Meet Our Team

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Bertha Medina

Assistant Director

Bertha joined the St. Gerard House team in August 2013 as the Office Administrator and has been involved with all aspects of fundraising and development throughout the years. She currently serves as the Assistant Director. Her goal is to raise autism awareness as well as to help those who are challenged by the complex diagnosis of autism. Bertha's greatest joy is watching the daily miracles that take place at St. Gerard House. She is grateful to be a part of this mission that makes a difference in many lives. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, cooking, reading, spending time with family and helping with Youth Ministry at Immaculate Conception Church. 


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Heidi Nash

Academic Program Coordinator

Heidi grew up in Florida but attended summer camp in Tuxedo. She loved the mountains so much she attended Western Carolina University where she earned a BSED with a concentration in special education. She actually did her student teaching in Henderson County Schools! Her first teaching job was in Key West, Florida where she ended up meeting her husband of 30+ years. She taught special education for 25 years until they decided to move to Florida to be closer to family. They are now happy to call NC home again! Heidi previously volunteered at the Grotto during the summers she wasn’t in Florida and is excited to be the Academic Coordinator! She and her husband have two grown children and are active at Immaculaute Conception Catholic Church!


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Andrea Petticrew, RBT

Therapist

Andrea was born in Venezuela and moved to the States in 2007. She lived in Florida for eight years and moved to Hendersonville four years ago with her husband. Andrea went to the Art Institute of Tampa to get a Bachelor in Culinary Arts. She worked in the Hospitality industry for 10 years. Andrea was first introduced to SGH when she volunteered at Feed the Need as guest chef and she really enjoyed working with the kids, and the staff. Andrea decided to take a career change when she had her daughter. In her free time Andrea likes to spend time with her family and friends, and cook.


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Jesenia Rios Rivera, RBT

Therapist

Jesenia was born in Puerto Rico, and now calls Hendersonville home. She was awarded a BS in Biology, and worked as a math teacher and private tutor, as well as an Administrative Assistant in the financial aid office of the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico. Her favorites include Colombian food, sushi, and Puerto Rican food. Jesenia loves spending her time in nature, hiking and taking walks, singing, drawing, and watching movies or Netflix with family.


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Kristin Robinson, RBT

Kristin lived in NC the majority of her life. She grew up as the middle child of 6 siblings and is now an aunt to four kids. She truly believes that we can all learn just as much from children as they learn from us. What Kristin values most out of life is the endless opportunities it offers and the vast diversity. She enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, rescuing animals and practicing mindfulness.


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Pati Rodriguez, CTRS, RBT

Therapist

Patricia has been a resident of Hendersonville since she was five years old, but she is originally from a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico. Throughout college, she volunteered with individuals with disabilities at various centers. In August 2018, Pati graduated from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro with a bachelor of science in Recreation Therapy. As an intern at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, she grew more interested working with children, and went on to work as a pre-school teacher, where she quickly realized her desire to work one-on-one with children with special needs. She earned her CTRS (certified therapeutic recreation specialist) credentials in March of 2019, and is currently working on a license in recreation therapy. Pati lives with her feisty cat, Luna, who does not get along with her dog, Coco. She enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, exploring other cultures, and one day hopes to hike a mountain in every state.


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Tanya Selius, RBT

Therapist

Tanya is from Green Bay, WI where she spent most of her life, but she was born in Kirov, Russia and adopted by her family. She also lived in Ohio for over seven years. She moved to Hendersonville in June 2019. Tanya earned her associate’s degree in counseling and human services from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and previously worked at the Fox Valley Autism Treatment Program in Appleton, WI. Her hobbies include photography, cooking, hiking, and camping. She enjoys being outside, fall nights, watching the stars, swimming, and being with friends and family. Tanya has two cats, Beans and Bailey. She loves watching football... Go Pack, GO!


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Kaitlyn Sitton, RBT

Therapist

Kaitlyn is a Henderson County Native, and graduated from East Henderson High School. After High school she moved to Pembroke North Carolina to recieve her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Sports Science with a concentration in Health Promotion at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She has always had a love for children with special needs, and her senior year of college she concentrated on special education classes. Kaitlyn was looking to start a career centered around children with autism, so she did some research on the St Gerard House and fell in love. In her spare time she likes to spend time with her family and go on long drives and walks with her fur baby Bailey. She feels blessed and grateful to be a part of an organization that makes her feel right at home.


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Faith Smathers, RBT

Therapist

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 seven years, she has done volunteer work including 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.


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Rachel Smith, BCBA

Senior ABA Supervisor

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.


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Monika Soares, RBT

Insurance Specialist

Monika was born and raised in Poland. In 2005 she earned a Master’s of Art in Law from Nicolaus Copernicus University. The following summer, Monika came to the United States through student exchange program where she met her husband. Since then, they welcomed two energetic and creative boys. As time progressed many things in her life have changed. Monika discovered that her real interest lies not in law but in working with children with special needs. For the past couple of years, she has worked at a nonprofit preschool where children with all abilities and levels learn and play together. Monika believes that all children carry special gifts inside of them and that working with special needs children includes the responsibility to identify those gifts since they often go unnoticed. In her free time Monika enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out at local Y, traveling to new places, and reading.


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Sharon Stokes

Connect 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.


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Cecilia Tovar

Billing and Authorization Specialist

Cecilia was born in Mexico and raised in Arden, NC. She is a graduate of T. C Roberson High School and holds an Associate's degree as Spanish Interpreter. Cecilia first joined St. Gerard House in the summer of 2014, where she discovered her passion for helping families who are facing autism. Cecilia is excited to be back on the SGH team after a brief departure following the birth of her second son. In her free time, Cecilia enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring the outdoors.


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Maria Vera, RBT

Therapist

Maria is from a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, and has been living in Hendersonville since 2008. A shopping fanatic, Maria also enjoys chicken tacos, the color yellow, and autumn – when the leaves change colors and the air feels crisp. Maria is in the process of obtaining her associate’s degree in science. She hopes to attend UNCA for her Bachelor of Business Administration. On a mission trip to Haiti in 2019, Maria visited an orphanage where she met three special needs children. “Although these kids were suffering, you could see a gleam of peace and happiness that God had placed in their hearts. I knew after this that I wanted to work with kids, simply because I wanted to continue seeing that gleam.” This is part of why she was drawn to St. Gerard House.


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Laura Williams

Bookkeeper

Laura has come full circle since spending childhood summers in the Blue Ridge mountains. Having lived mostly in Florida, she raised her 2 boys and worked in the Business Office at American Heritage School in Delray Beach. She has had many interesting jobs, and working with the team at St Gerard House is high on her list of favorites!

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