Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary Virtual Gala

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities will celebrate its 20th anniversary, and honor Dr. Margie Gillis and Youth Achievement Award winners at a virtual gala on June 11

SKLD Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Dr. Margie Gillis

I am pleased and honored to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities (SKLD) will celebrate its 20th anniversary at a virtual gala, Make Waves, at 7:00 pm on Thursday, June 11.

At this year’s online event, SKLD will honor Margie Gillis, Ed.D. with its first Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Gillis is a dyslexia expert, the president and founder of Literacy How, and author of the Literacy How professional learning series books. She has devoted her professional life to ensuring that teachers have the knowledge and skills to implement research-based practices in the classroom. Dr. Gillis has worked with statewide initiatives in Connecticut to close the reading and achievement gap, collaborated in developing an evidence-based PreK lab school model, and lectures widely on reading and dyslexia. She is a Board member and former President of the Dyslexia Society of CT, and a former Board member and President, as well as a co-founder of SKLD.

Dr. Gillis holds a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College in sociology and elementary education, a master’s degree in special education from the University of Connecticut, a doctorate in special education from the University of Louisville and is a Certified Academic Language Therapist. She is the former president of the CT Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, a board member of the New Alliance Foundation, a member of the editorial board for the Reading League journal and a professional advisor for Understood and ReadWorks.

Dr. Gillis says, “I am pleased and honored to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award from Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. I’m blessed to have partnered with so many passionate and dedicated individuals and organizations over the years, including Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, to help everyone learn to read.”

Also at the gala, the 2020 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Awards will be presented to student winners hailing from across the United States. The major award is for $1,000. These awards recognize the outstanding strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and/or ADHD despite their struggles in school, and are named in honor of Dr. Fred Epstein, the renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who spoke often about his own learning disabilities.

The event sponsors include Leader Sponsor Fusion Academy Fairfield and Fusion Academy Greenwich; and Partner Sponsors: The Sari and Jay Canell Charitable Gift Fund, Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, Fairfield County Bank, Literacy How, and the Sasco River Center.

The online gala will feature both live and wine auctions, in addition to the awards program. Auction items include a cocktail cruise on Long Island Sound, a wine-of-the-month club, and a Napa Valley sommelier wine experience including airfare and a 3-night stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.

Registration for the event is free, at

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with learning and attention differences reach their full potential by inspiring, educating and empowering parents to help their children succeed. Former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Anne Ford, and The Southport School Head Dr. Benjamin N. Powers are Honorary Board members. Henry Winkler, Golden Globe award-winning actor, director and author, serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman.

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