Board of Directors
Interested parties are invited to attend board meetings, which are usually held the first Wednesday of the month. Please feel free to leave us a voice message on our helpline number, (512) 666-8190, or contact us by email.
Mary Bach, Ph.D., LDT, CDT, CALT
Mary is a retired educator with over forty years of experience in public education as a classroom teacher, dyslexia therapist, and curriculum coach. Her experiences as a dyslexia teacher led to her love of teaching students to read. She feels helping a student become a better reader is one of the most satisfying aspects of teaching. Mary is trained in Basic Language Skills, a certified dyslexia therapist and a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Her second love is working with teachers. Becoming president of IDA Austin has given her the chance to work with a board of talented educators and parents. While completing her doctorate in Special Education Administration at The University of Texas at Austin, she taught pre-service teachers through Texas Teaching Fellows and earned the University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning Strategic Instruction Model Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routine Professional Developer (KU-CRL: SIM LS & CER) Certificates.
During her free time, Mary likes to spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She also enjoys gardening and spending time with friends.
Karen is an IDA Certified Dyslexia Therapist, a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), and a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist (LDT TX #1132) who taught in public and private schools for over 20 years, and since 1984 has been in private practice. As an Orton Oak (over 25 years), she served on the IDA Austin board for many years under numerous former presidents from the beginning. Karen was a founding member of ALTA (over 30 years) and in 1997, she served as a founding member of the committee that established the Rawson-Saunders School in Austin, Texas where she was a CALT for eight years. She taught at the Austin Scottish Rite Learning Center for four years where her youngest son became a graduate in 1999. The Orton-Gillingham Philosophy and Multisensory Structured Language Karen promotes are effective for students of all ages including Dual Language learners. Her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia her Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana complement and enhance her training as a Dyslexia Therapist.
In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Mike has a varied educational and professional history, beginning with a B.S in Chemistry from Virginia Tech. Mike began his career as a United States Patent Examiner in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington D.C. After a few years, he became a Real Estate Broker and a General Contractor, building and selling homes in the Northern Virginia area.
After earning an M.S. in Curriculum and Education in 1998, Mike taught Chemistry in Fairfax County Public Schools, where he encountered students that experienced difficulty accessing the written material. Mike realized there were few support services for these students, so he became a pioneer in assistive technology by being one of the first faculty to post his course materials in audiobook format. This interest in providing educational support to students with dyslexia inspired Mike to join the International Dyslexia Association. As a former board member of the Vienna Little League Foundation, Mike managed a $1,000,000.00 legacy portfolio for the benefit of young baseball players. His financial skills are now being put to use as IDA Austin’s Treasurer.
In his personal time, Mike has enjoyed coaching student athletics and helping kids do interesting things like launch rockets!
Suzann Vera, M.S. Ed., LDT, CALT, CDT
Suzann is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist working full time as a reading interventionist in Central Texas. With over 22 years in public education, Suzann has had the opportunity to work with students, parents, and fellow educators. Trained in both Texas Scottish Rite Hospital’s Take Flight and Neuhaus’s Basic Language Skills, Suzann has taught children identified with dyslexia and those who struggle in language arts to read, write, and spell. She is a member of IDA and the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Since her own child struggled to read in the first grade, Suzann has become passionate about providing staff development for other educators and holding parent workshops on dyslexia identification, the referral process, intervention with direct, explicit multisensory instruction, and other resources.
Suzann is in her fourth year as a Director with IDA Austin. She joins the Executive Board this year as Corresponding Secretary. Suzann chairs the Membership & Outreach Committee with enthusiasm to celebrate, educate, and advocate for dyslexia.
When not working with students, Suzann likes to play board games with her husband and son, read books, cook, and camp.
Check out her school’s FB group, Raising Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cowanreaders/
Angie is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, a Certified Dyslexia Therapist and a Certified Learning Specialist working both privately and in area schools. Angie has over 25 years of teaching experience, supporting students through customized curricula and supporting parents and educators by offering workshops on dyslexia, effective intervention strategies and staff development. Angie is a passionate advocate for her students as well, and she enjoys guiding parents through the 504 or IEP process. Angie is certified in Basic Language Skills, a Certified Dyslexia Therapist through the International Dyslexia Association, and a Certified Learning Specialist through the Association of Learning Specialists.
