Claire Norris
Board President

With her early background as a classroom teacher in Tennessee, Claire Norris, QBA, has specific knowledge of the various learning styles and individualized needs of all students. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Austin Peay State University, and a Master of Art in Teaching with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis. As a Behavior Interventionist at Autism Behavior Services, Inc., Claire implemented behavior and treatment plans, collected and graphed behavior data. After becoming a masters-level BCBA, she performs behavior assessments and develops treatment and behavior plans for individuals across the autism spectrum. Claire has a deep commitment to the practice of applied behavior therapy; she joined the QABA Board to make sure that all certified clinicians meet the strictest standards in order to provide consistent, high-quality care. QABA is fortunate to have such a qualified clinician as Claire to serve on our Board of Directors.

Dr. Liliane de Aguiar-Rocha
Board Member/International Liaison

Dr. Liliane Rocha, DBH, QBA, BCBA, completed her graduate training in behavior analysis at the Graduate Center (CUNY), and her doctoral degree in behavioral health, with a focus on integrated care at the Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health. She has broad interests in Behavior Analysis, particularly in how behavior analytic strategies can be used in large scale to improve systems in healthcare. She is interested in improving the care for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) starting at the pediatrician’s office. 

She has worked with behavior analysis, in a variety of settings, including a Psychiatric Hospital leading a team of behavior analysts who designed behavior interventions to decrease the use of restrictive interventions during acute psychiatric admission. At the hospital, she also had the opportunity to work in performance management and quality improvement projects where she had the opportunity to exercise her OBM (Organizational Behavior Management) skills. She is a certified ACT Matrix facilitator and uses the Pro-social Matrix in crisis-management trainings.

At this time, she is a faculty member and student advisor in the doctoral of Behavioral Health program at Cummings Graduate Institute in Arizona. She is a consultant who provides consultation to local schools and hospitals, as well as international consultation in Brazil, her native country. She is interested in ways to bring behavioral analytic treatment to areas with difficult access to quality services. To that end, she has developed a telehealth practice, where she supervises behavior analysts serving children with ASD in Brazil.

Dr. Jason Baker
Board Member
Dr. Baker is an Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Studies at the California State University, Fullerton, and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the CSUF Center for Autism. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from UCLA where he worked for several years under Dr. Ivar Lovaas at the UCLA Young Autism Project. He obtained his doctorate in clinical and developmental psychology from Penn State University, performed his clinical internship at the UCLA Semel Institute, and completed postdoctoral research training programs at the University of Miami and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Baker teaches courses in research methods, parenting, child assessment, and developmental and behavioral disorders, and is involved in student fieldwork placement programs in early intensive behavioral intervention. His federally-funded research focuses how child and social factors combine in the development of children with ASD, with a particular focus on parent-child interaction, emotion regulation, and co-occurring behavior problems. He has served on the executive committee of Division 33 (IDD/ASD) of the American Psychological Association and is on the editorial board of APA’s Journal of Family Psychology.
Eric Linder
Board Member
Eric Linder has a wealth of experience across both public and private enterprise. He has developed and implemented community outreach strategies for hundreds of organizations and worked with community leaders and elected officials regarding policies for children with special needs. From 2012-2016, Mr. Linder served as Assemblymember in the California State Assembly, where he represented the interests of approximately 500,000 residents of the 60th Assembly district (Riverside County). A real estate professional with almost 20 years experience, Mr. Linder developed a specialty in finding ways to incorporate technology into the profession and produce efficiencies in the real estate marketplace. Later, he took his technology background and founded the online communications firm eMotiv Marketing, where he remains company president. Mr. Linder is committed to the idea that education should be exceptional, accessible and affordable. He has been one of the most powerful voices in California government in keeping down tuition costs and allowing local school districts to determine how their funds are spent. As Assemblyman, Mr. Linder helped push for funding for the new UC Riverside School of Medicine, the state’s first new public medical school in 40 years. This was one of Mr. Linder’s top priorities, because it ensures that the region will have more physicians and better health care access for residents, while simultaneously establishing an economic anchor and stimulating the local economy as much as $150 million every year.
Harry Sadeghi
Board Member

