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The BALC believes that in order to meaningfully address these areas of need the focus of our work must center around 3 key competencies : Effective Leadership, Clinical Acumen & Operational Expertise. We call these 3 competencies the Triad of Excellence™.


Vision Statement

Behavior analysis is valued as an integral ingredient to enhance human performance and applicable to mainstream problems.

The Behavior Analyst Leadership Council is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization.

Mission Statement

Advancing the business interests of Behavior Analysts and providing opportunities for professional development and capacity building.

Core Values

1. Consumer-oriented
2. Collaborative
3. Effective and timely advocacy
4. Fiscally responsive

Board of Directors


Solandy Forte

Solandy Forte



She is a doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst licensed in Connecticut and Massachusetts and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Dr. Forte provides consultation services to the school programs at Milestones serving individuals with a diverse set of complex learning needs. In addition to providing direct consultation to children within the private school setting she also has provided consultation to multi-disciplinary teams within the public school setting where she assisted with program development initiatives to promote building capacity for educating children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders within the least restrictive educational setting. Dr. Forte has experience working with children and young adults with special needs in their homes, schools, and community settings. She is an adjunct professor for the Institute of Autism and Behavioral Studies at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut and the Institute of Behavioral Studies at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Dr. Forte also has experience providing parent training, staff training, social skills training, and in-home behavior analytic services to children living in therapeutic foster homes with a wide range of developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, and autism, and related disorders. She is an active member of organizations advocating for the advancement of the behavior analytic profession. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analyst Leadership Council (BALC) and has served on the Executive Council for the Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysts (CTABA). Dr. Forte has presented at regional and national conferences on topics related to staff training, behavioral assessment, navigating through cultural barriers, behavioral consultation, supervision, and ethics to name a few. She is an expert in the field who is committed to improving the quality of life of the individuals she serves.


Mark J. Palmieri

Psy.D., BCBA-D


Dr. Mark Palmieri is a licensed psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and the Co-Director of Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN). He provides psychological evaluations, co-directs the Feeding Clinic and the Behavioral Sleep Clinic, and supports program development for clinical and school consultation services.  He leads capacity development initiatives which establish sustainable educational programs for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other complex neurodevelopmental disabilities. Additionally, he is currently leading project development throughout CCSN to expand clinical services to increase access to high quality evidence-based practices throughout the community.  Dr. Palmieri is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on topics such as behavioral assessment and treatment planning, consultation and program development, and the treatment of feeding and other complex behavioral disorders.

Dr. Palmieri received his doctoral degree from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Before joining CCSN, Dr. Palmieri completed his predoctoral rotations at the May Institute where he provided school consultation services and behavioral treatments for individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities as well as for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. He also facilitated school-wide positive behavior support programming in schools across New Jersey as part of a state initiative sponsored through the New Jersey Department of Education in collaboration with the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities.

speterson headshot

Stephanie M. Peterson

Board Member

Dr. Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University. Dr. Peterson earned her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Iowa in 1994. She has taught courses in behavior analysis and special education at several different universities (Gonzaga University, Utah State University, The Ohio State University, Idaho State University, and now Western Michigan University). She also served as Chair of the Department of Special Education, School Psychology, and Literacy at Idaho State University. Dr. Peterson served as Senior Co-Editor of Education and Treatment of Children for over 10 years and has served on or currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and Journal of Behavioral Education to name a few. Dr. Peterson has also served as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, completing her two consecutive 3-year terms. Her research interests include the assessment and treatment of problem behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities, choice making, functional communication training, and behavior analysis in education. For the past several years at Western Michigan University, she has been working closely with her colleague, Dr. Wayne Fuqua, Co-PI, on a series of grants to establish an Autism Center of Excellence to better serve individuals with disabilities in Kalamazoo, to further continue the excellent behavior analytic training model already established in the Department of Psychology, and to provide a model of excellence in autism treatment and training for others in the behavior analytic community.

Deborah Napolitano

Deborah Napolitano

Board Member

Dr. Deborah Napolitano joined the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) faculty at Daemen College as an Assistant Professor in October of 2018. Debbi previously was on faculty as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine where she still retains a Courtesy Clinical Associate Professor appointment. Debbi also continues to work with Hillside Family of Agencies supporting the behavioral programming in the Developmental Disabilities Department. Debbi obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology/Behavior Analysis from the University of Kansas in 2000.

Debbi is widely published in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and behavior analysis, with peer reviewed research publications in some of the field’s premier journals such as the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Debbi also serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Mental Health Research in Developmental Disabilities. Debbi’s research interests are in the areas of rigid and repetitive behavior in individuals with autism, drug and behavior interactions, applications of behavior analysis in child welfare, and the assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior of persons with IDD. Her clinical interests are also in these areas, with additional focus on interprofessional collaboration and the interface between behavior therapy (e.g., Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and ABA for individuals with dual diagnosis of IDD and brain health concerns.

Debbi has spent a great deal of her career advocating for individuals with IDD, their families, and for the profession of Behavior Analysis. She currently serves on the Developmental Disabilities of Western New York/East (DDAWNY/East) family legislative committee and also serves on the Leadership Council for the National Council for Severe Autism. Debbi is currently the chair for the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) legislative committee where she works towards appropriate credentialing in the state, and is the secretary for the Severe Challenging Behavior Special Interest Group of the International Association on the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID). Debbi also has previously served as President of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) and as a board member the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) Board of Directors for the previous six years.

Support Team

Shaquana Cobbs

Shaquana Cobbs

Social Media Advisor  –  Events Committee Member

Shaquana Cobbs is a board certified behavior analyst and licensed behavior analyst in the state of Connecticut. She began working in the field of behavior analysis in 2014 providing ABA to students with autism. Shaquana received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in criminal justice from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from Kaplan university. Shaquana has plans to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology in the near future.

Currently, Shaquana provides consultation services to adolescents and young adults with varying intellectual and developmental disabilities in both the school and home environments. In her role, she provides parent training, supervision to RBTs and ABA instructors, collaborates with case managers, mental health workers, and related services, plans, develops and monitors skill acquisition programs and behavior intervention plans for new and established clients. Her professional interest include providing trauma informed care from a behavior analytic prospective and using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

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