Board of Directors


Alicia Smith (President) 

Alicia worked hard early in life to hide her dyslexia. Although she quickly took to computers that could disguise her challenges, her secret was discovered in high school after submitting her first essay exam. Fortunately, a caring teacher arranged for her to be tested and she was given the option to write future exams on a computer, an accommodation that was not common at the time. Uncertain how she would manage in post-secondary without this accommodation, Alicia enrolled at the University of King’s College in Halifax where first-year students take oral debate-style exams. With written exams on the horizon for the second year, Alicia chose to leave university to pursue her passion for cooking. After training at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Alicia spent seven years working as a chef aboard luxury yachts. In 2004, after settling down with her husband in a small town near Georgian Bay she returned to school to study web development and computer science. After her first child was identified as dyslexic, Alicia became passionate about supporting him and changing public perception. She knew doing this would require her to do something she had hidden from her entire life. To stand with her son and others facing similar experiences she made an active choice to start speaking openly about her own challenges.


Joanne Bertrand (Vice-president)

Joanne Bertrand is a certified IDA and CERI (Center for Effective Reading Instruction) Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist. She is also a certified Wilson Reading System Level 2 Instructor, a program that is based on the Orton Gillingham approach. Joanne is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She began her career as a Child and Youth Worker and then went on to teach and be a school principal for 27 years. She obtained her Specialist Qualifications in Reading, Special Education, and French as a Second Language early in her career. Helping children and adults with dyslexia and their families is a priority for her. This is why she became a volunteer with IDA Ontario over three years ago, contributing in many areas, most recently, as Chair of Webinars and Training, and posting French Structured Literacy Resources for francophone and FSL students on our website. Remaining current with research and information about effective structured literacy instruction and effective interventions helps her to ensure that her students are achieving their true potential as readers and writers. With IDA Ontario, Joanne hopes to bring structured literacy instruction to all students and educators in Ontario schools.


Marisa Tartari (Treasurer)

Marisa graduated from Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto with a Finance and Economics specialization and is pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She started her career in mergers and acquisitions and currently is more focused in the private capital space. Marisa has previously been involved in educational volunteering with UNICEF and the Red Cross, supporting children and teenagers. She has just begun learning about dyslexia and is passionate about language and literacy. She is excited to use her finance skills and experience in support of IDA Ontario’s mission and activities.


Fiona Ara (Director)

Fiona Ara is an Orton Gillingham practitioner completing her Associate level training.  She has been active in supporting students with dyslexia for over 5 years; both in the classroom and in her private practice.  Previously she worked as an Industrial Designer, researcher, and manufacturing consultant for 17 years.  Seeing firsthand the challenges teachers face, she applied her research skills to a project developing a computer program based on the Orton Gillingham approach and Structural Literacy. Designed to train teachers, it prepares them for working with individuals with dyslexia. Fiona has a Bachelor of Design from OCAD University and a Post Diplôme from École Supérieure d'art et Design Saint-Étienne, France. She is an advocate of early childhood identification and supports research and policy aimed at improving education for all Ontarians.


Jessica Duggan-Witt (Director)   

Jessica Duggan is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with 20+ years of experience fundraising in health care and education. She’s been at Queen’s University (Smith School of Business) for the last 10 years and previous to that worked at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation, and Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. As a volunteer, Jessica founded 100 Kids Who Care Kingston and was a board member, treasurer, and conference chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Southeastern Ontario. In 2017, Jessica was awarded the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award from AFP. Jessica holds her BAH from McMaster University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Relations from Humber College, and Queen’s Executive Program Certificate. Most importantly, Jessica is mom to Ben, who was diagnosed with dyslexia four years ago, and so began their journey of advocacy and awareness for dyslexia.


Anthony Edwards (Director)

Prior to volunteering with IDA – Ontario, Anthony Edwards enjoyed a long and successful career as an educator, principal and superintendent of education in Ontario’s public school system.  While completing his undergraduate studies at Western University, he found summer work through the YMCA – Youth Employment Services that allowed him to  both serve and learn from students who were disenfranchised from the school system.  These experiences influenced his career path and swayed him to complete a degree in education at Mount Allison University.

