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 in the 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.
Brenda Gilmartin - Executive Assistant to Clinical Director and Assistant to In Home Director
Brenda joined the Advance Kids team in March 2018 as a registered behavior technician in our crisis program, Kala No Limits. She has implemented programs throughout each of Advance Kids departments and transitioned into the role of Assistant to the Directors of Kala and In-Home services in June 2021. She graduated from the University of La Verne in 2014 with her BA in psychology before gaining her RBT certificate in 2017. Brenda is highly driven by the successes of the individuals we serve and is excited for the impact she will have through her role as an assistant to Kala and In-home.
Tanya Nalley - Intake and Client Services Manager
Tanya earned her Master’s in Social Work at California State University, Sacramento in 2003, and her Bachelors in Social Work also at California State University, Sacramento in 1998. She has devoted her personal and professional life towards working with individuals with developmental disabilities. She is a talented and driven social worker who has more than 22 years of experience assisting families navigate medical, mental health, educational, and social systems to proactively address their plan of care to improve the health and well-being of individuals. As the Intake and Client Services Manager she provides support and leadership in monitoring progress, intervening as necessary to ensure that the plan of care and services provided are patient focused and friendly, high quality, efficient, reduce risk to staff and clients, and promote learning opportunities for staff training. She has a strong commitment to enhance individual development of staff, families, and people served by strengthening core skills, providing motivating tools, and helping to meet Advance Kid’s agency objectives, mission statement and values.
In her personal life, she is also the mom of two adorable children, Morgan and Aidan.
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.
Sarah Rollman - Assistant to Chief Financial Officer
Sarah joined Advance Kids in June of 2021. She has an extensive 20 plus years of experience in accounting. Sarah relocated from Arkansas for the exceptional special needs services that California provides as she is the parent of a special needs child. She is married with two children and one grandchild who she adores. She has a passion for learning and continues to expand her knowledge. Sarah feels especially honored to be a part of the Advance Kids team and to be working with an educated and knowledgeable CFO.
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.
Jennifer McCullough - Scheduler
Jennifer began working with Advance Kids in 2018 as a Registered Behavior Technician at our Bradshaw center-based program. In 2019 she began working in our crisis intervention program, Kala No Limits, and spent many months in our Community Crisis Home before taking on the Scheduler position. Jennifer loves to play roller derby and hike in her spare time. She is a loving mother of two kids and an adoring grandma. She has an authentic desire for our client's and their families to be as successful as possible.
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
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.
Daniel Lesage, M.A., BCBA - Director of In-Home Services
Daniel has been a professional in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) since 2009. He has worked with a variety of ages and developmental levels across the Autism Spectrum. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento in 2010. Daniel joined the Advance Kids team in 2011. He became a Behavior Consultant and obtained his Master’s Degree in teaching with an emphasis in ABA from National University in 2014. He then became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2016, and was promoted to a Supervising Behavior Consultant in 2019. In 2020, he took over as the Director of the In-Home Department for Advance Kids. He continues to love his job and this company. The progress of the children he works with is what continues to motivate him to make each child’s program as successful as possible.
Brittany Lopez, M.S., BCBA - Director of Bradshaw and Natomas Clinic Based Programs
Brittany started working at Advance Kids in October 2015, starting as a behavior technician and working her way up to her current position as Director of the Natomas Clinic Based Program. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Midway University, and a Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from National University. Brittany became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2018. She has experience working in both center-based and in-home based programs. Working with patients and staff to increase functional communication and independence with adaptive daily living skills are two of Brittany’s favorite areas of expertise. In addition, Brittany is an advocate for empowering families through caregiver training. Brittany is passionate about providing the highest quality behavioral services to her patients’ and their families. She strives to improve the lives of her patients by creating socially significant changes in behavior through the use of ABA. In her free time, Brittany rides and competes her horse, Zeppelin, in 3 Day-Eventing competitions. Her fur babies mean the world her; she has 4 rescue dogs and a cat at home.
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.