:: Board & Advisory Council ::

Meet the Team

The IDA-UMB Board of Directors is composed of a diverse array of professionals with an interest in learning disabilities and literacy. We strive to increase awareness and understanding of dyslexia, encourage early and accurate identification, advocate for the use of scientific, researched based instruction and the bride the social, educational and cultural gaps to improve language acquisition for the success of all learners.

The IDA-UMB Board

Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

BOARD PRESIDENT

Laura Albert

Laura Alberts

Kari Bucholz

Kari Bucholz

Sarah Carlson-Wrath

Sarah Carlson-Wrath

Jeanne Danneker

Jeanne E. Danneker, PhD

Alissa Henriksen

Alissa Henriksen

Laurel Jennings-Johnson, M.D.

Laurel Jennings-Johnson, M.D.

Sarah Olson

Sarah Olson

Miranda Ysbrand

Miranda Ysbrand

:: join Our board ::

We Want YOU!

IDA-UMB is seeking individuals to serve on our Board of Directors. Board members have the opportunity to set organizational policy and ensure its continuity; carry out short and long-term planning efforts; and help in the area of fund development to build our organization’s financial stability.

Individuals with experience in advertising, marketing, social media, and recruitment would be particularly welcome. Our board meets 6-8 times per year. As a working board, committee involvement is also required.

Our Advisory Council

The IDA-Upper Midwest Branch is guided by a dynamic group of experts in the areas of diagnostics, testing, remediation, and legal rights. If you’re interested in joining the Advisory Council, drop us a line.

Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett, M.S.

Bette Erickson

Bette Erickson

Marcia Henry

Marcia Henry

Robin Rovick

Robin Rovick

Arlene Sonday

Arlene Sonday

Christine Stern

Christine Stern

Barbara Wilson

Barbara Wilson, Ed.D.

Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

BOARD PRESIDENT
Dr. Shelly Bayer is the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs & Accessibility at South Dakota State University where she works to create spaces that value diverse, inclusive perspectives and systems that generate equitable opportunities. Shelly earned her B.A. in English Education from South Dakota State University, her Masters of Education in Literacy (Certified Reading Specialist) from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and her doctorate in Education Administration – Adult & Higher Education through the University of South Dakota. Previously, Shelly worked in educational development at SDSU and taught in public schools in Brookings, SD and Las Vegas, NV. Her educational background combined with her son’s identification as a dyslexic learner inspired her to work to create systems and supports that embrace the strengths of every learner. Shelly joined the IDA-UMB Board of Directors in April 2018. She was elected as President in July 2021.
Laura Albert

Laura Alberts

Laura is a Finance Consultant at Salo LLC and has worked 20 plus years in a variety of industries including Retail, Telecom, and Banking. She started her career working at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC as an auditor and has a CPA designation (Inactive). Laura is married to her husband Trevis and has three children, Emily, Max and angel Thomas, who passed away of a rare disease called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy at the age of four. Laura’s son Max was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia at the age of 10. Laura is excited to get involved with IDA-UMB in order to help early diagnosis and help bring continued support to Dyslexics as they progress in school and into secondary school. Laura is also excited to learn more about Dyslexia and how she can help her son and others be the best learners possible.
Kari Bucholz

Kari Bucholz

After successfully finding a solution to her son Haley’s learning challenges, Kari Bucholz was determined to help others with what is the most common yet most misunderstood learning difference; dyslexia. In 2010, Kari opened the doors to Haley’s Hope, a non-profit center dedicated to changing how people recognize and understand the way those with dyslexia learn. Through years of personal experience, intensive training and advanced educational, her knowledge of dyslexia is extensive and her desire to share and educate never ceases. She has been a Board member since 2018.
Sarah Carlson-Wrath

Sarah Carlson-Wallrath

Sarah joined the board of directors in 2018. Prior to re-focusing her career toward the disability/literacy community Sarah worked as an attorney in private practice and held advocacy positions in the U.S. Senate and Minnesota House of Representatives. She has worked for The Reading Center/Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota in Rochester, MN, most recently as the Marketing Coordinator. She holds a J.D. and Certificate of Dispute Resolution from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and a B.A. (Political Science and Psychology) from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah has completed structured literacy training through the LETRS program and Level One Orton-Gillingham training through Orton-Gilligham of Minnesota.
Jeanne Danneker

