Call Us: 417-269-0259 | | Turner Center 1000 East Primrose St. Suite 540, Springfield, MO 65807



Copyright © 2018 Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning

Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning is a 501(c)3, educational not-for-profit serving people with significant reading, spelling and writing difficulties, including people with dyslexia.  

Meet our Team

Executive Director

Noel Leif is a passionate educator focused on educational development of children with dyslexia and learning differences using multi-sensory teaching methods.


She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning.  In 2015, with the aide of CoxHealth, she founded the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning. In 2016, Noel was appointed to serve on Missouri's Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia.


Noel has been a Dyslexia tutor specialist for 10 years.  She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist.  She is an Accredited Instructor in Teaching Take Flight, a multi-sensory teaching system for dyslexic students.   She has completed training in Orton-Gillingham and the Wilson Reading System.   


Prior to Noel’s focus on dyslexic students, she spent 13 years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Shanghai, China.  She spent 2 years as a Deaf & Hard of Hearing Specialist.


As a specialist, teacher, and mother of 3 dyslexic children, Noel understands the challenges in the classroom, the expectations of parents, and the personal needs of children with learning differences.

Amber Perryman, ALT in Training

Allison Buehler, ALT in Training

Allison Buehler, is a recently retired Springfield Public Schools teacher who considers working at the SDLC an utmost privilege.  She strongly believes the Center is a much needed resource to provide specialized instruction to students identified with dyslexia, as well as, assisting parents with advocacy for their child in the school setting. All of her 27 years of teaching in Missouri’s Public School System were in special education. Her teaching tenure included Jenkins and Aurora  R-8 systems prior to taking a position with Springfield R-12 in 1995.


Miss Allison shares that some of her most joyful days include those “a-ha” student moments when she sees a student confidently using the reading skills they have acquired from the Center’s specialized curriculum. Her favorite quote is by Lou Holtz, "Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”  Miss Allison has learned from her students that perseverance and a positive attitude truly are the keys to academic success.

Allison Tourville, ALT in Training

Allison Tourville taught in the Willard School District for 11 years. She taught in the cross-categorical classroom at both the elementary and high school levels. She most recently provided reading services at Willard High School. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Arts degree in Special Education from Missouri State University. She completed the Take Flight Teacher Training Program through the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning in 2018.

Allison is passionate about increasing reading skills among struggling readers and advocating for students with special needs.

Allison enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves camping, kayaking, reading, and attending concerts.

Cris Spinelli, ALP in Training

Cris Spinelli has worked with children in many different educational capacities for over 20 years. She taught various health topics to students in NE Missouri as a multi-county health educator. She has volunteered at all of her children's’ schools, including tutoring reading at Sequiota Elementary. It was then that she discovered the positive impact of one-on-one reading instruction. 


Cris has a B.S. in Health Science from Truman State University and has recently trained in the Take Flight Program. She loves working at the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Reading, helping students gain reading confidence and reaching their fullest potential. 


She has been married to Dr. Spinelli, a physician at CoxHealth, for 20 years. They have three busy children, two dogs, two fish and a lizard. She enjoys reading, running, family time and laughing as often as possible. 

Diana Thompson, CALT

Diana Thompson has been married for 35 years.  She has three grown children and three grandchildren.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Education/Elementary Education from Drury University, and her Masters of Arts in Education/Elementary Education, from Lindenwood University. 


She is an Academic Language Practitioner- trained at the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning.


She has taught second grade, third grade, and currently is a Reading Recovery/Title 1 Reading Teacher at Willard South Elementary.  


She loves working at the Dyslexia Center and helping to meet individual needs of the students.

Jayna Bruns, Office Manager

Jayna has worked in the non-profit sector throughout her professional career in youth services and healthcare. She provides general administrative support for the organization, including acting as the point of reference for outside inquiries and managing marketing efforts, online presence, and scheduling. Jayna specializes in communications and marketing, and is thrilled to be part of the SCDL team.

