Riverside School Announces the Addition of New Faculty Members
Monday, June 29th, 2020

NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. –– Riverside School, Virginia’s most trusted school for students with dyslexia in kindergarten through eighth grade, has announced the hiring of Danielle Nagy, Chelsea Garrison, Erin Reardon and Kara Smith as new faculty members for the 2020-21 school year.

Ms. Nagy will be a classroom teacher, while Ms. Garrison, Ms. Reardon and Ms. Smith will work as Language Fundamentals instructors.

Ms. Nagy (pictured right) arrives at Riverside after spending the past year at Carroll School in Waltham, Massachusetts, a school for students diagnosed with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. There, she was a classroom teacher and Orton-Gillingham (O-G) tutor. She used this approach with students in first through third grade. The O-G Approach is the cornerstone of Riverside’s teaching philosophy, and Ms. Nagy earned Associate Level certification through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators while at Carroll School. In the classroom, she
implemented language arts, math lessons and center work.

Prior to arriving at Carroll School, Ms. Nagy was employed as a teaching aide at The Ohio State University Child Care Program. Part of her responsibilities entailed helping staff members execute on classroom activities in the infant, toddler and preschool age groups. Additionally, at Ohio State, Ms. Nagy worked in the Office of Student Life Department of Recreational Sports. During that time, Ms. Nagy was a camp leader, community programs office assistant, group fitness room monitor and youth and family instructor where she dealt with youth spanning a variety of age groups.

Ms. Nagy owns a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ms. Smith joins Riverside after working for the past year as an Exceptional Education Teacher’s Aide at Springfield Park Elementary School in Glen Allen. In her role, she was active in planning and implementing differentiated lessons as well as leading small groups and collaborating with teachers in writing Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs). These days, in furthering her education, Ms. Smith is participating in Riverside School’s Orton-Gillingham training, an important step because Riverside faculty use O-G to enhance students’ development.

For a nearly three-year span, Ms. Smith (pictured right) was a preschool music teacher at Derbyshire Preschool in Richmond. Ms. Smith is no stranger to the central Virginia education scene. During her time at Hermitage High School, her responsibilities entailed being a Functional Academic Teacher. Her duties entailed facilitating academic and personal growth among a special needs population that included students with disabilities, autism and young people facing emotional challenges. Ms. Smith has led several reading groups.

Counted among her other teaching experiences are stints as a third grade teacher at Howard Road Academy in Washington, D.C. (2008-09); a Comprehensive Development classroom teacher at Lake Forest Middle School in Cleveland, Tennessee (2007-08); and an Exceptional Education Inclusion Teacher at Charleston Elementary School (2006-07), also in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Ms. Smith, a Glen Allen resident, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education and Elementary Education as well as a Master of Education degree from Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee.

Ms. Garrison has a deep and varied business background as well as a touchpoint to Riverside. In January, she participated in Riverside’s Associate Practicum program. Ms. Garrison is currently working under the supervision of Riverside LF instructor Ann-Marie Lundmark, Fellow-in-Training, to put her O-G knowledge into practice with a student. All told, Ms. Garrison is on track to reach Associate Level Certification with the Academy by the end of the year.

In addition to her interest in education, Ms. Garrison (pictured right) has a strong business, operations and IT background, having founded her own energy consulting company, Monument Energy, in January 2013. She’s been at the forefront of designing, maintaining and creating databases, implementing forward pricing models, and managing and integrating data, among her other skills.

She has also developed and enhanced her business acumen in various business integration roles as an employee at Richmond-based Century Distribution Systems (2015-19), where she actively undertook varied business management consulting initiatives. Ms. Garrison spent three years (2009-12) as a senior energy consultant in the Richmond branch of Customized Energy Solutions where she played an active role in enhancing the growth of the business in a variety of ways, including operationally and technologically. Also counted in her diverse background is a five-year tenure (2003-08) as a senior portfolio analyst at Old Dominion Electric Cooperative.

A Moseley (Richmond area) resident, Ms. Garrison holds a BSc in Mathematics from Royal Holloway University of London (England) and an MSc in Financial Mathematics from Kings College in London.

Ms. Reardon brings valuable experience interfacing with children and adults of diverse backgrounds. In arriving at Riverside, Ms. Reardon has completed the Associate Level coursework through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She plans to pursue Associate Level certification through the Academy.

More than two years ago, Ms. Reardon (pictured right) founded Decoding Dyslexia Military. The mission of the entity is to provide education, advocacy and legislative support to military families with children who have dyslexia. A member of Decoding Dyslexia Virginia, she started the organization after recognizing a need for a military-centered group that has traditionally been underrepresented in federal and state legislation and among local and national representatives. Ms. Reardon, along with a variety of advocacy groups, are working to help raise awareness about
dyslexia and its impact on children and families, especially among those
with a service background in the armed forces of the United States.

Her desire to help military families and servicemembers is deep-rooted. Ms. Reardon served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army (2002-05) in Fort Rucker, Alabama, where she was responsible for the accountability and administrative functions of more than 600 soldiers, among her other duties.

She and her husband were the epitome of a travelling military family. After Ms. Reardon left the Army in 2005 to raise the couple’s children, her husband continued on in his career as an Army officer. They moved 11 times in 17 years, but have now established roots in Midlothian.

On an educational level, Ms. Reardon homeschooled the couple’s two elementary aged children, both of whom have dyslexia. She has also taught some classes for other homeschooled children

Prior to being commissioned in the Army, Ms. Reardon worked at Hillcrest Educational Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (1998-2002). There, she provided support and guidance to children with significant emotional and behavioral diagnoses in a residential treatment program.

In addition to her teaching experience, today Ms. Reardon owns her own photography business in Midlothian. Ms. Reardon is also active in the central Virginia community as a volunteer, aiding at Clover Hill Elementary School, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center Virginia (dyslexia presenter), Saint Francis Medical Center and 4H of Chesterfield County.

Ms. Reardon earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island. She has undertaken continuing education opportunities at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, and John Tyler Community College in Richmond.

Riverside’s 2020-21 school year is scheduled to start on Aug. 31, 2020.

Riverside School transforms the lives of students with dyslexia and similar language-based learning differences while supporting a community of highly trained teachers and staff who specialize in educating these students to their highest potential.



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