Renee Berry, BS, MSFLEX Program Director and Co-Middle School Team Lead
Renee began her nearly 20-year teaching career as an elementary teacher in her hometown state of NY. Since that time, she’s had the amazing good fortune to work in both public and private school settings across the country as a reading and math interventionist, and most recently, just outside of Washington DC where she designed and directed a learning support program for a progressive private school. As a life-long learner, she does her very best to remain current on research-based practices and she loves sharing this knowledge with others by designing educator and parent workshops! As a hobby, Renee devours all articles related to advancements in neuroscience because she is fascinated by how our brains learn. Her best source of knowledge, however, has come from watching her two teenage children grow as well as the amazingly diverse group of learners she has had the honor of working with throughout the years. “My mission is to help others recognize their unique gifts, explore their passions and reach their fullest potential so they may contribute to the world in mighty ways!”
Deborah Bello, BAFLEX Teacher, Wilson Dyslexia Therapist, IDA Dyslexia Therapist
A K-12 certified teacher and Wilson® reading specialist, Deb became a valued member of our JGS FLEX Team after having proven herself a fantastic reading interventionist and On-Track Tutor. Deb attended ASU where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She has taught in the public and private school environments for more than 10 years. She also currently works as a consultant for professionals and parents regarding reading issues. Deborah finds pleasure in teaching reading and literature to people of all ages. “There are few things more gratifying than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they ‘get it!'”
Amanda Burke, BAEFLEX Teacher, Generalist, Wilson Dyslexia Therapist
Amanda has been a part of the On-Track Tutoring and Jones-Gordon team since 2008, and has proven to be an indispensable presence in all aspects of the organization. As a teacher since the school began in 2010, Amanda truly knows the “ins and outs” of working with students who learn differently! An ASU grad and certified teacher, Amanda has taught students in all grades and of varying abilities. An amazing math teacher, Amanda is also trained in and excels at helping struggling readers make strides in literacy, using a number of multisensory, Orton-Gillingham based programs. A former PE teacher & cheer coach, Amanda launched our cheerleading program in 2015 & is co-directing our athletics program this year.
Elaine Dachis, BALower School Special Education FLEX Teacher
Elaine obtained her degree in Child Psychology & Sociology, and has a post-baccalaureate teaching certification in Special Education. An outstanding, caring teacher who goes above and beyond to see each child succeed, Elaine has been with JGS since 2012. She excels at creating multisensory, game-like lessons (this woman knows how to make learning FUN!). Her mission as a teacher is to “help children to set goals, believe in themselves, and work to achieve anything they put their minds to. Kids are meant to be discoverers & explorers of new things… our school gives children these opportunities. I am grateful for the chance to play a vital role in the academic lives of our students!”
Mary Gott, BA, M.Ed.FLEX Teacher, Reading Specialist
Mary graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Liberal Arts and later received her Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Learning Behavior Specialist (LBS1) license from National Louis University in Illinois. Not originally an educator, Mary decided to leave the corporate world behind after she took a job as an aide for a little boy who changed her life forever! When her own son started high school, she went back to school for her M.Ed. Mary taught in her hometown Chicago Public School system for 9 years as a primary resource teacher. “My students challenged me to be the best I can be and therefore, I challenged them to be their best. My strength as an educator is building a trusting working relationship based on honesty, empathy and positive reinforcements with my students.” She has a deep compassion and admiration for struggling students as they all work twice as hard. Mary welcomes all challenges and works diligently for her students to ensure they are successful and confident learners. Together, they work at opening new pathways of learning with a focus on students awareness, personal growth, and progress. “It is such a rewarding experience!” With training in Orton-Gillingham, Wilson Fundations, and the Wilson Reading Program coupled with her gentle, nurturing demeanor, Mary is a welcome addition to the FLEX team!
Lauren Nolan, M.Ed.FLEX Teacher, Wilson Dyslexia Therapist
Since graduating Summa Cum Laude from ASU with a master’s in Elementary and Special Education, Lauren has worked with students with a variety of special needs. Prior to joining our team in 2014, Lauren spent two years teaching in a small, Special Education private school. A strong believer in individualizing instruction to meet each student’s needs & using positive reinforcement to foster student’s internal motivation and confidence, Lauren sets high expectations for her students. Before entering the education field, Lauren worked in the banking industry, which brought her to AZ from her home town in Michigan.
Melissa Wiegand, M.Ed., CDT, CALTFLEX Teacher, Wilson Dyslexia Therapist, IDA Dyslexia Therapist
Melissa earned a bachelor’s in Elementary Ed., Special Ed., & Reading, and a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction (emphasis in Reading). With JGS since 2014, she was previously a special education teacher for PVUSD & a private tutor for nearly two decades. Early in her career, she became a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT). She is Wilson Language® certified (Level II), has been trained in Lindamood-Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing®, and is a Certified Dyslexia Therapist recognized by the Intl. Dyslexia Association (IDA). A big fan of the musical Wicked, her favorite lyrics, “I think I’ll try defying gravity, and you can’t pull me down!” speak volumes about Melissa’s character as a role model. She empowers students to “defy gravity” every day!