Jeanne E. Danneker, PhD

Jeanne is a Professor Emerita from Winona State University. She earned her BS degree in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities from Winona State University, her MS degree in Emotional Behavioral Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught children with learning and behavior challenges in public schools for 18 years and taught special education teacher-preparation at UW-La Crosse and WSU for 17 years. Jeanne completed Basic and Advanced Orton-Gillingham training programs from The Reading Center in Rochester, MN and taught reading courses for the Special Education Department at WSU. She joined the IDA-UMB Board of Directors in April 2018.
Alissa Henriksen

Alissa Henriksen

Alissa Henriksen is the Co-owner and Founder of Grey Search + Strategy, an executive recruiting company headquartered in the Minneapolis area. She was diagnosed with auditory dyslexia as a 7-year-old and with support, tutoring, and hard work she was able to conquer every obstacle that was supposed to hold her back from ever getting a job, living on her own, speaking a second language, and having the confidence to be independent and successful! Alissa has been a Board Member for IDA-UMB since 2017.
Laurel Jennings-Johnson, M.D.

Laurel Jennings-Johnson, M.D.

Laurel Jennings-Johnson, MD is a Family Physician in Madison, South Dakota. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of South Dakota, her Medical Degree from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and residency training at Clarkson Family Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Jennings is board certified by the American Board of Family Physicians. She has practiced full-spectrum Family Medicine in Madison for 17 years. Laurel is the mother a dyslexic learner and believes all children should have access to appropriate reading instruction and intervention.
Sarah Olson

Sarah Olson

Sarah is the Branch Manager at First National Bank of Omaha in Mitchell, SD. She has been in banking for 17 years and has worked in Retail Banking in the areas of Customer Service, Personal Banking, Home Mortgage and now manages the Retail Banking team in the Mitchell, SD Branch. She has been involved with the Mitchell Lions Club, the Stewardship Committee and a Board Member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Dakota Wesleyan University Alumni Board, and currently involved as a Troop Leader and Service Unit Coordinator with the Girls Scouts in Mitchell, SD. Sarah became passionate about helping families and children work with and understand Dyslexia when her daughter was diagnosed as a Dyslexic Learner in 2018. Sarah’s hobbies include spending time with her family, running, and Husker football.
Miranda Ysbrand

Miranda Ysbrand

Miranda Ysbrand is a college junior at South Dakota State University studying interior design. As a second-grader, she discovered she had dyslexia. She was interested in joining the board because she had faced personal challenges in her education due to being dyslexic. She wants to advocate for others who do not have a voice, and/or encourage and help others in order to find theirs. 

Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett, M.S.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Jennifer Bennett, M.S., is a Licensed Psychologist who focuses her work on neuropsychological and psychoeducational assessment. At BrainWorks, her private practice, she conducts diagnostic evaluations with people ages 5 to 60 who are experiencing difficulties related to learning, attention, information processing, and cognitive development. With 20+ years of assessment experience, Jennifer’s areas of expertise include learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and nonverbal LD), attention deficit disorders (ADHD with and without hyperactivity/impulsivity, sluggish cognitive tempo), auditory processing difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, and other neurocognitive difficulties that affect thinking, learning, and communication.

Bette Erickson

Bette Erickson

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Bette’s career in education took a turn when her then eight-year-old daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia. She has since had the pleasure of volunteering as an education policy advocate on the local, state and national level-including a visit to the White House. Her affiliations include the International Dyslexia Association, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Literate Nation, Decoding Dyslexia MN, the MN Reading Corps, and MOMs on a Mission. She has met the certification standards of IMSLEC and CERI and maintains a robust tutoring practice.
Marcia Henry

