Wings Team
Get Involved

Meet the Wings family, our group of highly qualified individuals educated and experienced in the field of autism. Education is the heart of the Wings Learning Center and website.

As parents and teachers of children with autism we understand the challenges family, friends, and professionals face.

Contact us if you are interest in being part of the Wings team.


Administrative Team

Karen Kaplan BS/MS - Executive Director -Karen Kaplan has over 30 years of experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental learning challenges. She possesses a credential in speech and hearing as well as an administrative credential. Her roles as Head of School and Executive Director of schools for students with special needs have given her a wide base of knowledge and experience. Karen works as a private consultant with family resource centers, parents, public and private schools, colleges and universities that support the needs of Autism Spectrum Disorders and similar learning differences. She is the founder of the Autism Lecture Series and The ASD Resource & Exposition at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. She participates on the San Francisco/Marin Autism Taskforce and is the chair of the Autism Housing Committee. She is on the Marin Autism Collaborative Steering Committee and chairs the Educational Sub-committee.

Laxmi Ghale - Elementary Program Coordinator - Laxmi has been working with special needs children for the past six years.  She holds a B.A. in Business Administration and an A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education. Her interests fall in the areas of behavior management and implementation of different communication strategies.

Pei-Chi (Angie) Kuo M.S.-Secondary Program Coordinator - Angie has been teaching at Wings Learning Center for over eight years. She received her Masters in Education from Western Oregon University, and a Bachelors in Social Work from Chinese Culture University and holds a Moderate-Severe Education Specialist Credential. Angie left her home-land to pursue higher education opportunities that would support her passion for teaching and learning about different cultures.

Bethany Rios - Business Coordinator - Bethany is fluent in American Sign Language, and has previously worked with deaf special needs children as well as in the classroom of Wings Learning Center. She enjoys watching the students' of Wings thrive and make progress while supporting the operations of the school.

Debra Love - Operations Coordinator - Bio coming soon!


Educational Team

Elementary Program

Kristin Loomis - Bio coming soon!

Anum Khan - Bio coming soon!


Secondary Program

Alicia Newell B.A.- Lead Teacher- Alicia specializes in utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis methodologies to address severe problems behaviors, in addition to conducting functional behavior assessments and implementing positive behavior interventions.  Alicia has worked in the special education field for the past 10 years and has been with Wings Learning Center for over three years. She loves helping kids be successful in the least restrictive environment. Alicia’s experience includes working in non-public schools, after school home programs and weekend recreation programs. Alicia received a B.A in Sociology from Sonoma State and a level two teaching credential from Sacramento State.

Leslie Gardner - Lead Teacher - Bio coming soon!

Truc Chau - Lead Teacher - Bio coming soon!


Therapy Team


Deepa Thomas M.A. CCC-SLP - Speech & Language Pathologist - Deepa earned her  Bachelors and Masters in Speech and Language Pathology at Manipal Academy Of Higher Education, India. She has eight years of experience working as school based SLP in the middle east and in the United States.  In this role she was able to work with children of all ages and backgrounds. She has taken a particular interest in the social communication and usage of AAC Devices in children with autism.

Brittney Nichols OTR/L- Occupational Therapist - Brittney earned her B.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University and went on to get her M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University in 2009. Since graduating, Brittney has worked in various pediatric settings including private practice, early intervention and hippotherapy where she gained experience working with children with autism, developmental delay and various neurological disorders.  Additionally, Brittney has spent time working as an occupational therapist in the public schools where she gained exposure to the complexity of the public school special education system.  She is excited to join Wings and help the students maximize their success and help facilitate independence within their school environment. She has a long-standing passion for working with children with autism and a life-long commitment to learning in the domain of occupational therapy. 

Jackie Pambid B.A.- Speech Language Pathology Assistant -Jackie received her Bachelor's of Arts in Communicative Disorders with an emphasis in Speech and Language Pathology from San Francisco State University. She currently holds a Speech and Language Pathology Assistance license and ahs been supporting the students of Wings Learning Center for over five years. Jackie plans to pursue a graduate degree in Speech and Language Pathology.   

Beth Robinson B.A.- Music Therapist -Beth is a board certified music therapist who has been working with children with special needs for over ten years and has had a private practice in the Bay Area for five years.  She graduated from the University of Kansas City, Missouri Conservatory. 


Board of Directors


Safa Rashtchy - President

Irma Velasquez - Secretary

Phil Shemanski - Treasurer

Dianne Calvi - Member                                                       



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