Register for the 2022 Fall Dyslexia Conference in Montgomery, Alabama!

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Register for Alabama’s 2022 Fall Dyslexia Conference Today!

When:   October 13 and October 14, 2022
WhereSt. James United Methodist Church, 9045 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36117

Join us for two days of learning, sharing, and fellowship. We are excited to have nationally recognized literacy expert Nancy Mather; national dyslexia leader, Josh Clark who is the Chair of IDA’s Board of Directors; and a variety of Alabama literacy experts joining us as we share ideas and best practices to support students with dyslexia. Learn more about our speakers below!

You may pay by credit card, by check, or by purchase order.


On the registration screen, select the option to pay by check and have your business office send a request for a non-member invoice for $225 or a member invoice for $175 to:


Steve Hannum, IDA-AL Treasurer
2022 Rise to the Challenge Fall Reading Conference
2301 First Avenue North, Suite 102
Birmingham, Alabama 35203


Your business office will receive the needed invoice and you may bring the Purchase Order with you to the conference, or they may mail it to us at the above address.  Please call 256-990-5650 if you have any questions.



About Our Speakers

Dr. Nancy Mather

Dr. Nancy Mather is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology.

She specializes in the areas of assessment, reading, writing, and learning disabilities. She received her doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1985 in learning disabilities with minor areas of study in reading and school psychology. Other professional interest include adapting special education strategies to help general education teachers accommodate student diversity.

In addition, she is a co-author of the Woodcock-Johnson III and conducts research and training in its use. She has presented widely both nationally and internationally on assessment, instruction, and issues that affect service delivery for individuals with learning disabilities. Dr. Mather has written numerous articles and several books. She has co-authored with Dr. Sam Goldstein a book for parents entitled: “Overcoming Underachieving: An Action Guide for Helping Your Child Succeed in School” (Wiley, 1998) and a book for educators entitled: “Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviors: A Guide to Intervention and Classroom Management” (Paul Brookes, 2001). Most recently, she has co-authored with Dr. Lynne Jaffe, Woodcock-Johnson III: “Reports, recommendations, and strategies”, a book designed to help educators translate assessment results into meaningful instructional plans.


Josh Clark

Josh Clark is the Head of School at Landmark School in Beverly, Mass. He previously served as Head of The Schenck School in Atlanta, Ga. and the Bodine School in Memphis, Tenn. Josh began his career in education at Lausanne Collegiate School, an International Baccalaureate World School in Memphis, Tenn. where he served as an Assistant Head of the Middle School and a middle and high school English teacher for seven years. He is invoved with several professional organizations and currently serves as a trustee for the Southern Association of Independent Schools and Chair of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Josh is very interested in promoting the science of reading as a vehicle for education reform and social good.

Josh and his wife, Melanie, also an educator, have two children, Rigby and Dalloway. When not working to further the cause of helping those with reading challenges, Josh loves to run, read, and travel.



Hettie Johnson, SLP

Hettie has been a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 1970 and has specialized in dyslexia with Orton-Gillingham training since 2000. She received her bachelor’s in 1970 from Auburn University during which she did an internship at Duke University. She was an SLP trainee at the Bham VA Hospital and did her thesis research at UAB while earning her master’s in 1972 from the University of Montevallo (UM). Her work has always been influenced by UM’s Dr. Loretta Brown’s motto: “If it’s not fun for you, it’s not fun for them.” She has worked with students from preschool through graduate school and taught at the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama-Gadsden in the 1970s. She published an original approach “Chaining” for unintelligible speech in Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools (LSHSS, 1988), and has presented at conferences nationally and internationally. She has held offices of the Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama, the International Dyslexia Association of Alabama, and is on the Board of Spring Valley School in Birmingham. She was part of the Dyslexia Friends group who helped write the AL Dyslexia Resource Guide. She’s now in private practice in Hoover and enjoys time with her husband and their 5 grandchildren, friends, traveling, snow and water skiing, kayaking, reading, and working out.

