Welcome!

Welcome to Decoding Dyslexia TN! We are so glad you found us. You are not alone. 

Mission
Decoding Dyslexia TN is an organization made up of families, educators and community members who seek to empower struggling readers, specifically those who have dyslexia, to achieve life-long success. Its purpose is exclusively educational, literacy-based, and charitable.
Vision
The parents, advocates, and community members who make up Decoding Dyslexia-TN seek to dramatically improve the quality of life for current and future generations of students who have dyslexia. We will raise awareness among the general public, promote programs that focus on finding individual student strengths, and empower families and educators to support their students by advising on best practices. Our end goal is to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia.

PLEASE DIG INTO OUR SITE. We have tons of information about What Dyslexia Is, What Dyslexia Looks LikeHow RTI2 and Dyslexia Screeners work in Tennessee, the 504 and IEP Process in Tennessee, Articles and Resources and so much more!

PLEASE CONNECT WITH US! Please visit us on Facebook and join our Facebook Chatroom to connect with other parents like you! Learn more on our Contact Us page.

PLEASE DONATE! Please help us raise money to pay for events and advertisements to help spread the word about Dyslexia to parents and teachers across the State of Tennessee.  Every bit helps us help you. Please donate $5, $500 or any amount in between to help the 20% of Tennessee children who struggle with Dyslexia. Learn more at our Donate Now page. Donate with PayPal

Decoding Dyslexia TN was founded on October 31st, 2013 when five strangers seeking answers about dyslexia met online and decided to start a Decoding Dyslexia chapter in Tennessee, with guidance from parents who founded the national movement in New Jersey. Since that time Decoding Dyslexia has grown in Tennessee and has made great strides in advocating for Dyslexia Legislation in Tennessee and in raising awareness about Dyslexia across our great state.  In 2018, DD TN officially become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization! We are so excited to keep advocating for families!

Currently, Decoding Dyslexia TN has 8 active co-leaders:  

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Lori Smith President. She is a parent of a child with dyslexia. She co-wrote Tennessee’s 2016 Say Dyslexia Law. She currently is a small business owner, an education advocate and a community volunteer. She lives in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee.

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Stephanie Hathcock – Vice President. She is the mother of two dyslexic children.  She has an MBA and was a real estate investor prior to her children’s diagnoses.  After watching her children struggle with literacy, she devoted herself to Orton-Gillingham training so that she could help her own children learn to read and other children as well.  She works at Bodine School in Germantown, TN, and tutors privately.  She is an Associate Member of the AOGPE, Certified Academic Language Practitioner, Structured Language Dyslexia Interventionist, and is SMILA trained.  She lives in Germantown, Shelby County, Tennessee.

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Sarah Lightner
Treasurer/Secretary. She is a parent of a child with dyslexia and former homeschooling parent using the Barton System. Lightner was DD TN’s first Vice President. She is also a small business owner and community volunteer. She lives in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee.

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Stephanie Durman – Director-At-Large She is a Nashville-based environmental attorney and the proud mother of a son who has dyslexia. She has three decades of nonprofit experience, ranging from developing housing for the homeless to environmental advocacy. Her experience advocating for her child in the public school system in Tennessee has convinced her of the need for systemic change in literacy education to ensure that all children with dyslexia are given the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. She lives in Nashville, Davidson County, TN

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Julya Johnson Director-At-Large.  She is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia-TN and served as the organization’s first President. She is also a parent of two children who have dyslexia, AOGPE Associate Level Certified, and published blogger The Mighty, and Grammarly. She was on the 2014 Tennessee Dyslexia Legislative Council that provided input for the 2014 Tennessee Dyslexia Law, and she helped co-write the 2016 Tennessee Dyslexia Law. She also sits on the Knox County Dyslexia Advisory Council. She lives in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee.

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Sarah McAfee – Director-At-Large – She is a special education teacher with more than 20 years experience across grade levels and settings. McAfee volunteered to teach literacy in prison for over two years due to a passion for halting the school to prison pipeline. She is also a dyslexia therapist certified in multiple programs. Her expertise is in special education law and advocacy and she was the first dyslexia expert hired to serve in a district of more than 37,000 students. McAfee is the owner of the Clarksville Center for Dyslexia and Learning Differences. She lives in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee.

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Charolette Palmer – Director-At-Large She is a parent of two dyslexic children and has dyslexia too.  She has a Master of Education in early childhood education with an endorsement in reading and counseling.  She is currently a high school guidance counselor and advocates for all grades in private and county schools.  During the weeknights and summer breaks she uses her Orton-Gillingham and SMILA techniques to tutor elementary students.  She enjoys being with her family and taking vacations!  She lives in Atoka, Tipton County, Tennessee.

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Jodi Sneed – Director-At-Large  She is the mother of a dyslexic daughter.  Her passion surrounding advocating for children and adults with dyslexia began when her daughter was diagnosed at age 5. Jodi earned her undergraduate and masters degree in Accounting from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  She owns and is President of an executive recruiting firm in Brentwood, TN. Jodi has been recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a Woman of Influence and as Nashville’s 40 under 40.  She is an education advocate and a community volunteer.  She lives in Brentwood, Williamson County, Tennessee. 

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Lindsay Woodley – Director-At-Large She is a full time marketer for a hospital system in the Memphis, TN area. She is also a mother of a dyslexic student in the public school system. Woodley hopes to build a better future for dyslexic students in Tennessee and work to educate people on dyslexia. She lives in Memphis, Shelby County, TN. 

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Founding Directors Emeritus

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Eileen Miller – Director Emeritus. She is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia- TN, a member of Tennessee Dyslexia Advisory Council, and the owner/founder of Ignite Dyslexia Awareness.  She is the parent to a high school daughter with dyslexia and works as an Orton Gillingham tutor and education advocate. She lives in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee.


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Melissa Tackett Director Emeritus. She is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia-TN, a parent of a child with dyslexia and a former public school 3-5th grade teacher.  She is currently a Certified Academic Language Therapist at Hoover Learning Group trained in Wilson, Slingerland, and SMILA. She lives in Brentwood, Williamson County, Tennessee.

Disclaimer: Remember, we are 100% volunteer and grassroots. While some of the founders and/or directors have separate professional businesses that you are welcome to reach out to for advice, Decoding Dyslexia – TN, is a Tennessee Non-Profit and is not claiming to be a professional business. Anything you see on Decoding Dyslexia -TN should not take the place of professional, individual advice, which we recommend you seek to answer your specific questions. Nothing contained on this website is intended to provide medical, legal or other professional advice. We are simply parents and others who care about spreading dyslexia awareness.