Executive Leadership - Early Autism Project

Executive Leadership

  • Sarah Jones Vega, MSPT, PT
    Senior Vice President of Operations, Administrator

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    Sarah Jones Vega, MSPT, PT

    Sarah Jones Vega, an experienced Physical Therapist, has specialized in Pediatric Physical Therapy since 2001. Due to her clinical background, she understands the importance of providing patients with highly skilled, compassionate therapists, and she applies that knowledge to managing the daily operations of ChanceLight’s Behavioral Health and Therapy Divisions.

    As Senior Vice President of Operations, she is responsible for maintaining and enforcing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with state regulations as well as overseeing all aspects of patient care.

    Sarah spent the first 7 years of her career at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children where she became an expert in the French Method of treating infants with clubfeet. She gave presentations, participated in research and published research on the topic. Sarah is a member of the American and Texas Physical Therapy Associations’ pediatric sections. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy.

  • Ann D. Eldridge, M.Ed., BCBA
    Senior Clinical Advisor

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    Ann D. Eldridge, M.Ed., BCBA

    Ms. Eldridge is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with more than 20 years of experience designing learning environments for persons with autism and developmental disabilities. A co-founder and the Senior Clinical Advisor for Early Autism Project, Inc., she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Special Education from Southern Wesleyan University and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Clemson University. She also completed the Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education Graduate Certificate Program at The Pennsylvania State University.

    For fifteen years, Ms. Eldridge was a Special Education teacher in the South Carolina public school system, and in 1996 she was recognized by the South Carolina Autism Society as that organization’s Teacher of the Year. Ms. Eldridge began her career in Applied Behavior Analysis in 1994, when the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP) served several children in her inclusive preschool class.

    In 1997, she began working as a consultant with WEAP and in 1999 she became a full-time consultant with the company. In July of 2000 Ms. Eldridge was named director of the South Carolina Early Autism Project, Inc., which at that time was the Southeast branch of WEAP. Ms. Eldridge has received extensive training in applied behavior analysis and autism from Dr. Glen Sallows, BCBA.

    Dr. Vincent J. Carbone, BCBA-D provided Ms. Eldridge with the training and clinical mentorship that led to her certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has collaborated with Tammi Kasper, CCC-SLP/BCBA and Jennifer Godwin, BCBA to design individual ABA programs and speech protocols.

    Ms. Eldridge holds memberships in many professional organizations. She lives in Sumter, South Carolina.

  • Jennifer Godwin, M.Ed., BCBA
    VP of Program and Clinical Services

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    Jennifer Godwin, M.Ed., BCBA

    Jenn Godwin is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who began working children with autism in in-home and school-based programs using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2000.

    Mrs. Godwin serves as EAP’s Vice President of Program and Clinical Services. In this position, she oversees all aspects of training, staff development, clinical quality and assurance. Mrs. Godwin earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Greensboro College and earned her Master of Education in Special Education with an inclusion specialist certificate at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She resides in Fort Mill, SC.

  • Christie Penland, M.Ed., Ed.S., BCBA
    VP of Operations

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    Christie Penland, M.Ed., Ed.S., BCBA

    Christie Penland has over 15 years of experience developing and supervising programs for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her current position as Vice President of Clinic Operations, she manages the daily operations of the autism division clinic sites. This includes planning, coordinating, and directing a broad range of clinical and administrative services that allow the clinic sites to operate efficiently. She trains and supervises clinic directors to ensure all policies and procedures are being implemented across all clinic sites.

    Her responsibilities as Regional Coordinator for the upstate include providing supervision and training to clinicians in her region, overseeing program implementation and quality assurance. Ms. Penland earned both an Education Specialist degree and a Master of Education in counseling degree from the University of South Carolina.

    While completing her advanced degrees, Ms. Penland worked as a lead therapist, school shadow, and line therapist in ABA programs for children with autism. Ms. Penland began working with Early Autism Project, Inc. in 1999. Ms. Penland completed the necessary clinical coursework under Dr. Martinez-Diaz, BCBA-D, and a mentorship under Ms. Jennifer Godwin, BCBA to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Ms. Penland resides in Greenville, South Carolina.

  • Anna Bullard
    Vice President, Business Development

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    Anna Bullard

    Anna has been advocating for families with autism since her daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two-and-a-half. Anna became a driving force behind “Ava’s Law,” which was passed by the Georgia Legislature in 2015 and requires insurance companies to cover evidence-based treatment for autism. The following year, she partnered with families and Autism Speaks to secure $30 million in the state Medicaid budget for autism services. In 2018, Anna championed the removal of unnecessary age caps for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment in Georgia. She has also succeeded in earning school district contracts for ABA in underserved areas.

    Prior to joining ChanceLight, Anna worked as Director of Family Connections, a statewide network dedicated to empowering communities to provide services for families and children in need. She has served on numerous committees and study groups to develop policies related to services for autism, and in 2015, Anna was awarded the National “Speak Out” award from Bob and Suzanne Wright, founders of Autism Speaks, for her advocacy efforts.

  • Jeanine Weichelt, M.Ed., BCBA
    VP of Operations

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    Jeanine Weichelt, M.Ed., BCBA

    Mrs. Weichelt received her Master’s in Education from Penn State University and has a certification in Special Education. Mrs. Weichelt has worked in the field of education and behavior analysis for over 15 years, serving children from age two through eighteen with autism and other developmental disabilities.

    She joined Education Alternatives, a Partner of EAP, in 2005, after becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to joining Education Alternatives and EAP, Mrs. Weichelt worked as a therapist delivering home-based ABA therapy to children on the autism spectrum and worked as a teacher at the Princeton Child Development Institute while pursuing her BCBA certification.

    In her current position, she establishes and maintains contracts with School Districts, provides clinical oversight to BCBAs and other staff working in Districts, and manages the daily operations related to school district services. Mrs. Weichelt is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program in Education for K-12 Leadership at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.

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