Dr. Eric G. Mackey

Dr. Eric G. Mackey serves as the Alabama State Superintendent of Education. Since being named state superintendent in April 2018, Mackey has focused on innovative initiatives outlined in his strategic plan, Alabama Achieves, including the Alabama Literacy Act, STEM, Career Technical Education, and workforce development. During his tenure, high school graduation and college and career readiness rates have increased with Alabama’s high school seniors of 2020 graduating at 90.6%. More than 87% of Alabama high schools students are currently enrolled in at least one career technical education class and Alabama has been ranked first in the South Central Region for workforce development in 2022. Professional development opportunities for educators have expanded with almost 12,000 early childhood education teachers being trained on the science of reading and 90 teachers becoming Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALTs). In 2021, Alabama was ranked in the top six states in the nation for Computer Science. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mackey illustrated his strong leadership skills and unwavering dedication to the students and schools in the state. Because of his efforts, Mackey was named as one of the top 20 Alabamians Who Made a Difference in 2020.


Megan Spann

Mrs. Megan Spann is a Special Education teacher at The Helen Keller School of Alabama, teaching students with visual impairments. The Helen Keller School of Alabama is part of The Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind. She has been at AIDB, for 11 years and is teaching secondary school.  

Megan resides in Pell City, AL with her husband, Jonathan Spann and they have two children, Zach Spann of Troy, AL, and Keighan Spann of Birmingham, AL. She enjoys three precious grandsons, Jones, John David, and Jasper Spann all of Troy, AL. 




Beverly Brown

Ms. Beverly Brown is a Reading Specialist at The Helen Keller School of Alabama, teaching students with both visual and hearing impairments. She teaches reading, Braille, and runs the library at the school.  The Helen Keller School of Alabama is a part of The Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind. Ms. Brown has been an employee of AIDB for 20 years. Ms. Brown resides in Talladega with her son, Richard, who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corp. She also has a daughter, Miss Bella Brown who resides in Birmingham, AL.

Ms. Brown studied Visual Impairments at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Georgia State University.  She holds a Master’s degree in Emotional and Behavior Disorders from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University in Speech Pathology and Audiology for Communication Disorders. 


Alex Hood, MPA
Alex earned his undergraduate in Psychology and Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM).

While attending AUM, Alex began volunteering with the Pike Road Fire Department and started his own business Emergency Solutions LLC. He later attended Trenholm State Community College to become a Paramedic.  Alex is currently serving as the Regional Director of Operations for Excelsior Ambulance Service.

Alex joins us to share his dyslexia success story!




Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP

Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP is a bilingual SLP who specializes in working with at-risk children with and without concomitant psychiatric impairments who present with complex language and literacy needs. She has been published in a variety of professional journals as well as presented for numerous national and international medical, academic, and non-profit organizations and speech-language-hearing associations. She is a clinical instructor at the RWJ Medical School Dept. of Psychiatry, a clinical supervisor at Rutgers Day School, and a co-founder of a CEU SmartHub a professional development organization that offers online high-caliber evidence-based conferences and continuing education training for speech-language pathologists and related professionals.




Bonnie Short

Bonnie Short, Coordinator of the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI). Bonnie began her work as the ARI Coordinator in July of 2021. Her previous work as a primary grade teacher, reading coach, school principal, and a regional literacy leadership specialist greatly support and guide her current work. Bonnie received her undergraduate and graduate work from Auburn University, University of Alabama of Birmingham, and Troy of Phenix City is a Nationally Certified teacher and has served in Jefferson County, Auburn City, and Lee County Schools. As she navigates each role, she clings to two ultimate goals: (1) hang out with people who make you better and (2) leave things better than you found them. 


Andrea Forehand, CALT

Andrea Forehand, ARI Regional Literacy Specialist, Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT): Over the course of twelve incredible years, Andrea has had the privilege of serving as a kindergarten, first grade, and second grade teacher, a local reading specialist, and currently a regional literacy specialist for the Alabama Reading Initiative. Andrea’s educational background includes Certification in Educational Leadership, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, LETRS Facilitator, and Certified Academic Language Therapist. Andrea is an active member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, the Reading League, and the International Literacy Association. On a personal note, Andrea loves to read, camp and kayak…and it should be noted that she can back a boat with the best of them!


