Shane (Herriott) Miramontez, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Co-Founder
Shane graduated with dual degrees in Communication and Foreign Language/International Affairs – with a Japanese emphasis – from the University of Puget Sound in 2000. A lover of all things sports, Shane fulfilled a childhood dream when she was hired by ESPN in Bristol, CT. Shane left ESPN in 2002 to pursue another childhood passion, education.
She moved to San Diego and began working as a one on one aide for a 2nd grader with autism. Her experience with him, his family, and his educational path was so rewarding that she returned to school at the University of Washington to study Early Childhood Special Education. During her Master’s program, Shane worked as an assistant teacher in the Project DATA (developmentally appropriate treatment of autism) classroom at the Experimental Education Unit and volunteered in preschool and kindergarten classrooms as well as in the ITP (infant/toddler program).
Shane received her Master’s degree and teaching certificate in June of 2006 and became the head teacher for Project DATA later that year. In April of 2007, Shane became BCBA certified. After three fantastic years as the head teacher for Project DATA, Shane and her colleague Heather opened STEPS. In 2012, Shane received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Washington. She is also a guest lecturer at UW and SPU.
In her spare time, Shane enjoys boating, traveling, playing soccer, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and drinking Starbucks coffee.
Heather (Wallace) Suarez, M.Ed., BCBA, Administrative Director
Heather graduated with her B.S. degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University in 2001 with a passion to work with children. Upon graduation she taught children in South Korea for a year and when she returned home she began working with a little girl with autism. This experience lead her to pursue a career in special education. In June of 2005 she received her Master’s degree and teaching certificate from the University of Washington in Early Childhood Special Education. During her two years spent in the graduate program she worked at the Experimental Education Unit (EEU).
Post graduation she spent time in Peru working with children and adults with special needs. In June 2006 Heather became an autism consultant at the University of Washington Autism Center. In April 2007 Heather became BCBA certified. It was during this time that Heather and Shane started to brainstorm about eventually starting up a company.
In addition to consulting with STEPS families, Heather also works as the STEPS Administrative Director. Heather enjoys traveling, fishing, surfing, golfing and spending time with her family and friends.
Erin (Katz) Benzikry, M.Ed., BCBA, Clinical Director
Erin graduated from the University of Arizona with dual degrees in Psychology and Special Education. Following graduation, she began working at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix, where she developed a passion for Applied Behavior Analysis and working with young children with autism. At SARRC, Erin received intensive training and worked as a Clinical Interventionist in an inclusive Pre-K classroom.
Erin moved from Arizona to Seattle to pursue her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education and Behavior Analysis at the University of Washington. She spent one year working as an Assistant Teacher at the Experimental Education Unit in the Infant and Toddler program, learning how to educate and support very young children with a variety of special needs. Her second year, she worked as an Assistant Teacher in Project DATA, providing extended-day services to preschool students with autism. During her graduate program, Erin’s thesis research studied social skills support for children with autism and she hopes to broaden her experience in this area during her career and future education.
Erin graduated with her M.Ed. and teaching certification and chose to remain in Seattle to pursue her career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Erin became a consultant with STEPS and shortly thereafter became a partner of the company. Along with consulting with families, Erin works as the STEPS Clinical Director supporting staff and families to ensure continued quality services. In her free time, Erin enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, family, friends and pups!
Andrea Reinholz, M. Ed., BCBA, Consultant
Andrea graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Western Washington University in 2007. Following graduation, Andrea began working with a teenage boy on the autism spectrum and really enjoyed seeing his progress as he learned new life skills. Inspired to work in the field of special education, Andrea started the Master of Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis graduate program at the University of Washington in 2009. While in grad school, she was able to gain experience working with different learners and classroom teams in practicum placement settings that ranged from working with preschoolers all the way to adults with disabilities who were transitioning into the workforce.
Having a special passion for early childhood special education, Andrea had the opportunity to work an assistant teacher at the Experimental Education Unit and then continued to work as a head preschool teacher there, teaching in a blended preschool program, from 2011-2014. While working as a preschool special education teacher, she also worked as an ABA therapist for multiple families through STEPS. All of these experiences led her to want to get her BCBA and help families and children with autism learn new skills and increase their quality of living in all aspects of their lives- home, school, and in their larger community. In the summer of 2014, Andrea passed the BCBA and started working as a behavioral consultant and social skills teacher as a part of a behavioral team in a therapy clinic. And now Andrea is so excited to learn and grow as a member of the STEPS team.
