Meet the Team

 

Administration

Kathryn Wage, MA, CCC-SLP

Founder & Director

Kathryn has worked in the field of speech language pathology for more than 40 years and been in the forefront of bringing new therapies to clients in the area.  A graduate of California State University, Fresno, she has dedicated her career to improving communication skills for both children and adults. 

 

Her career has included working in public schools and for the state of California, teaching classes at Fresno State and Fresno Pacific Universities and founding a private practice, Aspire Speech and Learning Center.  Kathryn is often called upon to provide independent educational evaluations for students whose necessary services are difficult to determine.

 

She is a life long resident of Fresno, lives with her husband Herman, and has two adult children living in Fremont and Frankfurt, Germany and a dog named Sophie.

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Margaret Gaeta

Chief Administrator

Andrea Sanchez

Client Relations Supervisor

Charlene Nielsen

Bookkeeper

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Rozavel Sayson

Client Relations Specialist

Desiree Torosian

Client Relationship Specialist

Nicole Poplin-Dillie

Client Relations Assistant

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Speech Therapists

Lorraine Bukilica, MA

Lorraine has had a long career as a Speech Language Therapist for the Fresno Unified School District where she served as a therapist in the preschool programs and at the district assessment center.  When she left that position she joined the Aspire team to serve our clients at Central Valley Regional Center through the Baby Clinic assessment team.  She loves working with the parents, and their children under the age of 3 to help establish early intervention services.  Lorraine enjoys living in Fresno with her husband, dogs, and cats.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Nelida Vasquez MA, CFY-SLP

Nelida has always had a passion for working with children. She explored other professions until a friend told her about speech pathology! She did some research and quickly fell in love with the field. Nelida loves that every day is different and how she always learns knew things. She loves being a part of a team and working alongside parents to help their children. Nelida would love to provide more research regarding speech and language for bilingual individuals, and be able to compose new standardized assessments for that population as well!

Speech-Language Pathologist

Deborah Esquivel, MA, CCC-SLP

Debbie Esquivel is a Speech-Language Pathologist who received her undergraduate and Master's degrees from California State University, Fresno. Debbie has experience working in adult rehabilitation, as well as school and clinic settings. She began working at Aspire Speech & Learning Center in 2006, and has been here ever since. Currently she enjoys working with a wide range of clients from preschoolers to adults. Debbie has been married to her husband Ramon for 14 years and has been blessed with five wonderful grandchildren. In her free time, Debbie enjoys going to her grandchildren’s baseball and basketball games, having them over for sleepovers and following their imaginations and creativity.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Kristin Flannigan, MA, CCC-SLP

Kristin was born and raised in Missouri and moved to California in August 2014. Her first love was the Spanish language which prompted her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Truman State University. After graduating in 2003, she went on to work in the community, soon after returning to the university to work. In 2011, she found her next love in communication disorders. Graduating in December 2014 with her master’s, Kristin hit the ground running at Aspire Speech & Learning Center.

 

She has continued to hone her skills as a clinician and has found areas of professional interest in childhood apraxia of speech, early intervention, working with individuals with Autism, augmentative and alternative communication, bilingualism, and working with speakers of Spanish. Outside of work, Kristin enjoys spending time with her church family, singing, visiting the coast or the mountains, crocheting, reading, and relaxing.

Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist

Shannon Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP

Shannon Johnson, M.A., CCC-SLP graduated with distinction from California State University, Fresno earning her Bachelor of Arts degree and her Master of Arts degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has been awarded the Certificate of Clinical Competence. She is licensed by the Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology Board of California, and earned the ACE Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Shannon has vast experience providing diagnostic and therapeutic services for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide variety of diagnoses including apraxia, articulation and phonological disorders, autism, dysphagia, fluency disorders, pragmatic disorders, and receptive and expressive language delays.

 

Shannon is a knowledgeable Speech- Language Pathologist with over 15 years of experience.  She is a preceptor for future Speech-Language Pathologists and enjoys sharing her passion for the profession with the graduate students she mentors. Shannon is a dynamic therapist that finds joy in working with her clients at Aspire Speech & Learning Center. She is married to her college sweetheart and has two wonderful sons.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Patricia Looney-Burman, MA, MPH, CCC-SLP

Pat Looney-Burman holds a Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology from Emerson College, as well as a Master of Public Health degree in Health Services Administration and Planning from the University of Hawaii. Pat's first job as a speech-language pathologist was at the Boston, Massachusetts Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she worked for eight years. She then moved to the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, and worked as a consultant to the Speech and Hearing Clinic at the Guam Department of Public Health and wound up staying for six years! She might even still be there, if she hadn’t met her husband-to-be, who was in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii. 

 

Hawaii became Pat's new home, where she worked as a therapist for Head Start, the Hawaii Department of Health, and the California-Hawaii Elks Major Project. She was then promoted to Regional Manager for Central California and Hawaii with the Major Project and was required to move to Fresno; soon followed another promotion to Director of Professional Services for the organization. She officially retired from the Major Project in 2003, but wanted to continue in the profession that she loved. Pat joined Aspire Speech & Learning Center in 2003 on a part-time basis.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Amy Mendes, MA, CCC-SLP

Amy Whitten Mendes, M.A., CCC-SLP graduated with distinction from California State University, Fresno earning her Bachelor of Arts degree and her Master of Arts degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders.  She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has been awarded the Certificate of Clinical Competence. She is licensed by the Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology Board of California. Amy has vast experience providing diagnostic and therapeutic services for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide variety of diagnoses including apraxia, articulation and phonological disorders, autism, fluency disorders, pragmatic disorders, and receptive and expressive language delays.

 

Amy is an enthusiastic Speech-Language Pathologist with 15 years of experience.  She finds much enjoyment in working with her clients at Aspire Speech & Learning Center's Visalia location as well as doing developmental evaluations of children birth to three at Central Valley Regional Center’s Baby Clinic. She is married together with her husband they are raising a daughter and four sons.

Speech-Language Pathologist

JoAnna Muir, BS, SLP-A

JoAnna Muir, B.S. SLP-A graduated from Loma Linda University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. She is licensed by the Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Board of California. She fell in love with Aspire Speech & Learning Center in 2010 before moving to McAllen, TX to begin her career. She returned to her home state the following year to finally join this family of professionals at Aspire in providing exceptional therapy and care to the families of Central California. She enjoys working with her very young clients and her school-age clients, building foundations for better communication. JoAnna is a compassionate and caring person who tries her best to help families find the unique resources needed in caring for their loved ones.  

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Rochelle Ramos-Martinez, MA, CCC-SLP

Rochelle Ramos, M.A., CCC-SLP received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from California State University, Fresno.  She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, has a Certificate of Clinical Competence, and is licensed by the Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology Board of California. Rochelle has over 17 years of experience working in the school and clinical settings.  She provides diagnostic and therapeutic services for children, adolescents, and adults with various diagnoses including articulation and phonological disorders, fluency disorders, apraxia, autism, pragmatic disorders, and receptive and expressive language disorders. 

Speech-Language Pathologist