One afternoon, after a tutoring session with their daughter, Madeline, John and Andrea asked Ms. Mandy, “wouldn’t it be great to start a nonprofit to try to get every student this kind of instruction?” Thus, Love 2 Read, Inc. was established with the mission to provide access to all who need this type of instruction in order to learn to read. The founding board of directors was invited to serve. Mandy and John asked Sarah Lubinski to provide her professional nursing, health education, and early childhood development expertise and communication skills to the organization, especially as we reach out to families throughout our community. Krystle Welch and Lauren Kile agreed to share their knowledge, experience, professional educational relationships, and communication skills which are essential to establishing the instructional standards required to meet our shared mission.
Although 35% of fourth graders in the U.S.A. are reading at or above grade level, research tells us that 95% of students can learn to read when the structured literacy approach to instruction is provided based on the science of reading which Love 2 Read, Inc. is uniquely positioned to serve.
Today, we are reaching out to potential donors and supporters who will join us in the mission to help every child learn to read which will open worlds of opportunity to them, their families, and our entire community. Please join us in helping provide the gift of literacy to our community.
Board of Advisors
Mandy Horton Walker
Co-Founder, President, Operations Committee Chair
Mandy Horton Walker is a life-long Floridian whose roots in the Treasure Coast run deep. Upon entering the field of education, Mandy quickly realized her students, who often have dynamic learning profiles and great gifts, required specialized literacy instruction which led her to seek appropriate training. Mandy served as an ESE teacher, interventionist, and as the instructional coach for exceptional student education serving students and their teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grades before retiring from a public school district. Mandy continues to be passionate in answering the call to serve this type of instruction with learners, parents, and colleagues.
In addition to earning a Master’s degree in Exceptional Student Education from Florida Atlantic University, Mandy holds the Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (SLDS) certificate from the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI), a subsidiary of The International Dyslexia Association. Mandy holds certifications as a Wilson Dyslexia Therapist (WDT) (Wilson Reading System Level II - WRS-II), Strategic Instruction Model Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines Professional Developer (KU-CRL: SIM PD LS & CER), Trainer for the S.P.I.R.E. curriculum, and numerous Florida Professional Educator certifications and endorsements. She has served on other nonprofit boards and is thrilled to help expand educational opportunities throughout our community through Love 2 Read, Inc.
On a personal note, Mandy, who has two grown children, and her husband, Reed, are delighted with beloved grandchildren who bring joy and excitement to everyone. Mandy also enjoys reading, writing, sewing, gardening, floral arts, walking, and visiting with family and friends.
Co-Founder, Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, DBA
John Adams has been an educator at the college and university level for over 12 years. He has a passion for nonprofit work. Dr. Adams has worked at various positions in accounting and financial management for nonprofit, government, and corporate entities. He has written published articles on Nonprofit Management, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Ethics. He has been a speaker for several organizations such as FIorida CPA, Florida Human Resource Managers, and the Florida Small Business Development Centers on topics dealing with corporate responsibility and managing people with developmental disabilities. He has a passion for education, and helping people overcome learning differences. He is a husband and a father to three loving children, one of whom happens to be an exceptional little girl with a learning difference. John is a co-founder of Love 2 Read whose expertise in nonprofit organization and inspirational leadership empower our mission.
Krystle Valdes Welch
Director and Education Committee Co-Chair
Krystle completed her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education while attending Mercer University, earned her Master of Science in Inclusive Education from Kennesaw State University, and has earned multiple Endorsements in Reading and Gifted Education.
Krystle has taught in various school settings in public and private as well as served in General Education, Title 1, Special Education, and Gifted programs. She also served as a consultant for special education services while living in Cozumel, Mexico. She says that amongst all her teaching experiences, being able to provide students the ability to read has been her greatest contribution and most rewarding endeavor. After finding much success while working with students using a multisensory, structured literacy learning approach to reading, Krystle continues to build her knowledge and expertise through attaining Dyslexia Certification through the University of Florida Literacy Institute.
In her present role as the Instructional Coach for Exceptional Student Educators, Krystle is also a certified trainer for the S.P.I.R.E. curriculum and provides professional development to educators across Martin County in the implementation of the program and other literacy-based training. She believes that sharing her passion and encouraging teachers allows for a greater opportunity to reach more children with the gift of learning to read.
Krystle enjoys traveling to new places, eating good food, and spending time on the boat with her husband and two little girls in sunny South Florida.
Secretary and Communication Committee Chair
Sarah Lubinski, R.N. graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Health Education and from Florida Atlantic University with a B.S.N. While attending UF, she tutored chemistry to other students. She worked for several years as a Registered Nurse in a NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a South Florida hospital before shifting her nursing career into outpatient surgery and pain management in an outpatient medical center. Sarah taught preschoolers while her children were very young. She is a fifth generation Floridian from the Palm Beach/Treasure Coast area. Sarah and her husband are the parents of four busy children who are active in their Church and in their community. Sarah brings her keen knowledge of and expertise in nursing, science, math, health education, early childhood health, development, and learning to the Board.
Director, Education and Operations Committees
Alesheia Presha completed her Bachelor of Science degree in English Education from Florida State University. With a natural love for words and literature, she pursued her passion for teaching students how to read over a span of 27 years. During this time, she has worked as a private tutor, classroom teacher and reading interventionist.
