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Special Programs Office
Laurie G. Rodriguez 281-229-6083
Executive Director of Special Programs
Maggie Burk 281-229-6094
Coordinator of Evaluation & Related Services
Kimberly Davidson 281-229-6075
Coordinator of Special Programs Instruction
Laura Batson 281-229-6095
Coordinator of Special Programs Compliance
Laurie G. Rodriguez
Laurie joined Dickinson ISD in 2006 as the director. Her undergraduate degree is in secondary education from Oklahoma State University and her master's degree is in educational psychology from University of Houston, with post-graduate studies in educational statistics at Texas A&M and the superintendency at UT-Tyler.
Laurie taught general and special education before becoming an educational diagnostician in 2000 and then moving into special education leadership in 2003. In 2013, Laurie was appointed by Governor Perry to serve on the Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education; her term will expire in 2021.
Laurie is married with 2 daughters, 2 step-sons, 1 granddaughter and 3 rescue dogs and 1 rescue cat.
Laura S. Batson
Coordinator of Evaluation & Related Services
Maggie joined Dickinson ISD in 2000 as a licensed specialist in school psychology. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology and her master's degree is in specialist in school psychology, both degrees are from University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Maggie's entire career has been devoted to school psychology. She volunteers for the American Red Cross in the area of Disaster Mental Health. Maggie is a trainer for AS+K to Save a Life and Youth Mental Health First Aid.
Maggie is married with 1 son, 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren and 3 rescue dogs.
Kim is a proud 1990 Dickinson High School graduate. After attending college to obtain her undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies at University of Houston-Clear Lake, Kim returned to Dickinson and began her teaching career as a 4th grade teacher. She then earned her master's degree in educational administration, also from University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Kim taught general and special education before becoming an ARDC facilitator, associate principal, and coordinator.
Kim is the proud mom of a son serving in the US Army and a daughter. She has 2 rescue cats.
Secretary to Executive Director
As a department, we support the District's Problem Solving Process with the goal of starting to address the concerns at the point closest to the problem/concern and we are ready to assist as needed. (Steps 3 and 4 below).
Texas Education Agency, Office of Special Programs and Monitoring (OSPM) has all information related to special education complaints available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic. Information in each of these languages can be found at or linked from the following URL: Special Education Dispute Resolution Processes | Texas Education Agency.
OSPM has launched an online, special education complaints form available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic. The online form allows the user to file a special education complaint with TEA just as if the user were utilizing a hard copy of the model special education complaint form. Upon submitting the online form, it is automatically emailed to the public agency against which the complaint is filed and to TEA at the same time. The user receives a confirmation copy of the complaint by email. The online form in all five languages can be found on or linked from the following URL: Special Education Complaints Process | Texas Education Agency
"Whatever the student needs IS our job description!"
"We may all be different kinds of fish, but in this school, we swim together."
The DISD assessment team includes Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP) and Educational Diagnosticians. This team is responsible (with other teams) for conducting full, individual evaluations to determine special education eligibility determinations. They administer individualized achievement, intellectual and psychological tests.
Click HERE to go the Evaluation Home Page
Dr. Bianca Watkins
Esther Smith or Kathy Linkey
To apply, click here!
Team Leader Profile:
Cephus Scott joined Dickinson ISD in 2019 as a Certified Teacher (Special Education). Cephus graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in social science. He has 22 years of certified behavior experience, 15 of which have been in education and 7 as a facility supervisor at both a brain injury rehab facility and a psychiatric facility. He previously served as Director of Resident Advocate for people living in low-income housing and Section 8 in 28 states. Last school year he was the ABCD teacher at McAdams Junior High and is excited to share his passion for behavior management and relationship building with students at a district level.
Beginning in the 2022-23 School year, Dickinson ISD has a Campus Compliance Facilitator assigned to each campus and DHS has one for each grade level.
The Special Programs Compliance Process is overseen by Coordinator Laura Batson.
Samaria “Sam” Epps
Alexandra C Dominguez
Xochitl Oviedo (Davila)
Dana Martin Taylor
Elizabeth “Liz” Brenner
James “Mike” Tullos
TaShana McGinty Grimes
Out of District
Per Laura Batson
Private Schools/Gator Academy
The DISD Counseling Program is led by:
Please visit our district's counseling page HERE for more information!
Team Leader Profile
Karen Hollen, District Dyslexia Specialist, is new to Dickinson ISD. She has 20 plus years of experience including classroom teaching, reading intervention, instructional coaching and campus leadership. Karen received a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies, a Master in Reading Education and post Masters certification in Leadership from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She strongly believes that education needs to prepare students to lead a choice filled life that is not limited by weakness but defined by their strengths.
Click HERE to go to the Dyslexia Home Page.
DISD offers general and special education homebound instructional services to students who meet the TEA criteria.
Updated medical information is needed prior to the beginning of each year.
Once the student is determined eligible for homebound instruction by the district's social worker and 504 or ARD committee, Ms. Parrish contacts the student's teachers to begin the process.
