About the IDA-NNEA
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.
2021 IDA-NNEA (formerly NHIDA) Board of Directors
Brenda Peters, MA, MEd, SAIF, ICALP, Branch President
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.
Susan Hourihan, ICALP, Vice President, President-Elect
Committees-Executive, Finance, Conference, Government Affairs, Communication & Outreach email, Fundraising & Scholarship, Membership, and Nominating
Susan Hourihan is currently the President-Elect 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. Over the past seven years, she has been the lead trainer in the Center’s school-based Orton-Gillingham collaboration that 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.
Kristine Reilly, Ed.D., Vice President-Elect
Committees- Executive, Conference, Website, and Communication & Outreach-Facebook and Constant Contact
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.
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 skill 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, and 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 and Fundraising & 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 and Fundraising & Scholarship
Heidi has developed a strong background in literacy through working as an elementary classroom teacher, reading and writing specialist, Reading First Coach, and 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 NHIDA board as the conference chair.
Elaine Miskinis, Member at Large
Committees- Newsletter, Communication & Outreach
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- Conference and Communication & Outreach-Constant Contact and 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 and 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, detracking and desegregation, arts integration, restorative practices, and full-service community schools.
Cheryl Neiverth, Member at Large
Committees – Government Affairs, 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.
Anat Eshed, Member at Large
Committees-Government Affairs and Nominating
Anat Eshed, Ph.D., SAIF is an Assistant Vice President of Strategy, Architecture, and Performance at Southern New Hampshire University. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Following graduation, she completed two post-doctoral fellowships, at the University of Texas and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She remained at MIT as a research scientist for over a decade, working on developing new materials for Si-based photonics. Being an English-language learner and a parent of a student with a language-based learning disability, Anat became curious and passionate about understanding how to meet the needs of all learners and creating diversity, equity, and inclusive environments. This newfound interest drove her to complete post-graduate studies in the assessment of cognitive functioning and its use in developing both universal design and personalized strategies to support all learners and, specifically, students with learning disabilities. Combining her unique set of professional training and expertise, Anat is working collaboratively with faculty and staff from SNHU and other institutions to research strategies and develop models to improve accessibility to higher education for a diverse set of learners, many of whom face unpredictable barriers to learning. Her current interests include developing “just in time” scalable strategies to evaluate learners’ needs holistically and creating tools that responsively address students’ challenges and that can be embedded within a wide range of learning experiences. Anat has an extensive service-oriented experience including over a decade of volunteering to lead a thriving Destination Imagination program and serving as a volunteer advocate for the NH Parent Information Center working with parents and school districts to provide Free Appropriate Public Education that meets the needs of all learners.
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