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Board of Directors

 

Misty Clack, M.Ed.
President

Misty Clack is currently a private Academic Therapist in the Richardson area. She received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Texas Woman’s University and is a Texas certified Educational Diagnostician. Misty has twenty four years of professional experience in working with students with learning differences. Misty has held positions in both academic and in administrative settings. Mrs. Clack is experienced in working with a variety of learning differences including, but not limited to, dyslexia, reading, writing, and math processing difficulties, as well as Asperger’s Syndrome. Misty is trained in various multisensory reading strategies such as the Orton-Gillingham program.

As a Dallas IDA board member, Misty is passionate about providing education and support through the monthly Dallas Dyslexia Information Group meetings, chairing the yearly Regional Conference promoting literacy for children and adults and bringing awareness of the importance of dyslexia identification.

Mrs. Clack joined the board of the Dallas IDA in 2014 and was elected as Secretary in 2015, elected to her role as Vice-President in the fall of 2019, and to President in July 2023.


Mandi Davis Skerbetz, EdD

Secretary

Mandi Davis Skerbetz is currently the Principal of a private school for students with learning differences in Dallas. She has focused her career as a teacher, school administrator, professor, researcher, and consultant in the area of implementing evidence-based practices for students receiving Special Education for over 19 years.   

Dr. Skerbetz holds an Ed.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in the Education of Students with Mental and Physical Disabilities, a M.Ed. in Special Education and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Duquesne University. Mandi is experienced in working with a variety of individuals with special needs and age groups. She has worked with individuals, with Specific Learning Disabilities, Processing Disorders, ADHD, Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, as well as Dual Exceptionalities.

Mandi enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her husband. Dr. Skerbetz joined the board of the Dallas Branch of IDA in 2022 and is looking forward to supporting students and families with understanding evidence-based practices for individuals with Dyslexia and comorbid disabilities.


Dahlem Dodson, MBA
Treasurer

Dahlem Dodson is an accomplished former executive of Raytheon Technologies with a progressive and extensive background in financial leadership with emphasis on financial, operational, and strategic management, financial planning, Mergers & Acquisitions, and international business. His previous position was Chief Financial Officer of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance systems business.

Dahlem holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Texas A&M University and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of North Texas as well as being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) from 1995 – 2022.  He also served on the board of Raytheon North Texas Financial Leadership Development Program as well as a local United Methodist Church.

Dahlem enjoys spending time with family and being outdoors.


Emily Visinsky, M.Ed.
Immediate Past-President

Emily Visinsky has worked in private practice as an Academic Therapist specializing in working with students that have learning differences for the last twenty-one years.  Emily received her Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and her Masters of Education from Concordia University.  Emily believes that there is little else more important than helping students realize their worth and potential. Although many of her students have dyslexia, she does not exclusively work in that field. Reading, comprehension, written expression, and math are the subjects she covers.

Having had the opportunity to grow up overseas, Emily has a profound appreciation for the freedoms and opportunities that abound in the United States.  Travel is an important part of her life and she enjoys experiencing new cultures and experiences.

Ms. Visinsky joined the Dallas IDA board in the fall of 2014, held the Scholarship Chair position 2015-2017, served as Vice-President 2016-2017, and was appointed to her current role as President in 2018.


Courtney Clemmons, MA, LPC
Director

Courtney Clemmons is a licensed professional counselor with over 18 years experience primarily working in criminal justice and public behavioral health systems. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Southern Methodist University.

Prior to her concentration in criminal justice, she spent time researching and working in the area of learning differences. Courtney’s interest in the field of dyslexia-related disorders began with her own struggles as a child, and she became an eager advocate as she has witnessed the challenges her own sons face in school due to their dyslexia. She is especially interested in the sociological implications of unremediated reading disorders and the devastating effects it can have on a child’s emotional well-being. She joined the Dallas Branch of the IDA in 2018.


Hercules Gray, MBA

Director

Hercules Gray is the Director of Operational Risk at Independent Financial Bank and is responsible for leading efforts to identify, anticipate and mitigate regulatory and operational risks. He accomplishes this through close partnerships with functional leadership and experts across all lines of defense.  Hercules works closely with functional heads to ensure effective execution of risk management challenges, operational control frameworks, and processes. His areas of expertise include identifying, designing and implementing enhanced control-related tools and monitoring processes and his strategic, analytical, and operational insights to improve our business economics, reduce process defects and enhance operational and compliance risk profiles. Hercules joined Independent Financial in June of 2022. 

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Millsaps College, Jackson, MS and a Master in Business Administration  (MBA) from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX. 

Hercules is a native Floridian but has spent most of his career in Texas. Hercules and Michele are proud parents to Cristina, a junior at Washington State University, and Ethan, a sophomore at University of Missouri. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and using his private pilot license to fly around North Texas. Mr. Gray joined the Dallas IDA Board of Directors in 2022.


