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) 452-7658, or contact us by email.
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. Currently, Karen is at Headwaters School teaching Take Flight.
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!
Kristie is an educator with nearly 15 years of experience. She has been both a classroom teacher and a reading interventionist for public schools. Kristie holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University and an M.Ed. in Advanced Literacy from Concordia University Texas. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist and is certified through the International Dyslexia Association as a Dyslexia Therapist (CDT).
As a child, Kristie always had a passion for reading and a desire to help others. As an adult, she pursued a career in education with a focus in literacy. However, she would have never been able to predict the path that had been paved for her as she was working on her bachelors of science degree. One of her assignments was to design a pamphlet for parents regarding a learning disability. Kristie chose dyslexia. Years later, when she became a reading interventionist for an elementary school, Kristie was told she would also be the campus dyslexia teacher. Not knowing much about the subject, other than the very distant pamphlet she had once designed, she began her training in Basic Language Skills and went on to get her masters and ALT certification. Needless to say, her passion for literacy, dyslexia and advocating for students has only grown ten-fold!
When not working, Kristie’s hobbies include reading, camping, traveling, horseback riding and baking.
Tricia Cantwell, M.S. Ed.
Tricia is a passionate parent advocate, former teacher, and mother of two children with dyslexia. She was a classroom teacher for nearly ten years before deciding to stay home a be a full-time advocate for her children and others with dyslexia and attention disorders in the San Antonio area. Tricia is an avid researcher on the topic of dyslexia and related disorders, and although she is no longer in a traditional classroom, Tricia feels she still plays the role of educator sharing all that she has learned with those in need in her South Texas community.
As a Board Member of IDA Austin, Tricia uses her leadership skills to promote education, awareness, and advocacy for individuals with dyslexia and related disorders. Tricia holds a B.A. in Human Development & Family Studies from Texas Tech University and a Masters Degree in both Secondary Education and Guidance & Counseling from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Tricia is married to her best friend and partner in crime Curtis, and calls both San Antonio and Corpus Christi home.
Julie Hanson, M. Ed., LDT, CALT
Julie is a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist and Certified Academic Language Therapist and has a Master of Education in Special Education with a focus in Assessment. Currently, Julie is a teacher at the Winston School San Antonio, where she provides specialized instruction to students of all ages who have dyslexia and/or other learning differences. Prior to teaching at Winston, Julie worked as a part-time professor for Trinity University in the Education Department and also taught in Northside ISD and Boerne ISD. Julie worked in Guatemala with Food for the Hungry as the Director of Communications in the Child Sponsorship Program and as an editor and desktop publisher for a local ministry.
Julie is passionate about helping others and feels blessed to be part of a school dedicated to educating students with learning differences. As a member of the IDA Austin Board, she is excited to share her knowledge and provide support to parents and teachers who have children with dyslexia.
Julie spends as much time as possible with her young daughter, playing, exploring, sharing her love of the outdoors, and being active in her church.
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.
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’d made little progress, despite summer tutoring, afterschool 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, 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. The parent group meets monthly and shares resources with each other via Facebook.
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 will begin training this summer to become an Academic Language Therapist in hopes of providing children with the services they need to change not only their lives but the lives of their families.
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 Afterschool 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 excited to join the IDA Austin Board this year, and she hopes to contribute to the growth of a support- and information-sharing network within the dyslexia community.
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, writing, and drawing.
Stephanie is certified through the International Dyslexia Association as a Dyslexia Practitioner. She is currently working as an elementary special education teacher at The Winston School in San Antonio, a small college preparatory school that serves average ability level to gifted bright students who also have learning differences such as dyslexia, ADHD, or processing disorders. and other learning needs. Stephanie has a Principal’s License and is also certified to teach the Wilson Reading System Levels I and II.
Stephanie has ten years of experience working with students, parents, and community members who have had dyslexia impact their lives. She originally began her career as a high school American Sign Language teacher at Lawrence School, a private school in Ohio designed for students with learning differences. Stephanie instantly fell in love with this student population and population of student! She has worked in specialized private schools ever since. As a new board member of IDA Austin, Stephanie looks forward to making new connections and sharing her passion for helping individuals with dyslexia within the greater community.
In her spare time, Stephanie’s hobbies include horseback riding and travel.
Mandy has over twenty years of diverse experience in the field of education. Mandy’s passion for teaching was ignited by her brother who struggled with reading and eventually dropped out of school after experiencing repeated failure. Helping students succeed became Mandy’s motivation as she began her career as an elementary teacher and later as a teacher trainer, assistant principal, 504 coordinator, adjunct reading professor and executive director of a writing project working with hundreds of Texas schools. Most recently, Mandy was the director of professional development at a private school serving dyslexic students. Through her work, Mandy has organized numerous professional development seminars, teacher conferences, and community outreach events.
As a parent of a child with dyslexia, Mandy experienced the challenges involved with early dyslexia identification and intervention with her daughter. Her journey has inspired her continued work in dyslexia outreach and advocacy. Mandy lives in Austin with her husband and two daughters. She loves to spend her time volunteering, continually learning, and connecting with others. Now that her daughter is in high school, Mandy is on the path to learn how parents can help their dyslexic children successfully transition from high school to college.
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. She is passionate about sharing information and resources about the “D” word!
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 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 ranging in age from 27 to 16. She lives on several acres and has chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats and loves being outside and in her garden.