Jayna graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Communication with a minor in Art History from the University of Missouri. She was born and raised in small town mid-Missouri, and is proud to call the Ozarks home. Jayna's favorite place to be is spending time with her husband, Nathan, and two young sons.

Jennifer Ross, CALT

Jennifer Ross has been in education/coaching for  23 years.  Responsibilities have included teaching physical education, health, coaching girls basketball and for the past seven years a para in special education. 


Jennifer has a Associates of Applied Science in Horticulture/Turf Management, a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education/Health, and most recently trained in the Take Flight Program. Jennifer is our Office Coor


Jennifer has been married for seventeen years and has a dog named Lynus.  Her and her husband participate in obstacle course racing throughout the year and she loves to eat PIZZA.  Jennifers' favorite super hero is Iron Man and her favorite movie is the Goonies.

Karen Collins, CALT

Karen Collins just completed her 25th year of teaching in the Willard school district. She has taught Early Childhood Special Education Pre-school, Kindergarten, and First grade. 


For the past 10 years, she has been a Reading Recovery teacher and most recently trained in the Take Flight program.


She has been married 25 years and has two children age 20 and 17. Karen's passion to help students realize their true potential and teach to how each student learns!

Leisa Hicks, ALT in Training

Leisa Hicks is a recently retired public school teacher. She taught in the Dallas County R-1 Schools for 25 years. During her time in the district, she taught third grade, Reading Recovery, and served as a Title 1 Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach.


Leisa has a B.S. and M.Ed. in Elementary Education and is certified in Reading K-12. She recently trained in the Intro to Take Flight program and looks forward to earning her CALT certification.


Leisa is married and has three grown children. She and her husband live on a farm in Buffalo and raise beef cattle.

Maria Monier, ALP in Training

Maria Monier is in her 27th year of teaching.  She spent her first 8 years teaching first grade in Springfield Public Schools and is currently teaching second grade at Willard Central.  Most of her teaching career has been in first grade.


Maria strives to help students in and out of her classroom.  During the school year, she tutors struggling readers before the school day begins.  She has found the Take Flight Program to be very beneficial when working with a student one on one.  You may also find her volunteering at Isabel’s House during the summer to assist At Risk kids that are going through difficult times.


She has been married for 34 years.  She has two grown children and two grandchildren.  She loves spending time with her family!

Marla McKan, CALT, QI in training, Assistant Director of Operations

Marla works full-time for SCDL leading Take Flight training and development efforts, and is responsible for expanding services, particularly Dyslexia Evaluations.

She has a BS in Elementary Education, M. ED in Administration, and is certified in SPED K-12. She worked as an educator in both Georgia and Missouri teaching kindergarten, first and second grades and Title 1 Reading before starting at SCDL full-time. She is a CALT and is currently working on her Qualified Instructor certification through Take Flight.  


Marla has a husband and two children.  Her son is in college and travels as a Professional BMX racer/trainer.  Her daughter is in High School and is a dancer, artist, and performer.

Mary Swan, ALT in Training

Mary Swann taught for 27 years in the Willard School District.  She was privileged to have been a classroom teacher for 15 years and a reading specialist for 12 years.  She holds two degrees from Southwest Missouri State: a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Education.


She enjoys spending time with her family, quilting, gardening and reading.  Teaching with the Take Flight comprehensive program is meaningful because students are developing the quality of self-confidence when taking on literacy learning.  


"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb

Terry Cramer, Math Instructor

Terry is a retiree from the Springfield Public School system. She is certified in elementary education K-8, and also secondary Math. She spent the majority of her years teaching middle school math. She also spent a few years teaching first grade, and some years as a reading recovery teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education, as well as a Master of Science in Education Administration.

She had done some sporadic math tutoring, but was very excited when Noel invited her to be the newest member of the Center team, and the first to do math tutoring. She has found it a great place to be associated with where everyone is excited about helping students be better at whatever they need. As a math teacher it has always been her goal for her students to leave her liking math a little more, or at least hating it a little less.

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