:: 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.

A.W. Atkinson, M.D.
Bluestem Center for Child & Family Development
Rochester, MN

C. Wilson Anderson, Jr.

Bette Erickson
Parent Advocate, National Center for Learning Disabilities

Marcia Henry, PhdD
– Professor Emerita, San Jose State University
– Past President, The International Dyslexia Association (1986-1992)
– Fellow, The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Joan Kelly
Fellow in the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Cindee McCarthy
General Mills

Mary Platt
Former Instructor, O-G of Minnesota
Retired faculty member, Hamline University

Marcy Pohlman
CPA, retired

Arlene Sonday
Author, The Sonday System; speaker & instructor 

Chris Stern
Trustee, The June Stern Family Foundation for Children with Dyslexia

Barbara A. Wilson

President, Wilson Language

Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

BOARD PRESIDENT
Dr. Shelly Bayer is the Assistant Director for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at South Dakota State University where she works with faculty and graduate teaching assistants to create a culture of teaching excellence by promoting evidence-based strategies and encouraging professional and personal growth mindsets. 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. Prior to her current employment, Shelly 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 environments and systems that embrace the strengths of every learner and value each learner’s contributions to the process. 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.