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Board of Directors

Under the leadership of the Chair, Nicholas D. Young, the Board of Directors consists of researchers, educators, professionals, and parents who support individuals with learning disabilities. Serving as a voice of hope for these individuals and their families, the Board of Directors provides direction, oversight, and guidance to the professional staff of LDW®, as well as its Advisory and International Board of Advisors.

Nicholas D. Young, Ph.D., Ed.D.


Nicholas D. Young has worked in diverse educational roles for over 20 years including serving as director of student services, principal, graduate professor, higher education administrator, and superintendent of schools. He holds numerous degrees from Austin Peay State University, Westfield State College, Western New England College, Union Institute & University, and American International College, including a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology. Dr. Young currently serves as the Past President of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) as well as the Chair of MASS Small and Rural Schools Task Force. He has presented and published widely on a variety of topics in education and psychology and was named the Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year for 2010. Additionally, Dr. Young has served in the military for more than 26 years; and he is currently a field grade officer serving in a command assignment in the US Army Reserves.

Matthias Grünke, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Vice Chairman

Matthias Grünke is a full professor of special education at the University of Cologne. Before his current assignment, he was a full professor at the University of Oldenburg. He received his Masters degree in educational psychology from the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg and his Ph.D. as well as his postdoctoral degree ("Habilitation") in special education from the University of Cologne. Dr. Grünke is a trained behavior therapist and Montessori educator. His research has focused on the efficacy of teaching methods for learning disabled students and on professionalizing special education teachers.


Dr. Grünke published nearly 100 scholarly articles and books between 2000 and 2010. During the same time, he presented over 100 papers and posters at professional conferences. He is the editor or author of the (German) textbooks Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities, Learning and Behavior Problems, Fostering Resiliency in Children and Youth with Learning Disabilities, and Teaching Students with Math Problems. Together with Dr. Jürgen Wilbert, he edits the German speaking and peer-reviewed journal Empirical Special Education and is one of the associate editors of Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices. He is a member of the editorial board of Aula Albierta, Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (in German), and Psicothema. In addition, he has served as a guest editor for Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal and as an ad hoc reviewer for the German Journal of Educational Psychology.


Dr. Grünke is the vice president of Learning Disabilities Worldwide (LDW®), the chair of the professional advisory board of the same organization, the vice chair of the scientific advisory committee of the German Association for Children with 22q11 Deletion Syndrome (KiDS-22q11), and a member of the Consortium for Empirical Research in Special Education (AESF), the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), the German Association of Colleges and Universities (DHV), the German Association of Psychology (DGPs), as well as the German Association of Education (DGFE). He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Cologne, the University of Leipzig, the University of Oldenburg, the University of Potsdam, and the State Study Academy of Saxony. Dr. Grünke has been a doctoral thesis supervisor at the Egyptian Beni Suef University, the University of Cologne, and the University of Oldenburg. He is a regular instructor for the Consortium for Behavior Modification (AVM), for the Institute for Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Medicine, and Sexology (IVS), and for the German Institute for Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (DIREKT). He has served as a consultant for the German Federal Department of Education and Research (BMBF) and other renowned institutions.

Elizabeth J. Bienia, Ed.D.


Elizabeth J. Bienia served as an elementary school educator and administrator in various rural and urban settings in Massachusetts for more than 30 years, where she has worked to create positive learning environments for all students. As a building administrator, she has fostered partnerships with students, staff, families, various local businesses, and higher education institutions. Further, she has been a graduate adjunct professor at the Van Loan School of Education, Endicott College, and the College of Our Lady of the Elms. She has written widely on topics in education from preschool to Ph.D.

Mark Taylor, Ph.D.


Mark Taylor is an instructor in educational research for Elms and Springfield College. He holds a BA from UMASS, and M.Ed and Ed.D from American international College. Dr. Taylor holds a Ph.D., in Education Leadership from Manda University. He holds a Special Ed certification in CT and MA. He is a Learning Disability specialist and is an author of several books and articles.

Prince Emmanuel Chinweoke Aja, MD.

Immediate Past Chair

Dr. Aja is a medical doctor, and he is the co-founder and CEO of K&A petrol Holdings Ltd; a founder of Divine Medical Center, Inc.; president and founder of the Associations of Progressive Nigerians in the Americas, Inc.; senior partner of Nofab Global Mining, Ltd.; partner of M&M Capital Investments, LLC.; founder and CEO of Aja Global Holdings, LLC.; and CEO of Aja International Ventures, Ltd.

