Board of Directors

Board of Directors, 2017 - 2018 

California Association for Behavior Analysis


Sarah Trautman-Eslinger, MA, BCBA


Sarah knew that Applied Behavior Analysis was what she wanted to do for a career as an undergraduate at Gonzaga University. Sarah completed her Masters Degree in Special Education at San Francisco State University with an emphasis on vocational education for adults with developmental disabilities in 2001. Sarah became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst™ in 2004, the same year she founded her company, STE Consultants. In addition to her work at STE Consultants, Sarah is very involved with practice management and public policy issues related to ABA services.  Sarah has led workshops throughout the United States and served on numerous panels at regional and national conferences focused on practitioner issues and health insurance reform. Sarah has guest lectured at San Francisco State University, has trained special educators and behavior analysts internationally and frequently travels around the US to provide consultative support to ABA business owners. In addition to her role as CalABA President-Elect, Sarah is a founding board member of the Council of Autism Service Providers -


Jill Young, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Past President

Dr. Young holds a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from Queens University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral. She has over 25 years of clinical experience working with children with autism and their families. As part of her professional training and experience, Dr. Young completed a Research Fellowship at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities in Staten Island, New York and a Fellowship for Doctoral Study in Applied Behavioral Analysis at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) in Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. Young was the founder and first director of the New York Child Learning Institute (NYCLI), a New York State certified non-public pre-school and school program for children with autism. The Institute was the first replication of the PCDI program for pre-school and school age children with autism spectrum disorders in New York City. While at NYCLI, she also served as adjunct professor of Psychology at Queens College. She has also taught courses in the Psychology Department at California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Young has been with Therapeutic Pathways for 13 years, where serves as the Director of Quality Assurance. In this position, she leads efforts related to the development and analysis of performance measures to safeguard compliance with best practice and regulatory standards; service delivery fidelity; treatment outcomes; and integrity of staff development. Dr. Young has a strong commitment to ethical, high quality treatment services and a deep compassion for clients and their families. Dr. Young has also provided extensive service to the field of behavior analysis through her work as a member of the CalABA Board, including serving terms as Secretary, Conference Chair, and President (2 terms).


Gregory Elsky, PsyD, BCBA-D

Secretary (2016-2018)

Dr. Elsky received a doctorate in clinical psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) and has been providing ABA treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families since 1995. He currently serves as the Clinical Director for Behavioral Learning Network (BLN), in Los Angeles, and he is an active member of the ABA community. He has served as a CalABA board member since 2012, and was a Content Area Leader for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board's (BACB) Practice Guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorders-1st Edition.


Junelyn Lazo-Pearson, PhD, BCBA-D

Treasurer (2015-2018)

Junelyn Lazo-Pearson, Ph.D., BCBA-D is dedicated to providing quality ABA services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is able to do this through her work with Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc., a private practice that provides behavioral health treatment in California. Dr. Lazo-Pearson received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology specializing in applied behavior analysis from the University of Kansas. At the University of Kansas, she worked with children diagnosed with Emotional Behavior Disorder/Severe Emotional Disturbance using functional assessments, and designing and implementing behavioral programs in general education settings. Dr. Lazo-Pearson was also part of a multidisciplinary team at the KU Medical Center assessing and diagnosing children with autism. She has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles and is currently an adjunct professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine.

Dr. Lazo-Pearson has served as a member of the board of directors for the California Association for Behavior Analysis in various positions that include Southern CA Liaison, Chair of Marketing/Advertising, and her most current position as Treasurer. In addition, she was selected to Chair the Insurance Workgroup as part of the Orange County Autism Task Force under the Senate Select Committee for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Lazo-Pearson has been invited and presented to regional and national conferences and organizations. Dr. Lazo-Pearson continues to work towards assisting individuals with developmental disabilities maximize their potential and live in the least restrictive environment.


Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Conference Chair (2018-2020)

Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D is an Associate Professor and Program Director of M.S. in Behavioral Psychology at Pepperdine University. Dr. Najdowski has provided ABA-based services to children with autism for 20 years. Between 2005 and 2010, she led the development of Skills®, an online curriculum for children with autism. In 2014, Dr. Najdowski co-authored, Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with Autism: The CARD Model. Coming out this year, she is author of Flexible and Focused! The Essential Guide to Improving Executive Function Skills in Individuals with Autism and Attention Disorders. She has over 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters in scientific texts, and articles in popular media. Dr. Najdowski has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and as a Guest Editor for a special issue in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her current research interests include teaching higher-order skills to children with autism, assessment and curriculum design for children with autism, and evaluation of procedures used in intensive behavioral intervention programs.


