Meet Your Team



  • Julie Riley

    Project Director

    Hi y’all!  I’m the LASARD Project Director, and I’m also the Director of K-12 Initiatives at LSUHSC Human Development Center.  I’m a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and I may be a little obsessed with data.  I have been working with individuals with disabilities over the past 20 years and have a passion for inclusive practices, increasing social interaction, and solving challenging behavior issues.  I have been with LASARD for 11 years, and prior to that I worked as a consultant to schools and families, school counselor, and special education teacher.  I love living in New Orleans and partaking in all the food, music, and festivals – especially Mardi Gras!

  • Melinda Luna

    Facilitator

    Hello! I’m a LASARD facilitator in the New Orleans area. I have a duel certification in Elementary Education and Mild/Moderate Special Education. I have been working with individuals with disabilities since 2011 and working closely with other educators on supporting student needs in the school setting. I absolutely love creating visual supports for the students and teachers I work with….almost to the point that I would consider it a unique hobby. I’m really “on cloud nine” when I get to incorporate the student’s special interests into the support and observing their reaction when they see the visual for the first time. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and many pets!

  • Chris Champagne

    Facilitator

    I have been designing and implementing projects to support teachers of students with disabilities for over 20 years.  I have a passion for equity and love problem solving solutions and supports to help teachers succeed in providing students with disabilities the opportunities they deserve to thrive in the classroom.  When I am not working I love exercising, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with my cats.

  • Donna Hammons

    Facilitator

    Hey everybody!  When it comes to work experience, I have worked as a director of training and case management programs for youth and adults with developmental disabilities, a director of children/youth programs, a special educator, and for the past 11 years as a LASARD facilitator. Each career experience has allowed me to continually gain on-the-job training and real life application.  One of the most valuable tools in my toolbox is my ability to be flexible and practical when working alongside the adult learner to tackle changes in practice and implementation.

    In addition to a full work life, I have been married for over 32 years and have 2 beautiful daughters, Morgan and Meagan. David and I are empty nesters now—except for Thor and Sadie (a Shar-Pei and miniature Dachshund).

  • Amy Dakin

    Facilitator

    Hey everyone! I’m one of the LASARD facilitators located in North Louisiana and am a certified special education teacher. I have been working with students with disabilities for 10 years. I also have experience as a classroom teacher, testing coordinator, and school administrator. My first degree is in accounting, so working with Excel and creating schedules are my jam! I love hanging out with my family and spending time planting flowers in my backyard.

  • Katie Collins

    Facilitator

    Hi there! I’m a LASARD facilitator in the New Orleans area. I started my career in education as an Applied Behavior Analysis Coach and quickly realized my passion was to support students who struggled in the classroom setting. In the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a Special Education Teacher in both the self-contained and general education setting. I’ve also worked as a Special Education Coordinator, Early Intervention Program Coordinator, Instructional Coach, Pre-K MTSS Coordinator, and Director of an Early Childhood Center. I love building relationships with educational staff through coaching and by providing them with tools that help ALL students become successful across educational settings. I really become excited when I get to observe a teacher and student reach their “aha” moment! When I’m not working, I enjoy cooking, spending time with family and friends, and spoiling my two dogs (Bijou and Lola).

  • Maci Brown

    Facilitator

    Welcome! My professional experience includes working as a special education teacher, autism and behavioral specialist in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and the autism and positive behavioral interventions and support (PBIS) specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education. My primary interest is to work with schools to implement multi-tiered systems to support educator use of evidence-based practices for all students. I am a licensed special education teacher with an endorsement in autism spectrum disorder and board certified behavior analyst. In my spare time, I love to try new things! This year I learned more about growing a garden and hand building ceramics.

  • Kristen McDaniel

    Facilitator

    Hey, y’all! I am the LASARD facilitator located in Southwest/Southcentral Louisiana. I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from McNeese State University… Go Pokes! My undergrad is in early childhood education and graduate in psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. I was a classroom teacher, both regular and special education, for six years. In March 2019, I became a board certified behavior analysis and left the classroom to practice ABA in the clinic setting. Not long after leaving the classroom, I realized how much I missed being in the school setting, and then I found LASARD! I love going into the schools and interacting with the students and facility.

    Outside of work, I have two English Bulldogs named Waylon and Willow who are my babies! I love hosting get-togethers and cooking for my friends and family and of course, partaking in all the delicious cuisine Cajun Country has to offer.