All professionals at Child Achievement Center maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay abreast of the latest trends in speech-language therapy. Read on to learn more about our staff's experience and training.
Director: Shari Gross, M.A., CCC-SLP
Shari A. Gross, M.A., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist and Certified Elementary Educator, entered private speech pathology practice in 1998, and became a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, New Jersey Speech-Language Hearing Association, and American Academy of Private Practice of Speech-Language Pathology. She served as both a speech-language specialist and elementary educator in both public and special education schools. She served as a clinical supervisor and adjunct professor for the Kean University Communication Disorders Department, and is currently a clinical supervisor for Seton Hall University College of Health and Medical Sciences. Shari Gross served as the speech-language pathologist for the selective mutism group. She has published nationally on selective mutism and has provided continuing professional education on both selective mutism and auditory processing disorders throughout New Jersey. She has presented at conferences of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, The New Jersey Speech-Language Hearing Association, and the Central Jersey Speech and Hearing Association, as well as numerous public school districts. Shari is a proud alumnus of Brandeis University (B.A. 1988) and Kean University (M.A. 1995)
Assistant Director: Rachel M. Shapiro, M.S., CCC-SLP
Rachel M. Shapiro, M.S. CCC-SLP, speech language pathologist, graduated from Columbia University, Teacher’s College in 2002 with her Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She received a Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders and Sciences at State University of New York at Buffalo. She is PROMPT trained, and has worked in New York City Public Schools, Spring Lake, New Jersey public schools, and in the private school setting providing therapy for children with Autism. She conducts highly effective selective mutism therapy in group and individual settings. Rachel has also served as a speech-language pathologist with the early intervention system. She currently runs individual therapy sessions and social skills groups within the private practice setting. Additional areas of interest include auditory/language processing, feeding therapy, apraxia, oral motor based therapy, and cleft palate.
Senior Therapist: Melissa Gold, M.S., CCC-SLP
Melissa Gold, MS, CCC-SLP, graduated from Emerson College with her Master of Science Degree in Communication Disorders. Melissa's strongest areas of interest are early childhood speech and language disorders, preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders, and feeding disorders. Melissa has acquired Level 2 prompt training, which she utilizes throughout the therapy process for all children with articulation errors and apraxia of speech.
Darlene Sawyer, M.Ed
Darlene Sawyer, M.Ed., served for thirty years as a special educator and resource room teacher in the Howell Township Public Schools. She is highly skilled at providing effective reading therapy for children with all levels of impairments, including more severely challenged children. When she is not providing specialized reading therapy, she provides early intervention services, travel agency services, and proud grandma services.
Amanda Hegel, M.S., CCC-SLP
Amanda Hegel, M.S., CCC-SLP, speech language pathologist, graduated from Seton Hall University with her Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2009. She received a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Richard Stockton College of NJ. In addition to her workat Child Achievement Center, she works full-time for the Marlboro Township Public Schools. She has experience providing speech therapy for children ranging from preschool to middle school. Amanda currently runs individual therapy sessions to address articulation, auditory/language processing and receptive/expressive language disorders. She also runs social confidence groups to provide therapy for selective mutism and social anxiety disorders.
Michele Kaplan, M.A., CCC-SLP
Michele Kaplan, M.A., CCC-SLP, graduated from New York University with her Masters of Arts Degree in Speech and Language Disorders. She has been practicing speech for the past 24 years. Michele’s expertise ranges from early intervention, school age language disorders,articulation, and autism spectrum disorders. Michele has also been employed in the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District for the past 12 years, where she is an active member in and out of the school community.
Amy C. Kurzawa, M.A., CCC-SLP
Amy C. Kurzawa, M.A., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist, earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Stockton University. She went on to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Kean University. Amy is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association as well as the New Jersey Speech-Language Hearing Association. She has worked in New Jersey public school systems as well as the New Jersey early intervention system. She has experience working with the pediatric population in a hospital setting. Amy has also worked as an adjunct professor in the Communication Disorders department at Stockton University. She provides individual based therapy targeting a large variety of speech and language disorders as well as social skills therapy inthe group setting. Amy specializes in providing comprehensive language therapy to children of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Sheri Nagel, M.S. Ed, OGT, CDP
Sheri Nagel has been working in the Manalapan-Englishtown school system for fifteen years. She has her undergraduate degree in early childhood education and her Master’s degree in special education. Sheri has been working in the inclusion Kindergarten classroom setting for over ten years. She received her Orton-Gillingham certification from Farleigh Dickinson University and is now a certified Orton-Gillingham Dyslexia Specialist. She has been working diligently using the Orton-Gillingham program with children that have reading disabilities. Her passion is helping struggling learners become successful readers and writers.
Felice Semegram, M.S., CCC-SLP
Felice Semegram, M.S, CCC-SLP, speech- language pathologist, graduated from Columbia University, Teacher’s College in 1994 with her Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at State University of New York at Oneonta. Felice specializes in evaluating and providing therapy to children who present a variety of speech and language disorders. These include articulation/phonological delays, neurological deficits, oral motor dysfunction, stuttering, voice disorders, apraxia, and selective mutism. Felice is Prompt trained and specializes in social skills training and working with children with Autism.
Office Manager: Cindy Del Pizzo
Office Manager Cindy Del Pizzo can answer all of your insurance and payment questions. She enables our practice to operate successfully, and has extensive experience in human resources.
Mascot: Chica, our "therapy dog"
Chica is our 7 pound, hypo-allergenic, non-shedding, Maltipoo. She was adopted from the Small Dog Rescue in Princeton, in March, 2009. Chica is very gentle and rarely barks. She enjoys greeting everyone with a wagging tail. Several parents feel she enabled an enthusiastic transition to the therapy setting for their children. Chica is also good at resting quietly in a room by herself, often, and always upon request. She is occasionally found at Child Achievement Center on weekdays until 3:00 p.m.