ATPF Volunteer Executive Director & Co-Founder
Since 2003, Dayna Hoff has transformed the autism community in San Diego and the Bay Area through her role as Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of the Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF). ATPF, which Dayna founded with her husband, Todd, when their son, Garret, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 ½, is the only autism foundation in the region that focuses on combining the three areas of Research, Early Intervention, and Programming. ATPF provides more than 20 free programs and services to the community and has invested $3.2 million back into the community under Dayna’s leadership.
Director of Operations
Rebecca Barron, a native of Los Angeles, California, earned her B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from San Diego State University, with an emphasis in Meetings and Events. Rebecca joined the ATPF team in September 2017 and is the organization’s Director of Operations. She oversees each of our 20 programs along with running the daily operations of the ATPF office, producing all fundraisers and program events, maintaining ATPF daily social media, managing all ATPF website updates and has managed over 40 interns and 600+ volunteers. She works directly with Dayna Hoff, ATPF Volunteer Executive Director.
Chief Financial Officer
Caitlyn McTaggart, a native of San Diego, earned her B.A. in Communication and Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. Caitlyn has over ten years of experience in nonprofit management. She has raised millions of dollars for various nonprofit organizations, including the YWCA of San Diego, the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, San Diego Hunger Coalition, Scripps Ranch Theatre, and the Rotary Club and Foundation of Honolulu. She also founded Girls on the Run of Hawaii in 2012 and helped establish the chapter of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network in San Diego.
Caitlyn joined the ATPF team as a part-time employee in June 2015 and contributes as the Chief Financial Officer.
Julie is the Executive Director of Development, Community Fundraising at UC San Diego. She received a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Scripps College and a Master's degree in Public Administration from USC. Julie has over 20 years of experience in the philanthropic sector and has been a dedicated Volunteer Advisor for ATPF since 2007.
Sandi Anderson had been an active Autism Tree Project Foundation volunteer since its inception nine years ago. She and her husband, Jeff, have two adult sons on the autism spectrum. Her many years of experience advocating, homeschooling, and special needs training in academics, health, and life skills enable her to encourage others in their journey with a vast resource of connections and creative solutions. Sandi is a founding member/chairman of Jeremiah's Ranch, a group home community established in Fallbrook, CA.
Joel’s art at the age of five was well beyond his years.
He always has a pencil in hand. When Joel turned eleven, he started painting, soon to follow, was putting his art on note cards and starting his business “Joel’s Vision Arts.”
Jon Hickey is the current ATPF Volunteer Director for the USD Athletics Mentor Programs and has been active in our community since 2006. He is the father of two boys: Lawson, who was diagnosed with PPD NOS / ADHD at the age of 5, and a neurotypical son Levi. Shortly after receiving his son's diagnosis, Jon found a way to support the autism community with his skills.
Kara Dodds, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist and a a member of ASHA and CSHA. She is a director of Kara Dodds and Associates, Inc. a private practice in San Diego and specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with Autism, Apraxia, sensory feeding disorders and in developmental delay. Dodds is the Director of the ATPF Early Intervention Preschool Screening Program.
Breena is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. She received her Master’s Degree at the University of Redlands and has been in private practice since 1999. Breena specializes in pediatric speech and language disorders. She is experienced in multi-disciplinary approaches and works directly with occupational therapists, physical therapists, dentists, orthodontists, ENTs, physicians, and psychologists to deliver comprehensive treatment to benefit the patients and their families. Breena’s approaches used in therapy include a variety of oral-motor techniques from Talk Tools, PROMPT Therapy, and Kaufman method to treat children with apraxia and other oral motor impairments. Breena is also trained in a variety of Myo Functional Therapy methodologies and Breathing techniques (Buteyko). She is currently in the process of pursuing her certification in Myo Functional Therapy. Her philosophy is that children who enjoy their therapy sessions become active and focused participants in the learning process of new skills and motor function. She is also very active in the ATPF community, Breena helps with training all of our interns and volunteers on how to work with our autistic community.
Michelle S. Connelly, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a licensed speech-language pathologist and member of ASHA and CSHA with over 25 years’ experience. She is the founder of Connelly Speech & Language Clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area. Michelle is the Director of the ATPF Early Intervention Screening Program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Michelle has guest-lectured and presented at the county and state-wide conferences on a variety of topics related to communicative disorders. She has extensive training in the treatment of articulation and language disorders.
Michelle has received multiple awards from County (SCCSHA) and State (CSHA) professional associations for her commitment to consumer advocacy, professional development, and leadership. She has held Executive Board positions with the Santa Clara County Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the California Speech & Hearing Association throughout her career.