Marcia Henry

ADVISORY COUNCIL
I have over 60 years of experience working in the field dyslexia as a diagnostician, tutor, teacher, and professor. I received by initial O-G training directly from Paula Dozier Rome and Jean Osman at The Reading Center in Rochester. Moving to California, I obtained my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Stanford University and became a professor in the Division of Special Education at San Jose State University. Serving as a Fulbright Lecturer/ Research Scholar at the University of Trondheim, Norway in 1991 was a highlight of my career. Along with Patterns for Success in Reading and Spelling (2nd ed.), my books include WORDS (2nd ed.), and Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction (2nd ed.). I compiled and co-edited Dyslexia – Samuel T. Orton and His Legacy. I served as president of the International Dyslexia Association from 1992-1996 and received the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award from the IDA in 2000. Now retired from active teaching, I am a Fellow in the Orton-Gillingham Academy and a member of the Board of Directors for The Reading Center.
Robin Rovick

Robin Rovick

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Robin Rovick is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, Level IV-trained Orton-Gillingham reading specialist, and a Wilson Level 1 Certified Practitioner. Additionally, she is a Certified Dyslexia Therapist through the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI). Robin is a knowledgeable and creative educator with more than thirty years of experience in nurturing and building the skills of learners of all ages, with a special emphasis on developing the reading, writing, and comprehension skills of individuals with language-based disabilities. She has served the IDA-UMB organization as Vice President, Chair of the Information and Referral Committee, and on several committees including Education/ Conference and Publicity/ Promotion. She provides remediation and advocacy work through her private practice at MultiSensory Reading Solutions, LLC, where she designs individual learning programs based upon student needs both in academic areas and executive function deficits, and provides direct, one-on-one instruction. Robin also works with students and teachers at metro-area charter and private schools, training both general and special education teachers in structured literacy. She provided tutoring through the Groves Academy Outreach program, served on the Board of Directors for Orton-Gillingham of MN, and works with parent outreach organizations including Decoding Dyslexia MN to promote the adoption of multisensory, explicit, research-based reading instruction in schools and tutor training programs. Robin currently is a director on the board of the Great Lakes ALTA Chapter. Robin is passionate about all children and adults having the opportunity to read fluently, accurately, and with enjoyment, as well as helping families navigate through the academic and personal journey of dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
Arlene Sonday

Arlene Sunday

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Arlene Sonday trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach in Rochester, MN. She is a founding member and past president of UMBIDA, past vice-president of IDA, Founding Fellow and first president of the Orton Gillingham Academy. She is a founding member of Orton-Gillingham of Minnesota and guided OGM to certification by IMSLEC. Arlene is the author of the Sonday System, 15 curricula for Special Ed, classroom, and homeschool, and co-author of controlled readers, published by Winsor Learning of Bloomington, MN. She taught courses and supervised practica at Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ, that led to the 30 credit Dyslexia Specialist Certificate program and has graduated close to 1,000 students and continues to serve on the FDU Advisory Board. Arlene has taught courses and presented at conferences in India, Pakistan, Thailand, China, Egypt, Kuwait, England and Jamaica.
Christine Stern

Christine Stern

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Chris is a retired advertising writer-producer with more than 35 years in consumer, health, and education marketing. Her family includes (at least) five individuals with dyslexia and one with dysgraphia. Therefore, she has plenty of experience living with and advocating for this talented and challenged group. Her mother-in-law, June Stern, was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in her late 60s. Along with Chris and her husband, Leo, June established a foundation that awarded over 200 professional development scholarships to K-3 classroom teachers for Orton-Gillingham training in effective ways to teach reading, writing, and spelling. Chris is a co-founder and a guiding member of the Higher Education Literacy Partnership of Minnesota (HELP), www.helpliteracymn.org [helpliteracymn.org], and sponsor of the Stern Family Chair in Reading Success at the University of Minnesota.
Barbara Wilson

Barbara Wilson, Ed.D.

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Barbara Wilson, Ed.D., is the co-founder and president of Wilson Language Training. She has worked to improve the lives of individuals with dyslexia for over 30 years. Barbara developed and oversaw graduate courses and clinical practicums that lead to Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner and Therapist certifications, which are accredited International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Tier 3 training programs. This certification is also an integral component for several university programs. Barbara is a founding member of the Global Implementation Society as she is dedicated to implementation and co-edited an International Dyslexia Association publication on this subject with an emphasis on how to bridge the gap between research, educational legislation, and classroom instruction. In 2015, she testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee in support of H.R. 3033, the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act, which was later signed into law