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. Caroline has since 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 ten 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 1990s 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.


Brad Ward

Director of Finance

Brad is a native North Carolinian with ties all over the state. He came to SGH via Arthur Morgan School, a farm-based school near Burnsville, NC, where he lived and worked with his partner Kristen and their two children for five years. Brad served as the school's Finance Director. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a BA in History and a NC teaching license and has worked in education, management, and finance. Brad brings an array of skills to the St. Gerard House admin team.


Lupita Aguillon, RBT


A graduate of North Henderson High School, Lupita holds a cosmetology license, as well as an associate 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.


Courtney Aker, RBT

Grotto II Program Coordinator

Courtney is originally from Orlando, FL where she attended the University of Central Florida. She received her Associate of Science in nursing in December of 2016. Her path changed when she met the wife of a dear friend who was a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. After hearing her story and shadowing her work, Courtney fell in love with ABA. She decided to go back to school and obtained her Bachelor of Science in psychology in the summer of 2018. Courtney worked for an in-home therapy company while she finished her degree. Courtney and her fiance decided to move to Ashville to be close to family and to begin her career at St. Gerard House.




Jenny Baker, RBT

Grotto I Program Coordinator

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 the past, Jenny 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!


Alicia Cook, RBT


Alicia is a native from Asheville, NC. She moved to Hendersonville in 2009, where she graduated from Hendersonville High School in 2014. She has been familiar with St. Gerard House having attended high school right next door. She is the oldest of four and has always been passionate about working with children. Alicia attended UNC - Asheville and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in May of 2019. She enjoys art, music, dance, and immersing herself in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains that she is so fortunate to call home. Alicia is delighted to begin her journey with ABA and looks forward to inspiring and engaging with children and families in need.


Cliff Cowan, BCBA

Senior ABA Supervisor

Cliff grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of the South (Sewanee) in 2010. That summer, after working at a local summer camp, he stumbled upon this place called St. Gerard House. In 2015, he took the role of program coordinator, assisting with the development and oversight of consumer interventions. From 2016-2018, Cliff worked as a Senior Lead Behavior Technician at a center in Roanoke, serving students from 12-20 years old. Cliff graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with a master's degree in ABA in the fall of 2017 and became a BCBA the following summer. Cliff was elated to find out that there was a job opening at St. Gerard Hosue after two years of being away. He and his wife moved back to WNC and Cliff now works as a Behavior Analyst at the Grotto 2 program. 


Yesenia Dominguez


Yesenia was born in Mexico and moved to Asheville when she was three years old. She moved to Hendersonville in 2011 where she worked various administrative jobs, and then found St. Gerard House in 2017. This is Yesenia’s first time working with individuals on the autism spectrum. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors with her three children and husband. She is blessed to have found St. Gerard House and is excited to continue this journey to help bring awareness and hope to families in need.


Sophia Greco, BCBA

Senior ABA Supervisor

A West Virginia native, Sophia graduated from West Virginia University in 2013 with her master's degree 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. She 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.


Anna Hale, RBT


Anna was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from Georgia College & State University in 2016, and moved to Asheville shortly after graduation. Anna has always loved working with children. She worked at several summer camps and volunteered with a long-term youth development program for students living in underserved areas of Atlanta. She learned about SGH through a friend/current staff member, and quickly knew she wanted the opportunity to be part of this unique team and community. She's excited to learn from all the wonderful people at SGH and expand her knowledge in this field. When she's not working, Anna enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking, and traveling.


Brandi Hansen, RBT


Brandi 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.


Lainey Harrison, RBT


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 bachelor's degree 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.


Jade Henke, RBT


Jade is from Perth, Australia and grew up in London, finishing high school in Perth. She came to the States to play college tennis at Mars Hill University. Jade graduated in 2017 with a degree in health and physical education and a K-12 teaching license. She found her way to the SGH after school program and then moved on to G2 as a behavior technician. In her free time, she and her wife like to go hiking with their dogs Mitchy, Charlie, and Smoky, travel, and explore the mountains!


Mary Beth Herman, SHRM-SCP, SHRP

Director of Human Resources

Mary Beth graduated with a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. After working for 12 years as a graphic designer, she moved to the non-profit sector. She started working in human resources, where she now has 18+ years of experience. She holds two national certificates—SHRM-SCP (Society of HR Management-Senior Certified Professional) and SHRP (Senior HR Professional). She is happy to be at St. Gerard House, which feels like a perfect fit. She has four grown sons and seven grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to sew, scrapbook, make stained glass, camp, hike, and hang out with her darling husband, Eli.


Erica Hill, BCBA

ABA Supervisor

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!


Juliette Jacov, RBT

Garden Therapist

Juliette Jacov is originally from New York, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Global Studies from Binghamton University in 2016. She moved to Asheville in 2017 and began working in the mental health field as a residential counselor at a psychiatric treatment facility. Juliette found St. Gerard House in her search for a smaller organization that celebrates creativity and allows its employees to intertwine their interests and skills with their work. She has found gardening to be an amazing platform for communication and growth, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to explore this field through that framework. In addition to her work at St. Gerard House Juliette runs the sustainable candle production business Sage and Sunflowers.


Mary Laughter, RBT


Mary is the mother of three boys 8, 3, and 6 months old, her oldest son at 8 has severe autism, sensory processing disorder and other disabilities. Personally connected to the special needs community, and seeking a way to both support her son and give back to the community that embraced her so willingly she began school at Blue Ridge Community College. All along the way St Gerard House was a helping hand to her with parent group nights, and supportive educational talks. With an Associates degree in School Age Education, 8 years of history within the special needs community, and three years of an educational work history she is honored and excited to be a part of the Gerard House Family and pursue her Registered Behavioral Technician Certification.


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 program 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.


Diane Maxwell

Child Care Administrator

Diane is a native NC resident and the proud Mom of a daughter and two sons. She has been working with children and families with disabilities for over twenty years. Being a part of the St. Gerard Team is an honor and dedication Diane feels Heaven sent and blessed to receive. She earned an Associate of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Blue Ridge Community College. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Birth through Kindergarten Education and is a licensed teacher for kindergarten through second grade. Diane truly believes parents are first and foremost their children’s primary and most important teachers. Every child is capable of learning and deserves the chance to show all he/she has inside them to give to this world.

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