Our Team

 Meet our team!  Our wonderful staff brings their decades of expertise, care, and driving passion to help every client thrive.

Office Team

Sara Weiser, OTR/L

Executive Director

Sara, is a native of the DC Metropoltian area and received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University. Prior to joining Good Beginnings, she worked in the private school setting specializing in the areas of sensory integration, fine motor and visual motor development. Sara was instrumental in developing the occupational therapy department at a newly formed local charter school and has been a guest speaker for local community organizations and universities. She has developed a special interest in working with children with visual perceptual challenges and feeding difficulties. Sara expanded her knowledge to include nutrition and treatment of pediatric obesity. She has been piloting our “Astronaut Training” program and feeding groups at Good Beginnings. Sara also has advanced training in regulatory disorders and is a certified “Therapeutic Listening” practitioner.

Amy O’Malley, PT, DPT, PCS
Dir. Of Programming/Physical Therapist

Amy O’Malley, PT, DPT, PCS has been practicing physical therapy since 1998, exclusively in pediatrics. She joined Good Beginnings in 2004 and serves as the Director of Operations in addition to treating patients. She became a Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist via the American Physical Therapy Association in 2014 as well as Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Mentor. Amy has a special interest in global outreach and teaches internationally; previous projects include Health Volunteers Overseas in Haiti, Firefly, Inc. in Russia, The Michelo Project in Swaziland, and Central America via Marymount University. She has started to expand stateside as a teaching assistant for Mary Massery continuing education classes. Out of the clinic she is very involved with her family and friends, as well as animal rescue via the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation.

Erin L. McCarthy, MS, OTR/L

Clinical Mgr/Occupational Therapist

Erin has been working as a pediatric occupational therapist for the past 10 years. She discovered occupational therapy through her younger brother who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. After attending his sessions and seeing the profound impact therapy had on his life, Erin enrolled in Towson University’s Occupational Therapy program and graduated in 2011 with her Master’s degree. Prior to Good Beginnings, Erin has worked in a variety of settings including: outpatient, school-based, and early intervention. She has experience with numerous treatment techniques including: Integrated Listening (iLs), Superflex Social Learning Curriculum, Zones of Regulation, the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum, and the Merry Mealtime Feeding Program. Over her years of experience, Erin has developed a passion for working with children of all diagnoses and seeing how occupational therapy can help improve both their independence and quality of life. Erin just moved to Washington, DC from Southern Maryland and lives with her boyfriend and goldendoodle, Charlie. She is excited to join the Good Beginnings Team!

Lara Ellenberger
Office Manager

Lara comes to Good Beginnings bringing a world of knowledge with her! She started her career at an Orthopedic Surgeons office where she worked for 16 years. Her roles were many, including running the practice for the final 10. Most recently, Lara was the administrative coordinator at a short-term group home for at-risk youth.  She has experience in accounting, scheduling, human resources, practice management, and everything that goes along with running an office. In her free time, Lara enjoys traveling, spending time with family and playing with her two puppies. Lara is excited to join the Good Beginnings team!

Mellisa Jiron
Billing Manager

Mellisa is a Certified Healthcare Reimbursement Specialist who has managed the billing process of Good Beginnings since 2008. Prior to officially joining the Good Beginnings team, she owned and operated a successful Medical Billing/RCM company which was later acquired by a well-established EMR/medical software company. With 25+ years of experience, Mellisa is dedicated to helping our families combat the intricacies of insurance reimbursement. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (Married with two boys), wine-tasting, decorating and photography.

Honeykith “Kith” Angtud
Billing Assistant

Mellisa is a Certified Healthcare Reimbursement Specialist who has managed the billing process of Good Beginnings since 2008. Prior to officially joining the Good Beginnings team, she owned and operated a successful Medical Billing/RCM company which was later acquired by a well-established EMR/medical software company. With 25+ years of experience, Mellisa is dedicated to helping our families combat the intricacies of insurance reimbursement. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (Married with two boys), wine-tasting, decorating and photography.

