Decoding Dyslexia Maryland (DDMD) is an unincorporated, grassroots network of parents, students and educators. There are five state leaders and numerous local chapters with local leaders and co-leaders. DDMD is parent-led and includes students, teachers and community partners. Many members and leaders are parents of students with dyslexia who are still "fighting the fight" to access effective reading for their child. At the same time, they are taking action to change reading instruction for students with dyslexia and at risk and struggling readers.
BRIEF HISTORY Decoding Dyslexia Maryland (DDMD) is an unincorporated, grassroots network of parents, students and educators. Founded in 2012 by Laura Schultz and Lisa Blottenberger, DDMD has grown to over 1000 members and 14 regional and local chapters. The group is parent-led and includes students, teachers and community partners who support DDMD’s mission and goals. Many members and leaders are parents of students with dyslexia who want to ensure access to effective reading instruction and interventions for all children who have difficulty learning to read.
LEADERSHIP OVERVIEW Decoding Dyslexia Maryland has a network of State Leaders who volunteer their time to work on issues that impact students with reading difficulties like dyslexia in Maryland public schools. State leaders work closely with local leadership teams on the ground in 14 school districts and regions across Maryland to raise issues and find solutions within local districts. Local chapters often host general meetings, organize special events, and establish relationships with local school district leaders and elected officials. The website has a listing of the local leaders and how to reach them. Most have a Facebook page.
State Leadership Team
Laura Schultz, DDMD Co-Founder
Karleen Spitulnik, DDMD Baltimore County
Janice Lepore, DDMD Baltimore County
Pamela Guest, DDMD Baltimore County
Winifred Winston, DDMD Baltimore City
Lisa Blottenberger, DDMD Co-Founder
Marla Migdal, DDMD Frederick
Winifred Winston, State Leader
From Baltimore City
Winifred A. Winston has worked in education providing career services for more than 10 years. She has worked with non-traditional students and adult learners in higher education as a career coach and adjunct instructor. In addition, she has served as a high school Career Technology and Education, CTE, teacher working with students with disabilities and students in an alternative high school setting.
Winifred is currently the Economic Inclusion Program Coordinator for a local organization to hire residents from targeted zip codes in Baltimore City. In this role, she sees first-hand the impact of how reading difficulties create challenges for adults to secure gainful employment and/or further their education. She is passionate about educating families on dyslexia and the IEP process, as she too, is fighting for her family to receive a free and appropriate public education.
As a city resident committed to service, Winifred also serves on GEDCO’s Community Service Committee, is a Board Member of the Morgan Community Mile, and recently accepted the Presidential Appointment as a Selective Service Board Member for the state of Maryland. Winifred holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Development from Towson University and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Winifred is originally from Brooklyn, New York. However, she arrived in Maryland by way of North Carolina and embraces her southern roots. Winifred and her family reside in Baltimore City in the North East Ramblewood community.
Laura Schultz, Co-founder and DDMD State Leader, from St. Mary's County
Laura Schultz is the parent, daughter, sister and wife of creative and intelligent people with dyslexia. Her daughter is recent graduate of Leonardtown High School and attended public schools in California, Virginia and Maryland.
Recognizing other families were struggling to find appropriate instruction for dyslexia, Laura co-founded a support group for parents of kids with dyslexia in 2011, which led to co-founding Decoding Dyslexia Maryland (DDMD) in 2012 with Lisa Blottenberger.
Laura has a background in public policy and worked for Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley in Washington, D.C. She was the Director of Federal and State Government Relations for the Foodservice & Packaging Institute in Washington, D.C. and led public affairs and government relations teams in Jacksonville, Florida, for Bottary & Partners Public Relations.
Laura recently served as a Family Engagement Board member for the National Center on Improving Literacy and is a stakeholder member of the Dyslexia Working Group with the National Center on Improving Literacy.
Karleen Spitulnik, State Leader
From Baltimore County