Teaching in Etobicoke afforded him many opportunities to work with secondary school aged students who were new to Canada. His efforts to help them navigate the school system and find success would later be recognized by Rotary International who awarded him a full scholarship to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Western Australia.

Helping students and families recognize their talents  and chase their dreams brought great satisfaction to his professional career, however, when his training failed to help him teach his own son how to read, he turned to IDA-Ontario for help.  This experience opened his eyes to the Science of Reading. When his son started to make meaningful gains in reading, Anthony knew changes in the system were needed.  Impressed by the progress his son was having with private lessons,  Anthony collaborated with the staff at his son’s school and witnessed a transformational change in the approach they would take when intervening with students who had a reading disability.  The courageous staff at his son’s school has inspired Anthony to encourage and support educators, administrators and system wide leaders to recognize that past practices in reading instruction have limited impact on positively impacting student achievement and well-being.

Anthony is currently completing his Orton – Gillingham Associate level training so that he might better serve children with dyslexia, their families and educators alike.


Daniella Green (Director)

Daniella's passion for dyslexia advocacy stems from beginning on a research journey to discover the best way to assist her child after they were diagnosed with dyslexia.  She began her career in marketing where she graduated from Advertising at Sheridan College and went on to attend Athabasca University for Administration and is a Certified Bookkeeper (CIB) through Durham college.

Her ability to assist in furthering IDA Ontario's mission is informed by over 10 years of experience providing a broad range of corporate administrative, communication, and financial services. She is currently Senior Manager of Administration and Finance of a software technology company that focuses on digitalization and provision of learning applications focused on using immersive technologies. She wants to continue her lifelong commitment to learning, aid in the dissemination of information to dispel misconceptions about dyslexia and create a cultural shift to embrace meaningful and impactful change for those affected by dyslexia.


Kim Lockhart (Director)

Kim Lockhart is an elementary French Immersion, Student Literacy Support Teacher in Kingston, Ontario, and a strong advocate for students with reading disabilities in Second Language Programs. For the past 4 years, Kim has been using a structured literacy approach to reading with her FSL students in both a whole class setting (Tier 1) and in small groups (Tier 2). She has her Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator certificate, has completed several online Science of Reading courses, and has adapted a research-based approach to reading instruction for her second language learners. In 2015, Kim earned her Master of Education degree from Queen's University, where she specialized in instructional practices that support students with reading difficulties in French Immersion. In her spare time, Kim volunteers with the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston (LDAK), the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) of Ontario, Family and Children’s Services of Kingston, and provides workshops and webinars for parents/guardians and educators across the province. In 2019, Kim was awarded "One of the 50 most influential alumni in 50 years” at Queen's Faculty of Education and she continues to advocate fiercely for equitable access to evidence-based literacy instruction for students in French Second Language programs across the country.



Una Malcolm (Director) 

Una is a doctoral student in Reading Science at Mount St. Joseph University and has a Master’s degree in Child Study and Education from OISE/University of Toronto. She is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and owns a clinic offering structured literacy intervention. Una is trained in several evidence-based reading intervention approaches, including Lindamood-Bell LiPS, Direct Instruction, and Phono-Graphix. Una is also an Acadience Reading Mentor for the K - 6 and PELI assessment measures. She is passionate about learning with and from classroom teachers as they provide structured literacy in Tier 1 classroom instruction. With research indicating that reading failure is preventable for the vast majority of students, Una is an advocate for Response to Intervention/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support frameworks to provide equitable access to learning opportunities for all children.



Stacey Rickman (Director) 

Hons. B.A., B.Ed., M.Cl.Sc., OCT & CASLPO

Stacey is a school board speech-language pathologist with a passion for developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia. She has been registered with the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario for over 20 years.  Many of the students referred to Stacey for speech-language concerns also experience difficulty acquiring reading and writing skills. Much of Stacey’s work in Ontario schools involves the assessment of students with language-literacy disabilities and consultation with their families and educators.