Teresa Allissa Citro, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro is the CEO of Learning Disabilities Worldwide. She is the co-editor of two peer-reviewed journals Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal and Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices. In addition, Dr. Citro has edited and co-edited numerous books on learning disabilities and special education; several have received awards and others were translated into Spanish and Arabic.


She has produced 7 award-winning videos on several topics such as teacher training, selecting colleges/universities, children with learning disabilities openly discussing their feelings, and adults with learning disabilities discussing their past academic experiences. She co-produced two DVDs, one of which is in Greek, on teacher training and produced a CD, The Physician and the Child with Learning Disabilities as a resource for pediatricians.

Dr. Citro sits on the board of Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow’s Work Task Force, and The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Mental Health Task Force. 

Executive Board

Board of Directors

Ann Marie Leonard-Zabel, Ed.D.,


Dr. Ann Marie Leonard-Zabel is a Full Professor of Psychology at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. In addition, she served as one of the developers of the Psychology internship program as well as a faculty advisor for students pursuing their internship in the field of Psychology. She lectures within the Masters of Education Program-Special Education cohort focusing on the area of Assessment. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts/Boston, a Master's degree from Bridgewater State University, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies Degree from the University of Massachusetts/Boston, and her Doctorate Degree from Nova Southeastern University. In addition, Dr. Leonard-Zabel completed course work in Paralegal Studies, a post-doctoral fellowship in Attentional Disorders, and post-doctoral work in Special Education Law, School Neuropsychology, and Forensics. In addition, Dr. Leonard-Zabel owns a private practice specializing in evaluations for neuropsychological learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, court-involved issues, pediatric cancer affecting learning and memory, and pre-adolescent/adolescent substance abuse.

Dr. Leonard-Zabel served 16-years as a voluntary member on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts School Psychologist Association and served as an Executive Board Member of the American Board of School Neuropsychology. She presently serves as a clinical instructor and supervisor for the Kids Inc. Post-Graduate/Post-Doctoral Hybrid model program based in Dallas, Texas for the School Neuropsychology Certificate Program. She assists with training professionals in the United States and abroad to be board certified by the American Board of School Neuropsychology. She holds diplomat and fellow certifications in the field of School Neuropsychology, Homeland Security, Forensic Counseling, Psychotherapy, Clinical Counseling, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Addictions, and Disability Analysis. Recently, she was awarded Emeritus Status from the American Board of Disability Analysts attesting to the highest level of skill and expertise in the area of Disability Analysis.

Dr. Leonard-Zabel is a presenter at national and international conferences on an ongoing basis. She has written articles and chapters involving School Neuropsychological Ethical and Legal Issues as well as the Neuropsychology of Juvenile Criminal Behavior. In addition, she has written and presented webinars on a variety of topics focusing on Attentional Disorders, Neuropsychology of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, the Neuropsychology of Autism, Neuropsychology of Visual-Motor and Language, Hyjacked Brain involving Adolescent Addiction, and Cancer Brain-the Neuropsychological Learning Effects of Cancer Treatment on the Pediatric Brain, among others.

Dr. Leonard-Zabel is serving as one of four Committee Chairs for the Annual World Conference under the direction of the Learning Disabilities Worldwide Congress. In addition, she was appointed to serve as the Associate Editor for "Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices" which is a peer-reviewed journal, published bi-annually by LDW.

Honorary Board Members

Jordan Rich

Jordan Rich has been a fixture on radio and TV for nearly thirty years. In 1996, Jordan signed on with WBZ News Radio 1030 as a fill-in talk host and eventually succeeded his longtime friend and mentor, the late Norm Nathan. Since then, Jordan has hosted the weekend late nights at WBZ, and his program is heard throughout much of the U.S. and Canada as well as worldwide on the Internet.Along with his on-air work, Jordan Rich maintains a full schedule running his audio production and marketing firm Chart Productions, Inc. He has appeared on hundreds of local and national commercials and narrations for such clients as The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, Sullivan Tire, The New England Sports Network and Liberty Mutual. Jordan offer’s voice-over classes throughout the year and is responsible for having trained dozens of talented performers. Jordan is often out on the speaking circuit serving as master of ceremonies and auctioneer at dozens of events a year.

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