Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Wade, has a longtime passion for working with children, which led her to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in special education, with a focus on early childhood education. She obtained her board certification in behavior analysis through Rutgers University in 2006. Lisa has over 17 years of experience working with children with special needs. Her vast experience includes various positions such as teaching in a variety of classrooms, providing supervision for home-based programming and being the ABA Director for a large New York City agency. The inspiration for Steps Therapy came from her passion to provide the highest quality programming to those in need of education and behavioral services. Lisa designs, implements and supervises behavior intervention programs, conducts parent and staff training, and conducts workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York metropolitan area. Lisa is a mom of three who loves spending time with her family and friends.
Johanna Ploude is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for 16 years. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Johanna received her Master’s Degree and teaching credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities (K-12). Initially having a desire to be a teacher, Johanna felt that she could make more of an impact focusing specifically on individuals with Autism, their learning differences, and coaching others to understand this type of learner. After working intensively in the field, she attended Pennsylvania State University to pursue her coursework and board certification in Applied Behavior Analysis. Johanna has been a part of the Steps Therapy team for 8 years, and is continually motivated by the dynamic team of professionals and growth of the organization. Johanna is passionate about working and partnering with families through the Early Intervention process, in addition to working with administrators and educators to strengthen individual and classroom programs. In her spare time, she can be found hiking trails in Northern California, or exploring hidden spots to eat in San Francisco.
Initially introduced to ABA in Dallas, Candice entered this field in 2006 and never turned back. Across the past twelve years, Candice has worked closely with students between the ages of 2 and 10 in a variety of settings. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education with an Early Childhood emphasis and has strong interests in early intervention, assistive communication technology, classroom management, and application of ABA to students with complex social and behavioral needs. She spends her days in classrooms and homes across the Bay Area, collaborating with parents and teachers to help create individualized, effective learning environments. When not at work, Candice enjoys being with her dogs and trying out new restaurants.
Eva completed her Masters in Education at Arizona State University, and is now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has 6 years of experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as 9 years of experience working with children and adolescents in various professional settings. Eva has a strong passion for early intervention and increasing verbal behavior. When Eva is not at work, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, and exploring as much of the Bay Area as possible with friends.
Lacey received her Master of Science in Psychology and is a practicing Behavior Analyst. She comes to Steps Therapy with 3 years of experience in the field, with a focus on providing parent training and consultation to families. Early intervention, and providing high quality, naturalistic teaching is a passion of Lacey’s. When not developing programs and training families, Lacey enjoys watching sports and baking.
Kayla received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Washington in 2015 where she worked as a research assistant in the UW Autism Center on Human Development and Disability. After graduation, she worked as a teacher serving 15-21 year old’s at the NYC Autism Charter School, a school dedicated to serving students with autism. Kayla received a Master of Science in special education with a focus in severe disabilities from Johns Hopkins University in 2020. She is currently in the process of completing her BCAB coursework through Texas A&M and gathering supervision hours to be able to sit for exam. In her free time, Kayla loves spending time with her family and friends, watching documentaries, and hiking in Point Reyes.
Mateo obtained his Bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine, and recently received his M.Ed., from Arizona State University. He came to Steps with prior experience working as a teacher, camp counselor, and supporting children in after-school programs. He ultimately found his true passion lies in ABA, and has been working on the field for 6 years now. Mateo grew up in the Bay Area and is a huge 49ers fan! On his days off, you can find him volunteering at dog shelters, rock climbing, and enjoying the outdoors.
Emiko received her Master of Science in Psychology and has been working in the field of ABA since 2002. Currently Emiko is working toward completing her supervision hours in order to meet eligibility to sit for the BCBA exam. At Steps Therapy she enjoys supporting her families reach their goals, collaborating with team members, and creating fun and positive learning environments. In her free time she enjoys volunteering and training dogs at local animal shelters, and spending time with loved ones.
During her undergraduate education, Lilly worked as a Behavior Technician in the East Bay Area and completed an internship at the UC Davis MIND Institute. After exploring her interests in research, Lilly realized that her true passion lies in working directly with children and their families.
After receiving her Bachelor’s from the University of California, Davis, Lilly moved to Seattle to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree in ABA. During this time, she briefly worked at a school which specialized in providing support to students on the Autism spectrum. Lilly completed her ABA coursework in the summer of 2020 and moved back to California where she is currently finishing her fieldwork supervision. She hopes to receive her certification in the summer of 2021.
While she is always on the lookout for new learning opportunities, a few of her current interests include fostering animals and learning Gujarati.
Clare received a B.A. ini Psychology with a concentration in Early Childhood Development from UC Berkeley. She is currently completing behavior analytic coursework at Florida Institute of Technology, while simultaneously enrolled in the Early Childhood graduate program at San Francisco State University. Her experience as a first grade teacher’s aide, camp counselor, mentor, and tutor have greatly fostered her passion for early intervention. Since entering the field of ABA, Clare has enjoyed applying her passion to both home and classroom settings. She continually feels grateful for all that her Steps’ families have taught her. Outside of work, Clare enjoys camping, hiking and spending time at the beach.
Alexa began her career with Steps Therapy in 2017 upon graduating from University of La Verne with her BA in Child Development. Working with children has always been a passion of hers, but once she joined the Steps team, she quickly discovered her love for ABA. She is a recent graduate of SFSU, earning her Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. She continues to find joy in her everyday work as she closely supports families and children in reaching their individual goals. In Alexa’s spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, watching sports, staying active, and spending time with family and friends!
Sara discovered her passion for ABA while working at one of California’s many regional centers. She moved to Boston to work towards completing a MS in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University. At Northeastern, she completed an intensive practicum at New England Center for Children and at Newton Public Schools. Sara has always had a passion for life and social sciences and enjoys working with young learners and their families. In her free time she is hiking, exercising, reading, writing or spending time with family and friends. She loves all things chocolate, sci-fi, travel and history!
Kristen is originally from Buffalo, NY and relocated to San Francisco in 2018, which is also when she began her career at Steps! She graduated from Canisius College with a BS in Business Marketing. She comes to Steps Therapy with 4+ years of experience in human resources, benefits and payroll. Kristen is passionate about helping others and truly enjoys going above and beyond for our employees. Being born and raised in Buffalo, she strongly supports her local sports teams: the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. In her spare time, she likes to cook, travel, and try new foods – even though some of her hometown staples, like beef on weck and chicken finger subs, will always be a few of her favorites!
Born and raised in San Francisco, Rachel joined the Steps Team with 3 years of experience in billing and administration and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance. As the oldest of three siblings, it is important to her to be working somewhere that is positively impacting the lives of children and their families. In her free time, Rachel likes spending time with her family and friends, tending to her indoor houseplant jungle, and playing chess.
Joyce comes to Steps Therapy with years of administrative experience, and 7 years of experience working with children. She is excited to work with a team of individuals that care about making a difference in people’s lives and is grateful for the opportunity to gain insight on behavioral health. In her spare time, Joyce enjoys traveling, gardening and watching HGTV!