Advisory Council


Roby Hochman

Roby Hochman was one of the founders of the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She also served as Vice President, Interim President, and Conference Co-chair.  Roby graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She worked at The Hospital for Sick Children and subsequently in private practice for over 35 years. Her initial interest in reading was piqued when she began to notice a relationship between language development and literacy skills. Roby went on to obtain an MEd from York University focusing her studies on the acquisition of written language skills, struggling readers and methods of instruction. Following graduation, she attended courses, workshops, and conferences provided by the International Dyslexia Association becoming a member of the Buffalo branch. Roby’s focus in her practice shifted to the development of written language skills using evidence-based intervention methods. Interactions with colleagues, parents and allied professionals led to an awareness that there was a need in the province for an organization to provide information, support, and advocacy for individuals with dyslexia, their families and educators. With that goal, she connected with other members of the Buffalo branch and two years later, in 2004, they established IDA Ontario. Roby has also served on the boards of both the Ontario and National Associations of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists as well as the Advisory Panel for the National Early Literacy Strategy, a project of the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet). She has also served on charity boards.  Roby is retired from her professional practice, however, she continues to support IDA Ontario in its mission to create a future for all individuals who struggle with dyslexia and other related reading differences.


Jill Kearney (Director)

Jill Kearney is a certified IDA Dyslexia Practitioner and has Associate Level certification from the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.  Jill has a B.Sc. (Biology ) and an M.Sc. (Applied Statistics) and worked for over 30 years in environmental health research and risk assessment.  She became interested in understanding dyslexia when a family member had unexpected difficulties in learning to read.  She now enjoys private tutoring and is often found looking at the latest scientific articles about reading and participating in workshops and webinars on dyslexia, assessment, effective interventions, fluency, morphology, etymology, assistive technologies, and other learning issues.  By working with IDA Ontario she hopes to share what she has learned in order to help people with dyslexia, their families, and educators.


Jan Maclean

Jan MacLean B.Sc.(O.T.), M.Sc. is the founder of The Reading Clinic in Kingston, Ontario. Since 2001, the Centre’s YES! Reading, YES! Writing and YES! Math programs have helped hundreds of students achieve success. Jan is a Certified Orton-Gillingham Educator and Practitioner, and an IDA Dyslexia Therapist.  Jan is also a previous board member of IDA Ontario.

Michèle Minor-Corriveau

Michèle est orthophoniste depuis 1998 et est professeure agrégée à l'École d'orthophonie de l'Université Laurentienne. Elle a travaillé auprès des enfants d’âge scolaire ayant des difficultés reliées au langage et à la parole. Par sa formation et ses recherches, elle est passionnée du partage des connaissances qui portent sur l'apprentissage de la lecture et de l'orthographe en français, en milieu minoritaire. On peut consulter son site internet pour en apprendre davantage sur ses conférences, ses publications, ses blogues et des ressources.


Sally Shearman

Sally Shearman was one of the founders of the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Sally teaches Special Education and has been with the York Region District School Board since 1991. She was a member of the Advisory Panel for the National Early Literacy Strategy, a project of the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet), and a member of the Advisory Panel for the Effective Reading Instruction Resource Kit, CLLRNet. She has served in a variety of positions at the local and national levels within IDA since 1999. Sally has developed and delivered many different workshops and teaching modules to raise awareness amongst education professionals of research-based classroom approaches to teaching individuals with dyslexia. Dyslexia runs in Sally’s family and she is passionate about making sure that all children receive research-informed literacy instruction.

Dr. Sara Zimmerman

Sara Zimmerman first learned about issues in reading instruction during the height of the Whole Language era, while studying for her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. Sara had a unique opportunity to learn about essential concepts such as phonological awareness; unfortunately, in her subsequent role as a school speech-language pathologist, she realized that such concepts were pretty much unknown and mostly unwelcome in Ontario educational environments during the 1980s. Around that time, Sara developed a small private practice teaching children to read using the Wilson Reading System, and in 1992 she returned to U of T to complete a Ph.D. in psychology. Since 2001, Sara has been employed as a school psychologist at the Toronto District School Board, where she has become increasingly outspoken (some would say “passionate”) in the area of reading instruction, providing professional development and promoting the use of research-based practices in the classroom.