Joan is a 50-year veteran working with those with Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorders. She is the former Director of Lullwater School and currently the Director of the Community Resource Center that provides the Georgia Area a support system for attention and learning disabilities. She facilitates monthly support groups for parents, adults and women with LD/ADHD. She has designed numerous workshops including Know Your Child, and Mindfulness as a Strategic Approach. She designs Parent Programs helping them to be strong parent advocates. She feels the biggest gift coming from these groups is the wealth of what she has learned from others.
Dr. Teach has an earned doctorate from Georgia State University, a MS from Purdue and a BS from Wittenberg, has published in the field of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders as well as for the interactive learning community. As an ADHD adult, raising a family of four with four grandchildren she shares her experiences through a lifetime.
Board Vice President
Cappie Suttle is a corporate training professional based in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Her degrees are in Early Childhood/Elementary Education with additional studies in Educational and School Psychology. However, most of her career has been spent implementing training programs for educational, retail, financial, and information technology departments in Fortune 500 companies.
Cappie and her husband, Christian, are the proud parents of five children. Her volunteer work has been focused on raising awareness for ADHD and dyslexia and providing support for parents with children with learning and/or physical disabilities. Cappie served as the Satellite Coordinator for Cobb County CHADD for four years. During that time, she worked a year as the Exceptional Children’s Committee Chair for the East Cobb County Council of PTA (GA) and served two years as the Exceptional Children’s Committee Co-Chair for East Side Elementary School (Marietta, GA). She also collaborated with numerous area professionals and various organizations, including Impact ADHD, the International Dyslexia Association, and Kids Enabled. Because of her work with CHADD, her family was featured on the ADHD episode of Lisa Ling’s Our America on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
She has served as a Parent Advisor on the Chapter Quality Network project for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Board of Pediatrics. She currently serves as Vice-President for the Learning Disabilities of America, Georgia Chapter.
Merrell has been a valuable asset to the LD community facilitating and organizing the STAR EXPO event at the Bedford School. Merrell worked diligently to expand the knowledge of State Board of Education members about Learning Disabilities. Working on the mail campaign, each BOE member received our fabulous 7 bookmarks, describing the seven most common areas of disabilities under our learning disability canopy. It was time intensive work and yet her enthusiasm made hard work fun. She is an exciting energy to the LDAG community.
Dena Kitchens graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelors in Special Education and has worked for many years in the areas of Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Music and Arts Education and Christian Education. In all settings, Dena has found herself to be passionate about the children in her class whose needs are different than other children, often asking for particular students who had been struggling in other classes.
When LDA GA received a grant from the Learning Disabilities Foundation, Dena was instrumental in helping to develop the KNOW YOUR CHILD curriculum. She assisted in developing an understanding of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and was helpful in presenting parents the needed aspect of understand their child’s many ways of learning and their abundant strengths . She wrote an article for Kids Enabled that outlined the multiple intelligence aspects in learning.
Currently, Dena is pursuing her call in Christian Education, and has just graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary with a Masters of Practical Theology. Her dream is to develop curriculum to reach all learners, especially those that do not fit the cookie cutter mold.
Paula Daniel has spent most of her career supporting non-profit organizations and working for the United Methodist Church. Paula has a strong desire to make a difference in the life of her community. She has mentored a child who was struggling with traditional education and is excited about the prospect of helping other children find their own passion for learning.
In addition to her career work, Paula also volunteers with the youth at her church. She works to adapt the standard curriculum to reach out to the strength’s her students bring to class. In a recent position, Paula was the direct liaison to the community. Her door was always open, and the preschoolers and parents who passed by were always greeted with welcome, and they planned visits to see Ms. Paula. Her bright spirit and community service, along with her business acumen make her an asset as our Treasurer.
Director of Family and Community Engagement
Rose has been an advocate for the Learning Disabilities Community through the Atlanta Public School Advocacy, playing a key role in making family engagement a critical element of school improvement planning and decision-making. She has participated in many events, in support of LDAG for several years. She has been a quiet force behind parents seeking help for their children.
Rose left the corporate sector in order to be able to greater impact the lives of others. Her personal life took her on a road to nurture others, and as a mother, wife and advocate for those in the learning disabilities community she has fulfilled this dream. Rose, her understanding of families in struggle and her fulfillment of her aspirations and theirs, makes her a unique individual. Her corporate background gives her the organizational and leadership skills to get the job done.
