Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC
Sandie's inspiration for Lexercise started at home: "I realized that my very bright son, a third-grader at the time, was having difficulty learning to read," Sandie explains. "I had been trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach in graduate school but I hadn't had much occasion to use it. I dusted it off and used it with my son. After the first few lessons he asked me why no one had ever told him this was the way sounds and letters worked. It was a startling question and one I have been trying to answer ever since."
Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.
In 1998 Sandie was honored with the Clinical Services Award by the North Carolina Speech, Hearing & Language Association (NCSHLA), the award for the state's most outstanding clinician, and recently was elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.
Chad Myers, MBA
Like Sandie Barrie Blackley, Chad was inspired by personal experience: "I am the oldest of three kids," Chad says. "In elementary school my brother and I were in the gifted classes. Our younger sister, who is as smart or smarter than we are, was held back in second grade due to a reading disability. I got to see the detrimental effect on her confidence and academic progression. Happily, with years of hard work, my sister was able to read at grade level, graduated with a masters degree in special education, and is now the best writer in our family!"
A skilled entrepreneur with experience in designing and building online platforms around Web 2.0 principles, Chad was CFO of www.Mokool.com, a Singapore startup in the online distribution of user-generated mobile content, and was recently Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Executive Director of the Rudolf and Valeria Maag International Centre for Entrepreneurship at the business school, INSEAD in France and Singapore, where he also got his MBA.
Darcie has a personal passion for the written word. She earned a B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations from Auburn University and began her professional career as a newspaper reporter. "My journalism background has given me an appreciation for the interconnection of skilled reading and writing and the value of both for critical analysis. When I learned how Lexercise helps struggling readers and writers, I instantly wanted to become involved," she said.
Darcie is the office manager at Lexercise. Prior to joining the Lexercise team, Darcie worked as a reporter for the Elkin Tribune and as an editorial contributor for Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles magazine.
While not working, Darcie enjoys reading, writing, interior design, exercising and cheering on the Auburn Tigers.
Scott Tiernan, M.A.Ed.
As a member of Teach For America, Scott taught seventh grade language arts to students with specific learning disabilities. "To this day it remains my most rewarding professional experience," Scott explains. "I worked with a group of wonderfully creative and intelligent kids who gradually made the transition from frustrated students to capable readers and writers. To be able to return to the field of learning disabilities with a company like Lexercise is very exciting."
Scott also has several years of experience as a professional writer and communications consultant. He worked as an editor for WEbook, a New York City-based publishing company. He was an editor for WEbook's first two non-fiction releases and served as the company's online community manager. He has also consulted for site|folio and Earth Fare. Scott contributes regularly to a variety of traditional and online publications, including the Asheville Citizen-Times and WNC Parent. He's working on a series of middle grades novels that focus on health and wellness.
Scott earned a B.S. in Psychology from The College of William and Mary, and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University.Watch a Video about Scott
Morgan Beidleman, M.Ed.
A former marketing executive, Morgan joined Teach For America in 2007 with the distinct desire to help those not reaching their potential. She has now been teaching children and adults to read for five years. Morgan has worked with students ranging from 6 to 56. Teaching people to read is a personal passion. "I struggled with reading as a child and without dedicated teachers and tutors, I never would have become the avid reader I am today. I understand, firsthand, how important extra time and support is when learning to read," says Morgan. In 2008, after researching the proven track record of the Orton Gillingham approach, she convinced her principal to train teachers in the method. Morgan has been using it ever since and is a firm believer in its effectiveness.
Prior to teaching, Morgan worked at communication firms in New York City and Seattle. Morgan earned a B.A. in Communications from Washington State University and an M.Ed in Special Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She currently teaches adult basic reading skills and elementary reading intervention in her community. When she's not teaching reading or reading herself, she can be found at the beach, hiking or cooking.Watch a Video about Morgan
Tori Whaley, M.Ed.
