Board of Directors
Dr. Rebekah Dyer is an associate professor in the college of education at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. The courses that she teaches focus on special education. She graduated from Arizona State University West with a bachelor’s degree in special education and a dual certification in both regular and special education. She completed her master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Dyer graduated with a doctoral degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis in special education from Grand Canyon University in the Fall of 2018. Her dissertation research focused on the inclusion of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in disability ministry programs. She presented her research at an International Autism Conference in Nanjiing, China.
Heather Caciola, M.Ed, CDT is a native of Arizona where she attended elementary, high school, college, and graduate school. Heather is currently the Director of Learning and Student Support at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School in Phoenix. All Saints’ is one of the top private schools in Phoenix with over 50 years of history educating students in the Valley. Heather created the Student Support Department at All Saints’ in 2015 where she developed all policies and protocols to support students with learning and attention disorders. Heather is a dyslexia therapist, Level 1 and Level 2 certified Wilson instructor, Wilson Fundations Facilitator, and she has had extensive training in learning differences and ADHD. Heather holds several educational endorsements; including early childhood, English as a second language, and reading. Heather is involved in several professional organizations and is honored to serve on the board of the Arizona Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Heather is deeply passionate about advocating for all students in Arizona, and she believes that everyone has the right to learn how to read.
Becky is owner and operator of Learning to Soar Dyslexia Support. She is a Certified Barton Reading and Spelling System Tutor.
Becky has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has significant training in education with a focus on working with students who have special needs. Becky worked for several years as an instructional aide for students with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. She has been a coach, teacher, program administrator and event coordinator. She has also been a licensed foster parent working with children who need special attention and care.
She became involved with dyslexia support when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia in 2013. Through her training, Becky discovered that she was dyslexic. Helping students with dyslexia has become her passion. She specifically desires to find ways of helping her students avoid becoming discouraged with their education and find ways to develop their unique giftings and talents.
Beth Bovee has over 18 years of experience in corporate training and development. She became passionate about advocating for dyslexic students through experiencing the difficulties of raising her two youngest children with dyslexia. Feeling that their school’s advice to wait and see was insufficient, Beth spent countless hours researching how to help her children. Her most rewarding work was realized while tutoring them with the Barton Reading and Spelling System.
Beth immediately saw the value in IDA Membership while attending her first workshop in 2017. She was thrilled to find a community of like-minded educators, parents, and practitioners. After learning about the opportunity to advocate for dyslexia legislation from the AZ branch in early 2019, she joined the chorus of voices in support of SB1318 by speaking at the House Education Committee hearing. Beth now works as a reading tutor while pursuing a degree in Early Elementary and Special Education. She volunteers as a Parent Leader with Raising Special Kids and is honored to serve the Arizona Branch of the IDA as a member of the board.
Heather Caska, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed pediatric speech language pathologist. Heather graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona and she completed her masters in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology at Northern Arizona University.
Heather has worked as a speech language pathologist for 8 years and is the clinical director of a pediatric therapy clinic in the southeast valley. She has experience working with children with various communication disorders and language learning disabilities. She is passionate about bringing more awareness to the community and increasing early identification of dyslexia. Heather has presented for local universities and school districts, as well as state conferences on the role of the SLPs in language literacy disorders.
Misty Castillo, MA Elementary Education, Reading Specialist Endorsed is a Title I English Language Arts Program Specialist in her 21st year of education. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and then pursued a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement Certification. Misty has a passion for assisting all children in becoming lifelong readers. This passion lead her on a quest of becoming a certified Wilson Dyslexia Therapist and Wilson Credentialed Trainer.
Misty works closely with Reading Specialists and teachers in Gilbert Public Schools providing professional learning on the science of reading as well as certifying teachers as Wilson Dyslexia Practitioners. Misty believes knowledge is the key to closing the reading gap. Therefore, she devotedly shares the gift of knowledge with educators, parents, and community. She continues to educate herself and be involved in the cutting edge of research so that she may continue to spread the importance of best first instruction in English Language Arts. Misty is extremely proud to be a Board Member of the Arizona Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Shannon Donaldson has her M.Ed Secondary Education. She works as an English teacher in a private high school. In 2016, she received her Certificate in Dyslexia studies from Antioch University. She is a Barton Reading and Spelling System tutor.
Her youngest child of her four, was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2013,and this opened her eyes to this learning difference. She now works to educate parents and teachers on what dyslexia is and how to best assist those with this learning difference.