In her present role as K-3 Reading Interventionist at The School of Arts and Sciences of Tallahassee, Florida, she has dedicated her focus on establishing a strong Tier 1 and Tier 2 instructional base in the classrooms while providing intensive instruction to the lowest performing students in grade K-3. She has helped to develop a strong system of intervention programs through professional development for teachers and supervising campus based, parent volunteer literacy programs.
In April of 2021, Alesheia completed her coursework and practicum through Mayerson Academy (an IDA certified program) and is certified at the Practitioner Level for Orton Gillingham Multisensory Structured Reading. She will sit for the CEERI (Center for Effective Reading Instruction) exam in April 2022 to earn the certification as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist.
Director, Financial and Communications Committees
Diana Dixon-Cohen, who lived in the islands as a young child, has been a banker for over 26 years in New York as well as in Florida. Diana and her close-knit family moved to Florida about 15 years ago, which they enjoy after having experienced some cold weather up north. Together, they love to travel to scenic parks and take cruises to the islands. Whether traveling or at home, Diana and her family appreciate international cuisine. Cooking new recipes is one of their favorite ways to relax together as a family.
Diana cares deeply about helping students receive instruction that meets their literacy learning needs. She also brings her financial expertise and her relationship values to our Board of Directors.
Andrea Mead Adams
Advisor, Co-Founder, Scholarship Committee
Andrea's business and finance expertise includes marketing and communication. Along with John Adams and Mandy Walker, she is co-founder of Love 2 Read, Inc. and leads our newly formed Board of Advisors. Andrea is enthusiastic about the progress their daughter, Madeline, has made in school since receiving specialized reading instruction during tutoring sessions. Personally, Andrea is known for her running skills; whether engaging in team projects at work, or in a marathon with her husband, John, or in transporting their three busy children to various activities and events, Andrea always runs an exemplary race.
Advisor, Education Committee
Lauren Kile earned her B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education from Messiah College in 2014. She began her teaching career and quickly realized that she needed to learn more about the science of reading to be able to help her struggling readers. In 2018, she completed her coursework and practicum through Mayerson Academy (an IDA certified program) and earned her Practitioner Level Certification in Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Structured Reading. Lauren is an ESE Support Facilitator in Martin County, Florida and tutors privately in the evenings. Additionally, Lauren is a trainer for the S.P.I.R.E. curriculum and has her CERI (Center for Effective Reading Instruction) certification as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist. Lauren is extremely passionate about making explicit, structured, multisensory language instruction available to all students so that EVERYONE can learn to read!
Advisor, Education Committee
Jesse Steif Ed.S., NCSP is a licensed and Nationally Certified School Psychologist working in both private practice and the public schools in the Tampa Bay area. He has dedicated his career to working with families and children with Dyslexia and other learning differences. He is an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). His
areas of expertise include assessment and remediation of Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, and other conditions that may affect an individual’s ability to learn.
He has presented numerous workshops for parents, teachers, and administrators on topics including phonological awareness assessment and intervention, the simple view of reading as an instructional framework, anxiety and attention difficulties in children with Dyslexia, and navigating the response to intervention process for parents. Jesse is also a certified trainer for the National Association of School Psychologists’ school safety and crisis preparedness model.
Jesse is passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice in order to improve educational and mental health outcomes for all children regardless of circumstance. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Florida state certification in Elementary Education and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in School Psychology, both from the University of Central Florida. He currently lives in the Tampa Bay area with his wife and is an avid home cook and voracious reader.
Advisor, Education Committee
Dr. E. Judith Cohen is President of the International Dyslexia Association-Florida Branch and is the Director of Clinical Experiences and teaches literacy courses in the Special Education Program in the School of Education and Human Development, at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida. Previously, she was a classroom teacher and clinician at the McGlannan School for 20+ years, where she taught students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and related language and reading disabilities. She is an accomplished author and has presented at numerous conferences and professional development workshops, both locally and nationally. Her research focuses on research-based strategies that promote student growth in language and literacy, particularly for students with dyslexia.
Cohen, E. J., & Brady, M. P. (2011). Acquisition and generalization of word decoding in students with reading disabilities using vowel pattern analysis and children’s literature. Education and Treatment of Children, 34, (1), 81-113.
Cheyney, W.J., & Cohen, E. J. (2007). The Wright Skills Program: Grades PreK – 3. Chicago, IL: Wright Group / McGraw-Hill.
Cohen, E. J. (2002). Fast Track Reading, Phonics Component. Chicago, IL: Wright Group / McGraw-Hill.
Cheyney, W. J., & Cohen, E. J. (1999). Focus on phonics: Assessment and instruction. Bothell, WA: The Wright Group.
Advisor, Education Committee
Sandi Soper, recipient of the Sylvia Richardson Award, received her M.S.E. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin. Her work included serving as a Specific Learning Disabilities Program Specialist for the School Board of Sarasota County, Florida, and as an adjunct professor of Special Education at the University of South Florida where she taught Clinical Education, Assessment, Foundations, and Perspectives in Learning and Behavior Disorders courses.
Sandi is a National Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) Professional Developer for the University of Kansas-Center for Research on Learning, and she serves on the State of Florida SIM Advisory Committee.
Sandi has served as the Vice President of the International Dyslexia Association, as well as the President of the Florida Branch of the IDA. She has chaired numerous IDA and IDA-FL committees and has served on the Executive Committee of the IDA Branch Council.
Currently, Sandi serves as a private educational consultant for Strategic Consulting SS, LLC, in Sarasota.