MEET THE CREW
Learn a little about our awesome Special Kids team.
Chris leads Special Kids with a heart to serve Jesus Christ. He loves seeing Jesus touch people through our ministry and provide healing and restoration to children and families. Since 2000, Chris has helped the Special Kids family stay focused on our mission and passion to serve. With his own family, Chris enjoys running, cooking, and quality time eating meals together.
family resources coordinator
Sydne' enjoys spending time with her family and God. You can often find her out shopping or exploring the latest fashion blog. At Special Kids, Sydne' loves working in a Christian environment. Her favorite part of her work is knowing that at the end of the day, she was a blessing to someone.
SARAH ANDERSON-DANIELS, MS, OTR/L
Sarah enjoys the welcoming atmosphere at Special Kids! She loves how committed the community is to helping children explore, develop, and create. When Sarah is away from work, she's off exploring Nashville's local restaurants and food trucks and taking photographs along the way. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing board games, and roasting S'mores over the fire or in a toaster oven.
JORDAN austell, CTRS
Jordan loves seeing the energy that comes from the kids! They inspire her everyday to try to match their stamina and are the ones that give her the energy she needs to keep up. When Jordan isn't playing with the kids, she can be found enjoying some bigger towns- listening to music in Nashville or visiting family in Chicago.
becky batchelor, ctrs
Becky and her husband love to run. (Becky's even placed in the Special Kids Race!) She can often be found camping, kayaking, and hiking around Tennessee. When Becky isn't outdoors, she's helping the kids grow and learn. Her favorite part is watching the children find a sense of self and see their personalities come out.
christy bell, cpa
Christy works to keep the financial operations running smoothly. She's great with numbers and especially loves getting to work with the other staff. When Christy isn't crunching numbers, she's staying busy watching her children play ball and enjoying family time when her whole crew is all together.
susan bidwell, rn
Susan is a long-time Special Kids staff, starting in 2001. Over the years, Susan has enjoyed caring for the kiddos and families and working in a Christian environment. When Susan isn't caring for the kids, she can be found on the lake, taking cruises with her family, or visiting her grown kids on Rocky Top.
tori bivens, ctrs
lead recreational therapist
If Tori's ever missing, the first place to check is in the ball pit! Tori loves getting to play with the kids and especially seeing them learn the bible stories she teaches every afternoon. When Tori isn't playing at work, she can be found playing after work with go-carts, laser tag, or going to ballgames. Tori also enjoys staying active with her family by traveling and going to concerts together.
family resources interpreter
Teresa loves getting to be the voice of the families. Watching the stress and worry leave when she is able to communicate the parents' thoughts with the therapists, is Teresa's favorite part of her work. When Teresa isn't busy translating, she enjoys taking vacations with her husband and family. She especially loves visiting her family in Mexico and spending time with her little dog, Bruno.
aimee bolinger, mpt
Aimee loves getting to touch lives at Special Kids and helping to try and make them better. Her favorite part of her job is bringing brightness to the moment and letting God use her. Aimee’s other passion is her family who are often found enjoying water sports, camping, riding bikes, and participating in church activities.
Sarah rocks at writing grants! And for good reason- she enjoys connecting the needs at Special Kids with how foundations desire to invest. Her favorite part of her role is working with staff to bridge new program ideas with the funds they need. When Sarah isn't writing, she can be found running her crew around, digging in the dirt (gardening), and exercising for fun.
casey champion, RN
Casey loves how the kids make her smile every day. Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with and loving on the kids. When Casey isn't with the kids, you can find her hiking and kayaking with her husbanding, playing with her dogs, and spending time with family and friends.
SHANE CHITWOOD, RN
Shane loves getting to be with the kids during bible study. She has a passion for helping them study God's word and worship. Shane especially enjoys playing with the kids and seeing them smile and have fun. When Shane isn't with the kids, she can be found going to car shows, camping, and golfing with her husband and sons.
leigha cuellar, pt, dpt
Leigha enjoys helping the kids work towards their goals while reminding each one that they are special and loved. When Leigha isn't celebrating each child's progress and achievements, you can find her spending time with her husband hiking, riding bikes, and finding new places to visit. She loves doing anything outdoors and especially traveling.
kerry cunningham, RN
Kerry loves caring for the kids. One of her favorite parts is getting to bring her 2-year-old with her to work to be a peer model. When Kerry is away from the Special Kids kids, she can be found playing with her own kids and enjoying family time together walking the dogs and going to parks.
