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
Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Melodee was a teacher in general and special education classrooms across diverse settings for eleven years. Currently, she is a Research Assistant Professor at Boston University and an educational consultant and professional development specialist. She also works in the private sector providing remediation, evaluation, consulting, and advocacy services for students with learning differences. She is particularly interested in 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.
Ted Ratliff, MS, MA
B.A., Human Development, Boston College
M.S., Learning Behavior Specialist, Northern Illinois University
M.A., Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College
Ted earned a B.A. in Human Development from Boston College in 2007. In 2012, he earned his M.S. as an LBS1 in Special Education, and followed that by completing his M.A. in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College 2014. Ted has been an impassioned educator of students with learning differences since he started at Hyde Park Day School in 2009. He was a lead teacher in a first through third grade classroom for HPDS from 2012-2016, before moving to the University of Chicago Laboratory School in 2016, where he is currently teaching first and second grade. Ted has also been doing extensive private work for families and students with learning differences, through the collegiate level, since 2009.