Historical Timeline

1978 1980 1981 1982 1984 1986 1987


The Houston Branch of Orton Dyslexia Society is founded with W. Oscar Neuhaus is first President. 

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W. Oscar Neuhaus Memorial Foundation is incorporated, becoming the first Teacher Training Center in Houston offering the Orton Gillingham-based Alphabetic Phonics curriculum, and the second in Texas.  Recognizing Oscar Neuhaus’ leadership in developing a community climate for success, friends, concerned parents, and Dallas-trained academic language therapists memorialize him by founding the Neuhaus Education Center (NEC).  

Aylett Cox and Margaret Smith at the Dallas Dean Learning Center agree to provide four years of assistance in teacher training and supervising NEC staff as trainers.

Marvin Collie, senior partner of Vinson Elkins, obtains IRS 501(c) 3 tax exemption. Community leaders Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson and the Cullen Foundation give seed money and assure the future of NEC.

Space of three small offices is partially donated in small building on Audley Street. Part time secretary is hired.

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First Class of Basic Introductory Course in Alphabetic Phonics is taught by Aylett Cox, its author, and Margaret Smith with Fredda Parker, Marilyn Beckwith and Lenox Reed (trained in Dallas at Scottish Rite Hospital by Aylett Cox), as teaching trainees. Eight participants from various fields, including a diagnostician, speech therapist, reading and special education teachers, attend in January. Space is rented in St. Phillips Church.

Twenty-five teachers from public and private schools attend a June four-week session taught in Houston ISD’s River Oaks Elementary School. College degree required. University of St. Thomas and University of Houston give 6 hours graduate credit for Basic Course.

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NEC moves its location to a large office building where it continues to expand until over 7500 square feet are leased. Full time secretary hired. 

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Aylett Cox and her staff at the Dean Learning Center in Dallas certify NEC after a four-year internship.

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Texas legislature mandates that every public school teacher in the state of Texas be informed about dyslexia and that an appropriately trained teacher be available on every school campus.  The Texas Education Agency approves NEC’s courses for continuing education for public school teachers.

Adult literacy classes offered for the first time as Neuhaus-trained teachers offer adult reading and spelling classes in the evenings at the Center.

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NEC signs contract with Special Education Department at Houston ISD to train resource teachers in Alphabetic Phonics.

First NEC Benefit Luncheon: Barbara P. Bush and new Superintendent of Houston ISD are speakers. Over 500 people attend sell-out luncheon.

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Project Apple begins. One first grade teacher from every Houston ISD campus attends 30-hour multisensory training and dyslexia awareness course.

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Board retreat and long-range planning committee result in decision to begin Capital Campaign to relocate to own space. A consulting firm helps “package” NEC, and a part-time consultant is hired for the Campaign. NEC Board reviews mission statement and reconfirms.

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New 15,000 square foot building is completed, and Capital Campaign completed in June.

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Texas Governor George W. Bush announces Reading as primary Education Initiative: Every third grader shall read at least on grade level by the end of third grade and continue to progress on grade level.

Governor Bush attends Tenth Annual Benefit Luncheon to present the Excellence in Teaching Award to a third-grade reading teacher. Over 900 people attend luncheon.

Kay Allen and Lenox Reed are appointed to English Language Arts and Reading committee on the rewriting of the state curriculum, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). 

Board Retreat in spring results in Vision Statement for Year 2000 and task force committees.

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Distance learning begins at the Center.  Brownsville ISD contracts with the NEC to train all of its first-grade teachers in Language Enrichment I.  Middle School teachers are trained in Language Enrichment II.

Barbara Bush presents Excellence in Teaching Award to Houston ISD kindergarten teacher at 11th Annual Benefit Luncheon. 1200 people attend and hear speaker, Dr. Mel Levine.

Middle School Initiative begins with Houston ISD.  Seventy-six teachers attend the 60-hour Language Enrichment II classes during the year.

New part time Adult Literacy Coordinator is hired to head adult literacy program.

Neuhaus Forum is formed, a support group that will offer two seminars a year with speakers on issues concerning public education and offer opportunities to volunteer in public schools.

Lenox Reed is appointed by Houston ISD Superintendent Rod Paige to serve on the task force to study “Students with Persistent Reading Problems.” Committee recommendations are submitted to HISD Board.

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NEC receives accreditation by Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) Centers Council.

First Lady’s Family Literacy Initiative gives grant to NEC and Ed White Elementary School, Houston ISD, for its “Lifetime Readers” project.

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Board and staff retreat led by nationally acclaimed facilitator Susan Stone, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Strategic Plan is developed, and several task forces created to study implementation.

Joanne White, NEC staff member, and Lenox Reed are appointed to Texas Textbook Selection Committee by Mike Moses, Commissioner of Education.

NEC’s Dyslexia Specialist Preparation Program (DSPP) is accredited by the International Multisensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC).

