Advisory Council

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Advisory Council

Melissa Behrens-Blake, Albuquerque did her undergraduate work in psychology prior to completing a Master’s degree in speech/language pathology under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Porch.  She established a diagnostic unit at the University of New Mexico for university students in the area of learning disabilities and focused on this age group for ten years.  In 1997 she transferred to the UNM Psychology Clinic where she has continued diagnostic work with all age groups.  She has worked with interns from UNM’s Educational Diagnostic Program and works closely with doctoral candidates in neuropsychology who are interested in the evaluation process.  Advisement area: testing and diagnosis


Jenny Coffey, Farmington, was born and educated in England with a career in nursing, and has lived in Farmington, NM since 1982. She has been a Certified Academic Language Therapist for over 25 years, and is Qualified Instructor for the Multisensory Language Training Institute of New Mexico (MLTI of NM). A member of IDA since 1985, Jenny retired as a board member of SWIDA after 13 years.  Advisement area: SWIDA history, expertise in dyslexia therapy.


Douglas Cox, Albuquerque, recently retired and is an experienced Certified Public Accountant.  He has served on several boards (ARCA, NMACI, NMSCPA) as a committee chair as well as a treasurer.  He is currently serving on the Budget Committee. Advisement area: Financial planning and accounting.


Carolee Dean, Denver, CO, (Immediate Past-President), is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked with students of all age groups, Carolee is an award-winning (IRA and YALSA) young adult author. Her third novel, FORGET ME NOT, explores cyber bullying and suicide and was released this past fall.  She served as the branch NEWSwida editor prior to assuming the Presidency when Cathleen Tomlinson had to step down due to health problems. Carolee served as President of SWIDA for three years prior to moving to Denver. Advisement area: experience as past-president, networking, TeamQuest. 


Sandra Dillon, Albuquerque, is the key founding member of SWIDA (formerly the NM Branch of the Orton Dyslexia Society). Sandra is the founder and director of the Multisensory Language Training Institute of NM, and a current Board Member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). She has served as a branch president.  Advisement area: SWIDA history, Professional Ethics, national guidelines, expertise in the area of dyslexia and dyslexia therapy.


Tamara (r) shown here with Sue Fitzmaurice (l) and Martha Steger (center).

Tamara Ogilvie, Silver City, is the Lead Instructor for and a co-founder of The Learning Center for Dyslexia and Academic Success, a 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization that serves Grant County.   Tamara also serves as an adjunct faculty instructor for Western New Mexico University, teaching in the areas of Reading, Special Education, and Early Childhood Education.  She was recently licensed as an educational diagnostician.  Tamara is passionate about helping people with dyslexia and has experience working with them as a mother, employer, teacher, and therapy provider. Advisement area: teacher pre-service training and legislation.


Glenda Rodriguez, Las Cruces, is the Executive Special Education Director for the Las Cruces Public Schools. During her span of 37 years, she has served as an elementary, secondary, and special education teacher, educational diagnostician, and special education coordinator. Glenda has also served on the New Mexico School for the Deaf Task Force, and has received several state grants to support children with Autism. Advisement Topics: District policy and strategic planning, educational leadership, testing and diagnosis, etc.


Dr. Steven Sánchez, Belen, NM, was a classroom teacher for 23 years, before becoming an administrator.  He recently retired as the Deputy Superintendent for the Las Cruces Public Schools.  Dr. Sánchez serves on the NMSU Board of Advocates for the College of Education and the NM North Central Associations Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.  As a Board Member, he helped facilitate the passage of SB 398 and HB 230 is support of students with dyslexia. ,  Advisement area: District policy and strategic planning, expertise in educational leadership. 


Megan Shanley, Albuquerque,  is an Occupational Therapist and RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Practitioner who graduated from Indiana University’s Occupational Therapy Program in 1998 and now works for the Universal Design for Learning team for Albuquerque Public Schools and Southwest Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health.  Megan is experienced in Assistive Technology evaluations and treatment for individuals with disabilities.  Dyslexic herself, and a self-professed “geek,” Megan uses Assistive Technology herself.  She has a unique understanding of the power and challenges of integrating AT into everyday life. Advisement area: Assistive Technology, website design and management.


Martha Steger, Taos, is a Certified Academic Language Therapist with a Speech/Language background.  She taught for both Taos Municipal Schools and Peñasco Schools until retiring in 2015.  Martha continues to maintain a private therapy practice as well as being a contract CALT for Vista Grande High School in Taos.  Martha served as President of SWIDA from 2007-2009, and then later chaired several annual conferences.  Until retiring from the Board this year, she served as Recording Secretary.  Advisement topics: SWIDA history, expertise as a dyslexia therapist. 


NM Senator Mimi Stewart, Albuquerque, retired from 30 years of teaching in the public schools in elementary special education, Mimi has been a State Representative in the NM House of Representatives and is now a State Senator. In her teaching and legislative careers, she has promoted teaching reading according to research and science. Mimi sponsored the Dyslexia Memorial in 2000, HB 230 Dyslexia bill in 2010, and SB 398 in 2019. She continues to work on behalf of at-risk readers because there is still “much work to do.”  Advisement area: related legislation and political issues related to dyslexia. 

SWIDA President Claudia Gutierrez with Dr. Maryanne Wolf and Senator Mimi Stewart (right).




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