. Kris became interested in language-based learning disabilities and dyslexia as she observed students struggling to read and write over the course of her educational career. Kris earned an M.Ed. in education from Rivier University, a graduate certificate in Dyslexia Studies and Language Based Learning Disabilities from Southern New Hampshire University,  and her Ed.D. in leadership, focusing on phonological processing and educator training, from the University of New England. Kristine is certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner and Certified Academic Language Practitioner. She is also trained in various reading and writing approaches and programs including LETRS, Orton-Gillingham, RAVE-O, V/V, LiPs, and Language Circle Programs. Kris holds certifications in Early Childhood Education, General Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Learning Disabilities, and as a Reading Writing Specialist.

Jennifer Cyr, Secretary

Committee ~ Executive

Jennifer Cyr works as the English Language Arts lead teacher for the Rochester School District.  She is a school reading specialist at the School Street School and has worked in the reading field for 20 years.  She is a teacher trainer for Dibels Next, LIPS, LETRS, and other scientifically-based programs.  Jen attended school at the University of Maine, then Lesley University, and is currently updating her skills set at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.  She has completed level 1 Orton-Gillingham training through the Dyslexia Center in Rochester.   Jen has special interests in promoting scientifically- based training in teacher preparation programs, as well as in providing equity in public education for disadvantaged students.  

Karyn Hubbard, Treasurer

Committees ~ Executive and Finance

Karyn Hubbard earned her BA in Business Administration at Bryant College in Smithfield, RI. She has been an Orton-Gillingham tutor with the Seacoast Learning Center since 2012 and holds the positions of Supervisor and Initial Level Trainer.  Karyn’s enthusiasm and passion for Orton Gillingham were ignited by the struggles her children experienced in learning to read. Karyn has served as a Supervisor for the Rochester School District O-G Cohort for the past 5 years.  This program is a collaborative effort by the Rochester, NH school district and the Seacoast Learning Center in which district teachers learn about dyslexia and receive training in the Orton-Gillingham approach, including a year-long practicum.  

Brittany Lovejoy, M.Ed, Member at Large

Committees ~ Government Affairs, Membership, Nominating

Brittany Lovejoy served as a special educator in a Vermont public school and as an Adjudications Officer with the Department of Homeland Security.  Her interests include studying the science of reading and reading differences, promoting equity for diverse learners, appreciating Vermont’s natural beauty, and exploring her faith.  Currently, Ms. Lovejoy is a private literacy tutor, writer, and a voice for the students and parents of Vermont. 

Nancy Kring-Burns, Member at Large

Committees ~ Newsletter-chair, Fundraising and Scholarship

Nancy Kring-Burns recently retired from the Hollis School District as a Special Education Reading Teacher/Learning Disabilities Specialist. Nancy continues to pursue her passion of  helping students of all ages with learning to read through her private practice. Nancy became interested in learning disabilities and dyslexia when her own children struggled with learning to read.  She earned MSEd and EdS degrees at Simmons College in Special Education and Assistive Technology. Nancy is a Dyslexia Practitioner, having completed Wilson Reading training, and IMSLEC accredited training through the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Nashua.  Nancy is also trained in Lindamood Bell Programs and Language Circle Programs.  Nancy uses what she learned from the NH Parent Information Center Volunteer Advocate training to help families as they navigate their way through the special education world.

Heidi Zollman, Member at Large

Committees ~ Conference-chair, Fundraising and Scholarship p

Heidi has developed a strong background in literacy through working as an elementary classroom teacher, reading and writing specialist, Reading First Coach, OG Scholar, and is currently the  Curriculum Director in the Rochester School Department in Rochester, N.H.  Heidi is a certified local LETRS, DIBELS, and SRSD trainer and her passion for supporting literacy in all learners can be seen in the work she has done to raise awareness of dyslexia in the K-16 arena. Heidi actively consults with other school districts across the nation, specializing in literacy, data teams, and the change process and serves on the IDA NNEA board as the conference chair. 

Elaine Miskinis, Member at Large

Committees ~ Communication and Outreach, Newsletter

Elaine Miskinis is an English teacher, a writer and a mother of two dyslexic children.  She has a dual master’s degree (MA/MAT English) from Salem State University and has taught high school English for over 15 years.  Elaine is a published author who has written articles for Educational Leadership, The Inspired Classroom and other publications. She is also the author of Leena and the Gerbils, an early chapter book that is the first in a series and published in Dyslexie Font, a font style designed to assist dyslexic readers.  Elaine’s TEDx Talk, “Three Lies We Tell Children” was selected as a TED Talk of the week by TED.com.  She is the proud mother of two dyslexic daughters who attended the Seacoast Learning Center in Rochester, NH.  Her oldest daughter recently won a New York Times editorial contest with a piece about the need for schools to provide training for teachers regarding dyslexia. Being dyslexic herself, Elaine is committed to being a voice for parents and students who struggle to navigate the complex world of finding resources to help dyslexic learners.  

