Board of Directors
Administrative Staff   /   Behavior Analysts & Senior Clinial Instructors   /   Special Education Staff   /   Related Services
Instructional Staff

Board of Directors

Our board members are dedicated to the present and future success of The Birchtree Center.

Andrew E. Smith, Ph.D., President MaryLiz (M.L.) Geffert, JD, Vice President
Dennis Riendeau, CPA, Treasurer Allison Bussiere, Secretary
Glicka Kaplan, MS, Past President Sandra Pierce-Jordan, PhD, BCBA-D, Executive Director*
Jenifer Cannon, Director Christopher Clement, MBA, Director
Bob Gross, Parent Representative Richard Guare, PhD, BCBA-D, Director
Pascal Orliac, MBA, Director Amy Smucker, MS, Director
Ann Tarlton, MA, Director Catherine Barnard, MEd, Staff Representative*
Erin Conlan, MSEd, BCBA, Staff Representative*

*non-voting board members

Program & Staff Leadership

Leadership of The Birchtree Center is governed by vision, values and motivation. Our leadership team is comprised of managers and clinicians who possess specific skills in behavior analysis and special education for students with autism. Our team of special educators, behavior analysts, an occupational therapist, and a speech-language pathologist oversees programs and ensures the progress of every student. Our leadership team is comprised of experienced experts in the field of autism and all hold advanced degrees.

Executive Director / Program Director

Sandra Pierce-Jordan, PhD, BCBA-D, received a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and the MEd and PhD degrees from Northeastern University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  Dr. Pierce-Jordan joined The Birchtree Center as a Behavior Analyst in October 2007. She has worked with children and adults with autism and Asperger’s for 25 years in a variety of roles, including consulting and providing direct services. Dr. Pierce-Jordan has worked collaboratively with schools and families in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, providing functional behavioral assessments, behavior support plan development, individualized educational plans, curriculum development, applied behavior analysis programming, diagnostic evaluations, program evaluations and consultation, staff and parent trainings, and workshops. In 2014 she received an Outstanding Woman in Business Award from New Hampshire Business Review.

Executive Director

Administrative Staff

Director of Human Resources

Sarah Ouellette has over twenty years of broad-based human-resources experience, including work in recruitment, employee relations, employee training, employee safety, performance management, policy development, and organizational development.   Her past positions include Human Resources Director, Human Resources Consultant, and Corporate Recruiter.  Ms. Ouellette has worked primarily in the field of education; before joining Birchtree’s staff in January 2011, she worked for eleven years in human resources at a Fortune 500 educational publishing company and at an educational testing company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine at Orono.

Director of Finance

Holly Robacher, MBA, joined The Birchtree Center in 2009.  She brings professional experience spanning a diverse array of industries including non-profit, high tech and aeronautics. Ms. Robacher has contributed in various finance roles for small local businesses to large corporations and has held the positions of CFO, Accounting Manager, Business System Analyst, and Cost Accountant.  She holds an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and a BS in accounting from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Director of Finance

Director of Development & Community Relations

Jessica Files Squier, MA, has worked at nonprofits throughout the northeast including Strawbery Banke Museum, the Newport (R.I.) Historical Society, Mystic Seaport, Plimoth Plantation, and the Chester County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society.  Her responsibilities have included public relations, grant writing, program planning, tour-guide training, public speaking and more.  Her graduate studies at the University of Delaware included coursework in not-for-profit management, fundraising and publicity.  She has an MA in history with certification in museum studies. She first joined the Birchtree team in 2007.


Behavior Analysts & Senior Clinical Instructors

Behavior Analyst

Erin Conlan, MSEd, BCBA, earned her master’s degree from Simmons College in Behavioral Education.  She has over fifteen years of experience working with individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities/ delays and mental illness, and with their families and caregivers.  Before coming to Birchtree in 2004, Ms. Conlan worked as a case manager, family life skills coordinator, and behavioral assistant.  She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2008.


