Board of Directors
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 master’s in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology at Northern Arizona University.
Heather has worked as a speech-language pathologist for 8 years and is the owner of a 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.
Heather Caciola, M.Ed, CDT, CALP is a native of Arizona where she attended elementary, high school, college, and graduate school. Heather is a literacy specialist for Wilson Language Training Corporation and is the former Director of Learning and Student Support at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School where she created and developed All Saints’ Student Support model for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. 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.
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.
Committee: Symposium and Communications
Jillian Jones lives in North Phoenix with her husband and their two neuro-divergent children – a gifted daughter and a dyslexic/twice-exceptional son whom they homeschool. Their journey to find the right support services and school environment for their son is what lead Jillian to become an outspoken advocate for children who learn differently.
Committee: Fundraising Chair
Leah Noreng is an Arizona native, wife & mother of three boys with a professional background in sales & marketing and nonprofit fundraising. Her personal and professional passions intersected while running a nonprofit education foundation, and her youngest son was diagnosed with Dyslexia. Ensuring her son received his needed services and support eventually became the “easy” part. Leah has since become a passionate advocate in her community for structured literacy for all students, not just her own. Leah believes that learning to read is a right, not a privilege. Her favorite quote related to literacy instruction is, “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou.
Committee: Community Relations
Misty Castillo, MA Elementary Education, Reading Specialist Endorsed is a Literacy Advisor/Specialist for Wilson Language Training. She has 22 years of experience in 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 led her on a quest of becoming a certified Wilson Dyslexia Therapist and Wilson Credentialed Trainer.
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.
Committee: Professional Development and Fundraising: Gala
Dr. Gina Conner, an experienced educator, coach, and leader in public education and higher education, currently serves as the Director of Professional Learning and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Gina began her career in education in 2000, serving in K-12 public schools as a special education teacher and instructional coach, while earning her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in education and leadership at Arizona State University. Driven by a love for teaching and learning, she takes pride in leading professional learning initiatives in the college, as well as providing high-quality teacher education in teacher preparation, that supports the development of effective and innovative educators who make a positive difference in schools and communities. Gina also has a son, Nikolas (25), and a daughter, Bella (16), and resides in Phoenix. Gina proudly serves on the boards of Playworks Arizona and the Arizona Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Samantha De Palo
Samantha De Palo is the Director of Outreach for The Jones-Gordon School, a private nonprofit in Paradise Valley that cultivates the strengths of high-potential, motivated students who have dyslexia and related learning differences such as ADHD. Sam graduated from ASU (Barrett Honors College) in 2013 with degrees in Spanish Linguistics and English Literature. That same year, Sam was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English at a university in Mexico. In 2014, Sam became a Teach For America corps member. She spent the following two years teaching at a large public high school in an inclusion classroom with English Language Learners and Special Education students. In 2016, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master’s in Education. Sam recently earned a postgraduate certificate from Landmark College in Neurodiversity with a specialization in Executive Function, which supports the work she does with students and educators every day.
Committee: Fundraising: Dyslexia Dash
Committee: Fundraising: Masquerade Gala
Teresa Everett is a nationally certified school psychologist and have been practicing in Arizona schools for fourteen years. I earned a Master Degree in Educational Psychology and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from the College of St. Rose in New York in 2009 and most recently in 2022 became a diplomate in school neuropsychology through the American Board of School Neuropsychology. During my years as a school psychologist, I have worked at both the building and district level to serve students with dyslexia through the evaluation and identification process, helping educators and families understand ways to support their academic development, and empowering students themselves. I am an advocate for strong multi-tiered systems of supports in schools so that interventions for students with dyslexia can take place early on and be individualized to meet their unique learning needs.
Committee: Professional Development
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.
Committee: Community Relations and Professional Development, including Scholarships
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.
Committee: Community Relations
Katie Lewis, MA- Elementary Education, is a K-2 Intervention Coach for a Title One district in Phoenix. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University with an emphasis in Multilingual Multicultural Education. During her tenure with her school district, she obtained her reading endorsement which led her to a position as a Reading Specialist which she held for 12 years. She has worked with a wide range of age groups from Kindergarten-8th grades. Her passion for reading development and elementary education drove her to pursue and obtain a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University.