Investor Relations Officer
Noel is often found outdoors- horseback riding, hiking, and playing with her three children (actually, two real children and one rather large dog). When Noel and her husband aren't chasing the kids, she can be found developing relationships with the staff, kids, and investors. She loves getting to help others fulfill their goals and can't believe she gets paid to do what she loves so much.
alicia donaldson, rn
Alicia loves caring for the kids and forming relationships with the families and her co-workers. She enjoys getting to bring her children to work as peer models and having them near. When Alicia isn't caring for Special Kids' kiddos, she's with her family outside camping, fishing, and listening to her young son strum the guitar and sing blue grass.
Barbara is the baby whisperer. She enjoys holding and loving on the babies in our nursing and TEAMM programs. Her favorite part is seeing what God is doing in them and watching miracles every day. When Barbara isn't rocking the babies, she can be found hiking with her husband and watching her nieces and nephews grow and become established.
kristin fenner, M.A., CF-SLP
speech language pathologist
Kristin loves smiling at the funny things kids say every day! Her favorite part of her work is celebrating with the kids and families during the little moments of progress or the big successes. Outside of Special Kids, Kristin enjoys being outside hiking and biking. You can often find her with a good book or on an adventure traveling.
Director of Development
Stephanie leads the development team at Special Kids with a heart that is set on our mission to serve Jesus Christ by caring for His children. Her favorite part of her work is connecting people with their vision- be that helping staff start a program, showing investors how they can leave a legacy, or coaching friends on how to fundraise. Stephanie can often be found horseback riding, hiking, swimming, reading, or just enjoying the great outdoors with her very active family who love to join her on her adventures.
lindsAy franklin, RN
Lindsay loves being surround by such joyful children. Her favorite part of her work is watching them accomplish (with such great attitudes) goals that most of us take for granted. She sees that everything is such a Big accomplishment for the children, and she wants to be more like them. When Lindsay isn't caring for the kids, she enjoys crafting by making wreaths and ornaments and anything outside. Lindsay especially loves playing with her daughter on the porch swing or exploring the outdoors with her.
Stephanie Gannar, LPN
director of nursing
Stephanie makes Special Kids the most loving and fun place around for the kids. She's an all-around super star taking care of everything from dirty diapers to being a support to the staff. When Stephanie leaves her scrubs behind, she can be found hiking and camping with her husband or reading and exercising for fun. Her favorite part of Special Kids is being able to serve Jesus Christ openly at work.
Jessica is a big kid at heart, and she loves getting to be one at work! As a former college athlete, Jessica knows the value of encouraging the kids to play and move around, and she especially loves making the little ones smile. When Jessica isn't chasing kiddos, she enjoys anything outdoors and visiting her family deep in the heart of Texas.
INSURANCE/ BILLING ASSISTANT
Shannon serves Special Kids through working with insurance companies and helping families any way she can. She loves knowing that everyone she works with has a big heart and true passion for serving others, especially the children. In her free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with her children, discovering new hiking trails (especially the ones with waterfalls), and playing/ teaching guitar.
Sandy’s favorite part of her work is getting to reassure families that it will be ok and that we will work with them for billing. She loves seeing the relief in their faces and the stress that drops away when they learn we are here to help. When Sandy isn’t helping answer billing questions, she can be found spending time with her family and traveling to add another half marathon under her belt.
robin hutchinson, pta
physical therapy assistant
Robin enjoys the outdoors and especially riding along with her husband on their tractor. Robin and her husband love to read, hike, and walk the Greenway with their dog. At Special Kids, Robin enjoys building relationships with the kids and their families. She loves how fun the kids are and loves having fun with them in therapy.
