Board of Directors

Board of Directors, 2019 - 2020

California Association for Behavior Analysis

 

Gregory Elsky, Psy.D., LMFT, BCBA-D

President (2018-2021)

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.

 
 

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

President Elect (2019-2022)

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.

 
 

Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Treasurer (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.

 
 

Amber Valentino, Psy.D., BCBA-D

Secretary (2018-2020)

Dr. Valentino received a doctorate in clinical psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She completed a pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Marcus Autism Center/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. After completion of her post-doctoral fellowship, she remained at the Marcus Autism Center for three years, where she served as a senior psychologist and program coordinator, overseeing a large community autism training program and providing clinical leadership to the intensive language clinic. Dr. Valentino joined Trumpet Behavioral Health in 2012 and has held various roles, and currently serves as the organization’s Executive Director of Research and Clinical Standards. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating Trumpet research initiatives, maintaining and further developing the company’s clinical standards and directing all training functions. She has served in a variety of editorial positions for behavior analytic journals, most recently serving as an associate editor for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. She has over 20 published book chapters and articles and frequently presents at national and international ABA conferences. 


 
 

Rachel Taylor, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Conference Chair (2019-2020)

Dr. Taylor is the founder and CEO of the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA) and has worked with individuals diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders for more than 20 years (initially working in several prestigious institutions including the New England Center for Children and the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital). Prior to founding CABA, Dr. Taylor was the Co-Director of Research and Development for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), Chief Clinical Officer for Intercare Therapy, Inc., and founding Department Chair for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, Department of ABA. She also held faculty positions at California State University, Los Angeles and Channel Islands. Her research has been published in several peer reviewed journals and is featured in the seminal textbook: Applied Behavior Analysis, by Cooper, Heron and Heward. Dr. Taylor has also been an author on more than 100 presentations at national and international conferences. In addition, she has previously served on the Executive Council for the International Association for Behavior Analysis (ABAI) and on the Board of Directors for the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA) as the Southern California Liaison.  

 
 

Heidi Eilers, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Conference Chair Elect (2019 - 2020)

I have a great amount of passion for the field of behavior analysis that was sprouted in my childhood watching my mother use behavior principles in the first residential setting in Nevada for adults with developmental disabilities. My passion was further cultivated watching her also apply behavior principles to improve the behavior of foster children with severe behavior problems. I later pursued my formal training in behavior analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno, where I learned to appreciate the experimental analysis of behavior and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis.

 I have had the privilege of working with a variety of populations and a variety of settings for more than 20 years. I have professional experience in the areas of organizational behavior management, gerontology, acquired brain injury, autism, dual-diagnoses, severe behavior problems, and both children and adults with developmental disabilities. One of the areas that is nearest to my heart, is my work with families who have experienced domestic violence and are experiencing child custody issues.

 I am currently a Professor and Assistant Chair for the San Diego Department of ABA at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Prior to this position, I was the Regional Vice President for one of the largest and fastest growing non-profit organizations in Southern California that provides services for individuals diagnosed with autism. Both experiences have granted me the opportunity to work closely with numerous aspiring behavior analysts and board-certified behavior analysts throughout California. As a result, I have learned to understand the different experiences, interests, and diverse needs of our community.

 I have contributed to research and conceptual/theoretical analyses that have been published in peer reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences in diverse areas, including sexual assault and prevention, domestic violence, psychoneuroimmunology (classical conditioning of the immune system), modified functional analyses, non-contingent reinforcement, learning assessments, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, complexity theory, and Interbehaviorism.

 Additionally, I served on the 2018 CalABA conference committee and I am continuing my service for the 2019 committee. I also served on the conference committee for the first annual Nevada Association for Behavior Analysis conference. Being involved with the first conference for a newly formed association provided me with a wealth of experience and knowledge that I will be able to use in this role.

I have been presented with a variety of opportunities throughout my career that will allow me to support the CalABA community as Conference Chair-elect by supporting and developing an annual conference program that will be aligned with the diverse interests and values of our community.


 
 

Michelle Heid

Public Policy Chair (2019-2021)

Michelle joined the field of behavior analysis in 2006 through assisting parents of children with developmental disabilities and lecturing throughout the disability community to both parent and professional audiences. She then received her Master’s degree and BCBA in May 2012. Since beginning work in the field, Michelle has had opportunities to provide direct intervention to clients of all ages and has also provided supervision to BCBAs and other professionals. In 2010, Michelle became an active member of several professional committees in behavior analysis including education and training, ethics, and public policy. Through her public policy work she has met with legislators, testified before both Senate and Assembly Committees, and built relationships with legislators and others in Sacramento. Michelle has also become a community legislative educator providing trainings to professionals in behavior analysis, regional centers, parents, and consumers of behavior analysis services. This legislative involvement has allowed Michelle to stay up to date on legislation and changes that are impacting the field of behavior analysis and advocate for quality services for the clients receiving behavior analysis services.

