Language and Literacy Workshop Faculty

Biographies for the Language and Literacy Workshop instructors

Kimberly A. Andrews, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Speech Language Pathologist and the Project Coordinator for Project EAR (Enrichment through Auditory-Oral Resources) which offers support services to children in Eastern NC with cochlear implants and the professionals who serve them. In her 10 years at Pitt County Memorial Hospital she served on the Cochlear Implant Team of Eastern Carolina and worked with children and adults with a variety of impairments. Kimberly received her Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and her Master’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Texas Woman’s University.

Christina Armfield, M.S., CCC-SLP completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Western Carolina University in the area of Communication Science and Disorders. She currently provides Auditory-Verbal therapy for students in the Alamance Burlington School System and is the lead specialist for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program for the county.

Andrea Blackwood, MA is the technical assistance coordinator for the Teacher Support Program for Learners with Deaf-Blindness at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Andrea provides technical assistance to school/program teams working with learners with deaf/blindness throughout the state of North Carolina.

Andrea began her career as a teacher for students identified with Autism at Gregory Elementary School, Wilmington, North Carolina. As a classroom teacher she was responsible for utilizing total communication techniques and teaching vocational and functional educational skills with Autistic youths.

Andrea taught students with Intellectual Disabilities (Moderate) at New Hanover High School, Wilmington, North Carolina, achieving career status tenure from the New Hanover County School System. She was responsible for utilizing total communication techniques and teaching vocational and functional academics for students with Intellectual Disabilities.

In August 1988 Andrea attended Barton College, Wilson North Carolina where she received her North Carolina teaching certificate for Education of the Hearing Impaired.

During August of 1988, Andrea relocated to Jacksonville, North Carolina where she taught Intellectual Disabled youths at Jacksonville High School. While at Jacksonville High School Andrea was responsible for teaching Biology and English subject areas.

Andrea gave birth to a son, Lee in January of 1990. Her son was born with a genetic syndrome, which affected his physical and cognitive abilities significantly.  It was as “Lee’s” mom that Andrea ‘s philosophy of teaching was forever changed. Her student-centered philosophy of teaching embraces the belief that all children can learn and participate in education no matter their physical and cognitive limitations.

After the loss of her son in December 2001, Andrea returned to East Carolina University where she received her Master of Arts in Special Education, and a graduate certificate in Assistive Technology, during May 2005.

Andrea and her family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in July 2005, and she began working for the Wake County Public School System.  She worked at Fuquay-Varina High School as the curriculum assistance teacher for students with learning disabilities and for students following the occupational course of study.

In Spring 2006, Andrea transitioned to Special Education Services within the Wake County Public School system as an itinerant teacher for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Services. Her students were identified as deaf or hard of hearing with multiple disabilities to include Autism and deaf/blindness. She was responsible for implementing goals that focus on communication and language development in addition to goals related to the Extended Content Standards.

Andrea joined the College of Education at East Carolina University in January, 2014 as the Technical Assistant Coordinator for the Teacher Support Program for Learners with Deaf-Blindness.

Andrea possesses two additional teaching certifications. The North Carolina Standard Professional: Special Education, Adapted Curriculum - June 9, 2007; and, the North Carolina Standard Professional: Visually Impaired, Grades K-12 - July 21, 2012.

Emily Brewer, MS, CCC-SLP has been professionally working with children who have hearing loss since 2008. She has completed internships at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear hospital in Melbourne, Australia, the CASTLE program in Chapel Hill, NC and the River School in Washington, DC. Emily is currently a speech-language pathologist with Pitt County Schools and primarily works with their hearing impaired population. She received her Master's degree from East Carolina University and a post graduate certificate through the First YEARS Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Additionally, Emily is in pursuit of becoming a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist/Certified Auditory-Verbal Educator.

Becky Burris Taylor, M.M.Sc., NBCT, has been a Teacher of the Deaf /Hard of Hearing in Lincoln County Schools working with preschool and elementary age children and families since 1989. She received a BA degree in Religion and Elementary Education from Meredith College and received a Master of Medical Science degree in Education of the Deaf from Emory University. She has worked for over 30 years in various capacities as a preschool teacher at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, preschool supervisor at AASD, and early intervention educator. She has worked with children and families using Auditory-Verbal, Auditory-Oral and Simultaneous Communication approaches.

Victoria Davis, M.A., CCC-SLP received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995 and her Master of Arts in Communicative Sciences and Disorder from Hampton University in 1997. She has been practicing speech and language pathology since receiving her CCCs in 1998, with service delivery in a variety of settings to include early intervention, home health, skilled nursing, acute care and a variety of school based settings. Victoria is presently with the Alamance Burlington school system providing speech and language therapy to middle school age students, as well as auditory verbal therapy.

