Debbie Painter, M.A.

The Marshall University’s Higher Education for Learning Problems (H.E.L.P.) Center is pleased to announce that Debbie Painter, MA, has been named the fourth Director in program history.

The announcement came just after the center’s annual graduation ceremonies, where 20 of the program’s students were honored for their achievement in completing their degree work.

“During the 2013-14 academic year, we’ve seen more than a third of our students achieve GPA’s of 3.0 or better and had 28 students earn their degrees from Marshall University,” reflected Painter. “The academic success of our students has been tremendous and I am thrilled to be a part of the support system which makes it possible.

Following the Fall 2013 semester, 70 H.E.L.P. students achieved GPA’s of 3.0 or better and 8 students graduated, while Spring of 2014 saw 20 graduates and 69 students honored for 3.0 or higher GPAs.

The H.E.L.P. Center is a nationally-acclaimed program affiliated with Marshall University. H.E. L.P. provides individual instruction and academic support for students with specific learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The center began working with undergraduate students at Marshall University in 1981 and today addresses areas of academic need through six different divisions, working with individuals from ages 5 to adult.

Painter began tutoring for the H.E.L.P. Center in 1991 as a Graduate Assistant and in 1992 her role became Diagnostician.  Debbie has served as a Reading Specialist and has provided corrective reading instruction to medical students. She became the Coordinator of Diagnostics in 1995 and continues to oversee that division.  In July 2012 Painter was appointed Assistant Director of H.E.L.P. to supervise the college program.

Painter holds a pair of degrees from Marshall University, completing a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education 1-6 and Early Education N-K in 1990 and earning a Master’s in Special Education and Learning Disabilities in 1993. She is a member of both the International Dyslexia Association and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In January of 2013, Painter stepped up to the role of Interim Director, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program, as well as participating in the initial search for new leadership.

“It’s hard for me to remember my professional life before the H.E.L.P. Center, its staff and the incredible students we get to interact with every day. I am so pleased to continue to find challenges and fulfillment in a program that has become a professional home.

“We have an exceptional charge and with that comes distinctive challenges. Higher education is a constantly shifting and evolving world. We are tasked with helping our students – many of whom depend on structure and stability in their life – to navigate those changes and challenges in order to complete their education and move out into the workforce.”



The tradition of excellence continued as Lynne Weston became the new Director of the H.E.L.P. Center, August 1st, 2005 until July 31st, 2012.  Mrs. Weston took over the leadership of H.E.L.P. with her own vision, as it grew to meet the challenges of  higher education for learning disabled students in the 21st century. She received her undergraduate degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Marshall University. Her Master’s Degree in Education was obtained from the the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She later became certified in Learning Disabilities at Marshall University. She holds an Ed.S degree in Leadership Studies / Higher Education Administration. She has taught many grades in the public schools system but loves working most with college students.
Mrs. Weston has been a part of the Marshall University H.E.L.P. Program for the past twenty five years. She has seen the program grow from seventy students to two hundred students. She has great admiration for students in H.E.L.P. and feels grateful to be a part of the growth and excitement of such an outstanding program. She is married to Rick Weston. They have two sons. The oldest son recently received his PhD. in Neuroscience and the youngest is an attorney in Huntington, WV.



Dr. Barbara Priddy Guyer is the Director Emeritus of the H.E.L.P. Program. She received her B.S. degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Education, a Master’s degree from Ohio State University in School Administration, a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the College of Graduate Studies of Marshall University, and a doctorate in Learning Disabilities/Educational Administration from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Guyer taught grades 2-6, remedial reading in a women’s prison and was a principal of several schools including two Learning Disabilities Centers in Richmond, Virginia, which she organized. She began the H.E.L.P. Center in 1981 after she tested a particularly bright young man who had failed in college four times. H.E.L.P. has grown from 3 students with 2 employees to 200 students with 10 full-time employees and 50 part-time employees.

The greatest joy of her life has been working with college students and seeing them succeed. “The joy that one sees in their eyes or the excitement in their voices is a reward like none other. When H.E.L.P. students begin to believe in themselves and see that there is hope for the future, life begins to take on new meaning.”

Dr, Guyer retired as Director of H.E.L.P. as of August 1st, 2005 but will continue to be an integral part of the program. She will continue to work with Medical H.E.L.P., continue to work in fundraising, and to represent H.E.L.P. at conferences.

She is married to Ken Guyer and they have two daughters. Both have a Learning Disability and one has ADHD. Her daughters have proven that academic success is possible. One is a physician and the other is an attorney.


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