Our Team

Joel Arick, Ph.D.

Dr. Arick has experience working as an educator, researcher and trainer in the field of autism for over 30 years. He is the lead author of the nationally used STAR (Strategies for Teaching based-on Autism Research) Program and Links Curriculum. He is also a co-author of several other published programs in the area of autism. These programs include the ASIEP-3 (Autism Screening Instrument for EducationalPlanning-3, 2004), the KADI (Krug Asperger Disorder Index,2003), and the FACTER Program (Functional Assessment and Curriculum for Teaching Everyday Routines, 2004). Dr. Arick, with colleagues, has been measuring the progress of children educated using the STAR Autism Program, over the past ten years. He is also an author of a chapter entitled “School-based Programs for Children with Autism” in the Handbook on Autism (2005). Dr Arick is Professor Emeritus at Portland State University.


Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dr. Kemmerer has been working with children with autism since 1994. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and received her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis from the University of Iowa. Some of Lisa’s work experiences include: faculty positions at multiple universities, autism coordinator for the University of Iowa, Children’s Hospital Autism Center, behavior analyst with school districts in Iowa and West Virginia, special education teacher, and paraprofessional.


John Gill, MS

John has worked in public education since 1989 as a regular education teacher, special education teacher, district facilitator, autism specialist and paraprofessional. During six years with Portland State University, in addition to his teaching duties he conducted workshops and extensive hands on training to teachers and staff of students with autism as part of a statewide project in Oregon to develop training sites around the state. As a trainer for STAR Autism Support since its inception, John continues to provided workshops and in-classroom training around the country. John is a recognized contributor to the STAR Program, as well as a co-author of the STAR Program Training Videos and the Sunshine Literacy Kit.


Sheila Magee, MS

Sheila has served in public schools for over 30 years as a classroom teacher, school psychologist and administrator. She has coordinated programs for children with autism at both the pre-school and school-age level. The programs she coordinated have implemented the STAR Program and served as model training sites. She has many years of experience coaching and implementing the strategies found in the STAR Program, including: Discrete Trial Training, Pivotal Response Training, Teaching Functional Routines and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. In addition to her work in the schools, Sheila has also taught classes at the university level preparing educators in the field of special education.


Cami Algaier, MS CCC-SLP, BCBA

Cami worked within the private sector for 6 years and the public school setting for 14 years.Within the school setting Cami was a part of the Assistive Technology team, Autism team, provided hands-on STAR training, supervised SLPs and graduate students. She provided support for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities, Functional Life Skills and Structured Teaching Method classrooms. She works with children and families with speech and language disorders, autism and other developmental disabilities. She also provides collaboration and support for students in need of Assistive Technology, Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems. Cami has a Masters degree in Communication Disorders. Cami enjoys connecting with educators and families, while bringing a realistic and supportive approach to presentations and classroom consulting.


Kara Magee-Arick, MS, BCBA

Kara has spent the last decade working directly with students that have Autism. She received her Master’s degree in special education from Portland State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She is a co-author of both the Links Curriculum and Sunshine Literacy Program and currently travels the country conducting workshops and providing in-class training for STAR Autism Support. Kara is an experienced education professional having worked as a classroom teacher and Autism Specialist with students of all ages as well as with adults in community and vocational settings.


Aimee Dearmon, MS CCC-SLP, BCBA

Aimee is a speech and language pathologist (SLP) and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst(BCBA) who has over 15 years of experience serving students with autism in public, private and home settings. In addition to providing workshops and training in schools across the country and Puerto Rico, Aimee works with STAR Autism Support to manage and develop large projects. Her work includes developing workshops, building training sites, and coaching staff to successfully implement The STAR Program and Links Curriculum in several states, regions, and districts. Aimee is passionate about raising awareness for autism in her community and has led fundraising efforts at the local and regional levels.


Debbie Ware, M.A., CCC-SLP

Debbie is a Speech/Language Pathologist that works with STAR Autism Support to provide consultation to school districts throughout the United States. Debbie is currently working as a state-wide consultant with Easter Seals of Arkansas - Outreach Program. She is part of a team that provides hands-on consultation to teachers and therapist in the state of Arkansas. In addition, she is the coordinator of a week long summer training called Behavioral Approaches using STAR Implementation and Coaching (BASIC). The training provides a combination of modeling, coaching and hands-on experience using the STAR program. Prior to this she worked in the San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, CA. She received extensive training in the field of Autism while participating in a 3 year multi-agency grant project in San Diego County. Upon completion of the grant, she was on a team that opened the first pre-school classroom for children with Autism using evidence based practices in the San Diego Unified School District.


