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Board of Directors

Mary Cancelmo, M.A.

Mary Cancelmo recently retired from San Francisco Unified School District and is now in private practice tutoring students with Wilson Reading System. Previously, Mary held positions in the SFUSD as a dyslexia screening and support teacher on special assignment working to implement the guidelines of  AB 1369, as a resource specialist, and as an inclusion specialist. After a career in photography, Mary came to special education to learn how to help her own child and provide support for children with learning differences and their families. Mary studied and implemented structured literacy and multisensory  mathematics interventions, as well as social thinking and mindfulness practices to meet the needs of her elementary age students. Mary has an Education Specialist credential and Master of Arts degree in special education from San Francisco State University and is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner.

Emma Elizalde, M.Ed.
Immediate Past President

Emma Elizalde is currently a Reading Teacher at Town School for Boys. She also has a private practice where she works with students who have language based challenges. She previously worked as a 3rd grade Teacher at North Bridge Academy, a school for students with dyslexia, as a 1st grade Support Teacher at Marin Country Day School and was a paraprofessional at Gateway Middle School. She holds a Certificate in Education Therapy from Holy Names University, an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in Psychology and Education from Mount Holyoke College. 

Sue Ron-Gonzalez, M.Ed.
Vice President

Sue Ron-Gonzalez has worked extensively over the past 25 years with students with learning differences as a special day class teacher, content specialist. literacy specialist and dyslexia support teacher for the San Francisco Unified School District. Currently, she is a resource specialist at Jefferson Elementary School. Sue holds a certificate in educational therapy and master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University and is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner. Since 2011, she has received grants from Fund for Teachers, Omprakash Foundation, A Seed of Change and the All People Be Happy Foundation for her yearly summer volunteer teaching in a small community in Elmina, Ghana to support students’ literacy development with a focus on girls’ education. She is passionate about connecting her students in San Francisco with her students in Ghana through pen pal letters, videos and writing stories.

Kori Riordan, M.A.

Kori Riordan is a learning specialist/tutor at San Francisco Friends School and Holy Name School, providing one-to-one and small group support for students with learning challenges. Her training includes multisensory instruction in language arts and math. Kori previously worked as a middle school math teacher and resource specialist at Ross School, a K-8 school in Marin. Kori earned and MBA from Loyola Marymount University and holds a multiple subject and education specialist teaching credential and an MA in special education from Notre Dame de Namur. Kori is completing the requirements for a certificate in education therapy from UC Riverside. She is also a certified mindfulness instructor.

Grace Sharma, M.S. Ed

Currently in private practice, Grace Sharma is a credentialed educator in the areas of early childhood education, special education, and pupil administrative services.  She holds a Masters degree in Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Education from the University of Dayton (OH) and a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Early Childhood Education and American Literature focus) from Miami University (OH).  She is a certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist through the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and a Certified Level Orton-Gillingham Tutor and Fellow-in-Training through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE).

Julie Blake, M.A.

Julie Blake has been an elementary school teacher for the last 22 years and is currently working as a K-12 Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District in Sacramento County.  In this role, she provides literacy professional development and coaching as a LETRS Local Certified Trainer. She earned her multiple subject teaching credential from the University of San Diego and her M.A. in teaching reading from National University. Julie is a trained dyslexia tutor with the Academy of Orton Gillingham (AOGPE) and is completing her practicum and application for the Associate Level in 2021.

Lori DePole, B.S.

Lori DePole is a former CFO/COO in the technology sector. She currently serves on the leadership team of Decoding Dyslexia CA (a grassroots movement focused on dyslexia) as Co-State Director and is on the Board of Directors for Project Second Chance, Inc. (a non-profit organization focused on adult literacy through the Contra Costa County Library). Lori is a trained dyslexia tutor and provides volunteer tutoring to low income foster youth through Uplift Family Services, Inc. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University and is an IDA-Certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist and an Associate Member with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE).

Ronit Glickman, B.A.

