Meet the Team
M.Ed, LCSW, BCBA, DT
Lorell Marin, M.Ed, LCSW, BCBA, DT, is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of LEEP Forward, a pediatric clinic that is innovative and focusing on a neurodiverse population. In 2001, she founded LEEP Forward. LEEP Forward is a developmental therapy clinic and therapeutic preschool. Lorell has always honored each child’s and families' individual differences and believes your approach also needs to be tailored. There is not just one way to provide support. LEEP Forward was fueled by her expertise in multiple approaches to create individual programs that allow each child to become curious, confident life long learners themselves.
As a lifelong learner, Lorell has recently completed training to become an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist and Trauma-Informed Care practitioner. Lorell started her career as a special education teacher and has trained in a variety of additional certification programs, including level 2 DIR(R) practitioner, RDI (Relationship Development Intervention), The Play Project, Mendability, SCERTS, TEACCH, Social Thinking programs, and more. Lorell continues to demonstrate her commitment to ongoing learning and development. Her biggest teachers have always been her clients.
Lorell prioritizes listening to her clients and honoring their journey. She knows that with the right support, the children she works with will take over the world, and that's a world worth creating.This evident with her latest endeavor which includes creating innovative programming that continues to support her clients as they grow, including teen and adult programming.
Dana H, DT, MS
Chief Clinical Executive Director
Dana is a credentialed Developmental Therapist and has been a Lead Therapist at LEEP Forward since 2013 and has also worked as the Transition Coordinator. Dana received her professional DIR-FCD Model certificate in Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Development through the Profectum Foundation. She implements the DIR® Floortime model in the therapeutic preschool groups. 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.
Dana is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in her free time loves to explore the culinary world of Chicago with her husband, Harley.
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. Elena brings a strong sense of compassion through her own experiences with helping her own beautiful son get the coverage he needs. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and making her son laugh. If you have any questions regarding medical insurance just ask for Elena or also commonly referred around the office to as “Diego’s Mom”.
Nicholas was born in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, with three brothers and a large family. When it was time for college he didn’t go far, receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Nicholas has also received his DIRFloortime® certificate promoting basic functional emotional development and higher functional development through International Council on Development and Learning (ICDL).
He first became a part of the LEEP family in 2013 by volunteering his free time, but it didn’t take long before he realized this work was his true passion and joined the team full time. Nicholas has moved and explored all across the states, living in both California and Boston working with all ages from infants to young adults but always seems to make it back to his true home, Chicago. One of Nicholas’s favorite quotes is, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and loves to bring the fun, joy and play into every group and activity he is a part of!
Leigh M, OTR/L
Program Director of Clinical and Client Services
Leigh received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Therapeutic Studies and Occupational Therapy in a 5-year accelerated program at Boston University. After earning her Master’s degree, Leigh moved back to Chicago for her clinical fieldwork rotations. Though pediatrics was her original passion, Leigh wanted to gain experience working with a variety of populations and spent the first 5 years of her practice working with adult and geriatric populations in hospitals, inpatient rehabs and skilled nursing facilities.
Leigh joined the LEEP team in 2017 and has worked her way up from an occupational therapist to a senior occupational therapist and most recently has transitioned into the role of Program Director. During her time at LEEP, Leigh has learned and accomplished so many things! She loves working with and learning from a multidisciplinary team approach and has focused her continuing education on sensory based movement disorders. In addition, Leigh has a passion for sensory friendly and inclusive design within homes and businesses and has enjoyed helping families design sensory play rooms within their homes.
In her spare time, Leigh enjoys exercising, interior design, spending time with family and friends, and traveling the world!
