Board of Directors


Sharon Roberts
President

Sharon began her teaching career at Del Valle Junior High School in a self-contained special education classroom. Sharon also taught English and Language Arts and became an Instructor for the New Jersey Writing Project.

In 1998, Sharon started a dyslexia program at her junior high and developed a reading lab program for struggling students.  Despite her varied experiences in education, learning how to teach reading to students with dyslexia was a profound turning point in her career and life.  As a result of the program and the students’ success, Sharon took on the newly created position of Secondary Dyslexia/Reading Coordinator.

For over a decade, Sharon served as the Dyslexia, 504, and General Ed Homebound Coordinator. During this time, she became a Master Reading Teacher, received training in several dyslexia programs, and continued to develop the district’s dyslexia program. Sharon returned to the classroom for the last four years of her career to reconnect with students, administer assessments, and work to implement the latest scientific reading research in the K-12 classroom.

Sharon has actively served on numerous boards, including previous service on the board of IDA Austin. She hopes to build on the work that has been done, keep the Board challenged, and honor IDA’s traditions.

In her free time, Sharon loves baking, scrapbooking, traveling, and all things grandchildren, including learning to fish and pitch baseball. She also enjoys making an annual beach trip every summer with the teachers she hired and trained during the course of her career.

 

Traci Grossfield, CALT
Vice President

Traci Grossfeld is a private CALT with 10 years combined classroom and therapy experience along with 15 years in the business and nonprofit fields. Her passion is empowering students to believe in themselves and find their gifts. She believes the goal of learning should be to equip students with tools and strategies that enable each of them to be successful and to inspire curiosity.

Traci is honored to serve on the IDA Austin Board so she can further support and advocate for the community she cares so deeply about. She says, “It’s a great opportunity to meet caring people, share knowledge, and build bridges among the Austin dyslexia community (educators, families and advocates).”

When not working, Traci enjoys reading, working out, Face Time with her college-age children, and spending time with her husband and loving chocolate lab.

 

Carolyn Mixon, SLP, LDT, CALT
Treasurer

Carolyn is retired from Austin ISD where she had a 30-year. career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), and elementary reading specialist, and was involved in the early development of the district’s language and literacy RtI programs. She is also a former, certified local LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) trainer, and currently serves as a moderator on several Facebook pages related to the science of reading and structured literacy. Her passion has been working with beginning readers and their parents. To the board, she brings organization and a desire to explore projects that will increase IDA Austin’s visibility as a source of information on the science of reading among parents and teachers.

Carolyn’s other activities include cycling, hiking, and becoming certified as a Texas Master Naturalist. She and her husband share a home with Ginger Baker, a large orange tabby cat, and are the proud parents of Emily who is working towards her PhD in Geology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Jennifer Watson, CALT, CDT
Secretary

Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California San Diego and began her academic language therapy training at the Rawson Saunders Institute in 2007. She has taught English in Japan for several years, worked as an academic language therapist at a local private school for children with dyslexia for six years, and been in private practice as an ALT since 2007.  She is an active member of both the Academic Language Therapy Association and the International Dyslexia Association.

Jennifer is grateful to be a part of the IDA Austin Board as it is both a wonderful learning opportunity and an avenue to further support educators, parents, and students in employing the power of explicit, structured phonics instruction.

In addition to taking deep delight in working with her students, Jennifer enjoys listening to history podcasts, reading, hiking, petting every dog and cat in Austin, including her own cat, and spending time with beloved friends and family.


Karen Ashorn, B.S., M.Ed., CALT

Karen began teaching in 1997, in public and in private schools, and has been a Certified Academic Language Therapist since 2013.  She graduated from Texas A & M with a B.S. in Curriculum & Instruction, and from Midwestern State University with a M.S. in Special Education, Dyslexia Specialization.  She received her CALT training through the Take Flight program with Scottish Rite and has been doing dyslexia therapy through the public schools up until 2020. 

This is her fourth year as a Director with IDA Austin, and she is excited to continue to learn and grow in knowledge of how to best help families and get important information broadcast to them.  She is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the Academic Language Therapy Association. 

She very recently retired from teaching 2nd grade, and has two sons, Keith and Colin, who are in their 20’s.  She also has three rescue dogs she enjoys doing agility with in her spare time.

 

Cynthia Edwards, M.Ed., CALT

Cynthia is a national educational consultant who provides support to states, districts, and schools on issues related to school improvement, teacher knowledge, and literacy achievement. Cynthia is guided in the belief that all children will achieve educational success when provided highly effective teachers using research-based resources and strategies, along with a positive, supportive learning environment.

Cynthia dedicated 32 years to Austin Independent Public Schools, Austin, Texas. She taught for 18 years as a special educator, gaining comprehensive teaching experience in early childhood through high school settings. During this time she became one of the first teachers in Austin ISD to obtain certification as an academic language therapist. Cynthia also provided Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) and Early Childhood LETRS training on a national level. Eventually, she took on administrative roles in special education, curriculum, dyslexia, and Section 504, ensuring a multi-tiered system of support for the social-emotional and educational needs of all students.

Cynthia believes in the power of knowledge to empower advocacy and support. By joining the IDA Austin board, she looks forward to working with a devoted coalition as they continue strengthening advocacy and support for children, young adults, pre-service teachers, teachers, parents, and community partners.

Cynthia has been a resident of Austin for over 45 years. There’s a good chance you might find her on a trail hiking with her Aussie, tending her gardens, or in the kitchen concocting something healthy and delicious.

