Meet the Team

Executive

Brooke Wagner, M.A., RDI® Program Certified Consultant

CEO, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.

Brooke

Brooke Wagner, M. A. has supported individuals with special needs both locally and internationally since 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University, a Masters Degree in Human Behavior from National University, and is an RDI® Program Certified Consultant. In addition, Brooke is an RDI® supervisor through RDIConnect in Houston, TX. In this role, she guides and supervises RDI® consultants in training through their supervision requirements. She has also received extensive training and experience in developing and implementing comprehensive programs utilizing RDI®, ABA, Floortime, PRT, PECS, How Does Your Engine Run?, Handwriting Without Tears, Social Stories, Touch Math, and TEACCH.

Brooke believes in a supportive and comprehensive approach and, therefore, uses a variety of methodologies based on her past experiences when providing recommendations. In addition, she finds it necessary to regularly communicate with all other specialized therapists (Speech, OT, PT, etc.). Brooke also served on the board of the San Diego Autism Society of America for four years and successfully directed the annual “Swing Away For the ASA” golf tournament fundraiser in 2007. As a native to San Diego, she believes in supporting her local community through outreach opportunities, sharing information and resources and connecting with clients and those impacted with developmental delays on a human level.

bwagner@tagforgrowth.com

Clinical Directors

Gail Ludwig, M.A. CCC, SLP, RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.


Gail Ludwig, M.A., is an RDI® program certified consultant, a licensed speech/language pathologist and certified HANDLE™ screener. Graduating with a Master’s in Speech Pathology in 1982, she has been a practicing speech/language pathologist for over 30 years. She received her RDI® certification in 2008 and became a HANDLE™ screener in 2009. Presently, she primarily works as an RDI® consultant for TAG, Inc., however, she also supervises their speech therapy program and does occasional HANDLE™ screenings. Because of her extensive experience and trainings, she is able to look at clients in a comprehensive way which considers their communication strengths and challenges, relationship obstacles and sensory motor functioning. Lastly, she has several years of experience supporting students in their school setting, acting as a consultant to school staff and supervising school shadows.

Gail is very passionate about her work and has experience with clients of all ages. In addition to consulting with parents, she often sees adult clients with various disabilities including autism, brain injury, sensory processing deficits, learning, developmental or psychological disabilities. Her philosophy is based on establishing a trusting relationship with her clients and supporting them in a way that considers their needs and ability to receive feedback. She is a very caring person and works hard at supporting her clients to achieve their maximum potential.

gludwig@tagforgrowth.com

Jackie Zaldua, M.A., BCBA, RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.


Jackie Zaldua, M.A., BCBA, has specialized in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) since 2002. She is passionate about utilizing a comprehensive approach to working with children and families impacted by autism and has a strong background in supervising developmentally based behavioral programs as well as expertise as a staff development specialist and certified Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) trainer. In 2012, Jackie joined the TAG, Inc. team. As Clinical Director of TAG Carlsbad, she is honored to provide clinical supervision and support to our dedicated staff. Jackie truly enjoys seeing each client develop both as individuals and in their family relationships as they experience growth on many levels.

Jackie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science (2002) and a Masters of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling-Early Childhood Education (2003) from California State University, Northridge. Her background and training in child development was consistent with the RDI® philosophy and she obtained her RDI certification in 2010. Jackie had the privilege of receiving her RDI® clinical training by Dr. Rachelle Sheely, co-founder of the RDI® program. As an RDI® Consultant, Jackie finds great joy in teaching parents and educators how to foster their child’s developmental growth in key areas such as emotional engagement, joint attention, co-regulation, social communication, self-awareness, personal goal setting, and real-world problem solving. She values teaching parents how to build strong relationships with their child and encourages parents to engage in self-care so that they can maintain a healthy guiding role for their child.

In 2014, Jackie obtained her credential as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She completed BCBA coursework from the University of Northern Texas. As a BCBA, she is skilled in implementing Functional Behavior Assessments, analyzing patterns of behavior, developing measurable treatment plans that utilize positive proactive support strategies and analyzing data to measure goal progress. Furthermore, she emphases the use of a naturalistic approach, a trusting relationship between tutor and child, and developmentally appropriate practice. Jackie provides ABA training for TAG staff, oversight of treatment plans, and provides supervision for our Registered Behavior Technicians in training.

