THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH READING CLINIC (UURC)
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 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 also certified as a tutor/trainer using Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. 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 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 rural Alaska and Salt Lake City. Megan is certified in Early, Next, and Higher StepsSM, and Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. 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 fulfilling a three year grant with Utah State Office of Education and the Juvenile Justice System to train and support volunteer tutors who work with youth in custody at five sites. She additionally trains and supports staff with clinical practia throughout the state. Megan coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Stepping Stones International to train teachers and headmasters in Botswana, Africa, in Tier 1 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 reading success. She feels very fortunate to be part of the UURC team and the learning opportunities the clinic continually provides.
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. For four years, she taught elementary grades at Challenger School in Sandy and Sandcastle Academy in Bountiful. She has also taught courses in Latin language and ESL. After joining the UURC staff in 2005, Grace earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, and Higher StepsSM and is a lead trainer for many of those intervention models. Grace is licensed to train educators in the Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. Currently, Grace is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology at the U of U. In 2009, she had the opportunity to deliver a presentation on UURC reading assessments at the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading conference.
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 also certified as a tutor using the Wilson Reading System® Level I and II. 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 received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from BYU. 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, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM and Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. Carrie serves as Field Practica Liaison and Instructor to the 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. She is dedicated to helping struggling readers, as well as educators, gain the skills and knowledge necessary for effective reading.
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.
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. 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 interested in receiving intervention as well as students who have completed the program. Matt has conducted occasional LETRS® trainings as well.
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 Wilson Reading System® Level I and II. Currently, Sondra enjoys training and assisting in all models, tutoring, and assisting and observing educators in training.
Linda Jensen is a licensed elementary school teacher, having earned a BS in Elementary Education from BYU. She also has an ESL endorsement. Linda brings valuable expertise and experience from her long tenure in the Murray City School District where she served in several capacities: Title 1 paraprofessional, classroom teacher, and Title 1 Literacy Coordinator. She is certified in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, Higher StepsSM, and Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. She enjoys being able to take part in helping children develop the skills they need to be successful readers.
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 and Wilson Reading System® Level I and Steps 7-12. Currently, Julie trains in all models, tutors, assists in training, works with pre-service educators, 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 received a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii and a Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She retired from Ogden City School District in 2016 after eight years of teaching students with disabilities at the junior high level, and twenty-two years as a Special Education Teacher Specialist. Her passion for the University of Utah Reading Clinic's interventions began in 2009 after becoming a certified Level 1 tutor in the Wilson Reading System®. Since then, she facilitated professional development for special education teachers and paraeducators using the UURC's highly successful clinical practicum model, and earned certification in Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads, and Higher StepsSM. Impressive gains were made by students across all grade levels, and equally impressive gains were made by educators in their ability to deliver targeted, data-driven reading interventions. Paula is thrilled to join the esteemed staff at the UURC and welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with students with reading challenges and the dedicated educators who relentlessly strive to help them.
Kerstin Koldewyn received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Utah and is a certified Secondary Choral Music Teacher. After a hiatus from public education to raise children, Kerstin worked for Salt Lake City School District as a Title I paraprofessional tutoring struggling readers. It was in this capacity that she became certified in Early StepsSM and Early StepsSM Quads. After joining the UURC staff, she certified in Next StepsSM, Next StepsSM Triads and Higher StepsSM, and she is currently completing a practicum in the Wilson Reading System®. As part of a Turn-Around project with Davis School District, Kerstin is a full-time embedded literacy coach at Holt Elementary School for three years. She is also enrolled in a Master's of Education program in reading and literacy with an emphasis on reading intervention at the University of Utah.
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.
Karla Padilla-Amador is certified in the Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM Tier II intervention models. She will certify in Wilson Reading System® Level I in 2017. Karla was our first specialist to work with students via technology from our Distance Lab. She also tutors students onsite. Karla began learning English when she entered Kindergarten and was a struggling reader herself for several years. Educators trained at the UURC helped Karla become academically successful and she became the first person in her family to graduate from high school. These experiences have motivated her to help others overcome similar struggles. She is thrilled to continue her journey at the University of Utah Reading Clinic with so many knowledgable colleagues.
Brynnli Paulsen earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah in Family and Human Development. She worked for Murray School District in Title I and Alternative Language Services (ALS) for five years during which time she certified in Early StepsSM, Early StepsSM Quads, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM. From Murray School District, Brynnli went to Guadalupe Charter School in Rose Park where she developed their reading intervention program utilizing the UURC's Tier II models. During this time, she earned Level I certification in the Wilson Reading System. In the field, Brynnli mentors pre-service university education majors, classroom teachers and paraprofessionals who are completing practica. Through a grant from the Utah State Office of Education and the Juvenile Justice System, she also is training and supporting volunteers who tutor youth-in-custody. Brynnli counts herself privileged to work with an incredible group of professionals at the University of Utah Reading Clinic and for the opportunity to assist struggling readers develop skills that allow them to discover the transforming power of reading.
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 has also achieved her Level I certification and is working towards Level II in the Wilson Reading System®. 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.
Dr. Kelly Robbins 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.
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 Wilson Reading System® Levels I and II. 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 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. Karen is currently coordinating and training teachers in the Steps intervention models in Davis School District at Vae View Elementary. 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 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 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.