In ancient symbolism, the koi fish represents perseverance through adversity and strength of purpose. According to traditional folklore, the strongest koi swims upstream through a series of obstacles until it reaches a final, large waterfall. Once there it vaults into the mists over the waterfall and, as a reward for its journey and efforts, becomes a glorious water dragon. Because of its strength, focus and determination to overcome obstacles, the koi represents courage and the ability to attain momentous goals.
At KOI we strive to provide each child and family we serve the same opportunity to achieve success, inspire others and fulfill one’s destiny.
It was the idea of “working with the best” that drove the creation of KOI. We are a team made up of diverse expertise and experience. Our focus on our people is evident in everything we do. We are committed to providing our team with rigorous training curricula, on-going supervision and support to ensure their continued professional development. KOI is made up of people who work according to strict professional and ethical guidelines, and are exemplary in their fields. When working with KOI, you can expect the best.
Matt has dedicated his professional career to developing innovative programs for individuals with disabilities. He has worked as a special education teacher, behavior analyst and administrator. He is also a speaker and consultant working at the local, national and international level. McAlear’s major professional interest centers on the therapeutic and educational needs of young children with autism spectrum disorders. He is dedicated to providing empirically based interventions at what he sees as a critical juncture in a child’s life.
“One of the few things everyone in the disability community agrees on is the value of early intervention — the earlier the better,” McAlear says. “Early and intensive intervention can have a profound impact on the quality of life for both children at risk and their families.”
McAlear holds a bachelor’s of social work from Marist College, a master’s of special education from San Francisco State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. McAlear lives in Oakland with his wife, daughter, son and their dog.
Anne has conducted a successful career as an energetic, disciplined visionary. As the Chief Financial Officer, she has been a significant contributor to the innovative growth and success of many organizations, from a healthcare organization to internet start-up companies to multi-billion dollar investment companies.
A CPA and sought after speaker, Anne is excited to be leading the finance and administrative functions at KOI, while working closely with Matt and their team to support the organization’s growth. “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with people that are the best in their field, driven to succeed and know how to have fun. Being a part of KOI is all of those things and more!”
Anne holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Boston University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She resides in Oakland with her husband and two children and is very active in volunteering for local causes in her community.
Shannon transformed a lively career in public accounting as an CPA into a dynamic career in Talent Acquisition and Human Resources. As a team leader at a big four accounting firm, she worked on many large clients with complex issues which aided in her people development skills and problem solving abilities. Shannon relishes in the family-feel environment at KOI and supporting the vibrant team through their amazing ABA experiences!
Shannon holds a Bachelors of Science in Accounting with a Theatre minor from Loyola Marymount University. As a Bay Area native, she loves hiking and enjoying the beautiful northern California views and is also scuba-certified! Shannon spends her free time with her family and friends in addition to mentoring a foster-child through the Braid Mission Program.
By combining her strong foundation in ABA and her joy in helping others grow, Emily makes a daily impact on both clients and staff alike. Emily knows the importance of confident and competent staff in ABA therapy and works tirelessly to help people excel. She had worked as a Program Supervisor, Special-Education teacher, and behavior therapist for 9 years and is always ready for the next challenge.
Emily has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Emily loves living in Oakland and enjoying the food, art, and people around her.
Dr. Erica Holding has been working in the field of autism treatment for over 25 years. She received her first Masters in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. While at Rutgers, she also received a specialist certification in Infant and Early Childhood Development. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, holds a certification in School Administration, is a nationally certified School Psychologist, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral Level (BCBA-D). Her professional experience includes the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with a variety of delays, disabilities and behavior disorders in school, home and community settings.
Her interests have always been focused on helping individuals and families to achieve happier more fulfilling lives. Dr. Holding has presented at both the local and national levels on such topics as parent empowerment, how to raise resilient children regardless of the challenges they face, how to provide creative staff training programs, and how to provide effective ABA services in the real world. Erica has recently moved to Portland Oregon with her son, Simon, and their cat, Bear. She spends her free time enjoying food, sports, music and being out in nature with her family.
Rebekah is passionnate about team collaboration and helping children with autism spectrum disorder succeed in all environments. Rebekah holds extensive experience in team management and devotes her time to creating a team atmosphere where communication is encouraged to provide consistency and quality in services.
She previously managed a clinical therapy program, including occupational, speech, and physical therapy services, early intervention infant development services. She continuously brings compassion, creativity, and empathy to her therapy sessions as she continues to provide direct care in ABA and occupational therapy.
Rebekah earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina, and her undergraduate degree in sociology from Charleston Southern University. She currently resides in San Jose with her husband and her son.
Jacquelyn has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and with persons who are diagnosed with cognitive, behavioral, and physical impairments for over a decade. She has worked with youth in an instructor capacity since 2001. She devotes her time to researching and designing empirically-based prevention and intervention protocols that contribute to the overall well-being of persons with disabilities and their families.
Jacquelyn has worked with individuals as young as six months old to 83 years old. She is inspired by neurodiversity and developing the shared understanding that every individual, no matter the difference, has an innate right to achieve personal success, develop relationships, and excel within their communities without discrimination.
Jacquelyn earned her Masters of Arts in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Advanced Human Behavioral Studies and aspires to become a licensed Clinical Psychologist. Jacquelyn resides in Citrus Heights, California with her husband and fur baby (a cat fittingly named Baby Boy).
Penny has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities since 2004. Her experience ranges from full-inclusion model preschool programs, to in-home intensive services, public school consultation, residential home and school facilities, and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities.
Penny is interested in and passionate about developing the field of behavior analysis by providing supervision to individuals seeking their BCBA credential and mentoring newly certified clinicians. She is also dedicated to ensuring patients receive the best care possible while also protecting their privacy and security. Penny is excited to work with the KOI team providing exceptional ABA services to individuals and families.
Despite being a native of San Francisco, Penny went to the South for school. She graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with B.A.s in both Psychology and French. She received her Master of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities from Auburn University in Alabama (War Eagle!). Penny lives in San Francisco with her wife and pitbull, Shelby Blu.