Patty Dischinger holds degrees in education and is a licensed teacher of the hearing impaired and the visually impaired in the Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Hearing Impairments. Additionally, she holds a Best Practices Certificate in teaching spoken language to children who are deaf or hard of hearing and an Infant Toddler Family Specialist Certificate. Patty has extensive training in working with students who have deaf blindness, and a career in special education that spans over 30 years. She has participated in a national study on children who are deaf blind with cochlear implants, serves as a Technical Assistant for the East Carolina University Teacher Support Program, and had been a presenter at various conferences. 

Jane Dolan is a nationally certified cued language transliterator and a transliterator trainer for Language Matters, Inc. She also is LMI's coordinator for Media Matters, the company department which provides training materials for interpreters and transliterators. Jane's family was the very first to learn to cue from the inventor of Cued Speech, Dr. R. Orin Cornett. Her family then began cueing English with her older sister, Leah. This makes Jane the first native hearing cuer and one of the first cueing transliterators. Jane worked for several years at the Cued Speech Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she taught many cued American English classes and did transliterator mentoring. For the last fifteen years, Jane has worked as a freelance cued language transliterator, primarily in the post-secondary educational setting. She is passionate about the proper practice of cued language transliteration and is an active transliterator trainer with LMI. Jane currently is serving on the Board of The North Carolina Interpreter Transliterator Licensing Board.

Aubrey Dubois-Quinlan, M.A., NBCT received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Deaf Education in 2002 from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Masters degree in Language Development and Learning from Lenoir Rhyne University. She worked as an itinerant teacher for the public school system for six years, serving students ages 3-21. Aubrey received her National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in 2007. In 2008, she joined the Resource Support Program through the Office of Education Services to provide outreach services to professionals, parents, and school systems serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students across North Carolina. She is currently a consultant for the Exceptional Children's Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction. Aubrey became a certified See-The-Sound Visual Phonics Trainer in 2012.

Hannah Eskridge, M.S.P., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, is the current CASTLE Director in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina. She directs the Professional Training Program as well as coordinates staff and various other programs. Hannah also conducts Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions. Hannah earned her Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in the Auditory-Verbal Speech-Language track. She has been on faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill since 2009.

Maegan K. Evans, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Cert. AVEd., is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Auditory-Verbal Educator. She received her Master's degree and Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Her dissertation was titled Acoustic Voice Analysis of Prelingually Deaf Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients. From 2002 to 2006 Maegan worked at the USC Speech and Hearing Center and provided auditory-based therapy to a variety of cochlear implant recipients both adults and children. Maegan worked at the CASTLE satellite office in Wilmington, NC starting in January of 2007 and transferred to the Durham office in January of 2011. As a member of the CASTLE staff Maegan provides speech and language evaluations, parent participation sessions, tele-therapy and tele-coaching.

Denise Grau Nelson, M.S., NBCT is the Lead Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing in the Durham Public Schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Luther College in Iowa and a Master’s in Deaf Education from Illinois State University. As a deaf educator for over two decades, she has worked with students of all ages, degrees of hearing loss, and functional levels, in self-contained, resource, itinerant, and parent-infant home settings, and using various communication modes and instructional methods. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Exceptional Children-Deaf and Hard of Hearing and was selected as Teacher of the Year at Durham School of the Arts in 2006. Denise has published several articles in professional journals in the field of deaf education and presented at numerous conferences and workshops. She is a member of CAID, AG Bell, and NEA.

Krista Heavner, M.S., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT is an Educational Consultant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Exceptional Children's Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction. Krista is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Speech-Language Pathology and is a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist/Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. In addition to having public school experience, she was the speech pathologist on the cochlear implant team at the University of Michigan from 2001-2006 and worked as an auditory education consultant for Advanced Bionics Corporation from 2006-2009.

Lillian Henderson, M.S.P., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT has worked with the CASTLE program in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina since August 2002. Lillian worked in Durham Public Schools for 5 years providing speech-language therapy for preschoolers, and Parent Participation Sessions for children in the system who were deaf or hard of hearing and learning spoken language. Lillian earned her Master’s Degree from the University South Carolina in Columbia in the Auditory-Verbal track. She is currently the lead diagnostician for the UNC pediatric cochlear implant team. 

