Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Board of Directors

Heather Caciola

Heather Caciola,  M.Ed, CDT, is a native of Arizona, where she attended elementary, high school, college, and graduate school. With over 20 years of experience in education, Heather has held diverse roles with a primary focus on literacy. Currently, she holds the position of Literacy Advisor/Literacy Specialist at Wilson Language Training, where she collaborates with district leaders across the Western region of the United States to support implementation of structured literacy with the ultimate goal of improving student literacy outcomes.

Heather Caska
Immediate Past President

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.

Beth Bovee
Vice President

Beth Bovee spent a large portion of her career in training and development within the retail industry. Then, as a parent of two dyslexic children, she experienced the frustration and heartache of advocating for their needs. the necessity to learn everything she could about dyslexia changed the trajectory of her children’s education and her career. Beth began coursework in elementary and special education. She became certified in Orton Gillingham after completing the Dyslexia Certificate Program and practicum through the Dyslexia Training Institute. After tutoring dyslexic students for several years, she accepted an opportunity to help establish a non-profit microschool for students with specific learning disabilities and ADHD.

Beth is grateful to have found tools and resources through the IDA that have helped her as a parent and professional. Since joining the board in 2020, she has served as Committee Chair of the Learning & Literacy Symposium and as Treasurer. She is excited about assisting the Board of Directors with tasks that strengthen efforts to provide more community outreach and professional development – until everyone can read.

Jillian Jones

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.

Leah Noreng

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.

Misty Castillo
Board Member

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.

Samantha De Palo
Board Member

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.

Ciara Dixon
Board Member

Ciara Dixon has a B.S. degree in Strategic Communications from Oklahoma State University and is a dyslexic herself. Growing up she excelled at school and struggled with homework and her mom quickly learned she was getting patted on the back to move forward while the school ignored major red flags in her work, flipped writing, major trouble in math and reading made her head hurt. Thankfully her great aunt Brenda worked in special education and gave her mother the right tools and guidance to get her on the right track. While her writing is now in its correct form, reading doesn’t make her head swirl and well.. math is still math.. she’s discovering how dyslexia continues to affect her as she grows in years and is now looking at it in the lens of a gift.
Currently, she works with the Girl Scouts of Cactus-Pine where she is a Senior Program Coordinator. She works with both adult women and young girls and strives to be a kind collaborate leader who gently pushes women and girls to be the best leaders they can be. While working with the IDA board,  she knows being surrounded by knowledgeable women, having access to the most recent resources and knowledge of current and potentially future legislation for dyslexia she wants to encourage adults and children she works with to use their voice and lean on their gifts. We are more powerful than we may think.

Becky Keller
Board Member

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.

Katie Lewis
Board Member

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.

Maryann Mobley
Board Member

Maryann Mobley founded A New Horizon Tutoring in Oro Valley, AZ.  She 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, Maryann actively provides outreach and educational opportunities to local schools and organizations to educate others about dyslexia, appropriate intervention, and accommodations. In addition to her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders, she is 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 has completed training in the Lindamood-Bell LiPS program. Maryann is 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.

Gail Walsh
Board Member

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
IDA Member, Nominating Committee

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
IDA Member, Nominating Committee

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
Executive Assistant

Mary Smith has been a parent member since 2017. She manages the social media accounts for IDA Arizona. Mary has three sons, each of whom 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.

Share this page with your friends…