Board of Directors
Emily Visinsky, M.Ed.
Emily Visinsky has worked in private practice as an Academic Therapist specializing in working with students that have learning differences for the last nineteen 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 with her teenage daughter.
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.
Misty Clack, M.Ed.
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 TeamQuest committee, the IDA national fundraising and endurance training program, in the North Texas regions, 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. She was appointed to her current role as Vice-President in the fall of 2019.
Paul Niemyski, M.S., MBA
Paul Niemyski has been with Texas Instruments for over 20 years and is currently the Director of Foundry Management. Paul has held several leadership positions at Texas Instruments in the manufacturing and development organizations. He has been an adult literacy teacher for LIFT since 2013 and currently supports them as a teacher in the high school equivalency program teaching math, science and language arts. He and his wife Kamela are also the owners of a Primrose Preschool Franchise in Allen TX.
Paul’s advocacy for dyslexia comes from his experience with his daughter and his own struggles. Paul and Kamela have two daughters, one of whom struggles with several dyslexia associated learning differences. Paul also believes he was an undiagnosed dyslexic based on remediation he received in grade school for troubles with reading and specifically, phonics.
Paul received his Bachelors of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from North Carolina State University, his Masters of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Engineering Science and a MBA from the University of Texas, Austin. Mr. Niemyski joined the Dallas IDA board in 2017 and was appointed to the Treasurer position in 2018.
Amy Amaro, , MA, LDT, CALT
Amy Amaro is an educator with 13 years’ experience in public schools. Eight years with Richardson Independent School District as a 1st grade teacher, and 5 years with RISD as a Dyslexia Teacher certified in the Multisensory Teaching Approach as known as MTA. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association – Dallas Branch in 2017. She holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching Mutltisensory Learning from Dallas Baptist University. Amaro, dyslexic herself, is passionate about helping children and adults learn to unlock the power of reading.
Amy Amaro joined the board of the Dallas IDA in 2017 and appointed to the Secretary position in 2019.
Veronica Allen, M.Ed.
Veronica Allen is an educator with 18 years of experience in public schools. 15 years with Dallas Independent School District. She currently serves as a Section 504 & Dyslexia Services Supervisor. She has been a Bi-Lingual Dyslexia Evaluator, Esperanza Facilitator, Diagnostician, Campus Instructional Leader, Special Education Teacher, Student Support Team Chairperson and Section 504 Chairperson. She holds a B.S. in Rehabilitative Services from the University of Texas Pan American, a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas and is certified as an Educational Diagnostician in Texas.
Veronica has been married to her college sweetheart JeRon Allen for 16 years and has two daughters and one son. She enjoys spending her time traveling the United States watching her daughters play volleyball and watching her son play football, baseball and basketball. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and running.
Mrs. Allen served on the Dallas IDA Board from 2010-2012 and is excited to be joining the Board of Directors for the Dallas Branch of the International Dyslexia Association for 2019.
Courtney Clemmons, MA, LPC
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.
Christine Duffy, M.Ed., CALP, LDP
Christine Duffy is currently a Lead Dyslexia Interventionist at Lakewood Elementary in Dallas ISD. She received her Bachelor of Arts from University of Texas at Austin and M.Ed. from SMU with a concentration in early literacy and dyslexia therapy. Christine strongly believes the key to ALL children’s academic success is to ensure they have equal opportunity to early literacy skills. She is also passionate about assisting teens who are currently in the juvenile court system to ensure they have access to literacy therapy in hopes of reducing their recidivism rate. She is hopeful that during her term as a new Dallas IDA board member, she will be able to contribute to the growth of dyslexia awareness and remediation in the DFW community.
Christine grew up in San Antonio and met her husband while living in Chicago. She is a mother of two small children and resides in Lake Highlands. She travels throughout the summer, is an avid reader and enjoys working out and spending time with her family.
Tonya Fleming, M.Ed.