Shana T, M. Ed
Shana has her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Special Education. Shana started working at Leep Forward in 2016, and worked as a lead teacher for 5 years at Leep Forward. For the past two years Shana has been a special education teacher in public and charter schools in Chicago. After two years away, she decided to return to her home at Quantum Leep Academy & Leep Forward! Shana is excited to return as the Program Director, and continue to use her passion of collaborating academics with the DIR and ABA models. Shana believes In order for any learning to take place, strong and meaningful relationships are the foundation. all learning can be fun and engaging! In order for any learning to take place, strong and meaningful relationships are the foundation.
This past summer Shana got married in Chicago to her now husband, Michael! In her free time you might find Shana playing with her dog Rigby, spending time with her siblings, nieces, and nephews who live in Chicago, traveling as much as possible, and crafting of all kinds!
Lindsey D, OTR/L, MS
Occupational Therapist (Department Head)
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. Lindsey has enjoyed working at both LEEP Forward and Quantum LEEP Academy locations for the past 2 and a half years. 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. Lindsey has substantial experience with the DIR® Floortime approach, sensory processing, and feeding.
In her spare time, Lindsey loves traveling (to both warm and cold destinations!), exercising, and spending time with family and friends!
Corrine P, OTR/L
Corrine grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, where she attended Michigan State University. After graduating from MSU with a Bachelors in English, Corrine moved to Chicago to teach in Chicago Public Schools. Corrine received her Masters in Occupational Therapy from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2021 and began her career as an OT.
As an Occupational Therapist, Corrine strives to use a neurodiversity affirming approach to help clients and families accomplish their personal goals. Corrine particularly enjoys participating in play-based therapy that incorporates the clients' own interests and strengths. In her spare time, Corrine enjoys playing board games and snuggling with her cats.
Izzy N, CCC-SLP, MS
Speech Language Pathologist
Izzy was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago as the youngest of four children, however she has been back and forth between living in Texas and Chicago. Izzy received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX in May 2019. She received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL in May 2021. Izzy holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed in the state of Illinois. Throughout her professional career, Izzy had the opportunity to work in the public schools and outpatient settings with children of all ages with a wide variety of speech and language disorders including receptive/expressive language disorders, articulation disorders, fluency, autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, social skills, auditory processing disorders, and other developmental delays.
As a speech language pathologist, Izzy is committed to celebrating vulnerability, showcasing differences, finding commonalities, and employing creative techniques so that her clients can thrive at their own pace and in a style that suits them. Izzy is thrilled to be a part of the teams at both LEEP Forward and Quantum Leep Academy.
Kimberly Frank OTD, OTR/L
Kim grew up in upstate New York with her three siblings before moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science, in Health Promotion, Nutrition, and Exercise Science. She fell in love with the idea of working with children and went on to get her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University. During Kim’s doctoral capstone, she spent a year researching and implementing evidence-based, sensory-based interventions for youth who have experienced trauma. Throughout graduate school, she continued to work with children in a variety of contexts, from preschools, to community centers, to assisting with aquatic research. Kim loves using the power of play to communicate with children, helping them achieve their highest potential physically, emotionally, and socially.
During Kim’s free time, she enjoys discovering new restaurants in Chicago, fostering service dogs, and spending time outside with friends and family.
Katrina G, LSW, MSW
Katrina Gainey grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. She graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). She also completed a one-year accelerated program at the University of Houston-Main, where she obtained her to Master of Social Work (MSW). In her five years of working with children, Katrina has worked with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders in both residential and educational settings. Through this experience, she has developed a particular interest in helping this population with their socio-emotional development, and emotional regulation. She has had the chance to organize social skills groups while collaborating on multidisciplinary teams and conducting one-on-one interventions with kids who have neurodevelopmental diagnosis. Her passion is advocating for all children, while delivering therapeutic services to promote their overall wellbeing. She is excited to have an impact on the different children at Leep Forward and Quantum Leep Academy.
