COLUMN = EDUCATION
Dr. Jane Snider received her BA, MA, and, in 1978, her EdD in special education, from The George Washington University, and she began her career as a special education classroom teacher. Since then, she has become a pioneer in the field of educating children with certain learning disabilities.
After personally observing and working with thousands of children who were not performing in their various school environments, she discovered that many students have differing learning patterns. Frustrated and lacking self-esteem, these children, often labeled as learning disabled, were crying out for help.
They had trouble reading, writing, or breaking big tasks into smaller steps. Yet Dr. Snider knew they could learn with a different learning environment and teaching strategy. In her view, the children were not learning disabled; they merely learned differently.
Following classroom teaching, Dr. Snider became an assistant professor of special education at The George Washington University. After three years, she opened a diagnostic and tutorial center in Annapolis, serving hundreds of children from public, private, and religious schools. She had a staff of tutors and consulted with boarding schools throughout the East Coast that serve students with learning challenges. The center served children and families from 1982 to 1989.
When Dr. Snider realized that few area schools could cater to dyslexic children, she envisioned creating a school environment in which children would be educated according to their individual learning styles and needs. Thus was born The Summit School, grades 1 through 8, with an academic program tailored to each child’s specific learning needs.
About Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy
Dr. Mele-McCarthy brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Summit. She earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Arts degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. She has worked in a variety of settings throughout her many years of service to children and families and has accrued many areas of expertise and experience that serve our students, our families, and our school well.
Her clinical competency and supervision experience includes serving as a university professor and clinical supervisor at several universities. She understands the educational needs of children and supervises and teaches staff to ensure they provide for those needs.
She has extensive knowledge of research-based theoretical concepts and has developed course content at the university level based on the research. She has trained teachers across the country, has presented at numerous professional conferences at the national and local levels, has contributed to peer-reviewed publications, and has developed national research agendas for English language learners and children with learning disabilities.
In addition, Dr. Mele-McCarthy has owned and directed a thriving private practice for 16 years—Communication & Learning Therapies, Inc. Having served children and families in the private sector, she notes, “I understand the child-family-school connection and the accountability Summit has to all of its families.”
Just prior to taking this position, Dr. Mele-McCarthy served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the US Department of Education, Washington, DC, an appointed position in the Bush administration. She has a national perspective on general education and special education as a result of her policy work on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Her philosophy of education holds as a priority, high expectations for all children.
Dr. Mele-McCarthy served on the Board of Trustees for the International Dyslexia Association as well as the Government Relations and Public Policy Board within the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Be on the lookout for future articles in our Education column by Snider and Mele-McCarthy in upcoming issues of Be Inkadescent magazine.
For more information, visit www.thesummitschool.org.