Board of Directors

Sharon Roberts

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.

Carolyn Mixon, SLP, LDT, CALT

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.

Mary Bach, Ph.D., LDT, CDT, CALT
Past President

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 gave 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 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 second 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.

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.