Executive Management Team
Sonja Banks, Chief Executive Officer
Sonja has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit administration with a diverse background in organizational leadership, capacity building and human relations. She is coming to us from a Senior Advisor position at the National Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. (SCDAA) serving as an expert and liaison in community relations, program development and strategic relationship management. She has also been the Principal Investigator for the organization’s $17.4 million Newborn Screening Program overseeing fiscal & contractual management, outreach development, as well as a 15-state capacity building project.
Newton Guerin, Chief Operating Officer
Newton has served as the International Dyslexia Association’s Chief Operating Officer since February, 2015 and has been instrumental in unifying the Association’s nationwide operations and brand enhancement. Newton brings over 37 years of leadership experience with senior management positions in four of the nation’s leading voluntary health agencies.
David Holste, Chief Financial Officer
David joined IDA as Chief Financial Officer in February 2013. He is responsible for the finance and operations of the organization, which include accounting, audit, human resources, payroll, facilities/operations and compliance. As CFO, he has implemented a new accounting system with hosted services, making IDA one of the top 1% of companies to use this technology. He proactively works with auditors to ensure IDA is consistently up to date with regulations and code, as well as work with IDA’s Board and Committees to ensure IDA is financially healthy and growing. David has over 20 years of extensive experience in finance and operations. His past experience includes work in corporate, government, and non-profit sectors.
Dr. Jule McCombes-Tolis, Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Jule McCombes-Tolis joined IDA as the Chief Academic Officer in July 2017, and brings to IDA a background as an experienced classroom educator certified in special education and remedial reading, which she taught at the University level for sixteen years. Jule is an Independent Education Evaluator specializing in the identification and remediation of reading disabilities including dyslexia, and has been involved in developing state legislation regarding education preparation around dyslexia. She has also served on statewide panels that develop policy concerning dyslexia, learning disabilities, and general education response to intervention models. Dr. McCombes-Tolis’ overall responsibilities include the successful implementation and management of IDA’s Educator Training Initiative (ETI), which includes, but is not limited the accreditation of university preservice teacher preparation programs and independent school accreditation.
Dr. Monica McHale-Small, Director, Program Accreditation
Dr. Monica McHale-Small joined IDA as Director of Program Administration in December 2018. Dr. McHale-Small holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania and has recently retired from public education after twenty-seven years of service in Pennsylvania, most recently in the role of Superintendent. Dr. McHale-Small is deeply committed to promoting evidence-based language and literacy practices across the P-20 continuum. Her responsibilities include developing training resources and infrastructures to support the launch of IDA’s refined Program Review and Accreditation initiative, and ultimately, to support IDA’s accreditation outreach and expansion initiatives.
Stacy Friedman, Accounting Manager
Stacy joined IDA in 2012 and now serves as IDA’s Accounting Manager. Her primary responsibilities include all aspects of accounting, working across departments on budgets and forecasting, as well as assisting the CFO with the annual audit and compliance with State and Federal agencies. Alongside the CFO, Stacy is working on reducing expenditures and maximizing revenues. Stacy holds over 30 years of experience in bookkeeping and accounting.
Dana Nwoye, Human Resources/Office Manager
Dana joined IDA as Bookkeeper/Human Resources in March of 2016. In the fall of 2017, she moved to the role of IDA Office and Human Resources Manager, which includes maintaining office services, payroll and benefits management, as well as employee on-boarding and off-boarding. Working collaboratively with the CFO, Dana ensures compliance with local, state and federal labor regulations, in addition to implementation of necessary updates to office and personnel policies and procedures. Dana brings 10 years of extensive payroll, benefits and human resources experience to IDA, gained through both non-profit and public sectors.
Emily Whitehouse, Bookkeeper
Emily joined IDA in September of 2017 as a Bookkeeper. Her role includes accounts receivable and cash receipts, including credit card and check deposit reconciliations, as well as assisting the Accounting Manager with all other aspects of accounting work.
Cyndi Powers, Director, Conference
Cyndi joined IDA in 2012 as the office Administrative Assistant and for the past 3 years, she has gained experience managing the IDA publication sales, assisting the Director of Professional Services and supporting development initiatives, which shifted her position to Manager of Special Projects. Recently, Cyndi moved into the role of Director of Conference, which she is responsible for the Annual Reading, Literacy, and Learning Conference which includes program content management, logistics, marketing, publications, and finances. In addition to conference and events, she is responsible for sponsorship and advertising.
