Who We Are
About Our Team
Carol Dimas | President/Founder: Educational Advocate
During her twenty-five-plus years of experience in education, Carol began teaching children with special needs in the public school system. She helped pilot a program that involved a collaboration between the school district and Loyola University Department of Psychiatry to better serve culturally disadvantaged youth in the area of mental health. She was also the chair of the Special Education committee to develop a district-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Program.
Sara Platenberg | Assistant Director of Advocacy - D.C. area offices
Her 12 plus years of experience include: Gifted and Talented Educator in Fairfax County; Private tutor in written expression/language and SAT prep, and Educational Advocate. Sara is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates, the National Association for Gifted Children, and is a listed provider in the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids.
Cassie Clark | Director
Dyslexia Center: Educational Advocate
Cassie Clark holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Special Education with a concentration in dyslexia. Cassie is a Certified Wilson Dyslexia Therapist (W.D.T.) and CERI Certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (C-SLDS). Her journey with Wilson began as a parent of a child with dyslexia and has ignited her passion to help support students with language-based learning disabilities.
Cassie is a strong believer in “Literacy for All” and is dedicated to helping students achieve success in school and beyond. Cassie provides private, individualized Wilson instruction, along with expertise on dyslexia rights and advocacy. Cassie is a Certified Special Education Dyslexia Advocate, approved provider for both the International Dyslexia Association & Everyone Reading Illinois, and a member of the Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates & the Learning Disabilities Association.
Deb Hillstrom | Educational Advocate
As a teacher, Deb worked in both self-contained and general education classrooms to modify curricula and adapt teaching and prompting strategies to accommodate the needs of individual learners. She worked with teachers to facilitate the appropriate and successful inclusion of children with special needs into general education settings. As a BCBA, Deb trained parents and school staff in implementing individualized, research-based teaching and prompting methods, data collection strategies, and developmentally-appropriate, measurable goals.
Deb has experience conducting a variety of formal and informal assessments and utilizing quantitative measures to develop skill acquisition and behavior reduction targets appropriate for the individualized needs of children. Deb is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates.
Amanda Amburn | Educational Advocate
Amanda’s life experiences ignited a desire to support families in a different way, leading her to pursue a career in advocacy and consulting. Through her career to date and personal experience, Amanda has also gained extensive knowledge of educational law, as well as therapeutic and residential treatment for social-emotional, communication, and learning needs. She has a special interest and expertise in working with our families whose children are looking toward transition. Amanda is excited to merge her personal and professional expertise to help families in need.
Amanda holds a professional educator license in Illinois and as a Learning Behavior Specialist and Educational Administrator. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership. Amanda is passionate about collaboratively working towards positive outcomes for all students. Amanda is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates
Stephanie Dawson | Educational Advocate & Educational Diagnostician
Stephanie Dawson is a Virginia State-Certified Teacher in Special Education K-12. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with extensive Masters level work in Special Education. She has worked in the field of Special Education for more than 20 years as a Special Education teacher, Educational Diagnostician, and Special Education Designee in the public school settings.
As a Diagnostician, Stephanie will be administering our comprehensive reading assessments and screenings. Stephanie supervised teams of Special Educators, and developed and implemented ongoing training sessions for both Special Education and General Education staff alike. In addition to being a Registered Behavior Technician, Stephanie also brings the expertise of having her certification in Trauma-Informed Care through RACSB to support our clients impacted by trauma. Stephanie is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates.
Cheryl Fauth | Educational Advocate
Cheryl has served in a variety of educational settings, including: Lecturer of Education, Elementary Educator, Gifted Education Specialist, Pearson EdTPA Scorer, Private Tutor, and Educational Advocate. Cheryl is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates.
BrieAnne Rader | Educational Advocate
She is passionate about working collaboratively to ensure that students are met with an education that is purposeful and calculated according to their unique circumstances. BrieAnne is a member of the Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates.
Marisa Saxen | Educational Advocate
Jay Smith | Educational Consultant
Kathy Savage | Intake Coordinator/Community Outreach
Laura McLean | Educational Advocate (Retired)
Laura performs most of the student observations for our clients which helps to support our staff in advocating for students as we realize the importance of seeing the student in his or her educational environment. Laura has attended training through Wrightslaw and her experience and expertise make her a valuable member of our team. Laura is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates.