Karen White-Honkala: 2022 Hall of Fame Alumni, Class of 1979

A 39- year outstanding career in Special Education explains Karen White-Honkala’s nomination to the Hall of Fame.  A member of the Class of 1979, Karen began her career with the Madison Local Schools before moving to Lodi, California.

Karen is passionate about supporting individuals with special needs and has focused on those with autism.  She worked with students, their families and the staff that works with them in schools.

Her most recent position was as Program Specialist for Lodi Unified School District, where she assisted in the inception and implementation of ASD structured classrooms.  She designed quality ASD modules and taught them to Lodi professionals.

A presenter at numerous conferences and workshops throughout California, Karen also was appointed and served on several state committees.  Their focus was on research and strategies for ASD students.  In 2016 Karen was only the sixth person to be honored by receiving the Autism Collaborative Forum Award, which honors the individual who has had a positive influence on the lives of students with autism and their families by providing innovative collaborating leadership in the region.  The award, which is a highly respected honor, is voted on by local school districts, parents, past students and agencies who support students with disabilities.

Simultaneously to her career in the school system, she operated a private consultation business, participating in 35 California districts and providing training.  She also offered Structural Teaching Training for parents to assist families in understanding autism, management strategies, and visual structuring of the home and community.

Karen retired in June of 2022 and relocated with her husband Phil, also a Riverside graduate, to Ocala, Florida.  They have a son, Jon.

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