2020 TCB Board of Directors:
Front row: Elaine Offstein, President; Caylin Wade, President-Elect; Regina Richards, Treasurer.
Middle row: Karin Westerling; Sharon Landers; Karen Lerner; Haya Sakadijian; Sally Kabbara; Christine Denison, Secretary.
Back row: Cathy Johnson, Amber Bechard; Marianne Cintron.
Board of Directors – Officers
Parent of dyslexics
I have three children. My first and last child have dyslexia that was genetically passed down from my husband. I has served on the board for about 6 years. I enjoy being on the board to spread the word about what dyslexia really is. It is still so misunderstood in the general population and especially in our elementary and high schools. I have been active in my children’s schools making sure they get the correct remediation and accommodations for dyslexia. Our Tri-Counties Branch hosts many outreach events in our communities. I love being part of something that truly makes a difference in families lives.
I am an adult with dyslexia and I also attend Moreno Valley College. I am grateful to be a part of the Tri-Counties Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and I look forward to helping spread good information about dyslexia.
Regina G. Richards, MA is former Director of Richards Educational Therapy Center (RET Center) & Big Springs School. The school specialized in multidisciplinary programs for language learning disabilities, especially dyslexia and dysgraphia. Regina established the RET Center in 1975, providing educational therapy and diagnostic services, and opened Big Springs School in 1980. Regina teaches regularly at the University of California Extension Program in Riverside. She has authored a variety of journal articles and books on reading, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and visual development. She is active in her local IDA branch, having been President several times. She enjoys presenting workshops at a variety of conferences. Regina is the parent of an adult son who has struggled with dyslexia and dysgraphia all his life. He is currently very successful in business, working with computers. Regina has enjoyed many different roles with this branch and hopes to continue to do so. She feels it is so important to share the wide range of valid and professional information that exists to help children and adult who struggle with reading and writing. The wonderful feedback received from folks who attend our events is so heartwarming! As a branch we have helped so many different people. She states, “I’m delighted to be a part of this powerful organization!”
Parent of a dyslexic
I am a special education assistant at Riverside Unified School District.
My son has Dyslexia. In 2013, I came across a video seminar by the Inland Empire branch of IDA (renamed as Tri-Counties Branch). It really opened my eyes. I recognized many of the signs and traits of dyslexia as my son’s. My son was diagnosed in 2015. Since then, I have gotten involved with the Tri-Counties Board of the IDA so that I may learn more to help my son and to help others understand what dyslexia is and how to get help.
Educational Therapist, Offstein Educational Therapy
Teaching has been my passion all of my life. As a professional, I have always worked in the field of special education. I believe every child has the capacity to learn and thrive and the right to receive the appropriate instruction to meet their unique learning style. I am a member of IDA because I believe in the vision of IDA to promote and support research in dyslexia and other language learning differences and the development of appropriate educational models that allow children with learning disabilities to thrive.
Board of Directors – Members-at-Large
I worked as a school psychologist for nearly two decades. In that role, I evolved as a voice for the children and families I served. This led me to hold leadership positions at the local and state levels through the California Association of School Psychology and through PENT (Positive Environment Network of Trainers) of the Southern California Diagnostic Center. I completed a post-graduate program and held a diplomate in school neuropsychology. This along, with a focus on improving bilingual assessments, allowed me to help others improve their services by holding workshops for colleagues, speech therapists and special education teachers on bilingual assessments, behavioral supports and neuropsychological assessments. Currently, I am in my most important and challenging position, that of a parent of a dyslexic child. I am committed to learn, and in turn help others, ameliorate the challenges and embrace the good qualities that accompany Dyslexia. I have found the Southern California Tri-Counties Branch of IDA to be a place of knowledge, understanding, assistance and leadership to help individuals and families that face this challenge. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to participate on the board and continue my mission as a voice for children.
Dr. Amber Bechard is an Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Special Education Program in LaFetra College of Education at the University f La Verne. She also serves as the Associate Director of Literacy and Outreach for the Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness. She is the lead faculty on a team developing an Orton Gillingham based curriculum to train teachers in structured literacy for supporting students with dyslexia. The ULV program seeks to become the first IMSLEC accredited teacher training program in California.
