Meet Our Board of Directors

Dr. Karen Kohler, President

Dr. Karen Kohler is an educational leader with expertise in early childhood/elementary education, family engagement, and literacy. She was the former founder and executive director of early childhood literacy programs that focused on professional development for pre-kindergarten and Head Start educators and parents in Texas and California.

Dr. Kohler started her career in education as an elementary school teacher and later a family specialist known for increasing and sustaining parent involvement and family engagement on Title I campuses. Currently, Dr. Kohler is an Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M University, San Antonio, and the University of the Incarnate Word. In addition to teaching classes in Reading, Literacy, and Instructional Methods for pre-service teachers, she was hired to research and develop new program minors for the University of the Incarnate Word.

Dr. Kohler is passionate about educating parents and guardians to be engaged in their children’s education process. She holds a Master’s in Education with an emphasis on Elementary Education and a Doctorate in Education, specializing in Reading and Literacy. Her research interests include family engagement in education, the collaboration between classroom teachers and speech-language pathologists, and best practices for supporting secondary special education teachers and staff.

Rachel Krueger, Vice President/Secretary

Rachel Krueger is the mother of three children, one with Learning Disabilities. Rachel works for the Learning Disabilities Association of America as their Director of Affiliate Relations. She is a former preschool teacher trained in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Pediatric Occupational Therapy. Rachel is also a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and a Board Certified Special Education Advocate. She has worked with children who have bipolar issues, are on the Autism Spectrum, and have Oppositional Defiance Disorders.

Rachel is Co-Chair of the Mental Health Committee, and Co-Chair of the 61st Annual International Conference, all with the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Rachel is passionate about educating parents about learning disabilities and how to have their child diagnosed at an earlier age. She is thankful for LDA of America and is grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization

Kara Mowrey, Ed.D., Treasurer

Dr. Kara Mowrey is a faculty member at San Antonio College and has served as Adjunct Faculty Coordinator for the Student Development department over the past two years. She has over 20 years of teaching experience from middle school to higher education. She is passionate about serving students and, specifically, supporting first-time college students in achieving their academic goals. Dr. Mowrey has served as a mentor for the Faculty Partners initiative in Student Development and works to equip new faculty with innovative strategies to engage students in the classroom and online. 

Her journey with advocacy began when her daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, and she has worked to support families and students with dyslexia as they navigate the educational system. She hopes to empower students to find the services needed to be academically successful. 

Dr. Mowrey earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Baylor University, her Masters in Arts in Counseling, and her Doctor of Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 
 
Dr. Mowrey lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband of 25 years and two daughters. She enjoys traveling and volunteering in the community.

Pam Smith, Healthy Children Project Coordinator

Pam is the mother of two adult children with ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia. Helping her kids navigate school and life with as much dignity and tools as they can have been her prayer and goal.

Pam is a Registered Nurse by trade, working as a staff nurse on a hospital surgical floor, then in a large medical clinic for over 14 years, as well as part-time in pediatrics with children with disabilities, as well as a pediatric home health nurse.

When her first son was born and diagnosed with significant learning issues, she decided to leave her full-time job and devote her time to her son. Four years later her second son arrived who was also diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. Pam and her husband live in Dallas, TX, and have located many resources to help her two boys through school all the way to college.

Pam looks forward to working with LDA Texas and the Healthy Children Project.

Virginia Spencer, Board Member

Virginia Spencer is a Special Education Advocate, Dispute Negotiation Coach, and Business Consultant based in Austin, Texas. She helps parents secure a free, appropriate public education for their children with disabilities. In addition, she works on resolving disagreements with schools and creating cohesive teams. Virginia is the parent of 2 adult children with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

Kelly Emanuel, MPH, Board Member

For 12 years, Kelly worked primarily as a project manager in the healthcare industry for a global consulting company, insurance companies, a large integrated delivery network, and pharmaceutical companies. When her son and daughter were diagnosed with multiple medical conditions and learning disabilities, Kelly put her career on hold to focus 100% of her efforts on her children. She put her research skills to use by learning everything she could about their conditions and therapies. Kelly trained as a Resource Parent through SPAN, and a special education advocate through COPAA. She has experience with seclusion and restraint issues, physical and social-emotional bullying, and the school district’s failure to provide Child Find services, FAPE and LRE.

For over a decade, Kelly has gained extensive experience with children that have a wide variety of learning disabilities and medical conditions. She has worked with children that have: dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, auditory processing disorder, ADHD, convergence insufficiency, executive functioning deficits, sensory processing disorder, oral apraxia, and feeding issues, autism (classic, PDD-NOS and Asperger’s), anxiety, depression, trichotillomania, food allergies, and emotional regulation challenges.

In the past, Kelly held leadership positions in various Special Education Parent Teacher Associations. She has experience with fundraising and successfully advocating for additional programs and services. Kelly has been an ABA behavior technician and completed RBT 4hr training. She has also provided SAT tutoring services to high school students with learning disabilities.

Kelly Emanuel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Public Health from New York Medical CollegeShe completed approximately half the coursework for a second Master’s degree, a Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education K-5. She discontinued the program when she decided to homeschool her children full-time.

Kelly lives with her family in North Texas, where she continues to homeschool both children. She has a special interest in assisting children with multiple learning disabilities and behavioral challengesShe is the owner of Starfish Skills, a company that provides information and resources on learning disabilities. 

Edward Schultz, Ph.D., Director at Large

Edward Schultz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the West College of Education at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. He received his B.S. and Master’s Degree at Midwestern State University and his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas.

In addition to teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses at MSU, he is also program coordinator for the Educational Diagnostician Program. He is the co-author of the C-SEP model. His areas of expertise include SLD identification, multi-tiered systems of support, and emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD).

Jenn Cohen, Director at Large

Jenn Cohen has been in the test prep trenches for almost 20 years, but she prides herself in never feeling too comfortable calling herself an expert. She is always learning from her students, families, other pros, and the research literature. She’s a lover of art and science and believes the world is a better place with both. Meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson is on her bucket list.

She has been featured in The Dallas Morning News, ADDitude Magazine, and Good Morning Texas, as well as numerous blogs around the web. She has also been a presenter at the Learning Disabilities Association national conference, as well as a speaker at high schools and parent associations. She is the leading national expert on test prep for students with special needs. If you don’t believe her, just ask Google. She is also the owner of Word-Nerd.com, an awesome SAT vocabulary website. She is a graduate of Duke University and completed graduate work in clinical psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is a hardcore Duke sports fan, and general sports junkie, so she gets a particular kick out of her student’s sports victories.

Jenn lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and business guru, Gary, and her daughter, Erin. She enjoys cooking, museums, ’80’s bands, and playing “fake Pac-Man” with Erin. It’s just as much fun as it sounds!

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