Board of Directors

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Board of Directors

We are a branch of the International Dyslexia Association and we serve the northern Ohio community. Whether you have dyslexia, or know someone with dyslexia, we are here to offer hope, support and resources for personal success to people with dyslexia and those who interact with them in northern Ohio.  We believe it is never too late to provide remedial services to individuals with dyslexia.

As an active and passionate board, we provide resources and events to help those navigate their journey through dyslexia. We strive to consistently meet our community’s needs in understanding dyslexia. We welcome you to contact us for additional information.

We thank you for support,

Jennifer C. LaHaie, M.Ed., CALT
IDA Northern Ohio


Jennifer LaHaie, M.Ed., CALT

Jennifer LaHaie has her masters in Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development from Malone University. Her initial journey into dyslexia began with Level I and II certifications in the Wilson Reading System. Pursuing a deeper interest in dyslexia and structured language, Jennifer completed the Academic Language Therapy program at Southern Methodist University and is a Certified Academic Language Therapist.  Her varied teaching experience in private and public schools has proven valuable as a literacy coach and therapist.  Jennifer’s YouTube channel, “Dyslexia is Not a Dirty Word,” provides valuable information about dyslexia and other related topics.

Her passion is to ensure that students receive the instruction they deserve and empower teachers through support and knowledge sharing.



Theresa Kaska, M.Ed., CALT, CDT
First Vice President

Theresa Kaska, M.Ed, CALT, CDT is a graduate of Mount Union College where she obtained a bachelor of science in sports medicine and education. She holds a master of education from Notre Dame College and is a licensed intervention specialist for students with mild/moderate learning disabilities in grades K–12. She is also a certified Academic Language Therapist, a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, a Certified Dyslexia Therapist, and member of the International Dyslexia Association. Her training as a therapist is highly specialized in multi-sensory, structured language techniques, grammar, verbal and written expressions. Currently, she teaches at the Lawrence Lower School, in Broadview Hts, Ohio. She has additional training in Lips, Keys to Literacy, Wilson Reading System, FUNdations K and 1st grade, and she completed Multisensory Math 1 and has started Multisensory Math 2 with Marilyn Zecher. Currently, she teaches at Lawrence Lower School in Broadview Hts, Ohio.


Nicole Smyk, CALT, CDT
Second Vice President

Nicole Smyk, has a B.S. in Business Administration from Kent State University and a Master’s Certificate in Academic Language Therapy from Southern Methodist University.  Nicole has been involved with the Northern Ohio Board since 2010.  Nicole begin her journey with dyslexia with her own daughter, who struggled to read until fourth grade.  The local school district was refusing to give her daughter adequate services and in frustration, Nicole sought a private diagnosis and tutoring from a local CALT.  This tutor also happened to be a board member of NOBIDA.  Nicole was intrigued by the results and methods of the tutoring and inquired how she could obtain training.  Little did she know that this would lead to a career change, a passion for dyslexia advocacy, and a position as a member on the Board of Directors of NOBIDA.  Nicole was honored to give her parent testimony before the Ohio Senate Education Committee for dyslexia legislation in October 2011.  Today, Nicole works for The Ratner School and spends every day providing reading intervention to students K-4



Cheryl Kleist, M.B.A.

Cheryl Kleist became involved with dyslexia advocacy when she testified in front of the Ohio Senate Education Committee for dyslexia legislation in October 2011.  At the time, she was struggling to get the school district to acknowledge her son’s reading disability.  She decided to get training in both special education law and structured literacy so she could better advocate for her son.  She has completed over 150 coursework hours from The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) and Orton Gillingham International.   She is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Ohio and creator of the website,  She became a board member for the Northern Ohio International Dyslexia Association in 2013 and is Co-Chair of the Ohio IDA Executive Legislative Committee, which is comprised of Ohio’s 3 IDA branches:  Northern, Central, and Ohio Valley.  She was appointed to the Ohio Department of Education State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children (SAPEC) in June 2015.

Cheryl’s background is accounting and she worked for many years in the automotive industry.  She started off working with engineers in the quoting of new business and financial forecasting and worked her way up to the financial controller position in a manufacturing plant, before becoming a stay at home mom.



Jean Tobias, MS, NCSP, CALT

Jean Tobias is a school psychologist serving students in public schools for the past fourteen years. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), receiving her Master of Science degree from Miami University. In addition, Jean has a Level I certification in the Wilson Reading System and completed graduate training to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) through Southern Methodist University.  Presently, Jean is a board member of the International Dyslexia Association – Northern Ohio Branch and works for Plain Local Schools in Stark County.



Board Members

  • Katie Bodnovich, CALT
  • Susan Boettler
  • Maribeth Connor, M.Ed.
  • Susan Croy
  • Michelle Elia
  • Jennifer Elliott, M.Ed.
  • Emma Elliott
  • Heidi Flohr
  • Lanny Hollis, PhD
  • Susan Moyer
  • Heather Petruccelli, CALT, ICALP
  • Jen Scaffidi
  • Jo Ann Sicafuse
  • Melissa Spangler, MA Ed, CALT
  • Andrea Thomas
  • Niki Vasu
  • Stephen Wagner, Ed. S.

Advisory Council

  • Tammy Alexander, MA, CALT
  • Morgan Amend, M.Ed, CALT
  • Ellen Brick, MA
  • Karen Dakin, M.Ed.
  • Barbara Ekelman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
  • Stephanie Gordon, MA
  • Monica Gordon Pershey, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
  • Trish Harpring, M.Ed., MA
  • Joyce Hedrick, M.Ed.
  • Lori Josephson, MA
  • Pam Kanfer, MS, CALT
  • Sr. Marcia Kiser, M.Ed.
  • Donna Levine, M.Ed.
  • Diane McFiggen, M.Ed.
  • Mary Heather Munger, Ph.D.
  • Mary Jo O’Neill, M.Ed
  • Larry Orrach, M.Ed.
  • Carol Perry, CALP
  • Heidi Peters, M.Ed.
  • Rebecca Rowell-Malinas, M.Ed., MA
  • Judith Saltzman, JD
  • Sheri Sasso, M.Ed.
  • Rebecca Tolson, M.Ed., CALT, QI
  • Gretchen Walsh, MS.Ed.
  • Steven Wexberg, MD

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