JoAnna is the parent of a young adult and a college student with learning disabilities. She has been involved with LDA since 2002. In 2005 JoAnna with her family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She became active in the Special Education PTA, served on her school district’s Special Needs Advisory Council, and served on its 504 Working Group formed to implement the changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008. She is President of the LDA of North Carolina, Chair of the national LDA Advocacy Committee, and one of two LDA representatives to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities.
In 2015 JoAnna chaired a national task force on accessibility of test accommodations for adults with learning disabilities who apply to take a high school equivalency exam. JoAnna holds a B.A. and J.D. from Georgetown University, and, although she no longer practices law, is a member in good standing of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars.
John Willson received his undergraduate degree in Sociology Texas State
University, and a Masters of Science in Outdoor Therapeutic Recreation
from Aurora University. John is the immediate past president of the
Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of North Carolina. He has served
on several national committees for LDA. In addition, he is currently on
the National board of CHADD.
John has spent 20 years working in youth programs with an emphasis on youth diagnosed with LD and AD/HD. He is currently the Executive Director
of SOAR (an adventure program specifically serving youth diagnosed with LD and AD/HD). He has lead hundreds of adventure courses in North Carolina,
Florida, Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, Maine, Costa Rica, and Belize.
In addition to his responsibilities with LDA, CHADD and SOAR, he actively presents to teachers, parents and professionals at local, state and
national conferences. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at Western Carolina University and Mars Hill College teaching Outdoor
Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation, and Leadership courses. His certifications include Wilderness First Responder, PADI Rescue Diver,
State licensed Recreation Therapist, and Nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Finally, and most importantly, he and his wife
Dorothie are the proud parents of two magnificent, creative, and strong willed children living with ADHD.
LaRinda was diagnosed with dyslexia in high school, and since then, she has worked to improve the understanding of what dyslexia is, and is not, for those whose lives have been affected by this learning disability. For over twenty-five years she has worked in Public Affairs focusing on matters of healthcare, public safety, and education with legislative and governmental agencies. In addition to serving as Secretary for LDA-NC, she also serves on the Read and Feed Advisory Board, and The Conservation Advisory Council.
LaRinda holds a B.A. degree in Communications from Belmont University, and a M.S. degree in Business Management from Salve Regina University. She is an Alumni Fellow of The Institute of Political Leadership, and Yale University – Women’s Campaign School. LaRinda, and her husband Seth, enjoy being parents to a bright, and beautiful young daughter who just started her adventure into the wonderful world of being an elementary school student.
Arlene Stewart, the mother of two adults with learning and attention issues, recently retired as Director of Student Disability Services at Clemson University, Clemson, SC. She worked in all levels of education from K through college, with the majority of her work in postsecondary education, focusing on transition issues for students with disabilities. In addition, she directed a vocational training program for adults with disabilities, has done in-service training on working with students with LD/ADHD for regular ed teachers in the public schools in western North Carolina and has been instrumental in helping colleges all over North Carolina develop their disability services programs.
Arlene is a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences, she is currently a member of LDAA’s Public Policy Committee and co-chair of the LDAA Education Committee. Along with the current LDANC president, she represents LDAA on the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. She served LDANC as state president two different times. She holds degrees in Education from the University of Maine (B.A.), Western Carolina University (M.A.Ed.; Ed.S.), and Vanderbilt University (Ed.D.).
Pat is the current president of the Learning Disabilities of America and has served as of LDA of NC. She has served as an advocate and a liaison to the North Carolina State Board of Education and the State Legislature. Pat lives in Chapel Hill. Pat has four children, including two sons, who have LD/ADD who benefited from early identification while in preschool. Additionally, she has served on the LDA Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and is a Past President of LDA. Her late husband, Dave, was a professor at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Education who specialized in Early Childhood Education and Special Education.
As an advocate and leader in the field of learning disabilities, Pat is committed to helping parents gain a better understanding of State, and Federal policies, and issues such as Response to Intervention (RtI), Common Core Standards and mandated statewide standardized testing programs.