Board of Directors
The IDA Iowa leadership and board member participation is on a volunteer basis. If you’re interested in servicing as either a board member or part of our leadership team, please e-mail us for more information.
Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor
Tammy Wilgenbusch graduated with her PhD in School Psychology from the University of Iowa in 2002 and is a licensed psychologist in Iowa as well as a National Health Service Provider in Psychology. She has worked as a pediatric psychologist at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital since 2005 specializing in diagnostic assessment of attention and learning disorders as well as neuropsychological assessment of children with various medical conditions that affect cognitive skills. In 2016 she was appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor to the Carver College of Medicine and currently has teaching and clinical responsibilities. Dr. Wilgenbusch has experience with many different learning disorders, but has developed a special interest in dyslexia over the years and has a desire to become more active in the dyslexia community.
Janice has taught in the Bosco Catholic School system for 38 years. She has been trained in Orton-Gillingham and Slingerland and also has been trained by Sue Barton to screen for dyslexia. The position she holds now is Reading Resource/Skills teacher for K-8, and At-Risk 9-12. She has been instrumental in scheduling training so all the primary teachers at the BCSS could be trained in Slingerland. Janice’s journey in the world of dyslexia began when her oldest daughter was diagnosed in her freshman year of college over 10 years ag0.
Meagan lives in Mount Vernon, Iowa where she has lived for the past 9 years with her husband, Jason, and their three young kids who attend Washington Elementary School. Meagan grew up in Solon, Iowa where she graduated fourth in her class in 2001. She received her Associates Degree in Business Administration and Financial Services online from AIB College of Business (formerly located in Des Moines, Iowa) in the fall of 2006 with a GPA of 3.94. For the next four years, she worked for Ascott Transcription Services doing data management (formerly located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) for customers who were mainly VA’s and Air Force bases, so it was required that she pass an FBI background check prior to gaining employment. In the fall of 2011, Meagan started working for Brighton Consulting Group in Coralville, Iowa in the accounts receivable department where she worked until July of 2021. Her main responsibilities included creating resident bills for clients, entering all accounts receivables into their database, balancing month-end financials, customer service, special projects, and Medicaid/MCO billing for their customer base of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and independent living facilities most of which were located within the state of Iowa. During this last year, it became apparent to her and her husband that she should take a step back from working so that she could focus more on her three children, two of which have various learning delays/problems
Samantha lives in Mount Vernon, Iowa with her husband, John and their 4 teen-aged kids who attend Mount Vernon High School. Samantha grew up in Solon, graduated from Solon High School and attended UNI on a full academic scholarship and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelors in Earth Science and a minor in Anthropology. After college, Samantha worked at the Grout Museum in Waterloo, IA as the planetarium director. Samantha and John moved to Mount Vernon 18 years ago before starting their family and have raised their kids in an interesting,1867 home. As all four of their kids are twice exceptional, Samantha has been home meeting the needs of her kids and substitute teaching part time at Mount Vernon Schools. In learning to meet the needs of her kids, Samantha has delved into the worlds of Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety/Depression and Executive Dysfunction as well as Advanced Placement/ ELP opportunities. Samantha has been a fierce advocate for her children and the implementation of their IEP’s/ 504 plans. Samantha followed the Iowa Legislative Dyslexia Taskforce, attending as many meetings as possible and providing insight as a member of the public who is the parent of children with Dyslexia. Samantha is still plugging away at meeting the needs of her children and draws on her experience to serve on the Iowa-IDA board.
Lynn O’Brien, M.Ed., MA/CF-SLP
Lynn is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Floyd County Medical Center, specializing in dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties. Lynn obtained her Masters in Education from Wheaton College, in 2003. She enjoyed serving as a classroom teacher for 5 years. Around that time, Lynn found herself frustrated to admit that her teacher training had not equipped her to help her struggling son learn how to read. He was later diagnosed with dyslexia. She immediately sought additional education in the Orton-Gillingham methodology through the Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota. In 2011, she began to serve as an Academic Language Therapist for children diagnosed with dyslexia (as well as her own children). She further expanded her training in a second OG modality, becoming a certified Barton Reading and Spelling tutor. At Northwest Dyslexia Center in Oregon, she served as a reading, spelling, writing, and math instructor utilizing evidence-based curriculum for helping those with dyslexia learn most effectively. In 2017, she started her own business, Achievement Language Services, conducting Educational assessments and providing individually tailored evidence-based therapy for struggling learners. In 2020, her experience and life-long passion for accessible learning for every student, led her to return for a second Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology, from the University of Northern Iowa. She finds it incredibly motivating to help bright children, who continue to struggle due to language-based learning barriers, find a path to educational success and realize just how bright their future can be!