It is important to distinguish that the Crisis Prevention Intervention and Relationship Development Intervention Certifications are not behavior-analytic in nature and are not covered by the BACB credential.

jzaldua@tagforgrowth.com

Kathryn Bovino, M.A., ITDS, RDI® Program Certified Consultant + Certified Yoga Instructor

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.


Kathryn Bovino, M.A., ITDS is a RDI® Program Certified Consultant, as well as a Certified Infant/Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS). She has worked in the field of child development since 2000 and with families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders since 2004. She earned her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with a Graduate Certificate in Autism from Ball State University and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Kathryn’s training and experience extends from developing and implementing RDI® programs and working in Early Intervention as a Developmental Specialist, to utilizing a variety of approaches to autism treatment (ABA, DIR/Floortime, TEACCH, PECS, PRT, Handwriting without tears, video modeling and social stories). After managing her own RDI® Practice for six years, Kathryn decided to join Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc. (TAG) in 2012 as she believed in the mutual dedication to families and felt she could provide better support with the strong collaborative program that TAG offers. Kathryn’s mission is to provide a comprehensive, individualized approach that empowers parents to be the agent of change in their child’s treatment and development, while creating a better quality of life for the family as a whole.

In addition to specializing in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Kathryn is a certified yoga instructor. She began practicing yoga in August 2000 and after several years of experiencing the benefits gained from yoga and meditation; she wanted to share it with others.  She was certified in Life Balance Yoga Therapy at the 200 hour level in October 2008 and to teach Aerial Yoga in February 2012.  Utilizing her extensive experience within her daily life, she also enjoys teaching and sharing the therapeutic effects of yoga and meditation with others.

kbovino@tagforgrowth.com

Case Supervisors

Dr. Kimberly Van Dusen LMFT, RPT

Case Supervisor, Parent Training Consultant

Dr. Kim has a Master’s in TV Broadcasting, a Doctorate in Psychology, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Registered Play Therapist. She was previously a Program Manager for a local non profit agency implementing a positive behavior support program in over 20 elementary schools.

Dr. Kim has also owned a private practice and specialized seeing children ages 0-17. She currently speaks at various conferences, provides parenting consultations and parenting workshops, and has previously facilitated weekly prenatal and postnatal support groups. Dr. Kim is also a university professor for Master’s and Doctoral level students teaching courses in parent child therapy and play therapy.

Dr. Kim is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor and is a regular guest as a parenting expert on KFMB News 8 Morning Extra on the CW San Diego.  She is passionate about working with parents, families, and children and is a proud member of the TAG team!

kvandusen@tagforgrowth.com

Mari Patereau M.A. BCBA

Case Supervisor, Parent Training Consultant

Mari fell in love with the field of behavior analysis in 2012 while volunteering at a local preschool in Oceanside, CA. She quickly recognized her passion working with children diagnosed with autism while working as a registered behavioral technician. Mari provided behavioral treatment for over 5 years to individuals affected by developmental disabilities. Her main focus was and continues to be helping improve socially significant behaviors and providing support to everyone affected by a diagnosis.

Mari received her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2006 and her Masters degree in Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology in 2017. Mari will be working as a case supervisor in the Carlsbad office and is extremely excited to partner with TAG to help families build relationships and memories that will last a lifetime.

When Mari is not working she enjoys cooking, DIY projects, chasing her active toddler around and maintaining a healthy body and mind.

mpatereau@tagforgrowth.com

RDI® Consultants

Amy Olts, M.A.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Amy O.
Amy Olts received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cornell University and worked as an ABA therapist in the San Diego area for close to two years. After learning about RDI® and its benefits to families of children with autism, she decided to shift her focus and is currently an RDI® Program Certified Consultant (since 2008). Amy also has her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and the skills she learned in her program have been instrumental in supporting the families that she works with.