Lenox Reed is elected to serve a four-year term on the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).

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Former First Lady Barbara Bush helps the Center celebrate its 20th anniversary – 20 years, 10,000 teachers, 1,000,000 readers. 

Suzanne Carreker and Joanne White are chosen as two of the four Expert Trainers for the Governor’s Reading Initiative’s First Grade Reading Academies in which 26,000 first grade teachers in Texas receive four days of training in the structure of the language for reading.

Lenox Reed, Founding Executive Director, retires.

Kay Allen, who has taught at NEC since 1982, becomes Executive Director.

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NEC’s first online, web-based workshops are offered: Developing Accuracy and Fluency for Reading Success and Reading Comprehension: The Ultimate Goal of Reading.

Educator attendance at NEC’s courses and workshops increases by 19%, with a total of 4,033 participants for the year, representing 95 school districts and 71 private schools.

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Preliminary results from research in Brownsville ISD show a significant difference in fifth-grade students who received reading instruction in second grade from teachers trained by NEC and using NEC’s Language Enrichment curriculum compared with students receiving standard instruction.

NEC offers its first workshop for pre-kindergarten teachers, Cooking in The Kitchen. Two additional online (web-based) workshops offered, making a total of four.

Four Family Literacy programs established in fall, 2002.

All first grade teachers in Idaho receive training based on the Center’s Language Enrichment curriculum.

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New interactive video conferencing equipment is purchased and put to use immediately. Attendance at workshops and courses offered through video conference training increases 200% over the previous year.

The second, third, and fourth units of pre-kindergarten materials are published.

Suzanne Carreker develops the comprehension component of a research project led by Dr. Frank Wood, Wake Forest Medical School.

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Retained by Teach for America (TFA) to provide its national training teams with improved elementary reading instruction. In June, 2004, 1600 of TFA’s new corps members (teachers) were trained by the NEC-assisted training teams. In August 2004, corps members will be placed in low-income, urban and rural community schools for a two year period.

New courses are launched – Developing Metacognitive Skills: Vocabulary and Comprehension, and new workshops, Diagnosing Reading Difficulties and Structured Handwriting.

Data from an intervention study conducted by the Center demonstrates that the addition of metacognitive strategies to daily comprehension lessons boosted students’ comprehension and spelling by 20% and vocabulary by 40% over students taught the same lessons without the metacognitive strategies. The strategies used in the study are part of the new course, Developing Metacognitive Skills.

Director of Teacher Development Suzanne Carreker developed a video course, Developing Reading Fluency, at the request of the Alaska State Department of Education. As a part of a series presenting the requisite literacy skills delineated by the National Reading Panel, the instruction will be seen by pre-service teachers in Alaska’s six colleges and universities and 8,800 in-service teachers in the 57 school districts in Alaska.

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NEC celebrates 25 years and unveils a new logo at the celebration.

Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, authors of Overcoming Dyslexia, deliver the Lenox Reed Seminar after the Luncheon.

Suzanne Carreker authored the workbook companion to the popular textbook, Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills.

Building Essential Language and Literacy Skills (BELLS) manuals. The Kitchen and The Farm are published in English and Spanish.

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After implementing NEC professional development for K-3 teachers in 2002, Idaho becomes one of only 3 states to significantly increase fourth grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Four newly developed online classes – Reading Comprehension, The Structure of the English Language for Reading, Multisensory Grammar – are offered online.

Patricia Kuhl, PH.D. speaks at the Luncheon and Lenox Reed Seminar about the Scientist in the Crib.

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University of St. Thomas grants 12 hours of graduate credit toward a Masters in Education for work done through NEC.

Research article on Brownsville Project is published in Reading Psychology. A research article on the comprehension study is accepted for publication in The Reading Teacher, an International Reading Association publication read by 140,000 teachers.

Research poster presentation was presented by Dr Regina Bouleware-Gooden at the meeting of the Society of Reading in Prague, Czech Republic.

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NEC and Stephen F. Austin State University collaborate to offer a Master of Education in Reading Specialization online.

Reading Teachers Network, www.readingteachersnetwork.org, an interactive online resource for teachers premieres.

NEC partners with HISD to provide professional development for 600 teachers as part of HISD’s initiative, Literacy Leads the Way.

Aldine contracts with NEC to provide professional development for 128 teachers working with students with dyslexia.

The NEC Adult Literacy Program is named in honor of Margaret H. Ley.

Kay Allen, Executive Director since 2000, retires. Russanne Kelley becomes the President and CEO of NEC.

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NEC and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University offer a Master of Education with Reading Specialization in Houston.

Language Enrichment is presented to 24 teachers in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Language Enrichment – Online, a 30-hour online class, is launched.

NEC campus offers free WiFi to visitors.