Angie is excited to be on the IDA Austin Executive Board, and she hopes to help educate parents, teachers and the public about dyslexia, as well as to provide support to families and students. She is on several committees to help facilitate outreach in the community and is happy to help in the planning of the upcoming dyslexia conference.
Angie and her husband have four children, with a grandson on the way. She enjoys working outside and in her garden.
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 had her CALT training through the Take Flight program with Scottish Rite, and has been doing dyslexia therapy through the public schools ever since.
This is her first year as a Director with IDA Austin, and she is excited to learn and grow in the knowledge of how to best help her students and others. She is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Karen currently teaches 2nd grade, and has two sons, who are in their 20’s. She also has three rescue dogs that she enjoys doing agility training with in her spare time.
Shannon Brady, LDT, CALT
Shannon is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist. She has been in private practice teaching Take Flight for nine years. Her love of children and lifelong love of reading put her on the path of helping dyslexic children. Shannon is passionate that every child deserves to read and she strives to foster a love of reading in her students. She is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association and the International Dyslexia Association.
Shannon grew up in Amarillo, Texas and received a BA in English Literature from Tulane University. She has lived in Austin for the last 25 years with her husband and two children. When not tutoring, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, art, and of course, reading!
Thresea (Terri) Courtney, B.S.
Thresea began her career teaching first graders in Corpus Christi and, prior to retirement 35 years later, was teaching 8th grade science in Austin. The years in between found her teaching students of all ages, from preschoolers to middle schoolers, parents, and other teachers. As a teacher, Thresea sought to build a love of reading and self confidence in her students by building on a foundation of best practices. Thresea is a Certified Master Science Teacher and has certification in English as a Second Language.
Thresea continues to seek out professional development opportunities and is proud to foster this professional growth through service on the IDA board, supporting parents, teachers, and the community in learning about dyslexia.
Thresea has been married to her husband Chuck for 39 years, and they have two sons. During her spare time, she enjoys cooking, crafting, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Alexis Juusola, M.Ed., Ph.D.
Alexis is currently an Ed.D. candidate at Concordia University Austin. Her research focuses on effective curriculum and instructional practices for students with dyslexia, the Universal Design for Learning framework, data literacy, and assistive technology practices. She also earned her M.Ed. from Concordia University with a masters case study titled, “Effectiveness of Spanish Intervention to Improve Phonemic Awareness, Concept of Print and Decoding.” She is currently the Master Reading Teacher Education Specialist at Education Service Center Thirteen, to prepare classroom teachers to design and implement reading instruction to addresses the varied learning needs of all students with reading difficulties, dyslexia and reading disabilities.
Chloe and her husband, Dave, have three primary school-aged children in Lake Travis ISD. Two of their children have been identified with characteristics of dyslexia. After battling for four years to get help for her oldest child, Chloe became determined to educate others in the early identification and treatment of dyslexia. Chloe has had personal experience with the transformative effects of therapy. After only one year of dyslexia therapy, Chloe’s daughter has made terrific gains and even reads for pleasure in her spare time!
Chloe joined the IDA Austin Board to help educate parents and educators about the characteristics of dyslexia, and to offer support and resources to parents of struggling readers.
Originally from Houston, Chloe resettled in Lakeway, Texas in 2013. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University, holding a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.
Chloe has practiced small and large animal veterinary medicine in Texas for over 14 years. She is a member of the American board of Veterinary Medical Association and the Capital Area Veterinary Medical Association. Chloe is currently practicing as a relief veterinarian in Lakeway, Texas.
