To honor Karen Leopold’s life work of changing as many students’ lives as possible for the better, the IDA-RMB is honored to offer a scholarship for public school educators in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming to receive funds towards Orton-Gillingham Approach training and similar, high-quality practicum-based instruction. Karen truly believed that training teachers was the way to reach the most students, and she herself trained hundreds of instructors. Preference will be given to teachers working in schools without in-house professional development training opportunities, and in economically struggling neighborhoods. If you would like to contribute to the scholarship and help spread quality literacy instruction to more teachers and students, please click below:
You can also send a check to the IDA-RMB and mail it to 740 Yale Road, Boulder CO, 80305.
Please note that your donation is for the Karen Leopold Memorial Scholarship for Teacher Training.
Remembering Karen Leopold
The Rocky Mountain Branch suddenly and unexpectedly lost our beloved board member, Karen Leopold, on the morning of Monday, February 1, 2021. She had just taught a four-hour class the day before. Karen was an exceptional woman who was fiercely passionate about helping students meet their academic potential and helping teachers gain effective literacy teaching skills. She worked through her own dyslexia to become a renowned Orton- Gillingham trainer. She assisted teachers and other individuals in meeting the needs of students struggling with reading and writing, particularly those with dyslexia.
The Leopold family would greatly appreciate reading your thoughts and memories of Karen, which you can contribute at this link: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/sxLA73Wq/kleopold
Upon the completion of her Orton-Gillingham training, Karen was invited to serve as the Director at Kildonan for their Teacher Training Program over the next 7 years. She also was the Director of Language Training at Camp Dunnabeck for 3 years. Karen earned the title of Accredited Training Fellow and served on the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. In addition to her master’s degree, Karen held a New York State Teaching Certification in General Education N-6, English 7-12, Reading N-12, and Special Education N-12. She taught in one-on-one and various sized group settings in public schools and was the K-12 Multisensory Language Consultant for several school districts. Working to promote awareness and evidence-based methodologies, Karen served as President and then Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association – Rocky Mountain Branch. She also served as the IDA Pacific Regional Representative for the last two years.
An internationally recognized speaker, Karen presented on various topics related to multisensory structured language instruction at many conferences and educational institutions. Her publications include The Student Notebook I (Basic) and II (Advanced), which are geared towards helping students with dyslexia. She is also co-author of three handwriting notebooks and other teacher materials created with her mentor, Diana Hanbury King. Karen mentored many AOGPE FITs, Certified members, Associate members, and Classroom Educators. As a result, Academy membership continued to grow. Karen served as Fellow of Record with Fraser Academy in Vancouver, Canada, and Horizon Academy in Kansas, and also served at Marburn Academy in Ohio, The Bodine School in Tennessee, Bridge Academy in New Jersey, and the Blosser Center in Portland, Oregon. It was not unusual to see Karen at an Academy Conference or IDA Conference with a flock of mentees following her from symposium to symposium or to dinner at the end of the day. She was always the one that large groups of people wanted to sit next to at the breakfast or lunch table.
Karen was an extraordinary friend, grandmother, mother, and wife. She loved her family, and her family loved her very much. It was typical to enter a Zoom meeting with Karen holding one of her grandchildren.She lived life to the fullest every day as an incredibly loving and caring individual. We all miss her, but we cherish the time we had with her and remember that the world is a better place because of her work and the love she showed so many people.