Since 2003, Tori has been a committed special educator, working as an elementary special education teacher. Her drive to improve outcomes for her students with dyslexia led her to the Neuhaus Education Center, where she was trained in Orton-Gillingham the summer after her first year of teaching. "I was so frustrated as a first year teacher, not knowing how to meet my students' needs. I spent the entire summer learning about dyslexia and was thrilled by my students' progress the next year!" Since then, she has used the method in English and Spanish with students in three states.
In 2009, Tori completed her M.Ed. in Special Education at the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, where she focused on educational strategies for students with learning disabilities. She currently works with a non-profit dedicated to improving educational outcomes for young children in the city where she lives. When she is not working, Tori loves to read, cook, garden, and spend as much time outdoors as possible.Watch a Video about Tori
Jennifer Salisbury, M.Ed.
In 2004, Jennifer joined Teach for America as a special educator where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade. Her passion for reading instruction led her to be trained in a program based on the Orton Gillingham method. After achieving significant results with her students, she began conducting trainings to help strengthen other teachers’ reading instruction. “My motivation as a teacher is to share my love of learning, and my gift has been working with struggling readers. There is no better feeling than to help someone become a strong reader and independent learner.”
Jennifer’s love of travel and learning took her abroad where she taught English to teenagers in Italy, to monks in India and special education to elementary-aged students in Indonesia. She was most recently in administration where she coordinated special needs and mental health services for children in underserved communities. She currently works as a special educator and yoga instructor for kids. In her free time, Jennifer can be found creating art, doing yoga, frequenting used bookstores and paddleboarding.
Jennifer earned a B.A. in Global studies University of California Santa Barbara and M.S. in Special Education from Lehman College.Watch a Video about Jennifer
Rob is founder and lead developer at Irongaze Consulting, a web development and technology consultancy that has helped small businesses and start-ups harness technology to enhance the world we live in. In working with Lexercise, he brings 15 years of experience in building usable software to the challenges of online education. Rob's time at Irongaze has seen him working with clients to help factories become more sustainable and energy efficient, build tools for local farmers and landscapers, and work to preserve and enhance ecologically valuable land throughout North Carolina.
Prior to founding Irongaze, Rob worked for Monster.com, was V.P. of Engineering at a Silicon Valley start-up and founded a computer game development company. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1996.
Beyond his professional commitment to making the world a better place through technology, Rob is an avid educator both as a martial arts instructor and as the parent of two young children just entering the reading years.
John Sheppard is a front-end web developer based out of Palm Beach, Florida. John received a Bachelors of Science from the University of Central Florida in 2007 and immediately began working in the industry as an interface engineer, designing simpler and more intuitive methods of interacting with the web. Currently, John works as a freelance consultant helping to create internet strategies for small and medium-sized businesses across the nation. In the past two years, John has assisted Lexercise with developing online advertising content, refining creative assets and building internet-based tools to extend the efficiency of the Lexercise platform.
J. I. Kleinberg is a writer and editor for Lexercise. She holds an M.A. in Design from U.C. Berkeley and is co-author of Fat Stupid Ugly: one woman's courage to survive (Health Communications, Inc., 2004).
Beth Sinteff is an assistive technology (AT) consultant for Lexercise. She is a certified speech-language pathologist (CCC-SLP) and holds an M.S. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Beth provides speech-language therapy services in a school for students with autism and social emotional challenges as well as to private clients through her consultancy, Every Way Communications, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ariel Spivak is a business and strategy consultant to Lexercise. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, spent five years as a senior manager for a management consulting firm, has business development and sales experience in technology and is currently working as Strategic Partnership Development Manager at Google in Mountain View, CA.
David Westen is technical consultant for Lexercise. He is a Stanford University graduate, a Silicon Valley e-learning entrepreneur and co-founder/CTO of a VC-backed e-learning startup, which sold in 2002. He is principal at Redshift Digital, Inc., a San Francisco-based consulting firm focusing on Internet business strategy, user experience design, and interactive media.
Connie Williams serves as linguistic content consultant for Lexercise. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, North Carolina.