Ronit Glickman is an elementary public school teacher at the Santa Rosa French American Charter School and the mother of a student with dyslexia. She has a background in finance and was the former president of a financial services company before pursuing a second career in education 13 years ago. She earned a Multiple Subjects Credential with CLAD certification from Sonoma State University and has specialized training in multisensory structured literacy and math. She was originally trained by Ron Yoshimoto in the Orton-Gillingham approach, which she applies to both whole class instruction as well as to small reading intervention groups. Ronit is dedicated to professional development, teacher training and raising dyslexia awareness. She also enjoys yoga, tennis and swimming.

Beth Lucey, B.S.

Beth Lucey has 20 years of experience as a public school educator, teaching grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, including serving as a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment provider for the Redwood City School District. Currently, Beth is a Literacy Specialist with SFUSD providing intensive small group reading intervention for K-2 students in general education and for students in the Mild to Moderate Special Day Classes. Beth holds a Multiple Subject Teaching credential with CLAD certification and is trained in Orton-Gillingham practices through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education. She received her BS from Santa Clara University.

William Patterson

William Patterson is a tutor with a private practice in San Francisco where he works with students with language-based learning differences.  Prior to opening his private practice, William worked as a Resource Specialist for the San Francisco Unified School District, an English teacher for the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and a Varying Exceptionality Teacher for Dade County Public Schools.  William was introduced to multisensory structured literacy while attending Slingerland Summer School in San Francisco as a teacher participant.  He is also a member of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education for San Francisco Unified School District.

Jennifer Parker, M.A.

Jennifer Parker​​ is a reading specialist with the San Francisco Unified School District. She also maintains a private multisensory-based tutoring practice. Before that, Jennifer was a general education classroom teacher. Jennifer has a B.S. in Behavioral and Social Sciences from the University of Maryland and a M.A. in Teaching Reading from the University of San Francisco. She also holds a California Teaching Credential and is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner.

Lisa Parnello, M.Ed.

Lisa Parnello is a literacy specialist and Interim Lower School Director at Sand Hill School in Palo Alto. She is a Wilson Certified Trainer in addition to her private practice for dyslexia therapy using Wilson Reading System. Lisa has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, and a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Phoenix. She holds a California teaching credential and has taught both general education and special education for the last 15 years.

Advisory Board

Cawley Carr

Cawley Carr is the Branch Council Director on the International Dyslexia Association’s Board of Directors. Cawley is an owner and clinician in private practice setting providing speech/language and educational evaluations and therapy. She contracts with schools, clinics and families to conduct conferences, inservices, group therapy and 1:1 therapy. She treats clients with challenges in articulation, receptive/expressive language, executive functioning, NVLD, phonemic awareness, reading/writing and organization. Also, Cawley mentors other SLPs and educational therapists. She is trained and certified in many Orton-Gillingham methods, educational-based, assistive technology and social-skills programs and methodologies.

Candice Chinn, M.A.

Candice Chinn has worked as a special education teacher at Cobb Elementary School in San Francisco for many years. She is a former Slingerland instructor and worked for the Slingerland Summer School program in San Francisco. Candy also has a small private practice in San Francisco.

Frances Dickson, M.A.

Frances Dickson has been a member of IDA since 1993 and originally joined the board of IDA Northern California in 1996. She has served two terms as branch president. Frances is currently a K-4 learning specialist and the Developmental Support Services Coordinator at San Francisco Friends School. Previously, she worked at The Nueva School as a reading specialist and at San Francisco Day School as a classroom teacher and learning specialist. Frances completed her M.A. in Learning and Instruction from the University of San Francisco. Originally from Kentucky, Frances first began teaching in public schools in Florida shortly after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University.


Christine Goias, B.A., ELD Credential

Christine Goias has been a member of The International Dyslexia Association since1992 and joined the board in 2006. She is a private tutor and continues to advocate for students with learning disabilities. During the summer, she teaches a class for the Slingerland Summer School under the direction of Nancy Cushen White. She is retired from the San Francisco Unified School District as a classroom teacher. Christine continues to attend professional development workshops and teacher training to continue her education.

