The Reading League Washington, DC

Our mission is to build a community of practice to advance the use of evidence-based reading practices to improve reading outcomes for all students in Washington, D.C.

Join us in an exploration of
Language, Language Variation, and Literacy

this year as we explore what it means to be literate in one or more written languages and how that literacy interacts with spoken languages.

This year’s events will build on our previous years’ knowledge-building around phonemic proficiency and decoding as the route to automaticity.

Meet Our Team

Mary Clayman
Mary ClaymanPresident
Mary is a reading specialist in DCPS. She trained at the Dean Hope Center for Psychological and Educational Services at Columbia University in New York City and has been a reading teacher in DC for over 15 years. Mary founded the DC Reading Clinic in 2017. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her family.
Kate Noonan
Kate NoonanVice President
Kate is a D.C. native who has literacy teaching and coaching experience in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Currently the ELA instructional coach at Garrison Elementary School in DCPS, Kate is passionate about developing teachers’ practice and growing readers and writers. Outside of school, Kate can usually be found chasing around her three kids, trying out new restaurants, or curling up with a book.
Jacqueline Roche
Jacqueline RocheTreasurer
Jackie was born and raised in New Jersey and has lived (and taught) in Florida, New Orleans, Brazil, and D.C. (which she now calls home). She worked at the DC Reading Clinic for four years and is now a K-2 reading interventionist at a DCPS elementary school. She spends her free time reading (of course!) and dancing. She is thrilled to be part of the Board of Directors of The Reading League – D.C and looks forward to all the exciting work TRL-DC will take on.
Heather Zuerblis
Heather ZuerblisCo-chair, Community of Practice & Member Networking
Heather’s passion for early literacy started fifteen years ago as a kindergarten teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. Since then, she has served as a classroom teacher, reading interventionist, and instructional coach within the D.C area. Currently as a Manager of Elementary ELA with D.C. Public School, she has the pleasure of partnering with a cluster of schools to support literacy instruction through targeted professional development experiences. Heather has a Masters in Reading Education from Boston University and is currently pursing a doctorate at American University focused on Education Leadership and Policy with a concentration on Early Literacy Interventions. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, a career Special Educator, and their five year old son.
Shareen Fernanders
Shareen FernandersCo-chair, Community of Practice & Member Networking
Dr. Shareen Fernanders, the Director of Early Literacy Strategy for DC Public Schools, is passionate about advancing Early Literacy initiatives at a system level. She holds a Bachelors in Human Development from Binghamton University, a Masters in Elementary Education from Mercy College, and an Ed.D. from American University, where she currently serves as an Early Literacy Intervention Fellow, Research Assistant, and adjunct faculty member. An educator for 20 years, she is an expert reading interventionist, an experienced elementary instructional coach, and has managed literacy curriculum, assessment, and professional development. Shareen holds an Administrative Certification in the District of Columbia, currently serves as a founding board member with D.C.’s chapter of the Reading League, and is a member of the first D.C. Early Literacy Task Force. She is committed to exploring equity-centered system leadership practices and ecological characteristics of district offices that improve early literacy outcomes for our district’s most vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved student populations.
Claire Gunner
Claire GunnerCo-chair, Member Engagement Committee
Dr. Claire Gunner is passionate about promoting equity in education through quality, research-based literacy instruction for all students. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s in education from the University of Maryland College Park, and recently completed her Ed.D. in Education Policy and Leadership at American University as part of the early literacy intervention leaders cohort. Her research focus is the intersection between student-driven, culturally responsive instruction and structured literacy needs-based small groups.
Dr. Gunner has over a decade of experience teaching early literacy as an interventionist and classroom teacher in Washington, D.C. and abroad. She is a former Goyen Literacy Fellow, DC Reading Clinic mentor teacher, and author of decodable texts for DC Public Schools through the DCPS Readers Next Door Project. Currently, she is managing director of a private structured literacy tutoring practice she co-founded in Washington D.C., Reading Ready DMV. She also serves as a University Coach at American University, supporting teachers in the MAT program through their student teaching experiences.
Vaani Gupta
Vaani GuptaCo-chair, Research & Development Committee
Vaani is originally from Florida, but has lived in DC for over 15 years. She spent 15 years working for DCPS as both an elementary teacher and then a K-2 Literacy coach. Vaani currently works at DC’s Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) as the literacy specialist. In this role Vaani develops and provides research aligned professional development to teachers across the public and charter schools of DC. Vaani has been passionate about early literacy for the past 5 years, when she joined a LETRS cohort and was shocked at how misaligned reading instruction was to the research. Since then, Vaani has been an advocate for evidence-based literacy practices, especially for our youngest learners. Vaani loves reading, drinking coffee, being in the sun and spending time with her family and friends.
Dori Klar
Dori KlarChair, Marketing Committee
Dori is currently with Amplify Education as the Associate Vice President for Professional Development, NE and MW. From 2012-2019, as an Amplify literacy coach, she worked with the DC Reading Clinic in its inaugural semester, and supported teachers and leaders in DCPS with literacy assessment and data analysis. She began her career as a classroom teacher in the upper elementary grades. She loves to quilt, bike, read, and travel.
Brandan Persaud
Brandan PersaudBoard Member
Brandan Persaud serves as the Assistant Director of Student Support Services at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School at the middle school campus. In this capacity he oversees the implementation and evaluation of the special education program at the middle school. Prior to this, Brandan was a high school special education teacher on the north-west side of Chicago. Brandan’s passion lies in bridging the research to practice gap in an effort to increase educational equity. Brandan is currently pursuing his doctorate in Education Policy and Leadership with a concentration on Early Literacy Intervention. His research areas include: culturally responsive teaching, intersectionality, antiracist practice, and teacher mindset.
Megan Tribble
Megan TribbleEvent Planning & Operations Committee
Megan Tribble is an Atlanta native who originally left the south to earn her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. As a primary grade teacher, she developed a passion for literacy and earned a both an M.S.Ed. in Reading Curriculum & Instruction and an English Learner certificate from UVA. She is currently an English Acquisition teacher In DCPS and previously taught in NYC and Fairfax County. Megan enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading. She is looking forward to the community of The Reading League!
Amy Vanden Boogart
Amy Vanden BoogartCo-chair, Research & Development Committee
Amy Vanden Boogart, Ed.D., is the Director of Curriculum and Product Development for Really Great Reading. She manages the development of print and online foundational reading skills curricula, tools, and assessments for beginning and struggling readers. Amy has taught graduate-level literacy courses at The George Washington University and enjoys working with the International Dyslexia Association.

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