Harry Sadeghi earned his B.S. at California Polytechnic State University and an M.P.H. at the University of Loma Linda. He then earned his A.B.A. to become an Applied Behavior Analyst. Mr. Sadeghi added to his broad education when he received his J.D. from the University of West Los Angeles, Law School. He is a member of the California State Bar, the California Supreme Court, the Federal District Court of Los Angeles, member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, past and current member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He is Managing and Supervising Attorney at The Law Offices of Harry Sadeghi & Associates where he handles federal and states cases in corporate laws, insurance laws, education law, serious personal injuries, and employment law. He is also involved in advocacy for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children with autism. Mr. Sadeghi is a weekly co-host for the Didar TV show discussing and responding to callers about issues of Consent and Ethical duties in rendering professional medical, behavioral and psychological services. He provides legal advice to professionals to how to avoid medical malpractice, and responds to callers to assess cases regarding their legal rights in obtaining behavioral therapy and other professional psychological/behavioral services. Additionally, he served as exam proctor for the California School of Law. Further, he provided legal counsel for Dr. Ali Sadeghi, noted psychologist for California Psychcare. He coordinated and supported Dr. Sadeghi’s efforts to pass SB 946, requiring private health plans to cover autism. His clinical experience includes working as Behavioral Specialist at Inland Empire Regional Center. Under the supervision of Dr. Ali Sadeghi, he provided, assessment, and behavioral intervention and modification services to children with autism, down syndrome, epilepsy and related syndromes at home and school environments.

Dr. Matthew W. Kirkhart
Board Member

Dr. Kirkhart graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology from West Virginia University. He also earned his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University, then completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His pre-doctoral internship was at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at Shands Hospital, University of Florida College of Health Professionals. Dr. Kirkhart is a licensed psychologist in Maryland and is past Chair of the Psychology Department and a past interim Chair for the Department of Teacher Education, both at Loyola University Maryland. His two primary research interests are in medical/health psychology, primarily focusing on those with serious or chronic medical conditions such as factors that affect general adaptation and adjustment to the medical conditions (i.e., adjustment to chronic pain conditions, adaptation to lifestyle changes in managing diabetes, etc.), and in the prediction of adjustment and adaptation to future medical procedures (i.e., predicting adjustment post organ transplantation). His second primary research interest is in basic research examining learning and memory, in the conscious and unconscious learning and memory, rule-governed behavior, and a functional analysis of language in efforts to understand how verbal behavior affects other behavior. Additionally, he has research interests in mentoring and teaching in psychology, adult psychopathology, and interpersonal psychotherapy models and methods.

Sheena M. Piehota
Board Member

Sheena Piehota is a Qualified Behavior Analyst (QBA). Mrs. Piehota currently works in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis providing a variety of behavior analytic services to military families. She is currently in the Ph.D. (I/O psychology) program at Capella University where she also received her M.S in Psychology with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis (2014). Mrs. Piehota earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Florida (2012), and has over 9 years experience working with children with disabilities. Prior to her work in Applied Behavior Analysis, she worked in education with children in PK-12th grades. Mrs. Piehota focuses her current practice in verbal behavior and functional communication.

Jessica Swanson
Board Member

Jessica Swanson is one of the first Qualified Behavior Analysts (QBA) in the country. She also has her Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential, is a licensed behavior analyst (LBA), and a certified autism specialist (CAS). Additionally, Jessica earned a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in autism.

Jessica entered the field of ABA after her then 2-year-old daughter was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  Jessica works as a behavior analyst while running the company she founded, Summit Health Services Inc., which provides ABA services to clients in four states.

When not working in the field of ABA, Jessica spends time with her husband of nearly two decades, her 9-year-old daughter, and 7-year-old son.  Jessica is a military spouse who currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

Dr. Valencia Church-Williams

Dr. Valencia Church-Williams, EdD, QBA, CAS is a scholar-practitioner with 20+ years of experience at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels. In addition, she has extensive administrative, instructional, and clinical experience through her work as a literacy educator, administrator, behavior specialist, and consultant in urban environments such as Durham Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Richland County School District One & DC Charter Schools and rural environments such as Granville County Schools and Orangeburg 5 Consolidated School District.

Church-Williams is a licensed school administrator, special educator, and a certified Behavior Analyst having earned a bachelors in education from UNC-Chapel Hill, a doctorate in Special Education Leadership from Northcentral University and having completed post-doctoral studies at Clemson University's Center for Behavior Analysis. She recently earned recognition as a certified Parent Educator, a credential accredited by the Positive Discipline Association and the National Board of Certified Counselors. She also serves as the board chairman for Revitalize Charter School in Raleigh, North Carolina and a member of the Equity and Integrated Systems Committee for the Association of Positive Behavior Support.

Dr. Church-Williams formerly served as a clinical faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University where she taught special education compliance, applied behavior analysis for teachers, and educational psychometrics. She was also the Director of Student Support Services for a large, urban charter network in Washington, DC where she specialized in compliance, anti-discrimination, and disabilities services as the Section 504 and Title IX coordinator. Throughout her career, she has worked to support youth and adult learners and fought to protect their civil rights along with their access to high-quality literacy education and socio-emotional education.