Board of Directors
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 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 on 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.
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.