Ray Cepeda, BCaBA
Ray Cepeda is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Autism Center. Mr. Cepeda gained his initial experience under the tutelage of consultants trained by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas. After being hired by the Institute and mentored by Scott Wright (CEO of Lovaas Institute) he became a Workshop Leader and was subsequently promoted to Clinic Supervisor. During his time with the Lovaas Institute Mr. Cepeda was instrumental in establishing a Lovaas Institute satellite office in South Orange, NJ where he supervised and trained a number of ABA therapists to implement the Lovaas model of applied behavior analysis. He completed BACB coursework requirements in applied behavior analysis with Dr. Vincent J. Carbone, Ed.D, BCBA and completed the BACB mentorship requirement with Dr. Bobby Newman, Ph.D, BCBA. He has had over eighteen years experience supervising home-based programs, functioning in administrative roles in schools that specialize in the education and treatment of children with autism, consulting with school-based programs, integrating and mainstreaming learners with autism into typical learning environments, training parents, and speaking on topics regarding the use of behavior analytic teaching methodologies and program individualization for children with autism. Mr. Cepeda is also a member of the Human Rights Committee for the New York Center for Autism Charter School in New York, NY and is the “applied” member of the committee to evaluate the behavior analysis coursework leading to board certification in behavior analysis at Arizona State University.
Julie Russell, M.S., BCBA
Julie holds a Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has over 10 years experience working with children with autism and related developmental differences in centers, schools, school districts and home-based programs. Julie received her supervision hours (meeting requirements for board certification in behavior analysis) by Dr. Nathan Blenkush, Ph.D., BCBA from JRC in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a Clinical Supervisor at ACES (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis) in San Diego California and Clinical Supervisor at the ELIJA School in Levittown, NY.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University where he graduated with honors. At Lehigh, Tom studied Accounting, Economics, and International Relations. He also worked as a Resident Adviser and Tutor. Prior to joining BAC, Tom spent several years in the financial services industry, working in both finance and client relations roles. In addition, he most recently worked for a startup.
Katie Polizzi, B.A
Assistant ABA Program Coordinator
Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Queens College. While earning her degree she had worked with children diagnosed with Autism in home and recreational settings. Her six years of experience working with children with Autism has steered Katie to further her schooling in the area of education.
Deborah Lewis, LMSW, B.A.
Behavioral Instructor/Coordinator of BAC Friends After-School Program
Deborah holds a Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College, where she specialized in working with children and adolescents. During her studies, she worked at a public inner-city high school, providing individual and group counseling to students with a range of special needs. She received her Bachelor's degree from The New School in New York City, where she majored in Psychology and Art, and specialized in Creative Arts Therapy. She plans to continue working with children and adolescents by pursuing a career in art therapy.
Matthew Willings, B.A.
Behavioral Instructor/Coordinator of PMT Training
Matthew has a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from Stony Brook University, and an Associate’s degree in Childhood Education from Jamestown Community College. He previously worked for two years in a residential setting as a direct care counselor for children with developmental disabilities. He also has experience student teaching in a middle school and volunteering in a theater program serving children with developmental disabilities.
Elizabeth Cardenas, B.A.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooklyn College in speech and speech language pathology. She has done research in bilingual comprehension of young children and language acquisition of children in Haitian orphanages. She is currently enrolled in the Advanced Certificate Program in Autism Spectrum Disorders at Brooklyn College.
Anna Gianotti, M.S.Ed
Anna holds a Master of Science in Education from Brooklyn College for teaching children in both special education and general education classes. She has worked with children with a wide range of disabilities for the past two years in various public schools in New York City. Anna is currently enrolled in the Advanced Certificate Program in Autism Spectrum Disorders at Brooklyn College.
Christina Ryan, B.A.
Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Christina has been a Research Assistant in the Cognitive Aging Lab at The Catholic University of America, Research Assistant and ABA Therapist at B.A.S.I.C.S, ABA Therapy in Washington, DC and a volunteer First Grade Teacher for the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. at Pohnpei Catholic High School in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.
Jonus Bain-Lucey, B.S.
Jonus holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Childhood Special Education from SUNY Geneseo. He has two years experience working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer working with at-risk youth in rural Costa Rica. He is presently pursuing his M.S. and BCBA at Hunter College. Jonus loves playing outdoors, food, dogs, and snow.
Kate McAvoy, B.A.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Massachusetts. She has five years of experience teaching infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in daycares throughout Western Massachusetts and New York City. She is excited to be learning Applied Behavioral Analysis and to be part of the BAC family.
Raven Stokes, BA
Raven holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from St. Francis College. Raven interned at the Brooklyn Autism Center for six months prior to being hired as an instructor. Working in BAC has sparked a great interest in Raven to continue her studies in the field of education.
Sloane Herrick, B.A.
Sloane holds a Bachelor degree in Theater Education from Wagner College, and has her special education certification through the NY Board of Education. She lived in Lima, Peru for a year while working at an early intervention center for students with autism. Immediately following that experience, Sloane worked at a private center for students on the autism spectrum in her hometown of Carlsbad, Ca.
Evan Skolnik, M.S.Ed
Taylor has her Bachelors of Science in Family Science with a concentration in Special Education from the University of Maryland. She has worked with children on the autism spectrum at the Developmental Disabilities Institute, an intermediate school on Long Island. She also volunteers with the Huntington Youth to Camp Initiative, a program that helps send underprivileged teens to summer camp.
Taylor Gonzalez, B.S.
Evan holds his Masters of Science in Education in School Psychology from LIU: Brooklyn. He completed his internship in the North Merrick School District in both the elementary and high schools. Evan has been working with children since he was in high school and is very enthusiastic about acquiring behavior analytic skills that he can add to his knowledge of school psychology. He has also been involved in organizing teams to raise money for Autism Speaks!
Substitute Behavioral Instructor
Lesly is completing her Bachelors in Psychology at St. Francis College. While earning her degree, Lesly is researching as an intern at Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute for the Child Psychiatric Epidemiology Group. Her experience at the Brooklyn Autism Center has further buttressed her interest in Cognitive Neuroscience.
Theresa Basile, B.A.
Theresa holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Hofstra University. A former English teacher in the New York City public school system, Theresa completes freelance writing projects for an educational website. In the summer, Theresa volunteers at Camp Fatima of New Jersey, a one-to-one camp for children with disabilities, writing and directing short films starring the campers.
Data Entry Assistant
Dariush graduated from Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York. He has 4 years experience with computers, internet and is skilled in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Dariush is also studying HTML and creating web pages. In his spare time Dariush enjoys editing and learning about ninjas.