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Meet our Dedicated Learning Specialists

At the Joy of Learning, all of our teachers are experienced professional educators who have dedicated their careers to effective reading, writing, and math instruction for students with diverse learning styles. They have classroom teaching experience, advanced degrees in education, and are well versed in methods specific to supporting students with learning differences. Our specialists hold advanced training in Orton Gillingham Reading Instruction, which is the gold standard for teaching students with Dyslexia and struggling readers, as well as extensive training in teaching writing and math. All of our teachers are background checked and vaccinated for Covid, and Learning Specialists working in person can wear masks if requested. 

In Person: Boulder Metro area, or Virtual anywhere

I started the Joy of Learning because I am passionate about supporting students who learn differently.

As a classroom teacher, it broke my heart to see students struggle with frustration and low self esteem because they couldn't access the classroom curriculum, and I became dedicated to learning how how to support these students. I got a Certificate in Educational Therapy through the University of California Riverside, trained in Orton Gillingham through IMSE, and pursued my Masters in Literacy and Dyslexia through the International Dyslexia Association Accredited program at the University of Central Arkansas. 

The other Learning Specialists on the team and I have devoted our careers to effectively teaching students with learning differences, and approach our work with genuine enthusiasm, expertise, and warmth.

Providing your child with the tools they need to succeed academically is a gift that will last them a lifetime. Speak to us today about setting your child up with a learning specialist who can help them thrive. 

Jordan Burns

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Jo McMahan

Jo is a former classroom teacher with 30 years of teaching experience. She holds a BS in Elementary Education. For the past 10 years, she has worked at Camp Spring Creek as a Dyslexia interventionist and has loved every minute of it. Jo teaches in person sessions in the Boulder CO area, where she gets to be near her almost 1-year-old granddaughter.


Courtney Cole

Hi! My name is Courtney Cole and I have been a teacher in the Boulder Valley School District for 15 years. I have taught 2nd grade, 4th grade, Kindergarten, and have been a literacy interventionist for the past 4 years. I hold an Elementary Education Certification and I have been trained in the Ron Yoshimoto Orton Gilligham approach as well as in the IMSE (Institute for Multi-Sensory Education) Orton Gilligham approach. I love making learning fun and developing strong, trusting relationships with my students and their families!


When I’m not teaching or tutoring, I am out hiking, doing yoga, reading, or spending time with my husband, son, and dog. I have lived in Colorado for 25 years, but make it back to Northern Michigan every summer to enjoy some lake time!

Scott Barrett

My name is Scott Barrett. I have been a special education teacher for almost 10 years. Throughout my career I have worked with students in grades k-5. The students I work with have varying degrees of disabilities. I love helping students with learning challenges achieve their academic goals. 


I graduated from the University of Montana with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, an elementary education degree and a special education endorsement, and a special endorsement in teaching students with low incidence disabilities. 


I have taken several trainings and classes on reading and mathematics, including Orton Gillingham and Math Recovery. 


My teaching philosophy is to focus on a student’s strengths to build confidence, and target my instruction on focusing on a child's lowest area of need to build foundational skills. I think multisensory education is important. I also think it's critical to understand where the student is at in the development of a skill, and systemically teach the skills a student needs to progress in the next steps of the learning progression. 

I am available to tutor virtually or in-person in the Fort Collins area!


Ryan Conrad

I am a Colorado native with over 20 years of teaching experience. I have a diverse background in education including Special Education, Language Arts, English Language Development, Gifted and Talented, Social Studies, and several years as a Principal and Assistant Principal. I hold a M.Ed  in Secondary Education, M.Ed in Bilingual and Multicultural Education, and a BA in History with an emphasis in Secondary Education Social Sciences with a Moderate Needs Special Education Endorsement. In 2018 I found my teaching home at Horizons K-8 where I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies. I am also the proud parent of two Horizons students


In my heart, I have always been an educator and have committed my life to teaching and learning so that I may help provide a meaningful education to others. Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to the service of diverse learners predicated upon my unshakable faith that every student can learn and thrive given the proper support.

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Karen Jones

I am a former Boulder Valley School District elementary teacher with 25 years of experience. My background is in English Language Development, Literacy, and teaching kindergarten and second grade. I hold a MA in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, as well as a Colorado Teaching License. I am trained in the Orton Gillingham approach through OGA (Orton Gillingham Academy) and IMSE (Institute for Multi-Sensory Education).  I also have training in Leveled Literacy Intervention, Wilson Fundations, and Advantage+Math.  I have a passion for teaching literacy and math, and as a tutor, I especially love designing engaging lessons that address the needs and learning styles of the individual student. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading, and home improvement projects.


