MEET THE TEAM
Melissa Orkin, Director
Melissa Orkin, Ph.D., is a Developmental Psychologist who has specialized 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.
Leandra Elion, M.Ed. is a reading specialist and special education teacher, with training and expertise in multisensory methods for students with reading disabilities. She has taught literacy to students of all ages, from preschoolers, through the elementary grades and up to the high school level. Leandra has also taught teacher interns at both at Brandeis and Tufts University. She has been a Literacy Coordinator for a public-school district and has worked for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in their Special Education Planning and Policy Department. Among her interests is using technology to support struggling readers and she has presented on this topic at literacy and special education conferences. Currently, at Tufts, Leandra is a Lecturer in Education and Special Education. She also is the Vice-President Elect of the Massachusetts Reading Association, working on international and state-wide literacy improvement projects.
Dr. Gottwald is a linguist specializing in the interaction between the acquisition of spoken and written languages. Stephanie has directed investigations into evidence-based solutions for struggling readers, including the development and longitudinal, NICHD-funded, efficacy testing of the RAVE-O program, an evidence-based fluency and reading comprehension curriculum. Stephanie has provided professional development in the RAVE-O curriculum for thousands of teachers in a multitude of national and international educational settings. Stephanie also speaks frequently about her work in treading development, assessment, and intervention. Stephanie is a Co-Founder of the Curious Learning, which seeks to develop a global, open source solution to support child-driven literacy learning. She holds an M.A. from Boston College and a Ph.D. from Tufts University in Linguistics and Literacy.
Ann Waters is a certified speech-language pathologist who has specialized in reading disorders. Ann has worked as a classroom teacher and speech and language pathologist in the public school system. More recently, she served as a clinical instructor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professionals. There she taught graduate students and supervised their work with children and adults with reading disorders. As a consultant with the Hansen Initiative for Literacy, Bay State Readers Initiative, Reading First and the Needham Speech Language and Reading Clinic, she frequently provides feedback on the essential characteristics for language-based classroom.