Who We Are...
Julieann Ash, MS, BCET
Julieann Ash is a board-certified Educational Therapist who specializes in working with individuals with a variety of executive function and learning needs. She holds a Master’s of Science in Special Education from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Currently, she is the only professional level Educational Therapist in the state of Ohio.
Over the course of more than thirty years in the field of education, Julieann has worked with a wide range of individuals who struggle with issues such as learning disabilities, organizational and executive functioning needs, Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. She helps her clients to work through the process of identifying social, emotional and learning roadblocks so that they can better understand their personal learning style.
Julieann designs client-specific strategies, and then helps the client implement those strategies to improve performance. Mastery of these strategies generally leads to greater success and satisfaction in all areas of the client’s life. She is one of only two board-certified Educational Therapist in the state of Ohio.
Susy Adams, BA
Susan (Susy) Adams has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Organizational Communication. In addition, she holds certification from the University of Connecticut Post Secondary Training Institute for Disability Services with intense training in Autism.
Susy currently works at Columbus College of Art and Design as a Learning Support Specialist. With over 15 years of experience in education, Susy primarily works with students on time management, organizational skills and with students with documented cognitive, psychological, and physical disabilities.
Susy has been a long-term substitute and home tutor for Bexley City Schools, working with students in K-12. Classroom experiences includes teaching the gifted language arts program and working with identified students. Susy has worked extensively with students on executive function and has taught a Middle School Study Skills Class. Other educational experience includes working as a Test Coordinator and helping students with ACT and OGT testing strategies. Susy is passionate about working with students and feels every student has a desire to be successful.
Mary Ellen Cox, BS, MA, SLP
Mary Ellen Cox recently retired after 27 years teaching at the Ohio School for the Deaf. Prior to that, she worked in various other central Ohio school districts, and in a private Speech Therapy setting. She has broad experience with individuals from ages 3-22, and with students with speech, hearing and visual impairments. In addition to her classroom teaching, she has taught American Sign Language, and works interpreting for the deaf.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Ohio University and a Master degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland University.
Mary Ellen looks forward to helping her students acquire the skills and strategies they need to become successful in education and in life.
Catherine Donatelli, MSE
Catherine Donatelli has over 10 years of experience in education working as a Handicapped Aide and High School Counselor. She has experience in working with students and families ranging from elementary to high school levels; helping to guide them in curriculum, responsive services, individual planning and systems support.
Catherine has years of experience in assisting students who have unique needs, including those that might be experiencing barriers to academic success, and has helped her students to become successful learners. She has also worked with students to develop effective educational and career-planning skills, develop personal plans of study and provide seamless transition to postsecondary options.
Catherine graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in family relations and human development, working her way through college in school resource rooms helping children and families. Her Masters in School Counseling was earned from the University of Dayton, as well as her certification in Administration/Supervision. Currently, she is working on completing requirements to earn her professional level status as an Educational Therapist.
Donna Dykes, M.Ed, CALT
Donna Dykes is a certified Language Therapist, specializing in dyslexia. With a background in elementary education, and as the mother of a dyslexic child, she has a special interest in helping parents and students better understand the learning challenges and the gift of dyslexia. For the past three years, Donna has provided specialized therapy to dyslexic students and others with reading challenges.
Donna employs methods that evolved from the Orton-Gillingham-based method, a scientific, universally-successful, specific teaching approach that combines auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning modalities. These methods help to address alphabet instruction, rapid recognition of letters and sounds, spelling rules, reading accuracy, reading comprehension, grammar instruction, listening comprehension and cursive handwriting, among others.
Donna holds a Masters of Education in Dyslexia Therapy from Mississippi College, Clinton MS and additional degrees in Education and Psychology from Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD. Her CALT certification was earned through The Academic Language Therapy Association, the national body charged with certifying individuals working in various multisensory instruction methods.
Jodie Ferlito, BS
Jodi Ferlito graduated from The Ohio State University with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis on the Reggio Emilia approach of teaching and learning through project work and through the image of the whole child. She interned and applied these practices at The Schoenbaum Family Center, The Columbus School for Girls Program for Young Children, and Indianola Informal K-8. Upon graduating, she taught in Columbus City Schools, and later Olentangy Local Schools where she currently teaches third grade.