Darby Lasley, MS

Darby works with STAR Autism Support to provide workshops and hands-on consultation to classrooms throughout the country and in the state of Oregon with classrooms who have been trained to serve as model training sites (Oregon Regional Program Autism Training Sites/OrPATS). Darby brings classroom experience as an elementary life skills teacher who helped create the first elementary ORPATS training site in Lane County. For four years Darby served as a Program Supervisor overseeing the elementary life skills program and the regional autism program for Lane Education Service District. Darby also served as a senior instructor for Portland State University providing workshops and hands-on training to classrooms around the state of Oregon. Darby holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and a current Oregon Administrator License and Oregon Teaching License with endorsements Autism, Special Education and Early Childhood Education.


Jennie Willis, MS

Jennie has worked with students with disabilities for the past 15 years. She has served as an Early Intervention Specialist, classroom teacher for students with autism, and an Autism Specialist for a public school district. Jennie currently works as a trainer on a grant with the State of Oregon training public school teachers and staff throughout the state on research based instructional strategies for students with autism. She also serves as an Educational Consultant with STAR Autism Support providing trainings and consultation to school district staff throughout the United States. Jennie has worked with a broad range of learners and with students ranging in ages from toddlers up to students in post secondary programs. Jennie holds a Master of Science degree in Special Education and maintains an Initial Teaching License II.


Amy Barnhill, BCaBA 

Amy has provided behavior analytic services to individuals on the autism spectrum since 1997. Over the course of her career, she has developed and implemented educational/behavior support programs in clinical and school based settings, trained and supervised staff, and provided social skills and vocational training for young adults with Aspergers and related differences. In 2003, Amy helped create and direct a social skills intervention program that continues to flourish in serving children and adolescence with a diverse range of backgrounds and abilities. Amy joined the STAR Autism Support team as a training specialist in July of 2013. She has completed postgraduate studies at St. Cloud State University and is a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst.


Tracy Uden M.Ed., BCBA

Tracy has worked in public education for over a decade as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and as an autism specialist. Tracy works with STAR Autism Support to provide training during workshops and on-site consultations. She received her Master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She currently resides in Grand Junction, CO.


Julie St. John, Ed.S.

Julie completed her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at the University of Iowa in May, 2015, and has been working with students with autism and developmental disabilities for six years. Her professional experiences include assessment of challenging behavior, behavior reduction, skill acquisition, and diagnostic evaluation. She has worked in clinical and school settings but finds energy and passion in schools working directly with students, teachers, and paraprofessionals. Julie is always looking for ways to continue learning and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in School Psychology.


Kathryn Morrow, M.Ed.

Kathryn has worked in public education since 2006, as both a special education teacher in an autism classroom in the Chicago Public School District, as well as an autism specialist for a school district in Oregon. She has experience implementing evidence-based practices with students on the autism spectrum across elementary, middle school, high school, and post-secondary levels. Kathryn works for STAR Autism Support as a training specialist and as assistant product manager for the Links Routine Teaching Units. As a training specialist, Kathryn travels the country providing workshops and classroom consultations to school districts. She enjoys working in diverse classrooms and coaching teachers and paraprofessionals to be successful implementers of the STAR Program and Links Curriculum. Kathryn received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She currently resides with her husband and two children in Southwest Michigan.


Nilma Aviles

Since 2011, Nilma has worked as a classroom teacher of children with autism, as well as those affected by a variety of other developmental disabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, where she received a Bachelor of Education in Adapted and Elemental Physical Education. Nilma began working with STAR Autism Support as coach of the Puerto Rico Autism Project in February of 2015. As a coach in the project, she uses strategies and tools found in the STAR Program and Links Curriculum to support the implementation of evidenced-based strategies at multiple school sites throughout Puerto Rico.



Christina Davis, M.Ed.

Christina has been educating students with autism and other developmental delays since 2012. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in special education and elementary education in 2011. As an active participant in the Arizona Statewide Autism Project (AzSAP), she implemented the STAR Program in her early childhood special education classroom for two years and in 2015 became a STAR district trainer. Christina joined the STAR Autism Support team in 2016. Christina completed a Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University in 2017 and is working towards becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.



Mary Jo Hammond, M.Ed.