In her spare time, Katrina loves traveling, listening to music, weightlifting, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
Anthony P, LSW, MSW
Anthony was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. This is where he discovered his passion for working with children. He volunteered as a youth leader for four years at his church. After high school he moved to Texas where he received his bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. Upon graduation he moved back to Chicago to pursue his master’s degree at Loyola University. Anthony has experience providing individual, family, and group mental health services to clients from a wide range of backgrounds. Nothing brings him greater fulfillment than bringing a smile to a child’s face and helping them navigate the struggles of everyday life.
In his free time Anthony likes to spend time in nature, hangout with his sisters, and read.
Erin V, BCBA, MS
Erin was raised in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University where she received her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology in 2019. She then moved to Chicago to attend The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she received a master's degree in ABA. In March of 2022, Erin passed her boards to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. After working at QLA as an AC for a little under a year, Erin continued her career at QLA as a BCBA. Throughout high school, college, and in her master's program she was lucky enough to have worked and volunteered in different settings and fields, such as hospitals, schools, clinics and camps, with children of all abilities and ages.
Erin has always loved working with children, and is so excited to continue that work at LEEP. In her free time, Erin loves to hangout with her dog Winnie, explore chicago with her friends, and watch MSU football!
Nico S, LCSW, BCBA
Social Worker/Clinical Supervisor
Nico was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He then moved into the city of Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for both his undergraduate degree in psychology and his master’s degree in social work. Nico has extensive experience working with children with diverse needs in multiple settings including client’s homes, therapeutic clinics, and in-patient psychiatry. After working in these settings throughout his education and post graduation, Nico decided to further pursue his education within Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and complete an additional master’s degree in ABA through Arizona State University where he graduated and became board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) in 2021.
Nico currently provides both social work and ABA services to children individually and within groups at Quantum Leep Academy where he continues to enjoy supporting children and their families achieve their goals.
Alex N, MS CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist (Department Head)
Alex was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She went on to earn her Master of Science in Speech, Language and Learning from Northwestern University.
Alex is passionate about fostering meaningful relationships with her clients and their families to create an environment that promotes development. Alex has experience working with a wide variety of pediatric clients, including those with language delays and disorders, phonological and articulation disorders, and autism spectrum disorder. She’s a firm believer in the undeniable value of an interdisciplinary approach to care and she’s excited to be a part of the teams at both LEEP Forward and Quantum LEEP Academy. After work, Alex enjoys trying new restaurants around the city, listening to live music, and traveling with family and friends.
Michelle S, MS OTR/L
Michelle was born and raised in San Diego, CA. After high school she moved to the Pacific Northwest for college and attended the University of Washington, where she graduated with degrees in psychology and communications. Michelle spent several years working in sales before realizing that her true passion was working with children. She moved to Chicago in 2015 for graduate school and graduated from Rush Universities master's of Occupational Therapy Program in 2017. Michelle has been working with kids in various therapeutic settings ever since including: therapeutic day schools, outpatient clinics, private practice and hospitals.
Michelle has a passion for helping kids gain the skills they need to be more independent and successful in all areas of their life. She loves to use fun and meaningful activities to increase children’s motor, cognitive, and sensory skills so they can engage in life's every day activities with competence and confidence. When Michelle is not working she loves to spend time with her husband, two year old daughter, and mini golden doodle. She loves the outdoors, reading, and gardening.
Emma Smith, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Emma is new to Chicago from the suburbs of Detroit. She received her Bachelor's degree at Michigan State University and her Master's degree in Speech Pathology at the University of Toledo in 2021, where she went on to receive her CCC's and become ASHA certified. Emma's past experiences include working with both children and adults with a variety of speech and language needs in both outpatient settings and within an elementary school environment.
Emma is excited to join LEEP and develop relationships with the students as well as their families. Encouraging differences is important to Emma and she is looking forward to collaborating within the transdisciplinary team to help foster every individual's needs!
In her spare time, Emma enjoys exploring the city, spending time with friends and family, and missing her two family dogs back at home!