She is working towards a Masters in Reading Instruction and has completed coursework for her Reading Endorsement.
Jodi has implemented restorative practices and Trauma informed care in her classroom, teaching social and emotional skills, and forming strong relationships with students. She co-constructed an extended learning time program at her school in Columbus City Schools, worked as a member of the Building Leadership Team to create and implement an Ohio Improvement Plan, and was trained in Mindfulness for Educators.
Jodi has a strong passion for teaching, learning, and building relationships. Along with her drive to continue to learn and grow allows her to work together with students to foster their strengths to guide them to meet their maximum potential.
Amy Gray, M.A. Learning Specialist
Amy Gray has a Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education from Muskingum College and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Ashland University. She has also earned a Principal’s License for grades preK - 9 and certification to teach gifted students.
Amy has worked in education for 27 years in a variety of settings. She has taught all grades from kindergarten through sixth grade both in the regular classroom and gifted resource room. She has also provided services to gifted students in an inclusionary setting as well as a consultant to teachers. She was a Gifted Coordinator at Muskingum County Educational Service Center. Amy currently teaches gifted students at Gahanna-Jefferson Schools.
Amy loves working with both students and adults. She directs Camp Invention for students in Westerville and Gahanna each summer. She has led SENG Model Parent Support Groups and provided professional development about teaching gifted students. She has also presented at the Ohio Association for Gifted Children conference.
Michael Hollway, Ph.D.
Michael Hollway has extensive experience serving a diverse student population as a long-time teacher and coach in Central Ohio. The assessment of learning style preferences is the foundation of his student focused approach for developing strategies to accelerate learning. Mike integrates developmental theory, life-long learning skills and personal leadership development to increase personal effectiveness and academic performance.
Mike’s extensive classroom experience in higher education includes teaching Learning Strategies, Global Issues and Leadership Theory. In 2003 Mike was honored as the Ohio Wesleyan University Exemplary Teacher of the Year.
Upon completion of his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, Mike was certified to teach all subjects kindergarten through 8th grade, as well as Psychology and Physical Education at the high school level. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Leadership from The Ohio State University.
Matthew Holmes, M.A.
Matthew Holmes holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership with a K-12 administrative license from Ashland University. He earned his BA degree from Ohio Dominican University in Special Education, with a mild to moderate and moderate to intensive K-12 licensure.
Matthew has been teaching for Columbus City Schools in a school setting specializing in working with students with emotional and behavioral disorders. He is an adjunct instructor at Columbus State Community College within their Early Childhood Program. He has used differentiation and scaffolding to help students with different learning styles and content knowledge. His work with students focuses on building relationships and establishing rapport with the student to better address their educational needs. Matthew allows the students individual learning style to guide his instruction and approach.
Matthew hopes to use his past experiences and training to help students learn, grow, and improve on their previous successes.
Polly Long, MS, EdS. Learning Specialist
Polly Long is a licensed school psychologist who's passionate about helping children and adolescents identify, and then work to achieve, their academic, social-emotional, and or behavioral goals.
Polly is well versed in administering and interpreting cognitive, academic, social-emotional, and behavior assessments. Polly is skilled at working with children with disabilities, and understands the unique strengths and weaknesses they bring to the table. Much of her experience revolves around helping to select and deliver the interventions, accommodations and modifications needed to meet her student’s needs. Due to her knowledge of special education law, Polly is well qualified to advocate for families of children with disabilities. In addition, she has experience in administering and interpreting assessments, which allows her to educate and enable parents to better advocate for their students.
Polly earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Masters of Science in Education, and Educational Specialist Degree and License in School Psychology from the University of Dayton. She wrote her graduate level thesis on restorative justice practices, and has presented her work at both national and international conferences.tices, and has presented her work at both national and international conferences.
Geneva Lutz, Literacy Specialist
Geneva Lutz joined META in March of 2014. She is a licensed Special Education teacher with a Reading Endorsement. Geneva holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from the Ohio State University. She obtained Orton-Gillingham certification in May of 2013 after receiving training at the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Dublin, Ohio. She specializes in using multisensory techniques, relaxation techniques, games and digital media to work with students. She utilizes assessments to determine specific weaknesses in math skills, reading decoding and reading comprehension to work with students to help them achieve their potential.