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30th Anniversary year of NEC is a year of celebration. Former First Lady Laura Bush is the honored guest and speaker at the Luncheon.

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University presented NEC with the prestigious Luminary Award.

NEC and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University offer a Master of Education with Reading Specialization in Houston.

NEC runners and walkers raise money in the Chevron Houston Marathon.

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Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University presented NEC with the prestigious Luminary Award in January.

Russanne Kelley steps down as President and CEO.

Robert Brooks, Ph.D., speaks at the Luncheon and Lenox Reed Seminar

Marybeth Flachbart, Ed.D., is named the new President and CEO.

Teachers Make the Difference and Preventing Reading Failure are the themes of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and NEC collaboration focusing on district-wide reading instruction.

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Houston Independent School District (HISD) collaboration Teachers Make the Difference and Preventing Reading Failure continues in Phase 2.

Classes on curriculum mapping, student assessment, and small group instruction are among the new courses offered.

New NEC website goes live in the spring 2012.

KASTOR (Knowledge and Skills for Teachers of Reading), a mentoring program for beginning teachers, kicks off in May.

NEC partners with HEB to distribute over 10,000 books.

Teach For America teachers take NEC classes.

University partnerships continue with Southern Methodist University in Dallas and William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Parent Resource Office provides information about dyslexia to teacher candidates at Texas Southern University.

Neuhaus Academy … the 21st Century Learning concept is born.

Dr. Edward Hallowell speaks at the Luncheon and Lenox Reed Seminar.

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Houston Independent School District (HISD) collaboration Teachers Make the Difference and Preventing Reading Failure continues in Phase 3.

NEC Educational Consulting Services expanded.

Neuhaus Academy videos and instructor manual are available.

Early Childhood Initiative research project takes off.

University partnerships continue with Southern Methodist University and William Carey University in Mississippi.

Milton Chen, Ph.D. author of Weapons of Mass Instruction, speaks at the Luncheon and the Lenox Reed Seminar.

The Parent Resource Office becomes Family Support Office.

NEC named as one of HOUSTON’S TOP WORKPLACES by the Houston Chronicle.

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Filmmaker Jamie Redford speaks at the annual Luncheon.

Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz speak at the Lenox Reed Seminar.

The website and learning platform for Neuhaus Academy are officially launched.

NEC named again as one of HOUSTON’S TOP WORKPLACES by the Houston Chronicle.

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University partnerships that include NEC courses in their Master’s of Reading programs continue to expand.

NEC was reaccredited for the third time by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC).

Marybeth Flachbart, Ed.D., steps down as President and CEO.

Tracy Weeden, Ed.D., is named the new President and CEO.

Neuhaus 29th annual Luncheon was UNMASKED. Dr. David Eagleman was the keynote speaker and Pat Cavanagh, CALT, was the honoree representing the contributions of Dyslexia Therapists in non-public schools.

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NEC held its first state-wide inaugural Unlocking Literacy Conference. The two-day professional development opportunity highlighted national keynote speakers, and presentations from district leaders on results of NEC best practices.

The first annual “Butterfly Effect Award” was presented to Neil Bush, chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation, and Dr. Julie Baker-Fink, president of the Foundation.

Founding Director, Lenox Reed, was honored at the annual meeting of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). She was awarded the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Literacy Interventionist Preparation Program, an online certification for teachers working with students with dyslexia was inaugurated.

The NEC history documentary, Changing Lives since 1980, was unveiled and is available on the website.

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NEC held its second state-wide Unlocking Literacy Conference. This professional development opportunity again highlighted national keynote speakers, and presentations from district leaders on results of NEC best practices.

The second annual “Butterfly Effect Award” was presented to 2017 Texas Superintendent of the Year, Mary Ann Whiteker, Hudson ISD. Dr. Whiteker credits NEC professional learning for enabling her teachers to make the difference in teaching reading.

NEC State Partnership Initiatives expanded to include Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The NEC Luncheon keynote speaker was Henry Winkler; actor and author of a series of children’s books about Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever.

Journalist Lisa Falkenberg and Professor Julie Washington shared the stage at the Lenox Reed Seminar.

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The third state-wide Unlocking Literacy Conference was held at University of Houston. This professional development opportunity again highlighted national keynote speakers, and presentations from district leaders on results of NEC best practices.

The third annual “Butterfly Effect Award” was presented to The T.L.L. Temple Foundation for its commitment to transforming the lives of children in East Texas by providing support for teacher professional learning.

Houston ISD recommitted to serving students with dyslexia by involving a record number of teachers in the NEC Dyslexia Specialist Preparation Program (DSPP).

The Family Support Office responded to over 3,200 requests from parents and others who were looking for information about dyslexia and learning issues.

Two members of NEC Staff participated on Texas Education Agency committees to revise the Texas Dyslexia Handbook to reflect the changes in the Texas law.

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