Andrew McNally, Director of Special Education
Catherine Pope, Clinical Director
Matthew Howarth, PhD, BCBA-D
Dr. Howarth started VBA in 2012 after earning his Ph.D. in Applied Behavioral Analysis at the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, New York. Dr. Howarth, up to and including his work at VBA, has been providing ABA services for 20 years and has been working with children in educational settings for almost three decades. His vast experience includes a term of service as the State Director of Beacon Services of Connecticut, an early intervention agency which provides ABA services to children from birth to the age of three, and a term of service as the Supervisor of Resources for Students with Autism for the San Diego Unified School District (the “District”). During his time with the District, Dr. Howarth successfully trained District teachers and paraprofessionals to proficiencies in providing ABA services to District students which rivaled those offered by Non-Public Agencies (“NPA’s”). In his work, Dr. Howarth strongly supports children, and promotes their development of verbal skills and inclusion in the least restrictive environment.
Dr. Howarth is an expert in a variety of evidence based pedagogical practices, in advancing the language capabilities of children with language delays and autism, in constructing positive behavior plans based on functional analysis assessments, and in developing staff training models. Additionally, he believes that if a child is struggling, the teacher must modify his or her procedures until the child demonstrates success. His child-centric and data-driven philosophies coupled with his sensitivity to each individual student, have created an environment at VBA in which children are making enormous developmental strides.
Elizabeth Sarto, PhD, BCBA-D
Dr. Sarto is a Clinical Director at VBA, and is a principal architect of VBA’s curriculum. Dr. Sarto grew up in New York, where she received her education and training in the field of special education. She received her Ph.D in Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College at Columbia University in 2017. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fordham University in 2004, and a Master of Science in Teaching with certifications in early childhood education and special education from Fordham University in 2007.
Dr. Sarto has been working with children with Autism, implementing applied behavior analysis, and training teachers, for over a decade. During that time, she has provided in-home and in-school direct service to children, formulated and implemented individualized education plans, developed research-based curriculum, and trained teachers to implement applied behavior analytic instructional procedures. Before joining VBA, Dr. Sarto served as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (“SEIT”) at some of the leading agencies in the New York City area including YAI/New York League for Early Learning and AHRC, and as a classroom teacher in CABAS® schools.
Dr. Sarto completed intensive research in an effort to further VBA’s curriculum and to improve client services. Specifically, she conducted a study on the components involved in effective teacher supervision and training. Dr. Sarto’s research endeavors drive VBA’s philosophy of data-driven services to provide the optimal results for its clients.