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 - After working most of her life in Retail Operations and Store Management, Debra came to Wings in October of 2013. She brings with her a strong background in Building Management and Safety Awareness. She is currently training to become a Certified CERT Member (Community Emergency Response Team), an organization started by FEMA and run locally by Emergency Responders with the help of Volunteer Members. She is also planning to expand her knowledge in the areas of Facilities Management and IT Management. Debra works to ensure that the students and staff are safe and that school operations run effectively so staff can concentrate on teaching our students.


Educational Team

Elementary Program

Kristin Loomis - Kristin earned her Masters in Special Education for students with Severe/Profound Disabilities at Rhode Island College. She has been teaching students with autism and developmental disabilities for several years in both elementary and secondary settings. Kristin hopes to provide her students with all of the tools that they need so that they may lead independent, productive and meaningful lives within their own community.

Hillary McInerny - Hillary has worked at Wings Learning Center for the past seven years, and has worked with students with special needs for 12 years. Prior to Wings, Hillary taught students with disabilities in public schools. Hillary is inspired to develop functional and meaningful educational programs for each unique student. Hillary earned her Level II Teaching Credential in Moderate/Severe Disabilities from San Francisco State University, after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Berkeley.

Tin Fan Callister - Tin is a San Francisco Bay Area native. Tin taught for three years at the Oak Hill School, a K-12 school for students with Autism. Last year, she relocated to Portland, Oregon and taught at Victor Academy, a similar program serving students with Autism. She holds a dual credential in Multiple Subjects and Special Education with a Master's in Special Education and a Certificate in Autism.


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.

Truc Chau - Lead Teacher - Truc has worked in the Special Education field since 2010 with a background in Applied Behavior Analysis. His background includes behavior management, working with children who are severely emotionally disturbed and providing individual care to students with specialized health care or learning needs. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz and his Master's in Counseling from San Jose State University. He also holds a Pupil Personnel Services Credential and an Education Specialist Instruction Credential. He has been at Wings since October 2013 and has really enjoyed working with students where he can utilize his abilities and experiences to help students grow and reach their maximum functional ability in order to have an enriching and fulfilling life.

Leslie Gardner - Lead Teacher - Leslie has worked with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder for the past 10 years and has worked at Wings since 2006. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from University of California, San Diego and her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Utah State University. She completed her Master's and Credential in Special Education from Alliant University. She is inspired by her students and strives to find creative ways to best support them in their transition to adulthood.


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.

Nadine Lopo M.S. CCC-SLP - Speech & Language Pathologist - Nadine earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science from Arizona State University and her Master of Science in Clinical Speech Pathology at Northern Arizona University. She brings 10 years of experience working as a school-based, clinic-based SLP, and home-based SLP. In these roles, she has worked with children from birth to 22 years with a wide range of disabilities including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and global developmental delays. Nadine's primary area of expertise is working with children with Autism and implementing communication strategies in every day routines and environments. She is passionate about providing exceptional care through highly individualized therapy programs and building lasting relationships with her clients.

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. Last year she completed the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) through Cal-State Northridge, and now holds a certificate in Assistive Technology and AAC devices. Along with her ATACP certificate, she holds a Speech and Language Pathology Assistant license. Jackie has been supporting the students of Wings for over seven years in the classrooms and in speech therapy. She takes great pride in watching each student's communication progress year after year, and enjoys watching them grow into confident and successful communicators at school and in the community. In the future, Jackie plans to pursue a graduate degree in either Speech Pathology or Assistive Technology.

Jessie Strauss OTR/L - Occupational Therapist- Jessie received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She began working as a behavioral interventionist for a boy with autism at his school. This experience motivated her to further her education and become a therapist. She started her career as an occupational therapist working at a private clinic in Los Angeles, CA, providing OT services to children ages 6 months to 16 years old in home, clinic and school settings. She has also worked as an occupational therapist at a multi-disciplinary private pediatric clinic in Encino, CA working with a collaborative team to provide intensive early intervention services to children with developmental delays and autism. Currently she shares her time working at Wings and at a private pediatric clinic in Marin, CA, where she provides individual therapy for children who have sensory processing and learning differences. 

Sydney Bates OTR/L - Occupational Therapist - Sydney received a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from California Baptist University, Riverside and a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University. She began working with children with Autism when she was 18 as a nanny for her cousin who had been diagnosed with Asperger's. This experience drove her to find a career that encompassed creativity, the body and the ability to help other children like her cousin. She continued to work with special needs children throughout her time in college. She worked as an aide at a private pediatric clinic in Los Gatos, CA, that provided OT services to children ages 2-13, in both clinic and school settings before coming to Wings. She currently works full-time at Wings.

Molly Bullard OTR/L - Occupational Therapist - Molly received her Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University. She started her career as an occupational therapist working at the Pacific Autism Center for Education in Sunnyvale, CA. She has also worked for a private clinic in San Mateo, CA, providing services to children in school and clinic based settings. Molly has recently started with Wings for the 2014/2015 school year. Molly looks forward to supporting our students, their families and educational team in helping them to meet their full potential.

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

Uli Chettipally - Member                                                       



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