She is dedicated to applying her knowledge, experience and coursework toward helping children with developmental disorders and their families.  Her genuine care for the families that she works with, coupled with her natural interpersonal skills make the experience of working with her a valuable and memorable one for both families and children.

aolts@tagforgrowth.com

Michelle Cohen, M.M.F.T.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant


Michelle has worked therapeutically with families since 2004. She holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Utah State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marriage Family Human Development and Psychology from Brigham Young University. Michelle worked as an ABA therapist and school aide in the San Diego area for two years before discovering RDI®. She was thrilled to find a perfect fit for supporting families with autism from a systemic approach, consistent with her professional philosophy and background.

Quickly following she became an RDI® Program Certified Consultant. Michelle greatly values her work with families with children with autism and assisting them in reaching a high quality of life. She is also deeply humbled by the dedication and commitment she sees in families, feels honored to assist on their remediation journey, and delights in witnessing each moment of discovery and growth.

mcohen@tagforgrowth.com

Christine “Kiki” Haddad, MPS ATR

RDI® Program Certified Consultant + Art Therapist

Kiki H.

Christine “Kiki” Haddad Zaynoun MPS ATR is an art therapist who received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the American University of Cairo in 2012, and her master’s degree in creative arts therapy from Pratt Institute in New York in 2014. She has also received her RDI® Program certification after training by the founders; Dr. Gutstein & Dr. Sheely.

Kiki is currently working as an art therapist and RDI® Program Certified Consultant at TAG. She worked at Imagine Academy for Autism and The League Education and Treatment Center in NYC as well as the Advance Society and the Learning Resource Center in Cairo, Egypt where she practiced art therapy and DIR® Floortime therapy with children and their parents with a wide range of special needs of ages 2 to 30. She has even dedicated some of her time practicing art therapy with underprivileged children in the slums of Egypt and the Dominican Republic. Kiki features in “Art Therapy: The Movie”, a documentary about art therapy across the globe and has written a chapter in the upcoming book “Art Therapy in the Middle East”.

Kiki has 10+ years of experience supporting those with special needs, which she is immensely passionate for; but also loves art, music, traveling and reading!

Tiffany Gerondale, M.A., MEd, N.C.S.P.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant (In Training) + Nationally Certified School Psychologist + Educational Consultant

Kiki H.

Tiffany Gerondale has worked in the school setting since 2006.  She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology as well as her Masters of Arts in School Psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  She is a nationally Certified School Psychologist that worked in inner-city schools for over seven years.  After working in the medical/hospital-administration side of healthcare for four years, Tiffany realized that something was missing from her career – her genuine passion in working with families and children with educational, behavioral, and developmental problems.

Tiffany is an expert in evaluating both emotional and behavioral disorders.  Her extensive education and background in the schools allows her the ability to focus on helping children and families in both the school and home setting.  Tiffany believes in an interdisciplinary approach to working with children with disabilities and enjoys collaborating with colleagues to build the best program for her clients.  She recently began the program to become a RDI® Program Certified Consultant and looks forward to utilizing these skills to further impact the lives of her clients.

Carlos Nunez, M.A.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant


Carlos Nunez, M.A., is an RDI® Program Certified Consultant, a Licensed Psychologist (allowed to practice under license #6534920 in Mexico only.) with a specialty in children psychopathology, graduating with a Master’s in Developmental Psychology from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico.

Carlos has conducted many training sessions and lectures throughout Mexico and he also has implemented therapeutic and educational programs in public and private services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is a very passionate and committed professional who works everyday to support each family in achieving a better quality of life.
He joined TAG to provide RDI® services and values the unique opportunity to continue his learning pathway among this outstanding group of professionals.

Niina Kivilahti-Korkala, M.A.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant (In Training)


Niina Kivilahti-Korkala, M.A. has supported and taught individuals from preschoolers to adults since 2002. She has worked as a teacher, an adult educator, an ABA therapist, an early childhood interventionist, and as a parent trainer. Niina joined the TAG team in 2012 as an RDI extender. She holds a Masters in Educational Psychology from University of Oulu, Finland (2003), a Teaching Credential from University of Oulu, Finland (2003), and is a Specialist in Competence Based Qualifications, Finland (2008).

