The Bilgrav School is dedicated to pioneer of dyslexic education, Joyce Bilgrav, who started three Orton-Gillingham based schools and four OG based summer camps for dyslexic children in the US.
A 50’s housewife, Joyce knew that her son was incredibly bright though he was having difficulty learning to read in elementary school. Unwilling to accept the explanation given to her by the school, she researched what could be affecting her son’s learning, and without the internet, discovered “dyslexia” and the teaching approach developed specifically to teach bright, dyslexic children to read- Orton-Gillingham (OG). She became deeply trained in OG and taught her three dyslexic children to read. After years of study, she became a “Fellow,” of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners & Educators (AOGPE).
Then, she dedicated herself to opening Orton-Gillingham based schools and camps around the country to help other children and families struggling with dyslexia. Since the 1970’s, she has helped start seven OG programs, all of which are still going strong. From the oldest school, the 46 year old Jemicy School in Baltimore, to the newest, the 12 year old Liberty School in Durango, Colorado, Joyce’s programs have enabled thousands of dyslexic students to achieve their potential.
We we thank you, Joyce, for your uncommon achievement and are honored to found this latest venture in your name.
Joyce will be our “Consulting Fellow.” She will provide regular oversight of the tutoring program at The Bilgrav School to ensure its high standard.
Bilgrav School Administration, Staff,
Board & Advisory Team
Director of Operations: Hunter Patterson
Dyslexic himself, Hunter attended OG-based Camperdown Academy (SC) as a student. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from Wingate University, he helped his former Headmaster, Dana Blackhurst, start The Chandler School (SC). At Chandler, Hunter did just about every job, from being a founding board member to helping renovate the 200-year old estate house to classroom teaching to Directing the Summer Camp. Administratively, he assisted with admissions, discipline, representing the school in the community and at conferences, etc. He looks forward to bringing the best practices of these schools, including a focus on the whole child, individualizing using the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and an executive functions system, to Bilgrav.
Director of Curriculum & Tutoring: Katie Cashette
Katie was trained and taught at The Kildonan School in New York before earning a Masters in Cognitive Science in Education from Columbia University-Teachers College. She was founding faculty at Joyce Bilgrav’s third OG-based school, the Liberty School (CO), where she helped design the interdisciplinary curricular program for twice-exceptional students, the Film program, and the Outdoor Pursuits program. She is excited to coalesce, at The Bilgrav School, these schools’ most effective elements, such as a literacy program comprised of daily, 1:1 OG tutoring combined with an independent reinforcement period and writing class for dyslexic learners, a teaching staff deeply knowledgeable of the way dyslexic, gifted, and multi-sensory learners think, real-world application of learning through community partnerships, a curriculum that is naturally S.T.E.A.M. with a focus on Arts integration, and an exceptional school culture yielding kind, confident, capable students.
Dr. Orval Simon-Bower has a Ph.D in History and two Masters degrees of Education. Before retiring from 30 years of service in the PBC school district, he was a Special Ed teacher and ESE Coordinator. He was trained by Joyce Bilgrav in Orton-Gillingham; he tutors OG and teaches Math and American Sign Language to our youngest students, part-time. He is incredibly dedicated, and we are proud to have him on our team.
We are also proud to welcome Pam Weldon to the Bilgrav staff as a tutor. Pam has earned two Masters degrees in Education and a distinguished record of service to her schools and students in Westchester, NY, where she was trained in Orton-Gillingham at the Windward School. She is CERI certified as a Structured Literacy Specialist & Interventionist. She is also credentialed by the Dyslexia Training Institute in San Diego as a Dyslexia Advocate. Pam’s depth of knowledge and kindness are a boon to our students.