Maylene “Gail” Sullano
Administrative Assistant

Gail is a registered Physical Therapist who has experience specializing in pediatric care for those who were beneficiaries of the private foundation she was associated with. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Arcadia University. One of Gaiil’s major goals in life is to work as a Physical Therapist for a sports organization due to her long history of athletics.  Gail enjoyed being part of the women’s basketball and volleyball teams during her high school and college years. Her spare time is spent bonding with family and friends. She is the newest member of the team and is ready to start a new beginning at Good Beginnings as a medical administrative assistant

Grant Gabucan
Administrative Assistant

Grant holds a degree in the field of Information Technology and is our computer guru! He knows the ins and outs of the Healthcare Industry having worked with one of the biggest healthcare insurance agencies for 5 years doing a variety of administrative and customer service tasks. Grant believes in providing quality customer service for every patient. When not at work, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and discovering new places. Grant has a big heart and is excited to help so many at Good Beginnings.

Therapists

Juliet Copeland, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Juliet Copeland has been practicing as an occupational therapist since 1994. Before joining Good Beginnings in 2005 she worked in Early Intervention and in two hospital settings – The Hospital for Sick Children and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Both settings provided a plethora of opportunities to work with a variety of clients with challenging issues. Juliet developed skills in the areas of feeding and swallowing, handwriting and fine motor skills, and sensory processing issues. Juliet’s interest in Early Intervention led to her research for a Master’s Thesis at VCU on Parent and Therapist Perceptions of Sensory Based Strategies Used by Occupational Therapists in a Family Centered Early Intervention Practice. She continues to bring a high level of expertise to Good Beginnings by providing early Intervention services, leading feeding programs, and treating children with varied therapeutic needs.

Maryann Centra, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

With over 25 years of experience, Maryann Centra, has experience working with children of all ages with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, sensory-processing disorder, ADHD and other needs in a variety of settings. She has completed many continuing education courses in sensory and motor development to include various listening programs, HWT and is a certified yoga teacher. Maryann received her B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University and her Master’s Degree from George Mason University with a focus in elementary education. She currently is an adjunct professor at a local university. Her goal is to provided client-centered care for her pediatric clients and their families in a fun and motivating environment.

Katie Daddis, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Katie Daddis, grew up in Upstate New York and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Science and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University at Buffalo. Katie’s previous job history includes working at an outpatient pediatric clinic and a skilled nursing facility. She performed her clinical fieldwork at a day habilitation center and group home working with adults with developmental disabilities and an inpatient rehab facility at a level I trauma hospital. Prior to her formal education, she spent six years working at various community programs as a direct support mentor for children and teens with special needs. Katie is trained in various sensory integration and emotional regulation interventions such as the Astronaut Training Protocol, reflex integration, DIR/Floortime, Therapeutic Listening, Zones of Regulation, Superflex, and The Alert Program. Katie believes in using play as a means to gain skills and improve one’s quality of life. Katie work’s hard to stay up to date on the latest research and intervention modalities to provide the best care she can. She is excited to join the Good Beginnings team!

Caitlin Day, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, Lead Therapist

Caitlin Day, PT/DPT grew up in Herndon, VA, and received her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Misericordia University in Pennsylvania. She has experience working in the outpatient setting treating orthopedic, neurologic, and pediatric populations. Caitlin spent two and a half years treating internationally in Jamaica focusing on pediatric patients and adaptive equipment. Caitlin believes that therapy should be functional and play based, providing children and families with the tools to succeed. She enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, and recently has taken up herb/vegetable gardening as a hobby.

Amelia Gordon, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Amelia Gordon, OTR/L grew up in Fairfax, VA, received her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University, and joined Good Beginnings in November, 2015. She completed her fieldwork in public elementary and preschool settings, as well as at an inpatient rehab center for spinal cord injuries. She has experience working with children who have fine and visual motor delays, sensory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, she worked as a caregiver for a child with autism and other developmental delays for six years, which ultimately led her to fall in love with the world of OT!

Kate Grassmeyer, PT/DPT
Physical Therapist

Kate is a native Southerner, growing up in Savannah, Georgia, and attending the University of Georgia, where she studied Exercise & Sport Science. Political work originally drew Kate to Washington, but she went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Marymount University. Her doctoral thesis explored the effects of exercise on Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, and her clinical case report studied Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in a young patients with TBI. Kate treats patients from birth through elementary school using various techniques of developmental and therapeutic exercise, gait training, NDT, Brain Gym, neuromuscular re-education, and kinesiotaping. She is a certified Clinical Instructor, and certified Early Intervention Specialist, having worked in private therapy, the school system, and home setting through Arlington County. When she isn’t working, Kate is blogging, re-decorating, or running! She lives in Alexandria with her husband and two young children.