Niina has worked for over 10 years as a group exercise instructor and still enjoys taking classes herself. She sees exercise as part of a healthy life style and also a benefit to mental health. She feels honored to work with families to improve the quality of life for the whole family. She is passionate about what she does and is honored to serve families and help them develop to be the best that they can be. She is currently an RDI CIT (RDI Consultant in Training) and is looking forward to supporting families with her experience, skills, and positive attitude.

 

 

Speech Therapists

Stacey Wechsler, MA CCC-SLP

Licensed Speech/Language Pathologist

Stacey is a caring and devoted Speech Language Pathologist with 24 years experience working with children in a variety of educational settings. She received her bachelor degree as a Teacher of The Speech and Hearing Handicapped from The State University of New York, Cortland and her Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from New York University. Stacey began her career working in an Early Education Program servicing children (2.8years-5yrs) and their families in the Hudson valley area of NY. She specialized in treating children with developmental disabilities ,intellectual disabilities, and ASD spectrum disorders while implementing a collaborative approach to treatment.

Stacey and her family moved to San Diego in 2006.  For the past 10 years, she has been providing school based speech and language services to children with language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, executive functioning difficulties, and ASD disorders.  In addition, she is experienced in treating receptive and expressive language delays/disorders, articulation/phonological disorders, apraxia, fluency disorders, auditory processing disorders, and pragmatic language disorders.  She is passionate about collaborating with families and other professionals in order to provide a personal, functional, and effective treatment program.   She is thrilled to be part of the TAG team and she enjoys establishing supportive and lasting relationships with clients and their families.

BreeAnn Poulson, MS CCC-SLP

Licensed Speech/Language Pathologist

BreeAnn Poulson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology both from California State University of San Marcos. She maintains her Speech Language Pathology License from the State of California and her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. BreeAnn has worked in the schools for the last 3 years with students aged K-12 with communicative disorders and developmental disabilities ranging from pragmatic skills, expressive/receptive language, articulation, and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders), while working closely along side teachers and staff to help them be successful. She has had the opportunity to work with children and adults with varying degrees of ASD across the lifespan, from young five year olds to adults in their late fifties. She has experience working with nonverbal children and adults with a variety of assistive technology (AT) tools; specifically, augmentative alternative communication (AAC) devices in both static and dynamic display modalities, including updating and programming Touch Chat, ProloQuo, and GoTalk20+.

Katie McCusker, B.S.

Licensed Speech Pathology Assistant

Katie attended Biola University graduating with Communication Sciences and Disorders degree and a Speech Pathologist Assistant license. She began to work in various elementary schools and middle schools in 2014. She has worked closely with teachers from preschool to high school, with a focus on speech and academics. Katie has worked with students with language delays, articulation, social pragmatics, non-verbal, developmental disabilities, autism, semantic development, and auditory processing. Katie has experience working with non-verbal students with AAC devices and has completed continuing education for Apraxia and social thinking.

Occupational Therapists

Chris Vinceneux, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist + Educational Consultant


Chris Vinceneux, OTR/L is an expert in the evaluation and treatment of sensory processing disorders among children. Chris Vinceneux, OTR/L, graduated from the ADERF College of Occupational Therapy in Paris, France in 1985. He is registered and board certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and licensed in California (#6687). Chris has always focused on identifying the most effective methods to help individuals with sensory, motor, behavior, social, and learning difficulties. He believes that every individual and family he has worked with motivated him to be the best he could be and brought him a step further in his mission to help individuals with special needs.