If you believe your child needs homebound instruction, please contact your campus counselor, nurse, district's social worker or send Ms. Parrish an email.
About Ms. Parrish:
Dayna has a successful track record of teaching students of all ages for over two decades in deep South Texas, including 11 years dedicated to students confined to homebound instruction. Dayna earned a bachelor's degree in Education from Sam Houston University and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M International University. She is passionate about diversity and differences in education and believes teachers are the heart of education recovery.
DISD Homebound Teacher
JoEllen Allen serves as the district's homeless liaison. Her office number is 281-229-7421.
Jo Ellen graduated from University of Houston Clear Lake with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has worked as a licensed social worker in mental health and school settings. She has been working at Dickinson ISD in the role of District Social Worker since 2008.
Click HERE to go the Homeless Information main page.
The Dickinson ISD Occupational and Physical Therapy team supports IEP learning needs for students in several areas, including:
OTs and PTs operate in all school routines, including recess, classroom, and cafeteria time.
Tanya Jensen joined Dickinson ISD in 2006 as a Physical Therapist and team leader. Tanya graduated from the University of Puget Sound in with a master's degree in Physical Therapy. Prior to coming to DISD, Tanya worked in pediatric out-patient, orthopedics, ECI and at Shriner's Burn Hospital.
In her spare time, Tanya enjoys teaching group fitness classes and caring for her horses.
Her goal for her team is to make sure students receive outstanding occupational and physical therapy to assist in reaching educational and mobility goals.
Special Education and Section 504 records can be requested by sending an email to the Special Programs email address, which is checked daily and routed to the appropriate campus.
Dickinson ISD uses the Frontline management system for all special education, 504 and LPAC paperwork and can transfer documents electronically to districts who use the same program.
Please refer to the Gator Wellness Page for a full description of the DISD Social Emotional Learning Project.
Click HERE to access the Gator Wellness page.
Amy Cmaidalka is the new Social Emotional Learning Specialist for Dickinson ISD.
Description of School Health Advisory Committee
From the Texas Department of State Health Services:
A School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is a group appointed by the school district to serve at the district level. Members of the SHAC come from different areas of the community and from within the school district. The majority of members must be parents who are not employed by the district. Texas law (Texas Education Code, Title 2, Subtitle F, Chapter 28, Subchapter A, §28.004) requires the establishment of a SHAC for every school district. SHACs are required to meet at least four times each year.
SHACs assist the districts in ensuring that local community values are reflected in health education instruction. Additionally, SHACs play an important role in strengthening the connection between health and learning. They can help parents and community stakeholders reinforce the knowledge and skills children need to stay healthy for a lifetime.
JoEllen Allen, MSW 281-229-7421
Jo Ellen graduated from University of Houston Clear Lake with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She earned her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has worked as a licensed social worker in mental health and school settings. She has been working at Dickinson ISD in the role of District Social Worker since 2008.
Jamie Harbuck, M.Ed. 281-229-6643
Jamie graduated from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches with a Bachelor’s degree in Education for the Hearing Impaired. She earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from University of Houston Clear Lake. She has taught Special Education PPCD, Kindergarten, 1st grade and 6th grade. She was an elementary counselor for 4 years before taking on the role of district counselor/social worker.
About Speech Therapy:
The Speech Therapy team provides speech therapy in accordance with the best practices model advocated by ASHA and TSHA. Each student who receives speech therapy has been evaluated by a speech pathologist and determined to have an educational need for speech therapy services. The ARD committee determines the student's goals and therapy schedule.
Tonia Wilson joined Dickinson ISD in 2002 as a speech pathologist and then became the team leader in 2004.
Tonia graduated from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches with a Master's degree in Speech Pathology. Her background includes serving in the Army Reserve and Texas National Guard, attaining the rank of Captain before becoming a Speech Pathologist.
Her goal for her team is to help students make progress and become more effective, independent and functional communicators.
Speech Staff (click on name to email)
We have an open SLP-CCC position!
Coordinator of Special Programs Instruction & Compliance
Kim supervises special education instruction and compliance issues for DISD. Her background includes teaching general and special education, serving as an ARDC facilitator, and as an assistant and associate principal.
Special Education Instructional Delivery (SEID) Design Team
Special Programs Curriculum Specialist
Mike joined Dickinson ISD in 2019 as a Special Education TIDES Teacher at Dickinson High School. Mike Herdman graduated from Arizona State University with a masters degree in Educational Leadership. His goal for his teachers is to provide support to all Special Education teachers through personal development, systems, and curriculum that meets the individual needs of all students appropriately.
Dickinson Independent School District
2218 FM 517 East | Dickinson, TX 77539
Inclusive of all, Dickinson ISD will cultivate excellence, producing confident, collaborative, goal-driven learners who become empowered citizens in a global society.
Dickinson ISD will equip and empower all learners with skills and experiences to achieve academic excellence and make meaningful contributions to our world.
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