Sharon Hanna, MA Elementary Education, Reading Specialist Endorsed is a public educator in her 17th year of teaching. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and then pursued a Master’s Degree in also in Elementary Education. Later Sharon took graduate level coursework in Reading to obtain her Reading Endorsement. She quickly realized that even with all her coursework there were readers who just never seemed to improve. On her own she looked for information on Dyslexia. Sharon is now trained in Barton Reading and Spelling, Wilson Reading, and has completed her first 63 hours of Orton-Gillingham training and is working on completing her associate certification though the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.
Sharon is currently Kyrene’s only dyslexia specialist and is helping to train teachers, screen students and provide intervention for students. She also is the owner and founder of Dyslexia Pathways Plus, LLC. Sharon has a passion for working with students or adults with dyslexia and continues to educate herself to learn more ways to work with these individuals and advocate for them in their educational settings while also. This passion extends to sharing her knowledge with parents and educators.
Anne Iniguez is an interventionist at St. John Bosco Catholic School in Phoenix, Arizona. She has her bachelors in Elementary Education and Masters in Special Education. Anne has worked with students with Dyslexia her entire career. Trained in Orton Gillingham methods, Anne is currently working towards her Associate level certification through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Anne is also a member of the Associate for Educational Therapy. Anne lives in the Phoenix area with her husband and two children.
Dr. Natalie Schoenbauer is the lead school psychologist in a title 1 district in Arizona. She graduated from Argosy University with her doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist in Arizona. Dr. Schoenbauer has worked as a school psychologist for the past 16 years, supporting students from kindergarten to high school, with the majority of her work experience in the secondary education setting. She believes each student is unique and has strengths to be valued and built upon to aid in better supporting their areas of difficulty through their educational journey.
Anna Sosa, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a licensed speech-language pathologist and associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She received her clinical training and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has worked as a school-based speech-language pathologist and currently provides clinical services and graduate student supervision at the NAU Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and conducts research in early speech and language development and speech sound disorders. She is the mother of two sons, one with dyslexia. Through tutoring her son using an Orton-Gillingham based structured literacy program, she saw first-hand what a difference appropriate reading intervention can make in the life of a child with dyslexia. She is now passionate about bringing effective reading instruction to as many children as possible as well as educating her college students so that they will be able to recognize dyslexia in their future clients and students and provide appropriate recommendations and interventions.
Rachel Thrall, Board Member
Rachel Thrall has a Master in Social Work and has worked with children, families, and adults in a variety of health care settings. She is also the mother of a curious and intelligent child who struggled with reading and was identified as having dyslexia in the second grade. She believes that all children deserve the best education possible and that the best education should include early universal screening for dyslexia and evidence-based, systematic reading instruction for all students. Rachel wants to increase public awareness about dyslexia and the positive outcomes that come with its early identification and appropriate reading instruction.
Melissa Pallister Vallejo, M.Ed., NCST
Melissa holds a Master’s Degree, and certificates in Special Education, and STEM instruction. She has mentored teacher candidates from universities across the valley, and has extensive instructional experience in all content areas.
Melissa has held various leadership roles during her 26 year career as an educator and administrator. Currently, she is a member of the admin team at New Way Academy in Phoenix. NWA is a K-12 private day school specializing in teaching students with language based learning differences, such as dyslexia, as well as ADHD and executive functioning difficulties.
One of her roles is to develop and support instructional excellence in brain based, best practices to serve unique learners. She is passionate about Special Education and has worked with families to navigate their child’s educational rights and needs in the public and private sectors.
Melissa and her husband Peter reside in Gilbert, and have a blended family of three young adult kids, and three pooches. Her goal is to help support our organization in its role of bringing awareness and education to the public regarding dyslexia and learning disabilities.
Immediate Past President, Nominating Committee, AZ Branch / IDA Regional Representative for the Pacific Region
Meredith Puls is an educational consultant in private practice in Oro Valley, AZ. She served as president of IDA Arizona Branch from May 2013-2017. Meredith has a master’s degree in special education from Boston College. She worked in the Department of Audiology, Speech Language, and Learning Services at The Children’s Hospital in Denver for twenty-two years as a learning specialist and diagnostician. She was Learning Services division manager from 1999 until her retirement in 2008. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham based reading instruction, and has given presentations on dyslexia and reading disorders at numerous local and national conferences.
Mary Smith is a parent member since 2017. She manages the social media accounts for the Arizona Branch of IDA. Mary has three sons, each of which have dyslexia. Mary’s boys also struggle with dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, childhood apraxia of speech, high functioning autism, and anxiety. She has learned first hand the struggles children with dyslexia face. After many frustrating experiences in the public school systems, Mary began homeschooling her middle child. Mary joined AZ IDA because she wants to spread awareness so other parents won’t have to struggle to find the appropriate help for their kids and their dyslexic children can flourish and not feel ashamed and defeated.
Share this page with your friends…