Dawn Behan, Ph.D.
Executive Committee Board Member Representative
Dr. Behan knew she wanted to be a teacher in elementary school when she began getting pulled out of class each year to tutor other students. In second grade, she read to kindergarten students, and in fifth grade, she tutored students in pre-first grade who had deficits in reading and math. It was in seventh grade that she knew she wanted to teach Home Economics (now Family and Consumer Science). Upon graduation from high school, she went to the University of Northern Iowa to become a teacher.
After graduation, Dr. Behan was engaged to be married and the number of jobs in her field of study were limited. She heard of an opportunity to teach at the Mental Health Institute in Independence, IA, her hometown. She thought that would be perfect while she looked for her “dream” job. She ended up intrigued and loving middle school students with disabilities, particularly those with learning/behavioral disabilities, so she decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree.
At the University of Iowa, Dr. Behan learned so much new information that she could take and apply it immediately in her classroom. She soon became a much better teacher and listener as a result of this program. Her experience in the classroom added to her knowledge of students with various learning and/or behavioral disorders. She was a special education teacher for 15 years prior to moving to higher education.
In 1996, Dr. Behan began her journey as a faculty member at Upper Iowa University where she developed much curriculum in special education. A move to higher education required a doctorate in her terminal field of study, so she returned to the University of Iowa to obtain her Ph.D. in Education. She met many graduate students like her who were working as they were obtaining their degrees, some working in other colleges and universities, and they soon became friends.
In 2008, one of those friends called to tell her Mount Mercy University (then College) was going to launch a master’s program in education and urged her to apply for the position of Program Director. She has been at MMU ever since. She loves teaching, administering the graduate education program, supervising student teachers, and meeting all the aspiring pre-service and in-service teachers she has had the pleasure and honor to cross paths with on her educational journey.
Dawn is also a wife and a mother. She has been married for 40+ years and has two grown children, Andrew and Erin, who are also married. Additionally, she has a spoiled Pomeranian named Millie. She is a life-long learner and a forever teacher. She currently serves as president of Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE).
Taylor Wilgenbusch graduated from Coe College with a degree in elementary education in 2020. She is in her second year of teaching second grade at All Saints Catholic School in Cedar Rapids. While in college Taylor specialized in reading and became interested in building the reading confidence of her students. As a student who struggled with dyslexia herself, she understands the importance of building foundational skills during the early literacy stages for all students. In her spare time, she enjoys taking her overly energetic dog on many hikes and being with friends and family.
Amanda Nims graduated from Central College with a degree in Elementary Education. She was an elementary teacher for 13 years in Nebraska, Virginia, and Iowa. She received her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and completed the Educational Leadership program at the University of Northern Iowa. She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning for the West Central Valley Community School District. Her husband Luke, and three children, Grayson (12), Olivia (9), and Merritt (2) live on an acreage in Guthrie County. As a mom and teacher, she understands the importance of foundational skills in early literacy and continues to be an advocate for high-quality instruction for all students.
Angie Short grew up in Independence, Iowa and currently resides in Raymond, Iowa. She is married to her husband Jeff and they have three children together. Angie completed her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in Early Childhood Education with a Special Education degree and also has her Reading Endorsement.
Angie became an advocate for dyslexia when her oldest child was diagnosed in 2020. He was tested at Apples of Gold in Pella. She has become an advocate for her children and other children who she has been working with during her long-term sub position. Angie has also received training in the Wilson reading program and has used it with her own children. She has a love of teaching reading and loves to learn about Dyslexia and the Science of Reading.
Lindsay Seydel has been educating herself and others about dyslexia since 2014 when her eldest son was diagnosed. Since that time, Lindsay has been a fierce advocate for her son and for all students who struggle to become proficient readers. She just recently became the Education and Outreach Coordinator with the Iowa Reading Research Center. Prior to this move, she was the PK-6 Literacy Instructional Coach in the West Branch Community School District and was also a classroom teacher for six years. In pursuit of always learning and growing as an educator and an advocate, Lindsay earned her master’s degree in reading science from Mount St. Joseph University, where she was trained in Orton Gillingham.
Board Meetings are held quarterly via Zoom. All Iowa Branch members are welcome to attend.
Annual meetings are held in October via Zoom.
Executive meetings are held monthly.
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