TESSA IRWIN, PT, DPT
lead physical therapist
Tessa keeps everything moving and fun in physical therapy department. She loves building relationships with the patients and their families, which makes it such a joy to witness the kids' progress and celebrate with them. She sees her patients as some of her favorite people in the world who teach her something new every day. When Tessa isn't helping the kids, she can be found reading, hiking, camping, taking road trips, and spending time with her family and friends.
winston joffrion, ms, ccc-slp
speech language pathologist
Winston brings the fun with him to work everyday. He is known for his jokes, impersonations, and how much the families love working with him. Winston loves seeing a child learn to express themselves and watching the light of hope come into a parent’s eyes. When Winston isn’t telling jokes, he can be found woodworking with traditional tools, reading, and enjoying time together with family.
Ashante is the smiling face that greets our families at the Nursing Center. Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with families and playing with the children. when Ashante is away from her desk, she enjoys being an active member in her church, traveling, shopping, and going to the movies.
kayla johnson, cota/l
certified occupational therapy assistant
Kayla loves watching the kids try new things. She loves to see them grow and accomplish new goals. When Kayla is away from the kids, she is spending time with her husband and dog as they take long walks and watch movies together. Kayla also enjoys reading and traveling and chance she can.
allie jovanovich, ms, otr/l
Allie loves helping children feel validated and supported in all their accomplishments, no matter the size. To her, the look on their faces is priceless. When Allie isn't playing all day and making fun crafts at work, she can be found with her husband outside sitting around the fire or hiking with their dogs. Allie also loves game nights and some old-time movies, especially those with Doris Day.
ELIZABETH KING, BS, SLPA
SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY ASSISTANT
Elizabeth is a nurturer at heart. She enjoys connecting with children and their families at Special Kids. Her favorite part of her job is witnessing the moment when a child understands a concept for the first time. Elizabeth loves being outside, walking in the park with her husband, and spending quality time with family and friends. She can often be found running, crafting, and curling up with good books.
FAMILY RESOURCES COORDINATOR
Connor helps families at Special Kids with starting services and with connecting them to resources in the community. His enjoys getting to help and working with the families. In his free time, Connor likes to watch and play sports and to spend time eating out with friends.
Toni is a people person! Toni's favorite part of her job is meeting new people and getting to know their stories. She loves connecting volunteers with opportunities to serve and meet the needs at Special Kids.
Lori lee, cota/l
certified occupational therapy assistant
Lori loves building relationships with her kiddos and parents. She especially loves those little moments when she realizes she has the best career! When Lori isn't helping kids reach their goals, she can be found staying active through working out, hiking, and riding horses. Lori also enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.
Kathleen is a world traveler. This adventurer has surfed, kayaked, zip-lined, and jumped out of a plane. These days, Kathleen can be found using her passion for food to prepare delicious and healthy meals for the kids. She has even created a vegetable, herb, and sensory garden to help the kids learn to interact with their food. Kathleen's goal is to get get as much nutrients into the kids while they're in our doors!
grace mcclendon, MS, CF-SLP
speech language pathologist
Grace loves helping the kids. Her favorite part of her work is being with the kids all day and spending time with them. When Grace is away from the kids, she enjoys walking her dog and being a fervent animal lover.
bailey montes, MOT, OTR/L
LEAD Occupational therapist
Bailey loves building relationships with the kids. Her favorite part is being a part of their journey. When Bailey is away from the kids, she's gardening, watching baseball (Go Angels!), and spending time with her son. Being from sunny California, Bailey loves being outside hiking or playing catch.
Warner works to keep our therapy and nursing services running smoothly, being an extra set of hands and huge blessing to our staff. He enjoys getting to play ‘Avengers’ with the children and teaching them the ‘Avenger’ moves. When Warner isn’t playing superheroes with the kids, he can be found camping with his family, training to box, and at long-distance shooting practice.
