Meet Our Team
We Celebrate the Unique Learning Style of Every Child
Mandy Jasnoff, MS, CCC-SLP
Mandy Jasnoff is a highly experienced pediatric speech-language pathologist, as well as the director and a lead instructor at CST Academy. Mandy completed her undergraduate studies in speech-language pathology at Syracuse University and her graduate studies in speech-language pathology at Boston University.
As the director of CST Academy, she worked with Karen George, MS, CCC-SLP, to develop the model of the therapeutic preschool program. She analyzed multiple approaches to determine the most effective methods for optimizing developmental gains.
As a lead teacher, Mandy works to develop individualized plans that target the individual goals of every child in the classroom. Her expertise in speech-language pathology allows her to incorporate strategies for improving communication.
Mandy has years of experience leading multidisciplinary teams, supervising clinical fellows, and working in multiple clinical settings. She has gained expertise in treating children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), incorporating the Floortime approach, providing feeding therapy, building early language, treating apraxia, using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and more.
Emily Liston, MS, CCC-SLP
Emily Liston is a pediatric speech-language pathologist and lead instructor at CST Academy. Emily grew up in Mt. Greenwood, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for her Bachelor’s degree. She then went on to pursue her Master’s degree at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.
At CST Academy, she incorporates a wide range of multidisciplinary strategies to help every child achieve their individual goals.
Emily works closely with parents in the program to provide therapeutic strategies to reinforce lessons at CST Academy. She has expertise in guiding parents through the IEP process as well.
As a lead instructor at CST Academy, she consistently collaborates with her team of assistant teachers and behavior therapists, as well as fellow speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavior analysts. Emily’s goal is to be an advocate for every child.
Karen George, MS, CCC-SLP
Karen George is a pediatric speech-language pathologist and the founder of both Chicago Speech Therapy and CST Academy. Karen received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in speech-language pathology from Marquette University.
She is the author of several books such as A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Milestones, A Parent’s Guide to Articulation, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Delay, A Parent’s Guide to Stuttering Therapy, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Sounds Development, and A Parent’s Guide to Pediatric Feeding Therapy.
She is often asked to speak and has addressed audiences at top children’s hospitals and prestigious graduate speech programs. CST Academy is highly referred by many Chicago-area pediatricians and parents of children in our program.
Shelly Sears, MS, OTR
Shelly Sears is a lead pediatric occupational therapist at CST Academy. She has extensive experience working with a range of different populations, including (but not limited to) autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, and trauma.
Shelly is a Michigan native and earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Western Michigan University. After graduating from Western Michigan University, Shelly moved to Chicago to begin her career as a pediatric occupational therapist. She is committed to meeting the unique needs and learning styles of all children by developing individualized treatment plans and collaborating with the multidisciplinary team at CST Academy.
Shelly is passionate about helping other teachers incorporate occupational therapy strategies in their daily classroom routines, in order to fit the unique needs of every child. She also specializes in designing state-of-the-art sensory gyms that help children develop sensory processing skills.
Shelly has also co-authored educational resources about pediatric occupational therapy for parents including Discover the Wonderful World of Pediatric Occupational Therapy.
Jennifer Gunn Herndon, BS
Jennifer Gunn-Herndon is a Chicago-based special education teacher and aspiring Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). With extensive experience working with children in a variety of academic settings, she is a lead teacher at CST Academy.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Dayton and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with a BCBA certification at Ball State University.
Prior to joining the team at CST Academy, Jennifer led special education programs at both private and public schools throughout the Chicago area. With expertise in ABA, Jennifer helps children increase positive behaviors, reduce challenging behaviors, and make great developmental gains in CST Academy.
Amanda Cortese, MS, OTR/L
Amanda Cortese is a Chicago-based occupational therapist who specializes in pediatric services. Before moving to the city, Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree with high distinction from Indiana University. She then went on to pursue her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Indiana University. In her years of pediatric experience, Amanda has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, coordination disorders, fine and gross motor delays, executive functioning deficits, and more.
To provide the most comprehensive level of care for her clients, Amanda regularly collaborates with speech, feeding, and ABA therapists. Amanda loves being an OT because occupational therapy is based on facilitating a person’s participation in all the things that are important to them, whatever that may be. She gets to make a difference in the daily lives of all of her clients.
Justine Boudreau, M.Ed.
Justine Boudreau is a passionate behavior therapist and kindergarten teacher who graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education from Michigan State University. Following her graduate studies, Justine gained ample experience creating and implementing individualized education programs for children within Chicago Public Schools. Her passion for working with the pediatric population, equipped alongside her tenacity and warm personality, allows Justine to help children with special needs make exceptional gains.
Ally Kowalski, B.S.
Ally Kowalski graduated with her bachelor’s in Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education and earned her Learning Behavior Specialist I endorsement. She began teaching a blended special education preschool in the suburbs of Chicago. Ally then moved on to teaching an extensive instructional special education classroom, catering to grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Ally has a decade of experience working with children and young adults ranging from ages 1 to 21 years old.
Taylor Reckert, MOT, OTR/L
Taylor Reckert is a Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University. Taylor has known she wanted to be an occupational therapist and work with children since high school. In her years of pediatric experience, Taylor has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), executive functioning deficits, developmental delays, and more. She has also earned her Early Intervention Certification which allowed her to gain experience in working with children ages 0-3.
Taylor loves being an OT because she gets the opportunity to help people participate in the things they need and love to do. She can help people live to their fullest potential and become successful in their daily lives.
Jessica Dieter, MS, CCC-SLP
Jessica Dieter is a Chicago-based pediatric speech-language pathologist and lead teacher in CST Academy. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jessica has extensive experience working with children to address early feeding and swallowing concerns, as well as speech and language development.
Jessica has also worked with diverse populations of children in a wide range of therapeutic settings including medical facilities, private clinics, schools, and in-home therapy. She enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with parents throughout the therapeutic process in order to help children make incredible gains.
Meredith Harrison, MS, CCC-SLP
Meredith Harrison is a pediatric speech-language pathologist and lead instructor at CST Academy. Meredith completed her undergraduate studies in speech-language pathology at Truman State University in Missouri and earned her Master's degree from New York University. Since 2012, she has been treating children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of speech and language disorders in clinical, home, medical, and school settings.
At CST Academy, Meredith particularly enjoys using music to support each child's unique speech and language development. She also loves incorporating various communication modalities, including sign language and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to help children find their voices.