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, MS, 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 variety of classrooms, providing supervision for home-based programing 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 13 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 7 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 DirectorInitially introduced to ABA in Dallas, Candice entered this field in 2006 and never turned back. Across the past ten 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.
Gabrielle Wong, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavior AnalystGabby received a B.A. in Social Ecology from University of California, Irvine, a M. Ed. in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis from Endicott College, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked with children with developmental disabilities for over five years and loves to see the growth and positive effects of ABA. Gabby has experience working with children at home, in school, and in the community. In her spare time, Gabby enjoys going on hikes and trying new restaurants in the area.
Maggie Ma, MA, BCBA
Beginning her career in San Diego, Maggie was introduced to Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis through the University of California, San Diego where
she participated in Autism Studies related to reinforcement and speech production. Maggie went on to pursue a career in the field, starting as a Early
Childhood Interventionist. Her skill set has enabled her to play a number of integral roles within autism service organizations, serving as a Program
Supervisor, Director of Operations, and a Professional Development Specialist. Maggie is passionate about seeing each child grow, and assisting parents
in learning about ABA methodology. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family; exploring parks and new places with her little one!
Lacey Parodi, MS, BCBA
Behavior AnalystLacey 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.
Debra Janowski, M.Ed, BCBA
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 masters 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.
Kelsey Downes, M.Ed, BCBA
Behavior AnalystKelsey 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.
Eva Sheridan, M.Ed, BCBA
Associate Clinical DirectorEva completed her Masters in Education at Arizona State University, and is now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has 4 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.
Melanie Hedal, RBT
Melanie began working with children with special needs starting in 2010. She graduated from Goucher College with degrees in Psychology and Dance Movement Therapy. Over the years, she has worked with children with a wide range of abilities, assisting in interactive performances. She is now pursuing a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, with a focus in Somatic Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Melanie is passionate about collaborating with families and developing early communication skills with our Early Intervention clients. In her spare time Melanie enjoys biking, backpacking, exploring new dance classes, and cooking.
Melissa Wu, M.S.
Melissa has found a way to combine her interest in behavioral science with her love of working with children. The results of this pursuit show in the difference she makes every day with her clients. Prior to beginning her work in the field in 2011, Melissa earned her first Master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Northridge. After graduation, an opportunity came up to work in ABA and Melissa hasn’t looked back since. Today, Melissa is working toward earning her BCBA certification as well as completing a second graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Hailing from Los Angeles, Melissa enjoys exploring her new community and making a home in the San Francisco. In her free time, she is most likely reading, cooking, or hiking with her dog.
Bridget Alvergue, RBT
Program Director in Training
Darren Lee, RBT
Program Director In Training
A native of San Francisco, Darren received his B.S. in Exercise Biology from the University of California, Davis, before diving into the world of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2015. Before coming to Steps, he developed a growing passion for ABA practice while serving children, ranging from early intervention to young adolescence, in a variety of settings. He is specifically motivated in helping clients develop fundamental verbal skills to communicate in their natural environment. Currently, he is working towards a Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with aspirations to become a BCBA. Outside of work, he enjoys rooting for local sports teams, reading, and eating at restaurants that offer delicious dairy-free options.
Megan is from San Diego, CA and relocated to the Bay Area. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in health communication. Megan has 3+ years of bookkeeping and accounting experience. She enjoys working with a team of people who are passionate about helping others. In her free time, Megan loves to spend time with family, exercise, explore the bay area and be outdoors with her dog.
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.