Board of Directors
Rebekah Dyer 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. Currently, Mrs. Dyer is pursuing her doctorate degree in special education at Grand Canyon University.
Mrs. Dyer taught special education for ten years fulfilling a variety of roles including: five years in a 6th-8th grade self-contained special education classroom; she taught special education students for a virtual school for six years; she was the middle school resource teacher as well as a middle school self-contained cross-categorical special education teacher. Furthermore, Mrs. Dyer has taught at Phoenix College, and she has been a college supervisor for teacher candidates at Rio Salado Community College and Grand Canyon University. She is passionate about students with special needs, and she enjoys working with future special educators.
Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus
Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus has been a board member since 2015. She is Founder and President of Capitol Consulting, LLC an Arizona political consulting, lobbying and non-profit management firm. Courtney is the mother of a dyslexic child and she is also dyslexic. An Arizona native, Courtney attended Xavier College Preparatory and Texas Christian University where she earned her Bachelor of Business Degree with a Major in Finance and a Minor in Speech Communication.
Courtney has been married to Chuck LeVinus for 13 years and they have one son. In her free time Courtney is a board member of several non-profits, runs marathons and competes in triathlons.
Courtney helped develop and advocate for HB2202 creating Arizona’s first dyslexia handbook for parents and teachers. She is a tireless advocate for dyslexic students in Arizona. Most recently she chaired the 2016 Masquerade for Dyslexia Fundraiser, the first major fundraiser for AZIDA and she is back Chairing the 2017 fundraiser that will be held on Saturday October 7th.
Tina Wildoner, is a parent member having joined the Board in 2017. My husband and I have been married for 27 years. We have two boys. My youngest was diagnosed with dyslexia in Seventh grade. I have an Associates in Applied Science in Paralegal from Everest College and Associates of Arts from Rio Salado Community College. My goal is to continue to learn how best to support my son and help bring awareness about dyslexia to all that will listen.
Becky Keller, Treasurer
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.
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 is currently completing her associate certification through the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE).
Heather has worked as a speech language pathologist for 6 years and currently works in private practice 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.
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.
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.
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.
Mary Smith is a parent member and has been a 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 sensory processing disorder, dyspraxia, ADHD, childhood apraxia of speech, 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 AZIDA 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. Mary and Karl have been happily married since 2000 and relocated from Southern California in 2006. In her spare time, you will find Mary snuggling with her fur babies, hanging out in her chicken coop, or being creative.
Immediate Past President, AZ Branch / IDA Regional Representative for the Pacific Region
Meredith Puls is an educational consultant in private practice in Oro Valley, AZ. She has served as president of IDA Arizona Branch since May, 2013. 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.
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