Board of Directors
Steven Mayo is the owner/director of NewBridge School, a K-8 program for children with language-based learning differences, including dyslexia. Steven holds an Education Specialist Credential and completed his master’s degree program at San Diego State University. He has extensive training in methodology, including advanced training in Slingerland, and experience with Orton-Gillingham. He has directed private schools for children with learning differences since 1989, and helped hundreds of young adults transition into successful academic careers at high schools and universities across the country.
Debra Cohen, M.Ed.
Debra Cohen, M.Ed. ET/P is an educational therapist and a credentialed special education teacher. Debra is currently in private practice, which has been operational since 2003. Debra is successful working with a range of students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs. She is currently the co-facilitator of San Diego’s AET study group. She was the director of the Learning Center at the San Diego Jewish Academy for 7 years. Debra has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, Master of Education in Special Education, and a Certificate in Educational Therapy. She also holds Resource Specialization Teaching Credential from the State of California. Debra has her Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development (CLAD) Certificate as well. Debra knows how to overcome the struggles of having unique learning challenges. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in the first grade and utilized resource assistance to guide her throughout her school career. Debra has taught as both a classroom teacher and as a resource specialist in the public and private school setting since 1996, including in special day classrooms with children who had mild-to-moderate learning disabilities.
Dana Gordon, M.A.
Dana Gordon is the founder and director of Lotus Learning. She holds a B.A. from UCSD, a certificate in Educational Therapy, TESL certificate, and a Masters in Leadership Studies from USD. For over a decade, she also taught Family Literacy and ESL courses through San Diego Community College. Dana’s specialty is working with students with learning disabilities and attentional issues by helping them embrace their unique talents in order build confidence and competence. Dana is deeply committed to providing a holistic approach to each student’s social, emotional, and academic success. In her spare time, Dana enjoys practicing yoga, gardening and has traveled extensively to countries including: India, Italy, England, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Guinea (West Africa), and Morocco. Dana is a certified yoga instructor who loves to share her dedication to healthy living and life balance. She also volunteers with a local charity to teach yoga and nutrition to at-risk children and adolescents within the community.
Dana is interested in becoming more active in the local chapter of IDA in order to be an integral part of its growth and development. As an educational therapist, Dana sees on a daily basis how learning differences, especially dyslexia, greatly impact students and their academic, social and emotional progress. Dana feels, that being a member of the board of directors is a great opportunity to work closely with parents and professionals to promote outreach, support, and education to the San Diego community. Also, that participating on the board will encourage her to continue to expand her knowledge base of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. In addition to her personal and professional interest in IDA, Dana truly believes that awareness is key to educate the community about dyslexia and to provide individuals (parents, teachers, etc.) with the necessary resources to help support our struggling students.
Bailey Quon is a special education teacher at NewBridge School, serving students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, in grades kindergarten through eighth. Bailey graduated with her B.A. in Communicative Disorders from the University of New Mexico. She received her B.A. in Education from The College of Santa Fe with an endorsement in TESOL and spent 5 years as a teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She helped pilot a Wilson Fundations program in her 1st grade class and during this time she became interested in supporting children with learning differences. She moved west to San Diego in 2007 and now holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development (CLAD) Certificate. She received her Level II Education Specialist Instruction Credential from Chapman University and also has training in Orton-Gillingham, a multi-sensory approach. Bailey continues to seek new ways to teach each student ‘how’ to learn using strategy-based methods to elicit efficient and effective acquisition and use information.
Soledad Salgado, M. A.
Soledad Salgado has worked in the education field since 2000. She began her career in education early on as a freshman undergraduate, when she worked as a one-on-one aide for a special education student. She then found her love for working with students with special needs and continued to work as an ABA therapist. She now works as a school psychologist for Chula Vista Elementary School District providing mental health services to students across the district in addition to managing a school with 1100 students. She provides support by completing psychoeducational assessments, develops Individualized Education Programs, provides recommendations for classroom placement, programs and services, interprets test findings to parent in an understandable manner, provides consultation to teacher in behavior management, provides leadership role for school staff regarding Special Education updates, laws, procedures and law requirements.
