Meet Our Team


Caroline Long

Executive Director

Caroline’s life was drastically changed with the births of her two children, and then again a few years later when they were both diagnosed with autism. Since then, Caroline has devoted herself to navigating the trials and triumphs of their day-to-day lives in a world where the recognition and treatment of autism are still in the very early stages. Grounded in her faith in God, Caroline’s drive to learn about every facet of autism spectrum disorder has proven invaluable in helping her two children live and thrive in a typical environment amongst their peers. Through this first-hand experience with her own children, Caroline decided to share her knowledge with other individuals and families who were facing the same challenges. St. Gerard House was formed as a resource center for families with autism to provide services and also to give hope and stability. Now 4 years later, Caroline’s dream to build a place where the weary and despairing could come and feel encouraged about autism treatment possibilities has come to life. Because of St. Gerard House’s impact in the community, Caroline was the recipient of the 2014 Athena Award for Henderson County. When she is not busy at St. Gerard House, Caroline enjoys spending time with family and friends and taking advantage of the great outdoors in Western North Carolina.


Rachael Cushing Cook MA, LPA, BCBA

Clinical Director

Rachael first learned about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the early 1990’s when her younger sister Catherine was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe autism. Catherine’s poor prognosis changed once the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA) was introduced to her educational and life skills curricula.  From that point on, Rachael’s course of study and future life goals focused on helping other children with ASD and their families. Rachael received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina Asheville. While completing her bachelor’s degree and upon graduation, Rachael served as a lead behavior therapist for many years, working with several local individuals with autism using ABA. During this time, she received direct training from consultants out of UCLA’s Young Autism Project. In 2009, Rachael received her master’s degree in clinical psychology (clinical concentration in ABA) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  Shortly thereafter, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and acquired her North Carolina license to practice psychology (LPA). Rachael is excited to be working again in Western NC where so much of her initial training in the field of autism and ABA originated. It is her goal to enhance the local autism community by sharing all that she has learned since beginning this journey over 20 years ago.


Tammy Gilstrap

Operations Manager

Tammy is a native of Weaverville NC and graduated from North Buncombe High School. She is the mother of four wonderful children. Tammy has more than 29 years of experience in a varied background of Telecommunications, Dentistry and Therapy Practice Operations and Management. This background provides her with the foundation to serve in her role at SGH, where she is responsible for software and system administration, provider credentialing and billing. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve the children and families of this community, and to work with a wonderful group of people.


Bertha Medina

Office Manager

Bertha is a native of Mexico and was raised in the Asheville/Hendersonville area. She graduated from East High School and later obtained an Associate's degree as a Community Spanish Interpreter. Bertha joined the SGH team in August 2013. As the office administrator, her goal is to help those who are challenged by the complex diagnosis of autism, knowing that the work done at SGH truly makes a difference in many lives. In her free time she enjoys running, hiking and helping with Youth Ministry.


Julia Matthews BCaBA

Program Coordinator

Julia is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst from New Jersey with a degree in Psychology and American Sign Language. She has been working with children and adults with disabilities for over ten years. Julia’s passion lies in teaching individuals independent living skills through functional experiences.   When Julia found St. Gerard House she had the pleasure of working in the Grotto for her first year.  Now, Julia is the program coordinator for the Feed the Need and Connect programs, which she says has been one the best experiences of her life.  Julia appreciates every opportunity she gets to work with adolescents and teens in the community.


Ashley Smith

Program Coordinator

Ashley is very excited to be back on the SGH team! She graduated from Kent State University with a B.A. in Psychology and completed her M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati. She found her passion for working with individuals on the autism spectrum in high school when she baby sat for a neighbor with autism and worked in group homes. She has worked in the field of ABA for 10 years in home, school, and center settings. Ashley has lived in Asheville since 2013, and is so happy to call this beautiful area home.


Rachel Smith RBT

Grotto Administrator

A Pennsylvania native, Rachel graduated from Milligan College in East Tennessee in 2009 with a degree and teaching license in elementary education. After graduating, Rachel spent time working in a child care center where she discovered a passion for helping students with special needs and was inspired to go back to school. In 2012, she graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Masters degree and teaching license in Early Childhood Special Education. She spent two years teaching special education for the Tennessee public school system before moving to North Carolina and joining the Grotto team. Rachel is excited to continue her journey into ABA at The Grotto.


Shannon Lamblin RBT

Therapy Team Lead

Shannon Lamblin recently moved to Hendersonville, NC from Midland, MI.  She received her Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University.  In Michigan she worked as a lead teacher at a nature-based preschool for seven years.  During that time she took a year off and worked as a program coordinator and support coordinator for adults with disabilities.  She was extremely excited to find the St. Gerard House and is even more excited to be part of such an amazing team.


Jenny Baker

Therapy Team Lead

Jenny was raised in Hendersonville, NC and graduated from West Henderson High School.  After high school Jenny moved to Charlotte, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UNC Charlotte.  In Jenny's past she danced on many dance teams, including UNC Charlotte Gold Dusters, Charlotte Checkers, and Carolina Panthers.  Her love of working with children on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth lead her to be an instructor and Manager at The Little Gyms of Charlotte for 3 years. She moved back to Hendersonville in Summer 2015 as a Lead Teacher in the Grotto Integration Summer Camp.  During integration, she was introduced to ABA and fell in love.  Jenny feels blessed to be back in the mountains, where she feels most at home.  In her spare time, Jenny likes to do yoga, go on hikes, visit the White Water Center in Charlotte, and go to the beach!