Lauren Klinedinst, Conference Manager
Lauren joined IDA in 2010 as an intern in the Conference Department while finishing her degree in Mass Communications at Towson University. Upon graduation, Lauren came on staff full time to provide support for all IDA events, public relations, and the bookstore. Lauren’s current focus is the conference, which includes handling conference registration, exhibitors, and hotel relations.
Kara Schoenberg, Conference Coordinator
Kara joined the IDA team in 2018 as the Conference Coordinator. Her event planning experience allows her to make a significant contribution to the logistics, marketing, communications, and partnership development activities surrounding our Annual Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference. Kara previously worked at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, where she fine-tuned her event planning skills.
Paul Ellis, Donor Development
Paul comes to IDA with 25 years of experience in development and fundraising. The previous four years were with schools for children with Dyslexia and other learning differences. He is tasked with managing the growth of the IDA membership and leading efforts to identify cultivate and solicit individual and corporate donors as well as foundation grants. He is working in partnership with management to help define, develop and implement key donor development strategies around IDA’s priority programs. He is responsible for facilitating the donor development engagement process from acquisition and retention to ongoing stewardship and relationship building. Paul holds a BA in Psychology and a Fundraising Management Specialist Certification.
Educator Training Initiatives
Sue Timony-Hall, Coordinator, Educator Training Initiatives
Sue joined IDA as Coordinator of Educator Training Initiatives in November of 2018. Sue’s interest in literacy, which began while volunteering with children experiencing homelessness in 2008 in New Haven, CT., led her to course work in Orton-Gillingham and practicum experience with both underprivileged and private school students in CT. In recent years, Sue has served as an authorized minister of children and youth with the United Church of Christ. Sue will be working to support ETI, including the accreditation initiative, by assisting with the establishment and coordination of a range of advisory and working groups, developing pathways for branch collaborations, and expanding the voice of parents.
Anna Reuter, Director, Partner Assurance
Anna joined IDA in January 2009 as the Director of Partner Assurance. Her primary responsibilities are providing support to IDA Branch affiliates across the U.S. and Canada, overseeing the growth and expansion of the IDA Global Partners network, managing the process for nationwide implementation of IDA’s Destiny Initiatives, and the development and implementation of trainings and toolkits to support IDA volunteer leadership. Prior to joining IDA, Anna served as the Assistant Regional Vice President of Marketing & Communication and Interim Vice President of Program Services for the Maryland Lung Association. She also served as Program Coordinator for the office of Minority Achievement and Intervention Services for Carroll County Public Schools. Anna has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
Media and Communications
Denise Douce, Director, Media/Communications
Denise joined IDA as Director of Media and Communications in 2015. Prior to joining IDA, she provided writing and editorial services as a consultant to businesses, nonprofits, including IDA, and professionals in education, technology, medicine, and law. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, Denise provides leadership, vision, strategic direction, and oversight for all aspects of IDA’s media and communications.
Megan Friedman, Media/Communications Coordinator
Megan has worked with IDA since 2012 and was hired in 2015 as the Media/Communications Coordinator. She manages the IDA bookstore and provides support, creative input, and logistics for IDA’s media, communications, and social networks. Megan previously worked at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health where she learned communication and outreach skills that she brought to IDA.
Helen Germanakos, Membership Coordinator
Helen joined IDA as a Membership Coordinator in August 2017. She is responsible for data entry, renewals, and acknowledgements. Her past experience includes work in customer service, gift processing, and event planning.
Aimee So, Membership Coordinator
Aimee joined IDA in September 2015 as a volunteer, assisting the Director of Special Projects in the Conference Department. In November of 2015, she was hired as the Conference & Meetings Coordinator, assisting the Conference and Publications departments, and performing some of the administrative tasks for the bi-annual Board and Executive meetings. In April of 2017, she transitioned into the Membership department as a Membership coordinator, handling data entry and processing memberships, providing assistance with membership questions from constituents, and assisting with administrative tasks pertaining to the Membership department.