Jessica's favorite part of her job is dancing and singing silly songs with the children. Jessica is always a great help to our nursing staff to be an extra set of hands with the kids and to jump in and serve however. In her free time, Jessica enjoys reading books, writing in her journal, swing dancing, and, yes, the occasional time spent knitting.
maria noya, cfle
Maria can often be found chasing the kids around the Nursing Center. Her favorite part of her job is getting to see the kids grow. When Maria isn't playing with the kids, she can be found at a Predator's game, playing board games with friends, or spending time outdoors with her dogs.
christa olson, ms, otr/l
Christa loves working in an environment where she can find ways to love on, encourage, and motivate all of God's precious children. Her favorite part of her job is seeing how God truly cares for His children. When Christa isn't helping the kids, she enjoys going on adventures with her camera and hammock, and more inside the city limits, she likes to get lost and explore new places, especially local coffee shops. Her favorite pastime is hanging out with Jesus, family, and friends.
insurance/ billing specialist
Karen is the all around support for the staff and families at the Kleinau Nursing Center. She continually goes above and beyond to help wherever she can. Karen's favorite part is helping families get the most benefit out of their insurance. With her own family, Karen loves hiking with her husband and spending time with her grandchildren.
Director of Administration
Jan is the financial person guru at Special Kids. With her background in accounting, Jan uses her giftings to serve needs of the whole team. When Jan is away from the numbers, she enjoys watching her girls play sports and spending time with her family. Jan loves being a part of a ministry that has such a powerful impact on so many families.
candice stoetzel payne, bsw
LEAD family resources coordinator
Candice’s favorite part of her work is empowering parents. She loves getting to see when a parent follows through on their plan and makes new strides. When Candice isn’t working with our families, she can be found outside going to concerts and staying active chasing her pet pig, Compost. Candice also loves being in the kitchen and cooking (and no, there are no plans of ever cooking up Compost).
rachel polk, ms, ccc-slp
speech LANGUAGE pathologist
Rachel loves building relationships with our families and showing them that we are here to support them any way we can. Rachel's favorite part of her work is seeing the faces of the kids light up when they have accomplished a goal. When Rachel isn't helping children say their first word, she can be found traveling with her husband and spending time with their dog, Otis.
Amber powell, rn
Amber loves being in a loving environment each day. She enjoys getting to love on the kids and her co-workers at the best job around. When Amber is away from the kids, she can be found spending time with her husband outdoors, hiking and playing disc golf. Amber also enjoys a little friendly competition through weekend trivia games with her husband and friends.
Tarina is our biggest cheerleader and helps to keep everything running smoothly. Her heart to serve is evident in how she cares for the staff and the families. When Tarina is away from her work desk, she’s at her home desk working on obtaining her bachelor’s degree. Tarina also enjoys bowling, skating, and watching her children play sports.
mollie prindiville, cfle
When Mollie isn't running around with the kids, she's enjoying teaching them and seeing them learn. She loves getting to play with and love on the kids through the day. When Mollie is away from the kids, she enjoys her family's traditions, reading, staying active, and trying all kinds of new foods.
alexis ramsey, ctrs
director of strategic initiatives
Alexis is a long-time servant at Special Kids, having expanded our nursing program and created Camp Ability in her previous role. She loves getting to witness the big and small miracles every day at Special Kids. Today, Alexis explores areas for Camp Ability to grow and possibilities for new programs to develop from our existing ministries. When Alexis isn't being a rockstar program starter, she can be found traveling with her husband or playing with her four-legged children, Darth and Leia.
Connie loves loving on the kids. After beginning as a volunteer, Connie joined staff and has enjoyed the Christian environment and attitude she is surrounded by every day. When Connie isn't playing with the children here, she's playing with her own grandchildren and spending time cooking, hiking, reading, and doing crossword puzzles.
Libby has served in several capacities with Special Kids over the years. Her most recent venture uses Libby's enjoyment of computers and determination to not let them outsmart her. When Libby isn't making strides in the IT world, she came be found reading, spending time with her family and friends, going to auctions with her husband, and attending church functions.
kellyann roush, MS,otr/l
occupational therapy specialist
KellyAnn is a ball of energy and fun. She loves that she gets to be at a place where 'work' is 'play!' KellyAnn enjoys empowering children and family with skills they didn't know they were capable of. When KellyAnn isn't at work playing, she is spending time with loved ones and learning about 'Southern traditions.' She loves exploring middle Tennessee and wrangling her cat, Boozle.
cathy rungee, rn
Cathy has been a long-time friend of Special Kids, having started as a volunteer for our Hoofbeats therapeutic riding program. She loved seeing the extraordinary relationship between the horses and the children and now enjoys having fun with the children in our nursing center. Cathy loves what she does, the staff, and the constant chatter of little voices. Her favorite part of her work is receiving the affirmation of a hug, smile, or a fist bump from a Special Kid.