Katie’s work as a district intervention coach has given her the opportunity to facilitate professional development district-wide on research-based best practices grounded in the science of reading. She regards her role as coach as a catalyst for building relationships with teachers and staff. Her drive for educating fellow educators about dyslexia and reading science has led her to the Arizona Branch of the IDA. She holds fast to the belief that all children can read and is excited to contribute to this dynamic board.
Committee: Professional Development, including Symposium and Scholarships
Meagan Lougee is a parent of three beautiful, smart, neurodivergent daughters who struggle with dyslexia, among other disabilities. Meagan believes every child should be able to learn and enjoy their education environment. Watching her kindergarten child suffer in school with profound dyslexia was traumatizing, and she believes that no child should have to suffer as hers did.
Meagan joined IDA to seek like-minded people to understand the emotional and costly struggles dyslexia has on a family.
She often hosts park dates, play dates, and created a small community of parents and families to normalize dyslexia and promote educational and peer support for dyslexic students.
Committee: Fundraising: Dyslexia Dash
Maryann Mobley founded A New Horizon Tutoring in Oro Valley, AZ. I started the tutoring center over nine years ago with a mission to provide awareness of dyslexia along with affordable tutoring and intervention opportunities for children and adults in our community. In addition, I actively provide outreach and educational opportunities to local schools and organizations to educate others about dyslexia, appropriate intervention, and accommodations. In addition to my BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders, I am trained in the Barton Reading and Spelling System, Barton Dyslexia Assessment, completed the Dyslexia
Certificate Program through the Dyslexia Training Institute, completed training in Structured Word Inquiry, and have completed training in the Lindamood-Bell LiPS program. I am passionate that the 1 in 5 have a voice and a guide to help them show the world their light and what they are capable of.
Veronica Stoltz is a mother of 4 great kids who are her pride and joy. She is a problem solver with a track record of advocating for kids on local, state, and national levels. She represented Children’s Hospital and Clinics of MN in Washington D.C. during “Speak Now for Kids” Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill. She also volunteers with the Families as Partners program with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Raising Special Kids of AZ. She was also elected to serve on one of the top school boards in MN. Veronica graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Communications and minors in Political Science and Russian. She was also trained by Orton Gillingham Specialists in the Sonday method of reading instruction.
Committee: Community Relations
Gail Walsh has her Bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education as well as a Master’s in Special Education from Boston College. She received her IMSLEC Certification in 1999 as an NJ-Mason Scholar and completed her Dyslexia Specialist degree through Fairleigh Dickinson University. During her career, she worked for 33 years in New Jersey Public Schools as a Special Education/Dyslexia Specialist serving K-12 students. In the evenings and summers, she worked in urban and suburban school districts as an Orton Gillingham Teacher-Trainer for Levels 1-4 representing the Center of Dyslexia Studies at FDU.
She and her husband relocated to Arizona in July 2021, and she currently teaches as a part-time adjunct at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Education. Gail was an active IDA Board Member in New Jersey since 2005 serving on the Professional Development and Nominating Committees. Gail is looking forward to volunteering her time with IDA Arizona.
Michelle Hodges has her Bachelor’s in Special Education and her Master’s in Elementary Education as well as a Dyslexia Certification through the Dyslexia Training Institute and Reading Endorsement. She is currently teaching developmental preschool in Phoenix and is a Grand Canyon University Instructor. Michelle’s teaching career has spanned the past 16 years and has included working in a neuropsychology office, teaching middle school science, social studies, language arts, as well as being the first Dyslexia & Literacy Intervention Specialist for the Arizona Department of Education. Michelle is looking forward to serving the Arizona IDA.
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 researches 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.
Mary Smith has been a parent member since 2017. She manages the social media accounts for IDA Arizona. Mary has three sons, each of which is dyslexic. Mary’s boys also struggle with dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, childhood apraxia of speech, autism, and anxiety. She has learned firsthand the struggles children with dyslexia face. After many frustrating experiences in the public school system, Mary began homeschooling her middle child. Mary joined IDA Arizona because she wants to spread awareness so other parents won’t struggle to find the appropriate help for their kids and their dyslexic children can flourish and not feel ashamed and defeated.
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