 

Linda Halbreich, M.A. Ed., LDT, CALT

Linda has been teaching at the Austin Waldorf School since 2003, initially as a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist. Since 2015, Linda has joined the AWS high school as the Student Support Coordinator, where she serves as an advocate and coach for students with learning disabilities. While working as the head of the kindergarten at the Dalton School in New York City, Linda was an intern at the Fisher-Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities. Witnessing the powerful impact of academic therapy on children’s lives, and after her son was diagnosed with dyslexia, Linda pursued training as a CALT at the Rawson Saunders Institute.

Linda holds a Master’s degree from Adelphi University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with an emphasis on identifying children who have learning disabilities.  Previously, she attended Bank Street College of Education to study Reading Instruction, and SUNY Buffalo, earning a BA in Human Services/Child Development.

Linda is pleased to join the IDA Austin board to provide advocacy on a larger scale by supporting students, parents, and educators, and by promoting the Science of Reading to a wider audience to foster early successes for all students as they learn to read.

Linda enjoys gardening with native plants, identifying wildflowers on her hikes through Barton Creek Preserve, and listening to live music. Spending time with family and friends is at the top of her list along with cooking, reading, and traveling near and far.

 

Megan Pinchback, MBA, LDT, CALT

Megan is a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist through the State of Texas.  She completed her Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) training from the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center of Austin in 2011.  After a 10-year career as a special education teacher in the Texas public school system, in 2012 she transitioned into private practice as a dyslexia therapist and CALT servicing children out of her office in Dripping Springs, Texas. As she continues to grow her business, her understanding of the shortage of quality dyslexia servicing for children on a national level propels her daily to stretch her knowledge, voice, and reach. Megan is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).  Additionally, she holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Business Administration through Louisiana State University.

Megan is passionate about dyslexia advocacy, legislation at the state and national level, and supporting students and parents through the social-emotional impact of dyslexia and the struggle to receive appropriate servicing.She hopes her time on the board of IDA Austin can be her small commitment to the pursuit of a better educational environment and greater successes for all children impacted daily with dyslexia.

Megan is a wife and the mother to five wonderful children ranging in ages from 3 to 22 years old. She and her family enjoy spending as much time as they can together and outside in the beautiful Texas hill country.

 

Lisa Baker, M.Ed., CALT, LDT

Lisa is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and is currently in practice as a licensed dyslexia therapist. Lisa began her career as a special education and ESL teacher in Austin ISD after receiving her M.Ed. degree from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and B.A. from Southern Connecticut State University. Lisa received her academic language therapy certification from Rawson Saunders Institute and is an active member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, International Dyslexia Association, and American Education Research Association. 

Throughout Lisa’s 25 year career in Austin, she has held multiple positions in Austin ISD and surrounding districts including special education, ESL, homebound-hospital services, early childhood, RTI, instructional coach, and reading resource teacher. Her dedication to students and parents of students with learning differences led her to become a CALT so that she could better address the fundamental reading difficulties students with learning differences have. Lisa is honored to join the board and help achieve the goals of IDA Austin. Lisa is focused on fundraising and outreach to the membership and greater Austin communities. 

When Lisa is not teaching, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Chris, and their dog, Max, and traveling with friends and family. Lisa and Chris are proud parents of a daughter and son who are currently attending college.

 

Rhonda Demps, M.Ed., Educational Diagnostician

Rhonda began her teaching career in 1998. With over 23 years in education, she has provided educational services to students in the private sector as the owner of Strengthening Minds Educational Services. Currently she is the district 504/Dyslexia Coordinator for Manor ISD. 

Rhonda earned her bachelor’s degree from Huston-Tillotson College. She has a Master of Education in Educational Administration (Prairie View A&M) and Special Education, Educational Diagnostician Specialization (Midwestern State University). 

Rhonda is passionate about teaching children to read, especially those with dyslexia. She hopes that as an IDA Austin board member she can make a positive impact for educators and students. Rhonda wants to ensure all educators in the classroom are properly trained in understanding dyslexia and what it takes to create a skilled reader. 

As a wife, mother, and grandmother, Rhonda enjoys spending time with her family  – especially her six year old granddaughter.

 

Emily Hardeman, M.Ed., Special Education

Emily is an elementary Special Education Resource Teacher and Dyslexia Interventionist in Austin ISD. She has a master’s degree in Special Education from Midwestern State University and is training to be a Certified Academic Language Therapist as well as completing her training in Take Flight with the Scottish Rite Hospital.

Emily is the parent of a child identified with dyslexia. She is committed to supporting parents in learning how to best support their student’s learning profiles. She believes that all children have the right to accessible reading instruction as a springboard for their academic and emotional development. Her specific research interest is effective remediation strategies for students identified with dyslexia and anxiety.

In her free time, Emily loves to read, spend time outdoors, and spend time with her family.

 

Christine Vincent, M. Ed., Educational Diagnostician

Being an educator is Christine Perlino Vincent’s life’s work. She has supported students – in several different capacities – for more than 20 years. Christine obtained her undergraduate degree in the areas of sociology and psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She then started her career as an outdoor educator leading adolescents through the wilderness while providing them the tools to learn. That work led to completing a Master’s of Education concentrated in integrated learning and Waldorf early childhood from Antioch New England Graduate School. She continued to teach and lead in various ways, in the classroom of both private and public schools, for the next two decades. Christine is certified to teach grades EC-8th and Special Education EC-12th.

​After spending years working with different learning styles, Christine’s curiosity about the cognitive processes steered her to secure an Educational Diagnostician certificate through Texas Tech University.  She has been an Educational Diagnostician for six years. Christine currently works with a local education agency and runs a private evaluation practice in the Rio Grande Valley.

As a new IDA board member, Christine looks forward to collaborating with other professionals in the field of dyslexia and learning differences. She strives to provide information and resources about dyslexia to those in her surrounding area.

​Christine enjoys backpacking, swimming, and traveling with her three children and dog ​in her spare time.