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About Crafting Minds

Crafting Minds began in 2017 as a continuation of research, practice, and professional development opportunities that were offered by Dr. Orkin and her colleagues at the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research.

Over the last five years, Crafting Minds has served over
fifty school districts in Massachusetts and across the United States
through professional development coursework.

Approximately 250 educators participate in Crafting Minds online and in-person classes annually.
Crafting Minds has collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to provide graduate level courses on dyslexia, dyscalcuila and dysgraphia and on planning an early literacy MTSS model that supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Additionally, members of Crafting Minds serve as
expert primary authors on the Massachusetts Dyslexia Guidelines.

Meet the Team

MELISSA ORKIN, Ph.D

DIRECTOR

 

Melissa Orkin is a Developmental Psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities, and achievement motivation. Dr. Orkin trained in the assessment and remediation of reading and learning disabilities with Dr. Maryanne Wolf, at the Tufts’ University Center for Reading and Language Research where she received her doctorate and served as a Program Director. She has worked as a reading teacher in the classroom, and in clinical settings. Dr. Orkin instructs on learning disabilities at Tufts University and has also lectured on reading disabilities at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She contributes to publications on a variety of educational topics including literacy development and executive function skills, and regularly provides professional development workshops and consults with public and private schools on best literacy practices.

SARAH GANNON, M.Ed

PARTNER

 

Sarah Gannon has worked as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach for the past 18 years. Sarah bridges her knowledge of the body of research, known as the Science of Reading, to the practical application in the classroom. She brings her experience with screeners and assessments to use a data-driven approach to instruction. Her knowledge of multi-sensory methods and interventions for students struggling with aspects of reading help teachers plan targeted Tier 2 interventions to address weaknesses in decoding, fluency, and comprehension. Sarah completed her certification at the Associate Level in Orton-Gillingham in the fall of 2021. She is trained in Rave-O and has deep experience with various assessment and screening tools such as the DIBELS, supplemental inventories like the PAST, and standardized assessments like the RAN/RAS & TOWRE.

Meet the Team

MELISSA ORKIN, Ph.D

DIRECTOR

 

Melissa Orkin is a Developmental Psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities, and achievement motivation. Dr. Orkin trained in the assessment and remediation of reading and learning disabilities with Dr. Maryanne Wolf, at the Tufts’ University Center for Reading and Language Research where she received her doctorate and served as a Program Director. She has worked as a reading teacher in the classroom, and in clinical settings. Dr. Orkin instructs on learning disabilities at Tufts University and has also lectured on reading disabilities at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She contributes to publications on a variety of educational topics including literacy development and executive function skills, and regularly provides professional development workshops and consults with public and private schools on best literacy practices.

SARAH GANNON, M.Ed

PARTNER

 

Sarah Gannon has worked as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach for the past 18 years. Sarah bridges her knowledge of the body of research, known as the Science of Reading, to the practical application in the classroom. She brings her experience with screeners and assessments to use a data-driven approach to instruction. Her knowledge of multi-sensory methods and interventions for students struggling with aspects of reading help teachers plan targeted Tier 2 interventions to address weaknesses in decoding, fluency, and comprehension. Sarah will complete her certification at the Associate Level in Orton-Gillingham in the fall of 2021. She is trained in Rave-O and has deep experience with various assessment and screening tools such as the DIBELS, supplemental inventories like the PAST, and standardized assessments like the RAN/RAS & TOWRE.

ALEX OSBURN

CONSULTANT

 

Alex Osburn has worked in education for over 15 years as a special education classroom teacher, reading specialist and literacy coach. Alex began her career as a reading teacher for students who had been diagnosed with dyslexia at Landmark High School. After earning her master’s degree in special education, she went on to pursue a reading specialist license, as her passion for supporting students with language based learning disabilities grew. In her current role as a literacy coach, Alex works closely with data to design instruction to meet the needs of all students through a multi-tiered system of support. She has a passion for curriculum design and loves to support staff on their journey to deliver high quality instruction to our most struggling reader, particularly through the creation of structured literacy routines. Alex is Wilson Level 1 Certified, and holds a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner credential. In addition to her public school experience, Alex served on the board of directors for the literacy nonprofit Bay State Reading Institute/Momenta, as well as serving as an adjunct professor at Lesley University.

KRISTEN FRATTAROLI, M.S. Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Kristen is a special education teacher who has concentrated her studies and instructional practices on students with language-based learning disabilities.  For the last three years, Ms. Frattaroli has been working at Bridge Boston Charter School, as a special education teacher for first and second graders. She has spearheaded and served on the school's literacy task force to analyze, critique, and recommend literacy programming and curriculum to create a full-service literacy program. This has included planning, presenting, and supporting the implementation of a more robust RTI process for grades K1-8. Ms. Frattaroli is dedicated to ensuring that quality reading instruction is accessible to all struggling readers, which has driven her passion to ensure that all educators have the tools to successfully deliver evidence-based literacy instruction through quality training and professional development.

DEB DUNN, M. Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Deb Dunn, M.Ed is a literacy consultant with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She provides professional development and coaching in the areas of the Science of Reading and structured literacy to K-3 teachers across the state. Over her 30-year career, Deb has served as a special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher, outdoor educator for gifted students with dyslexia, reading specialist, Orton Gillingham tutor, and K-12 literacy coordinator. Deb is currently working on writing two books for teachers - one on reclaiming joy in the classroom and the other on making the Science of Reading and structured literacy accessible to all elementary school teachers. Deb is committed to working with teachers to provide equity in literacy learning, and to improving literacy outcomes for diverse learners.