 Charlotte (Showalter) Gregor, CALT, M.Ed

Director

Charlotte Gregor is an Educational Researcher and PhD candidate at Southern Methodist University. She holds certifications as a Reading Specialist and an Academic Language Therapist. She earned her Masters of Education with focuses in Literacy and Language Therapy from SMU in 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Child Studies from Vanderbilt University in 2016. She was diagnosed as a Gifted learner in 2005, with a specific learning disability, Dyslexia, in 2002, and with speech/language and motor impairments in 1998. 
 
Charlotte is a passionate advocate for students with disabilities and believes that all students can learn, regardless of their circumstances (and she knows it’s true from personal experience). Prior to beginning her current journey in academia, Charlotte worked as a dyslexia therapist, mentor teacher, and literacy interventionist in elementary schools throughout Dallas. These days, when she isn’t in the library, Charlotte can be found enjoying time with her new husband and their sweet puppy. Charlotte is honored to serve the Dallas IDA Board beginning in 2022!

Natalia Lopez, MEd, CALT, WDT, LDT

Director

Natalia Lopez has worked in education for the past 17 years.  She is currently a Lead Dyslexia Interventionist at Charles A. Gill Elementary in Dallas ISD. Recently she earned her Master of Education and Learning Therapy Specialization from SMU, and she holds a bachelor’s in Social Communication and Journalism. She is a Wilson Therapist and Certified Academic Language Therapist.

Natalia grew up in Colombia-South America where she comes from an extensive line of educators. In her free time, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking, camping, and backpacking.  She loves trying new recipes and traveling with her husband.

 As a therapist, she strongly believes it is imperative to promote equity and empower communities through education, awareness, and advocacy. 


Victoria Mancuso

Director

Victoria Mancuso is a recent graduate from Texas A&M University (May 2020) where she graduated in Honors Communication and minored in Business. Growing up she was diagnosed with dyslexia in the second grade. She went through the Houston Neuhaus Dyslexia program for three years. From elementary to college, she always had to advocate for herself for the accommodation she needed to be successful in school. She became very close to her community and was asked to speak to other dyslexic children and parents of children with dyslexia. When she got to A&M, she continued her passion for advocacy by speaking on behalf of dyslexic students all around campus. Victoria is excited and honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Dallas IDA starting in 2022.


Theresa Melia, Esq.
Director

Theresa’s passion for dyslexia advocacy stems from researching the best way to support her child after a dyslexia diagnosis.  Theresa is a partner at Champion LLP. Prior to joining Champion LLP, she practiced civil and commercial litigation at a leading Australian law firm and premier litigation firms in the U.S. Theresa maintains a generalist practice, representing defendants and plaintiffs in complex commercial litigation and business disputes as well as white collar defense and investigations. Her clients range from individuals and small businesses to large Fortune 500 companies. An experienced advisor to the C-suite, she helps clients resolve complex commercial matters including contractual obligations, regulatory obligations, and strategic partnerships. Theresa frequently resolves matters that require discretion and sensitivity, as well as situations that make headlines.

Her ability to assist in furthering IDA Dallas’s mission is informed by over ten years of experience providing a broad range of analytical and strategic legal services. Theresa wants to continue her lifelong commitment to learning, aid in disseminating information to dispel misconceptions about dyslexia, and create a cultural shift to embrace meaningful and impactful change for those affected by dyslexia.


LaShaila Mitchum

Director

LaShaila Mitchum is a well-versed and experienced Workforce Specialist and advocates for community inclusion and access for all.  She started her current role as Student HireAbility Navigator in 2019, supporting youth and families to gain access to vocational services and employment opportunities. Raised in the inner city of Dallas, Texas by way of Oklahoma, LaShaila developed a passion for service and studying the intricacy of ecosystems and the impact of programming at a young age. She is passionate about sharing knowledge obtained and developing innovative ways to serve a variety of demographics. She contributes over 12 years of experience serving young adults and families within various government and non-profit agencies. She attended The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work with concentrations in community development and urban planning. LaShaila serves as a board member of REACH Inc.- Resource Center for Independent Living and partners with a variety of non-profit agencies and community organizations to foster systems of program awareness and resource connections to support Greater Dallas Community Families. She relishes the opportunity to share local resources to assist individuals with meeting their personal and socio-economic goals to live their best life.

Ms. Mitchum joined the Dallas IDA Board Fall of 2021 and is excited to contribute to the great work that the organization is doing in the community to educate and share best practices for serving individuals living with dyslexia. 


Vaidehi Natu, Ph.D.

Director

Dr. Vaidehi Natu is a Research Scientist at Stanford University. She received her doctoral degree in Cognition and Neuroscience from University of Texas at Dallas and then pursued her post-doctoral work from Stanford University and University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. Vaidehi is a developmental neuroscientist and has over 15 years of experience in scientific research and has published in several high-impact journals including Science, Nature, and PNAS. Her research answers questions about how the human brain matures from infancy to adulthood, as it acquires new skills and behaviors such as learning to recognize objects, reading books, and communicating in a social environment. Her work shows that the brain achieves these complex tasks by growing new tissue structures, forming robust neural fiber connections, fine-tuning brain activity, and learning from its social environment. Vaidehi has extensive experience in communicating scientific research and innovating novel methodologies in developmental neuroscience.