In addition to loving her work with children and families as a BCBA, Andrea loves to spend time with her loved ones and she loves traveling, cooking, and her newfound love of gardening.
Tiffanie Hawkins, M. Ed., BCBA, Consultant
Tiffanie graduated with a B.S. in speech and hearing sciences from the University of Arizona in 2010. While at the University of Arizona she worked as a one on one aide in a classroom setting with a child with autism. Tiffanie loved watching his progress over the years and learning about a variety of different strategies to teaching a child with autism from his parents.
In 2011, Tiffanie moved to Phoenix, Arizona to further her education and career working with children with autism. She worked as a Clinical Interventionist for three years at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC). There she worked as a Clinical Interventionist in the Community School’s inclusive preschool in the preschool and Pre-K classrooms where she ran 1:1 sessions, lead parent education sessions, and developed interventions for a variety of children with an autism diagnosis.
Tiffanie moved to Seattle in 2014 to pursue a Master’s of Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Washington. While at the University of Washington, Tiffanie completed a practicum placement working at STEPS as a therapy assistant as well as completing a second practicum placement at Seattle Children’s Hospital. During her time at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Tiffanie gained experience in the implementation of augmentative and alternative communication devices for children and adults who had an autism diagnosis. All of her experiences thus far have fostered her desire to become a behavioral consultant and she was thrilled to officially join the STEPS team as a BCBA consultant in January 2016. In her free time Tiffanie loves spending time with friends and family, playing and watching sports (Go Wildcats!) and traveling the world.
Chelsea Zink, M.Ed., BCBA, Consultant
Chelsea graduated from Whitworth University in 2011 with degrees in Elementary and Special Education. Through practicum placements experienced while pursuing her Bachelor’s degrees, Chelsea found her calling in teaching young children with special needs. Following graduation, she began teaching for Mukilteo School District as a special education teacher for first through fifth grade students. During this time she taught a self-contained special education class that served students with moderate to severe disabilities, providing instruction in academics, social, behavior, and daily living skills. She loved the challenge of finding unique ways to support each child in meeting their individual goals and the opportunity to work alongside parents and other professionals.
After teaching for four years, Chelsea decided to pursue her Master’s degree. Inspired by the students in her class and a particular interest in learning more about how to address challenging behaviors and teach functional communication, Chelsea decided to get her Master’s degree in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis through the University of Washington. During the Master’s program, Chelsea completed her practicum placement with STEPS working as a therapy assistant. After becoming a BCBA, Chelsea was delighted to continue being a part of the STEPS team as a consultant.
In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys embracing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, baking and exploring the world with her family and friends.
Katy Bateman, M.Ed., BCBA, Social Skills Group and Summer Camp Consultant
Katy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California Lutheran University. During her time at Cal Lu, Katy worked as a Behavior Interventionist for young children diagnosed with ASD, where she developed her passion for Applied Behavior Analysis and increasing quality of life for children and their families affected by autism and other related disabilities. Following graduation from her undergraduate studies, Katy moved to Seattle to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. During her time in the UW ABA program, Katy completed her practicum in Project DATA at the Haring Center, located on the University of Washington’s campus. Katy graduated with her M.Ed in Special Education, with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2012, Katy was accepted into the Ph.D program in Special Education at the University of Washington, studying under Dr. Ilene Schwartz. Katy is in her last year of her doctoral degree, competing her dissertation on evidence based parent training and coaching interventions to decrease challenging behaviors.
Much of Katy’s training was completed doing in home Applied Behavior Analysis throughout Southern California. Additionally, Katy has worked at the Haring Center- Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington for the past 6 years. Katy worked as the assistant teacher in Toddler DATA, as well as a research assistant on the Project DATA preschool grant. Katy is currently an ABA Practicum Supervisor in the UW ABA Masters of Education program at the University of Washington. In addition, Katy is a guest lecturer at numerous colleges throughout the Seattle area, including Seattle Pacific University, North Seattle Community College, as well at the University of Washington. Katy currently leads STEPS Social Skills Groups and Summer Camps.
Outside of her work as a BCBA and educator, Katy loves to spend time with her family and friends. She loves playing softball on the weekends, baking, and exploring new areas.