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Welcome to the Kentucky Branch of the International Dyslexia Association’s website. IDA Kentucky’s motto is “A Future Full of Readers!” IDA Kentucky is a nonprofit 501c3 consisting of members promoting evidence-based research about dyslexia, supporting the preparation and continued education of professionals and families, and advancing public awareness and understanding of Dyslexia. Please feel free to contact us via our website so we can best serve your needs effectively. Once again welcome and we appreciate your support of IDA and this branch!

Kayla Steltenkamp
International Dyslexia Association
Kentucky Branch

2019 Kentucky Branch Election ~ Candidate Biographies

Voting for IDAKY members will be held from 8/31/19 through 10/12/19.

The next Kentucky Branch Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. October 12, 2019 at the Lexington Public Library 3000 Blake James Dr #2633, Lexington, KY 40509.


Position:  President-elect
Candidate: Susanne Hannigan
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/20
Susanne Hannigan is the owner of Literacy Links of Louisville, providing research-based literacy support to individuals, families, schools, and organizations interested in identifying and developing literacy abilities. She is a National Board Certified Teacher-Exceptional Needs, with over 25 years of public and private school teaching experience as a special educator and literacy specialist. Throughout her many years of teaching, Susanne has been awarded several public and private education grants to better serve her students, and she has been named a Teacher-of-the-Year for her collaborative work with teachers and exceptional needs students. Trained in Orton-Gillingham, Barton Reading, and Spelling, and other research-based structured literacy methods, Susanne has instructed countless bright students in reading, spelling, and writing. Most recently, Susanne has become a field observer for Georgetown College, with the role of providing direct support, feedback, and professional development to student teachers in the field of LBD. Susanne’s mission with the IDAKY Board is to work collaboratively to increase dyslexia awareness and knowledge, to support the need for appropriate early assessment, identification, intervention, and progress monitoring practices for dyslexic learners, and to provide advocacy to students and families throughout the state of Kentucky.

PositionVice President
Candidate: Jamie Miller
Term Length: 1/01/20  through 12/31/21
Jamie Miller is an Elementary ECS Instructional Coach for Oldham County Schools. With twenty years of classroom, consulting, and coaching experience, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities from Purdue University and her Master’s degree in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from San Diego State University.  Her primary focus is to support teachers, parents, and students by utilizing her expertise and training in Multi-sensory Approach to Reading Success (MARS), The Language Tool Kit, and Orton-Gillingham. The past year, Jamie has played an integral part of Oldham County’s Dyslexia Task Force and has reached out to key community experts and parents in partnership. She believes that partnering and collaborating with these audiences is a key component in promoting the objectives set forth by IDA.  Having these entities working together and moving toward real solutions will bring the changes we wish to see .. A Future Full of Readers!

Candidate: Kevin Ruschman
Term Length: 1/01/20 through 12/31/21
My name is Kevin Ruschman and I am a father of 2 boys, ages 9 and 7. My oldest, Liam, was diagnosed with severe Dyslexia in the second grade and changed the trajectory of our lives. I have experienced the struggles first hand of being a parent and wanting to help your child in any way possible but not knowing where to begin. I came across the IDA Kentucky website and found a nearby Dyslexia simulation which my wife and I attended. Since that day I have continued to learn more about how truly incredible Dyslexia is and, along with my son’s great attitude, we are now going full steam ahead. I have made it my mission to not only help my son have every opportunity possible but to also help to educate parents, teachers, administrators, and anyone else who will listen about Dyslexia. The difference between having the proper knowledge and being lost as a parent can truly change a child’s life and I plan to do anything I can to help be on the positive side of that.



Candidate: Carrie Volz
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/22
Carrie Volz is married with three children living in Crestwood, KY with a deep history of dyslexia. She is an aerospace engineer. Past work experience included NASA.

Candidate: Amy Suiter
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/22
Hello! My name is Amy Suiter. I am married to Mark and we have 3 children at home; Brooklyn (10, 5th grade, dyslexic), Breelyn (8, 3rd grade), and Hendryx (grandson, 2). We have 2 sons in college and an adult daughter. I have a flexible job which allows me to work from home. We live in Winchester (Clark County), KY. I am very passionate about dyslexia as both Mark and Brooklyn have it. I am an advocate for Brooklyn and all the other children with dyslexia. I encourage Brooklyn to be an advocate for herself. She spoke to the Clark County Board of Education about dyslexia and sparked interest within the district. Her advocacy prompted the school district to send a few teachers to Orton Gillingham training. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology which prepared me to work with children with special needs. I worked as a behavior specialist in the schools in Mississippi until I had Brooklyn; at which point I stayed at home with her. I am very passionate about inclusion and students receiving the free and appropriate education they all deserve.

