Meet the Team


Lorell Marin founded LEEP Forward in 2001 out of her desire to create innovative and inclusive learning environments for all children. She expanded this vision in 2018 to include a school focusing on Diverse Learners.  Lorell holds a Masters in both Social Work, Teaching, specializing in Special Education and a host of other credentials that may just complete the alphabet! She believes in offering a choice by listening to the child's voice (she knows kids communicate in a variety of ways so being a detective and honing your observation skills is helpful). 

Lorell Marin

Founder & CEO


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Michaja Johnson,

Executive Clinical Director


Michaja is the Director of Related Services as well as Occupational Therapy.  She received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University. She is driven by a passion for her work with parents and children who are affected by sensory processing challenges.

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Ashley Ganski, 

Chief Operating Officer

Ashley is a Chicagoland native with a passion for executing visions and supporting professionals making an impact in their field. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in communications and has spent her career gaining experience in communications, marketing strategy, project management and sales execution across various types of industries including healthcare, finance, media and entertainment.  

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Dana Hutchins

Head of School

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Dana is a credentialed Developmental Therapist, she received her professional DIR-FCD Model certificate in Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Development through the Profectum Foundation. 


 Dana received her undergraduate degree in ElementaryEducation from the University of Wisconsin and taught in the public schools in Aiken, South Carolina. Dana returned to Chicago and graduated from The Erikson Institute with a Master’s in Science with a focus in working with children with special needs. 

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Elena Martinez,

Director of Billing and Insurance

Elena is the LEEP Forward Medical Insurance Advisor, Communications & Office Manager, helping families navigate through insurance benefits as swiftly and painlessly as possible.   Born in Chicago, she is a graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. 

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Lesa Bricker-Reich ,

Office Administrator 

Lesa is honored to be part of the Quantum team in the Administrative offices and be witness to the magic that happens everyday. Prior to working at Quantum, Lesa was a Concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. When not working at Quantum, you can find Lesa living her life’s passion acting in Chicago and hanging out with her Husband and twin boys. Lesa feels gratitude for such an amazing life and looks for the joy everywhere!

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Erin Gaffney,

Speech and Language Pathologist


 Erin graduated from Northern Illinois University with her masters in Speech-Language Pathology in May of 2018. Prior to attending NIU, Erin graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders.  Erin found joy in working with young children and also helping to empower parents.


 Erin has experience treating children on the autism spectrum as well as many speech and language disorders such as expressive/receptive language delay, articulation disorders, apraxia of speech, feeding disorders, and augmentative and alternative communication.

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Lindsey Adams, Occupational Therapist


Lindsey grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and received her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. Lindsey also has a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW), which she received from Indiana University, Bloomington. Much of Lindsey’s clinical and employment experiences involve working with children, including working for Ray Graham Association as the Activities Coordinator for their camp for children and adolescents with disabilities. Her demonstrated passion is to provide services to promote and support participation in everyday activities across multiple environments. She finds joy in seeing every child flourish and grow to their greatest potential.


In her spare time, Lindsey loves walking her 100 pound yellow labrador retriever, running along the lake, and spending time with family and friends!

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Maggie Sladick, Occupational Therapist


Maggie was raised in the suburbs of Detroit, MI, before venturing to Kalamazoo to get her bachelors degree at Western Michigan University. Maggie discovered her passion for occupational therapy during her freshman year, and hasn’t looked back since! Maggie graduated with a bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services with a dual minor in psychology and holistic health care. She then took a year off to pursue another passion of hers, travel! Maggie moved down to Nashville, TN and worked as a full time nanny. Maggie’s been nannying for over 10 years- which made working in pediatrics second nature! While she loved the southern hospitality in Tennessee, she decided Midwest was best, and returned to WMU in Grand Rapids, MI to get her masters degree in occupational therapy.


In her free time, Maggie enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and attending barre workout classes! She is thrilled to be joining the LEEP team, and to start her time in Chicago- another new city to explore! 

