Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elena L. Grigorenko

Dr. Grigorenko received her Ph.D. in general psychology from Moscow State University, Russia, in 1990 and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and genetics from Yale University in 1996. Currently, Dr. Grigorenko is Associate Professor of Child Studies and Psychology at Yale and Associate Professor of Psychology at Moscow State University. Dr. Grigorenko’s primary interest is in understanding the co-contribution of genetic and environmental risk factors to the manifestation of developmental and learning disabilities in children. Her work in this area has contributed to the field’s general understanding of the flexibility and malleability of human development. Dr. Grigorenko’s use of diverse methodologies, ranging from molecular genetics to cultural studies, enriches the field and provides more opportunities for understanding how children grow and mature. Dr. Grigorenko has worked with children and their families in the U.S. as well as in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, the Gambia, and Zambia), India, and Russia. She is especially interested in studying risk factors for language and mathematics disabilities, autism, and violent criminal behaviors in pre-adolescent children.

Dr. Grigorenko has published more than 150 peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and books including The Dyslexia Debate published by Cambridge University Press. She has received awards for her work from five different divisions of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Grigorenko’s research has been funded by NIH, NSF, DOE, USAID, Cure Autism Now, the Foundation for Child Development, and other federal and private sponsoring organizations.

Panel on CT’s Dyslexia Policy in Practice

Dr. Patricia Anderson

Dr. Anderson serves as the State Secondary Transition Coordinator, a joint position between the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). In addition to co-facilitating the revision of the Guidelines for Identification of Children with Learning Disabilities (2010), she recently facilitated the Specific Learning Disabilities/Dyslexia Workgroup to assist in implementing new legislation and is the contact person for all issues related to SLD/Dyslexia. Dr. Anderson received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Special Education and a Sixth Year Degree in School Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Preston Green III

Dr. Green is the John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. He is also a professor of educational leadership and law at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Green has written four books and numerous articles and book chapters pertaining to educational law. He primarily focuses on the legal and policy issues pertaining to educational access and school choice.

Dr. Tamika LaSalle

Dr. Tamika LaSalle received her Ph.D. in school psychology from Georgia State University and joined the faculty at UConn in 2013. Her primary areas of research interests include culturally responsive education practices, school climate and the interrelationships cultural and ecological variables including the community, family, and school on student outcomes.

Dr. Allison Lombardi

Dr. Lombardi studies college and career readiness and higher education experiences of underrepresented groups, particularly students with disabilities, aspiring first generation college students, and student athletes. She focuses on survey design methods and has experience in the development, field-testing, and initial validation of several measures intended for secondary and postsecondary students and college faculty.

Dr. Sarah Woulfin

Sarah Woulfin studies the relationship between education policy, leadership, and instructional reform. Using lenses from organizational sociology, she investigates how district and school leaders affect teachers’ responses to policy. She is an Associate Editor for Educational Administraton Quarterly and has published in the American Education Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Reading Research Quarterly.

Dr. Richard Zipoli

Dr. Richard P. Zipoli is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Southern Connecticut State University. His clinical and research interests include language disorders, reading disabilities, and service delivery in high-need schools. He received a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in learning and reading disabilities from the Department of Educational Psychology at
the University of Connecticut.

Panel on Instruction for Students with Reading Difficulties

Dr. Julie Coiro

Dr. Coiro is associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Rhode Island, where she teaches courses in reading and digital literacy and co-directs the Ph.D. in Education program. Previously, Julie worked with Donald Leu as Co-Director of The New Literacies Research Lab at UConn, where she earned her doctorate in 2007. She conducts research on the new literacies of the Internet and online reading comprehension and has published in venues such as Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Literacy Research, The Reading Teacher, and Educational Leadership.

Dr. Michael Coyne

Dr. Coyne is Professor of Educational Psychology in the Special Education Program at the University of Connecticut. He is also a Research Scientist at the Center for Behavioral Education and Research. He has expertise in beginning reading and early vocabulary instruction and intervention, school-based experimental research, multi-tiered or RTI systems of support, and effective practices for students with learning disabilities.

Dr. Mary Anne Doyle

Dr. Doyle is Professor of Education and Head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. She is Director of the University’s Reading Recovery project, and she is co-PI with researchers at The Ohio State University and 18 additional universities on the U.S. Department of Education i3 Grant, Scaling Up Reading Recovery. Dr. Doyle is the Consulting Editor for the Marie Clay Literacy Trust and assists with the ongoing revision and re-publication of Marie Clay’s many texts. She has served as editor in chief of the Journal of Reading Recovery and is an Area Editor of the Journal of Literacy Research. She is currently serving her eleventh year as chair of the Executive Board of the International Reading Recovery Trainers’ Organization, the association of educators who provide leadership for all entities affiliated with Reading Recovery internationally. She is a past President of the Reading Recovery Council of North America, and she currently chairs the Research Committee of the North American Trainers Organization.

Dr. Rachael Gabriel

Dr. Rachael Gabriel is an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Connecticut. She is an associate of the Center for Education Policy Analysis and the Center on Post-Secondary Education and Disability at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include teacher preparation, development and evaluation, as well as literacy instruction, interventions, and related policies..

Dr. Devin Kearns

Dr. Kearns researches reading disability in elementary age children, focusing on developing and implementing programs to prevent and remediate reading problems. He is currently conducting studies to improve the word reading and comprehension skills of elementary and middle school students. Dr. Kearns is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut and a research scientist in the Center for Behavioral Educational Research.

Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling

Dr. Spear-Swerling is Professor of Special Education and Reading and Area Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Learning Disabilities at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Her research interests focus on reading development, reading difficulties, and teacher education in reading, and she has published widely on these topics, including a recent book, The Power of RTI and Reading Profiles: A
Blueprint for Solving Reading Problems
, published by Brookes.