Behavior Analyst

Marianne Evans, MS, BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with eleven years of experience working with individuals with developmental disorders. She earned her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Simmons College. Before she arrived at Birchtree in 2014, Ms. Evans was part of a multi-disciplinary clinical team in a hospital-based developmental disorders program; her responsibilities included providing clinical oversight of all behavioral and educational programming, conducting behavioral assessments and data analysis, developing behavior support plans, conducting in-service training, and training and supervising direct care staff in the implementation of behavior support plans.


Outreach Behavior Analyst

Julianne Kanner, MS, BCBA, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College and a master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from Simmons College. Before joining the Birchtree team in 2014, she worked as a Behavior Analyst for an educational collaborative in the Boston area. Ms. Kanner is a Board Certified Analyst with eight years of professional experience working with children and adults with special needs in a variety of settings, including private homes, private and public schools, residential facilities, and camps.


Behavior Analyst

Blaire Luebkeman, MSEd, BCBA, earned a Master’s in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction in Autism Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire.  Ms. Luebkeman has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for ten years, providing in-home support services to a child with autism and his family before joining the Birchtree team as a Clinical Instructor in 2006.  She was promoted to Senior Clinical Instructor in December 2008 and was promoted to Behavior Analyst in March 2013. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2013.


Outreach Behavior Analyst

Stephanie Mariano Morin, MSEd, BCBA, holds a master’s degree in Behavioral Education from Simmons College and has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2008.  Her 12+ years of experience working with children with disabilities includes time as a transition specialist, special educator, and mental health counselor. Before coming to Birchtree in 2007, she led an experiential learning program that supported integrated employment for young adults with developmental disabilities.

Behavior Analyst

Behavior Analyst

Brianne Pileggi, MEd, BCBA, earned a Master of Education degree from Endicott College in Special Needs and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed in General Special Education by the state of New Hampshire. Prior to joining Birchtree’s team in 2011, Mrs. Pileggi provided in-home support for children with autism and their families. She has over eight years of experience in the education field and was promoted to Behavior Analyst in 2014.


Behavior Analyst

Rebecca Walsh, MSEd, BCBA, earned a master’s degree in Behavioral Education from Simmons College and has worked with students with developmental disabilities for over nine years.  Before joining The Birchtree Center’s staff in 2004, Ms. Walsh worked at an integrated preschool and as a para-professional in an extended-school-year program. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2008.


Senior Clinical Instructor

SeniorCIholds a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education degree in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. Before she joined The Birchtree Center’s staff in 2012, she worked with students with autism in public-school and home-based settings and also worked at a group home for at-risk youth. She joined Birchtree’s staff as a Clinical Instructor in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Clinical Instructor in 2014.


Special Education Staff

Director of Special Education

Shelly Fagen, MIT, received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Georgia and a Master of Initial Teaching, K-12, with an emphasis in Special Education from Gonzaga University. Ms. Fagen has worked in the field of special education for over 15 years and has served school districts in Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Ms. Fagen’s professional experience includes special education case management for students aged 2-21 with varying disabilities in public and private school settings. She has also provided supervision, training and mentoring for special education staff. Shelly holds a New Hampshire Department of Education Experienced Educator credential with endorsements in Special Education Administration and General Special Education. She joined the Birchtree staff in 2007.


Special Education Case Manager

Lorraine Fjeld, MEd, holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University and a Beginning Educator certificate in General Special Education from the New Hampshire Department of Education. Before joining the Birchtree team, Ms. Fjeld worked as a home daycare provider and as a public-school para-educator. She also has 15 years experience in hospitality management in the hotel industry. After receiving her master’s degree, she joined the staff of The Birchtree Center as a Clinical Instructor and was promoted to Special Education Case Manager in 2014.


Special Education Case Manager

Emily Hall, MEd, received her master’s degree in the area of Special Education, with a specialization in Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, from Franklin Pierce University in February 2012. She has worked with students with disabilities for over 15 years in a variety of educational roles, including Special Educator, Education Specialist and Independent Living Specialist. Before joining The Birchtree Center’s staff as a Clinical Instructor in 2007, she taught in a private school program that serves developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed students in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Hall holds a New Hampshire teacher certification in General Special Education and Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities.


