Laura J. Thompson, AM, LCSW
A.M., Social Work
Laura is a native of Illinois. She earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996, followed by a Master’s in Social Work at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. In graduate school, Laura focused on clinical and school social work, which led her to internships in schools in the northern suburbs and the west side of Chicago. Working extensively with students with severe emotional, behavioral and learning disorders helped her to understand the social and emotional impacts of living with learning challenges. Laura joined the Hyde Park Day School, a school for bright kids with learning challenges in 2000 and remained there until opening her private practice in 2010.
Melodee A. Walker, Ph.D.
B.A., Elementary Education, Reading Endorsement, University of Northern Iowa
M.Ed., Learning Disabilities (K-12), Calvin College
Ph.D., Special Education, Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders, University of Texas at Austin
During her doctoral studies, Melodee served on grant-funded research teams at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas examining the impact of multi-component reading interventions, as well as investigating systems and programs as they relate to improved outcomes for students with disabilities across the nation. She also participated in the preparation of preservice special education teachers as an adjunct professor at Texas State University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Melodee was a teacher in general and special education classrooms across diverse settings for eleven years. She has also worked in the private sector providing remediation, evaluation, consulting, and advocacy services for students with learning differences. Her primary research interests include dyslexia, effective reading instruction for students with reading difficulties, schooling practices, and observation studies, with an eye toward increasing the alignment of prevailing practices with research-based instructional practices.
Keren M. Faling, M.Ed.
B.A. English, The University of Chicago
M.Ed. Special Education (K-12), The University of Illinois at Chicago
Keren has worked in social services or education her entire working life, currently as the Lower School Learning Coordinator at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She first became interested in the field of special education while advocating for children in residential and foster care. After completing her M.Ed., she worked in the Chicago Public Schools before joining Hyde Park Day School (HPDS). In her tenure at HPDS she served as a teacher, transition specialist (transitioning students back to inclusive school settings), and principal. At the Laboratory Schools, Keren coordinates services for students with learning differences – observing in classrooms, consulting and planning with teachers and academic specialists, completing specialized assessment, and providing small group intervention. She was instrumental in starting the Lab School's Eye to Eye Chapter – a mentoring program for students with learning differences - starting in the Fall of 2016. Keren also taught the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Project's Differentiation Course for the Secondary Cohort Winters 2012, 2013, and 2014).
Retired Software Integration Manager
University of Illinois Medical Center
Jon has worked in a wide range of occupations from staff at Chicago Urban League, Director of a Model Cities college recruitment program for inner city students, community program development and community organization consultant, and a successful career in information technology. He is a great grandfather who is interested in making a better world for his grandchildren.