Lani has worked in school settings as a school counselor; providing academic and social/emotional support to students in grades K-12 for over ten years. Lani has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential with a specialization in School Counseling from Sonoma State University. In her role as a school counselor she worked with students 1:1, in small groups and classroom settings. Lani enjoys exploring new places, hiking, cooking and spending time with her family.
Wyatt Bessing has been a multi-sensory language arts specialist at Star since 2005. Prior to joining Star, he worked at Lindamood-Bell® Learning Processes. He has also taught high school and middle school language arts classes. A published short story writer and essayist, for many years he has helped facilitate the National Novel Writing Month's Young Writers Program at Star. He earned his MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts in 1999. Besides writing, Wyatt enjoys traveling and playing games with his wife, Sarah.
Nicole graduated from a Masters of Sciences in Speech Pathology program at Eastern New Mexico University. She was formerly a para-educator for six years in the public school system in Marin County and has experience with the IEP process, social cognition curriculum, as well as working with students both in-home and in private clinical settings. Nicole’s range of experiences also includes delivering speech services via equine therapy and providing strength and conditioning services for individuals with Autism. Outside of Star, Nicole enjoys hiking and exploring with her miniature dachshund, swimming, and reading!
Beth Gonzalez-Karcs, M.S.-CCC is a speech-language pathologist who has worked at Star Academy since 2005. Beth received her B.S. in Speech Pathology from The College at New Paltz in New York, and earned her M.S. in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University. She worked in the San Francisco Unified School District and also did several years of private contracting. Beth loves dogs, studying languages, and reading thrillers. Her passion is teaching social skills and applying social thinking and communication skills to transition.
Christina earned her Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University, Sacramento. She is particularly interested in utilizing a variety of methodologies and modalities to incorporate a therapeutic and learning experience. She feels lucky to be able to closely collaborate with other professionals and involves families to provide a holistic approach to treatment. Outside of Star, Christina enjoys traveling, walking her hound dog, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and exploring new restaurants with family and friends.
Marina earned her BA in Social Work at Humboldt State University and her Master’s in Psychology from the New College in San Francisco. She has been working as a mental health counselor in San Francisco and Oakland for the past eight years. She has also taught psychology courses at City College of San Francisco. Marina is an Associate Marriage Family Therapist and has 20 years experience working within schools with students and families. She is a mother of two teenagers and has a pet Corgi named Smores.
Julia joined the staff of Star in 2009. She is a Certified Slingerland® Teacher (CST) trained in multisensory Language Arts instruction using the Slingerland® approach. In addition, Julia is an IDA (International Dyslexia Association) Certified Dyslexia Practitioner. Julia has previously lived and worked in London, France, Belgium and Switzerland and holds a M.A. in both French and International Relations. A former high school French and English as a Second Language teacher, Julia enjoys teaching using the Slingerland® approach due to its simultaneous, multisensory, structured nature. Julia lives in Marin.
Nicole is a very seasoned Slingerland® Specialist with 13 years in private practice and many years of teaching experience as a Slingerland® specialist, resource teacher, interventionist, literacy and math specialist, drama teacher, science teacher and she even coached soccer. In addition to her 3rd year Slingerland® Master Teacher certification, she holds a Masters in Education, certification in teaching bilingual students and is Spanish bilingual.
Jane received her masters in occupational therapy from Dominican University. She has worked for many years with people with varying developmental disabilities, but has found the perfect setting in the non-public school environment of Star Academy. She loves working in a multidisciplinary program because it affords a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and the ability to provide therapy to students in the clinic, classroom and community enhances skill building and generalization. When not working at Star, Jane loves to hike, travel, garden and spend time with family and friends.
Kati Skulski M.S.-CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist and Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist has provided consultative AT Services at Star since 2016. Kati received her B.S. in Psychology from Humboldt State University, and earned her M.S. in Communicative Disorders from Cal State East Bay. Outside of Star, Kati works with a variety of schools and organizations as a private contractor and with her non-profit organization, The Nika Project. Kati is originally from Maryland and lives with her husband and two cats in Oakland. In her downtime, she enjoys cooking, hiking, traveling, and music.
Maribeth has been with Star since 2014. She has a Masters in occupational therapy from Samuel Merritt University as well as a Masters in recreation (emphasis therapeutic recreation) from San Francisco State. Among her many jobs before becoming an OT, Maribeth worked as an adminstrative director of Playmates Cooperative Preschool, a recreation therapist at Laguna Honda Hospital, a childrens' leader at the Janet Pomeroy Center and training director for Santa Barbara Special Olympics. She loves Star Academy for its small, nurturing, caring and creative environment!
Cathie grew up in Great Falls, Virginia where she was raised by a neruo-psychologist and a physicist. Put them together and what do you get? An OT of course! She is a mom of an awesome 7 year old redhead named Ben and loves the outdoors and traveling with her family. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy in 1991 followed by extensive training to include SIPT certified, Perceptual Enrichment Program, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, Masgutova Reflex Integration, HandWriting Without Tears to name a few. She loves working at Star because of the amazing staff, wonderful families and rockin' kids.