Over the span of his exciting career, Chris has developed a unique approach to the evaluation and treatment of individuals with special needs. Chris joined Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc. (TAG) as he felt that the strong collaborative approach of TAG would allow him to move to the next step of his journey and further support his clients. Chris strives to address the uniqueness of each individual he works with by developing out of the box and comprehensive treatment plans. Chris has conducted many training sessions for parents and professionals on the subject of “Sensory processing interventions to improve behavior and learning”. Everyone who has worked with Chris knows how passionate he is about sharing his knowledge and helping his clients and their families!

cvinceneux@tagforgrowth.com

Hanna Morris OTR/L

Certified Occupational Therapist

Hanna is an Occupational Therapist with a heart for helping each child recognize their own self-worth and embrace their fullest potential. She received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management and worked for a year in data analysis. She embarked on a change in career path when inspired by the unique career of Occupational Therapy. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master of Occupational Therapy in 2017. While pursuing her degree, Hanna participated in a Jonas Salk Fellowship to “Create the Healthcare System of the Future” and volunteered to help organize various sensory based events for children with special needs in the community. Currently, Hanna also works with children in the public school system, as a part of an interdisciplinary team to help students succeed and flourish in an academic setting. In her free time, Hanna enjoys yoga, hiking, and music. Hanna is thrilled to be a member of the collaborative and caring TAG team and to implement RDI techniques and philosophy with each client.

Tricia Martinelli, B.A.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant-Licensed

Tricia holds a B.A. from the University of New York at Buffalo and an A.A.S from Erie Community College. She has been a professional member of the American Occupational Therapy Association for over 17 years. She has received the California State Assembly’s Above and Beyond Award for outstanding service to helping children with disabilities. She has supported individuals with special needs both locally and nationally since 1996. She has also received training and education in implementing therapeutic activities utilizing The Write Direction, Handwriting Without Tears, Zones of Regulation, Action Based Learning: Building Better Brains through Movement, Brain Breaks, and Whole Body Listening, facilitating social and self-awareness.

Tricia provides creative and innovative individualized Occupational Therapy treatments designed specially to meet the client’s needs and potential skills that are purposeful and meaningful. Her OT services focus on caring for the whole child psycho-social, sensory-motor, spiritual (respect cultural and ethnical diversity) and cognition. She believes in the highest standard of clinical excellence by following evidence-based best practice to provide care with patience, compassion and integrity. She is thrilled to be working with and collaborating with the other specialized TAG practitioners. She believes in and encourages flexible thinking. Tricia ensures each client has an opportunity to create, explore and learn problem-solving and critical thinking skills for today and tomorrow. She is adamant about providing caregiver education so as to implement techniques in everyday situations for success and holistic wellness. Most importantly, Tricia is especially known to make OT FUNctional!  “Children are amazing and our greatest resource. Every child has a unique skill onto themselves that they may not have expressed, YET.”

Paraprofessionals

Allie Tyner, B.A.

Lead Paraprofessional


Allie Tyner graduated from the University of Kansas in 2011 with a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She has experience working with children for over 12 years and 5 years working directly with individuals impacted with ASD and other varying disabilities. Allie has 4 years experience implementing RDI strategies from the Relationship Development Intervention program and she encourages her clients to reach their full potential with internal motivation and a growth mindset.  She provides 1:1 support for behavior, academia, self-help, independence, hygiene, social skills, life skills, and more for TAG’s RDI, occupational therapy, speech therapy and educational programs.

As the lead paraprofessional at TAG, Allie guides incoming paraprofessionals to further extend their RDI training while supporting them in and out of tutoring sessions.  Allie is CPR certified, has been CPI trained and has recently completed her RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) certification through the BACB program. She plans to obtain her Speech Pathology Assistant certification this fall, 2018. Her dream is to help those less fortunate than herself and she thrives while guiding verbal and non-verbal communication interactions.

 

Elizabeth Hernandez, B.A.

Paraprofessional


Elizabeth Hernandez graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a B.A. in English Literature and holds a California Teaching Credential.  She is fluent in Spanish and has traveled extensively.  As a classroom teacher, she engaged with children from a rich variety of backgrounds.  As part of the curriculum, she used music, games and special methods of encouraging her students—for whom English was often a second language—to gain confidence and skill in using their new language.

She currently volunteers as a living history museum docent, where she helps 4th grade children understand California history.  In 2015 Elizabeth underwent training in RDI principles and is now working as an RDI extender in the home setting.  She particularly enjoys the flexibility which the home setting offers in adapting to the potential of the individual.

