Program Manager Marsha Silver, MS, CCC-SLP has worked in the field of speech and language pathology for over 40 years in multiple settings including non-profit multi-disciplinary agencies, public schools, home-family based settings and clinics. Her expertise includes early intervention, autism, multi-disciplinary and diagnostic assessment, visual impairment, multiple disabilities and speech and language intervention. Marsha has served in various roles throughout her career including the chief of the Speech and Language Department at Children’s Health Council, California State Consultant for students with visual and multiple impairments, and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) Specialist. She has co-authored three books on collaborative assessment, listening and learning.
Marsha previously served on the Yikes Tikes! Board of Directors and worked with the Board to develop the Yikes Tikes! program. In her position as Program Director of Yikes Tikes!, Marsha uses her talents as a therapist and manager to support both clinicians and teachers to increase the inclusivity of Yikes Tikes!
Teacher Vanessa Hecht is a Bay Area native, a mother of four boys, and holds an Associate of Arts degree in Business. In 2009, she left the corporate world and began work full-time as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapist for a private firm. During her five years with that company, Vanessa worked with school-aged children, ranging from preschool to middle school, as a one-on-one aide in both the home and school settings, eventually becoming a supervisor as a Coordinator of Services. After taking a few years off to focus on her growing family, Vanessa returned to school and took her first Child Development class. Certain that she was in the right field, Vanessa began to focus her studies in the area of child development and early childhood education. She has since completed 21 Child Development units and continues to learn every day. Vanessa enjoys applying what she learns to support the children and their families in developing the whole child throughout these precious early childhood years.
Teacher Reena Patel holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Biochemistry from the University of California at Riverside. New to the field of teaching she is always open to hearing how she can improve and grow. Reena is currently taking classes to earn a certificate in early education and later plans to pursue a master’s degree in education. She started out as a parent volunteer when her daughter joined Yikes Tikes! in Fremont. After a year and half of volunteering she found that she would rather continue spending her days playing and teaching children than going back to her previous job working in the pharmaceutical industry. The inclusive vision of Yikes Tikes! drew Reena into the preschool for her own daughter and was the main reason behind why she is pursuing to follow her passion for working with children. With first-hand experience of observing how the program helps all students grow into positive empathetic children, Reena values the inclusive play-based structure of Yikes Tikes!
Teacher Christina Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts and Sociology, has obtained the required Early Childhood Education courses, and is currently seeking to pursue her units for Directorial Supervision. Prior to joining the Yikes Tikes! team, Christina was a lead teacher and an assistant director for a preschool program. She has worked in Early Childhood Education for six years and has experienced many different types of teaching styles. Working with Yikes Tikes! has been one of the best experiences of her career. Christina finds the staff, teachers, and families to be devoted and passionate about giving their children a meaningful experience in the earliest years of their schooling. She believes the Reggio Emilia-based philosophy used at Yikes Tikes! creates an environment where the children, families, and community have power in choosing what they want to learn, which, in turn, makes a huge difference in their education. Christina looks forward to a long career with Yikes Tikes! as she works alongside the current and future families who choose the Yikes Tikes! program.