Soledad has been practicing as a school psychologist since 2007. She has worked with students with various disabilities: including emotionally disturbed, medically fragile and autism. In addition to working as a school psychologist, Soledad is a US Army Civil Affairs Captain, in which she specializes in the pillar of Education.
Amy Spitler is the admissions director and a teacher at The Winston School in Del Mar, California. Amy has a degree in Comparative Literature from UC San Diego and completed her Multiple Subject and Education Specialist Credentials through CSU San Marcos. She continues to support new educators as a master teacher for students completing credentials through CSU San Marcos, National University and Azusa Pacific University. She has worked with students with learning differences since 1998 in a variety of subjects from elementary art to high school physics. In addition, she has been trained in Lindamood-Bell’s language processing programs and provided additional support for students with dyslexia as the reconstructive language teacher. She recently completed tenure as the head of the Math Department and is currently teaching 9th and 10th grade English at The Winston School. Her goal is to support both the academic and personal growth of her students and to cultivate and nurture passions for learning.
Julie Seki Sulzmaier
Julie Seki Sulzmaier is an Inclusion Specialist (Education Specialist) at High Tech High International. Through the Hawaii Branch of IDA’s Odyssey Project, she has tutored individuals utilizing multisensory methodologies, including the Orton-Gillingham methodology. Prior to moving to San Diego in 2013, Julie served as the K-8 Assistant Principal of Assets School, which supports gifted and/or Dyslexic children in Honolulu, Hawaii. While completing her master’s degree, she taught and counseled students in grades 2 through 8 at Assets School. Julie graduated with a BA in Psychology from Boston University. She received an MS in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in School Counseling from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. Julie is passionate about continuing to support the social, emotional and academic growth of individuals with diverse learning profiles here in Southern California.
Alexis Turner, M. Ed.
Alexis Turner, M.Ed., is the director of Admissions and Outreach for Fusion Academy and Learning Center, San Diego. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with her B.A. in Economics and Communications. She then received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and M.Ed. from UC San Diego. Alexis spent four years working with an intensive reading intervention program in both San Diego and Orange County where she enjoyed learning specific sensory cognitive techniques to teach students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Now working with Fusion Academy, she loves spending time with parents and professionals in the community helping those students who don’t fit into the traditional school setting.
Christina Watson, Psy. D.
Christina Watson, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in ADHD, dyslexia, nonverbal learning disorder, and other learning differences. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in children and families from California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. Dr. Watson began her work in the field of learning disabilities in 2000. She has worked both in managed health care and private practice settings. She currently conducts comprehensive psychoeducational assessments to assist in diagnosis and treatment planning for students with academic difficulties. Her office is located in La Jolla, CA.
Bonnie Weiss is an Educational Therapist and Owner/ Director of The Family & Learning Center in La Jolla. The center provides one-on-one remediation and academic support for students with learning and/or attention challenges. Bonnie holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, as well as a Masters Degree in Education. Additionally, she has completed extensive coursework and training in Educational Therapy through the UCSD Extension Program and a variety of professional organizations. Bonnie has been coaching students with dyslexia and other learning challenges for over fifteen years. She is excited to return to the San Diego Board of IDA in order to help educate and support students, parents, and educators.
Maggie Williams, M.A., M.S., LEP #3149
Maggie Williams, M.A., M.S., is a School Psychologist and Licensed Educational Psychologist, L.E.P. #3149. She is the owner/director of The Niche Institute, a nonprofit corporation that provides free mentoring and tutoring to students from disadvantaged communities. Maggie received her B.A. in Psychology with Honors and M.A. in Gifted Education/Special Education from the University Missouri – Columbia. She also earned her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Shortly thereafter she earned her credential in School Psychology and her license as an Educational Psychologist. Maggie has spent the last 20 years as a tutor, home school teacher, teacher, assessor, director of learning centers, and counselor to students with a wide range of behavioral and learning differences. Maggie’s goal is to be a catalyst for positive change for students, and feels board membership helps her do so.
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