IDA Oregon ♦ Advisory Council


Anita L. Archer, PH.D.

Anita L. Archer, PhD, is an educational consultant to school districts on explicit instruction, the design and delivery of instruction, behavior management, and literacy instruction. She has taught elementary and middle school students and is the recipient of 10 awards honoring her excellence in teaching and contributions to the field of education. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Oregon in Eugene. She is nationally known for her professional development activities, having presented in every state over the course of her 40-year career. Dr. Archer is coauthor, with Dr. Mary Gleason, of numerous curriculum materials addressing reading, writing, and study skills.  Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Anita’s primary home is in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys entertaining friends, attending symphony and opera performances, and practicing her cello (She is a beginner.) 

Dalia Avello

Dalia Avello Psy.M., MA, IMH-E (She/Her/Ella) is a Professor of Practice at Trauma Informed Oregon with a focus on mental health promotion and prevention practices within systems. She trained as a Psychologist, has a MA in Education and International Development from University College of London, an AMI Montessori teaching diploma, and the Infant Mental Health Endorsement at the Mentor Level. Dalia has worked for over 15 years in private, public, and non-profit organizations in the areas of research and organizational development. She has dedicated the last 10 years of her career to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, with special focus on adversity, policy and implementation. In addition to her work with teams across the globe, she has led projects in Oregon in the areas of advocacy, professional development, inclusion and social justice. Dalia spends her free time reading, knitting, and volunteering as a NICU baby cuddler in a local pediatric hospital.

Jared Blank – past Vice-President

In January 2018 I ran the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days) to raise awareness and $50,000 for the International Dyslexia Foundation. Why? Because at the age of five, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Sensory Processing Disorder, and with the support of my incredible family and community, I beat the odds.  I graduated from USC and then went on to earn two Masters degrees.  I kept this part of my life secret for a very long time, afraid that the stigma of a Learning Challenge would alter how people saw me and the opportunities that I’d have.  Now, I’m sharing my story and your support means the world to me; dyslexia is not a limiting factor, it’s a superpower.  For more information, let’s talk!

Dr. Irvin M Brown

Irvin was born and raised in the Pelican State of Louisiana. He is one of 7 siblings. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy. After serving aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans, LPH-11in San Diego, California, he was reassigned to the beautiful Pacific Northwest at Naval Station Everett, Washington. There, he served alongside the Judge Advocate General as a paralegal (NCO/E5Aviation Warfare Specialist) until he earned an honorable discharge to pursue the field of education.

With encouragement from family and friends, he took a teaching position in Oregon. While teaching, he decided to advance his education by completing an M.Ed. at Lewis & Clark College. Continuing his passion to serve, he mentors students within K12 and colleges, works with non-profit businesses (i.e., HOLLA, NAACP, Human Rights Commission, Younglife),volunteers with community organizations and boards, and campaigns for local political offices. Unwavering in the call of equity and leading the next generation, he served students, staff, and families as an assistant principal and policy advising for a state agency. He is excited to partner with teams, firms, and agencies to bring organizational change for marginalized populations and creating safe, inclusive learning cultures for all employees and student learners. As the first African American to earn a doctorate from the University of Portland, I believe my research on examining the intersectionality of race, microaggressions, and resiliency for students of Color places me uniquely qualified to give voice to those students and families who struggle with dyslexia and other learning differences.

We all are aware of the ongoing unrest and uprising in our country – including right herein the City of Roses. The curtain has been pulled back and we now see with greater clarity the impact of historical, structural, and systemic forms of racism. That impact – especially within the Black community – is clearly understood with feelings of hurt, pain, justified anger, and rage. I firmly believe we are compelled as a community that recognizes this movement and calls us towards a collective response of solidarity and to do better. As a disabled-Veteran and someone with a learning difference, I believe we are better together. Because true growth only occurs through struggle, empathy, and intentionality. Authentic transformation begins on the inside first. What I know for sure is that we will be better and stronger together if we unify as one and create space at the table for all voices.

Julie Esparza Brown, EdD

Dr. Julie Esparza Brown is a professor in the Department of Special Education at Portland State University.  Her research interests focus broadly on the intersection of bilingual and special education. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of a four-year model demonstration grant through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Programs to investigate culturally and linguistically responsive literacy interventions with an MTSS framework for English learner students at-risk for or with disabilities. She has also been principal investigator on three federal personnel preparation grants to prepare bilingual teachers in general and special education.  Dr. Brown recently completed a four-year term as a school board member of the largest district in Oregon. She regularly consults locally and nationally on equity, distinguishing between language difference and disability for English learner students and culturally and linguistically responsive multi-tiered systems of support. Her current co-authored book, Supporting English Learners in the Classroom: Distinguishing Language Acquisition from Learning Disabilities (Haas & Brown, 2019) is available through Teachers College Press. 

