At Steps Therapy, your child’s program is led by a team of highly educated, talented and dedicated professionals. Our team of caring professionals come together from a wide range of backgrounds and are committed to excellence in service.
Lisa Wade, M.S., BCBA
Executive Director/FounderFounder and Executive Director, Lisa Wade, has a longtime passion for working with children, which led her to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in special education, with a focus on early childhood education. She obtained her board certification in behavior analysis through Rutgers University in 2006. Lisa has over 17 years of experience working with children with special needs. Her vast experience includes various positions such as teaching in a variety of classrooms, providing supervision for home-based programming and being the ABA Director for a large New York City agency. The inspiration for Steps Therapy came from her passion to provide the highest quality programming to those in need of education and behavioral services. Lisa designs, implements and supervises behavior intervention programs, conducts parent and staff training, and conducts workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York metropolitan area. Lisa is a mom of three who loves spending time with her family and friends.
Johanna Ploude, MA, BCBA
Regional Clinical DirectorJohanna Ploude is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for 16 years. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Johanna received her Master’s Degree and teaching credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities (K-12). Initially having a desire to be a teacher, Johanna felt that she could make more of an impact focusing specifically on individuals with Autism, their learning differences, and coaching others to understand this type of learner. After working intensively in the field, she attended Pennsylvania State University to pursue her coursework and board certification in Applied Behavior Analysis. Johanna has been a part of the Steps Therapy team for 8 years, and is continually motivated by the dynamic team of professionals and growth of the organization. Johanna is passionate about working and partnering with families through the Early Intervention process, in addition to working with administrators and educators to strengthen individual and classroom programs. In her spare time, she can be found hiking trails in Northern California, or exploring hidden spots to eat in San Francisco.
Candice Berkebile, MA, BCBA
Clinical Director/Director of Professional Development & TrainingInitially introduced to ABA in Dallas, Candice entered this field in 2006 and never turned back. Across the past twelve years, Candice has worked closely with students between the ages of 2 and 10 in a variety of settings. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who holds a Master's Degree in Special Education with an Early Childhood emphasis and has strong interests in early intervention, assistive communication technology, classroom management, and application of ABA to students with complex social and behavioral needs. She spends her days in classrooms and homes across the Bay Area, collaborating with parents and teachers to help create individualized, effective learning environments. When not at work, Candice enjoys being with her dogs and trying out new restaurants.
Eva Sheridan, M.Ed., BCBA
Clinical DirectorEva completed her Masters in Education at Arizona State University, and is now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has 6 years of experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as 9 years of experience working with children and adolescents in various professional settings. Eva has a strong passion for early intervention and increasing verbal behavior. When Eva is not at work, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, and exploring as much of the Bay Area as possible with friends.
Kelsey Downes, M.Ed., BCBA
Associate Clinical DirectorKelsey began her career with Steps Therapy in 2013, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has four years of experience working in classrooms as well as working one on one with children with autism. She received her Bachelor’s from San Francisco State University, where she graduated with an emphasis in special education, and has received her Masters Degree from Arizona State University. She is passionate about early intervention, and collaborating with service providers to ensure strong programs for our children. When she is not working with our children, she enjoys yoga, cooking, and sightseeing in the city.
Debra Janowski, M.Ed., BCBA
Associate Clinical Director
To begin her professional career, Deb graduated from Illinois State University with her bachelor's degree and teaching certificate in Special Education. After teaching for two years in Illinois, Deb moved to San Francisco and worked for SFUSD. She taught in a moderate/severe autism focused classroom for four years and worked closely with talented professionals in the ABA field. Seeing ABA in action inspired Deb to get her master's degree from Arizona State University and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in May 2017. Deb is excited to work closely with families to help clients grow and achieve milestones. In her spare time, Deb enjoys hiking, the Green Bay Packers, and trying to run a half-marathon in every state.
Lacey Parodi-Cabral, M.S., BCBA
Lacey received her Master of Science in Psychology and is a practicing Behavior Analyst. She comes to Steps Therapy with 3 years of experience in the field, with a focus on providing parent training and consultation to families. Early intervention, and providing high quality, naturalistic teaching is a passion of Lacey's. When not developing programs and training families, Lacey enjoys watching sports and baking.
Jessica Taylor Díaz, M.Ed., BCBA
Jessica completed her Masters in Education at Cleveland State University in 2011, and went on to complete the full BACB approved course sequence in 2016. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for 3 years. She loves working with kids and staying active. During her undergraduate years at Ohio State University, she taught dance and gymnastic classes to kids ages 1 to 12 years old. Jessica is passionate about ABA taught in a fun and loving way and enjoys collaborating with families to help children thrive. In her spare time, Jessica watches Harry Potter movies with her son, and enjoys exploring San Francisco and trying new foods with her family and friends.
