Who We Are
Michelle Wagner, M.A., BCBA - CEO/President
Mrs. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Arts in Teaching and Applied Behavior Analysis from National University. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), she works diligently to promote Applied Behavior Analysis and ensure that those working with her organization are qualified professionals. Mrs. Wagner has been working with individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities for more than 28 years. She has provided behavior intervention services in public school settings, family homes, center-based programs, and non-public schools for consumers ages 18 months to 45 years. She has worked most extensively with individuals with autism, providing in home programs, center based programs and a non- public preschool. In 2000, Mrs. Wagner established Advance Kids with the intention of changing the course of the future for young children with autism without forgetting the needs of adolescents and adults who still need support and intervention.
Mrs. Wagner was featured in The Business Journal and was also awarded "Business Woman of the Year" by the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2008.
Mrs. Wagner founded Opportunity Acres in 2013 in response to a clear need for better services for adolescents and adults diagnosed with Autism. After spending so many years int he field and watching some of her very first clients enter adulthood only to find there were no specialized supports, she decided to stretch and grow as a professional and begin and Adult Day Program (ADP) and Non-Public School for middle school and high school students. The vision for this project was to give these individuals a very special environment and Opportunity Acres is just that. This 56 acre ranch is buzzing with visitors, horses, sheep, goats and a donkey and a motivated clinical team working to change lives every day.
Most importantly, Mrs. Wagner is the mother of three children, Jake, Gavin and Morgan who have taught her what parenting is really about.
Jorge Barragan, B.A. - Assistant to Chief Executive Officer
Jorge joined Advance Kids in 2009. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Design Studies (emphasis in Graphic Design) with a minor in Photography. After managing the front desk at our Bradshaw Center Based Program, Jorge was promoted to Executive Assistant to the CEO in 2010. His attention to detail and his strong desire for organization has made him a perfect teammate for our CEO. In his position, Jorge has also been able to use his background in art and his creative talents to produce flyers, brochures, business cards and to revitalize the business website. Jorge continues to learn on the job and his determination allows him to thrive in a position that requires versatility.
Holly Stayton - Director of Human Resources
Holly joined Advance Kids as the Director of Human Resources in October of 2019. With over 22 years of experience in Human Resources, Holly has worked in small to large sized companies in high tech, manufacturing, non-profit and oil and gas industries. She brings extensive knowledge in many facets of human resources including compensation, benefits, talent management, training and development, organizational development, employment law and health and safety. Holly received her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification in 2009 and also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In her spare time, Holly enjoys being active and loves to swim, bike and run and, of course, travelling to countries where she can speak French. She is thrilled to be a part of the Advance Kids team and support the organization’s mission and vision.
Mikayla Davis - HR Administrator
Mikayla joined Advance Kids in 2018 as the assistant to the Director of Human Resources. She brings with her over 7 years of experience in administrative services. Before joining Advance Kids, Mikayla worked for a 3rd party mortgage auditor; her job duties included supervising the monthly distribution of work, training new clerical staff, and providing administrative support to the owner. Some of her hobbies include singing, cooking, visiting the home of her favorite mouse, and hanging out with her family. She is grateful for the opportunity to explore a new career path in Human Resources, and is very excited to be a part of the Advance Kids team!
Chris Alaga - Chief Financial Officer
Chris was appointed Chief Financial Officer for Advance kids in April 2018 and is responsible for the strategic development and financial integrity of the company. Chris brings a depth of knowledge and perspective in accounting and financial analysis from multiple industries including banking, insurance, and manufacturing. Additionally, Chris has owned and operated his own horse ranch. As a Certified Public Accountant, he has a passion for sound financial management and establishing a financial unit that focuses on providing timely, accurate, and value-adding reporting to help grow the business and support the strategic initiatives of his business partners.
Jamie Gee-Wilkins - Assistant to Chief Financial Officer
Jamie joined Advance Kids in September 2015. She has over 12 years of experience in bookkeeping and office management. After several years of managing the office of her family’s construction business, Jamie began working from home as an eBay seller. This gave her the opportunity to be home with her younger children and volunteer at their school when they reached school age. She is thrilled to now be part of the Advance Kids team, where she can pair her office and bookkeeping knowledge with her love for children.
Aimee Hill - Clinical Business Administrator
Aimee has had the desire to work with children for as long as she can remember. She has over 19 years experience working with children of all ages. She began her career here at Advance Kids in 2007 as a Paraprofessional in the Bradshaw Center Based program. In 2008 Aimee was promoted to a Lead Paraprofessional and then in 2012 Aimee took on the role as the Sacramento Field Trainer. As the Field Trainer, Aimee works with new Paraprofessionals to help them assist their clients in reaching their full potential.
Katie McCord - Scheduler
Katie is a steadfast fixture here at Advance Kids having served in all departments during her decade plus years of dedication. When asked for her reasons for working with children, Katie is fast to answer: The ever-changing discovery and evolution of what motivates each child. The opportunity to experience the learning, growth, success and challenges each child faces. The freedom and joy of playing and being silly with each child. Katie is overjoyed to take her wealth of clinical, Paraprofessional/RBT experience and invest it in the very vital role of scheduler. From staffing schedules to new client intakes and so much more, Katie’s warm smile and can-do attitude is a welcome sight to all that come in contact with her.
