Meet Our Team

CarolineLong2.JPG

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-staff-bio.png

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.


SophiaGreco.jpg

Sophia Greco BCBA

Program Coordinator

A West Virginia native, Sophia graduated from West Virginia University in 2013 with her Masters in Special Education and General Education K-12. After graduation, Sophia spent three years in Charleston, South Carolina working as a Registered Behavior Technician for a company providing in-home applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. Sophia moved to Asheville, NC in 2015 and began working as an RBT for St. Gerard House. In 2016, Sophia became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and took on the role as program coordinator for the Grotto Therapeutic Center in January 2017. Sophia is excited to call Western North Carolina her home and to have found St. Gerard House.


Julia-staff-photo.jpg

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.


Bertha-staff-bio.png

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.


Ashley_Smith.jpg

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-staff-bio.png

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.


KarenStaffPic.jpg

Karen Sigmon

Accountant

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.


IMG_3061.jpg

Sharon Stokes

Assistant Program Coordinator

Sharon is happy to be a part of the St. Gerard House staff. After a 25 year career in the performing arts (performance, education, production, marketing), Sharon transitioned into Education for Exceptional Children. Before coming to work for St. Gerard House full-time, she worked for Flat Rock Playhouse for many years. She was also an Assistant Teacher at Flat Rock Middle School as well as a teacher and lesson plan writer for our Connect program. Sharon is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women with a Bachelors in both Microbiology and Theatre.


Jenny-staff-bio.png

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-staff-bio.png

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.


Lupita-staff-bio.png

Lupita Aguillon RBT

Therapist

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.


Maggie-staff-photo.png

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.


Brandi_Hansen.jpg

Brandi Hansen

Therapist

Brandi recently moved from Wisconsin with her husband and five children where she was working as a certified nursing assistant. She learned about St. Gerard house and ABA when looking for services for her oldest son who is on the spectrum and for her daughter who is hemiplegic. Brandi volunteered in the Grotto and her children began participating in the after-school programs offered. The life changing work being done and the amazing people motivated her to become an Registered Behavior Technician and do her field experience at St. Gerard house. Brandi will be obtaining her Bachelor's in Human Services in the fall of 2017. Brandi feels blessed to have found the St. Gerard house for her children and grateful that she can be part of such amazing work.


IMG_3049.jpg

Lainey Harrison

Therapist

Lainey grew up in Charleston, SC. She majored in visual arts at Charleston County School of the Arts for both middle and high school. She earned a Bachelors in Studio Art at the College of Charleston with a concentration in painting. Lainey first began working in this field in 2012 with The Enola Group in Morganton, NC doing art therapy with participants at Signature Day Program. She joined The Grotto in 2016 and currently works in the Garden, Art, and Culinary programs for Feed the Need.


Erica-staff-bio.png

Erica Hill RBT

Therapist

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!


Shannon-staff-bio-2.png

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.


IMG_2278.jpg

Becca Lapeyre

Therapist

Becca grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended the University of South Carolina to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration and Spanish. She was looking for an exciting challenge after college, so she moved to Asheville and began working at the St. Gerard House. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends. She is thrilled to have this opportunity to be a part of a strong team and work with amazing kids.


IMG_3044.jpg

Len LaRose

Therapist

Len is a native of Pennsylvania but has lived in the south for most of his adult life. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in special education in 2013 from the University of Memphis. Since then he has taught special education resource, English language arts, and math, in public schools in Tennessee and North Carolina. Len also obtained a Master of Arts degree in Criminology in 1980, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1978. In addition to teaching, his prior work experience includes serving as a Deputy U. S. Marshal, a Supervisory U. S. Probation Officer, and as a Correctional Counselor at the Indiana Girl’s School, a penal facility for adolescent girls in Indianapolis, Indiana.


OliviaM.jpg

Olivia Medoff

Therapist

Olivia is originally from Columbia, Maryland and has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her passion for working with kids started at Slayton House Camp of the Arts in Maryland, where she directed children in musicals for three summers. Before coming to the St. Gerard House, she worked in direct care at a therapeutic boarding school for teenage girls in Weaverville, NC. She loves that she has been given the opportunity to learn ABA and to make a difference in the lives of children on the spectrum. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys running, yoga, writing poetry, and watching movies with friends. Olivia is thrilled and humbled to be working at the St. Gerard House with such an incredible group of kids and staff!