THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH READING CLINIC (UURC)
STAFF

Kathleen Brown

Dr. Kathleen J. Brown is Director of the University of Utah Reading Clinic (UURC) in the College of Education. Her scholarly interests include the development of educators' conceptual frameworks for teaching at-risk and struggling readers, and the development of intervention models to meet the needs of struggling readers from diverse backgrounds. Since 1999, Dr. Brown has led intervention clinical practica for hundreds of Utah educators. She continues to work with struggling readers on a regular basis because it informs her research and training endeavors. In 1997, Dr. Brown received the University of Utah Graduate School of Education Teaching Award in recognition of her contribution to university teaching. Her work has been published in a number of scholarly journals, including Reading Research Quarterly, The Elementary School Journal, The Journal of Literacy Research, and The Reading Teacher.

Michele Blake
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Michele Blake graduated with honors -- completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education at Brigham Young University. She received her M.Ed with an emphasis in Reading from the University of Utah. Michele taught Special Education for several years in the Jordan School District, where she also served as Team Leader. Additionally, Michele has had the opportunity to present for the International Reading Association, Utah Branch International Dyslexia Association, and the Utah State Office of Education. Michele has earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, and Higher StepsSM and is a lead trainer for many of those interventions. She is a Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist as well as a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer. She has been extremely successful in adapting those models for students with learning disabilities and loves working with kids and helping them to become more successful readers.

Megan Bryant
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Megan Bryant earned a bachelor's degree in special education from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, as well as a master's degree in reading and literacy from the University of Utah. She taught elementary school for ten years in both rural Alaska and Salt Lake City. Megan is certified in Early, Next, and Higher StepsSM, and is aWRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. Megan worked as an intervention specialist at Fremont Elementary School as part of a joint UURC/Davis School District federal grant for school improvement. Currently, Megan is collaborating with Granite School District and the Juvenile Justice System to train and support volunteer tutors who work with youth in custody at four sites. She additionally trains and supports staff with clinical practica throughout the state. Megan coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Stepping Stones International to train teachers and headmasters in Botswana, Africa, in Tier I text and word study procedures. She collaborated with the University of Utah Education Department and Hinckley Institute to create an internship opportunity in Botswana. Megan is passionate about teaching students and educators, and creating opportunities for reading success. She feels very fortunate to be part of the UURC team and the learning opportunities the clinic continually provides.

Grace Craig
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Dr. Grace Craig earned a Bachelor of Arts from BYU in Studies of Ancient Greece and Rome and a Master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Teaching Languages with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah. For four years, she taught elementary grades. After joining the UURC staff in 2005, Grace earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM and is a lead trainer for these intervention models. Grace is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist as well as a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer.

Holly Dean
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Holly Dean received a B.A in Special Education and a Master of Education degree from the University of Utah. Holly was a Special Education teacher in the public school system for 8 years. With a focus on reading intervention, she started a Learning Resource Center in the Catholic school system and remained there for another 11 years. During this time, Holly earned certifications in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM. She became certified as an Early Steps trainer. She is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist as well as a Wilson® Credential Trainer.She is excited to join the UURC to continue working with at-risk and struggling readers and feels fortunate for this opportunity to work with our team; dedicated to learning and promoting educational possibilities for the educators and students we serve.

Carrie Faulkner
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Carrie Faulkner received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University. She worked for several years at a Title 1 school, in the Jordan School District, before coming to the UURC. Carrie has earned certification in Early StepsSM, Early StepsSM Quads, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM and is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson ® Dyslexia Therapist. She is recognized as a certified Dyslexia Therapist, by both WRS and the International Dyslexia Association. Carrie primarily serves as Field Practica Liaison and Instructor for University of Utah pre-service educators, whom she trains and mentors. She also has the opportunity to assist in the professional development of educators in the field -- as trainer, liaison, and support. Carrie recognizes that educators need access to cutting-edge research, so in 2019, she volunteered for an IES-funded Southern Methodist University investigation of instructional practices in Utah SPED and regular classrooms. As part of the UURC team, she is dedicated to helping educators and U of U students learn how to implement effective reading strategies and routines.

Nikki Fellows

Nikki Fellows earned her Associate's Degree from the LDS Business College. She worked in the Salt Lake City School District as secretary to the Director of Food Services. After taking some time off to be a "mom", she went to West Kearns Elementary in Granite School District as a resource room aide. The year 1999 found her in the front office at West Kearns, which is where she had her first contact with Dr. Kathleen Brown and the UURC. Since then, Nikki has been the friendly "face and voice" of the organization in her lynchpin roles in reception, payroll, purchasing, and scheduling. To inform her conversations with parents and students, Nikki earned Next StepsSM certification and attends reading professional development conferences whenever possible.

Matt Fields

Dr. Matt Fields has a B.S. in Applied Physics from Caltech, an M.S. in Educational Technology and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah. As a member of the Reading Clinic, he brings his research and technology background to the study of reading and the development of intervention practices and tools. He currently serves as the Finance, Research, and Technology Manager for the Reading Clinic. He has been trained as a Next StepsSM tutor and conducts many of the assessments of students who have completed the program.