Rose is a graduate of All About Developmental Disabilities and their partners in policy making program. She is a person-centered planning graphic facilitator and shares family-centered practices with new teachers entering Teach For America. She looks forward to leveraging her experience on a national level to make a difference for families and individuals affected by learning disabilities.
In the past year and a half, Rose has come to LDA and offered her services to develop a liaison between the public school community and the State LDAG. We have embraced this connection and have worked with her to become more involved in our activities. Students with learning disabilities are in every classroom of our schools. However, for many reasons, working with the public schools and supporting the needs of our own youngsters has been difficult. As a connection to, and understanding of the local public schools, Rose provides a vital niche in our community and will bring an entirely new perspective as to how we can relate to our schools.
Bailee Lauersdorf is the newest addition to our board. A native of Atlanta, Bailee is a product of the Gwinnett County School system where she navigated her learning differences to earn an International Baccalaureate degree from Norcross High School. She then graduated with honors from Mercer University with a BA in Philosophy. Bailee is passionate about serving disadvantaged children and youth, often giving special attention to those who are otherwise overlooked.
Bailee has just begun her graduate work at UNC Charlotte and will earn a degree in Social Work, allowing her to work even more effectively with children and youth.
Young Adult Liaison
Denise Harrison is one of our newest Board Members for LDA GA and brings to us a background in finance and accounting. She is a financial Management CEM –HQ AFRC and lives in the Warner Robins/Macon area. She has an earned doctorate in Psychology that she earned as an outgrowth of her interest in serving the variation of disabilities in our communities. Her focus is on furthering her understand and in serving the LD community.
Denise’s strong understanding of working boards comes from the years she has served both in the military and in other board positions. This gives her a foundation in using operational, tactical and strategic points of view giving her a much broader perspective. Her research study with adults and her work with the Macon Regional Youth Detention Center gave her a quest to find preventative as well as remedial support for our young adults. She is also interested in bringing knowledge of learning disabilities and what can be provided to our lower income families. Please welcome Denise with her many talents.
Latino Outreach Coordinator
Leann comes to the LDAG Board of Directors as an active, stay-at-home mom of four youngsters, two with special needs.\
After working in Procurement, Sales and Marketing for Hispanic companies for over 20 years, Leann left the corporate world when her oldest child was diagnosed with Autism, Learning and Attention Disabilities. Leann now serves as our new liaison to the Hispanic Community.
With a passion for working with families of children with special needs, Leann is an active volunteer in the Shine Special Needs Ministry at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in East Cobb County. This rapidly expanding ministry serves children and families from Elementary age through adulthood.
Currently, she serves as the Executive Assistant and CHADD/LDA coordinator at the Sandy Springs Mission. Leann is helping families of at-risk children maneuver the confusing world of seeking services for children with special needs. LDA/CHADD is excited to partner with the Sandy Springs Mission to establish the first Parent chapter in the area serving the needs of the Hispanic Community.
The Sandy Springs Mission provides academic enrichment programs for at-risk students attending Lake Forest & High Point Elementary, Ridgeview Middle and Riverwood High schools. Graduation rates for Hispanic students hover in the 50-60% range. However, with the support and involvement of the Mission, their student graduation rate is closer to 90%. For most students enrolled in the program, they are the first in their families to attain a diploma. Our new parent outreach will enable the whole family to be served and to understand.
With our commitment to this Hispanic outreach, you may now view our website in English or Spanish.
Katie Cyphers has served two terms on the national Board of Directors for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, as well as chaired the Nominating Committee and co-chaired the Membership Committee. For nearly a decade in both Georgia and NYC, Katie has devoted her time to the private practice setting through her learning center, Academics Plus, which provides cognitive and educational therapy, as well as one-on-one homeschool instruction for children with learning disabilities. Katie is also the founder of Education Cures, a nonprofit committed to developing and improving teacher education programs. The current focus of EC lies in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where you will find a precious 9-year-old boy, Mohamed, who has truly captured her heart.
Katie attended the University of Tennessee, where she obtained a M.S.Ed. in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education and a B.S. in Special Education. She currently serves on the University of Tennessee Dean’s Board of Advisors for the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.