 

Silvia Arballo

Paraprofessional

Silvia became a part of the TAG team in 2016 starting as the office administrator, but soon after discovered her passion for working with children and young adults in the autism community. She is now a trained RDI extender tutor and is currently obtaining her BA in child development. Her long-term goal is to become a certified occupational therapist. She has experience working as a caregiver for both mentally and physically challenged seniors.

Silvia is a San Diego native and wouldn’t have it any other way! She has a strong belief in the power of positivity and hopes to spread the message to everyone she encounters.

Sheila Salmeron, M.A.

Paraprofessional

Sheila was born by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Spain. After earning her B.A. in Educational Psychology, she moved to Barcelona. There she started her career as an Early Childhood Educator in an alternative-curriculum based preschool while getting her M.A. in Social Education. Sheila moved to San Diego in 2011 and has been working in public and private schools for about 10 years. She currently works for the Early Childhood Department in a Waldorf School. In her free time, Sheila enjoys cooking, road trips and traveling around the world! Sheila joined TAG in 2017 as an RDI Extender, serving families in San Diego area. Sheila is a lifelong learner and looks forward to growing professionally and personally working with families and children at TAG for Growth.

Danielle Lepore, B.S.

Paraprofessional

Danielle Lepore graduated from California State University, Fullerton in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology. She is currently working towards her Masters in developmental psychology. She was originally seeking to become a physical therapist, but discovered the world of occupational therapy and has been pursuing it since. Danielle has experience working in an outpatient clinical setting and an inpatient hospital setting, volunteering for various parts of her community, and a passion for watching children learn new material.

Danielle is now a trained RDI extender tutor and has been loving the experiences that TAG has to offer! She hopes to help children and their families have a positive and uplifting experience while implementing the values of TAG.

Bobby Williams, B.A.

Paraprofessional

Bobby graduated from the University of Iowa in 2015 with a B.S. in communication studies and human relations. Out of college, he began working with kids in a residential unit as a mental health specialist and a paraprofessional for over a year in Illinois. He has always had a passion for working to better the lives of all people and has brought that passion with him from the Midwest. His long-term goal is to continue his education in pursuit of becoming a certified therapist.

Bobby has a passion for drumming, music, and art. He brings these passions to TAG to help enrich the lives of everyone he meets. He has a genuine care for the well-being of others and plans to continue his education to meet his goal of bettering the quality of all lives around him. Bobby has lived in Northwestern Illinois, Chicago, Iowa City, Santa Monica, and Denver before finally moving to San Diego in August of 2017. He is excited to start a new chapter of his life and grow with the TAG organization.

Rajan Singh, B.A.

Paraprofessional

Raj_Meet_The_Team

Rajan graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. During high school and college, he was involved in Best Buddies, an organization that creates opportunities to make one-to-one friendships with people with developmental disabilities. From there he realized his passion for helping people and he now looks forward to bringing that same passion to the TAG organization!

In his free time, Rajan enjoys making art, exploring new areas, and spending time with friends and family. His long-term goal is to grow professionally at TAG and eventually continue his education in developmental psychology.

Hadeel Najjar, B.A.

Paraprofessional

Hadeel_Meet_The_Team

Hadeel received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Human Development – Child Development Track from California State University, San Bernardino in 2016. She interned at the Infant/Toddler Lab School during her time at CSUSB. In 2014 Hadeel joined KinderCare Learning Center and has been working as a Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher. During her time at KinderCare Learning Center she worked with a variety of ages ranging from 6 weeks to 12 years old, as well as with children with a variety of backgrounds. Hadeel is currently working on obtaining her Site Supervisor Permit which can allow her to become a center director.

Hadeel was born and raised in Rancho Cucamonga, California and has lived there all her life. She is fluent in Arabic and loves to travel, hang out with friends, cook, hike, and work out. She is in the process of choosing a Master’s program either in Clinical Psychology or Counseling. Hadeel is dedicated to working hard to grow with TAG families and hopes to have a positive influence on each individual.

Amanda Mariano, B.S.