Sondra Hansen
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Sondra Hansen earned a B.A. from the University of Utah in International Studies and Spanish. She has been instrumental in developing the reading intervention program (Next StepsSM/Higher StepsSM) at Northwest Middle school in Salt Lake City School District. Because of her love for diverse culture and language, Sondra is a valuable resource for educators seeking to meet the specific needs of ELL students. Sondra is certified in all of the UURC models as well as a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. Currently, Sondra enjoys training and assisting in all models, tutoring, and assisting and observing educators in training.

Julie Jaussi
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Julie Jaussi earned a Bachelor's degree from BYU. Julie completed a Master of Elementary Education degree in 2011. She comes to the UURC from Jordan School District after having worked in the Title 1 program there for 11 years. She has earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM, Tier I Text, Writing About Tier I Text, Tier I Word Study, and is a WRS Level I Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner. Currently, Julie trains in all models, tutors, assists in training, works with pre-service educators, works with educators assisting with blind and deaf students, and supervises educators in the clinic's intervention models for struggling readers. She is excited to be part of an organization dedicated to assisting struggling readers and helping them develop the skills and motivation to read with success and enjoyment.

Paula Kashiwaeda
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Paula Kashiwaeda received a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii and a Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She retired from Ogden School District after teaching students with disabilities at the middle school level for 8 years, and supporting school teams and families as a Special Education Specialist for 22 years. Her passion for the University of Utah Reading Clinic's interventions began in 2009 after completing her WRS Level 1 Certification. Since then, she facilitated professional development for special educators, general educator, and para-educators using the UURC's highly successful clinical practicum model, and earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM and is now a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. Paula welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with students with reading challenges and the dedicated educators who relentlessly strive to help them.

Paula Kashiwaeda

Sarah Kocherhans began her career with a B.A. in English from the University of Utah. Upon graduating, she entered the classroom as a paraprofessional, where she taught 3rd and 4th grade reading for one year while earning her teaching license in Elementary Education. Sarah taught 3rd grade for three years. She is currently a Reading and Literacy doctoral student at the University of Utah. Sarah is trained in Higher StepsSM, and her continued goal is to learn more about reading disabilities and early literacy and literacy development.

Kerstin Larson
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Kerstin Larson (M.Ed.) began her career with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music from the University of Utah with certification as a Secondary Choral Music Teacher. After a hiatus from public education to raise children, Kerstin worked for Salt Lake City School District tutoring struggling readers as a Title I paraprofessional, certifying in Early StepsSM and Early StepsSM Quads. After joining the UURC staff in 2015, she certified in Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM, and is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. As part of a Turn-Around project with Davis School District, Kerstin was embedded full-time at Holt Elementary School for three years as a reading intervention specialist, building an intervention program from the ground up. She continued in the same capacity, joining existing UURC staff, at Vae View Elementary School for one year. As part of a generous grant given to West High School, she was brought in to create an intervention program for 9th to 12 graders for the 2019-2020 school year. In 2019, Kerstin earned a Master's of Education degree in Reading and Literacy with an Intervention Endorsement from the University of Utah. Her ongoing goal is to learn more about reading disabilities, specializing in dyslexia and its effects on the brain.

Karen Morgan

Karen Morgan is Associate Director of the University of Utah Reading Clinic (UURC) in the College of Education, specializing in community outreach and development. She graduated with honors from the U, earning a composite Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and Family/Consumer Studies. She served 14 years in the Utah Legislature, retiring from the Utah Senate in 2013. She sponsored legislation in 1999 to create the Reading Clinic. She continues to be its most ardent champion.
 
 

Sheree Nalwalker
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Sheree Nalwalker earned an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Development from Southern Utah University. She worked for 16 years as a Title I paraprofessional in the Murray City School District. Sheree is trained in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Higher StepsSM and is a WRS Level I Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner. In 2011 she joined the UURC team as a part-time tutor. She continues to tutor as well as do administrative work in the office, scheduling students and assisting parents.

Margaret Opatz

Margaret Osgood Opatz began her career with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geographic Information Systems from Bemidji State University with a minor in Outdoor Education. After spending hundreds of days leading youth in the wilderness, Margaret spent a year teaching kindergarteners English in South Korea. When she returned to the U.S., Margaret earned a post baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education while teaching English as a Second Language. Margaret taught in the Salt Lake City School District while earning a Master’s of Education in Reading and Literacy in 2017. She is trained in Higher StepsSM and has developed expertise in adapting the model for a virtual learning environment. In the fall of 2017, Margaret began her doctoral program in Reading and Literacy at the University of Utah. During this time, she taught education courses and supervised student teachers. Her continued goal is to learn more about how teachers can better help language learners comprehend academic texts.

