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Board of Directors

Alice Higginbotham

Alice Higginbotham has been on the IDA Louisiana board since 2000. She has taught special for 28 years as well as having been a principal. She has the following certifications on her teaching certificate: English Education, Social Studies Education, Special Education grades 1-12 (Mild/Moderate), Reading Specialist, Elementary School Principal, Supervisor of Student Teaching, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Special Education, and Educational Diagnostician. Alice is a Nationally Board Certified Educational Diagnostician.

She has also been trained in the following multisensory programs to teach students with disabilities: Basic Language Skills and Advanced Language Skills from Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Texas, Language !, Project Read Phonology 1 and 2, Project Read Written Expression, Project Reading Comprehension (Story Form and Report Form), Orton-Gillingham Level 1 and Level 2.


Lisa Best


Gale Pick

Gale Pick has been on the board since July of 2010. She began as a first grade teacher 35 years ago, took a break for children, got a masters in 1991, then taught second grade for four years before becoming an interventionist as a Resource teacher in a pull-out program. She was an Interventionist for ten years. It was during this time that she went to her first IDA convention. IDA is important to her because it provided her with the background and understanding of how the brain works, the effects and milestone in development that can be predictors of reading difficulties, as well as the strategies and methods that are research based and have changed students lives. The education and practicality that IDA has provided her are invaluable to Gale as a Learning Specialist and diagnostician.


Georgann Mire
Vice President of Education

Georgann Mire, Co-Founder and Vice-President of the Greater Baton Rouge Learning Disabilities Coalition and a board member since 2005 is an educational consultant who works with families to help LD students. She works in the Counseling and Disability Services Office at Baton Rouge Community College delivering accommodations to college students as mandated by Americans with Disabilities Act and is the chairman of the C. W. Austin LD Conference. “I believe that we need to build an educated workforce in South Louisiana. With 17 grand-babies in the area, our family is passionate about finding solutions to barriers that face kids with learning disabilities in school. Bringing together a coalition of parents and professionals dedicated to creating a successful educational environment for dyslexic kids is the key to changing our world.”


Elise Dunn



Fran Hannan


Fran Hannan is a speech language pathologist with a Masters of Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University School of Allied Health. She is a consultant and private practitioner with 30+ years of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist and Learning Specialist in various school settings and private practice. She is a Member in the International Dyslexia Association and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is also a former facilitator of the student advocacy group OYES.


Katie Tonore

Dr. Katie Tonore, clinical instructor for pre-service teachers and graduate faculty for the Masters of Dyslexia Therapy Degree at USM, currently serves as an IDA Louisiana board member from Mississippi. Katie received her BS degree from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Masters’ Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and Doctorate Degree from Jackson State University. With over thirty years of teaching experience, Katie is passionate about educating parents and teachers about dyslexia and early literacy.



Judy Williamson


Judy Williamson is the assistant director at Quest School in Monroe, LA. Having taught in Maryland, Iowa, and New York, she brings diversity to the educational programs to her school. Judy has served on the Louisiana Board of the International Dyslexia Association for thirteen years. She has been teaching students with dyslexia since 1980, and has witnessed the progress in teaching that research has supported. Years of teaching different ages and abilities have taught Judy the value of seeing each child as an individual since everyone learns differently.


Renita Williams Thomas


Paulan Varnau


Shannon Bland
Shannon Bland


Stephanie Butts
Stephanie Butts

Stephanie Butts is a CALT certified Dyslexia Therapist in Natchez, MS. She has a Masters of Dyslexia Therapy from USM, a BS in Hearing Impaired Education from USM and certification in Elementary Education, Gifted and Educationally Handicapped. She has also received training in the LIndamood Bell Program and in Orton-Gillingham through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education. She is dedicated to helping those with reading differences and increasing awareness of dyslexia in Southwest Mississippi.


Melanie Dale


Carl T Henderson


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