Brenda Mackaness began her Orton Gillingham experience at Trident Academy, a school designed specifically for students who learn differently. For five years, she was a LEAD teacher with the responsibilities to remediate reading and writing skills to students in small group settings, during both the school year and their Summer Enrichment Program. As an employee in the Special Services Department at Johnson & Wales University, she has helped college students gain study skills to pass challenging courses and eventually obtain their diplomas. She has worked with students at West Ashley Middle School, where she volunteered her time teaching reading skills before and after regular school hours.
She is currently employed at James Island Charter High School as a Reading Specialist and an inclusion co-teacher where she is helping students meet the requirements for their English class by effectively differentiating and individualizing the English teacher’s instruction. She has also helped students, who have previously failed, pass the state high school proficiency Math and English exams for graduation requirements. She further has helped students who have special needs improve their reading skills from a 2nd/3rd grade level to a 6th-8th grade level.
In 2013, Brenda became a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the highest level of educators within the Academy, and has had tremendous success during her tenure as a therapist. As a Fellow, she has the credentials to train those interested and qualified, the Orton-Gillingham Approach. She has successfully trained a Speech Pathologist to the level of an Associate member, and is currently training public school teachers with the same aspirations of level competency. She has introduced a beginner course for teacher cadets at a charter high school, which has proved to be very popular with National Honor Students who wish to pursue their interest in education at the university and college levels.
With her experience of applying Orton-Gillingham principles to increase academic skills of students of all ages with strong cultural diversities and extreme academic deficits, Brenda's goal is to positively effect every student with whom she has the opportunity to work. Her passion is to plant a seed of love for reading and writing in every student. But more importantly, Brenda would like to give each student an opportunity to experience not only success in an academic environment, but a belief that they can be successful in whatever endeavor they pursue outside the academic world.