Sherry Brown, CALT

Sherry Brown, ARI Regional Literacy Specialist, CALT – supports Jacksonville State University, Region 6 as an Alabama Reading Initiative Literacy Specialist. Her career spans 30 years in elementary education as a teacher of grades 3 and 6. For 8 years, she served as an ARI Local Reading Specialist in the Randolph County School System. Sherry’s passion is serving students who struggle with reading and language arts. Sherry Brown is credentialed as a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) through the Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) training program offered by ARI. She is a current member of the Academic Language Therapist Association (ALTA). In addition, her training includes Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). Sherry holds a Master of Elementary Education from Auburn University. Sherry Brown resides in Wedowee, Alabama with her husband, Kevin, and son, Reagan. They enjoyed living small-town life and recreational activities on Lake Wedowee. Sherry Brown has a heart for supporting all people to attain a life of literacy. 



Loree Fulton

Loree Fulton is a regional literacy specialist with the Alabama Reading Initiative. She has twenty-five years’ experience in education with a bachelors in elementary education and a master’s in educational leadership. She has been a building level reading specialist, an assistant principal at the high school level where she served as the athletic director and an elementary teacher. Mrs. Fulton has presented at the Alabama Science Teachers Association, Accelerated Schools Regional Conference and at the school level. She has had work published in The Mailbox, Teaching K-8 and Accelerated Schools. She is a current member of the Junior League of Montgomery for over ten years. Loree has been married for over thirty years, has two grown daughters, who are also educators, and she has three adorable grandchildren.

Becky Edwards

Becky Edwards currently serves as a Regional Literacy Leadership Specialist with the Alabama Reading Initiative. Mrs. Edwards began her early years as a teacher learning about the importance of multi-sensory instruction through Orton-Gillingham-based professional development in Texas, which ignited her passion for literacy instruction. She spent 10 years in the classroom teaching kindergarten, third, and sixth grades. During this time, her oldest daughter was also diagnosed with dyslexia. Becky’s personal and professional passion for learning more about supporting students with dyslexia led her to participate in more than 100 hours of professional development to support dyslexic students. Mrs. Edwards has also served as a Local Reading Specialist and Assistant Principal. Her greatest desire is to empower teachers and leaders with the tools needed to support all students in learning to read. Becky received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University. She then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from UAB. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Literacy.


Nancy English

Nancy English is currently an ARI Regional Literacy Specialist with over 30 years of experience as an educator. She lives in Hoover, AL with her husband. She has two adult daughters, a son-in-law, and another son-in-law on the way. She taught for 11 years before moving into a local reading specialist position. She worked for Vestavia City Schools in that position for 18 years. She has a master’s degree in Elementary Education, is MSLE certified, OG trained, LETRS trained and National Board Certified in Literacy. All her training has supported her in her passion to provide every child the opportunity and supports to learn to read.


Traci Hosea

Traci Hosea is an 18-year veteran educator. Prior to becoming an ARI Regional Literacy Leadership Specialist, she had many experiences including a 7th-grade reading teacher, 1st/3rd-grade teacher, K-12 Guidance Counselor, Library Media Specialist, Assistant Principal, and ARI Regional Literacy Specialist. She is proud to be an educator and holds high expectations for all those with whom she works as well as herself. She will always consider herself a teacher, and she believes that the true gifts of teaching are those experienced in the classroom.


Julia Wall, CALT

Julia Wall has served as a teacher, a local reading specialist, an administrator, an elementary curriculum coordinator, a First-Class Pre-K Director, and is currently an ARI Regional Literacy Specialist for region 5. She is also a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), a member of the Alabama Dyslexia Advisory Council and an appointed member of the Alabama Grade Level Reading Committee.





Hotel Reservations/Conference Hotels


Click the link below to make a reservation at your desired hotel for our discounted rate.


Hampton Inn & Suites East Chase Conference Rate $129 plus tax.
Discounted block rate will be held until 9/15/22.


Fairfield Inn & Suites East Chase Conference Rate $125 plus tax. 
Discounted block rate will be held until 9/28/22.