Crafting Minds seeks to promote evidence-based instructional practices for students who benefit from extra support and/or specialized instruction including those with specific learning disabilities.

Along these lines, members from our group provide consultations, evaluations, and ongoing professional development workshops designed to support school districts and enhance practitioners' knowledge about the fields of neuroscience, reading instruction, dyslexia, math instruction, dyscalculia, and achievement motivation.

Our interdisciplinary team of professionals consists of Developmental Psychologists, Educational Researchers, Reading Specialists, Math Coaches, and Special Educators. 




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 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.



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 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.



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. 


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. 

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