Alessandra Dal Forno - Insurance Specialist
Alessandra was born and raised in Verona Italy. She graduated from "Ca'Foscari" University of Venice with
a bachelor's degree in "Tourism Economic and Management" in 2004. She moved to the United States right after graduation. In 2005 she joined Advance Kids as the executive assistant to the CEO. After 3 years Alessandra moved back to Italy where she worked as an administrative assistant for an international winery. She returned to the US with her family in 2013 and rejoined Advance Kids as the company Insurance Specialist.
Dian Listberger - Billing Specialist
I am married with 3 grown children. Born and raised in Alaska, however love living in the sunshine and warmth of California! I like to garden, be outdoors, sew, paint and be with family and friends. I am excited to be working at Advance Kids.
Sarah Jacobs, LMFT, BCBA - Senior Clinical Director/In Home Services Director
Sarah received her Master´s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco in 2006 and a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2009. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (since 2009) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (since 2015). She began working with children on the autism spectrum in 1998 and within the field of ABA in 2005. Sarah has worked in a variety of settings, including a local high school where she worked as part of an interdisciplinary team, providing individual, family, and group counseling for teenagers. She joined Advance Kids in 2005, starting as a school aide and in-home paraprofessional. Sarah has worked in all departments and held varying clinical positions within Advance Kids. Currently, she holds the position of Senior Clinical Director and Director of Kala. As Senior Clinical Director, she works closely with the CEO and department Directors aiding in overall quality control. She spearheaded the development of Kala, our crisis intervention program, and has been managing this one-of-a-kind service for individuals with severe challenges since its inception. She has a strong sense of dedication to her patients, students, and staff, with the goal of motivating each and every individual to their highest potential.
Patricia Vitt - Executive Assistant to Clinical Director
Patricia joined Opportunity Acres and Advance Kids in August of 2019. She has 15 years’ experience working as an Administrative Assistant. 8 Years of which were spent working as an Administrative assistant & Executive Secretary to the director for a private special needs school. After spending time working with special needs students, it instilled a lifelong passion for being a part of a school or therapy based environment, in which she could indirectly ensure a positive outcome for many students, teachers, and clients. In her personal time, she hangouts with family and her two dogs being adventurous and taking road trips throughout the United States.
Stephanie Jacobs, M.A., BCBA - Director of Natomas Clinic Based Program
Stephanie has recently transferred from the Chico Advance Kids office to the Sacramento office. Stephanie has been a professional in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) since 2004. Throughout her years using ABA, she has worked with a variety of children with special needs from the age of 11 months to 21 years old. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology in 2008. Stephanie joined the Advance Kids team initially in 2006. After working with the children and seeing them succeed through the use of ABA, she decided to continue in the field of ABA. She became a behavior consultant in 2008, and a supervising behavior consultant in 2009. In 2011, she acquired her Master’s Degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. That same year Stephanie became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She continues to strive to be an asset to the families she works with through the use of ABA, patience, perseverance and fun!
Elisabeth Mathewson, M.A., BCBA - Director of Bradshaw Clinic Based Program
and the Giving Tree School
Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Special Education from the University of LaVerne, and a Master of Arts Degree in Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from National University. Currently the Director of the Bradshaw Center Based Program and Giving Tree School, Elisa has had a passion for serving children with special needs for as long as she can remember. She found her calling in ABA when she stumbled upon a job posting for a paraprofessional position with Advance Kids in 2011 and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2015. Over the years, Elisa has managed and designed ABA programs in the home, center based, and school settings. She has provided classroom coaching and consultation to groups of Special Education teachers, and collaborated in the design of Autism classrooms through local school districts. From large leaps in her students and patients development, to small day to day successes, every step towards an increased quality of life, increased independence and autonomy, and increased integration and acceptance in their communities, makes it all worth it to Elisa.
Katie Alosi - Assistant to Directors (Natomas and Bradshaw/The Giving Tree School)
Katie joined Advance Kids in September of 2010. She provides support to the Director of Human Resources. Ms. Alosi has over 20 years of experience in administrative services, several years of which were spent working with government agencies and working in disaster preparedness. Before joining the Advance Kids team, she worked for a municipal consulting firm where her executive administrative duties included organizing the task load for a team of ten administrative assistants and managing the Regional Water Authority Hotline for the Sacramento area. She has directed community programs, managed and staffed several large-scale stage shows for the Lassen County Fair and has extensive experience in the health insurance industry. She is pursuing her educational path in Sociology with a leaning in Criminology. With each endeavor Katie has been committed to elevating others and making her community a better place. Katie is proud to be a part of the Advance Kids team.
Gary Angeja - Teacher of The Giving Tree School
Gary graduated from California State University Chico in 2010 and is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. He coached youth soccer for seven years and was introduced to the field of ABA after coaching a child with ASD. Gary began working with Advance Kids in 2013 where he started at the Bradshaw Center and has since had the opportunity to contribute his services to many of the other Advance Kids departments. After working at the Bradshaw Center, the Natomas Center and In-Home, Gary found his home in The Giving Tree School. He has now gone from a Lead Registered Behavior Technician to the Teacher for The Giving Tree preschool and loves having the opportunity to help students as well as paraprofessionals reach their full potential.