Karrina Lynch, MA, Education Leadership, K-5
Karrina Lynch joins META specializing in Elementary Education K-5, with a BA from The University of Central Florida, and holding a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with a Principal’s License. Currently employed with Olentangy Local Schools, Karrina is obtaining her Gifted Endorsement through Ashland University while working with Intervention Specialists and Administrators on refining the Response to Intervention approach in her building.
Working with students has always been a passion of Karrina’s. She began her career early on in high school, working as an elementary after-school counselor and volunteering with some of her most inspiring teachers. While going to college, substitute teaching, and completing her internship for education in Florida, Karrina supervised an after-school program for grades kindergarten through grade 5. Being the Site Coordinator taught her how to facilitate a wide range of student activities, and communicate effectively with families. After graduation, Karrina taught 4th grade in Orlando, Florida for four years before returning to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio! She loves Columbus, the Buckeyes, and her Schnauzer, Brutus.
With Karrina’s background in education and leadership, she is equipped with strategies and methods to reinforce organizational, social and behavioral skills in learners of all ages.
Diane Nelson, Ba, M.Ed, Ph.D
Diane Nelson has over 30 years of experience in education; working in variety of areas ranging from teaching fifth and sixth grade to serving as Associate Dean and Chair of an Early Childhood Department. Her varied experiences include serving as a curriculum director in a large PK-12 school district, teaching adult Second Language Learners, organizing and mentoring pre-service teachers, and teaching undergraduate and graduate level education courses.
Diane graduated from Creighton University, with a BA in sociology and worked in a local hospital in Omaha, Nebraska as a medical social worker. Switching careers, she completed her Masters in Elementary Education from University of Northern Illinois in Dekalb, Illinois and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).
Currently, Diane is working with high school and college-aged students to develop personal plans of study and provide support utilizing technology.
Diane Paice, MA, Educational Therapist – Professional Level
Diane Paice is an professional-level Educational Therapist who specializes in reading. She has a Master’s Degree in Education Theory and Practice from The Ohio State University and holds a BS in Special Education and Early Childhood from Ohio University.
Diane has been employed in Franklin County in the field of education for 15 years. She holds current Ohio certification in learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and reading. She has experience working with preschoolers through adolescents. She has worked with students with organizational difficulties, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, high functioning autism and orthopedic disabilities.
Courtney Ross, Masters Education, Learning Specialist
Courtney Ross first joined META in the fall of 2011. After taking a leave in 2013 to pursue professional development opportunities, she returned to META in 2016. Courtney holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Literacy, in addition to a Reading Endorsement from Ashland University. She earned her BA in Psychology and Human Development from The Ohio State University.
Courtney began her career as a youth counselor, specializing in the effects of anxiety and depression on a student’s academic and social success. She also conducted social groups and worked with students on challenges impairing executive function. Following her career as a counselor, she pursued her teaching license and became a teacher for the Olentangy Local School District, where she has taught both elementary and middle grades for the past seven years.
Combining her experiences in both counseling and education has given Courtney a wealth of knowledge in the many barriers affecting a student’s academic and social success.
Angela Smith, BS, MA
Angela Smith has a Master of Arts in Reading from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science with a focus on Deaf Education from Kent State University. She has been working as a Deaf Education Intervention Specialist as the Ohio School for the Deaf for that past twelve years.
During her time at OSD she has held positions as a teacher in the elementary department, Reading Specialist, and most recently works as a high school English teacher and elementary reading interventionist.
In her career, she has often worked with students with a wide variety of learning strengths and challenges, and has always worked hard to help each student learn the strategies and tools that will allow them to bloom.
Donna T. Smith, MS, BCET,
Board Certified Educational Therapist
Donna Smith joined META in July, 2013. She earned a Literacy Specialist Endorsement from the consortium of seven Ohio Universities. Donna holds a Masters Degree in Education with a Reading Endorsement from the University of Dayton. She earned her BA degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro; and as of May, 2018, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist.