Megan Keppler, MS, CF-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Megan was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Butler University and her Master of Science degree in Speech, Language and Learning from Northwestern University. She has experience working with children of all ages and skills, including those with articulation and phonological disorders, expressive and receptive language delays and disorders, implementing augmentative and alternative communication, fluency, autism spectrum disorder, and Down syndrome. Megan is interested in engaging children in therapy using evidence-based interventions and play-based approaches.
Outside of work, Megan enjoys farmers markets, Cubs games, baking, walking along the lake, trying new restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. Megan is excited to be a part of the LEEP Forward team!
Danielle W, BCBA
BCBA/ Clinical Supervisor
Danielle is from Northwest Indiana and received her bachelor's of psychology from Purdue University and a master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from National Louis University. Danielle has worked with a variety of populations ranging from 2½ to 16 years old and adults from 27 to 75 years old. She thoroughly enjoys spending time with her clients and teaching them new skills that can help improve their quality of life.
When she is not working, she enjoys binge watching anime, learning about tea, working out, and playing with her dogs. She strongly believes that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, and/or mental capacity.
Maddie H, BCBA
BCBA/ Clinical Supervisor
Maddie was born and raised in Minnetonka, MN. She attended Miami University and received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education. While in school, Maddie discovered Applied Behavior Analysis while working at an educational placement center for learners on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities. Maddie went on to receive her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Throughout schooling, Maddie has worked with individuals ages 2 to 22 with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a Direct Support Professional, adaptive sports coach, respite provider, academic tutor, and social skills instructor. Maddie has most recently worked with learners on the autism spectrum ranging from 2 to 10-years-old within a therapeutic clinic setting providing ABA services. As a sibling of someone with developmental disabilities, Maddie understands the value of meeting learners and their families where they are, embracing their individuality and goals, developing strong trusting relationships, and teaching skills with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life.
In Maddie’s free time, she’s often spending outside time with her Australian Shepherd, Bodie. She also loves to hike, paint, cook, listen to podcasts, and spend time with friends and family.
Brooke Y, MS BCBA
Brooke is a Chicago-based Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). After growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Brooke went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University and her Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati. Brooke has experience working with autistic individuals between the ages of 2-12 years old across clinic, home, and community settings.
Her favorite part about of being a BCBA is getting to be a part of her learner’s growth as they progress in their independence and confidence! She is passionate about teaching functional communication, utilizing naturalistic teaching styles, and fostering unique interests in each of her learners.
In her free time, Brooke loves walking the Chicago lakefront and exploring new restaurants and bookstores in the city!
Harvey graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Dance and a minor in Psychology. They are a candidate for their Masters in Social Work at DePaul University. Harvey is passionate about teaching and working with kids. They taught dance for many years prior to working at QLA and love to make art and hang out with their two cats, Blake and Fallon!
Celeste is a Chicago native. She received her undergraduate from Northeastern Illinois University, in which she obtained a double major of Psychology and Sociology. Currently, she is studying at North Park University in which she will obtain her master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In the future she would like to become a licensed therapist that caters to children and adolescents.
Celeste always encourages a playful and respectful environment for a child's development. She believes that children learn about themselves not just through biological and physiological changes, but also through external factors including relationships and play! She believes her life would be incomplete if she isn't working with children. In her spare time she loves to binge watch Netflix, try new restaurants and thoroughly enjoys reading or having a cookout with her family!
Andy started working at QLA in June of 2022. They got their bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in mental health, and is currently also getting their master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling! Andy loves working with kids/adolescents, and wants to continue to work with that age group throughout their career.
"This was my first job I got that was related to what I wanted to do, and this has really solidified that I’m heading in the right direction. Working with kids is truly what I feel my purpose is. I love building connections and relationships with the kids around me, figuring out their needs and wants, no matter what level of communication they are currently at. I adore all of the kids in the program and seeing their growth from when I first started until now brings more joy to me than anything else."
Outside of work, Andy plays rugby as their favorite way to relieve any negative emotions (as well as just loving the sport for what it is)!
