Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy, D.A., CCC-SLP brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Maryland State Board of Education. She currently serves as the Executive Director at
The Summit School in Edgewater, MD, an independent school serving bright children with dyslexia and other learning differences. She is a nationally recognized speech-language pathologist with expertise in theoretical models and practical application of the link between oral language and reading, service delivery models in school settings, and teacher training.
Prior to her current position, Dr. Mele-McCarthy served as Senior Policy Advisor and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education. She has a national perspective on general education and special education as a result of her policy work on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004). Her philosophy of education holds as a priority, high expectations for all children in a way that meets their learning needs. In addition to her federal policy role, Dr. Mele-McCarthy has worked in public schools, universities, and private practice. As part of her clinical work she served children with communication disorders, reading difficulties, and executive function challenges, which she brings to her work with children in classrooms. She believes in partnerships between families and schools, and to continues to be a strong and effective advocate for that partnership.
Dr. Mele-McCarthy brings extensive board member experience to the Maryland State Board of Education, having recently completed a term on the Board of Directors for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as the Vice President for Governmental Relations and Public Policy (2015-2017). Additional board work includes advisor to the board for The George Washington University K-12 On-line High School, the Financial Planning Board and Governmental Relations and Public Policy Board with ASHA, the International Dyslexia Association, the Maryland Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Long Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the Association of Independent Maryland Schools Board of Trustees. She is an active participant in the professional activities of The Dyslexia Foundation and serves as Chair of the Academic Centers for Excellence initiatives. She also serves on the Communication Disorders Research Group Schools Liaison Committee and is a member of Leadership Maryland, Class of 2012. She was appointed as the Chair of the
Governor’s Task Force on the Implementation of a Dyslexia Education Program (August 2015-December 2016) for the State of Maryland.
Dr. Mele-McCarthy’s scholarly work includes presentation of peer reviewed research-to-practice papers, seminars, and workshops locally and nationally. Her publications include articles and book chapters related to policy for NCLB, IDEA, students with disabilities, and English learners with disabilities.
Dr. Mele-McCarthy lives in Calvert County with her husband, Kevin, where they raised two children, who are now adults residing with their families in the greater Washington DC and Southern Maryland regions.