Alejandra Gutierrez, MOTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Alejandra grew up in Fairfax, VA and attended the University of Virginia where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology. She received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. Alejandra has experience at an inpatient rehab setting and in an Acute pediatric Outpatient Rehab Program where she worked with children to address visual perceptual deficits, muscle weakness, ataxia, and gross and fine motor skills. Alejandra is most interested in advanced training in sensory processing difficulties and feeding issues. Alejandra is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and Pi Theta Epsilon, the national honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. Prior to becoming an OT, Alejandra earned a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a rehabilitation technician at The HSC Pediatric Center in Washington, DC. When not working, Alejandra enjoys traveling, baking, and spending time with her friends and family.

Ali Hahn, MSOT, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Ali was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She ventured to West Virginia University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Child Development and Family Studies. After undergraduate, Ali moved back home and completed her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Shenandoah University. During her education, Ali has worked in outpatient pediatric clinics, childcare centers, preschools and hospitals. Her most recent clinic experience included providing OT services in the early intervention setting with children birth to three years old. She also has over 8 years of experience working with the Autism population including being a personal caregiver for an individual with ASD for over 2 years. Ali has always had a passion for working in pediatrics and truly believes that children (and adults) learn best when they are participating in activities that are meaningful to them, being silly and having fun! She loves supporting children and their families to be confident in themselves and achieve their goals. When she isn’t working, you can find Ali hiking, trying out new recipes and restaurants or spending time outside with her friends and family.

Michelle Kerby, MA, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Clinical Mentor

Michelle, always had the desire to work with children. Born and raised in New Jersey, she met and married her husband who is in the military. She has been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for 16 years. Michelle graduated from New York University in 2002 with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Michelle has years of experience working in pediatric settings to include; public schools, head starts programs, home based/community settings, and play based sensory clinics. These opportunities have allowed her to work with children with a wide variety of developmental delays and diagnosis. Michelle has a passion for learning new treatment approaches and techniques to bring to her treatment sessions. Michelle is an Advanced Pediatric Interactive Metronome Specialist and Basic Integrative Listening System (ILS) practitioner for Focus programs. She also holds basic certifications in DIR/Floor time, The SOS Feeding Approach, and Kinesiology taping. She has trained extensively in the field of sensory processing disorders and has experience incorporating her knowledge and training from Touch Massage, Handwriting Without Tears Program, the Alert Program, and various other sensory integration techniques into her treatment sessions. Michelle is married for 22 years, has 2 children and 2 loveable dogs. When not at work, Michelle enjoys reading, running and spending time with her family.

Marlys Loyer, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Marlys Loyer, received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Indianapolis in 1999. She has since had the opportunity to work with a variety of populations in various long-term care, hospital, early intervention, community/school, and outpatient settings. Marlys has a passion for the pediatric population and has experience working with children birth through adolescence. She has pursued additional education in feeding, vision, self-regulation, handwriting, sensory processing, fine motor development and has provided aquatic and hippotherapy. Marlys believes in the importance of creatively guiding children to develop confidence in their individual areas of strength in order to achieve goals as well as collaborating with parents and the multi-disciplinary team.

Gabby Mazzeo, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Gabby Mazzeo grew up in New Jersey. She discovered her love for occupational therapy during early experiences working with children with Autism. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina and her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. Gabby completed her clinical fieldwork in the cardiac ICU of an acute care hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and at a pediatric outpatient clinic in Scottsdale, AZ! For her Doctoral Capstone Project, she completed research on trauma-informed care and sensory regulation in the school setting. Most recently, she has worked for a pediatric company providing OT services in the clinic, schools, and via telehealth. Gabby has experience working with clients with fine motor coordination deficits, sensory processing difficulties, picky eaters, and clients with Autism or ADHD. She is passionate about using evidence-based practice to make occupational therapy meaningful and fun to clients and their families! She is excited to move to Washington, D.C. and join the Good Beginnings team!

Tobi Muftau-Lediju, MOT, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Hadijat (Tobi) Muftau-Lediju received her bachelors in liberal arts and science with a focus in occupational therapy and her masters within occupational therapy at Bay Path University. She worked with children from ages 3-16 within an outpatient clinic setting during one of her clinical rotations . Tobi has experience in addressing feeding, handwriting, dressing and self care skills, gross motor play, sensory integration, meal preparation for older children and communicative play with children on the spectrum. Tobi also used ABA techniques, neuro reeducation, upper extremity splinting, vision rehabilitation, dressing techniques, self-regulation and positive redirection at her most recent job as an occupational therapist in an inpatient rehabilitation setting for adults with brain injuries. She loves being a great big sister to her with her younger brother and sister, painting, singing, comic books, manga/anime, video and tabletop games. She has a passion for helping families establish a connection with their children, building self-esteem and independence with all activities of daily living especially a child’s most important activity: PLAY!