 
 

Lisa Britton, PhD, BCBA-D

Professional Standards Chair (2018-2020)

Dr. Lisa Britton’s current interests revolve around the delivery of quality supervision for BCBA/BCaBA candidates and ethics within the field of behavior analysis. She obtained her B.S. from the University of North Dakota. She then completed her graduate training at the University of Nevada, Reno under the direction of Dr. James Carr. Upon graduating, she worked at Spectrum Center Schools and Programs for over 15 years where she focused on supporting the Senior Behavior Analysts who provided behavioral supports to students with Special Education needs in their educational environment. In 2015 Dr. Britton launched Britton Behavioral Consulting, a company designed to provide fieldwork supervision for people working to become a BCBA/BCaBA. Her primary focus is on the delivery of remote supervision for those who are unable to obtain quality supervision in their immediate community. Concurrently, Dr. Britton is an adjunct faculty for Touro University and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She teaches a variety of courses for master’s students seeking to meet the requirements to sit for the BCBA exam as well as Ph.D. students through The Chicago School. With Dr. Britton’s current focus, she is well prepared to serve on the CalABA board to ensure high standards for continuing education opportunities provided through the annual conference and other events offered.

 
 

Jose Rios

Membership Chair (2019-2021)

I have over 46 years of direct experience with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the 1980’s-90’s, I worked with over 500 families with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   

For 17 years, I worked as an adjunct instructor at California State University- Los Angeles and taught courses on behavior analysis. I was owner/licensee of several residential facilities that served children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and autism who presented with severe problem behavior for 15 years. Over the years, I have provided a number of presentations, talks, lectures and workshops on a diverse range of topics including ethics, self-injurious behavior, working with individuals with traumatic brain injury, understanding behavior phenotypes, designing ethical behavior interventions plans, and more recently, social and cultural diversity in ABA.  I have also had the opportunity to mentor over 20 individuals and continue to look for opportunities to advance the professional skills of those who are newer in our field.   


 
 

Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA

Professional Association Liaison (2019-2021)

Jocelyn Thompson is a Vice President of Clinical Services for LEARN Behavioral based out of Sacramento, CA. Jocelyn currently manages services in Northern and Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico and Louisiana. For the last 15 years, Jocelyn has worked with diverse populations in multiple settings as a behavior analyst and a social worker. Jocelyn received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA where she studied under the direction of Dr. Ivar Lovaas and completed an internship at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention. Jocelyn then received her master’s degree in social work from California State University, Los Angeles, where she also completed graduate coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis. Jocelyn has actively promoted the field of applied behavior analysis through her involvement and work with local, state and national organizations. In 2013, she was selected by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) to be part of the workgroup that developed and piloted the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification. She currently serves as the marketing/outreach chair for Autism Speaks-Sacramento Walk, is a committee member of the Autism Intervention Network at the UC Davis MIND Institute and is on the ABA advisory panel for EQ Health Solutions. Jocelyn is also a member of the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA) stakeholders advisory committee and was elected to the CalABA Board as their Professional Association Liaison. Jocelyn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in California and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  

 
 

Lisa Stoddard, MA, BCBA

PR/Marketing Chair (2018-2020)

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.

 
 

Penelope Schenkkan

Northern CA Liaison (2019-2021)

I am excited for the opportunity to support the California Association for Behavior Analysis’ mission of advancing, promoting, and protecting the science and practice of behavior analysis by serving as the Northern California Professional Liaison. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) I have worked with varied populations including individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, Down syndrome, Intellectual Disability, and Fragile-X Syndrome.  I have served as the HIPAA Privacy and Security Officer at a behavior analytic services agency and led the company-wide implementation of the HIPAA rules and regulations.  In my current role as a regional Clinical Director for a behavioral health services provider, I directly oversee the clinical experience of new BCBAs and how the BACB requirements fit into the medical model of service delivery confronted by BCBAs providing insurance-funded services. I serve as a BACB Subject Matter Expert and on the CalABA Public Policy Committee, where I work with members of the Board of Directors to ensure behavior analysts maintain and protect their right to practice in our state. Finally, I attend and regularly lead information sharing sessions at the Council of Autism Service Providers Annual Conference on topics such as parent policies, and termination and discharge criteria.   As a new board member, I would look forward to continuing to pursue the needs of my fellow CalABA members while protecting consumers and all BACB certificants.

 
 

Allison Bickelman, Ph.D., B.C.B.A.

Southern CA Liaison (2019-2021)

Dr. Allison Bickelman received her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, in 2010 and her M.S. in Psychology (emphasis in applied behavior analysis) with honors from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2014, and her PhD in Behavior Analysis from Endicott College in 2019. Dr. Bickelman’s masters' thesis was titled “The Effects of Bonus Points on Homework Submission” and doctoral dissertation was titled “The Use of Discussion Forums in Asynchronous Behavior Analysis Masters Courses”.  Dr. Bickelman is an active member of both the California Association of Behavior Analysis and the Association for Behavior Analysis International and has presented her research at both organizations' annual conferences. In April 2016 Dr. Bickelman traveled to Kenya with the Global Autism Project to assist and train staff at the only ABA center-based program for kids with autism in all of East Africa. Since then, she has continued to volunteer with the project as a mentor and Discovery fellow. Dr. Bickelman began working with children with autism in 2009 while she was completing her bachelor's degree; she fell in love with the science of behavior analysis and evidence-based autism treatment. Dr. Bickelman has worked at Autism Behavior Intervention since the summer or 2011. In her current role as the Director of Quality Assurance, Dr. Bickelman’s primary duties include training and mentoring program supervisors and new BCBAs, overseeing Masters Students accruing hours towards their certification and mentoring clinical interns, and ensuring that all clients programs are of high quality. Dr. Bickelman is a practicum site supervisor for three local Masters programs, and is Adjunct Faculty member for two masters programs in behavior analysis. 

 
 

Sharlet Rafacz, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Northern California Academic Liaison (2017-2019)

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 (2017-2019)

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.    

 
 

Amanda Nicolson, Ph.D., BCBA

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.

 
 

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.