IDA Then and Now

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May 2014

IDA Then and Now

Eric TridasOn April 25 and 26 we held the spring meeting of the IDA Board and Branch Council. We took this opportunity to reflect on the significant progress that we have made over the last two-and-a-half years and set our sights on our future goals. Here is a brief summary of the discussions held in the meeting.

In 2012 IDA was in a crisis. We had been operating with operational budget deficits in excess of $350,000 for several years. Our membership was declining at an alarming rate, and our IT infrastructure was outdated and ineffective. There was discord between the branches, the national board, and headquarters. Our bylaws were antiquated and limited the flexible operation of our organization.

Today, IDA is in a much different situation. We have a balanced operational budget and updated, flexible bylaws. Our membership has increased by a thousand members over the last year, and we have a new IT infrastructure with a schedule launch of our website in the second half of 2014. A very important vote was carried out during the recent 2014 Spring Meeting. The Board of Directors unanimously approved the funds to develop the teacher certification examination.

These major accomplishments would not have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of our branch leadership, the Board of Directors, and the staff at headquarters. Partners like ALTA, IMSLEC, the Alliance, and friends at Wilson and AOGPE have provided invaluable advice and support to the implementation plans for the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading. I want to thank everyone for their willingness to work together towards a common goal.

Special thanks are owed to some remarkable individuals who have brought great dedication and commitment to IDA. Hal Malchow has been an invaluable partner during my tenure as President of IDA. He brought to our board a unique set of skills. As Chair of the Development Committee, he devised the strategy that resulted in an increase in membership over the last year. In addition, Hal has singlehandedly run the leadership fundraising campaign which has exceeded projections by more than twice the budgeted amount. He has traveled across the country to rekindle relationships with previous donors and has reached potential new donors in order to rebuild IDA’s major gift infrastructure. Hal has also been working closely with Suzanne Carreker to develop the business plan for the Knowledge and Practice Standards projects.

Another critical member of our team is Kristen Penczeck. Kristen agreed to serve as our Interim Executive Director in the midst of an organizational crisis. She has provided outstanding leadership to the staff and support to the Board of Directors. In a very short time, Kristen has been able to carry out projects that had been delayed for years.

At this time we need to take advantage of the momentum we have created to bring IDA to new levels. We must capitalize on the talent and resources of our leadership to make our goals a reality. It is for that reason that I have asked Hal Malchow to immediately assume the presidency of IDA. He is the right leader at the right time to direct the next stage of our plan. Hal and I have worked in close partnership over the last two-and-a half years. We both share the dream of defeating illiteracy in America, and we are determined to make it happen.

So please help me welcome the new President of IDA, Hal Malchow, and let’s continue to work together to lower illiteracy rates in our country by ten percent in ten years.

Eric Tridas Signature





Dr. Eric Tridas, IDA Past President

A Bigger Future for IDA

Hal MalchowIt has been a great honor to partner with Eric Tridas in his marvelous work to rebuild IDA. His accomplishments have transformed our organization and given us the foundation we need to accomplish bigger things in the future. We no longer argue about what to do. Our mission is to change reading instruction in America’s classrooms. The question is how to make that happen.

I am a different president than those who have served before me. I came to IDA not as a scientist or an educator but as the parent of a child with dyslexia. My professional career has been in business and marketing and, in particular, building membership programs for some of America’s largest non-profits. My mission, as president, will be to grow our membership, grow our revenues and help build an organization capable of fully representing the millions of Americans who learn differently.

More than any time in the past, there is a unity of vision about IDA’s mission and work. Our challenge is large and difficult but with transformative powers to reshape the future of millions of children.  Through our history, IDA members have unlocked formulas for teaching reading to children with dyslexia.  In the process, we have created approaches to reading instruction that are the most effective way to teach all children to read.

Today, our work is accrediting universities who are preparing teachers to bring our methods to their classroom. We are developing credentials and a first rate examination that will recognize teachers who can deliver the gift of reading in the most effective possible way. And as we win these battles, school district by school district, we will bring into these classrooms the one resource that has been absent in schools across America. We will be providing teachers qualified to teach reading to children with dyslexia.

Eric Tridas has mentioned some of the good things that are happening at IDA. Our membership is growing. Our revenues are increasing. We have reformed our bylaws and rebuilt partnerships between national and the branches. Most importantly, we are thinking bigger about who we are and what we can accomplish.

In my business, I spent 25 years working with non-profits like the American Red Cross, the US Olympic Committee and the Democratic National Committee. I was able to watch and learn from many leaders who knew what it takes to not just to build a bigger and more effective organization but to speak for a membership and to lead. I am so excited to have the opportunity to put those lessons to work for IDA.

Last week, I sat in a kindergarten class in Worchester, Massachusetts and watched five-year- olds, who were taught by teachers prepared by Wilson Language Training, take dictation and write simple sentences in their classroom. To witness those tiny hands, mastering our language in its written form, was a moment filled with beauty, inspiration and more than a little emotion. That is our mission. I look forward to working with each of you to replicate that moment in classrooms all across America.

Hal Malchow Signature





Hal Malchow, IDA President

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