REBECCA LORD, M.Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Rebecca Lord, M.Ed. is an elementary math coach in Waltham Public Schools and a former dual special education/middle school math teacher. She has 10 years of experience in specialized math instruction, primarily teaching substantially-separate small-group math classes to students with dyscalculia, dyslexia, language-based, and math learning disabilities. During this time she also served as a middle school math general education teacher, provided tier 2 math support, and designed and delivered tier 3 math interventions. Over the past several years she has provided professional development on dyscalculia, math learning disabilities, and effective math instruction for teachers and districts throughout MA.

KATE SHADE, Ph.D

CONSULTANT

 

Kate Shade is an educator with over 15 years of experience in professional development, instructional coaching, academic evaluation, classroom teaching, curriculum design, and remedial instruction. Kate has worked across educational settings including public, charter, and private schools, non-profits, educational consultancies, and pediatric hospitals.  She specializes in evidence-based practices for English language instruction, including differentiated teaching for students with specific learning disabilities and those who are developmentally- and medically-complex students.  She has worked at organizations including Boston Children's Hospital, Tufts University's Center for Reading and Language Research, reDesignU, and the Stern Center for Language and Learning.

HANNAH LIM, M.A

PROJECT MANAGER

 

Hannah Lim is a special education resource specialist for primary and secondary schools based in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has previously worked as both a lead/mentor teacher and an assistant director in various early childhood educational settings. During graduate school at Tufts University, she focused on attachment theory, ethnic-cultural identity development, and socio-emotional learning. In her spare time, Hannah is a content creator and writer for a non-profit that focuses on cultivating and strengthening the ethnic-cultural identity of those on the Korean Spectrum. 

ALEX OSBURN

CONSULTANT

 

Alex Osburn has worked in education for over 15 years as a special education classroom teacher, reading specialist and literacy coach. Alex began her career as a reading teacher for students who had been diagnosed with dyslexia at Landmark High School. After earning her master’s degree in special education, she went on to pursue a reading specialist license, as her passion for supporting students with language based learning disabilities grew. In her current role as a literacy coach, Alex works closely with data to design instruction to meet the needs of all students through a multi-tiered system of support. She has a passion for curriculum design and loves to support staff on their journey to deliver high quality instruction to our most struggling reader, particularly through the creation of structured literacy routines. Alex is Wilson Level 1 Certified, and holds a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner credential. In addition to her public school experience, Alex served on the board of directors for the literacy nonprofit Bay State Reading Institute/Momenta, as well as serving as an adjunct professor at Lesley University.

KRISTEN FRATTAROLI, M.S. Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Kristen is a special education teacher who has concentrated her studies and instructional practices on students with language-based learning disabilities.  For the last three years, Ms. Frattaroli has been working at Bridge Boston Charter School, as a special education teacher for first and second graders. She has spearheaded and served on the school's literacy task force to analyze, critique, and recommend literacy programming and curriculum to create a full-service literacy program. This has included planning, presenting, and supporting the implementation of a more robust RTI process for grades K1-8. Ms. Frattaroli is dedicated to ensuring that quality reading instruction is accessible to all struggling readers, which has driven her passion to ensure that all educators have the tools to successfully deliver evidence-based literacy instruction through quality training and professional development.

DEB DUNN, M. Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Deb Dunn, M.Ed is a literacy consultant with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She provides professional development and coaching in the areas of the Science of Reading and structured literacy to K-3 teachers across the state. Over her 30-year career, Deb has served as a special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher, outdoor educator for gifted students with dyslexia, reading specialist, Orton Gillingham tutor, and K-12 literacy coordinator. Deb is currently working on writing two books for teachers - one on reclaiming joy in the classroom and the other on making the Science of Reading and structured literacy accessible to all elementary school teachers. Deb is committed to working with teachers to provide equity in literacy learning, and to improving literacy outcomes for diverse learners.

REBECCA LORD, M.Ed

CONSULTANT

 

Rebecca Lord, M.Ed. is an elementary math coach in Waltham Public Schools and a former dual special education/middle school math teacher. She has 10 years of experience in specialized math instruction, primarily teaching substantially-separate small-group math classes to students with dyscalculia, dyslexia, language-based, and math learning disabilities. During this time she also served as a middle school math general education teacher, provided tier 2 math support, and designed and delivered tier 3 math interventions. Over the past several years she has provided professional development on dyscalculia, math learning disabilities, and effective math instruction for teachers and districts throughout MA.

KATE SHADE, Ph.D

CONSULTANT

 

Kate Shade is an educator with over 15 years of experience in professional development, instructional coaching, academic evaluation, classroom teaching, curriculum design, and remedial instruction. Kate has worked across educational settings including public, charter, and private schools, non-profits, educational consultancies, and pediatric hospitals.  She specializes in evidence-based practices for English language instruction, including differentiated teaching for students with specific learning disabilities and those who are developmentally- and medically-complex students.  She has worked at organizations including Boston Children's Hospital, Tufts University's Center for Reading and Language Research, reDesignU, and the Stern Center for Language and Learning.

HANNAH LIM, M.Ad

PROJECT MANAGER

 

Hannah Lim is a special education resource specialist for primary and secondary schools based in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has previously worked as both a lead/mentor teacher and an assistant director in various early childhood educational settings. During graduate school at Tufts University, she focused on attachment theory, ethnic-cultural identity development, and socio-emotional learning. In her spare time, Hannah is a content creator and writer for a non-profit that focuses on cultivating and strengthening the ethnic-cultural identity of those on the Korean Spectrum. 

CONTACT US

Please reach out to us to learn more about our professional development, Learning Loops, and course offerings or with any additional questions.

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