Nina Smith, CCC/SLP – Ms. Smith joined LEAP team in January 2010. Since then, she has been working extensively with Language for Scholars and is the current Executive Director for LEAP. Ms. Smith has a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology and an M.A in Learning Disabilities all from Northwestern University.

Catherine Gottfred, Ph.D. CCC/SLP – Dr. Catherine Gottfred, President and Founder, received her doctoral degree in Speech Language Pathology from Northwestern University in 1979 and founded LEAP in 1986. She has both teaching and clinical experience and has held numerous positions in the field’s state and national associations. Dr. Gottfred is the 2008 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She actively oversees LEAP’s program development and implementation.

John Lybolt, Ph.D. CCC/SLP – Dr. John Lybolt, Director of Programming and Research, holds a doctorate degree in Communication Sciences from Northwestern University. He has an extensive background in research, teaching and presenting school-based teaching techniques, programs, in-services, and curricula development. Dr. Lybolt co-wrote Building Language Throughout the Year: the Early Literacy Preschool Curriculum with Dr. Gottfred, which has been used in public and charter schools in Chicago and was published in 2006.

Jenifer Coletta  Mrs. Coletta joined LEAP in April of 2015 as Account Manager on a part-time basis. As LEAP’s Account Manager, her duties include invoicing clients, bill payment, management of accounts receivable, and financial statement preparation. She has worked in the accounting field in various industries for over 30 years.  She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Gregory Moses – Mr. Moses is LEAP’s Manager of Communications and Office Solutions.  He is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He has worked in advertising, sales, and web design and development for over 25 years. Mr. Moses has worked at LEAP since 2012.  He has always had a passion for the development of youth in our communities and making sure that they are prepared for the 21st Century.

Callie Wilbat – Ms. Wilbat joined the LEAP team seasonally in 2013 and is now LEAP’s Program Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience and a minor in Linguistics. Ms. Wilbat is interested in the neurology behind language, as well as the factors that influence child development and early literacy. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Roger Anderson, CCC/SLP – Mr. Anderson is a LEAP Adjunct Instructor. He has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist for over 30 years and has worked in virtually every aspect of the profession. He has developed specific expertise through his extensive work with people with developmental disabilities. Along with his work as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Roger maintains a nationally recognized career as a professional singer and actor.

Juliane Culver, CCC/SLP – Mrs. Culver has been a key contributor to LEAP since 1998. She is a uniquely qualified Speech-Language Pathologist for adolescents, using direct and researched-based approaches to assessment and programming. She strongly believes that the language of the adolescent involves awareness of developing executive functioning, neural maturity, and social language. Juliane participates in LEAP programming as a leader, consultant and mentor. Juliane has received the Superintendent’s Recognition Award while contracting at Highland Park High School.

Aja Johnson, MHS -Ms. Johnson is a native of Chicago and is currently a Speech-Language Pathologist with Chicago Public Schools. She received a Bachelors of Health Sciences from Governors State University with honors in 2011, majoring in Communication Disorders with a minor in Social Work. She received a Masters of Health Sciences in Communication Disorders in December of 2014. Aja began as a volunteer with Leap in 2011, and currently serves as adjunct staff

Nyela Wells, Ed.D. – Dr. Wells has been a part of the LEAP team for eight years. Dr. Wells has extensive knowledge in cultural diversity and has written on issues regarding racial inequalities, privilege, and intellectual racism in K-12 education. She has learned a lot about Speech Pathology while working at LEAP. She believes that finding balance in your native dialect and the power language is key to opening doors for individuals to progress. One of her favorite quotes is: “Your Culture is your immune system” – Dr. Marimba Ani.

Emily Nierman, – Ms. Nierman came to the LEAP team in January, 2016 after graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech & Hearing Science and a double minor in both Spanish and Linguistics.  Ms. Nierman has experience working as a preschool teacher in the Chicago area which has influenced her focus in child language acquisition. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Jay Webster, – As LEAP’s Development Associate, he provides support on various development projects, including grant writing, fundraising, and community outreach.  Joining the organization in October 2015, Mr. Webster brings to LEAP several years of experience growing revenue for successful sales organizations, and contributing to the development and delivery of services at various nonprofits in Chicago.  Mr. Webster shares Leap’s belief that becoming an effective communicator, and understanding the importance of language, is a key to success in school, in work, and in life.

Ernest Sanders – Mr. Sanders is a LEAP Consultant. He is a working professional of more than 30 years affecting positive change across corporations, non-profit agencies and institutions, and philanthropic sectors.

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