Our Story

Several years ago, a colleague gave Dean Bragonier a copy of The Dyslexic Advantage, not realizing how impactful this gift would be.

Painfully aware of the challenges associated with his own dyslexia, the psychological impact of being perceived as ‘different’, and the hurdles encountered in his academic journey, Dean was intrigued by the findings of neuroscientists Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide. In the pages of their book, he discovered the cognitive advantages associated with his dyslexia… gifts that, until that moment, he had not given the value they deserved.

As the father of a young son with dyslexia, Dean wrestled with the obstacles he knew his child would face in school. How could the social-emotional challenges be addressed by the discoveries laid out in the pages of The Dyslexic Advantage? If students with dyslexia discovered their cognitive strengths, would they develop healthier self-esteem?

If these students were exposed to professions where dyslexics are disproportionately successful, would they be more engaged in the academic process and cultivate the resilience they need to survive? Would knowledge of ‘dyslexic benefits’ make these students less likely to drop out and engage in risky behaviors? 

Dean approached professors at Harvard University, MIT and Boston University seeking assistance. With encouragement from these mentors, he founded NoticeAbility in 2015, raising the funds needed by completing a 60-mile challenge swim around Martha’s Vineyard island. With resources in place, Dean began building NoticeAbility’s first curriculum, Entrepreneurs & Innovators, with the assistance of Harvard Business School and Harvard School of Education. Within three years of its launch, NoticeAbility’s curricula were translated into Dutch and Portuguese and were being used to empower students with dyslexia in public and private schools, homeschools and after-school programs in 18 states and 13 countries.


Dean Starbuck Bragonier
Founder & Executive Dyslexic


Dean Bragonier is the Founder and Executive Dyslexic of NoticeAbility. Shaped by the challenges associated with his dyslexia and after struggling through the traditional secondary education system, Dean became a diligent and successful college student who developed a true love of learning at Bates College.

Upon graduation, Dean embraced his entrepreneurial instincts and acquired a small seasonal restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard Island that he transformed into a successful full-scale enterprise. It was through this endeavor that he was able to contextualize his years of laborious academic learning and discover the true gifts of his dyslexic mind. As a social entrepreneur, Dean has founded his own nonprofit organizations and served as board member and advisor to a number of others.

NoticeAbility is the culmination of Dean’s passion for education and his conviction that the advantages of dyslexia far outweigh its associated challenges. Dean is a Board member of the International Dyslexia Association, a Council Member of SPREAD the WORD and a Power Launch Social Impact Fellow (2016).

Christian Henry
Chief Program Officer


Christian joined NoticeAbility in 2018 to build relationships to help our courses reach a wider population of students with dyslexia. His experience before NoticeAbility was in nonprofit education as a teacher, business officer and fundraiser. Christian spearheads new school adoption and partnership relationships. He helps people become familiar and get started with our courses by creating and delivering interactive workshops to raise awareness and build community.

He serves as a Board Member of The Centre for Ocean Research and Education, a parent representative on the Steering Committee of a Cambridge public elementary school, and is a director of Beacon Hill Seminars, a life-long learning nonprofit in Boston.


Valerie Woxholdt
Director - Curriculum & Research


Val started working with NoticeAbility in 2015 as a curriculum consultant and in 2017 moved into her role as Director of Curriculum and Research. In this role, Val creates NoticeAbility’s education content and investigates the impact of the curricula for teachers and students.

Val holds degrees in education from Rutgers and Harvard, and is an alumna of Teach for America. Prior to joining NoticeAbility, she worked in the field of education as a teacher, instructional leader and research associate.

Sophie Kelly
IT & Communications Intern

Sophie Kelly.jpg

Sophie is NoticeAbility’s IT and Communications intern, and is completing her degree in environmental science and international affairs at Northeastern University in Boston.  She is a researcher for Northeastern’s Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, and she mentors elementary aged girls in the Boston community through Strong Women Strong Girls. Her co-op placement for 2019-2020 is Organizing and Alliances intern with Oxfam International.

Board Members

Dean Bragonier, Founder & Executive Dyslexic, NoticeAbility, Inc.

Brad Marchand, Left Wing, Boston Bruins

Tom Israel, CEO, Ingleside Investors

James L. Ferraro, Chairman, The Ferraro Law Firm

Sarah Selden, Athena Health

Benton B. Bodamer, Partner, Dickinson Wright, PLLC

Kai Cutter, Entrepreneur

Johnathan Schaech, Actor & Writer

Advisory Committee

Gabrielle Rapport-Schlichtmann, Ed.D.; Executive Director & Chief Scientist, EdTogether Inc; Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent, Buffalo Public Schools

William Marroquin, MEd, Doctoral Candidate ’19, Senior Facilitator for the Public Education Leadership Program, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Brock Eide, Author and Co-Founder, The Dyslexic Advantage

Nancy Foy, Head of School, The New Community School

David Flink, Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

Chris Malloy, Professor of Financial Management, Harvard Business School

Deborah Lynam, Director of Partnerships & Engagement, AIM Institute of Learning & Research; Co-Founder, Decoding Dyslexia