Betty became involved with LDA in 2013 when, with 7 other Maine women, she joined the Stroller Brigade March on Washington for meaningful chemical reform. Most recently, Betty co-presented webinars on how to maintain health and safety during a pandemic, for ourselves and our families using basic science education and housekeeping techniques. In addition to teaching sustainable housekeeping skills, Betty is an urban farmer with Herban Works, a cooperative enterprise in downtown Lewiston, Maine. Growing culinary and medicinal herbs to make products for sale, her focus with Herban Works is to create a strong community, through skill building, and employment opportunities for our most vulnerable citizens. Having experienced the challenges and long-term effects of undiagnosed special needs in her family, Betty is grateful and inspired to her join her LDA collaborators as we build a stronger, safer, and more inclusive community.
Gene Maxim, Vice President
Gene has served on the board of the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine for many years. Gene worked for the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for 24 years in emergency management and supported the state through many Presidentially declared disasters on the state and county level. While in this role, he established and nurtured strong partnership between and MEMA and both the Maine Department of Education and National Weather Service offices that serve our state. He was the first School Preparedness Coordinator for Maine schools and the state of Maine. Gene also worked for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for 12 years. He retired after 36 years of public service to the State of Maine.
Barbara Loewus Melnick, M.S. Ed., Treasurer
Barbara has spent most of her career in Special Education. She began her teaching career as an itinerant diagnostician and behavior specialist in Lexington, Kentucky, and then taught the first federally funded public school classroom specifically for students with autism in 1975. After moving to Maine in 1977, she worked as the Education Testing Director for the Westbrook, Maine school department. In 1986, she and her husband founded the Learning Achievement Center to provide diagnostic and supplementary education to Maine students. In 1994, the Aucocisco School was founded, an outgrowth of the after school program. Ms. Melnick currently directs both programs at the Aucocisco School and Learning Center, a private special-purpose day school and after school tutorial program in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Her areas of special interest include dyslexia and non-verbal learning disabilities, mathematics instruction, autism, and transition issues.
Maureen Smart, Secretary
Maureen is the mother of 3 children and is married to Brian Smart, who is a firefighter in South Portland and Scarborough. They all live in South Portland. She has worked at Goodwill Industries of Northern New England for over 18 years and has had many roles at Goodwill, including working with youth with disabilities. Currently Maureen is the Senior Director of the property service program where she employ adults with disabilities in service contracts through out Maine, NH and VT. She grew up in Portland, the 4th child in a family of 5. She attended Catherine McAuley High school. After high school she attended Providence College in RI. She returned home to Maine after college and now appreciates many of the attractions and resources Maine has to offer. Maureen and her family enjoy the outdoors, snowmobiling, ice skating, fishing, swimming and camping.
Shelly is a mother of two sons and the daughter of a teacher. She and her husband are small business owners. Shelly has been interested in learning disabilities since her first son was born at 24 weeks gestation, and she became aware that he was at high risk. He was diagnosed in third grade, and Shelly has been advocating for him since then. She has a BA in Psychology and serves as Chair of Aroostook County Democratic Committee. She advocates for a variety of issues including education, the environment, single payer healthcare, and logging. She received a conservation leadership award from Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Pamela’s personal connections with family and friends who have learning disabilities, have given her the opportunity to celebrate their successes when they find a pathway through being differently-abled and reach their personal and professional goals. Previously, Pamela worked as a general education teacher and earned her M.S. Ed. from U.S.M. She was particularly interested in supporting students in her classroom with learning disabilities, including those who are “Twice Exceptional”. Pamela had previous professional opportunities to work with people with various cognitive disabilities, including those with learning disabilities, through her first career within the field of Vocational Rehabilitation. The majority of her focus was on assessment/evaluation. Though she no longer works within that field, she has maintained her credentials as both a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Board Certified Counselor.
Tracy Gregoire, Maine LDA's Healthy Children's Project Coordinator
Tracy is a mom and lifelong resident of Maine. Tracy coordinates LDA’s Maine Healthy Children’s Project (MHCP), working to protect children’s brains from harmful chemicals. She believes all children and families have a right to safe water, air and products. Tracy provides workshops and educational materials on how to protect your family from toxic chemicals in products, works on state and federal policies for safer chemicals, and pushes major retailers to replace toxic chemicals with safer chemicals. Tracy is also the Healthy Children Project Director for the Learning Disabilities Association of America.