Vaidehi’s passion for dyslexia comes from her experience as a neuroscientist. The human brain undergoes several developmental changes in the primary years of life. It is plastic and can mold itself from early social and learning experiences. There are specific regions in the brain that process words and characters. In a typical developmental trajectory, as a child learns to read and write, these regions grow, become more active, and are well-tuned to focus on words and characters. These developmental changes are highly significant in a child’s life and have long-term consequences for a successful life in adulthood. Hence, early intervention and diagnosis of dyslexia are critical. As a Dallas IDA board member, Vaidehi’s goal is providing scientific education and awareness of the importance of early dyslexia identification. She plans to work with IDA’s fundraising and training programs to achieve these goals. 

Vaidehi enjoys traveling, gardening, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and her pup. Vaidehi is also the author and illustrator of a children’s picture book titled: “Once upon an idea”. Dr. Natu joined the board of the Dallas IDA in 2020 and is looking forward to working with a wonderful group of passionate individuals to spark the change.


Kendra Spears, M.Ed., CALT

Director

Kendra Spears is currently a Dyslexia Interventionist for Dallas ISD. She has worked in education for the past 10 years. In 2022, she graduated from SMU with a Master of Education and Learning Therapy Specialization. Her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education is from Oklahoma State University. 

Kendra struggled as a student and was diagnosed with her own learning difference in first grade. Throughout her education, her grades did not reflect her capabilities. Pursuing higher education always seemed out of her reach. With the help of some amazing teachers and professors, she found her passion in working with students who also had learning differences. Kendra’s mission is to help struggling readers become proficient readers, improve self-esteem, and become academically successful. She believes raising awareness and advocating for all children and adults with dyslexia is important for their success. She is excited to be working with IDA to continue educating parents and teachers to provide them with tools and resources to help those with dyslexia succeed. 

 


Associate Board 

Gabriella Collins
Director

Gabriella Collins is currently an honors student at Abilene Christian University studying to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre.  She is also a member of the Big Purple Marching and Concert Bands playing the flute and piccolo.  She is a native of Arkansas and is comfortably becoming a proud Texan. Gabriella was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 11. She then completed a four-year Orton-Gillingham program which changed her life and set her on the path to academic success. 

As a result of the struggles she experienced in her early years, she became a fierce advocate and volunteer for dyslexia education and awareness. She is the founder and president of the dyslexia club at her high school and used that as a stepping stone to start her nonprofit Why Dyslexia Matters.  Gabriella has created a phone app, Instagram / Facebook page, and website to share interviews with dyslexia specialists, virtual story times, and the warning signs of dyslexia. She works to connect with students, teachers, parents, and community members by sharing her personal story.  She has created a phonetic alphabet musical theatre experience designed to help teach children about dyslexia and help dyslexic kids embrace it as their superpower.

When Gabriella is not advocating for dyslexia, she can be found dancing, singing and acting on stage.  She loves playing the violin and kazoo, listening to vinyls of Elvis, Elton John, and the Beatles and rewatching episodes of Friends.  On a typical day Gabriella can be found hanging out with her rescue standard poodle Amalia and sharing her love for her Greek heritage.


Aman Yarlagadda
Director

Aman Yarlagadda is a high school student at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton Farmers-Branch Independent School District. He is quite interested in scientific research, conducting projects ranging from the use of Artificial Intelligence for pancreatic tumor identification to the synthesis of nanoparticles for chemiluminescence in bioimaging contexts. His passion for scientific research led him to the International Dyslexia Association, discovering the organization through a paper published by the National Institute of Health. 

His passion for dyslexia stems from his interest in the human brain. The sheer complexity of the organ, from its intricate neuronal wiring to its puzzling efficiency in long-scale communication, leaves much to be discovered by research scientists across the globe. He believes that the collaboration of scientists from many different disciplines is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the brain. Similarly, raising awareness about dyslexia and other neurological conditions will help foster a global environment that provides access to tools and resources for those who need them. 

In his free time, Aman enjoys playing the alto saxophone and watching his hometown sports teams. In particular, you can find him watching the Dallas Cowboys every Sunday (which usually doesn’t bode well for his sanity levels). Aman is excited to be a part of the Dallas IDA Associate Board and looks forward to helping make a difference.

 


Advisory Board

  • Karla Bell
  • Anna Burton
  • Jone Bycel, M.S., BCET, FAET
  • Tom Crain
  • Shanara Hawkins, M.Ed., CALT
  • John Hodges, MA, CALT
  • Carla Proctor, Ph.D., NCED, LDT, CALT
  • Lisa Ray
  • Harrian Stern, Ph.D., RPED, NCED