Mary Jo joined STAR Autism Support in 2016 as a training specialist and assistant product manager for the media center themed units. She has worked on the Arizona state-wide project training teachers in both the LINKS Curriculum and STAR Program. She has also provided on-site training for the Philadelphia project training teachers on using the LINKS Curriculum. She will be working on the Utah STAR project for the 2017-18 school year. Mary Jo was previously employed in the Arizona Public Schools since 1987 as a general education teacher, special education teacher, Special Education Instructional Coach and a Special Education Achievement Leader. During her last 3 years in Kingman School District, she was a member of the STAR training center at Little Explorers Early Learning Center and most recently the administrator for the LINKS program for the district. She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University where she earned a Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters in Elementary Education. Mary Jo is now living in Utah to be close to her children and grandson.



Tara Fleck

Tara has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2007. As a certified teacher, Tara taught in classrooms for preschool through sixth grade. After post-graduate studies at Temple University, Tara trained and supervised ABA therapists in the field of Early Intervention for 6 years, developing and implementing curriculum for Social Skills, Life Skills and parent training. Tara lives in Philadelphia as a Training Specialist for STAR Autism Support. 


Elizabeth Curtin, M.Ed.

Elizabeth has worked with students with ASD and other disabilities for the past eight years. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Master’s Degree in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership. Elizabeth also holds a current Illinois Administrator License. She has worked across elementary, middle, and secondary levels in academic, functional life skills, community, and vocational settings. As a classroom teacher, Elizabeth implemented the STAR program and Links curriculum, and became an elementary model site for the STAR Program in her district. Elizabeth began working with STAR in June 2017, and works as a training specialist to provide training during workshops and classroom consultations. She recently moved from Chicago to San Francisco.



Kristi Porter, M.Ed.

As a training specialist for STAR Autism Support, Kristi Porter provides professional development and on-site coaching for educators and parents on implementing evidence based practices for students with Autism. Kristi graduated from Texas Women’s University with a master’s degree in special education as an Educational Diagnostician. Kristi has served in many different capacities in special education in Utah, Wyoming, and Texas. She had the privilege of representing educators on the Wyoming Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities while serving as Chair Elect. Kristi is passionate about professional development and has presented at the Texas Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Texas Region 11 Directors Meeting, and the National Council for Exceptional Children.



Alicia Schneider, M.Ed.

Alicia received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and her Master’s in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Oregon. Alicia’s career in special education started with providing in-home applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to students with autism and other special needs. After receiving her teaching license and Master’s degree in EI/ECSE she worked for Early Childhood CARES at the University of Oregon where she taught and managed an ECSE classroom for children with autism, which implemented the STAR Curriculum and served as an OrPATS training site. Alicia has led many parent trainings on a variety of topics, including teaching social communication, managing challenging behaviors, and teaching adaptive skills such as toilet training and meal-time behaviors. She currently resides in Eugene, OR with her partner Connor and dog Dakota!


Jennifer Schwartz, MS CCC-SLP

Jennifer joined STAR Autism Support after implementing the program as a Speech and Language Pathologist for the Cave Creek Schools in Arizona. She was introduced to the curriculum through a grant from the Arizona Statewide Autism Project (AzSAP) while providing school-based services to elementary and middle school students with a variety of disabilities. Jennifer earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Elementary Education, a Master's degree in Communication Disorders from Arizona State University and is an American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) Certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She is thrilled to support teachers who create individualized programs for students to acquire new knowledge and develop skills necessary to be successful in school and beyond using the STAR and Links program.


Ruth M. Eyres, M.S.E., NBCT

Ruth has worked directly with students with intellectual disabilities, autism, developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities, and dual sensory impairments since 1997 as a public school teacher and education consultant. She helped pilot the Links Curriculum in Arkansas and currently provides in-classroom coaching using Links. Ruth received her M.S.E in special education from the University of Central Arkansas and is currently completing a doctorate degree in Instructional and Curriculum Leadership at The University of Memphis. Ruth is a Nationally Board-Certified Teacher and currently works as a state-wide consultant with the Easterseals Arkansas Outreach program coaching school teams to implement evidence-based practices with fidelity. She is active on the boards of the Arkansas Subdivision on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) and the Arkansas Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).


Kerry Watson 

Kerry has worked directly with children and adults with a range of developmental disabilities since 2012. Her various roles have included working as a direct support worker and teaching students with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder in the public education system. Kerry implemented the Links Curriculum in her classroom and gained coaching accreditation before joining STAR Autism Support as a training specialist to support Victoria’s ABA Pilot Project in Australia. Kerry has a passion for community inclusion and loves that her work, coaching teachers and staff to implement evidence-based strategies and curricula through the STAR and Links Program, supports this ideal and contributes to creating sustainable social change. Kerry has a double degree in Education and Applied Science (Disability) from RMIT University in Melbourne and is currently studying for her Masters of Education in Applied Behaviour Analysis at Monash University.