Wendy Taylor, M.Ed., ET/P
Wendy Taylor is a certified Educational Therapist, qualified Orton-Gillingham practitioner, trained Educational Diagnostician, skilled IEP Coach, and the host of the IEP Essentials Podcast.
As Executive Director of Learning Essentials, Wendy’s mission is to meet the individual needs of each student she serves. She maintains that every student is capable of success both in and out of the classroom, but finds that many students lack the strategies to achieve success. That is why she founded Learning Essentials to guide students and instill study habits that assist learners of all abilities to attain, if not exceed, their goals.
Wendy has extensive experience working with students of all ages and abilities, with a focus on learning differences and disabilities. Prior to founding Learning Essentials, she served as a faculty member at Saint Petersburg College, a supervisor of pre-service teachers, and a Montgomery County Public School teacher. A certified educator and qualified educational diagnostician, Wendy holds a B.S. in Social Science and Secondary Education from Frostburg State University and a M.Ed. in Special Education from George Mason University.
Our Team Promotes Life-Long Learning…Click on Blue Tabs to Learn More About Each Team Member
Mara Bellino, MAT
Mara graduated from James Madison University (JMU) with a master’s in K-12 Exceptional Education. Since graduating from JMU, Mara has dedicated her career to removing barriers and providing access for higher education students with disabilities in curricular and co-curricular environments. She is passionate about building relationships on and off campus and educating students, faculty, and staff to create campus environments that are accessible, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive to all community members. She is also committed to meeting all students where they are – academically and mentally – to foster learning, growth, engagement, access, and rigor. Mara began her career in Disability Services at The Catholic University of America and has spent the last eight years working at Georgetown University. Most recently Mara served as the Director of Disability Services at Georgetown Law Center. In her free time, Mara likes to hike, bike, and take photographs.
Genevieve Bouquet, M.Ed.
Genevieve is a certified special educator. She earned her B.S and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Maryland – College Park in Special Education. She has taught in both public and private schools, working in inclusive and self-contained classrooms. She currently teaches students with a variety of needs, including moderate to severe language, learning and sensory motor disabilities, mild to moderate autism, and executive functioning difficulties. Genevieve believes in individualizing instruction to address the whole child and his or her unique needs and learning styles. She also works to keep learning and practicing skills fun to increase confidence and foster a love for knowledge.
Maria Dalley, Ed.D.
Maria Dalley is a certified special education teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. She completed her doctorate in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from Grand Canyon University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Barton College in Deaf Education and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Before moving back to Maryland, she was a deaf/hard of hearing itinerant teacher in North Carolina for pre-K – 12th grade students and a classroom, resource, and itinerant teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing in Philadelphia for middle and high school students. Subjects taught include study skills, math, English, social studies, science, communication, and art. In addition to teaching, Maria has over five years of experience providing ABA therapy and academic support to children with disabilities. Maria believes that learning is a life-long process and is dedicated to creating a safe learning environment that will motivate, inspire, and challenge her students.
Julia Driscoll, M.A.
Julia is a certified educator, holding certificates in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ages birth through twenty-one, as well as regular elementary education. Julia holds a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Indiana University, Bloomington, as well as an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in Communication Sciences and Disorders. After staying home with her children for ten years, she reentered the work force in Maryland in 2005 as a teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. She is an itinerant teacher in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program where she works with students from K-high school. She has extensive experience teaching children with varying learning abilities, including executive functioning issues. She specializes in individualizing instruction and modification of materials in order to meet a student’s needs. She uses a multi-sensory approach to teaching, incorporating hands-on, visual, as well as auditory strategies as needed.
Susanne Fuller, M.Ed.
Susanne Fuller is a special educator with over 10 years of experience in the field, focusing primarily on Autism Spectrum Disorder and inclusive practices in the school setting. She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Special Education from Union University in Jackson, TN, and a M.Ed. in Birth-Kindergarten: Interdisciplinary Study of Education and Development from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has taught in North Carolina and Wisconsin before recently relocating to Washington, DC, with her family. Susanne has a passion for both supporting her studentsand assisting families in understanding their child’s needs and IEP.
