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Board of Directors

Emma Elizalde, M.Ed.

Emma Elizalde is currently a 3rd grade Teacher at North Bridge Academy, a school for students with dyslexia. She previously worked 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. 

John Santonastaso, M.Ed.
Vice President

John Santonastaso has over thirty years of experience working in the public schools.  He has worked in various capacities, including as a classroom teacher, vice principal and reading specialist. He is currently teaching first grade in the Fremont Unified School District.  John holds two masters degrees in education from UCLA, as well as a reading specialist credential.

David Futterman, M.A.

David Futterman joined the board of IDA Northern California in 2002. Originally from Chicago, he began teaching in 1992 and has worked in a variety of educational and cultural settings around the world. He completed his M.A. from Northwestern University in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Currently, David works as a special education teacher at California High School (San Ramon) and as an instructor for the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a private learning specialist in the East Bay.

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.

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.

Sue Ron-Gonzalez, M.Ed.

Sue Ron-Gonzalez has worked extensively over the past 25 years with students with learning differences as a special day class teacher, resource specialist, content specialist and literacy specialist for San Francisco Unified School District. Currently, she is a dyslexia screening and support teacher on special assignment with the San Francisco Unified School District. Sue holds a certificate in educational therapy and master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University. Since 2011, she has received grants from Fund for Teachers, Omprakash Foundation 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.

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 Strategic Partner Liaison 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 Associate-Level-In-Training with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE).

Mary Cancelmo, M.A.

Mary Cancelmo is currently a dyslexia screening and support teacher on special assignment with San Francisco Unified School District working to implement the guidelines of  AB 1369. Mary held positions in the SFUSD as an inclusion specialist and resource specialist over the past sixteen years. 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 multisensory structured literacy and 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.

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.

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).

Advisory Board

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.

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.

Andrea Shuel
, M.A.

Andrea Shuel recently moved to Walnut Creek after retiring from San Francisco Day School where she taught for the past 20 years, first as a classroom teacher and for fifteen years as a learning specialist. Before moving to California, she taught in the public schools of Indiana for 16 years. Andrea joined both The International Dyslexia Association and the board of IDA Northern California in 1998. She is trained in the Orton-Gillingham and Slingerland Approaches and is now in private practice.


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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