Who We Are

Carol Dimas – Founder and Director of Educational Advocacy and Consulting

Carol Dimas is an Illinois State-Certified Highly Qualified Teacher in Elementary Education and Special Education K-12. She is a Reading Specialist and Learning Behavior Specialist. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and a Masters of Science in Special Education.

During her twenty-five plus years experience in education, Carol began teaching children with special needs in the public school system. She helped pilot a program that involved a collaboration between the school district and Loyola University Department of Psychiatry to better serve culturally disadvantaged youth in the area of mental health. She was also the chair of the Special Education committee to develop a district-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Program.

Carol worked as a reading specialist in both public school districts and private practice. She started a private practice as a specialized tutor supporting students with Specific Learning Disabilities, as well as preparing students for ACT and SAT exams, while also supporting families through the Special Education Process.

She then focused her efforts in assisting students and families through her firm, Educational Advocacy and Consulting. This successful practice partners with families, parent groups, clinicians, private therapeutic schools and public school districts to serve families and children by advocating for their needs.

Carol is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates, the International Dyslexia Association, the International Literacy Association, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and is a listed provider in the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids.

Laura McLean – Educational Advocate

Laura McLean joined Educational Advocacy and Consulting in 2012. Laura is an Illinois Certified Special Education Teacher whose specialty is Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention. Her experience with our younger special needs population, especially those on the Spectrum, adds another wealth of expertise to our staff.

Laura performs most of the student observations for our clients which helps to support our staff in advocating for students as we realize the importance of seeing the student in his or her educational environment. Laura has attended trainings through Wrightslaw and her experience and expertise make her a valuable member of our team. Laura is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates.

Sara Platenberg – Educational Advocate

Sara Platenberg has a Masters Degree in Education with a focus in Gifted and Talented and Twice Exceptional Populations. She served the public school system in Virginia as a Gifted and Talented Specialist where she focused on Twice Exceptionality and meeting the needs of 2E students while utilizing researched based inclusion strategies. Her years as an educator and experience implementing strategies to meet the needs of students with learning differences, helped support Sara as she began navigating the public school special education system on a personal level.

Her 12 plus years of experience include: Gifted and Talented Educator in Fairfax County; Private tutor in written expression/language and SAT prep, and Educational Advocate. Sara is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates, the National Association for Gifted Children, and is a listed provider in the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids.

Deb Hillstrom – Educational Advocate

Deb Hillstrom holds a Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education, a Bachelor of Music Education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She worked with children with special needs and their families for over 11 years in both public school and private therapy settings.

As a teacher, Deb worked in both self-contained and general education classrooms to modify curricula and adapt teaching and prompting strategies to accommodate the needs of individual learners. She worked with teachers to facilitate appropriate and successful inclusion of children with special needs into general education settings. As a BCBA, Deb trained parents and school staff in implementing individualized, research-based teaching and prompting methods, data collection strategies, and developmentally-appropriate, measurable goals.

Deb has experience conducting a variety of formal and informal assessments and utilizing quantitative measures to develop skill acquisition and behavior reduction targets appropriate for the individualized needs of children. Deb is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Timothy Clark – Educational Advocate

Tim Clark joined Educational Advocacy and Consulting in 2017. Tim holds a Masters degree in Special Education and a Masters degree in Educational Administration. He is an Illinois Certified Special Education & Elementary Education Teacher, as well as School Administrator, endorsed as a Director of Special Education whose specialty is the development of IEP and 504 plans for students with academic, social, and emotional needs. Tim’s experience developing IEPs and 504 Plans for students at the elementary and secondary level, combined with his extensive experience working in both the public and private education setting, adds another wealth of expertise to our staff.  He has experience with navigating disciplinary situations at the elementary, middle and high school levels, including suspension appeals and expulsion hearings.

Amanda Amburn – Educational Advocate

Amanda has worked in public education for the past 18 years. She has served in various roles including learning behavior specialist, inclusion facilitator, department chair, and district administrator. Each of these roles provided Amanda the opportunity to serve students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities, and to gain extensive experience navigating and improving the educational environment for all students.

Amanda’s life experiences ignited a desire to support families in a different way, leading her to pursue a career in advocacy and consulting. Through her career to date and personal experience, Amanda has also gained extensive knowledge of educational law, as well as therapeutic and residential treatment for social-emotional, communication, and learning needs. She has a special interest and expertise in working with our families whose children are looking toward transition. Amanda is excited to merge her personal and professional expertise to help families in need.

Amanda holds a professional educator license in Illinois and as a Learning Behavior Specialist and Educational Administrator. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership. Amanda is passionate about collaboratively working towards positive outcomes for all students.

Cassie Clark – Dyslexia Practitioner  

Cassie Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Illinois, along with nearly 20 years of professional experience. Cassie is a Certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.).  Her journey with Wilson began as a parent of a child with dyslexia and has ignited her passion to help support other students with language-based learning disabilities.  Cassie is a strong believer in “Literacy for All” and is dedicated to helping such students achieve success in school and in life.  She is a welcome addition to our firm and will be providing private, individualized Wilson instruction for families who are looking to implement this service for their children. She will also be providing expertise to our firm on dyslexia rights and advocacy. Cassie is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates, Everyone Reading Illinois and the International Dyslexia Association.

Kathy Savage – Intake Coordinator

Kathy Savage graduated from North Central College with a degree in Marketing. Kathy has worked as a Market Research Analyst and Marketing Assistant. Kathy became active in the community, tirelessly giving of her time to various sports organizations, schools, and charities. She also was co-founder of a business that supported senior citizens with chores, appointments, and transportation. Currently, Kathy is a regular volunteer for Edward Hospital, assisting patients and guests with all of their needs. More recently, Kathy has been part of the Patient Advocacy at Edwards. We are thrilled that Kathy has joined our firm as our Intake Coordinator. Her warm and compassionate style is a welcome voice to our families.