Susan Murphy, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Susan graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1996 with a degree in occupational therapy. She began her career working in adult rehab and skilled nursing facilities both in Michigan and as a traveling therapist in Virginia, Mississippi and North Carolina. She met and married her husband in Virginia, making several moves with the Army and having two kids along the way. Once back in Northern Virginia, she began working at Good Beginnings in 2008.

Susan has worked 20 years as an OT, the last 12 specializing in pediatrics. She holds basic and advanced certification in The SOS Feeding Approach and Beckman oral motor. Her other training includes Brain Gym, Visual/Vestibular treatment, Handwriting without Tears, Sensory integration Disorder, Primitive/postural reflexes and basic Kinesiology taping. Susan’s interest in pediatric feeding difficulties continues and she recently completed a comprehensive 12 week course addressing oral motor issues relative to feeding, tethered oral tissues, and orofacial myofunctional disorder among many other topics. She enjoys working with children ages six months to 15 years old and has experience with kids with sensory processing difficulties, visual/fine motor impairments, feeding issues, Praxis, visual perceptual delays and developmental delays. When not at work, Susan enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Effie Pulford, MOTR/L, CNDT, CSRS
Occupational Therapist

Effie graduated with her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of New Mexico in 2014. She quickly found her passion working with individuals who had experienced neurological trauma. She holds specialty certifications from the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association and American Stroke Association in the treatment of individuals with stroke and traumatic brain injury. After 5 years working in inpatient rehabilitation settings, Effie transitioned to pediatric practice where she has been using her neurological rehabilitation training to help children and young adults achieve developmental milestones and recover from injuries including cerebral palsy, microcephaly, muscular dystrophy and brain injury. Effie also has experience treating children with sensory processing disorders, fine motor coordination deficits, visual perceptual deficits and ADHD. Effie loves learning about what is important to each of her clients and being able to partner with them to develop skills they need to do things they enjoy.

Allison Reed, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist

Allison Reed, PT, DPT earned her bachelor’s of Health Science with a minor in psychology from Lock Haven University and her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She cultivated her clinical interest in pediatrics and neurodevelopmental rehabilitation while participating in a graduate traineeship, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), where she received didactic training in neurodevelopmental pathologies, disability advocacy, leadership, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Throughout her clinical experience with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Allison worked with children and families developing plans of care to address orthopedic, neuromuscular, and developmental concerns. She is originally from Rochester, NY and looks forward to exploring the Northern Virginia and DC area – hiking, visiting with family and friends, and trying new restaurants and museums!

Laurie Gardiner Seril, COTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Laurie Gardiner Seril, COTA/L, join the staff at Good Beginnings as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in February, 2022. Laurie initially received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Relations in Business from the College of William and Mary, where she was a proud member of the women’s soccer team. She first became interested in occupational therapy while searching for a client-centered health profession combining creative problem-solving skills with evidence-based practice. During Laurie’s break from schooling to raise three children, she worked as a manager/teacher for Gymboree Play and Music, a developmentally-based play program for children ages 3 months to 5 years. She then returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming an OT practitioner and graduated in 2018 from NVCC’s OTA program. Before joining the Good Beginnings team, she worked for 2 years at a pediatric outpatient clinic in Springfield. She has experience working in the Fairfax County Public School system as a Fieldwork Level 2 student with children from preschool through high school. Laurie has worked treating children with a range of diagnoses, including seizure disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and sensory processing disorder. In her spare time, Laurie and her Goldendoodle, Ellie, volunteer with People, Animals, Love, an organization which provides pet visits to bring happiness and comfort to numerous individuals throughout the D.C. Metropolitan area. Laurie also has an African Grey parrot named Cali and a parrotlet named Sydney, so her home is always filled with “musical” sounds! When not playing with her pets, Laurie also enjoys gardening, reading and spending time with family.