Dr. Marianne Cintron is a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Administration, speaker, and author. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education and in General Education complimenting two California Teaching Credentials. She is a Dyslexia Specialist, President of Step By Step Dyslexia Solutions, and an International Teacher Trainer. She tutors students with Dyslexia as she expands her Learning Center. She is soon to receive Orton Gillingham Associate Level Certification.
Dr. Cintron created the Step By Step Reading© program, developed a music app to help dyslexic children, as she helps parents unlock their dyslexic child’s Superpower. She has a Podcast called Dyslexia Solutions, and a YouTube Channel. She’s been an educator for 21 years and a classroom teacher for 10. She is active in many professional organizations. She’s been married to Will for 31 years and has 3 adult children.
Cathy Johnson is a Licensed Speech/Language Pathologist and is certified by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction as a Structured Literacy Teacher. Cathy became interested in dyslexia when her daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia in kindergarten. She went on to open the Johnson Academy of Therapeutic Learning in San Juan Capistrano which is a school that specializes in offering evidence-based reading interventions as well as small class sizes for children with various learning disabilities. Cathy is also the director of the Speech, Language and Learning Center in San Juan Capistrano. Cathy works with numerous school districts in providing independent expert evaluations. Cathy is trained in numerous evidence-based reading interventions. She recently became an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne and will be teaching future teachers how to teach reading. It is an honor to serve on the board In order to continue to promote the awareness of dyslexia.
Sally is the mother of a dyslexic teenager, and advocating for his education continues to be a challenge with every grade level. The resources, tools, and encouragement IDA provides has lessened the frustration common with parenting and advocating, as well as the preparation for the IEP, 504, and evaluations processes that are constant with dyslexic students. Sally is active with PTA/Booster Club activities/events and shares her knowledge with parents and teachers.
Having a number of family members who are dyslexic and have other learning challenges has made me interested in becoming more involved in education and advocacy. I hope that I can use my experience and skills to help this organization achieve its objectives.
I am a long-term government professional, serving most recently as the first female city manager for the City of Carson. I have previously served in other CA cities, as well as New York and New Jersey. I am a credentialed City Manager and attended the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. I received my JD from Albany Law School in New York and am admitted to the NYS Bar and the Bar of the Supreme Court.
Dyslexia tutor, using Barton Program
Parent and 2nd grade teacher
I am a mom of two amazing daughters, who happen to be dyslexic. Spreading dyslexia awareness is my passion. The International Dyslexia Association Tri-Counties Branch offers outstanding support in this dyslexia journey. Strength comes from knowledge. IDA Tri-Counties Branch helped me grow in knowledge, allowing me to better support my daughters. It is an honor to serve my community as an IDA board member.
As a parent of a bright child with dyslexia, I support IDA in its mission to advance dyslexia awareness, education, and best treatment practices. In particular, my interest is forming parent communities of support where we can share knowledge and resources, and become empowered advocates for our children. I started the Dyslexia Parent Support Group of South Orange County, which is sponsored by our IDA chapter and DDCA (Decoding Dyslexia). So far, we’ve connected over 140 parents in our group.
. I hold a master’s in music therapy and am a certified Barton tutor. Thank you for the honor of serving on this board.
I currently serve as the Associate Superintendent of Educational Programs for the Diocese of Orange. We have 34 schools including 3 high schools. I serve in many ways, but one of my most rewarding is supporting our schools meeting the needs of neurodiverse learners in our schools. Having a son of my own who has dyslexia has opened me to the deep need of our families. This is what led me to the Southern California Tri-County Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. The mission of TCB aligns is with my personal and professional and I look forward to supporting the good work that TCB does.
Karin recently retired from a four decade career teaching science to middle schoolers, high school students, and undergraduates. Her experience taught her that neurologically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students can master and enjoy learning when they have access to the curriculum. Karin supports the IDA mission to strengthen the learning abilities of all individuals in order to achieve their potential.
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