Hettie A. Kenny, M.Ed., LSLS Cert. AVT has been serving deaf and hard of hearing children and adults for 30 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and a Master's in Deaf Education. Mrs. Kenny has worked in a variety of settings and positions including public school speech clinician, an early interventionist, a program coordinator, a cross-categorical teacher, and teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. Mrs. Kenny also operated a private practice in auditory-verbal therapy and aural re/habilitation serving both children and adults. Presently Mrs. Kenny is working as a classroom teacher for deaf and hard of hearing students in Cabarrus County Schools. Her educational philosophy is to address the "whole child" through developmental language learning, behavior modification and expectations of excellence.

Hettie Kenny is a recipient of the "Impact Through Education" Award presented by Cabarrus County School and served as a board member of the NC Chapter of the AG Bell Association.

Margaret Knott received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from West Virginia University in 1977 and her Master of Arts Degree in Speech Pathology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1979. She has been an LSLS Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist since August 2005. Margaret is also a trained NeuroDevelopmental Therapist (pediatrics). She has worked in the public school system, private practice, and a variety of Early Intervention programs. She is currently employed as a Speech Language Pathologist, LSLS Cert. AVT with the North Carolina Early Intervention Program for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Christine Kramer, M.S., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVEd. has been working at CASTLE since 2010. She teaches the toddler language groups and provides Parent Participation Sessions.  She received her Masters degree from Clarion University of PA.  She worked for the deaf and hard of hearing program for Franklin county Schools from 1997-2001. She taught English inGermany in 2001 and then returned to the states to work at theTennesseeSchool for the Deaf inKnoxvilleTennessee at the end of that year. She worked as a parent educator, trainer and mentor at theAuditoryLearningCenter inRaleigh,NC and for the Resource Support Program in the Office of Education Services for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She also worked as the Speech Pathologist for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program atForestvilleElementary School for Wake County Public Schools from 2006-2010.

Sharon Moore, M.A., CED, NBCT, LSLS Cert. AVT received her BS degree and Hearing Impaired certification from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Masters degree in Language Development and Learning from Lenoir Rhyne University. She taught at the Central North Carolina School for the Deaf from 1985-1996. Sharon has worked as an exceptional children's resource teacher for Guilford County Schools, the Central NC Early Intervention Program for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, and the Resource Support Program for the Office of Education Services. Sharon has her Birth through Kindergarten Certification, Reading Certification, C.E.D., Infant Toddler credentials and National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist. Sharon is currently a consultant for the Exceptional Children's Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction. Sharon has served as Secretary/Historian on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Chapter of AG Bell.

Djenne-amal Morris, B.A. Psychology/Sociology is a Parent Educator/Training Coordinator at BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology from Clark University in MA. She has extensive experience working with families of special needs children and their parents. Djenne-amal has been a Deaf-Blind Family Specialist for the past 8 years. She and her husband have also served in several ministry capacities. Djenne is the mother of a Deaf-Blind multi-handicapped son with CHARGE Syndrome.

Michele Neal, M.A., NBCT received her Bachelor of Science degree and Hearing Impaired certification from Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, NC in 1987 and Masters degree in Language Development and Learning from Lenoir Rhyne University. She spent ten years working at the Schools for the Deaf in NC, four years as a high school history teacher at the Eastern NCSD, and six years as the elementary principal at the Central NCSD. Upon closure of the CNCSD Michele acquired her certification in Cross Categorical and worked in Rockingham Co. for one year as a 6th grade special education teacher and in Guilford County as a K-3 special education resource teacher. Michele joined the Office of Education Resource Support Program in April, 2003.She is currently a consultant for the Exceptional Children's Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction. Michele acquired National Board Certification in 2006 and became a certified See-The-Sound: Visual Phonics Trainer in 2007.

Sandra Onisk-Hancock, M.S., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT, began working at CASTLE in August 2004.  Prior to that she spent 4 years at the Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf, an OPTION School in California.   She also provided speech therapy in public schools for 2 years, and worked in a private reading clinic before earning her Master’s Degree.  Sandra conducts Parent Participation Sessions at CASTLE , and through CASTLE’s tele-therapy program, REACH.  In addition, she works with student and professional interns, and conducts speech-language evaluations for the cochlear implant team.

Lisa Park, Au.D., CCC-A has been an audiologist with the pediatric cochlear implant team at UNC since July of 2006. Prior to arriving at UNC she spent 4 years as the audiologist at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Her research interests include bimodal listening and speech perception with cochlear implants. Lisa received her Master’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences (MSSH) from Washington University in St. Louis and her Au.D. from the University of Florida.

Stephanie Payonk is a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing in Rowan County. She graduated from UNC Greensboro with a bachelor's degree in Deaf Education and completed the Auditory Oral/Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Licensure program. Stephanie received her master's degree from Vanderbilt University and is currently training to become and LSLS certified auditory verbal educator. Stephanie has worked as an itinerant teacher and is currently in the classroom setting. In addition, she also serves as a co-president of the North Carolina Cued Speech Association.