Andrea Pollock, Member at Large

Committees ~ Media Specialist – Conference, Communication and Outreach, Constant Contact, Webinar

Andrea Pollock is a certified educator currently working as a special education reading teacher in the NH public schools. She is a member of the professional staff at the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Nashua where she is a trainer of teachers at the initial level through IMSLEC accredited training. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and General Special Education from Rivier University in 2010 and her Master of Education with a focus on Reading Specialist from the University of New England in Maine in 2018. She is certified in the state of New Hampshire for Elementary Education, General Special Education, and as a Reading and Writing Specialist. 

Dorinne Dorfman, Ed.D. Member at Large

Committees ~ Government Affairs, Parliamentarian, Newsletter

Dorinne Dorfman, Ed. D., has served as a teacher and principal for over twenty years in Vermont’s public schools. As a Fulbright Scholar, she taught at the Technical University of Berlin and conducted research on democratic secondary education in Germany. Completing an Education Specialist Degree in Reading and Literacy Instruction, Dr. Dorfman now teaches reading and writing to middle-school students in Barre, Vermont. Her large family includes dyslexic and neurotypical readers as well as native English speakers and English-language learners, many of whom take pride in helping one another. Her interests include the science of reading, educational policy, de-tracking and desegregation, arts integration, restorative practices, and full-service community schools. 

Cheryl Neiverth, Member at Large

Committees ~ Government Affairs, Membership, Nominating

Cheryl Neiverth, Ed.M., LCSW, BCBA, is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field for over 25 years.  She received her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Maine at Orono, her Master’s in Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and her Master’s in Social Work from Catholic University, National Catholic School of Social Service.  She is the co-owner of the York Center for Child Development, in York, ME, specializing in applied behavior analysis services for children on the Autism Spectrum, and their families.

Cheryl is the mother of two children with dyslexia.  Advocating for her own children’s educational needs sparked a passion, which led her to begin a support group for parents of children with special needs in Southern Maine. Families of children who learn differently face significant challenges navigating the educational system, often being forced to fight for the services their child[ren] need to be successful learners.  For the past five years, the group has served to educate parents about FAPE, the IDEA, evidence-based practices, the science of reading, and how to best advocate for your child.  Cheryl served as a Governor-appointed parent member of the Maine Part B Advisory Panel, tasked with providing policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in the state.    

Cheryl lives in Southern Maine with her husband and two children.  She enjoys family time, her great neighbors, and is admittedly obsessed with her pandemic puppy, Yogi, now two.  

Abby Roy, M.A., NCSP, CAGS, A/OGA

Committees ~ Communication and Outreach, Membership, Nominating

Abby Roy is a nationally certified school psychologist with over ten years of professional experience working with students from preschool to college. Abby received her Master of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University. She has worked in public schools as a psychologist and autism and behavior consultant and is currently an evaluator at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Williston, Vermont. She has expertise in providing individualized, diagnostic assessments and instructional recommendations based on the science of reading.  Abby is particularly interested in uncovering language-based learning disabilities that can present as student disengagement. She holds an associate-level certification from the Orton-Gillingham Academy and is currently completing her practicum to obtain her certified-level certification. Abby’s professional interests include bringing structured literacy to classrooms everywhere and the relationship between executive functioning skills and academic success

Nicole Chick M.S. Ed, CAS Remedial Reading, AIT/OGA

Committees ~ Communication & Outreach, Membership 

Nicole Chick M.S.Ed, CAS Remedial Reading, AIT/OGA  began her teaching career in 2005 as a first grade teacher after receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UCONN NEAG School of Education.  Nicole most recently has taught Kindergarten and is a Literacy Specialist with her certificate of advanced study in Remedial Reading and Reading Consultancy. During her tenure as a public educator she has also taught at the university level and has supervised and mentored student teachers. She has completed the Orton-Gillingham Associate Level Training through the Orton-Gillingham Academy and is currently completing her practicum. She has now stepped away from the classroom and has founded Early Literacy Labs, a private literacy instruction and consulting company located in Waitsfield, Vermont.  She is passionate about dyslexia awareness and supporting teachers who are making the shift toward the science of reading and structured literacy instruction.

