Meet the board

Ahmed Halim

Ahmed Halim serves as a Recruiter with the Bath & Body Work’s Talent Acquisition team. Ahmed is an active member of the Inclusion Resource Group family in the enterprise where he is an active ally, and serves as Co-Lead to the Mosaic team which represents the Black or African American community and its allies for the L-brands enterprise. Ahmed’s passion is to think through what can help to provide the right change, and to bring an impact through equity in every facet of his life. Ahmed is an active member in the  Columbus fitness community as well. He is passionate about helping people see the best in themselves not only personally, but professionally too.

Dr. Jessica Bennett - Mindful Literacy Practice

jessica bennett

Having taught, conducted research, and coached teachers in urban, rural, state-run, and suburban schools, Dr. Bennett saw there was a huge discrepancy in educational equality. 

She founded Mindful Literacy Columbus with the hopes of providing high-quality literacy instruction to underserved children and with the hopes of providing cutting edge training and coaching to their grown ups. 

With the late founding board Member Brenda Louisin giving Jessica the courage to take the leap of faith, serving the community with this non-profit has been the most humbling and the most rewarding work of her career. 


Monica Welt

Monica Welt has over 20 years’ legal experience advising clients, thru her practice at international, DC-based law firms and in-house for retail industry.  Since 2015, Monica has built and led the compliance program at Big Lots Inc., navigating the legal and regulatory landscape as a “lawyer wearing a business hat.” Beyond enterprise-wide compliance, her role encompasses sustainability initiatives, business efficiency innovation, and SEC support, and in 2020, she co-led Big Lots’ cross-functional response to COVID-19.  Prior to joining Big Lots, Monica worked in private practice for 14 years in Washington, DC, advising numerous multinational and Fortune 100 companies.  Monica is a graduate of The Ohio State University, as well as The University of Virginia School of Law.
Monica currently lives in Bexley with her husband, and three children. She shares the Mindful Literacy Foundation’s passion for developing young readers’ through multi-sensory literacy education and empowering young publishers through BHive Press (especially for kids who have dyslexia or ADHD).


Morris Council

Morris Council III, PhD, serves as  an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at the University of West Georgia. He received his B.S. in education and M.Ed. in curriculum and teacher leadership; both from Miami University. He earned his Ph.D. in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from The Ohio State University. Dr. Council is recognized at the local, state, and national levels for his service contributions and scholarship focused on developing pathways to and through college for students with and without disabilities. He currently serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative and NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Designee for the University of West Georgia. He has also written and presented extensively on academic interventions across the grade continuum. 

Ralph Gardner

Ralph Gardner, III, Ph.D. joined the faculty at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1989. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of Special Education/Applied Behavior Analysis at OSU in the Department of Educational Studies. Dr. Gardner’s research focuses on instructional and behavioral interventions for improving academic outcomes for urban children who are at risk for school failure and children with mild/moderate disabilities. Dr. Gardner’s research has appeared in the field’s leading peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Exceptional Children, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Education and Treatment of Children, etc.). He has authored several books (e.g., Diverse learners with special needs: Culturally responsive teaching in the inclusive classroom, Behavior analysis in education:  Focus on measurably superior instruction, etc.).

Dr. Gardner has received several awards for teaching excellence from The Ohio State University, including the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, highest teaching award at the university. He has received the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male Award to Faculty for Service to African American Male Students.  He has been the invited presenter at numerous U.S. colleges and universities as well as international universities in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Greece, Spain, and Ghana.  Dr. Gardner is a Fulbright Scholar who worked with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana to establish its doctoral program in Special Education.  During his time in Ghana, he worked extensively with faculty and in-service teachers to improve instructional delivery to children.


Wendy Naumann

Dr. Wendy Naumann is an esteemed school psychologist. Wendy does an amazing job evaluation children with learning differences.  From ADHD, to Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Autism, and NVLD, Wendy is skilled at figuring out how kids’ brains work. Best of all, she skillfully communicates with educational teams on innovative approaches to helping kids learn anyway. 

Wendy runs her own practice in Columbus, Ohio, is able to assess kids virtually, and has degrees in statistics and non-profit organizations! 

MLC in large part, was born and grown because of Wendy’s encouragement and mentorship. 


Allison Riggle

Dr. Allison Riggle is joining the Mindful Literacy team after spending 10 years working as a community volunteer.  She served as the president of a local chapter of MOMS Club International in Tampa, Florida.  Our group raised money for community organizations and developed early literacy initiatives for moms with young children. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home parent, Allison directed student services programming at community colleges and universities in Florida, Indiana, and Arkansas. Allison has a Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of West Florida and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Indiana University.   Dr. Riggle is happy to bring her experience and knowledge to Mindful Literacy.