M. A. Rooney
J. Patrick Rooney

Founded in 1969, the M. A. Rooney Foundation has been dedicated to charitable, educational, and religious programs that promote or provide educational opportunities and inter-racial justice, among other social and community assistance efforts.

Today, the Foundation is concentrating its efforts and resources on helping educators improve literacy and educational excellence in Indiana.

Through our partnerships with schools, community organizations and the Indiana Department of Education, we are providing educators with professional learning, strategic planning and a data management system to help them improve student achievement.

We operate in the spirit of “Teach a man to fish . . . .”


Therese Rooney

As President of the Foundation, Therese has taken a non-traditional route to not-for-profit work generally and education specifically. While it has been a journey, the exciting news for her is she did find her passion when learning there is a way to help unlock the door for struggling readers.

She graduated from Indiana State University in 1975 with a bachelors in business. Therese passed the CPA exam and worked with Ernst & Young and American Art Clay before joining Golden Rule Insurance Company. Within 10 years, Therese became Executive Vice President. In 1990, she was named President Chief Executive Officer and served in this capacity until her retirement in 2005.

While raising her own children, Therese learned on a personal level about the lack of resources available to children with early reading difficulties. In the years since, she has continued to champion the cause of reading. She believes that children can learn to read, they have a right to learn this skill, and teachers have a right to the knowledge needed to teach them. Therese trains teachers, coaches teachers, and tutors students using the Orton-Gillingham multisensory phonetic teaching approach.





Betz, Karen

Karen is an Assistant Professor of Literacy at Marian University, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Literacy. After 18 years as an elementary classroom teacher and gifted intervention specialist in Cincinnati, Karen moved to Indiana where she spent four additional years supporting teachers in their development of teaching students to read. She was hired by the MA Rooney Foundation as an Orton-Gillingham coach for teachers in grades K-2 in an Indianapolis Public School. She then took that knowledge to the district level in IPS as a Reading Coach and then Multi-Classroom Leader. She continues to work closely with the MA Rooney Foundation as a trainer. She lives in Franklin Township with her husband, three children, and two step-sons.

Duncan, Ann

Ann joins the Foundation with over 30 years of experience educating students and teachers in the public-school system. She served as an elementary teacher and a MA Rooney Foundation Orton-Gillingham Coach for grades K-2 for the Indianapolis Public School District. In 2012, Ann attended training on the Orton-Gillingham whole-class approach and taught it with fidelity in her kindergarten classroom with impressive results. This experience led her to completing other Orton-Gillingham trainings which are listed below. Ann currently trains and supports teachers with implementing the Orton-Gillingham whole class approach.

Ann is passionate about providing young children with exceptional programs, such as, Orton-Gillingham, that prepare children to become lifelong readers. She is excited to share her experiences with others!

Ann’s academic accomplishments:
• MARF Whole-Class Orton-Gillingham Training
• Ron Yoshimoto Orton-Gillingham Basic Training
• Mayerson Academy’s Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Reading Practicum
• Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Kindergarten Endorsement
Purdue University

Fults, Frank

Frank’s twenty plus years of management and leadership bring a unique blend of technical, process, and project management skills to each of our educational partners. He works directly with educators to design and implement processes that provide principals and teachers the tools and analytics that maximize the use of existing data to improve student achievement. 

Throughout his career he has held senior level management positions at several Insurance companies as well as running a technology and management consulting firm. As a management consultant, he worked closely with business executives architecting, implementing and executing strategic technology solutions for solving business problems and moving companies forward. 

As Chief Information Officer at Golden Rule Insurance and a member of the executive management team, Frank demonstrated his ability to lead and execute business; technology and process improvement initiatives designed to optimize performance, improve efficiencies and grow the business.

Hochgesang, Robert

Robert worked in the insurance industry for eight years assisting corporate leadership in building data and analysis models for financial decision-making. He also created custom data solutions that use data warehouse and reporting technologies. A quick summary is, “provide the right numbers to the right people at the right time.” Robert has a Masters in Applied statistics from Purdue and a Bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Southern Indiana.

Hochgesang, Sandra

Sandra assists the Foundation in providing reporting quality assurance. Her work experience includes seven years in accounting and auditing with much attention to detail. Sandra graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering in her children’s classrooms to help students with reading and math.

Nicholson, Shannon

Shannon attended Southern Illinois University. She worked as a District Manager for thirteen years at an off price retailer. She then obtained her childcare licensure from Indiana and operated her own childcare business. During this time she served as PTA president for five years. She helped to implement several parent-lead volunteer programs. Shannon most recently has served with AmeriCorps/United Way for two years as a reading tutor gaining experience and training with Orton-Gillingham instruction.

Puckett-Harpold, Ann

Ann Puckett-Harpold has enthusiastically served children in many capacities during her educational career including her work as an elementary school teacher, principal, central office administrator and college instructor. She had the opportunity to open the first Edison school in Indiana and has worked with schools and corporations across the United States and the United Kingdom. Ann P-H is passionate about supporting educators as they embrace opportunities to utilize available data to drive instruction. As an educational leader, she embraces four words: FOCUSED, CONSISTENT, INTENTIONAL, and RELENTLESS. Her expertise is in strategic proactive planning, professional development, and data based accountability that leads to increased student achievement.

Smith, Wanda

Wanda has over 25 years in the insurance industry in the area of administration working with upper management. This includes supervising clerical staff and performing accounts payable and receivable functions. A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Wanda has enjoyed working in several environments over the years including: a non-profit, a chemical manufacturing company, retail at a discount store, and customer service at a vision center. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, sewing small quilts for charity, knitting hats for charity, and traveling.