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Courtney DeBeul,

Social Work


Courtney is originally from Michigan and moved to Chicago in 2018. Courtney earned her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Oakland University and went on to receive her  Master's degree in Social Work from Michigan State University. She is licensed by the State of Illinois as a clinical social worker (LCSW). Her education and career have always been focused on her passion for working with children and families. Courtney has been working with children with disabilities on and off for the past 5 years in school and clinical settings. In her free time she enjoys snuggling up with her two lazy dogs, going to concerts and spending time with her family and friends! Anna Gray


Amanda Bird,

Senior BCBA

Amanda is originally from the south suburbs of Chicago. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Millikin University and a Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. As a BCBA, Amanda has worked in public schools, therapeutic schools, private homes and workshop settings with children, adolescents and adults. She has also worked as a Master Trainer for QBS, Inc., training individuals across the U.S. to be Safety Care Trainers and Specialists. 


When Amanda is not working, she enjoys spending time with her young daughter and friends, exploring new and free events in the community, listening to live music and decorating for her favorite holidays

Halloween and Christmas.

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Alli Stark,

Mentor Teacher

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Alli moved to Chicago back in 2011. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2015 with her B.S in Education specializing in Reading Instruction.  She has spent the past 3 years substitute teaching in Chicago Public Schools. Alli lives in Lakeview with her cat Josie, and spends her free time performing improv comedy.


Annie Jackson,

Mentor Teacher

Minnesotan at heart, Annie moved to Chicago in the fall of 2017 after receiving her Bachelors degree in Vocal Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. There she found a deep passion for Adaptive Music, bringing music to all abilities. Since arriving in the city, Annie has completed the Second City Conservatory program and the iO improv program. She enjoys singing with her friends, trying new flavors of kombucha and finding new ways to use her crock pot. 

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Kate Walker,

Lead Teacher

Kate attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana from 2012 to 2018. In 2016 she graduated with a B.S in Child Development and completed a Developmental Therapy internship where she fell in love working with children with autism and developmental delays. Kate then continued her education to receive a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis in autism. During her Master’s program, she worked at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders on Ball State’s campus as a peer mentor for students with autism who attended the university.


 Kate is hoping to sit for her BCBA exam this year to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst!

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Elena (Leni) Rameriz,

Lead Teacher


Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Leni earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) on a Preschool Level granted from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico back in 2011, where she taught for four years in both English and Spanish.  Wanting some adventure, Leni then moved to Chicago in the summer of 2015 and continued her role as a teacher for the preschool program. Leni joined the Quantum Leep Academy team in August 2019 and is excited to contribute her compassion and enthusiasm to help children grow both academically and socially. In her spare time, Leni enjoys classic horror movies, doodling, writing, playing scrabble and playing fetch with her cat Dr. Lamino Pickles. 

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Brooke Chelew,

Classroom Coordinator

Brooke is a recent graduate from Saint Louis University where she earned a degree in Psychology. While at school, she volunteered at an Equine Assisted Therapy facility where she

discovered her passion working with young children who have developmental and physical



She a year serving for an AmeriCorps program assisting in a 4th grade

classroom at an under-resourced school in North Lawndale. She hopes to continue her education by earning a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy

in the future.

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Will Nicholson,

Classroom Coordinator

Bio coming soon

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Nate Mount,

Assistant Clinician

Raised in both the Chicago suburbs and Northern Michigan Nate helped raise his now 14 nieces and nephews. He has spent three years as a member of RECESS the outreach program at the Playground theater where they play improv games with children in hospitals and youth centers. Through multiple programs he has worked with children in schools for recess, after school programs and Summer camps for four years.

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Alexandra Stark



I grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago. I received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Illinois State University, Go Redbirds! While attending, I was a research assistant in the developmental psychology department for two years studying young adolescents and fellow ISU students. After graduation I started working as a special education associate in my hometowns district. After two years of being a one on one associate, I began working in an educational life skills classroom that was brand new to our district. 


In my free time I like to spend time with friends, cuddling with my family's dog, reading, and binging the occasional netflix show! I am also a big Cubs fan! 

I am very excited to be joining the LEEP team and can't wait to start!


Megan Michaels,

Assistant Clinician

Megan is a native of the southwest suburbs of Chicago and recently earned her bachelor's degree in applied psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since the start of her high school education, she has been volunteering and working with children and adolescents in various settings- most recently, she supported youth at her internship with Gads Hill Center last fall. Megan is so excited to begin her journey at LEEP Forward!


In her free time, Megan enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her dog, scrapbooking with her grandma, and learning about filmmaking.

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Education Designed Differently.