Our Staff

What makes us unique? 

ALL faculty have completed explicit coursework and/or hold certifications related to dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia.

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).  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 27 years and her 5 sons  (3 of whom are dyslexic).

Jen McNairy


In addition to a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Jennifer has completed over 250 hours in Making Math Real coursework and has been a classroom practitioner of the MMR methodology for over 5 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.

Julie Starbird


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 is currently enrolled in the Wilson Reading System Certification program.  Julie is on track to receive the professional credential of Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner in Fall of this year. She is excited to be a part of READ Academy!

JoAnne Kienle


JoAnne is a certified Wilson 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. 

Lori Bassham


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 first hand 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 5 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


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.

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 will be utilizing 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.

Aisha Aranda


In addition to many years experience as a mom to dyslexic children, Aisha has been a school educator for dyslexic students for the past 5 years.  Aisha is a passionate and talented teacher bringing her skills and knowledge to inspire students in Social Studies, Science/STEM, writing and tutoring.  Aisha received her education from Rudolf Steiner College and is a certified Barton Reading and Spelling System tutor.  She was successful in creating and implementing a Social Studies curriculum incorporating critical writing instruction for students with dyslexia. Aisha believes teaching requires honesty and patience in order to meet the need of each child no matter where they are in their educational journey.

Lori Sloan


Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies.  Following sixteen years of homeschooling her children, Lori went on to become a classroom teacher in a private school setting. Lori enjoys teaching in a multi-age classroom where she can focus on each of her student’s strengths. She inspires her students to work hard and find joy in learning. She helps them develop their critical thinking skills by asking questions and encouraging thoughtful communication. Lori is a passionate, dedicated teacher who builds student's confidence and helps them achieve their academic goals.  

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 helps students reach their fullest potential through compassion, empathy and a teaching style that is tailored to every student’s needs. 

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.

Shelley Russ


Shelley has over 15 years 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.  

Emily Luckman


Emily  is our Admin & Bookkeeping Specialist   She has gained her knowledge and experience working in various programs including, mentoring foster youth through the Placer County Office of education, providing classroom instruction for preschool children, and being the Site Supervisor of a large licensed childcare facility for many years. Emily understands how children grow and learn, as well as the business side of keeping a program with children running efficiently.  Emily holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work/Human Development from CSU Sacramento. 

 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.