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.

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.


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.


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 programs and outreach to the membership and greater Austin communities. 

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


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.


Caryn Fox

Caryn began her career in education in 1991 at a Non-Punitive Alternative Middle School in Southwest ISD in San Antonio.  Three years later, a move to Kerrville, Texas had Caryn continuing to teach students at the middle school level for Ingram ISD from 1995-1999, where she was challenged with students from group foster care facilities.  In 1999, Caryn moved to her home town of Laredo, TX where she continued teaching students at the district Alternative School.  These classroom settings and many life events led to the adoption of 2 children, one of whom is dyslexic.

These experiences as teacher and parent were stepping stones to 20 years in campus and district level administration. Direct Involvement with dyslexia came from 2018 – 2021 when Caryn served as Dyslexia Coordinator for United ISD in Laredo.  Managing a Texas Education Agency Dyslexia Grant, Caryn was directly involved in her district moving from zero to 26 CALPs in a 9 month period and watching dyslexia education move from the backseat to the forefront for Dyslexia Education in her community.  Caryn is retired from her 31 year career in Texas Public Education and excited to be serving on the Board of Directors for IDA-Austin and anxious to continue spreading awareness of dyslexia to the Laredo area.


Athit Farias

I have three boys, I am a proud M.O.M. (Mother of Marine).  My oldest is dyslexic and has dysgraphia, this is where my passion for all things dyslexia and reading began when he was a child, he’s 24 now.  I have been in education going on 20 years, I began as an instructional aide in a Pre-Kinder classroom.  I have been a Classroom teacher (PK, 4th, 5th), Teacher Facilitator for an elementary, Instructional Software Specialist for Sharyland ISD, Assistant Principal at Port Isabel High School, a Reading Specialist and now serve as  the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Specialist at Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy.

I received my undergraduate degree from UTPA, now UTRGV and my Masters in Curriculum and Instructions w/Specialization in Instructional Technology from Texas A&M University.  I am a huge advocate for leveraging technologies in order to assist our students with reading and writing difficulties.   When I’m not researching all things dyslexia and technology, I like to unplug and go fishing and butterflying.




Samantha Ruiz, M.Ed, LDT, CALT, Educational Diagnostician

Samantha has been in the field of education for over 13 years. She began as an early childhood educator and later became a dyslexia teacher for Vanguard Academy Charter Schools in South Texas. She became a certified academic language therapist in 2019 through the Dyslexia Center of Austin and most recently obtained her educational diagnostician certificate through Midwestern State University. This is her first year serving on the board for IDA Austin and she is excited to share her knowledge and experiences with dyslexia with families in the Rio Grande Valley. Samantha is married and currently residing in McAllen Tx with her family. She has three sons, Logan (age 4), Miles (age 2), and Remy (age 4 months). She also has three dogs. She enjoys exercising and baking with her boys.



Rama Tandon

Rama Tandon, from New Delhi, India, is currently a first-year doctoral student at UT Austin, majoring in Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist who has worked in the field of special needs for over 22 years. She has a double Masters, one of them being a Master of Arts in Psychology. She is a member of the Academic Language Therapist Association (ALTA)and the International Dyslexia Association. She has been conducting workshops all over India and outside India for parents and teachers. She also has a YouTube channel where she has uploaded over 100 videos in Hindi and English for teachers and parents to understand Dyslexia and tips related to intervention. As a new member of the IDA board, she hopes to combine her diverse experience with her compassion and enthusiasm and to make a positive contribution to IDA, Austin, and the greater community. She desires to increase her knowledge and comprehension of reading, literacy, and cognitive skills. She is interested in current and effective practices in the disciplines of literacy, early intervention, reading, and other language-based learning disorders.



Chris Prindle

Chris began her teaching career in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a moderate-needs special education classroom. As a new educator, Chris quickly found that she had many bright students who struggled to learn to read and write despite having advanced listening comprehension and spoken vocabulary. Chris knew there was something she still needed to learn about how to teach her students best. Chris was inspired to learn more from these experiences and completed the MAT Dyslexia Specialist teaching program at Colorado College, where she became a licensed CALT, C-SLDS, and Reading Specialist. For the past decade, Chris has served as an emotional needs assistant, special educator, reading interventionist, and dyslexia therapist in socioeconomically diverse Colorado & Texas public schools. During this time, she received training in several dyslexia programs and conducts professional development through Free Bird Literacy & Learning Center for teachers in structured literacy. Chris has actively served on several boards, including previous service on the ALTA Rocky Mountain Board. She hopes to continue learning and growing as a member of the IDA Austin board. In her free time, Chris loves swimming, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family. Chris is passionate about IDA’s goal of making literacy best practices accessible to all.