Board of Directors

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Board of Directors

Tracy Hastings, President

As an educator, Tracy Hastings has served students and families during the last 29 years as a K-12 public school teacher, reading specialist, tutor, and instructional coach. After teaching general education for several years, she was drawn to supporting the students in her classroom that were striving to read but not succeeding. This became the focus of her professional career.  As a lifelong learner, she has been a student of reading instruction seeking the highest quality mentors, training, and professional learning networks throughout her career. She is an Orton Gillingham International district trainer for Carmel Clay Schools and is pursuing a Fellowship in the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.  As a parent, she loves to spend time laughing with her three children, backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, and paddling her canoe down meandering rivers.


Jamie Jackson, Vice President

Jamie Jackson has worked at the Orchard School for almost 30 years. She has worked as a first, second, and fourth-grade classroom teacher as well as a first through fourth-grade learning support teacher. Jamie was also the learning support department chair. She has been trained in LiPS and Orton-Gillingham and does private tutoring.  Jamie has a Masters Degree in Reading Science from the University of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati.  She has taught at Marian University as an adjunct professor.


Lynn Leonard, Secretary

Lynn Leonard graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Children’s Theater. After graduation, she taught 6th grade in two different IPS schools before deciding to become a stay-at-home mother. While at home, Lynn started and led a homeschool support group that provided support for other homeschooling parents as well as enrichment activities/classes for the homeschooling children. In 2009, she took the Basic Orton Gillingham training at the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana and fell in love with the Orton-Gillingham Approach. She has been working for DII ever since. As the Director of Programs, Lynn trains and supports educators in basic, intermediate, and advanced Orton Gillingham; multisensory math; and written expression. Lynn also works one-on-one with students who struggle with reading and spelling.


Deb Heindricks, Treasurer

Deb Heindricks has worked with the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana (Dii) since 2013 as a Multi-Sensory Education Instructor.  She has her Bachelor’s Degree from Purdue University in Secondary Education and has a Master’s Degree from Indiana University in Public Affairs with a focus on Management.  She has successfully completed training in Orton-Gillingham Basic, Intermediate and Advanced, Phonological Awareness, Written Expression, Lindamood-Bell LIPS and Visualizing/Verbalizing.  Prior to working at Dii, Deb worked in the Human Resources field for ten years before her children were born.  As a stay-at-home mom, she served as the Director of Noah’s Ark Preschool in Fortville where she realized the importance of early identification and intervention for children with learning disabilities.  She became involved with the Orton-Gillingham Approach when her son was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade and required intense tutoring. Over the years, Deb has become a strong advocate for evidence based multi-sensory instruction/intervention.  She is an ardent supporter as both a parent and a tutor. As a parent, she has first hand experience with the struggles of a dyslexic child.   As a tutor, she continues to work with students and provide them with necessary skills and support to reach their full potential.


Jenny French

Dr. Jenny French started her journey in education earning a BS in Elementary Education, a minor in Reading, and an endorsement in middle school Language Arts. After a few years of teaching middle school ELA she earned a MAE in Educational Leadership at Ball State and became a licensed administrator, then received her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her teaching experiences range from lecturing at a Navajo Bible College near the Grand Canyon to task force control as a mom of four. She recently published Help! My Students Write Like They Text: Teaching Code-Switching to Improve Writing. Growing up in and traveling to places such as Perth, Western Australia and Aranyaprathet, Thailand, she became intrigued by the diversity of educational systems. Her areas of specialty include: curriculum development, teacher coaching, young adult literacy, digital literacy, (and writing about herself in the third person). Her passions include, but are not limited to, International Girls’ Education, and hot air ballooning.


Kelly Grillo

Dr. Kelly Grillo is an award-winning educator who has served Special Education and Education Justice for over two decades. Currently, Dr. Grillo is a coordinator of Special Education Services for Cooperative School Services. Dr. Grillo has served as a member of the AIM-AT-UDL Florida State oversight Committee, on Florida Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) State board, and as the Education Director of Mills Aviation Charities. Dr. Grillo is on the Leadership Development Committee for the International Council for Exceptional Children and a board member of IN*SOURCE Parent Resource Network in Indiana. Most recently, Dr. Grillo is the International Teacher CEC of the Year 2020. She holds other esteemed awards including, 2019 International Division of Learning Disabilities Teacher of the Year, and in 2018 she was named the Florida CEC Teacher of Year. Having been a student with a significant learning difference, Dr. Grillo expresses that a highlight to her career is when she was a nominee in Washington as a STEM Champion for Change in 2010. Dr. Grillo has numerous publications, conference presentations, and awards. Dr. Grillo is a national advocate for persons with learning disabilities so that she can accept her own disability and create a pathway to literacy for people with dyslexia in her late mother’s name, Gloria J. Grillo, who died a non-reader with dyslexia.


Rebekah LaFata

Rebekah LaFata received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2010. Two weeks after graduation Rebekah accepted a position as a special education teacher in a public elementary school and continued to teach for the next 8 years in North Carolina, California, Ohio, and Indiana. In 2014, Rebekah stumbled upon the IDA website while researching strategies to help one of her students with dyslexia. Rebekah was amazed by the success other educators were having using approaches such as Orton-Gillingham. She quickly applied to a Reading Science program through Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, OH. Rebekah graduated with a Masters Degree in Reading Science and her dyslexia certificate in 2017. Rebekah is dedicated to advocating for students with dyslexia and working with other educators to ensure all students succeed in the classroom.


Jamey Peavler

Jamey Peavler has served as an educator of teachers and students in both public and private schools for more than twenty years. She was an elementary teacher and literacy coach for the Indianapolis Public School District and pre-school teacher for Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School. In 2003, Jamey had the opportunity to attend training on the Orton-Gillingham approach. This experience was formative in her belief that with appropriate instruction and support, it is possible to teach all students to read.  Jamey currently trains teachers in this approach and supports classroom teachers and coaches with the implementation of whole-class and small-group Orton-Gillingham instruction. Jamey’s certifications and academic accomplishments include:  Certified Fellow in Training – Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators; Certified Dyslexia Therapist – International Dyslexia Association; Master of Arts, Reading Science – Mount St. Joseph University; Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia – Mount St. Joseph University; and Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education – Indiana University.


Dean Peterson

Dean Peterson is in his 14th season of coaching the Marian University Cycling Team. He has 38 years of cycling expertise and over 30 years of teaching and education experience.  He has a B.S. degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Butler University. Since 2012, Dean has also been the Executive Director of the Indy Cycloplex – a partnership that developed between Marian and Indy Parks to help restore the 42-acre park and its facilities. Starting in July, 2019, he began his transition away from coaching to pursue his long-term goal to return to teaching. While he guides the current cycling staff at Marian, he is also working with City Connects, a program that builds a network of support for students, their families and the schools that serve them. Dean is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in American Studies with a research focus in differentiated teaching strategies in education at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.


Tracy Powell

Tracy Powell is trained in the Orton Gillingham teaching approach, phonological awareness, and multisensory math.  As a Multisensory Education Specialist, she works with students individually and in small groups.  Since 2011, when her son was diagnosed with dyslexia, she prioritized her life to educate herself and others on dyslexia, special education law, and best practices for teaching reading.  Tracy has experience negotiating with the public-school systems and is a strong advocate for both of her dyslexic children and other dyslexic students.  She is passionate about dyslexia awareness and changing public policy to support dyslexic students in achieving their full potential.  Originally from Michigan, she has a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Oakland University.

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