Amanda Nicolson, Ph.D., BCBA

Conference Chair Elect

Amanda Nicolson received her master’s from University of Nevada, Reno and Ph.D. from Florida State University. After this diverse education she worked at ABC school in Sacramento, was lead Behavior Analyst for the Reno School District and became associate professor at Fresno State where she developed the ABA master’s program and on-campus Autism Center. She has since been in private practice running services for children and families affected by ASD.  Amanda is currently the CEO for Swan Consulting in the Fresno area.


Jennifer Harris, Ph.D., LMFT, BCBA-D

Professional Associations Liaison (2016-2018)

Jennifer Harris, Ph.D., LMFT, BCBA-D is the founder and Executive Director of FirstSteps for Kids, Inc. Dr. Harris started her career in behavior analysis in 1990 while studying at UCLA, working under the direction of Dr. Ivar Lovaas at the Clinic for the Behavioral Treatment of Children. In 1995, Dr. Harris earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University. While continuing to provide ABA services for children worldwide, Dr. Harris completed her doctorate degree in Educational Psychology in 2003 where she was awarded distinguished dissertation for her study study entitled, Does First Year Treatment Intensity Predict Outcome in Young ASD Children Receiving ABA Intervention? 

Dr. Harris has been an invited guest speaker for many organizations including L.A.FEAT, the Autism Society of America, the Autism Coalition for Creative Education and Social Services (ACCESS), and Parents for Early Autistic Children's Health (PEACH) in London. In addition, Dr. Harris has presented empirical work at professional conferences including CalABA (California), ABAI (Illinois), and the Geneva Centre Autism Conference (Toronto). 

In conjunction with her work at FirstSteps, Dr. Harris currently serves on the Public Policy Committee of the California Consortium of Behavior Analysis and has repeatedly testified at the DMHC Autism Advisory Task Force meetings regarding the implementation of the Autism Health Insurance Mandate: Senate Bill 946. She is passionate about ensuring that all children have early access to quality and effective ABA services.


Daniel Shabani, PhD, BCBA-D

Public Policy Chair (2016-2018)

Daniel Shabani received his Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University following an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree from the University of the Pacific. Currently, Dr. Shabani runs a behavior center in Southern California where he specializes in the assessment & treatment of severe behavior disorders. Dr. Shabani has authored a number of publications on assessment and treatment of behavior problems, as well as reviewed trends within the field of behavior analysis.

In the area of Public Policy, Dr. Shabani has been very active with CalABA’s licensure efforts, including meeting with legislatures, presenting at town hall meetings, and participating in a number of public policy panels at the annual conference. Dr. Shabani has also been involved with a number of policies as it relates to working with the Regional Center system in California, as well as the development of treatment guidelines for ASD.


Linda LeBlanc, PhD, BCBA-D

Professional Standards Chair (2015-2018)

Linda A. LeBlanc, Ph.D., BCBA-D, MI Licensed Psychologist is the Executive Director of Research and Clinical Services at Trumpet Behavioral Health. She received her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology in 1996 from Louisiana State University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She previously served as a professor on the psychology faculties at Claremont McKenna College (1997-1999), Western Michigan University (1999-2008), and Auburn University (2009-2012). She has published over 80 articles and book chapters on topics such as behavioral treatment of autism, technology-based behavioral interventions, behavioral gerontology, and system development in human services. She currently services on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Association of Behavior Analysis and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the California Association for Behavior Analysts, and the Alabama Association of Behavior Analysts. She has also served on state and national task forces to establish best practice guidelines for the treatment of autism and for the development of services for older adults with intellectual disabilities. Dr. LeBlanc has served as associate editor for Education and Treatment of Children, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice. She joined Trumpet in 2012 and has focused on development of clinical standards and research efforts throughout the organization.


Marla Saltzman, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Membership Chair (2016-2018)

Dr. Saltzman is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral level (BCBA-D) who received her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, M.A., in psychology with an ABA emphasis from the University of Nevada, Reno, and Ph.D. in psychology with an ABA emphasis from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles.  Dr. Saltzman has been working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities since 1995.  She co-founded Autism Behavior Intervention, a practice that provides ABA treatment to children and their families, in 2005 and serves as its Clinical Director.  Dr. Saltzman has presented at numerous national and international conferences and has served as a guest reviewer for the journal, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. She is also adjunct faculty in the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles and has guest lectured for the behavioral clinical psychology graduate program at California State University, Northridge. Her current research interests include early intensive behavior intervention, verbal behavior, and complex child and adolescent behavioral repertoires such as perspective taking and problem solving.  Dr. Saltzman has been a member of CalABA since returning to California in 2003 after living overseas and previously served as a member of CalABA’s public policy committee.


Lisa Stoddard, MA, BCBA

PR/Marketing Chair (2015-2018)

Ms. Stoddard is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and received her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in marriage, family, and child therapy, from Loyola Marymount University.

