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AIM Institute for Learning & Research

Institute Leadership & Staff

Patricia M. Roberts
Executive Director

Pat Roberts, is a co-founder of AIM and current Executive Director of the AIM Institute. She is is both a passionate educator and successful businesswoman. Her lifelong commitment to education began as a graduate of West Chester University where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. Her career began in the laboratory school at West Chester University where she taught children in research-based early childhood programs in both regular and special education settings. A successful business woman, she incorporated three businesses in the education and technology spaces before joining with Nancy Blair to found AIM in 2006.

Read Pat Roberts' Biography


 
Nancy Blair

Nancy Blair
Associate Director

Nancy Blair is a co-founder of AIM and current Associate Director of the AIM Institute. She started her career as an intensive care nurse after completing graduate training in Nurse Anesthesia at the University of Pittsburgh and becoming licensed as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).  Nancy believes her training in medicine has prepared her to have a deeper understanding of the recent scientific studies where functional MRI's have shown the importance and the critical need for explicit and systematic evidence-based instruction for children with learning disabilities. She holds her Level I and Level II Wilson certification and is honored to be a Wilson Level I Trainer and is a Wilson Dyslexia Therapist. In June 2006, her dream of helping many more students was realized when she collaborated to start AIM Academy.  She sat on the PBIDA Board of Trustee from 2004-2010 and Co-Chaired the PBIDA annual conference in 2009 and 2010.  She has also been selected to serve on the IDA Program Review and Accreditation team.

Read Nancy Blair's Biography


 

Karen Keesey
Director of Educational Outreach

Karen Keesey, the Director of Educational Outreach at AIM Institute for Learning and Research, has diverse background working in both non-profit and for profit organizations. She is the former Program Director at a Residential home for adjudicated teenage girls where she had oversight of the educational program including an onsite secondary school program, as well as a full GED program. Prior to coming to AIM, Karen was the Director of Staffing Management at Careers Express, a full services staffing solution firm that serviced large and small organizations through the Philadelphia metropolitan and suburban areas. She holds a BS in Business Management, a secondary education certification and a MSA in Human Resources.



Deborah Lynam
Director of Partnerships & Engagement

Deborah Lynam is the Director of Partnerships & Engagement at AIM Institute for Learning & Research. She is currently chair of the NJ State Special Education Advisory Council and also serves on the Family Engagement Advisory Board for the National Center on Improving Literacy. She is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia–NJ. She previously worked as a Family Resource Specialist for New Jersey’s federally-funded Parent Training & Information Center and is the parent of three children, two of whom are dyslexic. Deborah served on the NJ Department of Education’s Dyslexia Handbook Committee and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by the NJ Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in 2013. She is an IMSLEC certified Orton Gillingham Teacher.


 

Suruchi Keenheel
Director of Instructional Coaching and Training

Suruchi Keenheel is the Director of Instructional Coaching and Training at AIM Institute for Learning and Research. Suruchi began her career in education in 2006 in Washington, D.C., where she taught reading, writing, and mathematics in K-6th grade. She also designed and implemented the first inclusion program in the school’s history, introducing the special education department to the academic and socio-emotional benefits of collaborative planning and quality co-teaching for ALL students. In 2009, Suruchi had the unique opportunity to co-found a charter school in West Philadelphia; she started out as the coordinator for special education, interventions, and assessments, and later took on the role of Assistant Principal. As the Director of Instructional Coaching and Training at the AIM Institute for Learning and Research, she leads the development and execution of training and coaching programs for elementary educators and school administrators to provide effective, evidence-based literacy instruction. Suruchi earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Linguistics, and Spanish at the University of Michigan and her Masters of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in learning disabilities at American University.


Martha Ankeny

Martha Langley Ankeny
Director of Emerging Learning Environments

Martha Ankeny is the Director of Emerging Learning Environments at the AIM Institute for Learning & Research. She joined AIM in November 2018 after working for 17 years at Thomas Jefferson University where she served as the Director of Learning Initiatives in the Center for Teaching and Learning. In her 28-year career as an educational media specialist, instructional and user interface designer, and content development specialist, Martha's projects have been in education, marketing and sales, museum exhibits, and training. She has been an independent contractor and has worked in high schools and universities. At AIM, Martha is helping in the development and production of the AIM PATHWAYS online learning platform. Martha earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Education from LaSalle University and her Masters of Education degree in Educational Media from Temple University.


 

Nancy Hennessy
Professional Practices Consultant
Nancy Hennessy, a past president of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), is an experienced teacher and administrator. While in public schools, she provided leadership in the development of innovative programming for special needs students and an award winning professional development initiative. She has delivered keynote addresses, workshops and training to educators nationally and internationally. Nancy co-authored Module 6 of LETRS, Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension (2nd edition) with Louisa Moats and the chapter, Word Learning and Vocabulary Instruction, in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Skills (3rd edition). She is the 2011 recipient of IDA’s Margaret Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award. Nancy has served as a national trainer for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) and is currently the Professional Practices Consultant at AIM Academy.



Becky Jensen
Instructional Developer and Trainer

Becky Jensen is an experienced teacher, trainer and administrator. She taught in a public high school for many years and has twenty years of experience teaching children with dyslexia and training teachers in Structured Literacy instruction. She served as Director of an after-school tutoring center and was, most recently, Director of Teacher Training at an independent school for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. She is the parent of three children, one who is dyslexic. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Illinois State University and her Master of Arts Degree in Reading, PK-12, from the University of Nebraska, Kearney. She is a Reading Specialist and holds a number of certifications for teaching and training teachers in the implementation of Structured Literacy including Certified Academic Language Therapist and Certified Dyslexia Therapist.



Kristina McGuirk
Education Director & Wilson Trainer
Kris is a dedicated educator and administrator as well as an experienced reading and special education teacher. She was a member of the original team of eight mothers who worked diligently to help bring the vision of a school for students with language-based learning disabilities, with research-based best practices, to reality. Kris has been an integral part of AIM Academy since its inception in 2006 and has served as the Education Director since that time. She has designed curriculum, developed educational plans for students, maintained licensure, supported teachers, and taught students with language-based learning disabilities in a unique arts-based environment. As the school has grown and developed, her responsibilities have also evolved to focus on the second mission of AIM: to disseminate best-practices to educators by providing access to the latest research-based curriculum, technology and training.” Kris is a certified Wilson® Partner Trainer and has trained hundreds of teachers in the Wilson Reading System®, Just Words® and Fundations®. She has had extensive professional development opportunities in research-based best practices including training in many of the LETRS® modules and RAVE-O®. Kris has also served as adjunct faculty for several years at St. Joseph’s University in the Master’s of Special Education distinguished by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for meeting the standards outlined in their Knowledge and Practice Standards.



Carol Purcell
Executive Administrative Assistant

Carol Purcell is the Executive Administrative Assistant at the AIM Institute for Learning & Research. Her passion for empowering others has provided an administrative career that spans over 20 years in both corporate and non-profit environments, in such industries as banking, healthcare, insurance, IT, and social services. Her ability to stay focused and highly organized keeps her team on task. She holds a BA in Business Management from Monmouth University. She is a Board Member for Camp Onas, Ottsville PA and participates on the Advancement Committee and currently working on a Capital Campaign.