Spreading Dyslexia Awareness and Empowering Individuals with Dyslexia and their Families
Decoding Dyslexia Rhode Island is a grassroots parent movement driven by Rhode Island families who were concerned with the limited understanding of dyslexia in Rhode Island schools, impacting access to educational interventions and supports for students with dyslexia. We founded the Rhode Island branch of Decoding Dyslexia in March 2014.
promote evidence-based literacy practices in schools to help all students to become fluent readers and writers
raise awareness about dyslexia to support schools and to empower families
share resources on the Science of Reading with policy-makers and the Rhode Island Department of Education to promote inclusive policies and practices
create an Education Alliance Network to build stronger communities between families and schools
support culturally responsive practices to promote instructional equity in schools
Meet the DDRI Board
Suzanne Arena -Founder of DDRI and Secretary/Parent Outreach
As a parent and long time advocate for children with special needs, Suzanne Arena is uniquely qualified to act as a Parent Advocate. Her true passion is helping families who struggle to support the needs of their children. She started the Rhode chapter of Decoding Dyslexia (DDRI) at the end of 2014. She has successfully advocated on behalf of children at their IEP/504 meetings, along with empowering hundreds of families to advocate on behalf of their own children. She was an unpaid lobbyist from 2015-2016, and utilized her strong communication and mediation skills. She also co-founded another advocacy organization and got them off the ground, but chose to continue exclusively working with DDRI. Suzanne has attended dozens of conferences, 11 seminars and trainings as they relate to special education, with emphasis on Dyslexia (At-risk readers/Math), ADHD and other learning challenges. Several awards of recognition have been acquired over the years such as Frances C. Dixon Advocacy Award; Dedicated Service to Education from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Certificate of Recognition for Education Achievement from then State Treasurer Gina Raimondo. In addition, she has worked as a community organizer with dedicated activism that has established a process in areas of need.
Shannon Saglio -President
Shannon is currently a Districtwide Instructional Coach for a public school in Connecticut and a mother of a dyslexic child in Rhode Island. She has over twenty years experience in education including roles as a High School Social Studies Teacher, District Curriculum Council Co-Chair, Curriculum Interventionist, Administrator of a high school intervention program, and a member of the leadership team for the Westerly Special Education Local Advisory Committee. She received her M.A.T. in Education from Johns Hopkins University and recognizes the importance of bridging the gap between research and practice. Shannon is committed to educational equity and trying to foster stronger relationships between parents and educators to ensure all students have the ability to succeed. She is also the webpage manager for Decoding Dyslexia Rhode Island.
Kari Kurto-Vice-President/Education Outreach
Kari Kurto is the National Science of Reading Project Director at The Reading League. She formerly worked as a Literacy Specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education where she led statewide efforts to implement the Rhode Island Right to Read Act, legislation that requires teacher training in the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy. Kari is an Orton Gillingham practitioner who worked at Middlebridge School in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Rawson Saunders School in Austin, Texas. Before her career in education, Kari was a Casting Director in Los Angeles.
Lise Moloney-Vice-President/Director of Communications
Lise is an engineering consultant and the mother of a 7th grader with dyslexia. She is a researcher by training and dove right into the reading research to educate herself and others about dyslexia, special education laws and how best to teach our students with dyslexia. In addition to her responsibilities with Decoding Dyslexia RI, Lise is also on the board of the Newport County Regional Special Education Local Advisory Committee and the Middletown Prevention Coalition. She is passionate about educating others about dyslexia and advocating for systemic change so reading is no longer a privilege and all children learn to read through a free and appropriate public education.
Tori Jessup-Director of Policy and Public Outreach
Tori started with DDRI in 2015 and is currently a Special Education Advocate and Parent Coach. She is also the parent of two children with dyslexia and another child who is neurodivergent. She has over 15 years of experience in advocacy, including roles as Parent Group Leader for the East Providence Preschool of Special Needs Children, Member of the RI Legislative Dyslexia Commission, and Mentor and Secretary of the East Providence SELAC. She continues to work on dyslexia legislation (including the 2016 dyslexia law) and other special education policies within Rhode Island and federally. She has pursued many certifications and professional development opportunities relating to dyslexia, literacy, the science of reading, and ADHD. Tori is committed to her true passion of educating and empowering parents to advocate for their students and help special education children under DCYF care.
Jane Moran Treasurer
Jane began her advocacy a decade ago advocating for her children. She spent countless hours reading about federal and state regulations. In 2017 she completed a three-day boot camp training by Peter Wright. She continues to attend meetings and stays informed about the federal and state regulations.