Tonya Fleming has been in education in some way or fashion over the past 20 years. She has been an English teacher, English as a second language teacher, journalism teacher, volleyball, basketball and softball coach, assistant principal and principal in the north Texas area. Tonya received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Texas Tech University, Masters of Mid Management
from the University of Texas at Arlington and is currently working on her Educational Doctorate from Texas A & M University in Commerce, Texas.
Mrs. Fleming has been married to her college sweetheart Steve Stump for the past 20 years. They have one daughter, Hollyn, who is in the 7th grade and loves playing softball and twirling. As a family they love going on adventures and traveling. They have a heart for adopting dogs, mostly older dogs, as they have three small rescue ones at home.
Tonya became a strong advocate for dyslexic children when she learned of her daughter’s diagnosis in 2012. She has attended several International Dyslexia Association Conferences and has volunteered for the one that was held in Grapevine in 2015. Mrs. Fleming joined the Dallas IDA board in 2016.
Kendra Johnson is currently the Senior Human Resources Manager at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. She brings over ten years of experience in Human Resources in corporate and nonprofit ranging from recruitment, benefits, employee relations, diversity and performance management.
Kendra holds a Bachelor of Science, Human Relations & Business degree from Amberton University Garland, TX. She is also a Mediator and currently a volunteer mediator with Dallas County Dispute Resolution Center (DCDRC). Kendra is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) at the national level.
Kendra enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and being a baseball mom. Her family consists of her husband, Lonnie, and son Chase.
Vaidehi Natu, Ph.D.
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 is 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.
Katie Mayfield graduated from Texas A & M University with a BBA in Marketing. In 1997, she started working as an Assistant Service Manager at Sewell Lexus. In 2004, Katie and her husband decided she would stay at home with her newborn daughter, Catherine. Three years later, they expanded their family with a son named Quinn. Katie was excited to join the Dallas Academy team as Front Office Manager in 2013 and recently became Dallas Academy’s Admissions Director.
Katie Mayfield joined the Dallas IDA Board in the fall of 2017.
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.
Amanda Thornton, MAT, CALT, ET/P
Amanda Thornton has been working in the field of learning differences for 20 years. Amanda received her training while working at the Shelton School in Dallas, Texas. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Texas Tech University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Dallas Baptist University. Amanda’s mission is to allow each child to reach his or her learning potential through the advocacy of appropriate reading instruction, executive function training or remediation of written expression.
Amanda has been married for 18 years to her wonderful husband, March, and is the proud mom of three fantastic kids. She enjoys reading and running in her spare time as well as outdoor adventures with her family.
Amanda started volunteering with the Dallas IDA in 2018 and then joined the Board of Directors for the Dallas Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in 2019. She is looking forward to furthering the mission of the IDA.
Samantha Varadarajan, MAT, CALT, LDP
Samantha Varadarajan has worked in public education serving in several roles including reading interventionist, English as a second language coordinator, dyslexia interventionist, English as a second language interventionist, and lead dyslexia evaluator. Samantha privately provides therapy to students who struggle with reading and writing and enjoys being able to see the significant growth students make in reading and writing from a one-on-one setting.
Samantha values making learning accessible and engaging for all learners. She is a Wilson Certified Dyslexia Practitioner and Certified Academic Language Therapist. Samantha is certified in Multisensory Teaching Approach through Southern Methodist University’s Learning Therapy Program. Samantha graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a B.S. in Business and Marketing Education where she served as President of the College of Education and Human Development, and later as a Board Member for the University of Minnesota Alumni Society. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University.
Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and their very needy and lovable rescue dog, Buddy.
- Karla Bell
- Anna Burton
- Jone Bycel, M.S., BCET, FAET
- Shanara Hawkins, M.Ed., CALT
- John Hodges, MA, CALT
- Carla Proctor, Ph.D., NCED, LDT, CALT
- Harrian Stern, Ph.D., RPED, NCED
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