John Alexander, M.Ed

Committees ~ Government Affairs

John Alexander, M.Ed has spent all thirty-five years of his professional career in the field of literacy instruction. During that time, he was a reading teacher, a graduate student at Harvard University, and then headed schools for dyslexic students in Vermont, California, Minnesota, and Maine. Alexander is passionate about democratizing evidence-based literacy instruction for all students. In July 2019, Alexander left school administration to create an educational consulting business, Lexia Consulting Services, that focuses on literacy instruction. He works with individual families and schools bringing a wide and deep experience in assessment, curriculum design and implementation, creating and delivering literacy professional development workshops for teachers and administrators, and teacher coaching.

EXPERT IN LEARNING DISABILITIES AND READING

Recognized as a reading and dyslexia expert, he has been working with learning disabled students and their families for thirty years and has been Head of School at three different schools specializing in working with students with ADHD and learning disabilities.

PASSIONATE ABOUT UNDER-PERFORMING STUDENTS

When John began teaching, it became apparent that there were many bright students who struggled to read. With a specific teaching approach, these students could reach their potential as contributing members to society.

CREATED GROVES LITERACY FRAMEWORK™ THAT IMPROVED READING

John developed a literacy framework comprising five pillars that when implemented with fidelity, substantially improved reading scores of dyslexic students. He feels strongly that this literacy framework should be applied for all readers. Since the literacy framework was implemented at Groves in 2011, they have experienced a 43% increase, on average, in reading scores.

THOUGHT LEADER IN DYSLEXIA AND LITERACY

Alexander received his master’s degree in education from Harvard University, specializing in reading and language-based learning disabilities. He has also co-authored a workbook for learning-disabled students and has been involved in homeschool publications for learning disabled children.He has taught graduate-level classes in the structures of language and in diagnostic-prescriptive teaching and has presented at local, state, and national conferences on the identification of learning disabilities and ADHD and proper forms of intervention. He has been tapped to take part in policy issues with respect to literacy and teacher preparation.

John writes about reading and teacher education on his literacy blog.

Dr. Jacqui Kelleher

Committees ~ Membership, Conference

Dr. Jacqui Kelleher (she/her) – Executive Director of Vermont Family Network whose mission is to empower and support all Vermont children, youth, and families, especially those with disabilities, disorders, or special health needs. Dr. Kelleher worked as the State Director of Special Education with the Vermont Agency of Education from 2019-2022 prior to VFN. She oversaw the implementation of special education policies, practices, and procedures with federal and state laws for districts in the state. In this role, she viewed VFN as a critical partner and was a vocal proponent of the education system’s need to partner with parents to serve students best. She is also the parent of four now-adult children with disabilities and disorders, including autism, ADHD, and specific learning disabilities which impacted reading. She understands firsthand the lived experience of families navigating essential but complex systems to support their loved ones.

Melissa King

Committees ~ Communication and Outreach, Conference

Melissa M. King is a Learning Specialist and VT licensed Special Educator who has taught and evaluated children and adults in the Northeast for nearly 30 years. She is the founder and director of Kingfisher Learning, Inc., an organization located in Burlington, VT that is dedicated to providing the highest quality psychoeducational assessments and related services to parents and schools.  A fourth generation Vermonter, Melissa has a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and psychology from the University of Vermont. She holds a Master of Education in Language, Learning and Reading Disabilities from the University of Arizona. Since 1991, she has taught and evaluated children in public school and private clinic settings. She has developed and supervised programs for students of all ages (preschool – college and beyond), including Twice-Exceptional learners. She has taught at the post-secondary level.  Melissa is dedicated to assessing and assisting those who are struggling to succeed in school.

Amy Catling – Business Manager

IDA-NNEA is growing and to meet our growth needs we are thrilled to announce the branch has hired Amy Catling as our part time Business Manager. Amy is a special education advocate and trained with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; Wrights Law, and is a Master IEP Coach®.  Amy is the former co-chair of the Special Education Subcommittee of the York PTA and a certified trainer for Enough Abuse Maine. Amy is a graduate of Assumption College with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Biotechnology.  For ten years she owned her own mortgage business while raising her four daughters. Everyone appreciates Amy’s compassion, sense of humor, and sage advice as she helps them navigate through life’s journey. Join us in welcoming Amy aboard!

IDA-NNEA Advisory Board Members

Caryl Patten

Beth McClure

Melissa Farrall

Michael Patten

Claudia Golda-Dominguez

Sue Morbey

Shannon Dixon-Yandow

Dale Vincent

Bebe Casey

Anne Eaton

Aileen Cormier

Jayne Beaton

Help IDA-NNEA continue to improve the lives of individuals with dyslexia

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search