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Our Staff

What makes us unique? 

ALL of our teaching faculty have completed explicit coursework and/or hold certifications related to dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and positive behavioral training.

Leah Skinner, M.Ed


Leah holds a Master of Education: Dyslexia Specialist degree and is a Certified Dyslexia Therapist trained in numerous Structured Literacy Programs (Orton-Gillingham).  She is also working towards a Doctor of Education degree in Reading and Literacy.  Being a Certified Special Education Advocate, Leah is committed to helping parents navigate the world of education and dyslexia.  After a rewarding experience at a school for dyslexic students for 5 years, Leah made the decision to bring her passion and knowledge to a larger community and opened READ Academy of Sacramento with a team of talented and experienced teachers.  Leah's endeavors are supported by her husband of 28 years and her 5 sons  (3 of whom are dyslexic).

Julie Starbird
Lead Teacher (Reading)


After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Government, Julie worked in IT for a Financial Services company for 10 years. When one of her three children was diagnosed with dyslexia, Julie became passionate about wanting to help other children who were struggling to read.  Julie is certified in the Barton Reading and Spelling System and has received the professional credential of Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner. In addition, she is certified for group instruction with WRS. She is excited to be a part of READ Academy!

Kassie Hughey


Kassie has always known that she wanted to be an educator.  She first worked with struggling students by volunteering for the Placer County Reading Council. She then tutoring using the Barton Reading and Spelling System receiving her Advanced level certification in 2018.  In addition, Kassie holds a Bachelor’s in English from Sacramento State University.  Kassie has worked with dyslexic students for many years teaching Foundations in Sounds, Barton and Wilson Reading System. She is a Master Level Certified Barton instructor as well as a trained Wilson Reading Instructor.  She helps students reach their fullest potential through compassion, empathy and a teaching style that is tailored to every student’s needs. 

JoAnne Kienle


JoAnne is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner and pursued Liberal Studies with a minor in Child Psychology at San Diego State University.    She also holds a Montessori certification and has extensive teaching experience starting from elementary school in Sacramento to Santa Barbara, San Diego, Monument, Colorado and now back to Sacramento.  When her oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD and generalized anxiety she soon pursued Wilson training.  Her son’s success in reading and comprehension at and above grade level led her passion in helping kids overcome their struggles and motivating them to enjoy reading as well. 

Henna Ruiz


Henna holds a BA in Science and a credential in mathematics. She has 23 years of experience teaching and tutoring middle and high school students in public schools.  In addition, she has completed over 130 hours of coursework in Making Math Real. Henna recognizes that every student has a unique learning style and she strives to meet the needs of each and every student. As a mom of twins with language-based learning disorders, she personally understands the challenge dyslexic learners face in unlocking their potential.

Melissa Camacho


Melissa is an accredited IEW instructor and certified Barton tutor. She received her BA in English and worked as a professional writer before becoming a teacher. Melissa has first-hand experience with the unique challenges that come with teaching a dyslexic child. Her own dyslexic son is thriving in public school after being taught to read and write using the Barton and IEW curriculums. She loves IEW’s structured and systematic method of teaching writing. She finds joy in seeing her students, who often start out thinking writing is their most difficult subject, become capable and confident writers. 

Lori Bassham
Staff and Student Liaison 



Lori received her Multiple Subject Credential in 1992 and has worked in both Public and Private schools since then.  Lori is a passionate advocate for kids with dyslexia.  When her son was diagnosed with dyslexia, she experienced firsthand the anxiety and self-esteem issues that sometimes accompany the dyslexic child.  That is when she made the decision to dedicate herself for the last 7 years to helping students with dyslexia learn to READ.  Lori is excited to work at READ Academy as part of the administrative team, as a mentor  and as a classroom teacher.

Alyssa Albert
Lead Teacher (Science)


Alyssa grew up in Truckee, California where her passion for teaching first began when she made online videos teaching children various speech and writing topics for a private school.  She then began to teach more hands on learning as a children’s snowboard/ski instructor. Alyssa attended California State University of Monterey Bay and while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies she also completed courses in Psychology and Childhood/ Adolescent Development. Alyssa looks forward to helping her students at READ Academy flourish in the sciences.

Brianna Gonzalez


Brianna's passion for teaching and helping students began in high school where she became a tutor in Math and Science. She then went on to attend Sierra College where she pursued her Bachelor's Degree in Science, while also completing courses in Psychology and Human Development. She utilizes her instruction in Making Math Real to educate her students efficiently, ensuring that they receive the quality of math instruction and a deep understanding that they deserve. She strives to create a positive and engaging environment where her students are able to build confidence and excel in their work.

Farideh Loveless


Farideh joined the READ staff in January 2023. Before teaching at Read, she taught Special Education at a San Francisco public high school. While teaching, she earned a Master's in Special Education from the University of San Francisco and became an Orton Gillingham certified classroom-level instructor. In addition to her Master's, Farideh holds a BA in History from USF. Farideh was labeled dyslexic in the 1st grade and received targeted literacy interventions. Her personal experience as a dyslexic student allows her to connect with and understand the students she serves. She is passionate about providing access to effective literacy interventions and is excited to work at READ!

