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ASDEC Faculty Biographies

Anthony Henley, Psy.D.
Clinical psychologist licensed in the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia with over 19 years of experience as a learning disabilities specialist providing remediation, evaluation, and consultation services. Dr. Henley is registered with the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Dyslexia Association, and Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  In addition, Dr. Henley is the current the President of the D.C. Capital Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Dr. Henley chairs the Levinson-Block-Henley Collaborative, a group of diagnosticians and academic therapists that have met since 1990 to encourage professional collaboration and support. In 2008 ASDEC awarded Dr. Henley as an Outstanding Professional by the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center for his work on behalf of learning-disabled individuals and their families.
Sandra Dillon, M.A., CALT
Ms. Dillon is the Director of the Multisensory Language Training Institute of New Mexico, and developer and author of Sounds In Syllables, a nationally-recognized, multisensory structured language therapy used to remediate struggling readers. For 21 years, Ms. Dillon was Director of the Language Clinic for Dyslexic Students in the Albuquerque Public Schools, which at that time was the 11th largest school district in the nation. She initiated the Language Clinic program, which served as an intensive remedial model program for schools. Ms. Dillon has also served as past president of the New Mexico Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Claire Nissenbaum, M.A., C.A.T
Ms. Nissenbaum is Founder of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center (ASDEC), a nationally-accredited program for teacher training and academic therapy, located in Rockville, Maryland. Ms. Nissenbaum has over 30 years experience working in the field of language-based learning differences. She was a principal in the TRI-Services National Institute of Dyslexia for 15 years. She has trained teachers in the Kent County (Maryland) Public Schools and at Chelsea School (Maryland), and students at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She is a Board Member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Association (IMSLEC) and a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the 32 Scottish Rite Masons Childrens Learning Centers. Ms. Nissenbaum is a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences of the International Dyslexia Association, and is a contributor to the graduate-level textbook, Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, Second Edition (2003). Ms. Nissenbaum authored the chapter, “Learning Strategies and Study Skills: The SkORE System.”
Merida Hurkett, M.S., CALT, QI
Ms. Hurkett is currently the Clinical Co-Director at ASDEC in addition to her responsibilities as a supervisor and Master Teacher.  Ms. Hurkett has a MS in Special Education and received her certification as an Academic Therapist in 2005 and is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association. Ms. Hurkett is a frequent presenter at workshops and professional development training.

Mary McAndrews, M.A.T., CALT
Mary McAndrews holds a B.A. in English and M.A.T in Secondary English Education and is a Certified Academic Language Therapist.  She has worked as a middle and high school English Teacher; as a high school instructor, she taught at the college prep, honors, and advanced placement levels.  She also helped to create a high school Writing Center and served as Writing Center Director.  Additionally, Ms. McAndrews has been a Resource Teacher (K-8) and a Reading Specialist (K-5); in this position, she served as a teacher mentor as well.  She helped to develop the Multisensory Writing program and has been a Course Instructor in Multisensory Writing, Middle School Study Skills, Language I, and Language Foundations. She is a Supervisor at ASDEC and has presented at workshops and professional development seminars.  Ms. McAndrews is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the Academic Language Therapy Association. 

Traude Smith, M.Ed., CALT
Ms. Smith is the Clinical Co-Director at ASDEC and the Director of the Summer Program.  She completed her training as Academic Therapist in 1988.  In 2012 she became a qualified instructor. Ms. Smith has a B.A. in speech pathology and a M.Ed in special education.  Her background training in speech pathology and teaching the hearing impaired has been of benefit in the work with dyslexic children and adults.  Ms. Smith is a faculty member at ASDEC and presents workshops and professional development training at schools and conferences.
Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT
Ms Zecher is a former classroom and demonstration teacher in an Orton-Gillingham based public school program. She holds a BA in education and a BA and MA in English.  In 2004, Ms. Zecher received her certification as an Academic Therapist specializing in multisensory mathematics and study skills. She helped to develop ASDEC’s Multisensory Mathematics program that apply Orton-Gillingham instructional techniques to the teaching on mathematics.  Ms. Zecher is a presenter at IDA and LDA and the National Teachers of Mathematics national and regional conferences. She has trained both public and private school teachers as well as academic therapists in multisensory mathematics instructional techniques, handwriting, multisensory study skills and educational strategies for the gifted and talented dyslexic student.

Patti Edison, R.N., CALT
Ms. Edison has worked as a Certified Academic Therapist since 1994 and has served as ASDEC's Clinical Coordinator of Intern Training Program, Director of the Summer Program for Dyslexic Adolescents, Intern Supervisor, and Master Teacher.  A past presenter at the annual International Dyslexia Conferences, Ms. Edison worked as a Critical Care Registered Nurse prior to joining the ASDEC team.
Joy Jacques, R.N., B.S., CALT
Ms. Jacques, Certified Academic Therapist, has been working in the field of academic therapy since 2002.  Her previous career was Critical Care R.N.  Ms. Jacques serves ASDEC as a Supervisor and Master Teacher.
*Certified Academic Language Therapist
+ Certified Academic Therapist

ASDEC - Dyslexia Therapy, Training, and Parent Advocacy

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