Faith Alexander RBT

Therapy Team Lead

Faith originally came to Asheville from San Diego, CA to work at a summer camp for kids on the spectrum. It was such a great experience and she loved the area so much she decided to stay and make it her new home! In the past 7 years she has done volunteer work doing swim lessons, a P.E. class and helping with therapy on horseback all for children with special needs. Since graduating with her degree in Kinesiology she has worked in different settings with individuals on the spectrum ranging in age from 3-22.  When she is not at work she enjoys running, hiking, mountain biking or just about any other outdoor activity.


Ford Chumley RBT


Having spent more than two decades as a camper and camp counselor in Western North Carolina, Ford was excited to return to the area after graduating in 2011 from Lynchburg College, where he received a B.A. in Communication Studies. Ford has worked in the autism field since 2010, working as a technician in the Grotto, teaching classes in St. Gerard House’s Connect program, and serving as the Lead Instructor of the Feed the Need community garden. Ford brings a passion for connecting with clients to work everyday and is proud to be a part of the St. Gerard House mission.


Lupita Aguillon RBT


A graduate from North Henderson High School, Lupita holds a cosmetology license, as well as an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to working at St. Gerard House, Lupita volunteers her time working with the Hispanic community for the diocese of Charlotte and is very passionate about her work with the youth at Immaculate Conception Church. She began volunteering with the Grotto school in 2010 and became a St. Gerard House staff member in the spring of 2012. St. Gerard House is extremely grateful to have Lupita’s dedication and passion at the Grotto school.


Kourtney White RBT


In 2008, Kourtney received a Bachelors of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Abilene Christian University, where she cultivated her longtime passion for working with young children with special needs. Kourtney discovered ABA while supporting a friend at a local support group for adults with mild Asperger’s, which led her to join an ABA clinic, Shape of Behavior in Sugarland, Tx, in 2011. It was at this clinic that Kourtney found her interest in ABA. Currently, Kourtney has had a year and a half of ABA experience, as well as 10 years experience working with children. To Kourtney, there is no greater joy than the small victories achieved in her daily work. In her free time, Kourtney enjoys painting, spending time with family and hiking in Western North Carolina.


Erica Hill RBT


Erica Hill moved to Asheville from Charleston in 2012 after spending her second summer at a nearby girl's summer camp. Erica studied psychology at the College of Charleston and provided in-home ABA services for children with autism. Since moving to Asheville, she has enjoyed the opportunity to  work with both adolescents and young children at St. Gerard House. Erica is thrilled to be a part of the team at St. Gerard House and is thankful for the opportunity to work with wonderful people every day!


Anika Williams RBT


Anika moved from Massachusetts to the beautiful mountains of Asheville in June 2012. She has been working in the field of ABA for the past seventeen years. Anika has had the opportunity of being a support to the families with this specially gifted population of children with autism. Her experience has been in early intervention, preschool teaching, and home services. The drive she has comes from the kids she encounters, which has created my passion while witnessing the fruits of our labour. This truly is an exciting time to become apart of the St. Gerard House family. I'm ready for new adventures and learning new things each day


Maggie Hallowell

Feed the Need Garden Manager

Maggie is originally from Brooklyn, NY. She has a bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology. Maggie has always loved the outdoors and worked in outdoor education and on many different farms after college. She started a  garden education program at a Montessori school in New York City where she was an instructor and one to one aide for a student on the spectrum. One thing that she likes about working with individuals with ASD is helping to nurture the strength and independence that is already within each participant. She found her way to North Carolina working as a garden intern at a mental health facility. She has been working at SGH since June and loves the community, the plants and the participants. Maggie loves to write, garden, sing and do yoga.


Richard Templeton


Richard is originally from Central Florida. After graduating from Southern Oregon University with a BS in Psychology, Richard began working with individuals with special needs. Richard found a passion for designing systems for working in typcial business environments for special needs individuals that led him to doing one on one work with autistic adults. Recently, Richard sold his business, a fly fishing rod company, and moved to Hendersonville. When he is not working, Richard enjoys fly fishing and hiking with his dog, Sue. 



Karen Sigmon


Karen was born and raised in Wolverhampton, England. Working in 1993 for the Ministry of Defense, she became an Orderly Room Manager for a United States Airforce reconnaissance squadron based at RAF Mildenhall, where she met and married her husband Tom. Following him through assignments in Florida, Germany and Washington State, Karen earned an Associates Degree in Business and Management from Northwest Florida State College (NFSC). She also gained diverse expertise in account and program management as Senior Staff Assistant for NDSC, Office Supervisor at the NATEX, an international grocery supporting NATO in Geilenkirchen, Germany and as the Staff Bookkeeper at Washington's Gig Harbor Golf Club, a non-profit, members-only organization. In 2009, Karen proudly became a United States citizen and moved to the North Carolina mountains when Tom retired in 2015. Her passions are gardening, hiking, reading and helping raise the bar in support of SGH's operational success.


Miriam Valdez


Miriam graduated from East Henderson High School and is an active member of Immaculate Conception Church. In her free time, she enjoys activities like Zumba, hiking and spending time with her family. Miriam is new to the non-profit world and is excited to make a difference.