Patricia Rietti

Hello! My name is Patricia Rietti but my students call me Ms. Spaghetti because it is easier to remember, and it makes them laugh! My goal in teaching is to make learning an interesting and positive growing experience that keeps my students engaged and curious. To accomplish this, I maintain a flexible and patient approach, adapting lessons to the individual needs of each student. Over the last twenty years I have gained valuable lessons myself: I began a pre-school Italian language program; volunteered as an “Enrichment Teacher”; substitute taught middle school students; assisted in classrooms as a paraprofessional; and created a resource room and curriculum to teach high needs students with Dyslexia, Autism, developmental disabilities, and ADHD. I currently tutor special education students both virtually and in person supporting them in their unique journeys to build self-confidence and become lifelong learners. I hold a Special Education state license from Massachusetts, a masters in teaching, an endorsement in Sheltered English Immersion, a certificate from Lindamood-Bell for improving reading comprehension through Visualizing and Verbalizing, and professional development course work in Autism.


In Person: Denver Metro area, or Virtual anywhere

Mari Reamy

Hello, my name is Mari Reamy. I’m a SPED teacher with seven years of experience. I’m based in Denver and hold a Colorado professional teaching license. I have worked with students with various disabilities over the years (ASD, OHI including ADD/ADHD, ID, SLD including dyslexia, DD, SLI, TBI, etc.). I hold a Master’s Degree in SPED from the University of Colorado and the following postgraduate certifications as well as content-specific trainings from a number of universities/institutes: IMSE Orton Gillingham, Yoshimoto Orton Gillingham, Structured Literacy, Effective Literacy Instruction for Diverse Learners, Language Development of Multilingual Learners, LETRS Basic Reading Skills, LETRS Reading Comprehension, Differentiated Educational Strategies for Exceptional Children, etc. I also lead the MTSS process at my current school and coach teachers on assessing students, determining the root cause, and designing Tier 2 differentiated instruction. I absolutely love working with children, supporting them in increasing their self-confidence through academic growth coupled with positive reinforcement. Thank you! 


Jen Kaciuba

My name is Jen Kaciuba and I am an experienced and dedicated reading tutor with a wealth of knowledge spanning over 8 years in the field of education.I currently reside in Golden Colorado.  I am a certified K-9 elementary teacher and am currently pursuing my M.Ed in Literacy instruction to further elevate my expertise. I have been trained in Orton Gillingham, Structured Literacy and Science of Reading strategies and have been using them to teach explicit and effective reading instruction. My passion lies in cultivating a love for reading among my students, empowering them to embark on a journey of lifelong learning. When not teaching, I love being outside and taking advantage of the beautiful state of Colorado. I  like hiking, rafting, skiing, and gravel biking. I love working with students and being able to help them find confidence in their own literacy skills!

I am available to tutor in-person in the Golden/Westminster/Wheatridge/Denver areas!


Kelley Ledden

My name is Kelley Ledden and I am a passionate educator with over 11 years of teaching experience. I have my Master’s in Reading and Writing Curriculum from UCDenver. I received my teaching license and reading endorsement through this program and have been teaching ever since! I have taught K-6 Literacy Intervention, English Language Development, and have tutored virtually as well as in-person for the past three years. Throughout the past few years, I have received training in Wilson Reading, Read Act certification, and have certification in Slingerland Dyslexia program. When I am not teaching, I am playing outdoors riding my bike, camping, gardening, and exploring new places around the world. I make learning fun and engaging by empowering learners to be excited, curious, and confident. I look forward to working with your children with The Joy of Learning! 

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Rachel Sumners

Hello, my name is Rachel Sumners. I graduated from MSU Denver with a degree in Elementary Education and hold a K-6 teaching credential. The past three years I have spent teaching first grade, prior to that I taught Kindergarten for a year. I am trained in Orton Gillingham and Structured Literacy. I am very passionate about following best practices and providing students with multi-sensory instruction that is research based, which is why I love teaching by the Orton-Gillingham approach. 


When not teaching I love to spend my time trying out new recipes and reading. I also love to explore the mountains with my dog, Starla. 

I am available to tutor in the Westminster area.


Emma Chee

Hi, my name is Emma Chee and I am so happy to be a part of the Joy of Learning team. I have a MA in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, BA in Special Education, and am a Licensed Special Education Generalist and Elementary Education Teacher.I have spent nearly 10 years working in the field of education. I spent many years working as a paraeducator in autism center programs before I became a teacher. I am currently in my fourth year of teaching in center-based special education programs. I love getting to watch students learn and grow, as well as helping students learn and work on all sorts of skills, especially coping and social skills. I have a passion for teaching reading because it was an area that I myself struggled with in school. 


