Academic Associates Learning Center Staff

HomeAcademic Associates Learning Center Staff

Get to know our instructors and staff members.

Our teachers and staff members at Academic Associates Learning Center empower students to become their very best. We have two locations currently serving students in Abilene, Texas and Mesquite, Texas. Below, we have included biographies of our reading and math instructors, and we are excited for you to get to know more about them. For additional information about the instructors and staff members on our team, or to set up an appointment, contact us today.

Debbie Dodd

Owner - Debbie Dodd

Debbie Dodd, owner/operator of Academic Associates Learning Center since 2005, has a BA from California State University Long Beach and teaching credentials in elementary education and special education K-12 and is a Reading Instruction Specialist. In addition to teaching in California and Texas, she and her husband, Rick, have homeschooled their 4 daughters.

Cliff Ponder

Founder - Cliff Ponder

Cliff Ponder, an elementary school principal and teacher for 20 years, was frustrated that large numbers of students couldn’t learn to read. After leaving school administration, he studied exciting new research on the neural architecture of the brain and began developing a logical, step-by-step method of teaching reading that would work in harmony with the brain. The Academic Associates™ Reading Course was launched in 1985. Since then, it has helped thousands of students of all ages in schools and reading clinics across the United States and in several different countries.

Faith Manguba

President of Academic Associates® - Faith Manguba

Faith Manguba opened her first center in the summer of 2010 and has served hundreds of students since then, teaching non-readers and turning them into readers. She began her career as a classroom teacher. After teaching for several years and seeing the need for students to learn to read, she started her Academic Associates® reading business, teaching kids to read out of her home. The program was so successful that she went from teaching two students in February to 30 by summer. Cliff Ponder passed the presidency of the Academic Associates Learning Centers® and Academic Associates Reading Program® to Faith in June 2016.

Alpha Reading Center is proud to be the headquarters for the Academic Associates Learning Centers®, which is used throughout the United States and around the globe.

Abilene Teachers

Loren Prato

Loren Prato

Loren Prato has a BA in Middle-Level Education Math and English and a Masters in Reading with Dyslexia. She is also a certified teacher, a Reading Instruction Specialist for the Academic Associates Reading Program®, and a former teacher in the AISD. Loren is a creative and innovative teacher, and we are grateful to have her as an instructor at our center.

Mesquite Teachers

Sue Henson

Sue Henson

Sue Henson is a seasoned teacher having taught in Minnesota and Texas. She has degrees in elementary education and early childhood education. She most recently taught Kindergarten for Dallas Independent School District.

She is a Reading Instruction Specialist and has been teaching with Academic Associates for the past year. She is a welcome addition to our staff.

Jessica Ross

Jessica Ross

We are excited to welcome Jessica Ross as a teacher with Academic Associates Learning Center. Jessica has a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University and is a Reading Instruction Specialist. After teaching 4th grade in Abilene ISD, Jessica and her husband went to Rwanda, East Africa to teach in an international school for one year. They then returned to Abilene, where they are raising their two young children. Jessica says she has always loved teaching and helping children grow, discover the world, and develop the tools they need to succeed in it.

Tabitha Berry

Tabitha Berry

Tabitha Berry has a BS in Education from Arlington Baptist University in Arlington, Texas and has taught students of all ages throughout her career. She and her husband, Everett, reside in Mesquite, Texas, along with their 2 college-aged children. She has been a reading instructor at Academic Associates Learning Center for over two years. She is a versatile and creative teacher, and we are fortunate to have her as a teacher in our center.

Beth Knight

Beth Knight

We are thrilled to have Beth Knight teaching with Academic Associates. Her experience, energy, and dedication to all students are invaluable assets to our reading center. Beth received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University and obtained a certification in Gifted and Talented Education. She went on to get her master’s in Mid-Management from Sul Ross. Beth has taught Language Arts to elementary students, as well as GED prep for 23 years. Beth sees reading as the lifeline to helping students get a good start on a happy and healthy life.

Courtney Cain

Courtney Cain

Courtney Cain has a BA in History from Texas A&M University. She taught a total of 8 years for Mesquite ISD at Hanby Elementary and Berry Middle School. Along with teaching, she wrote Social Studies curriculum for the district. After having her first child, she resigned to stay home. She currently works as an ELAR item writer and reviewer for Innovative Assessment Solutions. We are pleased to have her as a reading specialist at our center. She and her husband, Matt, now have two children and live in Mesquite.

Abilene Teachers

Loren Prato

Loren Prato

Loren Prato has a BA in Middle-Level Education Math and English and a Masters in Reading with Dyslexia. She is also a certified teacher, a Reading Instruction Specialist for the Academic Associates Reading Program®, and a former teacher in the AISD. Loren is a creative and innovative teacher, and we are grateful to have her as an instructor at our center.

Jessica Ross

Jessica Ross

We are excited to welcome Jessica Ross as a teacher with Academic Associates Learning Center. Jessica has a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University and is a Reading Instruction Specialist. After teaching 4th grade in Abilene ISD, Jessica and her husband went to Rwanda, East Africa to teach in an international school for one year. They then returned to Abilene, where they are raising their two young children. Jessica says she has always loved teaching and helping children grow, discover the world, and develop the tools they need to succeed in it.

Beth Knight

Beth Knight

We are thrilled to have Beth Knight teaching with Academic Associates. Her experience, energy, and dedication to all students are invaluable assets to our reading center. Beth received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University and obtained a certification in Gifted and Talented Education. She went on to get her master’s in Mid-Management from Sul Ross. Beth has taught Language Arts to elementary students, as well as GED prep for 23 years. Beth sees reading as the lifeline to helping students get a good start on a happy and healthy life.

Mesquite Teachers

Sue Henson

Sue Henson

Sue Henson is a seasoned teacher having taught in Minnesota and Texas. She has degrees in elementary education and early childhood education. She most recently taught Kindergarten for Dallas Independent School District.

She is a Reading Instruction Specialist and has been teaching with Academic Associates for the past year. She is a welcome addition to our staff.

Tabitha Berry

Tabitha Berry

Tabitha Berry has a BS in Education from Arlington Baptist University in Arlington, Texas and has taught students of all ages throughout her career. She and her husband, Everett, reside in Mesquite, Texas, along with their 2 college-aged children. She has been a reading instructor at Academic Associates Learning Center for over two years. She is a versatile and creative teacher, and we are fortunate to have her as a teacher in our center.

Courtney Cain

Courtney Cain

Courtney Cain has a BA in History from Texas A&M University. She taught a total of 8 years for Mesquite ISD at Hanby Elementary and Berry Middle School. Along with teaching, she wrote Social Studies curriculum for the district. After having her first child, she resigned to stay home. She currently works as an ELAR item writer and reviewer for Innovative Assessment Solutions. We are pleased to have her as a reading specialist at our center. She and her husband, Matt, now have two children and live in Mesquite.

Sue Henson

Beth

We are thrilled to have Beth Knight teaching with us. Her experience, energy, and dedication to all students are invaluable assets to our reading center. Beth received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University and obtained a certification in Gifted and Talented Education. She went on to get her master’s in mid-management from Sul Ross. Beth has taught language arts to elementary students as well as GED prep for 23 years. Beth sees reading as the lifeline to helping students get a good start on a happy and healthy life.