Jule McCombes-Tolis, Ph.D

Board Member

Dr. McCombes-Tolis is a senior-level higher education professional and independent evaluator specializing in the identification and remediation of dyslexia with a proven track record of shaping and advancing national and state initiatives.

She is committed to ensuring equitable student access to highly-trained and credentialed literacy educators in public schools.

She earned a B.A. in English Textual Studies, with a minor in Linguistics, from Syracuse University, a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Connecticut, and an SYC in Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts from Southern Connecticut State University. She maintains active Connecticut teaching credentials in Special Education (K-12) and Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts (1-12).

Over her decades-long career, Dr. McCombes-Tolis has served as a special educator and a consultant for a law office representing parents of children with disabilities; earned rank and tenure as university Special Education and Reading faculty; completed extensive clinical training in the identification and remediation of learning disabilities; provided districts with consultation services in educator training and curriculum and program development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation; and served on numerous state and national policy committees dedicated to advancing best practices in reading remediation. She has also collaborated extensively with Decoding Dyslexia Connecticut in drafting and supporting dyslexia-centered legislation.

Since 2015, Dr. McCombes-Tolis has served as Professor of the Practice and Director of Reading and Language Development (RLD) at Fairfield University. Here, Dr. McCombes-Tolis developed new state-recognized degree and certification programs for Remedial Reading, Remedial Language Arts, and Dyslexia Intervention. Additionally, she developed and oversees course-embedded pro-bono literacy screening, evaluation, and intervention clinics to serve Connecticut’s children, grades 1-12.

Between 2017-2019, Dr. McCombes-Tolis served as the inaugural Chief Academic Officer for the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), where she refined the agency’s educator preparation program accreditation and professional certification initiatives.