Sarah Gayman, MEQ
Sarah Gayman is a certified educator with a background in Secondary English Education from The University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sarah moved to Maryland in 2013 after teaching in Pittsburgh. Her teaching experience includes 6th-8th grade English and Reading. Currently, Sarah is a 6th grade English and Reading General Education teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. She utilizes creativity, real-world application, and student-centered activities with a focus on individual student interests while working with her students.
Jean Hickey, M. Ed.
Jean Hickey is a special educator. She has worked as a private tutor and educational consultant for over ten years in the Metropolitan area. She has twenty plus years of experience working with a variety of learning needs, including learning disabilities, ADD, Autism, Fragile X, Down Syndrome, Visual Cortical Blindness and Cerebral Palsy. Jean’s extensive background proves to be an excellent resource. In addition to private tutoring, she is available to review, develop and write Individualized Education Plans, write reports, consult with educational teams and advocate at IEP meetings. Jean earned a Bachelor’s degree in Severe Special Needs from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Special Education from University of Maryland, College Park. Jean provides a creative, life-learning approach to academics. She continually engages, challenges and develops the minds of her students.
Wendy Rayner is a special educator with more than 15 years of cross-curricular experience working with diverse learners from the kindergarten to post-secondary level, in both private and public school settings. She plans lessons aligning with MCPS content standards and indicators, in addition to customizing lessons adapted to the individualized needs of each student. Her goal is to facilitate a positive, rewarding learning environment that fosters trust, curiosity, independence, academic success, and the joy of acquiring knowledge. Wendy earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education/Instructional Technology degrees from the University of Maryland.
Issie Resti, M.A.
Issie has worked in the field of education for more than 15 years. She began as a preschool teacher but has since taught a variety of subjects in elementary through post-high school, with a special focus on English/Language Arts. Issie received her M.A. from George Washington University in Special Education and her certification as a Literacy Coach from the University of Maryland. After six years of working in Montgomery County Public Schools, she initiated a program for students with intellectual disabilities at a Jewish day school. She currently oversees a young adult program for students in a non-public special education school. Issie believes that her job as a tutor is to help students become more successful, independent and confident. She loves seeing students come alive when they discover the potential inside themselves.
Sarah Summerlin, M.A.Ed., CALT
Sarah Summerlin is a special educator and a certified academic language therapist (CALT) with extensive experience working with children with learning differences. Sarah received her B.A. in Elementary and Special Education from Southwestern University and her M.A.Ed. in Special Education (Learning Disabilities) from Western Carolina University. Sarah completed her Multisensory Structured Language Education training and practicums through the Key Learning Center in Asheville, NC.
Sarah has taught elementary and middle school students in public, private, and international schools. Through more than a decade of teaching, she has come to the conclusion that students learn best from educators they trust. She builds a strong tutor-student relationship through engaging, multisensory lessons built on a nuanced understanding of the child’s strengths and needs. Sarah also utilizes humor to keep lessons lighthearted and engaging.
Lana Skrtic has been tutoring and teaching for over 20 years, and she is a knowledgeable, compassionate, and adaptable educator. Lana’s academic background includes a MS in Energy and Resources and PhD coursework in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and BA degrees in history and economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Lana is a credentialed teacher of English and social studies for grades 6-12, and she has taught English literature, history, sociology, and business in private schools in Europe. She tutors students in humanities, writing, math, sciences, organizational and study skills, and test preparation, and she is particularly experienced in providing support to students with learning differences. Above all, Lana cares deeply about making a difference in the lives of her students!
Annie Tulkin, MS
Annie is passionate about supporting and empowering people with disabilities and has dedicated much of her career to that cause. She is the founder and director of Accessible College, where she provides nationwide college transition support for students with physical disabilities and health conditions. She has also served as the Associate Director of the Academic Resource Center at Georgetown University. In that position, she supported undergraduate, graduate, and medical students with physical disabilities and health conditions and oversaw academic support services for the entire student body.
In Annie’s work with students, she takes a holistic look at their academic history as well as their current academic status and their goals for the future. She works with students to identify effective time management and study strategies to meet their needs. She always aims to help clients identify and hone in on their greatest strengths.
Stacey Varallo is a certified elementary and special education teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience. She received her B.S.Ed. in Special Education from West Chester University and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education with concentrations in Curriculum, Instruction and Technology from Temple University. Stacey has extensive experience