Paraprofessional

Amanda_Meet_The_Team

Amanda graduated from California State University San Marcos in 2017 with a B.S. in kinesiology. She is currently applying to Masters programs in hopes of becoming a licensed occupational therapist. Since high school, she worked at an elementary school as an after school program teacher for 5 years. Amanda also volunteered at the VA hospital helping veterans get back their strength and independence in the OT department, as well as volunteered at a skilled nursing facility in their rehab department.

Amanda has always had a passion to help people and children especially to reach their full potential. She is beyond excited to grow with TAG and know that with her positivity and love of children, her experience with TAG will be a great one.

Kennedi Hernandez

Paraprofessional

Kennedi Hernandez’ passion for working with children began four years ago when she started work in a school setting. Since then, she has worked with children whose ages range from 2 to 16. Kennedi brought that passion with her when she moved from Odessa Texas, to California this past fall. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. She is excited about working with individuals here at TAG to build lasting relationships through engaging in creative activities.

Olivia Bellis

Paraprofessional

Olivia Bellis graduated from Illinois State University in 2009 with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. While pursuing her degree, Olivia was a Big Sister through the Big Brother Big Sister foundation and mentored for 2 years. This experience made her realize her true passion for working with children. After graduation, Olivia moved to Chicago and had the opportunity to work at The Little Gym as a gymnastics and dance instructor for children 3-5 years old. As she worked as an instructor for two years, she realized how beneficial individualized attention and relationships can be to the development and learning for every child.

While Olivia was looking for more opportunities to challenge herself, she was lucky to find a developmental therapeutic clinic for children who have developmental differences in 2012. Here, she was a lead facilitator and specialized in growing alongside children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental delays, ADHD, regulatory disorders, and children that experience challenges with learning, peer interaction and sensory processing. Olivia has over six years of experience implementing programs that encourage regulation, social engagement and peer interaction as well as promote individual growth as its limits are expanded and horizons are broadened. In July 2017, she became certified as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).

Olivia moved to California in February 2018 with the intention and motivation to continue her passion of supporting and growing with children who have developmental differences in a delicate and personal way. She loves to play the piano and spend her free time outdoors hiking, biking, camping, and beaching.

Administration

Lesley Smith

Carlsbad Office Admin

Lesley first began working with children 6 years ago spending her summers as a YMCA summer camp counselor. Her passion is working with children and fostering growth and compassion for all individuals. She also worked as a dance teaching assistant before moving to San Diego from South Carolina in 2015.

She has worked in Encinitas helping with local summer art camps for kids in 2016 before joining TAG in the fall. She now works in our Carlsbad office as a part time Administrative assistant, and is attending Mesa College in San Diego with a focus on Psychology.

Vrushali Sane

Billing Specialist

Vrushali S.

Vrushali Sane has a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Pune, India. She moved to San Diego in 2001 and continued to pursue certification in Accounting and Human Resource Management. She joined TAG, Inc as a Billing Specialist in Jan of 2016. With over 5 years of professional Administrative experience, she hopes to drive successful results with her proven expertise and hard work. When away from the computer, she enjoys time with her husband, two young kids and dog. She is passionate about travel, food, and outdoor activities.

billing@tagforgrowth.com

Therapy Animals

Nala Bovino

Certified Therapy Dog


Nala is a certified Therapy dog (along with her handler Kathryn Bovino) at TAG.  Nala attended The Good Dog Training School and received her Canine Good Citizen Certification in November 2013.  After receiving her CGC certification, Nala attended the K9 Dog Park School.  She graduated from their Therapy Dog class and succeeded in passing her Love on a Leash (LOAL) Therapy Dog Control Evaluation.  Upon graduation, Nala continued on her journey to participate in supervised visits under the guidance of LOAL staff.  In April 2014, Nala and Kathryn were certified as a Therapy Dog Team with Love on a Leash, Inc.  The team has experience providing therapy in nursing homes, veteran’s facilities, and libraries.  Nala joined the TAG team to support and meet the needs of individual clients. She has experience helping individuals face and overcome their fears of animals, as well as support individuals in their own goals and to come out of their shell and share more about themselves.  In addition to Nala’s therapeutic pursuits, in her spare time, she enjoys swimming in the ocean, playing fetch, and snuggling.

kbovino@tagforgrowth.com