Board of Advisors

Noah Text

Lisa Bigney

Director, RI Tutorial & Educational Services

Lisa is a Certified Dyslexia Interventionist and Co-Director of Rhode Island Tutorial & Educational Services (RITES), serving students and adults with learning disabilities, specializing in multi-sensory methods. Her specialties include Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger's, and Orton-Gillingham Instruction. Lisa founded RITES in 1997, a non-profit organization that serves Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. RITES' employs more than 40 certified and highly qualified, experienced teachers, using research-based approaches for students of all ages. Prior to founding RITES, Lisa was a Special Education Teacher at the renowned Hamilton School at Wheeler, in which RITES partners to provide crucial educational services to the community. Lisa earned her M.Ed. at Harvard University in Curriculum and Learning Environments, M.Ed. at Lesley College in Computers in Education, and BS in Elementary and Special Education at Boston University.

"RITES has been using Sarah's Noah Textbooks with great success with students of all ages to make reading accessible to our dyslexic and struggling readers. In fact, one of our students, a 30-year-old man, stated this was the first book he was ever able to read! I am honored to serve on the board and excited about helping with this important endeavor to bring literacy to those who struggle."

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Anne Brown

President/CEO, Cook Center for Human Connection

Anne has had a vast career in Education Technology, serving as Vice President of Business Development and Education for Waterford Institute, a non-profit research institute focused on early literacy and education for students from Pre-K to third. She also served as Vice President of Personalized Learning and Student Products for the School Improvement Network and was an Executive for Pearson Education for many years. Prior to entering the corporate world, Anne was an Elementary School Teacher. Anne serves as Board Member of the SIIA, Education Technology Innovation Network. She leads both the Early Childhood Learning Cohort and the Personalized Learning Cohort with the School Superintendents Association and is a member of the Alliance of Excellence in Education. Anne earned a BS in Elementary Education and Teaching from the University of Utah.

"I am honored to serve on the board of Noah Text. As an educator and the parent of a young adult who has struggled with dyslexia and autism his entire life, I truly understand how dyslexia can affect every part of your life. I can see how Noah Text can lessen this struggle for many people. I feel that EVERY text should be able to be converted into Noah Text to be able to help millions of people access text and language in a way they haven't been able to up until now."

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Bruce Butterfield

CEO/Founder, The Wittfield Group

Bruce has served as an executive, President, and Publisher for Golden Press/Random House, Scholastic, Longman/Addison-Wesley, and Prentice-Hall Regents/Pearson PLC – where he helped create such publishing projects as Sesame Street, ABC's Wide World of Sports, and Family Album USA. He has strategically allied with global companies - ABC, CBS, Collins World, CNN, CTW, Disney, Hamlyn, HRB/Raytheon, Mondadori, NY Times, LCA, Otto Maier Verlag, Purnell, PBS, 3M, Nickelodeon, Paramount, and Warner Communications. He is currently CEO of The Wittfield Group, involved in publishing and EdTech in private and public sectors – and also in helping best-selling as well as talented new authors and organizations partner for success. He helped establish a start-up FastPencil and is co-founder of INkMOTION, using 3D AR/VR technology for its EdTech literacy tools. He has been listed in the Library of Congress' Directory of Distinguished Americans and Who's Who in America and recognized as a Gardner Fletcher, Saint Clair Memorial, and Amherst College fellow. Presented with the Wall Street Journal Achievement Award, he is also a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He serves on various Boards, including EBR/Longyear Foundation, Peace Haven Association, University of Connecticut Business School, PtF Enterprises, and Opyrus/LifeWrite charities. He has a BA from Amherst College, an MA from Harvard University, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.

"NOAH TEXT is a remarkable and practical aid in helping struggling readers of all ages – from preschool through adult. This wide expanse of usefulness and application is unique, proprietary, and one-of-a-kind. With decades of experience in educational publishing, literacy, and EdTech areas, I have never seen a program and system so easy to teach, use, and apply. It is not only a leap forward but is also a fresh, long-lasting, and simple innovation that will stand the test of time. It's impressive to see all age levels succeed with Noah Text – and gain a sense of confidence that allows for success in today's world. Noah Text is truly a game-changer and levels the playing field for all."

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Miriam Cherkes-Julkowski, Ph.D.

Educational Diagnostician and Consultant
Retired Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut

Miriam is the author of numerous books, publications, and journal articles about children and learning. Miriam's many years of research, writing, teacher training, and diagnostic work with children makes her uniquely able to help others help children to read. She has been in private practice since 1980, where she provides In-Service Training for multiple school districts in multiple states and Individual Educational Evaluations and Consultations. Miriam's services are sought out throughout the country, as her reputation is highly regarded. Miriam was a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut from 1975-2000. She attended Harvard Medical School Seminar in Neurology of Behavior and earned her Ph.D. and MA in Special Education from the University of Connecticut. Miriam also has a BA in German/European History from Connecticut College.