Transition Coordinator

Debbie Patten, MEd, has a graduate degree in Special Education from New England College and has over 18 years of experience as an educator and service provider for individuals with disabilities.  Her professional experience includes work in public schools, home-based services, and a residential program for children with disabilities.  Ms. Patten joined The Birchtree Center as a Clinical Instructor in 2006 and was promoted to Transition Coordinator in 2011.  She holds a New Hampshire Educational License in General Special Education.


Special Education Case Manager

Sarah Stranger Stein, MAT, earned a master’s degree from the University of New Hampshire in the area of Secondary Education. She holds a beginning educator’s license in English 5-12 and an intern license in Special Education K-12. Before joining The Birchtree Center’s staff, Mrs. Stranger Stein worked with students with intensive needs in both public-school and home-based settings. She has worked in an early intervention program and in several public-school classrooms, including a middle-school English classroom. She joined Birchtree’s staff in 2013 and was promoted to the role of Special Education Case Manager that same year.


Related Services

Consulting Speech-Language Pathologist

Cathy Booth, CCC-SLP, BCBA, holds a BS in Early Childhood/Family Services and Communication Disorders, an MS in Communication Disorders from the University of New Hampshire, and an EdS in Behavior Education from Simmons College.  Ms. Booth is a certified speech language pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Ms. Booth is trained in the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) and Seeing Stars programs. She has experience programming and implementing a variety of augmentative and alternative communication systems, including voice output and PECS. Ms. Booth has worked with children from birth through high school diagnosed with ASD in public school settings and private practice. She has provided workshops on the use of visual supports for Southeastern Regional Education Service Center, Inc. (SERESC).

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Kimberly Maki, SLP-A, earned a BS in Family Studies from the University of New Hampshire and a Leveling Certificate in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has completed thirteen hours of basic training in Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS). Before joining Birchtree’s staff in 2013, Ms. Maki worked at a nonprofit hearing, speech and language center, where she served as an instructor and then as Assistant Coordinator for an early literacy program serving underprivileged children (including children with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders). She has also administered vision, hearing, speech, language and developmental screenings and has worked as an educational assistant in a special education classroom.


Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Justine Mariano, SLPA/L, holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders (Speech Language Pathology and Audiology) from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked in the field of special education for 10+ years as an instructional assistant and speech and language pathology assistant. Before joining the Birchtree staff in 2011, she worked as a licensed SLPA for 4 years at a collaborative based program for children and adults ranging from ages 5 – 22 with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disorders. She has experience programming, training, and implementing various augmentative and alternative communication systems, including voice output, and has completed thirteen hours of basic training in Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS).


Occupational Therapist

Nicole Sheaff, OTR/L, holds a BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire and has completed training in autism, sensory integration, vision, vestibular integration, handwriting, and executive functioning.  Before coming to The Birchtree Center in 2012, Ms. Sheaff worked for 11+ years as an Occupational Therapist in settings including a public school, a private school, an early intervention program, and a sensory integration clinic.  Ms. Sheaff is also a parent of children with special needs and a strong advocate for special education and parent involvement.


Occupational Therapy Aide

Sara Amacio 

School Nurse

Kimberly Mihelich, RN BSN, completed her nursing degree at Chamberlain College of Nursing.  She joined The Birchtree Center in September of 2013 with 20 years of acute-care experience in many settings, including homecare, oncology, urology, nephrology,  neurology, general medical-surgical, telemetry, and Post-Anesthesia Care with a focus on orthopedics.  She has been a volunteer school nurse in another setting for 7 years, performing routine health assessments, and has worked as a camp nurse on several occasions in the Adirondack region. Her other experience with elementary age children involves teaching gym, health and nutrition.   Kim’s advanced certifications include Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support certifications.  Additionally, Kim is an American Heart Association certified basic life support instructor.  Kim has also studied aromatherapy extensively as it relates to symptom relief for patients.  She is an avid runner and coaches cross country.

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Instructional Staff

Our instructional staff is comprised of special educators, clinical instructors, and the individuals named above.  All instructors are specially trained and highly qualified, with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field and with extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis and special education.  Instructors also receive training in sensory integration, social skill development, communication sciences, and augmentative and alternative communication systems.  Most instructors have completed the thirteen-hour basic training for the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

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