Mary Damer is a respected authority on reading and literacy. A former Illinois school principal, professor at Ohio State University, and behavior consultant, she has championed literacy and prevention of reading problems. Her observation that a large portion of students who were identified as having behavior issues could not read near their grade levels led her to co-author Managing Unmanageable Students: Practical Solutions for Administrators, a documentation of her study on how inadequate academic skills result in this diagnosis. She is also the co-author of Teaching Reading to Students Who Are at Risk or Have Disabilities: A Multi-Tier, RTI Approach, one of the only textbooks in the field that represents research-based instruction in each of the five critical areas of reading.
Her desire to reduce disruptive behavior in schools by increasing the numbers of students who could read at grade level eventually influenced her to take the role of field director for Project Pride, a federally funded early literacy model demonstration program. She is currently coordinating a multi-tiered reading project in an Ohio school district to increase reading achievement and reduce behavior problems through an intensive multi-tiered model based on preventing reading failure.