"It seems obvious to me that the key to reading is in understanding the information in the rime portion of a syllable. Sarah tried a rime-based approach in teaching her son and found it obvious as well. Her dedication to taking charge of her son's reading instruction was the first way in which she inspired me. Noah text is the continuation of her dedication to making reading available to all children by orienting them to the rime."

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Joel Davis

Director of Software Development, Follett School Solutions

Joel is the Manager and Principal Developer at Follett Labs, a Continuous Discovery Team at Follett School Solutions. He has been an individual contributor and team leader at Follett since 2005. Follett has a presence in more than 148 countries worldwide, providing materials, technology, and services to educators in the United States, Canada, and beyond. Joel is passionate about innovation in education and has vast experience in Software Development and Programming, as well as Developing Tools and Creating Expert Systems. Prior to Follett, Joel was the Director of Software Development at GINESYS and Web Developer at SUN Sites. Joel earned a Masters in Computer Science and Psychology from Texas A&M University and BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from Bob Jones University.

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Amy Geary, M.S. Ed.

Reading Consultant

Amy Geary, M.S. Ed., is a Reading Consultant for a public school in Southeastern CT. She has an M.Ed. in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.Ed. in Literacy from Sacred Heart University. Amy holds teacher certifications in Special Education, Remedial Reading, and Language Arts, as well as School Administration. She is also certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Therapist and as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist through the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Amy is currently serving on the Connecticut International Dyslexia Association Board and on the Dyslexia Society of Connecticut Board. As well, she is currently a member of the Connecticut Dyslexia Task Force, working to influence policy changes at the state level.

"As a public educator for almost 20 years, I am passionate about teaching literacy skills to struggling students. I am always looking for ways to assist my students in accessing the printed word. It is this search that brought me to Noah Text. My students have found that the scaffold text reduces their frustration to decode. As a result, my students are able to read more accurately and fluently while they've continued to increase their reading stamina and love of reading. I believe that if Noah Text was more readily available more students would gravitate towards reading --- reading to learn and reading for pleasure."

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Neal Goff

President, Egremont Associates

Neal has more than three decades' experience in educational and consumer publishing, having held senior executive positions at several major media companies, including Time Warner, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster. He currently serves as President of the consulting firm he founded in 2010, Egremont Associates, which assists publishers, edtech firms, and non-profit organizations with strategic planning, marketing, product development, licensing, and the development of strategic partnerships. Neal's most recent corporate position was President of the Weekly Reader Publishing Group (WRPG), where he had P&L responsibility for Weekly Reader's magazine and book publishing operations and managed its transition from print-only to print-plus-digital publishing. While at Weekly Reader, he oversaw the sale of WRPG's library publishing division, Gareth Stevens, to Rosen Publishing. Earlier, Neal was President of Scholastic Library Publishing and Prentice Hall Direct, and managed children's publishing operations at Book-of-the-Month Club, then owned by Time Warner, where he launched the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Neal serves on the Board of Directors of Literacy Partners, a non-profit organization that helps parents create better futures for their families through a two-generation approach to literacy education. He has served previously on the Boards of ReadWorks, the self-publishing company AuthorHouse, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Book Industry Study Group, and the Association of Education Publishers, where he served as Board President from 2010 to 2011. He has been a frequent speaker and moderator at industry conferences and was co-author from 2012 to 2016 of the annual State of the K-12 Market report, published by educational marketing services firm MDR. Neal has an MBA from Columbia University and BA from Trinity College.

"Noah Text is a wonderful solution for struggling readers. At first glance, it looks relatively simple, yet there is a lot of research and real-world experience behind it. In an ideal world, all publishers would do Noah Text editions of the books on their lists that appeal to kids -- or to anyone who struggles with reading."

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Jim Griffin

President, New Century Education Foundation

Jim is the Founder of New Century Education Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping teachers succeed with deeply underperforming populations by providing evidence-based educational software. Currently, New Century serves reentry facilities and adult prisons in New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, and Texas, as well as juvenile justice facilities in Florida, Alabama, Texas, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Jim is also the former Chairman of Horizon Communities in Prison, which has operations in five prisons in Florida and three in Ohio. In addition, Jim serves on the Board of Metro YMCAs of the Oranges, where he established programs serving at-risk students in Orange, NJ, including one program funded by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Prior to founding New Century in 2002, Jim was Vice President of Private Equity at Lepercq, de Neuflize & Company, in New York City. Jim has an MBA from Columbia University and BA from Dartmouth College.

"I support Noah Text as an advisory member because there is an enormous need for effective intervention with the very high percentage of our incarcerated users who are struggling and dyslexic readers. Moreover, the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity confirms that symptoms of dyslexia represent up to 80% of learning disabilities. Noah Text represents hope for those who struggle with the orthography of the English language."