Paula McCoy, BFA, ALT
As a parent of a child with dyslexia, Paula is passionate about connecting other parents with the resources they need to navigate what can be a very stressful diagnosis. Paula’s son struggled with reading in kindergarten, and by the end of first grade, he had made little progress, despite summer tutoring, after school reading groups, and extra help. Once he was officially diagnosed with dyslexia, Paula’s son began receiving services by a Certified Academic Language Therapist. After two years of language therapy and continued support, he is now a flourishing and confident student who enjoys reading and loves going to school. As a result of this experience, Paula was inspired to start a parent group at her elementary school for parents of struggling readers.
As an IDA Austin Board member, Paula is replicating these experiences in new contexts, focusing on Membership and Outreach, and co-managing the branch’s social media outlets.
As a professional, Paula runs an online stationery business and works as a graphic designer. She enjoys karate, camping, and exploring national parks with her family. Inspired by her son’s progress with reading therapy, she began training as an Academic Language Therapist to provide children with the services they need to succeed in reading.
Sharon Morgan, M.Ed., CDP/IDA
Sharon is a retired educator with 25 years of experience in public and private education. Sharon is a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner through IDA. Her education consists of a BA in Psychology, BSW in Social Work, a teaching certificate in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Concordia Lutheran University, which led to her becoming a Certified Reading Specialist. She served as a Dyslexia Specialist for Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD. Sharon also taught at the Scottish Rite Learning Center’s summer program for several summers. Interest in reading and dyslexia runs deep for Sharon, and she is a “womb to tomb” student, having received training in a variety of specialized reading curricula including Basic Language Skills, Project Read, Wilson Reading System, and Really Great Reading. Sharon currently tutors students privately and does volunteer work at Rutledge Elementary, which she finds quite fulfilling.
Sharon is excited to be a Director on the IDA Austin Board and would like to increase dyslexia awareness for all educators. Additionally, she looks forward to meeting other like-minded professionals and parents.
Sharon has been married for 38 years. She has one daughter, one son, one granddaughter, two grandsons, and two dachshunds. Sharon enjoys shopping and spending time with her family and friends.
Nelda Reyes has 22 years of teaching experience. She began her career as a first grade classroom bilingual teacher in La Joya ISD in the Rio Grande Valley and Alief ISD in Houston. She has served in many other capacities in her teaching career, including reading specialist and special education resource/co-teacher for grades K-5. Nelda is currently a dyslexia practitioner and reading specialist at De Zavala Elementary in Austin. Nelda has a passion for advocating and teaching others about literacy and dyslexia in innovative ways, such as facilitating parent nights at her campus and bringing therapy dogs to read with her students.
Nelda holds an undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and certifications in Early Childhood, Bilingual/ESL, Special Education, MRT and a Wilson Level 1 Practitioner. She is currently working on her Level 2 Wilson Therapist certification. She is also a member of DKG, a teacher organization in Central Texas.
Nelda joined IDA in hopes of learning from others and networking with other dyslexia specialists in the surrounding IDA region. She is excited to now serve as a Director on the IDA Austin board, and she hopes to educate parents, colleagues, and the community about dyslexia.
Shonna Skarda, M.A., LDT, CALT
Shonna is a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist and Certified Academic Language Therapist trained in Take Flight. After working for more than a decade in the field of horticulture, Shonna decided to return to her experience in and love for language and education. She feels blessed to have found such a rewarding career and vocation in the field of dyslexia therapy. After completing her training at the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center of Austin in 2014, Shonna formed a joint practice in north Austin. She sees students in individual and group settings. In addition to her private practice, Shonna is also the After School Program Coordinator for the Dyslexia Center of Austin, a non-profit working to provide low-cost intervention services for underserved communities. Shonna holds a double B.A. in English and Linguistics from UT El Paso, and an M.A. in English from UT Austin. She is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Shonna is in her fourth year as a Director with IDA Austin. She manages the IDA Austin website and is an active member on our Programs Committee, with a special interest in developing our annual conference and the Experience Dyslexia® workshops.
Born in Lubbock and raised in El Paso, Shonna has lived in Austin for over twenty years. She and her husband love living in north Austin, and in her spare time, Shonna enjoys gardening, reading, and swimming.