Bridget Alvergue, M.Ed., BCBA
Program Director/Behavior Analyst
Bridget earned her B.A. in Psychology, with minors in Child Development and Family Relations. While holding an internship during her final semester of undergraduate studies, Bridget discovered her passion for helping individuals with special needs while providing care to a group of some truly amazing children. She earned Masters Degree in Education from Arizona State University in 2019 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Over the past four years, Bridget has worked closely with children with ASD, developmental delays, and other learning disabilities. She especially enjoys supporting new Behavior Technicians, teaching social and communication skills, and supporting clients across a range of different settings. In her free time, she spends her days with family and friends, traveling, and exploring the city.
Kyra Gillespie, M.Ed., BCBA
Program Director/Behavior Analyst
Kyra completed her Master of Education Degree at Vanderbilt University, where she studied Early Childhood Special Education and discovered her passion for Applied Behavior Analysis. She has returned to the Bay Area to practice as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with Steps Therapy. She enjoys working with families to support their children’s development and meet individual goals within their daily routines. In her free time, she loves finding a good cup of coffee, exploring the Bay Area, and blasting Beyoncé in the car!
Emiko Perez, M.S., RBT
Emiko received her Master of Science in Psychology and has been working in the field of ABA since 2002. Currently Emiko is working toward completing her supervision hours in order to meet eligibility to sit for the BCBA exam. At Steps Therapy she enjoys supporting her families reach their goals, collaborating with team members, and creating fun and positive learning environments. In her free time she enjoys volunteering and training dogs at local animal shelters, and spending time with loved ones.
Danielle Castillo, MA, RBT
Program Director In-Training
Danielle’s career with Steps Therapy began in 2016 after graduating from San Francisco State University with her BA in Communicative Disorders. After discovering her growing passion for ABA, Danielle continued her education at SFSU and has earned a Master's Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. She has enjoyed working closely with families and seeing children’s improvements at home and in the classroom. In her free time, Danielle enjoys exploring the city, finding new restaurants and watching reruns of The Office.
Clare Rock, RBT
Program Director In-Training
Clare received a B.A. in Psychology, with a concentration in Early Childhood Development from UC Berkeley. She is currently completing coursework for her BCaBA certification, and is enrolled in the Early Childhood graduate program at San Francisco State University. Her experience as a first grade teacher’s aide, camp counselor, mentor, and tutor have greatly fostered her passion for early intervention. Since entering the ABA field one year ago, Clare has enjoyed applying her passion to both home and classroom settings. She continually feels grateful for, and inspired by, all that her Steps' families have taught her. Outside of work, Clare enjoys camping, hiking, spending time at the beach, or some combination thereof!
Alexa Smith, MA, RBT
Program Director In-Training
Alexa began her career with Steps Therapy in 2017 upon graduating from University of La Verne with her BA in Child Development. Working with children has always been a passion of hers, but once she joined the Steps team, she quickly discovered her love for ABA. She is a recent graduate of SFSU, earning her Master's Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. She continues to find joy in her everyday work as she closely supports families and children in reaching their individual goals. In Alexa's spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, watching sports, staying active, and spending time with family and friends!
Human Resources Generalist
Kristen is originally from Buffalo, NY and relocated to San Francisco in 2018, which is also when she began her career at Steps! She graduated from Canisius College with a BS in Business Marketing. She comes to Steps Therapy with 4+ years of experience in human resources, benefits and payroll. Kristen is passionate about helping others and truly enjoys going above and beyond for our employees. Being born and raised in Buffalo, she strongly supports her local sports teams: the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. In her spare time, she likes to cook, travel, and try new foods – even though some of her hometown staples, like beef on weck and chicken finger subs, will always be a few of her favorites!
Office Assistant: Billing & Payroll
Leena earned her BA in Intensive Psychology from U.C. Santa Cruz and came to Steps with 3 years of experience working with children with ASD and developmental delays. Leena previously worked as a Behavior Technician, but has transitioned behind the scenes to Payroll and Billing since joining our team! She continues to work with kids by volunteering her time at the local library, but also thoroughly enjoys exploring new parks trails with her dog whenever she has the chance!
Joyce comes to Steps Therapy with 2 years of administrative experience and 7 years of experience working with children. She is excited to work with a team of talented individuals who care about making a difference in people’s lives and is grateful for the opportunity to gain insight on behavioral health. In her spare time, Joyce enjoys traveling, gardening, and watching HGTV!