Ms. Stoddard serves as Executive Clinical Director at FirstSteps for Kids, Inc., a non-public agency providing behavior analytic early intervention services, where she oversees all clinical operations to include the development and implementation of training and evaluation protocols for clinical staff, curriculum and program development, and quality assurance.

Ms. Stoddard began her career in early intervention in 1994, and her area of specialization includes comprehensive ABA treatment for pervasive developmental disorders in childhood. With particular interest in behavior analytic approaches to complex human behavior, Ms. Stoddard is active in program design for social behavior, play skills, perspective taking, rule-governance, and goal-directed behavior, as well as the assessment and consideration of social validity measures for consumers and staff alike.

Ms. Stoddard enjoys contributing to the field via presentation of treatment evaluations at regional and national conferences (CalABA, ABAI, WPA, Cal-TASH), and appreciates the importance of sharing the science of ABA while collaborating with consumers and practitioners in other fields. She has been an invited speaker at consumer groups across California, such as Friends of Children with Special Needs, Los Angeles Families for Effective Autism Treatment, and Autism Society of America, as well as guest lecturer in graduate level behavioral psychology classes.


Sergio Pinto, MBA

Northern CA Liaison (2016-2018)

Mr. Pinto received his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and his Executive MBA from California State University Sacramento.  He is co-founder and currently serves as President of B.E.S.T. Consulting, Inc., a Behavior Health Treatment provider specializing in early intervention and functional adaptive skills training. 

Mr. Pinto began his career in 1993 at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention where he helped expand satellite clinics to San Francisco and Barcelona, Spain.  Mr. Pinto co-founded B.E.S.T. Consulting, Inc. in 2002, broadened his training and experience to Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) in 2005, and most recently co-developed a mobile electronic data collection system for behavior analytic services provision.

He has previously served on the CalABA Public Policy Committee and participated in the California Department of Developmental Services Workgroup sessions providing strategic and tactical-level solutions for budget, early intervention and behavior services.  His OBM experience includes working across multiple industries (e.g., healthcare, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, insurance, and transportation) from small business to Fortune 500 companies.   He has collaborated with leadership, management, front-line employees, and labor union steward representatives to promote organizational initiatives.


Isaac Bermudez, M.S., BCBA

Southern CA Liaison (2016-2018)

Isaac Bermudez, the Love 2 Learn Consulting Executive Clinical Director, has been providing services in applied behavior analysis since 1998.  He received his graduate degree from the California State University, Los Angeles in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis.  Isaac has worked for several non-public agencies in Southern California focusing his work on supervising direct intervention of children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, consulting and training staff, parents, and other professionals, as well as conducting and reviewing functional assessments and behavior plans.  In 2005, he became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and in the same year was awared the Julie Vargas Award at the California Association for Behavior Analysis annual conference.  In addition, Isaac stays active in the field by conducting workshops, symposiums, and being a discussant at state, national, and international conferences on topics such as full-inclusion, school consultation, behavior phenotypes, and behavior intervention plans. He recently co-authored several articles for the Association for Professional Behavior Analyst (APBA) monthly newsletter on issues related to functional assessments and technology for behavior analysts.

 Isaac’s professional philosophy is to passionately lead staff by training and supporting them to provide “the best of the best” services to clients and their families with the goal of helping them maximize their learning potential.

Sharlet Rafacz, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Northern California Academic Liaison

Sharlet Rafacz received her Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010. Dr. Rafacz is currently an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at California State University, Fresno, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in learning, research methods, applied behavior analysis, health behavior and organizational behavior management. Her research focuses on the application of performance scorecards and systems-level interventions in business, rule-governed behavior, and healthy food selection and eating by children, college students, and consumers. Dr. Rafacz has published her work in multiple behavioral journals and presented at regional and national conferences. She also serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as a guest editor for The Behavior Analyst.


Debra Malmberg, Ph.D., BCBA

Southern California Academic Liaison

A licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Debra Berry Malmberg is an Associate Professor of Psychology at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Dr. Malmberg teaches courses on behavior analysis and clinical psychology to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Malmberg is the founding director of the CSUN Autism Clinic, a research and treatment clinic for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. Dr. Malmberg received her BA from Davidson College and Master’s and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, and her research focuses on parent education and behavioral interventions to teach socio-communicative skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Malmberg has served as a member of the California Senate Select Committee’s North LA Task Force on Autism and Related Disorders, CSUN College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Fellow, a Leadership Los Angeles Fellow, and received the CSUN Extraordinary Service Award.    


Matt McAlear, MA, BCBA

Executive Director (non-voting)

McAlear has dedicated his 20-year career to successfully developing and leading programs focused on the needs of individuals with disabilities and the professionals who serve them. He has worked as a special education teacher and principal of a non-public school, a behavior analyst, and program administrator. In addition, McAlear is a speaker and consultant at the national and international level. McAlear holds a bachelor’s of social work from Marist College, a master’s of special education from San Francisco State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.