Barbara Owen

Barbara Owen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies, from the University of Utah, as well as a Master's degree in Human Development and Social Policy, focusing on early childhood literacy curriculum development. She is certified in Early StepsSM, Early StepsSM Quads, and Next StepsSM. Barbara is an instructor for University of Utah pre-service educators in Early Steps intervention field practica. She has a passion for reading and its critical importance in society. She is pleased to help educators become more successful teachers of young readers.

Rachelle Packer
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Rachelle Packer (M.Ed.) earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Brigham Young University, and a Master’s of Education degree in Reading and Literacy from the University of Utah with an Advanced Reading Endorsement and an Intervention Endorsement. Rachelle has been a Kindergarten, First, Third and Fourth Grade Teacher; Title 1 Intervention Specialist; Language Arts/Literacy Curriculum Developer and Literacy Coach. She has written grants for Early Interventions and K-3 Reading Achievement. Most recently, Rachelle opened and directed a reading intervention unit at American Heritage School in American Fork, UT. She has earned certifications in and taught Early StepsSM Quads, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM, Tier I Text, Writing About Tier I Text, Tier I Word Study, and is a WRS Level I Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner. Currently, Rachelle trains in several models, including Higher Steps Complex Text, Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Tier I Text, and Tier I Writing. She is thrilled to be working with the talented and dedicated staff at the UURC, who are committed to helping struggling readers develop the skills and motivation necessary to become successful readers.

Kelly Patrick
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Dr. Kelly Patrick Associate Director for Professional Development and Intervention. She has a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Oregon Honor's College, a Master of Education and Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Utah. Her scholarly interests relate to spelling and reading research, with publications in Assessment for Effective Intervention where she is currently a consulting editor. Kelly has been a high school special education teacher, an elementary school Achievement Coach, as well as an instructor for the University of Utah and the Westminster College. She has earned certifications in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM. Kelly is excited to be able to work toward improving reading outcomes for all students by helping bring clinical practica to teachers, contributing to the on-going development of research-validated instructional reading models, and directly working with students at the UURC.

Lisa Reed
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Lisa Reed graduated from Washington State University in 1977, with a B.A. in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Special Education. Her classroom teaching began in the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington. After moving to Utah and securing her Level 2 Teaching License, Lisa was employed at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary, teaching 5th grade and Kindergarten. Lisa Reed joined the UURC full time in 2011 after tutoring 6 years part time for the Clinic in the Ogden area. She is certified in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Higher StepsSM and Next StepsSM Triads. She is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. In 2014, the UURC partnered with the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah Juvenile Justice System and began providing afterschool reading intervention for incarcerated youth at Secure Care Facilities. Lisa works with a team to facilitate these community based volunteer programs at JJS sites around the State. Currently, she also provides professional development for educators in the Utah school system. Lisa is grateful and excited to be part of an organization that values the importance of sound reading instruction and strives to increase the knowledge of educators and readers.

Trina Robbins
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Trina Robbins comes to the University of Utah Reading Clinic from Jordan School District after having worked in their Title 1 program for 11 years. She has earned certification in several reading intervention models, including Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM, and is a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist. Trina plays an indispensable role as the UURC clinic coordinator in which she oversees placement and progress of students who receive intervention on-site. She is pleased to have the opportunity to provide professional development to educators throughout the state. Her greatest satisfaction is helping children experience success as they overcome their reading challenges.

Karen Steele
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Karen Steele earned both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's in Education from the University of Utah. She began teaching in the Salt Lake City schools in 1985 and served there in the capacity of special education teacher, regular education classroom teacher, interventionist, and literacy coach. She has a Level 3 teaching license in Elementary Education, Special Education, and English as a Second Language. She also received her National Board Certification in 2008. She has earned her certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM and Higher StepsSM from the UURC and trained teachers and staff in these models in the Salt Lake Schools during her tenure as literacy coach. She is WRS Level I Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner and is currently working on becoming certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Therapist.She currently oversees the after-school distance tutoring program for UURC which provides on-line tutoring for students throughout the state of Utah. Karen has enjoyed a varied and satisfying career in the public school system and is thrilled to be a member of the UURC team where she can continue to mentor teachers and promote research-based intervention models for struggling readers.

Marlin Struhs

Marlin Struhs has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Education from Utah State University and a Master's of Business Administration from Westminster College. Prior to the UURC, he worked as an Investment Broker and in Medical Device Manufacturing. At the Reading Clinic, he manages and analyzes assessment data generated through the UURC's numerous intervention programs statewide, gives in-clinic reading level assessments, and coordinates the clinic's marketing events. When not working at the clinic, Marlin occasionally teaches economic courses.

Wendy Wittwer
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Wendy Wittwer received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Utah and is a certified Elementary Educator. Prior to joining the UURC staff, she worked for the Salt Lake City and Davis School Districts. Wendy has earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM intervention models and uses this expertise adeptly as she mentors 100 or so U of U pre-service educators in the field each semester. She is so pleased to be a part of the UURC and enjoys opportunities to continue learning how to best help struggling readers.Wendy is also a WRS Level II Certified Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist.


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