Daisha Correa


Daisha developed a love for teaching in college when she switched her major to pursue a teaching career. While attending Sacramento State she continued to earn a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. Daisha is a Reading and Writing Instructor trained in Foundation in Sounds, Barton Reading & Spelling, Wilson Reading System, and Institute for Excellence in Writing Curriculum. She helps students achieve their educational goals and strives to provide a fun learning environment for all.

Shelley Russ


Shelley has over 16 years of experience working with children in a public school setting and also with dyslexic students in a private school setting.  In addition to being a talented Certified Barton Reading and Spelling instructor, Shelley is the go-to person for students, staff and parents alike.  She is a dedicated administrative assistant and tirelessly supports all staff.  She is the friendly voice on the phone, the smiling face at the beginning and end of the day, the safe-keeper of students, and the one that everyone knows.  

Jen McNairy
Lead Teacher (Math)


In addition to a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Jennifer has completed over 500 hours in Making Math Real coursework and has been a classroom practitioner of the MMR methodology for over 6 years.  Jennifer became passionate about specialized math instruction when her daughter was identified with dyslexia and dyscalculia.  Jennifer’s personal experience with her own four children (2 sets of twins!), her experience with hundreds of students with learning disabilities, her specialized instruction at the Making Math Real Institute, and her extensive independent research makes her one of the area's leading specialists in addressing dyscalculia.

Milan Djurasovic
Lead Teacher (History/Writing)


Milan holds a BA in Psychology and  a minor in History from the University of California, Davis.  He also studied at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany and holds a Master of Arts in Russian Cultural Studies from the European University at St. Petersburg, Russia.  In his free time, Milan enjoys reading, writing and playing sports.  He brings his passion for history and his love for basketball to Read Academy where the students  strive to beat him during the friendly lunchtime games.  READ is lucky to have both a historian and an athlete in our faculty!  

Achante Broadnax


Achante began her journey into education in high school where she tutored in English writing classes.  As she continued her education, teaching became something that she grew passionate about.  Her goal is to help all students achieve confidence in their academic abilities.  Achante is trained in Foundations in Sounds, Barton Reading and Spelling and Institute For Excellence in Writing curriculum. When she is not teaching, she is working towards a Bachelors in Social and Behavioral Sciences and assisting in English classes at the college level.

Milo Gray


Milo is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach, where he earned his Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies. He has spent nearly a decades’ worth of summers teaching kids how to live adventurous, healthy lifestyles while promoting an environment of inclusivity. Milo is thrilled to be teaching at READ, helping children and young adults alike reach their full potential. Using his background as a Registered Behavior Technician, he will approach Health and Fitness from a perspective that meets students where they are at and will help them to set and meet personal goals. 

Megan Welsh


Megan joined our team of talented teachers early 2022 as a Math Instructor. Megan creates a fun and supportive learning environment for students while teaching them the fundamentals of Making Math Real  to help them overcome their math difficulties.   Her desire to connect with students and instill a love of learning makes Megan an asset to Read Academy.

Holly Reynolds


Holly is a tutor and the social media coordinator for READ Academy. She grew up in Southern California and moved for college where she graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelors in Psychology and Art Studio. She found her passion for helping people overcome difficulties while working in social services and applies this to how she teaches. She strives to create an environment where learning is exciting, mistakes are okay, and diverse learning needs are recognized. Holly is thrilled to utilize her teaching enthusiasm and creative passions in her dual role.

Vivian Wilson


Vivian is a huge asset to our talented team here at READ. Not only is she our Custodian Extraordinaire, she also keeps our grounds neat and tidy, is exceptional at creating inclusive bulletin board visuals and ensure all our students receive the lunches they have ordered.  We would be lost without her!

Betsy Licciardello


Betsy is a retired credentialed teacher from the Roseville City School District  where she taught both Gen Ed and Special Ed during her 30+ year career in Education.  After retirement, Betsy taught classes to dyslexic students in small groups as well as tutoring dyslexic students and earning an Advanced Certification in Barton Reading and Spelling .  Betsy joined READ as a consulting Special Education teacher to assist with student placed on an IEP. 

Lisa Welsh


Lisa joined READ  Academy in 2021 initially taking on the role of bookkeeper but she is so much more than that!  While she does keep the finances in order, she also ensures compliance with Human Resources and Payroll and enthusiastically helps with behind the scenes special projects as needed.  She has extensive experience in building businesses and helping them thrive. She is a valuable part of the READ team.  Her work allows us to focus on what we love; teaching the students!  

Acsa Welker

Acsa Welker Photo_edited.jpg

Acsa holds a multiple subject credential and a Mild Moderate Special Education credential. She has taught as a General Education teacher and Special Education teacher  for the past 13 years.  Acsa raised a son with dyslexia and was his biggest advocate to ensure his learning variability was identified and remediated. Her son recently completed his Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis.  She is passionate about ensuring that all children reach their full potential. Acsa joined READ as a consulting Special Education teacher to assist with assessments and students with IEPs. 

Staff: Text

 READ Academy, in utilizing Making Math Real® (MMR®) methods, is in no way affiliated with, a member of, or employed by the Making Math Real Institute (MMRI), and does not represent or reflect MMR® or David Berg in any way whatsoever. Neither the MMRI nor David Berg has trained, certified, licensed, monitored, endorsed, recommended, or sponsored READ Academy. MMR® is a clinical methodology, not a program or a curriculum, and neither the MMRI nor David Berg monitors, endorses, or accounts for the quality of services provided by  READ Academy.

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