Our Co-Directors

Srimani Chakravarthi, Co-Director

Srimani Chakravarthi is a Professor at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois in the College of Education Department. Srimani conducted research in Kannada, a South Indian language, during her Ph. D, with a focus on Language Learning Disabilities. She teaches courses in Special Education characteristics, methods, legal aspects, and English Learners. 

She taught for Joliet Public Schools, prior to joining University of St. Francis. She teaches both in the undergraduate and the graduate program and guides doctoral research candidates. Her passion is teaching reading, inclusion, technology and Universal Design to enable equity and access to all, across language and cultural barriers.

Paola Vieyra

Paola Vieyra is a Bilingual Special Education Paraprofessional currently employed at the Dr. James Mitchem Early Childhood Center in Bolingbrook. Paola has more than 10 years of experience working with the youngest learners. Her passion about advocating for special needs comes from one of my best teachers, her youngest son, Santiago, who’s part of the special needs population. Paola is proud to be his mom and strives to help other families like hers. 

Paola is currently enrolled at Lewis University to pursue her Master’s in Special Education. She has been married for 22 years to the love of her life and they have 3 sons, Rafael (20), Leonardo (17) and Santiago (11) along with their two pets, Luna & Bubba.

Stephanie Zych

Stephanie Zych received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication
Disorders and Sciences and a Master’s degree in Multi-Categorical
Special Education/Learning Behavior Specialist-I from Saint Xavier
University in Chicago, Illinois. Her teaching experience includes over 18
years as a paraprofessional, teacher, tutor, advocate, learning specialist,
and speech pathology assistant. Being a strong advocate for inclusion
and specialized instruction, she involves her students in various
academic experiences using multiple methodologies to help them
achieve positive growth. Her professional interests focus on Autism,
Learning Disabilities, Behavior and Emotional Disorders and Dyslexia.
Her current projects include working toward being an independent
Dyslexia practitioner and tutor, as well as, interest in becoming a
Liscenced certified professional counselor (LCPC). In addition, she
volunteers as a Girl Scout leader for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and
Northwest Indiana, a catechist at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church and is a
member of various Special Education and Dyslexia associations.