Brittany Short, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Brittany graduated with her master’s degree in occupational therapy in 2016 from Virginia Commonwealth University. A native of northern VA, Brittany started her career as a special education teacher in Washington, DC and as an assessment developer for students with disabilities. Brittany discovered her love for pediatric occupational therapy through volunteer work soon after and eagerly pursued working in the field. As an occupational therapist, Brittany has worked in early intervention and speciality school settings, as well as in inpatient physical rehabilitation with adults. Brittany currently works in Fairfax County Public Schools, in addition to Good Beginnings. Brittany has experience working with children who have fine and visual motor delays, sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and cortical visual impairments. When not working, Brittany enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and dog.

Morgan Michaud, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Morgan is a Georgia native who relocated to Northern Virginia in 2021. She completed her B.S. in Kinesiology at the University of North Georgia, and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. For her Master’s program, she completed her thesis on sound based interventions for young adults with Misophonia.

Morgan has experience working with individuals of all ages including infants to older adults in settings such as outpatient pediatrics, acute care, and inpatient rehabilitation. Morgan’s most recent experience was working in outpatient pediatrics with children ages 1-18 with a variety of diagnoses including ASD, ADHD, sensory processing difficulties, developmental delays, Down’s Syndrome, and more. Her interventions were largely focused on fine motor, gross motor, and visual motor skills, sensory processing, and emotional regulation. Her favorite part about being an occupational therapist is working alongside families in the development of their child’s skills through fun, play based intervention! In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, gardening, doing crafts, and spending time with her 2 cats!

Lia Rossi, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Lia grew up in Upstate New York. She graduated with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy in 2018 from Ithaca College. For her graduate research project, she investigated outdoor play and how it can be utilized in occupational therapy practice. Lia enjoys working with a wide variety of abilities including sensory processing, executive functioning, play, fine motor development, and feeding challenges. Outside of work, Lia likes to bake, hike, craft, spend time with family and travel.

Merrill Jones, MS, OTR/L

Merrill is originally from LIttleton, Colorado and has been living in DC for the past 3 years. She attended the University of Mississippi where she received a bachelors of arts in psychology and Trinity Washington University where she received her masters in occupational therapy. Merrill has experience at a psychosocial rehabilitation setting as well as the public school system where she worked with individuals from preschool through high school ages. Prior to becoming an OT, Merrill worked as a registered behavior technician where she provided 1:1 therapy to children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. She has experience working with kids with a range of developmental delays and sensory needs and is most excited to learn more about Sensory Integration and Astronaut Training. In her free time, Merrill enjoys going on walks, exploring the city , binge watching TV, tending to her nearly 50 houseplants and reading. Her favorite part about pediatric OT is the creativity it allows –and all the fun you get to have!

Jessica Toth, PT/DPT
Physical Therapist

Jessica Toth, PT, DPT is from Chicago, Illinois where she attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to earn a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. She studied at Marymount University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program where she found her passion for pediatrics. Jessica has many years of experience providing childcare for families in the Chicago and Northern Virginia areas. Her favorite experience was travelling to Costa Rica to build adaptive cars for the Go Baby Go program and work with children in need of physical therapy services. Jessica’s mission is to provide every child with a fun and positive experience while promoting health and wellness. When not working at Good Beginnings, Jessica loves to try new restaurants, explore Washington DC, and play board games.

Lily Vogelson, MOTR
Occupational Therapist

Lily grew up in Northern Virginia and attended James Madison University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with a minor in special education and received an autism certificate. She spent her free time volunteering with Overcoming Barriers, a local program dedicated to promote inclusiveness for children and adults with disabilities. She received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Miami, FL. Lily discovered her passion for pediatric OT while shadowing at Good Beginnings prior to graduate school and during her most recent clinical experience at an outpatient pediatric clinic where she trained with various sensory integration and emotional regulation interventions. Lily believes in being a life long learner and is excited to advance her knowledge and experience through completing additional certifications and keeping up to date on the best evidence-based research. Lily is passionate about promoting inclusivity for all and helping children reach their full potential through individualized treatment plans. She is excited to join the Good Beginnings team!

Haley Miller, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist

Haley grew up in Hawley, PA and attended The University of Scranton where she received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a Minor in Psychology. She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Haley has completed clinical fieldwork in a pediatric outpatient clinic in Petersburg, VA, and in the cardiac/surgical ICU in an acute care hospital in Henrico, VA. Haley is passionate about being advocates for her patients and putting the “fun” in functional during therapy sessions! When not working, Haley enjoys running, reading, baking, spending time with her friends and family, and petting every dog she can. Haley is excited to be living in Fairfax, VA to explore the area and join the Good Beginnings team!