Learning Specialists Bios

Sandra Tilton

Sandra has taught students from 3 years old to 12 th grade. Her experience in different classrooms has allowed her to work with children of various abilities: gifted and talented, average to above average, and low achieving students. She has helped identify children with differences in their learning style such as dyslexia, autism, Asperger, ADD, OHI (Other Health Impaired), Tourettes, dysgraphia, and visual and auditory processing difficulties. As an assistant principal, co-principal, and principal for children 3 years to 21, she has assisted in the learning environment, training of teachers, and classroom activities for children of various abilities. As a principal she developed a support group for parents with children who had ADD, Dyslexia, and parents who only spoke Spanish. Sandra started a mentor program for students who needed extra help academically, emotionally, and/or physically. As the director of a learning academy of Preschool age children, she has also established the curriculum used in each class and again identified learning differences of students.

Having a grandchild with severe learning differences has given Sandra an inside look at what students, parents, and grandparents experience on a daily basis. Currently substituting in grades K-12 has kept her abreast of current learning trends and the curriculum offered. In 2014 Sandra was honored to be the Distinguished Alumni recipient at Barbers Hill ISD for her work with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community. Sandra lives in the Mont Belvieu area with her husband Chris.


Laura Kovalcik

Laura received both her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in reading at the University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL). She later taught as an adjunct professor for UHCL in undergraduate courses for prospective teachers. During her tenure in La Porte ISD (LPISD) she was named District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Along with her classroom experience she has also privately tutored students needing additional academic assistance. She has worked with students from kindergarten through the college level. In addtion, Laura worked nineteen years in LPISD as a parent educator conducting home visits with families who had children age birth to five years old. Her primary goal was to prepare the parents to be their child's “best first teacher.” As a parent educator she also worked with teen parents. Laura worked in homes with families from diverse backgrounds of socio-economic status, ethnicity, culture, education and family structure. Laura continued to work from a strength based model as she supported families in their roles as “teachers.” She often assisted in educational needs not only of parents and their young children but also older siblings from elementary to college age. Laura continued to value each person as an individual and strived to assist them in recognizing their importance. Laura continued to see the need for flexibility and strength based instruction to meet the individual needs of children and their parents. As a parent educator, she was housed on an elementary campus and served campuses throughout LPISD, which enabled Laura to stay abreast of current practices in education. She participated in Literacy Training and implanted the strategies with her students and families. Laura resides in Mont Belvieu. She has three grown children and five amazing grandchildren.


Claudia Ovalle

I have eighteen years of successful teaching experience and nine years of coaching new and second year teachers. I have been coaching teachers to create productive learning experiences and provide a balance with objectives and activities that are relevant to their students' needs. I have been implemented the English Language Development program to address the needs of English Learners (ELs). Likewise, I have differentiated instruction based on learning styles, needs, and strengths. This experience includes working with a vast diversity of students such as English second language, special needs, and gifted and talented learners.

Differentiating instruction provides a variety of learning experiences. Students' skills range with a variety of abilities from gifted to severe disabilities. Therefore, I have found the importance of providing a repertoire of instructional strategies to differentiate and design activities with students' readiness, interests, learning modalities, and background knowledge.

My passion for teaching has contributed to plan and support learning by providing interactions with students, parents, teachers, and stakeholders. Sharing information cooperatively on approaches and innovations with other colleagues have enhanced and improved my students' academic learning as well as personal development. I believe that learning has to be meaningful by making connections and taking advantage of my students' experiences and appreciation of the richness of their cultural background.


Karen Gordy

Karen has always been fascinated by the science of metacognition, the awareness and analysis of one's own unique thinking processes. She enjoys teaching students how to evaluate their strengths and learning styles to develop their own tools to become successful, lifelong learners.

In her thirty-nine years of teaching, she has taught a wide range of learners from pre-kindergarten through senior level in college. She has held teaching positions in four different states, but has taught the last twenty-nine years in Texas exclusively. She has taught in both public and private schools throughout her career, teaching a variety of subjects including: math, language arts, reading, writing, science, high school choir, elementary choir, general music, and high school band.

Karen retired from full-time teaching for Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District in 2014. For the past few years she has been working part-time as an at-risk math tutor and co-teacher for GCCISD. She also continues to pursue her passion for music both as a performer and a clinician/adjudicator. Whether singing in her church choir, playing the flute in the Baytown Symphony Orchestra, or teaching flute lessons, she enjoys participating in musical ensembles. These activities allow her to continue to advance the cause of music education, which is of paramount importance to her.

