As we prepared for the inaugural group of students to start in August 2018, one of our most important endeavors was building the team who will teach and lead the dyslexia program. We continue to hold this high standard for our faculty as New Avenues grows. We are pleased to introduce the program’s head and current faculty.
Leading our Immersive Dyslexia Program is Cindy O’Neill. She comes to us from Pace Academy where she served as the director of the Academic Resource Center. Prior to her time at Pace, Cindy worked at The Atlanta Speech School for 18 years. While there she served as a reading teacher in grades K-6th, revamped their Learning Lab, and developed the curriculum for their summer program. Cindy earned both her bachelor’s and her master’s degrees from Florida State University and has received extensive training and certifications in learning support programs and strategies. “Working with dyslexic students is where my heart and passion lie,” added Cindy. “Walker’s program allows students to focus on building a solid foundation centered on their specific needs, thus allowing each child to progress well-armed with the knowledge, tools, and strategies that apply to all areas of learning.”
Sara Herndon, a teacher for 12 years at the Atlanta Speech School, came to New Avenues as a speech and language pathologist. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Georgia State University. Sara has worked in several educational settings in the Atlanta area. At the Atlanta Speech School, she provided direct speech-language therapy in the areas of receptive-expressive language disorders, speech sound disorders, and fluency disorders. Sara also worked with psychologists to conduct psychoeducational evaluations and counsel parents and students regarding appropriate accommodations and interventions. Sara is excited to work with the teachers, students, and families of the New Avenues program. Her knowledge and expertise will enhance the program as we grow and incorporate a collaborative push in language development approach.
Beth Walter came to Walker from Swift School in Roswell, which serves students with dyslexia and learning differences. She also taught at both The Epstein School in Atlanta and Chalker Elementary School in Kennesaw. Beth has completed the Classroom Educator level of Orton-Gillingham training and fulfilled 100 practicum hours in O-G tutoring. She holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education from the University of Florida. “Teaching dyslexic children is a passion of mine, and I am happy to be a part of this amazing journey for them and for Walker.”
Elaine recently moved from the Chicago area. She brings a strong background in reading intervention and support at all grade levels. Through her experiences in remediation focused settings Elaine has developed a passion for inspiring motivation and success. Elaine has worked in schools in California, Illinois, and Georgia. She studied at University of Wisconsin, California State University, and Northern Illinois University. In addition to enjoying her work with students Elaine is active in her church Bible studies and often leads small groups. We are thrilled that Elaine has come to the South and joined the Walker family.
Sandra Montana joined New Avenues from the Atlanta Speech School to teach third grade. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Miami University and her master’s degree in special education from the University of Georgia. While at the Atlanta Speech School, she worked with speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and reading specialists.
Kimberly Pitts, a New Avenues fourth grade teacher, joined our program from Marietta City Schools where she served as a reading support teacher. She previously taught at Gracepoint School (which serves students with dyslexia). Prior to that, Kimberly taught at Walton High School in Marietta and North Springs High School in Atlanta. She is an Associate of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Kimberly earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia and her Master of Education from Georgia State University. Kimberly said, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the New Avenues Dyslexia Program, as it is a great addition to the metro Atlanta community.”
Casey Schreiner, a fifth grade New Avenues teacher, formerly taught at Sand Hill School in Summerville, South Carolina. She is a Walker alumna (‘12) and studied special education at the College of Charleston. Casey has worked at the Atlanta Speech School over multiple summers in many capacities including lead teacher for reading and writing programs. She is excited to join the New Avenues team and focus her talents on literacy instruction with our dyslexic population. Casey also enjoys art, theater, and athletics.
Virginia McDonough, an associate teacher for New Avenues, previously worked with students with language-based learning differences at the Swift School and The Lovett School. She will be teaching reading, math and written language. She enjoys working with students and their families to assist and support their academic progress. Virginia is intrigued by the development of the brain and the reading process, she has attended two reading and the brain conferences in addition to her Orton Gillingham training. Virginia earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia and her master's degree from Loyola University.
Sarah Null, our Lower School Learning Specialist, serves as an integral part of the entire Lower School Support Team. An Associate of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, she has supported Walker students since 2015. Sarah is a Certified Dyslexia Therapist for the International Dyslexia Association, and she is trained in Orton-Gillingham’s multisensory method for teaching math. In the Lower and Primary Schools, she provides faculty and curriculum support and works with students in need of individual support.
Kelley Paulsen moved from being a Lower School teaching assistant to New Avenues as an associate teacher. She is excited about the opportunity to expand her Orton-Gillingham training as a literacy teacher. Kelley earned her degree in elementary education at Kennesaw State University. She is intrigued by the nuances of the English language as well as the many different ways students learn. Kelley is familiar with all divisions of Walker.