Christy Perel Coss

I am a dyslexic, a mother of a child with dyslexia and another child who “hates” math, and a practicing pediatrician.  I homeschooled my kids for 7 years which I really enjoyed.  I am lucky that we found a wonderful tutor to help my son and that we were able to provide the assistance he needs.  However, dyslexia doesn’t only affect those with resources.  ALL children have the right to learn to read, write and do math.  These basic skills open doors for children to have successful and fulfilling lives.  We have a responsibility to teach kids how they learn.

Pete Denman

Pete Denman is a past Director and currently Senior User Experience, User interface, Graphic Design researcher developing exploratory prototypes in “Labs” at Intel Corp, where he guides ideas through the design process, working with developers, engineers, and ethnographic researchers to create future technologies. Skilled at Design Research, Interaction Design, Visual Design and known for his work in the health field as well as for his innovative data-visualization techniques. Pete has a passion for connecting the areas of disabilities and learning/education with technology.  Pete holds 6 patents, has written numerous technical papers, has spoken around the world on topics including disabilities, dyslexia, interaction / user experience design, he has been featured in books and movies and has been awarded for his work. He is best known for his work he did with Stephen Hawking.

Elizabeth Dove

Elizabeth (Liz) Dove is a native Portlander, growing up in East County. Liz has a degree in Political Science, with a focus on minority studies, from Portland State University. For the past nineteen years, Liz has worked for a variety of children’s nonprofits in Oregon raising funds and awareness. She joined Park Academy in 2015 and is inspired by the school’s impact on the lives of Park Academy students and their families.  Liz strongly believes that reading is a civil right and is passionate that everyone should have access to an education that meets their needs. Liz believes that everyone can make a difference in their community. She enjoys helping individuals and organizations discover how their time, talent and treasures can impact others. Liz lives in Washington County with her wife, their son Martin, and their furry son Benny. She loves to read, cook and visit the Oregon Coast. Liz is a season ticket holder for the Portland Thorns and enjoys cheering on the US Women’s National Soccer Team. 

Rabbi Tzvi Fischer  

Rabbi Tzvi Fischer has been teaching the Multi-Sensory קריאה כתיבה course for a decade and lectures on educational topics and reading techniques.  The Multi-Sensory קריאה כתיבה course is a research based training for educators who want to ensure that each and every student can learn to read and write Hebrew.  His research on the latest methods for Hebrew reading and Dyslexia research constantly add to the course. Rabbi Fischer is currently at the prestigious Yeshiva Beth Yehuda, Michigan. YBY is a model Jewish Day School with over 1200 students

Jon Potter

Jon Potter is currently an RTI Implementation Coach with the Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention Project (ORTIi). He previously served as a school psychologist and RTI coach with the Heartland Area Education Agency (AEA) in Iowa, supporting school districts in developing and implementing intervention plans for individual students with a high level of need, as well as building academic and behavior systems to support all students. In his current role, he has worked with dozens of Oregon school districts to help develop and sustain multi-tiered systems aimed at improving reading outcomes for each and every student. His interests include data-based problem-solving, developing positive school cultures that can sustain systems change, and evidence-based instructional practices based in the Science of Reading.

Todd “Hammer” Semmes

Todd “Hammer” Semmes has worked in safety and stunt rigging, production management, and assistant directing on countless productions for over 20 years. From his extensive background in the film industry, Hammer easily transitioned into his current career as co-owner and operator of Spydercam.  Growing up dyslexic led Hammer to the creation of Spydercam. His abilities to “think outside the box” and on different spatial levels, makes him an essential part of such productions as Game of Thrones (Season 7 and 8), Dumbo, Mission Impossible Fallout, and over 90 other features!  Hammer credits the way his brain works for these unique talents. Hammer will share his educational story and how he became an entrepreneur in the film industry (not to mention the winner of both an Oscar and Emmy).  Hammer has worked on many well-known movie & TV productions including, Game of Thrones, Spiderman, Avengers, Mission Impossible, Life of Pi, Jurassic World, etc






For more information on IDA Oregon Branch…please email:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email