The Board of Directors
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.
Past – President
My name is Kayla Steltenkamp. I am a wife, mother, and special education teacher. I taught for almost seven years before learning about dyslexia. It is now my passion, and my PhD research interest to promote, educate, and be a resource about dyslexia. I would be happy to serve on the IDA board and help as the treasure to organize finding and be sure that IDA-KY can be a positive influence for our state.
Rosanna Gabriele lives with her husband and four children in Anchorage, Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Rochester, Rosanna is thrilled to serve on the board for the Kentucky Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Both of her sons have dyslexia and dysgraphia. She is dedicated to spreading dyslexia awareness and creating greater understanding of the struggles dyslexic students face in our schools.
My name is Kevin Ruschman and I am a father of 2 boys, ages 11 and 9. 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.
Shirley Carter has just joined the ranks of those carrying the torch for dyslexia. She lives in Lexington with her husband, Austin, and is a lifeline for her granddaughter. Not only does Shirley provide transportation for her granddaughter to her tutoring sessions, but she has begun tutoring herself, using the Barton Reading & Spelling method. One of the most meaningful things she has done on granddaughter’s behalf is to jump in wholeheartedly to learn everything she can about dyslexia. Shirley has attended IEP meetings and conscientiously stood her ground in obtaining classroom accommodations, has purchased a Livescribe pen to encourage the use of technology, and is looking for ways to tutor and advocate for other children with learning differences. Shirley has poured her professional skills into making a difference where it really counts.
Rachelle Schmitz, MA, CCC-SLP, CALT, CDT is a speech-language pathologist and reading specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in the Division of Speech-Language Pathology (9 years) and the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center (for the past 5 years). She is the mother of three wonderfully crazy children. Her main clinical specialty areas of language and reading disorders led her to fulfill a two-year vice president position for the International Dyslexia Association-Kentucky Branch from 2014-2016. Training and certifications include an IMSLEC accredited Orton-Gillingham prog, Certified Academic Language Therapist, and Certified Dyslexia Therapist. Her passion is educating and empowering families. Helping children access the grade-level curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge to their fullest ability.
Dr. Maggie Wright
Dr. Maggie Wright, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and founder of The Wright Psychology and Learning Center in Louisville, KY. Dr. Wright has been specializing in the assessment and treatment of dyslexia for over ten years in her private practice, and is passionate about raising awareness of dyslexia throughout the state. Dr. Wright is a vocal advocate of early screening and identification of dyslexia, and has helped several schools in the Louisville area to implement early intervention programs. Dr. Wright is excited to serve on the International Dyslexia Association – Kentucky Branch Board of Directors. Dr. Wright lives with her husband and three school-age children in Louisville.
Dr. Jamie Mahoney
Dr. Jamie Mahoney is an Associate Professor in the Adolescent, Career, and Special Education Department at Murray State University. She teaches Special Education courses for dual certification Learning Behavior Disorder/ Elementary or Middle School undergraduate students and graduate students in the Alt. Cert, Master LBD, and Moderate Severe Disabilities programs. She has taught students with various disabilities in the areas of math, reading, and language arts for over 20 years in the elementary public school setting. She is certified in the areas of special education, general education, reading endorsed, assistive technology certified, and educational leadership certified. Her research interests include preparing preservice and in-service teachers to effectively teach students of all abilities using differentiated instruction methods, response to intervention and progress monitoring, increasing student engagement using technology, collaboration and co-teaching methods, and assessment methodologies.
My name is Melissa Parshall and I am a mother of three (Molly – 8yo, Annabelle and Hudson – 7yo) and a physician assistant at Louisville Orthopedic Clinic. Molly and Hudson are both dyslexic and we have been on this journey for about two years now. I am excited to be a part of this group, to learn from your experience and contribute my ideas and efforts.
Amanda Berringer, wife and mother of two, lives and teaches in Northern Kentucky. She taught students with special needs for 17 years before becoming the primary intervention specialist for Dayton Independent Schools. Amanda is trained in Orton-Gillingham methodology and uses several structured literacy programs with students daily. She believes in using the science of reading to guide instruction and is passionate about sharing information with colleagues and families. Amanda was the 2019 A.D. Albright Outstanding Teacher of the Year and Golden Apple recipient. In addition to teaching, Amanda coaches Drama Club and Unified Special Olympics. She is devoted to helping all children discover their talents and strengths.
My name is Nissa Shannon. I am a pastor’s wife and mother to six children which we have successfully raised to adulthood. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Exceptional Needs and have taught special education in Breckinridge County for 11 years. My first year teaching, I had a student who will forever hold a piece of my heart. As a 6th grade student, he struggled to read basic sight words. After moving to the elementary level, I had a number of students, one in particular who I knew there had to be something more I could do to help. I searched out a week-long training conducted by Susan Barton and my journey and passion to help struggling students began. I live in a rural community with no resources and supports available. My desire is to spread awareness and educate others about dyslexia while trying to encourage and teach my students to be successful.
Dawn McNew has been an English teacher and coach at Paintsville High School in Paintsville, Kentucky since 2003. A 1990 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Dawn has earned a B.A. and M.A. in English and a MAT in Teaching Secondary English. In 2017, Dawn completed National Board Certification. Currently, Dawn teaches Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior English as well as Advanced Placement Literature and Composition and ELA remediation. After years of struggling, Dawn finds that having dyslexia is a gift as a teacher and has used her experience as the impetus to prove that students with dyslexia can become prolific readers and writers. Over the years she has used her position as an opportunity to act as a role model for students struggling with confidence, by emphasizing their increased capacity for imagination, visual learning, and creativity that comes with dyslexic brains. Her passion has lead her to devise special strategies, lessons, and activities for students that are useful to all learners. Dawn lives with her husband Craig, and sons Grant and Jackson with their Maltese Baxter in Paintsville.
Heather Cicchiello Wright
Heather Cicchiello Wright has been in education in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY for 13 years. She was a classroom teacher for 5 years before training to be a Reading Recovery teacher and later a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader. Since 2013-14, she has served in that role, supporting schools, teachers and students across the large urban district in literacy. She holds a MAT, a 2nd Masters degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and recently obtained her Education Specialist degree and Principal certification. As the mother of a son who has dyslexia and auditory processing disorder, she is an advocate for all children to have their diverse learning needs met.
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