When I am not tutoring or teaching, I enjoy being outdoors hiking, and camping. I also love to travel! I am a dog mom to two amazing blue heelers and have been married for four years now. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my bio. I am looking forward to helping your child learn and grow!


Laurel Fowler

I look forward to working with your student. I have a background of teaching preschool for 10 years and elementary for 10 years, K-5th grades. I have a BS in Elementary Education and a Colorado Teacher’s License. I use the Wilson Fundations curriculum and am certified in the Science of Reading.  I look forward to helping your student make progress.  I hope to partner with you to help your children bloom and grow. We have three wonderful children Emily 29, Ben 26, Joel 22.  We also have a lovable dog Lily.   I enjoy being outside in the mountains hiking, and biking.  I also love to share God’s creation in photographs.

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Bay Area


Maryann Doudna

Maryann is an experienced elementary educator who has supported students in the Bay Area as a classroom teacher and private tutor for the past 9 years.  She holds a M.Ed. from USF and is currently completing a masters degree in reading instruction. She has completed extensive training in both structured literacy and Orton Gillingham instruction.  Her teaching philosophy is grounded in the science of reading and she is passionate about providing individualized instruction to meet the unique needs of each learner.  When not supporting students, she enjoys spending time with her 14 year old dog Jackie and trying new recipes.

Virtual Only

Brenna Blazis

Brenna Blazis is a passionate educator who loves to utilize her experiences and tools to develop successful lifelong learners. Brenna will work alongside your child's strengths and interests to create engaging virtual lessons to address their learning needs to build all content area skills. 

Her career in education stemmed from her own successes and struggles in elementary and middle school. To better serve the needs of all students regardless of setting, Brenna received my bachelor's degree in Special and Elementary Education from the University of Evansville.

As a continual learner, she has refined her practices through programs like Reaching All Reader, PilotEd Curriculum Fellowship, Rollins Center for Language, and more. Brenna worked in different capacities within education over the last 12 years in both the United States and abroad.She especially loved sharing her passion for quality education for all, as a curriculum writer and teacher trainer with the Peace Corps Liberia and the Dominican Republic. In the United States, Brenna holds multiple teaching certificates from the state of Georgia in both elementary and special education P-12. In the US, Brenna has taught all subjects in various inclusive and self-contained special education settings. As an educator, she works with her students to build not only social, emotional, and academic skills but also self-advocacy.


Brenna's lessons are rooted in self-advocacy, a growth mindset, and research-based practices to best meet the needs of each learner. Over her time with Joy of Learning, she has developed a skill set to work with older learners, especially on spelling, reading, writing composition, math, and organizational skills. Brenna currently has  availability to work with students during the day. Brenna is excited to  work with your child to build their skills together through virtual lessons! 

Marci Sorenson

Marci is an engaging, experienced, child focused educator of 10 years.  She possesses a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science, and has completed the Classroom Educator Level training for Orton-Gillingham. Marci strives to provide a well-balanced, supportive, and engaging learning environment for all students while remaining flexible.  Marci lives in the Nebraska area. She loves enjoying the great outdoors, and cheering her two children on in their sporting activities.  

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Christie Welsby

Christie Welsby is an elementary reading specialist with over 25 years experience in sparking the joy of reading in her students. She has been an elementary reading specialist near Buffalo, NY for 25 years and has a Master's Degree in Reading, Language Arts and Literacy from The Ohio State University. She has received Orton-Gillingham training at the Classroom and Associate Levels, and is currently in a practicum to receive certification at the Orton-Gillingham Associate Level. She enjoys music, theater, and spending time with her big, blended family.

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Rebekah Vincent

Hi, my name is Rebekah and I'm a former special education teacher who's been tutoring for over 15 years. I work with students with all sorts of learning profiles, including Dyslexia, AD/HD, and Autism. I'm a certified dyslexia tutor and offer Orton-Gillingham tutoring, K-8th grade math, and homework support. I live in southern California and enjoy jiu jitsu, hiking, and cooking. 


Kristel Turnquist

My name is Kristel Turnquist and I have 22 years of teaching experience in the field of Elementary Education. I have a BS in Elementary Education and a MA in Special Education.I began my teaching career as a Special Education teacher in 4th and 5th grade and then transitioned to a 1st and 2nd grade classroom teacher. I have a passion for teaching children how to read. I am certified in Orton Gillingham and received my training through the Institute of Multisensory Education. With my years of working in the classroom, I understand student's needs and strive to find the best approach to make a child successful in whatever they are learning. I am an interactive and supportive tutor using a multisensory approach to learning to ensure that a student's needs are met and that their learning experience is both fun and informative.

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