Joan is an experienced educator, serving in the roles of teacher, school administrator, teacher trainer, and literacy consultant since 1975. She has provided literacy professional development to thousands of educators and related professionals at schools, colleges, clinics, and professional conferences. Joan received her Masters in Reading Education from Harvard University in 1980, and her B.A. from Boston College in 1975.
From 1975 until 1998 Joan worked at the Landmark School in Massachusetts, a pioneer school in the development of reading and writing intervention programs. At Landmark, she was a teacher, supervisor of tutorials, English language arts department chair, and high school principal. She was also the founder and director of the Landmark College Preparation Program and director of the Landmark Outreach Teacher Training Program. During that time period, Joan also conducted psycho-educational evaluations at Landmark and at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
From 1998 to 2007 Joan trained teachers and consulted with schools throughout the country and was involved with a number of literacy projects. She was one of three Lead Trainers in Massachusetts for the Reading First Initiative and consultant to the state’s Secondary Reading Initiative. Joan was a national LETRS author and trainer (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling), a member of the ETS Praxis National Reading Advisory Committee, and a member of the LD Worldwide Board of Directors. During this period, she developed the comprehension and vocabulary training programs that were the basis for Keys to Literacy’s signature programs The Key Comprehension Routine and The Key Vocabulary Routine.
In 2007 she founded Keys to Literacy and is currently the CEO of the company. Joan continues to develop literacy professional development programs, mentors the Keys to Literacy staff and national literacy trainers/consultants, presents at literacy conferences, and consults with state departments of education and districts throughout the country.
Joan is the creator of The Writing Rope framework for writing instruction, and the lead author of the Keys to Literacy professional development materials, online courses, and books, including The Key Comprehension Routine, The Key Vocabulary Routine, Keys to Content Writing, Keys to Early Writing, and Keys to Beginning Reading. She has authored a number of books including the Landmark Study Skills Guide (1st ed. 1989), Study Skills: A Teaching Guide (2nd ed. 2001), Active Learning and Study Strategies Using Kurzweil 3000 (2003), and Writing: the Road to Reading Comprehension Module 11 of the LETRS reading training series (2004). She has also authored several book chapters and articles, including the Adolescent Literacy chapter in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills (J.R. Birsh, Ed., 2011) and the Learning to Write and Writing to Learn chapter in Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment: 6-12 (M.C. Hougen, Ed., 2014). In 2022, her book The Writing Rope: A Framework for Explicit Writing Instruction in All Subjects was published (Brookes Publishing).