Candidate: Laura Sohl
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/22
My name is Laura Sohl.  For the past 19 years I have been employed in a k-8 school in Louisville, Ky.  The past 13 of those years I have been the Reading Lab Instructor in the school’s tier 3 RTI program. I am a certified tutor in the Barton Program for Reading and Spelling and have also been trained in the Lindamood Bell programs. In my time in this role I have served many dozens of students, and experienced the joys of delivering an effective intervention while changing outcomes for struggling readers. Conversely, I have also experienced the frustrations involved in the pervasive lack of understanding of dyslexia. These joys and frustrations fuel my desire to do more on a broader level. Although there has been tremendous progress over the past decade (due in good part to the efforts of organizations like the IDA) I realize there is still a long way to go.  I am pleased to be nominated for a position on the board of the KYIDA and would be privileged to be part of forwarding the mission of “helping to create a future for all those who struggle with dyslexia”.

Candidate: Dawn McNew
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/22
Dawn Mcnew has taught and coached at Paintsville Independent Schools for the past 18 years. Since 2009, Dawn has coached the Varsity and Junior Varsity academic teams while teaching AP Literature, Senior English, Honors English, Shakespeare, ACT Reading, Literacy, Mythology, and Fine Arts. In the summer of 2014, Dawn had the privilege of studying at Oxford University as part of an APSI cohort and will travel to the Sorbonne in Paris, France to study this summer. In addition to academics, she has tutored and helped Supervise one summer at the Carnegie Idea Academy  Summer Reading program for dyslexics. She holds a B.A. In English from the University of Kentucky, a B.A. From the University of Hawaii, a M.A. from Morehead State University, and is completing her second Master’s at the University of Kentucky.  She is a National Board certified teacher and lives with her two sons Grant and Jackson, husband Craig, and her Malteese Baxter in Paintsville.

Candidate: Susan Vialpando
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/22
I am honored to be nominated as a candidate to serve on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.  This will be my 20th year in education.  Throughout my career, my experiences have been varied – classroom teacher, literacy coach, literacy interventionist, and ELL teacher.  All the while, literacy instruction and working with striving readers and writers has been my passion.  I am always seeking out effective instructional strategies and practices to meet the needs of each and every student.  My professional development continues as I am currently working on my Dyslexia Therapist Graduate Certificate.



PositionNominating Committee
Candidate: Holly Highchew
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/20
Holly Hightchew loves watching children learn. It is for this very reason that she selected to homeschool her own three children. It was only after her youngest daughter was diagnosed with profound dyslexia that Holly geared her passion and training to helping children with dyslexia successfully learn to read. She now works with dyslexic students and their parents providing reading assessments and training at The Learning Curve in Union, Ky. She helps train parents, teachers and tutors to work with children using the Orton-Gillingham method. Holly worked this past summer as the Academic Director of Dyslexia Camp at Potter’s Ranch. Additionally, she is a Certified Barton Tutor. Holly holds a BA in Communication and Business Administration from Northern Kentucky University. She worked as the Human Resources and Public Relations Manager for Gallatin Steel in Ghent, Kentucky. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the Gallatin County Public Library in Warsaw, Kentucky, and has volunteered many summers working as a camp counselor at Happy Hills Christian Service Camp in Carrollton, Kentucky. She and her husband, Bob, have been happily married for 28 years, and along with their three children, live in Warsaw, Kentucky.

PositionNominating Committee
Candidate: Andi Scanlan
Term Length:  1/01/20  through 12/31/20
My name is Andi Scanlan and I am the parent of a dyslexic child.  Hannah was diagnosed as having dyslexia at the age of 6.  SInce her diagnosis, we have been attending bi-weekly tutoring sessions with Mrs. Laura Noe using Lexercise and Learning Boost to help Hannah learn to read and to help me to continue those reading strategies at home with Hannah on a daily basis.  I have seen first hand with Hannah her struggles with dyslexia and how much effort, time, patience and love a child with dyslexia needs to be successful in school and in life.  I hope to learn more about dyslexia and how to teach a dyslexic child to read so that I can take my learning and make a difference not only with my own child but with the children that I teach at JCPS.


Dyslexia Simulations and Presentations Offered by IDAKY

IDAKY Simulation and Presentation Google Request Form

In an effort to heighten awareness about dyslexia, promote positive legislation, and advance our mission, IDAKY now offers to groups, teachers, schools, and the community a chance to participate in a dyslexia simulation or a presentation. Many can benefit from knowing more about learning differences. If you or someone you know would be interested in hosting a simulation or planning a community event where a presentation is needed, please access the Simulation and Presentation Google Request Form link above to learn more and secure an IDAKY presenter. By submitting this form, we will work together to achieve our common goals. We look forward to partnering with you!

If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an IDAKY representative by email ( or by phone at (502) 276-5153.

Superpower Dyslexia Video Kentucky

Reading can seem like a superpower to children who struggle with dyslexia. However, with proper instruction, these dyslexic students can be successful. Thank you to the Kentucky Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and the COPIA Foundation.


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