Jada B, BA RBT
Lead Classroom Facilitator/RBT
Jada was born in Cleveland, Ohio however moved to Chicago during grade school. Jada attended The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology. Jada has always loved working with children since she started babysitting in her teen years. Jada has always had a passion for working with children, whether it is volunteering at a preschool or becoming involved in her church’s youth group. After college, Jada worked in the Chicago public school system as a Teacher’s aide working with children from preschool through elementary school.
In the future, Jada plans to go back to school to earn her master’s degree in Psychology and continue working in the behavioral health field.
Raina grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago but has been living the city life since getting their Bachelor's in Psychology from DePaul University in 2020. Currently they are working towards their Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with the goal of continuing to work with children who have diverse needs and their families. Outside of work, Raina loves exploring Chicago art museums, going to concerts, and being a parent to two cats and over fifty houseplants!
Isabelle or Izzie grew up in Skokie. She received a bachelor's in Neuroscience from Baylor University in Waco, TX this past May. Izzie has always had a passion for working with children and has worked with different age groups throughout her life whether it be volunteering at a summer camp or tutoring kids one-on-one. She plans to further her education after taking a gap year and hopes to pursue a master's in behavioral analysis and become a BCBA.
When Izzie is not working, she likes to read, listen/play music, and bingeing shows.
Lea was born and raised in Illinois. Lea is passionate about helping the growth with her clients, and fostering meaningful relationships with clients and families. She is a firm believer of inclusion.
After work Lea enjoys spending time with her son and family, listening to music, trying new activities, and looking for new recipes to cook.
David is recent graduate from DePaul University. David is currently in the process of obtaining his master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at DePaul. Being a Chicago native, David has experience working with children in Chicago Public Schools under the Cities Mentor Project. Working with kids in communities across Chicago, David enjoys working as both a friend and a mentor, and is eager to work with LEEP Forward at Quantum Leep Academy and help whoever he can.
In his free time, David loves to exercise, write, play games, and play piano. David is beyond thrilled to learn and grow as a person within Leep Forward!
Emily R, RBT
Emily was born and raised in Springfield, IL. She received her B.A. in psychology at Illinois State University. Following graduation, Emily moved to Chicago with her four best friends, and now works at QLA! She has worked in ABA for almost 2 years, and has worked with children for most of her life. She enjoys the beach, spending time with loved ones, playing piano, and collecting beach glass!
Heather grew up in southwest Wisconsin and has made Chicago her home for over seven years. She received her Bachelor's Degree in English and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin before working as a paralegal in immigration and environmental law for several years. Through this experience, she discovered her love of working with people from all walks of life. Heather has enjoyed working with children volunteering in after school programs in the past, and is excited to spend more time in an academic environment at Quantum LEEP Academy.
In her spare time, Heather loves crafting including knitting, crocheting and sewing, as well as hanging out with her cat/best friend, Errol.
Thalia was born in Deerfield, Illinois. She received her minor in psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. Thalia is very passionate about maintaining a balanced Greek-American lifestyle while building a career that can sustain both aspects of her life. Throughout her time at QLA, she discovered her passion and talent for servicing people and will further expand her studies with the skills obtained as an AC.
Caroline grew up in Tennessee where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Memphis. After graduation, she decided to move to Chicago where she pursued her second Bachelor of Arts at DePaul University where she graduated in Criminology. Before coming to LEEP Forward, Caroline worked with kids in an arts and crafts setting, creating a playful yet instructional environment for them to learn and express themselves in. Since then, she has always had a strong passion for working with kids and getting to explore how they see the world! She hopes to one day use her education and experience to work further in helping with the protection and rights of children in the criminal justice system.
In her free time, Caroline loves to read (and is working towards her goal of having her home certified as an Illinois library), travel, work on her second novel, hang out with her crazy puppy named Nova, and spend time with her friends.