Loomis Gateway Academy Faculty

Tesa Briles
Senior Director: Loomis Gateway Academy
Masters Level Certified Barton Reading Specialist, Certified in Educational Remediation, Certified Dyslexia Screener
Tesa is one of 39 Master Level Barton Tutors in the US.  She has extensive experience working with students of all ages who cope with learning challenges. She has worked with public and private school students for the last 20 years. With credentials in Linguistics, Art Therapy, Waldorf School Remedial Education, and Orton Gillingham based Reading Remediation, she considers the most important of all her learning experiences to be the raising of her three children. Each one of them is dyslexic and struggled through school. She understands dyslexia from a mother’s perspective as well as a professional one. She has successfully designed and implemented Full-Time School Programs, After-School Programs and Summer Programs to help dyslexic students rejoice in their success with reading.
Stuart Demmy
Executive Director: Loomis Gateway Academy
Certified Educational Remediation Specialist, Certified Dyslexia Screener, Utilizes Making Math Real Strategies, Waldorf Class Teacher
Stuart worked for many years as a Waldorf Class Teacher in schools in Oregon and California where he gained extensive experience in teaching various subjects to children in Grades 1 – 8.   A common experience for him during these years was encountering children still unable to read well after years of instruction.  What was wrong?  The schools did not have an answer to this question. Fortunately, research by his wife Tesa led them both to the Barton Reading System, an Orton Gillingham approach to teaching reading and spelling.  After experimenting with the system, Stuart became convinced of its efficacy.  
Stuart has been a beloved math teacher for decades.  He now finds the Making Math Real approach to teaching math as beneficial to his students struggling with math as the Orton Gillingham approach to teaching reading is to his students struggling with reading.





Melissa Emerzian

Making Math Real Teacher


After graduating from Harvard with a BA in Biological Anthropology, Melissa worked under a grant from NASA developing and teaching science lesson plans to elementary school teachers and students.  This experience was the catalyst that led her away from medical school and into the world of education.  She worked in the Governor's office of the Secretary of Education and implemented the California Academic and Volunteer Mentoring Program throughout schools in California.  From there, she took a position lobbying for public education associations.

Motherhood inspired her to say home with her children and take an active role in their education, which eventually led straight to Loomis Gateway Academy.  Her son and daughter entered the program 8 years ago, thus beginning her own association with, and love for, LGA.  Seeing firsthand the success of the Barton Method and the Making Math Real program with her children, she wanted to help give other children the same opportunities.  She returns to LGA as a math teacher and has undertaken her training with Stuart Demmy.  She looks forward to working with your children, to help them gain a sense of accomplishment in learning.

Lori Bassham

California Credentialed Public Education Teacher

Regular Ed K-8

Reading Specialist

Lori feels she has a calling to help dyslexic students.  She is dedicated to helping as many students as she can hoping to give them an earlier advantage than her son had. She watched him struggle in public school and knew she had to find a place where he would thrive.  Loomis Gateway Academy has changed the way he sees himself as a learner. That is priceless!

Lori has taught in the Burlingame School District and the Frisco School District.  She currently has daughter in college and lives in Loomis with her son.

Leah Skinner, M.Ed.

Administrator: Loomis Gateway Academy

Master of Education: Dyslexia Specialist

Certified Wilson Reading Dyslexia Therapist

Advanced Level Certified Barton Reading and Spelling Specialist

Certified Dyslexia Education Advocate


Leah Skinner is one of the few Wilson instructors certified at the second level in Northern California.  She holds a bachelor degree in both psychology and biology.  She also holds a Master degree in Education as a Dyslexia Specialist.  She has over 20 years experience working with children from Kindergarten through 8th grade who struggle with reading, writing and spelling.  In addition to being a faculty member at Loomis Gateway Academy, she is a contributing board member to Dyslexia Alliance.  Her passion is to help children reach their fullest potential.  Leah lives in Roseville with her husband and children.

Susan Alexander

California Credentialed Public Education Teacher

Regular ED K-8

Reading Specialist

Susan was raised in Davis, CA and went to Chico State University where she completed her BS in Fashion Merchandising in 1994.  After living in San Francisco and traveling to Africa she decided to pursue teaching.  After getting married in 1997 she moved to the Auburn area.  Working with children was her passion so in 1998 she began working as a Special Education Aide in the Roseville City School District.  She completed her credential in 2001.  After teaching 4th grade for 2 years she decided to stay home with her first born son, followed by her second born son in 2006.

After a 10 year break she resumed her teaching career at Sierra Montessori Academy in Grass Valley, CA.

Currently, Susan also finds time to be a Spin Instructor at Auburn Racquet Club.  She has a diverse background in teaching grades 1st-6th and is now excited to be a part of Loomis Gateway Academy.

Kassie Hughey

Certified Barton Reading Specialist


Kassie is an excellent Reading and Writing teacher. She really enjoys working with people, especially children. She spent some time volunteering with the Placer County Reading consul in their English Second Language programs. Kassie is a Sacramento State graduate, and is planning to get her Masters Degree in Dyslexia.  We are fortunate to have her on our staff.  

The children describe  their reading experience with Kassie as fun!

Shelley Russ

Certified Barton Reading Specialist 

Shelley hadover 15 years of experience as a reading aide in the Rocklin Unified School District before becoming a Dyslexia Reading teacher with Loomis Gateway Academy.  Shelley has now been with LGA for 5 years. She has deep experience with children who have reading difficulty, has a warm heart, and is sensitive to all students' needs.  Shelley lives with her family in Rocklin.

Ronni Rebell

Arts and Crafts Teacher

Ronni was a stay-at-home mom full of creative ideas until LGA persuaded her to come share her creativity with our students. Collage, painting, mural making and Holiday crafts are some of the many forms of art the students have enjoyed making with Miss Ronni.  

Art is a favorite class and Ronni is a beloved teacher by all!

Sara Mattia

Making Math Real Teacher

Social Studies Teacher

Sara is a graduate of CSU, Chico with journalism and marketing degrees and a previous career in water policy. She has volunteered countless hours working with kids who struggle with reading and writing at her children’s school. She understands the struggles of families and children with learning disabilities as both of her children have Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia.  Her children have benefited from LGA’s summer program and after school tutoring. She believes all children learn differently, at their own pace and thrive with kindness, support and encouragement. She brings her love of agriculture, animals and farm life to LGA students.

Lori Sloan

Social Studies and Science Teacher

Lori holds an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services from American River College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University.


After sixteen years of homeschooling her own children, Lori wanted to stay connected to the world of teaching. Following her youngest daughter’s graduation, Lori became a math tutor, teacher’s assistant, substitute teacher, and classroom teacher.


She enjoys teaching in multi-age classrooms where she can focus on each of her student’s strengths. Although she is happy teaching any academic subject, she especially enjoys helping students become confident writers. Her goal is to make learning engaging and enjoyable. By asking questions and encouraging thoughtful interaction, she helps students develop critical thinking skills essential to the writing process. She’s happy to be working at Loomis Gateway Academy.