Cindy Lopez, B.S.

Cindy Lopez is the founding head of Sand Hill School in Palo Alto, CA—a K-8 school for students with dyslexia and other learning differences. She has more than 25 years of experience in K-12 education, as a classroom teacher, a curriculum developer in educational publishing, and curriculum and professional development. Cindy has a Bachelors of Science in Child Development and Family Studies and holds a California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. She has received specialized training in both reading intervention and mathematics programs.

John Osner, M.Ed.

John Osner is a teacher training consultant and educational therapist working with students of all ages with learning differences, primarily in the area of mathematics. He was a classroom teacher at Charles Armstrong School for over 20 years. During the past five years has continued to work at Charles Armstrong School helping new teachers develop their skills in teaching math to children with dyslexia, in addition to his private practice in educational therapy. He has also been associated with The Nueva School, working with gifted students, primarily those who are struggling with math. His math instruction is a multi-sensory approach using strategies that he learned and developed during his time at Charles Armstrong School. John has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern California Branch, International Dyslexia Association and the Faculty Senate of the Slingerland Institute for Literacy. Recently, John was invited to run a Slingerland teacher training in Sao Paulo, Brazil. John is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a Master’s in Education from the University of New Hampshire.


Nancy Redding, M.Ed.

Nancy Redding is a long time member of The International Dyslexia Association. She served as branch president from 2007 until 2010, and is currently the Regional Representative for the Pacific Region of IDA.  She earned a Masters Degree in Special Education from the U. of Utah, and has provided educational therapy for students with learning disabilities in a variety of school and clinical settings. Presently, she is a part time Learning Disability Specialist at West Valley Community College and is a Fellow-In-Training with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). She is the co-author, with Marcia Henry, Ph.D., of Patterns for Success, published by Pro-Ed, and has served as an Orton-Gillingham trainer for teachers both locally and nationally.


Sherry Sachar, M.A.

Originally from New York City, Sherry Sachar has been a member of IDA since 1996 and has served on the board of directors of the Northern California branch for 8 years. After earning her MA and teaching credential, she relocated to San Francisco and began working in the public schools. As a teacher and learning specialist for over 25 years, she continues to learn from the students she works with. Sherry maintains a private practice where she employs a variety of multisensory, Orton Gillingham-based approaches. She has also taught at the Slingerland Summer School in San Francisco for many years. In her spare time, Sherry is an avid fan of history and soccer, and she has also been a soccer coach for young children.


Nancy Cushen White, Ed.D.

Nancy Cushen White is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics-Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine-University of CA-San Francisco and a member of the UCSF Dyslexia Research Team; she also teaches classes in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCSF. She has more than 40 years of experience in public schools as classroom teacher, special education teacher, and program specialist in special education curriculum with San Francisco Unified School District; she piloted a special day class for 2e students diagnosed with dyslexia and intellectually gifted. She works as a certified academic language therapist, a board certified educational therapist, a certified Slingerland teacher training course director, and dyslexia consultant in her private practice, Dyslexia Evaluation & Remediation Clinic. She has been working as a Literacy Intervention Consultant and Case Manager for Lexicon Reading Center in Dubai–United Arab Emirates since 2010.

As a past member of The International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, she served as program chair and co-chair for the annual conference several times. Currently, she is the International Dyslexia Association representative to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) and editor of the Examiner, IDA’s monthly on-line newsletter. In addition, she is a past president and current advisory board member of the Northern California Branch of IDA.


Leslie Lingaas Woodward, B.A.

Leslie Lingaas Woodward first joined the IDA Northern California board in 2005 and has served two terms as branch president. She has worked for many years as a San Francisco-based freelance writer, specializing in health care. In 2001, she completed multisensory structured language education training (Slingerland Level 1) and has since maintained a small tutoring practice, helping young writers and readers to build their skills.

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