Our One-to-One Initiative's First Tutor: Lissa Jo McMahan

At the end of the last academic year, Lissa Jo McMahan retired after 30 years in Mitchell County public schools, 29 of which she spent at Deyton Elementary School. During that time, she worked across all grade levels. Through the parent of one of her students, she heard about Camp Spring Creek and despite some interruptions, was able to complete both the Certified and Associate-level Orton-Gillingham training with Susie. This past summer was  her sixth summer at camp.

Through all her years as a teacher, Lissa Jo specialized in working with “the strugglers,” she says: those students who were below grade level. These students, she says, are aware that they are behind the other students and that’s hard.  Teachers who aren’t aware of dyslexia or other learning differences often classify these students as difficult or lazy. But because of her training, she knows how to help them.

At camp, she loves being able to work with children one-on-one. Campers are able to achieve results much more quickly than the students she works with at school. Here she says, campers don’t aren’t under the same pressure that they’re under at school. “They’re only competing against themselves,” she says. One of her most satisfying moments was when a student asked her “Can you help my parents find a school that teaches like this near where I live? Because this is how I learn.” It was the first time her tutee had experienced that alignment between the way he learned and the way he was taught.  It ignited in him a new love of learning in him.

Last year, Lissa Jo was able to attend the International Dyslexia Association’s annual meeting in Texas with Susie. Being surrounded by so many other teachers who ‘get it’ was inspiring.

We're thrilled that Lissa Jo has chosen to be the first tutor in our new One-to-One initiative in Mitchell County Schools. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, the One-on-One Initiative is underway and Lissa Jo is already meeting with students. For someone who’s as passionate about teaching as Lissa Jo, helping students to learn has never been ‘work.’ “It’s a joy,” she says.