Board Members


For over three decades, Everyone Reading Illinois has endeavored to improve the lives of those struggling with dyslexia and related disabilities. Dedicated volunteers serve on our Executive Board & Board of Directors, bringing a wealth of background knowledge and passion for our mission. In addition to planning our conferences and workshops, Everyone Reading Illinois board members sponsor panel discussions about dyslexia, provide a simulation experience of what it feels like to learn differently, give presentations to community groups, provide professional development training to schools, maintain an extensive referral list of professional tutors and diagnosticians, advocate for legislative change, and plan the fundraising efforts needed to support these efforts.

Executive Board


Danielle Baran, President

Danielle has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is the Associate Director of the Office of Applied Psychological Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She has presented at several of our past conferences.


Jessica Douglas, Co-president elect

Jessica has served on the board for 6 years and is currently chair of the fall conference committee. She holds an MS in Educational Psychology, an Ed.S. in School Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Human Learning and Development. She worked as a school psychologist in a suburban school district for 7 years and has been in private practice for over 5 years.


Sharon Kacmarcik, Co-President Elect

Sharon has been on the board for 6 years, serving on the legislative and conference committees.  She has been an attorney in private practice for over 20 years and holds a BS in Finance.  She has advocated for 10 years for children with special needs and learning disabilities in the western suburbs through the Resource Association in Special Education (RAiSE) and the Dyslexia Parent Group.


Kathy elsesser, Vice-President

Kathy has an M.S. in Learning Disabilities and is retired from CUSD 200 where she was an elementary resource teacher. She has a national perspective on reading issues, having previously taught special education in Connecticut and New York. Kathy is an adult with dyslexia and also has a daughter with dyslexia.


CatherinE Strubing, Treasurer

Catherine is a trained Orton-Gillingham Tutor at Children’s Dyslexia Center of Metropolitan Chicago, IMSLEC certified and an ALTA Certified Academic Language Practitioner. She has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.


Debra Landay, Secretary

Debra has a Master’s in Education and has completed all but her dissertation as a doctoral student in Literacy, Language and Culture at University of Illinois-Chicago. She has been a literacy tutor specializing in multi-sensory instruction since 1997.


Board of Directors

Casey Crnich has a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Northern Illinois University, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from DePaul University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. As Executive Director of Hyde Park Day School, he has attended and exhibited at the ERI conference for many years and is a strong supporter of the educational outreach ERI performs in support of students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities.

Mina Caputo has a Master of Education degree and a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 Endorsement. She is a special education teacher providing tutoring in remedial math, reading, and writing instruction to K-12 students in a private setting. She is also an elementary special education teacher in a suburban school district and consults on psychoeducational evaluations.

Laura Harty has been on the ERI Board since 2013. She holds an MBA, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and was a special education teacher in the Chicago Public Schools.

Heather Johnson is the parent of a child with dyslexia, and learned first hand the process of advocating for appropriate services. She has also met with legislators in Springfield regarding the importance of early identification and structured literacy in schools.

Ellen Meyer is a trained Orton-Gillingham tutor and a parent of a child with dyslexia. She has experience working with Capitol Hill and the Illinois State Senate.

Eileen Norton has been on the ERI board since 2013, was Co-President from 2015-2017, and has served on the legislative, professional development and conference committees. She has a doctorate from Loyola University Chicago in Clinical Psychology, works as a private tutor, and has advocated for children with special needs and learning disabilities in the western suburbs through the Resource Association in Special Education (RAiSE).

Kweku Obed, CFA, CAIA,  is a Managing Partner and investment consultant with Marquette Associates, Inc. He is the author of The Stranded Fish: Decision-Making Through the Lens of a Fiduciary, and is an advocate for education and educational initiatives. He is the parent of a child with dyslexia.

Joan Panopoulos is a parent of two children with dyslexia. She is an Educational Therapist, Certified Local LETRS Trainer, and Certified Wilson Instructor with additional training/certification in several OG-based and multi-sensory reading and math programs. She is also a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Illinois, a member of Illinois State Board of Education’s Reading Instruction Advisory Group and a member of ISBE’s work group rewriting coursework and requirements for Reading Specialist/Teacher.

Carolina Schoenbeck has been in the field of special education for over 15 years and earned her Learning Behavior Specialist and bachelor degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. She also holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership.  She is currently employed as a Special Education Administrator at a west suburban high school and is the founder of the Options Fair, a transition fair for high school students and their families.

Esther Tarkieltaub holds a Masters Degree in Special Education. She is a Certified Wilson Instructor and has additional training in Orton Gillingham. She is presently in private practice.