Derek WalshView Bio
President, Chief Operating Officer
Derek is an experienced behavioral health executive. He advanced from site manager to senior vice president of operations for a multisite, multi-state behavioral health organization headquartered in Texas. During this period, Derek established a centralized call center and revenue cycle management function, a compliance monitoring program and onboarded dozens of treatment centers the company acquired.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Derek served as an officer in the U.S. Army, leading teams in the United States and on international deployments. He served in South Korea and in multiple countries in the Middle East and was an expert in the PATRIOT Missile Defense System. Derek was awarded a Bronze Star, which recognizes heroic or meritorious service in a combat zone, and is among the highest honors in the U.S. military.
Jennifer Godwin, M.Ed., BCBAView Bio
VP of Program and Clinical Services
Jennifer Godwin, M.Ed., BCBA
Jenn Godwin is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who began working children with autism in in-home and school-based programs using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2000.
Mrs. Godwin serves as ChanceLight®’s Vice President of Program and Clinical Services. In this position, she oversees all aspects of training, staff development, clinical quality and assurance. Mrs. Godwin earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Greensboro College and earned her Master of Education in Special Education with an inclusion specialist certificate at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She resides in Fort Mill, SC.
Christie Penland, M.Ed., Ed.S., BCBAView Bio
VP of Operations
Christie Penland, M.Ed., Ed.S., BCBA
Christie Penland has over 15 years of experience developing and supervising programs for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her current position as Vice President of Clinic Operations, she manages the daily operations of the autism division clinic sites. This includes planning, coordinating, and directing a broad range of clinical and administrative services that allow the clinic sites to operate efficiently. She trains and supervises clinic directors to ensure all policies and procedures are being implemented across all clinic sites.
Her responsibilities as Regional Coordinator for the upstate include providing supervision and training to clinicians in her region, overseeing program implementation and quality assurance. Ms. Penland earned both an Education Specialist degree and a Master of Education in counseling degree from the University of South Carolina.
While completing her advanced degrees, Ms. Penland worked as a lead therapist, school shadow, and line therapist in ABA programs for children with autism. Ms. Penland began working with ChanceLight® Autism Services, Inc. in 1999. Ms. Penland completed the necessary clinical coursework under Dr. Martinez-Diaz, BCBA-D, and a mentorship under Ms. Jennifer Godwin, BCBA to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Ms. Penland resides in Greenville, South Carolina.
Anna BullardView Bio
Vice President, Business Development
Anna has been advocating for families with autism since her daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two-and-a-half. Anna became a driving force behind “Ava’s Law,” which was passed by the Georgia Legislature in 2015 and requires insurance companies to cover evidence-based treatment for autism. The following year, she partnered with families and Autism Speaks to secure $30 million in the state Medicaid budget for Autism Services. In 2018, Anna championed the removal of unnecessary age caps for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment in Georgia. She has also succeeded in earning school district contracts for ABA in underserved areas.
Prior to joining ChanceLight, Anna worked as Director of Family Connections, a statewide network dedicated to empowering communities to provide services for families and children in need. She has served on numerous committees and study groups to develop policies related to services for autism, and in 2015, Anna was awarded the National “Speak Out” award from Bob and Suzanne Wright, founders of Autism Speaks, for her advocacy efforts.
Jeanine Weichelt, M.Ed., BCBAView Bio
VP of Operations
Jeanine Weichelt, M.Ed., BCBA
Mrs. Weichelt received her Master’s in Education from Penn State University and has a certification in Special Education. Mrs. Weichelt has worked in the field of education and behavior analysis for over 15 years, serving children from age two through eighteen with autism and other developmental disabilities.
She joined Education Alternatives, a Partner of ChanceLight®, in 2005, after becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to joining Education Alternatives and ChanceLight®, Mrs. Weichelt worked as a therapist delivering home-based ABA therapy to children on the autism spectrum and worked as a teacher at the Princeton Child Development Institute while pursuing her BCBA certification.
In her current position, she establishes and maintains contracts with School Districts, provides clinical oversight to BCBAs and other staff working in Districts, and manages the daily operations related to school district services. Mrs. Weichelt is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program in Education for K-12 Leadership at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.