Carmela B. Sanford, M.A., BCBA
Carmela has been in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 1999 using discrete trial teaching approach with children with Autism, in-home and at school. She has several years of experience with program development, program implementation, data interpretation, functional assessment, employee training and parent training. Carmela received her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and received her M.A. in Teaching as well as ABA Certification from National University. She is fluent in Tagalog.
Carmela has attended training workshops for:
- PECS by Dr. Andrew Bondy
- TEACCH Fundamentals Training by the Greenville TEACCH Center
- Level 1 Training: Pivotal Response Treatment by the UCSB Koegel Autism Center
- In-service Instructors in Professional Assault Crisis Training
- Social Stories by Carol Gray
- Wrightslaw Special Education Advocacy Training by Peter and Pam Wright
“Our children are God’s greatest gift to us. No matter how they are packaged, this truth does not change. Be grateful; love, honor, and cherish them. If your child is not perfect or what you hoped for, God has not punished you for past deeds. He has given you an opportunity that you may not yet understand. Make the most of the situation, for you are in it for a purpose, and there are rewards, that you never imagined possible.” — author unknown
E-mail Carmela Sanford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monica Bernaldo, M.A., BCBA
Monica Bernaldo is the Regional Manager for the greater Coachella Valley and the San Bernardino region. She began with B.E.S.T Services, Inc in 2004 after completing her education from California State University Northridge where she finished with a Bachelors of Arts in child development with an emphasis in special education. Monica has a solid background in Discrete Trial Teaching and TEACCH methodologies as well as a passion for working with children on the autism spectrum. Monica’s passion for her work is apparent in the community as she is an active member of the CVASA and volunteers her time to support the children in the child care room during the parent support group meetings. Monica completed a Masters degree in Teaching with a specialization in Applied Behavioral Analysis at National University. Monica is a member of the California Association of Behavior Analysis and attends their annual conference. Additionally, Monica received a Certificate of Completion for a two day training workshop for PECS facilitated by the Co-founder of PECS, Dr Andrew Bondy.
E-mail Monica Bernaldo at email@example.com.
Kristi Maher, M.A., BCBA
Kristi Maher has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2002. She received her B.A. in Liberal Studies from CSU San Marcos in 2000 and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (Grades K-12) in 2001. Kristi later returned to school to earn her M.A. in Teaching from National University in 2011 followed by BCBA certification in January 2012.
Kristi joined B.E.S.T. Services, Inc. in 2002 working as a 1:1 tutor for the San Diego and Temecula regions, working within the home and school settings. In 2005 she became a Case Supervisor for San Diego County. Kristi has extensive work experience with children on the autism spectrum and continues to focus on expanding proficiency with developing social skill concepts. Kristi’s present position with B.E.S.T. Services additionally focuses on initial assessment and program development.
Additional training workshops Kristi has attended include:
- The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) by Dr. Andrew Bondy
- Social Stories™ by Carol Gray
- Pivotal Response Training (PRT) by Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel
- Social Thinking by Michelle Garcia Winner
E-mail Kristi Maher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachael Donahue, M.S., BCaBA
Rachael grew up in Boston, in a home that was very involved in Special Education. With a mother in the field and a close family friend with Autism, Rachael’s love and knowledge for this population began at an early age. Rachael has four years experience working as a teacher’s aide in a classroom for children with Autism. In 2010, Rachael moved to San Diego and began working at B.E.S.T., as a direct tutor. She has been a BCaBA since 2014, and recently earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University, with a focus on Child and Adolescent Development. Rachael is planning to take the BCBA exam in 2019.
E-mail Rachael Donahue at email@example.com.
Mara Aikin, B.A., BCaBA
Mara Aikin graduated from California State University Channel Islands in May of 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Teaching. She then continued her education at California State University San Bernardino to obtain her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and also her Mild to Moderate Special Education Teaching Credential. The University of San Bernardino is where Mara was first introduced to the wonderful world of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). After learning more about autism, she found inspiration and, in her heart she knew that a profession working with children with autism was her true calling. Mara began working with B.E.S.T. Services, Inc. in January of 2011 while still a student at Cal State San Bernardino. In December of 2012 Mara was promoted to Junior Case Advisor and is now in the process of obtaining her Master’s in Education as well as becoming a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst.