Ashley is the person behind the scenes, getting there early, staying late- all to make sure our event guests have the best experience possible. She loves using her gifts to fulfill the greater purpose of serving the children at Special Kids. When Ashley isn't pulling all nighters for events, she can be found at concerts with friends, eating chips and salsa, and doing a barre workout after chips and salsa.
gena schmahl, rn
Gena feels blessed to work on-call with the wonderful children and staff at Special Kids. Her favorite part of her job is watching her fellow staff members serve the children, families, and one another as Jesus' hands and feet. For fun, Gena loves to bargain shop, cook, play board games, and have family fun nights with her kids and husband.
investor relations SPECIALIST
Kelly wears many hats as she cares for our donors and supports our development team. Kelly's favorite part of her job is working with the staff and getting to know the children and families we serve. When Kelly is away from the office, she is spending time with her husband and two mini Australian Shepherds. Kelly also enjoys kayaking, camping, and spending time with friends and family.
director of marketing
Ginger loves sharing the Special Kids message and getting to see how Jesus is changing the families we serve. She enjoys using graphics and a thoughtful word to tell the Special Kids story. When Ginger isn't fighting her arch-nemesis (aka spelling), she can be found sipping a good cup of coffee, learning how to be the next Bob Villa, and reading with her husband.
KAtie taylor, m.s., ccc-slp
prn speech language THERAPIST
Katie loves watching the kids achieve their goals! She says that working with the children and families is extremely rewarding. When Katie isn't helping the kids, you can find her traveling or playing at an escape room... or both! She and her husband enjoy traveling to new places and competing in the escape rooms that town has to offer.
hailee truelove, Ma, CCC-SLP
lead speech language pathologist
Hailee loves to witness the first time a child learns a new skills. Her favorite part of her work is connecting children to others by helping them learn to communicate. When Hailee is away from the kids at work, she is cooking healthy meals for her own family and learning about health and wellness. Hailee can also be found outdoors jogging with her husband.
christian vaughan, ms, ccc-slp
Christian’s favorite part of Special Kids is getting to know the families so well. She loves when they feel comfortable and safe coming to us for ideas and suggestions. When Christian isn’t teaching children to communicate, she can be found listening to live music at a concert or a restaurant or going down a river with her family.
courtney wall, cota/l
occupational therapy assistant
Courtney enjoys getting to play all day for her work. Her favorite part is being a kid with the kids. When Courtney isn’t playing for work, she can be found outdoors hunting, fishing, and camping. For some indoor fun, Courtney also enjoys quilting and getting together with her family after church each week.
sheri weber, MSW
Director of Therapy
Sheri is focused on serving the families at Special Kids. She loves that at Special Kids she can help families beyond our doors and be a resource to the whole community. Sheri also currently serves as the interim Director of Rehabilitation, where she is passing her love and passion for caring for our families to our Rehab team. With her own family, Sheri loves vacationing, especially taking cruises where her whole crew can unplug and enjoy time away together.
Erin Weiss, ms, ccc-slp, AAA/at
speech language pathologist
Erin loves helping the kids learn to communicate and have a voice in the world. It brings her great joy to listen to what they have to tell her! When Erin isn't helping the kids, she loves playing with her own kids, be it outside, with legos, or simply coloring. Erin and her family also enjoy exploring Tennessee on day short day trips.
development program assistant
Tracie enjoys being a support to the development team and helping to fill the needs for the kids. She sings the praises of her co-workers and loves working in a family-like atmosphere. When Tracie isn't assisting her work team, she's cheering on her home team at marching band shows with her husband and chasing her spunky little girl around the park.
Karin is the graphic artist behind the Special Kids brand. She is passionate about sharing stories through images and having Jesus' Word at the forefront of our ministry. When Karin isn't designing the latest website page, she can be found reading on the front porch of her log cabin. She loves supporting her husband and kids to see them reach their dreams and carries that love over to supporting the needs at Special Kids to help the kids.