Education M.M Flute Performance University of Southern Mississippi B.M. Ed. Elementary/Secondary Education University of Southern Mississippi Other coursework in Elementary Education at Stephen F. Austin State University. For over a decade, my education and leadership experience includes a large Houston area Independent School district as an Elementary School (only) Small group tutor for at-risk 3rd -5th grade students. Student Success Initiative teacher for 5th grade students. 3rd grade math co-teacher, 4th grade GT, Ventures, and regular education teacher for science, mathematics, and spelling; 4 years. General Music K-5th grades; 3 years. U.I.L Coach for 4th and 5th Grade Oral Reading Teams 5 th Grade Honor Choir Director At-Risk after school mathematics tutor, At Risk tutor for 3rd grade mathematics. Test administrator for Oral Administration of STAAR, Benchmarks, and Curriculum Based Assessments. Music Adjudicator for Band Solo and Ensemble/All-City Judge for district wide flute auditions. Fine Arts Coordinator and Educational Consultant for two different Independent School Districts. In addition, I have teaching experience in private elementary and high schools. Adjunct instructor for Applied Flute at Lee College, Baytown, TX. 1983-Present Private Flute Instructor for various clients. Certifications Texas Teacher Certificate Elementary Self-Contained (Grades 01-08) Texas Teacher Certificate All-Level Music (Grades PK-12) Gifted and Talented Education Certificate of Completion issued by GCCISD on August 15, 2005.


Rhonda Ponder

Rhonda has devoted more than 33 years to loving and teaching children of all ages. While teaching is her passion, ensuring the success of all students is her ultimate goal. Early in her career, Rhonda found that mathematics was her strength and an area where she could make strong connections and a marked improvement with students. Rhonda incorporated a variety of teaching techniques into her lessons to improve and differentiate learning, such as modeling skills and strategies, and using manipulatives, repetitive review, written cues and verbalization. While making learning fun and meaningful, she has helped hundreds of students build confidence in themselves.

Rhonda earned an Associate's degree at Lee College where she was cheerleader, member of the dance team and named Miss Lee. She attended the University of Houston/ Clear Lake where she earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Elementary Education. Rhonda began her career in Goose Creek Consolidated School District teaching first graders who completely stole her heart. She then worked in Barbers Hill Independent School District for 25 years teaching elementary, intermediate and middle school students. In 2008 she was named Barbers Hill Elementary Teacher of the Year. During her tenure, she taught summer school 13 years and tutored students after school to provide the extra help and skills needed for them to be successful. Selected by administrators, she has served as grade level leader and in various leadership roles for both curriculum and instruction. Rhonda retired in 2017 and has continued working with students in long term substitute positions. She and her husband Rance reside in Baytown and have two children and three grandchildren.


Renee Addison

Renee recently retired after working 30 years as a dedicated educator. She began as a second g rade teacher and then served as a reading specialist. As a reading specialist, she was able to share her love of teaching reading. Renee worked with students in small groups, which taught her the importance of individuality in learning. In addition, she helped teachers by doing trainings and modeling lessons in classrooms. After many years of successful teaching experiences, she finished her career as campus testing coordinator (CTC). As CTC, she worked as a team with teachers and administrators to dis-aggregate data to meet school and district learning goals. As a result, she was able to help improve learning in the classroom. Renee believes that all children can learn as long as there is an understanding that each child has different learning needs and motivation to learn. An educator can help a child develop a love and passion for reading by starting in the child's own motivation for learning. As the child starts to flourish, the educator can discover the child's strengths and weaknesses. Renee believes that teachers, students, and parents can work together towards one common goal; to develop a life long reader who loves to learn.


Christie Hahn

I am an educator with over 20 years of professional experience teaching mathematics to middle-senior high school and adult students. I am also engaged in leading and training other educators to improve their teaching of mathematics. I am dedicated to creating and executing meaningful mathematic instruction for all students. I have experience analyzing math learning data to design action plans that will impact individual learning growth and customize learning solutions. My experience of leading the design and implementation of after-school tutorials has provided me the opportunity to work with students struggling to learn math to make significant gains. I enjoy celebrating with my students their learning successes in math.


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Dynamic Learners, Inc., is a nonprofit educational organization
“for diagnosis and intervention of reading and math literacy
deficits of children and adults, including underserved and
bilingual learners.”

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