Board of Directors
President: Lainie Donnell, M.A., ET/P
Lainie is a Los Angeles native and an Educational Therapist in practice for the last 10 years. After graduating from the University of Vermont with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Lainie started her career as a special educator. Additionally, she earned her Education Specialist teaching credential and her Master of Arts degree in Special Education. Lainie’s personal experiences as a student with LD and ADHD have lead her to embrace her challenges and dedicate her career to helping others find ways to compensate for their challenges.
Vice President: Elizabeth Lutsky, M.A., ET/P
Elizabeth, a Chicago native, received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and went on to earn her Masters degree in learning disabilities from Northwestern University. Over the past 11 years, Elizabeth has worked in private practice as an educational therapist helping children with learning disabilities develop the skills and strategies needed to overcome their learning challenges. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has worked in various educational settings as a special education teacher, learning specialist, and reading coach. Elizabeth enjoys helping her clients understand their strengths and challenges as they strive to become confident, independent, life-long learners.
Treasurer: Sarae Shenkin, M.A., BCET
Sarae Shenkin received a BA in Anthopology and a MA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities. She has worked as a teacher in general, gifed and special education class rooms, taught at the Community College level, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and has been an administrator in special education schools. She currently is the Curriculum and Program Coordinator at Village Glen School working with high functioning autistic students.
Secretary: Allison Purdy, M.A.
Past President: Lori Waldman, M.A., ET/P
Lori Waldman, M.A., ET/P, received her undergraduate degree in English from UCLA, her Elementary and Secondary California Teaching Credentials from California Lutheran University, a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA and her Masters degree in Special Education from CSUN. She currently works as an educational therapist in private practice. In the past, she has worked in school setting as an educational therapist and a teacher and had a private college counseling practice.
Clarann Goldring, Ph.D.- Advisory Board
Clarann is a licensed psychologist in the State of California, and she has a private practice in Sherman Oaks for 30 years.. She started her training in 1974 at Thalians Clinic at Cedars Sinai working with families and children with disabilities. She received her Marriage and Family, Child Counseling License in 1976. She received her Ph.D. in 1984 and her Clinical Psychology License in 1986. Dr. Goldring has been in Private Practice since 1976. She was the Director of Counseling at Parkhill School for Learning Disabled Children from 1982 to 1989. Dr. Goldring has been married for 50 years. She has four married children and ten grandchildren. She has dyslexia and ADD. She is a Past President of the International Dyslexia Association, Los Angeles Branch. Professionally, she is also trained as a Practicum Supervisor for The William Glasser Institute.
Jen Kalan, M.A., ET/P
Jen, an educational therapist since 2001, received her master’s degree in learning disabilities from Northwestern University. She works with children with a variety of learning differences and currently has a private practice in Agoura Hills. Jen specializes in early intervention for reading disorders and strives to remediate her client’s learning challenges while enhancing self-esteem.
Lauren Leavitt, M.Ed.
Lauren is a recognized authority in the field of post-secondary placements for students with learning differences, including those with Asperger’s Syndrome. Ms. Leavitt has been an educator for over 30 years, with specific credentials in reading and special education. In addition to her active private practice, Ms. Leavitt served as the college counselor for a well-known Los Angeles private school with an exclusive population of students with learning differences. Ms. Leavitt has successfully assisted students and their families in the identification of appropriate programs for two and four year degrees at over 100 institutions throughout the United States and Canada. Ms. Leavitt also works extensively with programs that provide specialty training (for example, culinary programs, art programs, and music conservatories), as well as transition programs such as “Gap Year” possibilities. Ms. Leavitt received her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Stacie Ottoson ,M.A., MFT
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stacie Ottoson earned her bachelor degree in Sociology from Boston University in 1993. She returned to Los Angeles in 1994, and after a short job in the entertainment industry, she decided to follow her passion of working with children and families and worked in a group home with ED teenage boys. While working at the group home, she earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and completed two internships in community mental health. After graduation Stacie spent 7 1/2 years working at the Help Group, first managing 2 group homes for ED teenage girls, and then moved into the schools where she did psychological counseling with ED and LD students and families. While still at the Help Group, she was promoted to Assistant Director of the Middle School and High School at Summit View School, and spent 3 ½ years in that position. After leaving the Help Group, Stacie began her own private practice in Beverly Hills, providing psychological counseling to teenagers, families and adults and worked part time as a school based therapist at Vista Del Mar. She moved to Dublin, Ireland in 2006 with her husband and moved back to Los Angeles in 2009, now with a daughter in tow. She is currently a full-time mom.
Marilyn Soifer, M.A., BCET
Marilyn lives in West Hills, CA, and is a Board Certified Educational Therapist for thirty years. She received an M.Ed in Special Education, and a M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She currently works for LAUSD as a special education adminstrator. She has worked as a special and general education teacher, reading specialist, and a special education advisor. She also holds credentials in counseling, and she specializes in working with adolescents.
Lauren Roedy Vaughn, M.S.
Lauren Roedy Vaughn, a proud member of IDA and AET, has a master’s degree in special education and a learning specialist credential. For the last twenty years, she has worked with students of all ages both in private practice and as a classroom teacher of students with language-based learning differences. Lauren received The Walk of Heart’s teaching award in 2005, is a National Trainer for The Jane Schaffer Writing Program, and is a published author. Her first young adult novel (OCD, the Dude, and Me) will be available in March of 2013 through Dial for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Publishing.
Ashley Waldman MS, OTR/L
A Los Angeles native, received her Master’s of Science degree in occupational therapy from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She currently works with children and adults with learning disabilities and physical disabilities in a hospital setting. Additionally she has worked with children in both the school and home settings, helping children to develop skills that increase their level of independence, and increase life satisfaction and quality of life for both the child and the family.