Wanda Pendergrass is a licensed teacher of the deaf or hard of hearing in the Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Hearing Impairments and holds credentials as an Infant Toddler Family Specialist. She holds degrees in Speech Pathology and Special Education. She has worked in the public schools as a speech therapist, a Psychoeducational Therapist with the Charlotte TEACCh Center, and as a private educational consultant.  Wanda has presented at the UNCC Annual Child and Family Development Conference, NC Exceptional Children Conference and has been a guest trainer for Childcare Resources, Inc. 

Rachael Ragin, Ed. D., is the Consultant for Deaf Education and Audiology for the NC Department of Public Instruction. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Chapel Hill. Her Master’s Degree is in Deaf Education from New York University. Rachael has over 30 years of experience in the field of Deaf Education as a teacher and administrator. She is Deaf and is a user of binaural cochlear implants. Her passion is children with hearing loss and making things better for them and their families.

Pat Roush Au.D., CCC-A is an Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Director of Pediatric Audiology at UNC Hospitals, where she specializes in working with newly identified infants and young children with hearing loss. Dr. Roush has published extensively in pediatric audiology and has lectured nationally and internationally on a variety of topics related to hearing loss in children. Her primary areas of interest are pediatric hearing assessment and amplification and auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder.

Taylor Sands, M.S., LSLS Cert. AV Ed. is a Speech-Language Pathologist and LSLS Certified Auditory-Verbal Educator (LSLS Cert. AVEd) with over 8 years of experience teaching children and adults with hearing loss learning listening and spoken language. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from North Carolina State University in 2003 and her Master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2005 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor is currently a Consumer Outreach Manager in the Southeast Region for the MED-EL Corporation. In this role, she provides support and outreach services for cochlear implant clinics, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, educators, MED-EL recipients, and CI candidates. Prior to joining MED-EL in April 2013, she was an SLP at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Jacksonville, FL (2007-2013) and Pediatric Speech-Language Services, Inc. in Greensboro, NC (2005-2007).

Alma Scoby, M.A., CAS is a NC Teaching Fellow alum, who graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. She also completed her graduate study in School Psychology at Appalachian State University. Alma has been a school psychologist for 12 years and the lead school psychologist with the Alamance Burlington School System for the past three years.

Holly F.B. Teagle, Au.D., CCC-A is the Director of the Carolina Children’s Communicative Disorders Program (CCCDP) and Assistant Professor in the Dept of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her career in Audiology at the University of Iowa, where she received her Master’s degree in 1985, and has been involved with cochlear implant patient care and research since that time. She joined the faculty at UNC in 2003 and teaches cochlear implant courses for the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences and the AGBell First Years program. Holly’s published work includes journal articles and book chapters related to cochlear implant patient management and outcomes; she currently serves on the NC AGBell board as well as on CI manufacturer Audiology advisory boards.

Erin Thompson, M.S., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT has worked at the CASTLE program in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina since July 2004. She earned her Master’s Degree at UNC-CH and completed a semester of practicum at CASTLE. She completed her clinical fellowship year with Pediatric Speech and Language Services out of Greensboro. She is the lead educational consultant for the pediatric cochlear implant team and travels to various school districts in the state to provide mentoring and other educational support. Erin conducts individual speech and language therapy sessions with CASTLE preschool students, Parent Participation Sessions, and has recently led a small classroom focused on pragmatics and language use. Erin also conducts speech-language evaluations for both the CASTLE preschool and the Cochlear Implant Team and provides onsite mentoring for student and professional interns.

Sherri Vernelson, M.S., LSLS Cert. AV Ed. has been teaching children with hearing loss since 1993, with a slight hiatus to have children of her own. She has been an itinerant and a classroom teacher through the years. Sherri has worked with children and families in Auditory Verbal, Auditory-Oral, and Cued Speech approaches. She received her Master's degree from the John Tracy Clinic/University of San Diego Program and is an LSLS Certified Auditory-Verbal Educator. Sherri is currently a Consulting Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Exceptional Children's Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction.

Jennifer Woodard, Au.D, CCC-A has been a member of the pediatric cochlear implant team at UNC since 2003. She received her Master’s Degree in Audiology from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro (’03) and Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Florida (’07). She is the site coordinator for the NIH-funded study Childhood Development After Cochlear Implantation and the MED-EL sponsored study LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire and First Words List: Children with MED-EL Cochlear Implant System, Language: North American English.