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Michael Jay

CEO, MatchMaker Education Labs, PBC

A long-time educator, Michael taught Science in CA; he also worked in developing the first set of technology in the Curriculum materials for the State of CA. In 1986 he joined Apple Computer's Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) research and development project and later served as Apple's Education Competitive Analyst and lead major curriculum-related marketing initiatives. Michael left Apple Computer to pursue the development of a technology of his design that dynamically indicates the relationship between curriculum, curriculum standards, and instructional resources for which he received patents in 1998. As founder of Mediaseek Technologies, Inc., he laid the groundwork for many of the innovations in standards implementation and instructional resource integration that followed. He continued the development of tools for children and educators as Director of Education Business Development at N2H2 and VP and GM of Brainium Technologies, where he worked on challenges associated with sustainable 1:1 computing in schools. Michael served on the Board of the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association for thirteen years. He served on the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Education Board for ten years. He and the organization were tasked with managing the proof of concept associated with the implementation of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI). Michael is in the second of a two-year term as Chair of the IEEE ICICLE (Industry Connections Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering), where he is shepherding the emergence of the new field of Learning Engineering. Michael received the National Science Supervisors' Association (NSSA) Presidential Award for Continuing and Outstanding Service to the Science Education Community, the Association of American Publishers PreK-12 Learning Group Ambassador Award, the Ed Tech Impact Award presented by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the 'Making It Happen' award from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Michael currently leads a talented team of professionals at MatchMaker Education Labs, PBC. They are revolutionizing how we learn and educate through their development of a new B2B offering that allows companies to develop solutions that learners and educators can use to traverse the complex relationships between curriculum, competencies, and resources with ease. Michael earned a Master's in Education from the University of CA, Berkeley, and a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of CA, Santa Cruz.

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Kevin Kavanaugh

President, New Jersey Correctional Education Association
Director, Correctional Education Association, Region 1

Kevin is a retired Correctional Educator with over 40 years of experience in education. Kevin began his career in juvenile corrections as a physical education and elementary education teacher, where he designed, developed, and taught an outdoor education program at the Lloyd McCorkle Training School for Boys and Girls in Skillman, NJ. Kevin later became a high school math, science, GED, physical education, and health teacher at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Yardville, NJ. He was promoted to Assistant Supervisor of Education at Garden State, where he supervised thirty-six employees who worked in both academic and vocational education. In 2008, he was promoted to Supervisor of Education at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown, NJ. Since 1994, Kevin has been active in the Correctional Education Association, where he has been involved in attending and also presenting hundreds of educational workshops. Even though he retired in 2012, he continues to be the NJ Chapter President of the Correctional Education Association, the Region 1 Correctional Education Association Deputy Director, and since July 2019, the Region 1 Correctional Education Association Director, which represents NJ, NY, PA, MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, and eastern Canada. Kevin has coordinated 20 state trainings and several regional conferences for correctional educators. Kevin has an MS in Outdoor Education from Northern Illinois University and a BS in Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education from Ramapo College of NJ.

"I keep abreast of current correctional education issues so that the Region 1 and the New Jersey Chapter of Correctional Education Association can provide the best possible training for all interested correctional educators. My belief is that the more equipped the teacher is, the better the educational outcome will be for their students. Through my attendance at hundreds of educational workshops, I have reviewed numerous teaching strategies and products. I am especially impressed with Sarah Blodgett's extensive research, determination, and tenacity in the development of Noah Text, first, as a method to assist her dyslexic son to read and then in the creation of a series of books for struggling readers. Sarah has presented at several Correctional Education Association conferences at the state, regional, and national level, where she has shared her research and books with the educators in attendance. The feedback from the correctional educators who used these books with their students has been very positive. With her recent collaboration with New Century Education and Michigan State University, Noah Text has developed a very comprehensive digital curriculum. I am very honored to be a Noah Text Advisory Board Member."

Matt Keller

Matt Keller

EdTech and Publishing Executive
Cosmo Consulting Group, LLC

Matt is a strategic, innovative leader with deep experience in the edtech and education publishing market. He led the development of PebbleGo used by millions of elementary students, Capstone Interactive Library, and Capstone Rewards (customer loyalty program). Matt's experience also includes strategic planning and leadership, market segmentation, product positioning, education technology, product management, marketing communications, and sales channel management.

Past Board Members

Noah Text

Robert Barkman, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus at Springfield College

For decades, Bob has had a passion for understanding the larger role that pattern recognition plays in learning, which has been the focus of his research and teaching. Bob held a dual appointment in Biology/Chemistry and Education at Springfield College, where he taught and did research. His research interests included the ecology and culture of marine fish, which he studied as a research scientist for the Federal Marine Laboratory in Rhode Island. He was part of a team effort that discovered a new technique to record the early growth and ecology of fish from a pattern of rings laid down in a boney structure of the skull. The technique is now performed routinely in marine laboratories worldwide. He served as department chair and principal investigator of several multi-year grants to develop new ways of teaching science funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. He served as Project Director for Harvard's Technical Education Research Center of an NSF project to enhance teacher understanding of science and the pedagogy to teach it. He was honored to receive a Governor's (MA) Spirit of Innovation award in Education and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership award for his work. Bob is the author of A Singular Perspective, and the upcoming book See the World Through Patterns. Bob is also a regular contributor to Psychology Today. Bob earned his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Cincinnati. He did his Post-Doctoral Research at the University of Michigan and earned a BA in Liberal Studies from Northwestern University and BA in Science and English at Wittenberg University.