Donna is a licensed Reading Specialist employed by Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools and specializes in reading with training in Orton Gillingham and multisensory learning. She utilizes learning styles inventories to develop a student’s best learning/studying/teaching strategies.
Donna also uses various assessment tools to determine reading abilities and difficulties so learning can be built from the student’s strengths.
Mike Smith, BS, MAE, Content Matter Coach
Mike Smith specializes in middle and High School math and science. He holds a BS in Mathematics and a Master of Arts in Curriculum Development and Instruction from Otterbein College and is licensed in 7-12 Mathematics.
Mike has 21 years teaching experience working with diverse groups of students ranging from 6th to 10th grade in both math and science. He has worked with differentiated instruction in the classroom and helping students with different learning styles succeed. His work with students in the classroom and individual settings focuses on assisting the individual to understand how their unique learning styles impact their success in the areas of math and science. This allows Mike to work with the student to develop strategies to enhance their performance in these areas.
Over the years Mike has also had experience working with students as an instructor and coach for many academic competitions such as Science Olympiad, Invention Convention and Math Counts. Mike’s years of experience have reinforced the idea that every student can learn even difficult material when provide with the correct strategies and support.
Ann Spence, MA
Anne Spence retired after teaching 27 years in grades 3-6. During her career, Ann taught all core subjects, focusing the last 10 years on middle school language arts. She spent 5 of those years working with gifted students and 5 years working with intervention specialists helping children with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, various levels of Autism, and behavioral disabilities.
Since retiring, Ann has made it her goal to substitute teach every grade level (k-12) and to try to experience all facets of what schools have to offer. This has given her the opportunity to observe the many different teaching strategies being used in today's classrooms and to witness first hand, which strategies appear to be most effective.
Ann holds a Bachelor's degree in Education (grades k-8) from the University of Houston, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching & Learning from Nova Southeastern University. In joining META-OH, Ann hopes to apply her knowledge and experience to helping our student grow and learn.
Dr. Carol Strip Whitney, Educational Therapist – Professional
Dr. Carol Strip Whitney joined Midwest Educational Therapists in April, 2012 after a career as a gifted specialist, initiating and building the first gifted program for the Dublin City Schools and the Olentangy City School Districts. She developed the first highly gifted program in the State of Ohio, and continues to thrive on the development of executive skills with gifted individuals. She has been awarded Outstanding Educator of the Year for the State of Ohio in 1994 and 2006.
Winner of the Ashland’s Golden Apple Achiever Award, Carol has stayed in the limelight by conducting state and national conference presentations across the country. She and her husband, Richard, recently presented their research on the gifted brain at NAGC, the National Association for Gifted Children in New Orleans. Carol has been recognized by Richard Cordray and named Outstanding Mathematics Teacher by the Ohio council of Teachers of Mathematics. She made a film with a leading pediatrician on developmental levels of giftedness and has made many radio and television appearances.
Carol has taught cognition, learning styles and creativity at The Ohio State University. She has been published in The Instructor, Roeper Review, Gifted Child and Teacher and has been cited in numerous textbooks on gifted education. After a PhD dissertation in strategies for twice exceptional gifted students, she is excited to offer her executive skill knowledge and training at Midwest Educational Therapists.
Carol holds Bachelor and Master degrees from Western Michigan University, and earned her PhD at The Ohio State University. She is the author of two award-winning books: Helping Gifted Children Soar (2000; revised, 2011) and A Love for Learning – Motivation and the Gifted Child, (2006).
Bernadette Swart, BS, RN, Learning Specialist
Bernadette Swart is a licensed Intervention Specialist who specializes in students with developmental disabilities, the severely behavioral handicapped, attention challenges, medical issues, autism, and specific learning disabilities. Bernadette is also a licensed registered nurse.
Bernadette has experience working with students from preschool to college, in a variety of environments. She has worked in public schools, private schools, preschools, pediatric offices, her own private tutoring business, and has experience as an education advocate for families and students. Bernadette also schooled her four sons from home, until they entered college. Some of the areas in which she has additional experience are: helping students determine their future paths, ACT/SAT prep, math from preschool to college, building critical thinking and organization skills.