E-mail Mara Aikin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Browne, M.A., BCBA
Karen received her Bachelors of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Masters of Arts in Education from Azusa Pacific University. While working as a substitute teacher, a friend introduced her to the field of applied behavior analysis. With roots in behavioral psychology, opportunities to teach children, as well as opportunities for parent education, Karen felt this was a much better match for her. B.E.S.T. Services, Inc. hired her as a tutor in September, 2012. She was promoted to Jr. Case Advisor in March 2014. Karen’s passion for the field and the opportunity to positively impact not only the lives of children, but also their families, continues. She is currently completing her coursework for BCBA certification.
E-mail Karen Browne at email@example.com.
Al Klugh, BCBA
Al came to BEST Services in 2012 via Virginia where he retired with 20 years of special education classroom experience, which included being the classroom teacher for the first autism program in the region, along with 10 years of administrative experience. His educational background includes earning his B.S. degree in Exceptional Children from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, and later earning his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Lynchburg College, Virginia. Al’s training has included a 2-week training by TEACCH in Chapel Hill, NC, attended 5 annual workshops by the Virginia Autism Resource Center in Winchester, Virginia, attended workshops by T/TAC, Virginia’s Training and Technical Assistance Centers, and PECS Level 1 training. Along with serving on committees at the state level, including the steering committee for Virginia’s Alternate Assessment, Al also helped form and co-led the county’s core autism group made up of parents, teachers, local businesses, and community leaders focused on autism education and training. Al is also preparing to sit for his BCBA certification exam.
E-mail Al Klugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Lawrence, M.A., BCBA, LBA
Heather has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism the last 12 years. While completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development from California State University she worked as an ABA Tutor in Sacramento, California. It was there she saw the importance and positive impact that ABA services have on children and their families. From there, she moved to North Carolina and completed her Masters Degree in Health Education & Behavior while working for B.E.S.T Services under the mentorship of Dr. Wilson. It was under Dr. Wilson’s mentorship that Heather completed her BCBA Certification.
Heather uses a variety of therapy practices including Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior. She also uses evidence based practices for those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Treatment includes: Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Functional Communication Training (FCT), Precision Teaching, and Social Skills Training.
Heather currently lives in Oregon and provides BCBA Supervision via Telehealth. She is passionate about providing quality support for Registered Behavior Technicians to build on their strengths. This creates a positive and effective environment for her client’s to learn.
E-mail Heather Lawrence at email@example.com
Rossio Palacios, MEd., RBT
Senior Behavior Technician
Rossio started working in the field of special education in 2008 as a teacher’s assistant in the Imperial Valley. She became interested in the field and moved to San Diego in 2012 to pursue a degree in the field and. In 2014, Rossio graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences. Shortly before graduating, in 2014, she began working at B.E.S.T Autism as tutor and received her RBT certification. In 2018 she received a Masters Degree in Education, with an emphasis in ABA, from Arizona State University. She is currently in the process of taking the BCBA exam in 2019.
E-mail Rossio Palacios at firstname.lastname@example.org
Samantha Martinez, B.A., RBT
Senior Behavior Technician
Samantha graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Psychology in 2014. She discovered her fascination with learning and behaviorism during her early college years, which prompted her to pursue a career in the helping profession. She began by working as an intern, supporting visually impaired adults in reaching their highest level of independence. Later, she found her passion in special education while working at an elementary school as an instructional assistant in an inclusive classroom setting.
Samantha joined B.E.S.T Services in 2016 as a direct tutor and became certified as a Registered Behavior Technician. In her current position as a Senior RBT, she provides staff training and supervision. Samantha is currently working towards earning a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as BCBA certification.
E-mail Samantha Martinez at email@example.com