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About Our Staff

Senior Staff

Darragh Kennedy | Chief Executive Officer

Darragh has worked with the Hearing and Speech Center since 1994. He began at the Center as a volunteer, and since then has held multiple roles including Billing Associate, Marketing Manager, Chief Operating Officer, and most recently Chief Executive officer – a role he has held since 2007. Darragh is passionate about creating a center that is fully holistic in its approach to hearing and speech issues. He believes that those issues are not simply medical in nature, but are also often social justice issues, with far ranging complications and obstacles in life. His work is focused on building community and creating models of service that support community in the most relevant ways for those in need – particularly those who do not have the financial resources to access comprehensive hearing health services. Darragh has been a leading advocate to find, create and promote more affordable hearing solutions and care systems for the general public. He has been honored by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors for his work, has served on the Western Addition Steering Cohort, is a member of the National Association of Speech and Hearing Centers, and currently serves on the Alumni Committee of Leader Spring and the advisory board of LesserSound. Darragh lives with his wife and daughter in Marin County. He enjoys mountain biking, hill-walking and the outdoors in his spare time.

Robyn Reliford | Director of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer

Robyn joined the Hearing and Speech Center in July 2016 as the Director of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, directly reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. As the Director of Finance and Administration, Robyn is a member of the Center’s dynamic senior leadership team and has the day-to-day responsibility over Accounting, Finance, Human Resources and Administration. Robyn graduated from California State University–East Bay where she attained a B.S. in Business Economics and a B.S. in Corporate Management. With fifteen years of experience working in the industries of healthcare (UCSF), private non-profit, and corporate retail (Macys.com), Robyn has applied her expertise in the areas of financial management, contracts and grants administration, human resources, staff training and oversight, strategic planning, and operational performance management. In addition to being a native of San Francisco, Robyn also enjoys providing volunteer services to low-income tax payers, which includes preparing tax returns and providing financial management advice.

Administration 

Rayshone Bow | Client Services Manager

Rayshone joined the Hearing and Speech Center in April 2006. Rayshone schedules appointments, helps patients get the required authorizations needed for services, establishes, and updates and maintains patient charts/records. Rayshone has a background in helping people find resources. Previously, Rayshone worked as a Research Assistant at UCSF and a Health Educator for Huckleberry Youth Programs.

Jessica Brockman | Development Director

Jessica joined the Hearing and Speech Center in 2013, and works in the areas of communications, project management, fundraising, events, and grant-writing. She facilitates the Center’s social media and newsletter, and writes and designs a number of other outreach publications for the organization, as well as assisting the clinical, education, and social service programs with the creation of collateral materials. Jessica’s background includes work in public outreach, education, and museum settings, and she has extensive experience in customer service and administrative support. Jessica graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Anthropology, where she completed her thesis research on the topic of non-profits and the narrative of social justice. She grew up in the Chicago area, and loves reading, baking, and spending time outdoors.

Erin Cruz | Client Services Coordinator

Erin began working at the Hearing and Speech Center in June 2016. She earned her Bachelors degree from San Francisco State University in 2016, majoring in Communicative Disorders and minoring in Special Education. She began shadowing speech therapy and audiology sessions at the Center in 2015, and is working toward becoming an audiologist in the future. When she isn’t at the Center, Erin is also working with the community as a teacher for San Francisco’s PEP program at Balboa High School. She also enjoys being with friends and family, and continuously meeting new people and learning more about the world.

Scott Curry | Administrative Manager

J. Scott Curry is the Center’s Administrative Manager, responsible for supporting the organizational needs of our staff and Board of Directors. Scott monitors and supports data management, billing, and human resources and manages the facilities of the center. Before joining the Center’s team, Scott worked in the Operations division of Bank of America (Securities, Investment Services, Interactive Banking) and Checkfree Corporation. Originally born and raised in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Scott spent his undergraduate years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he earned B.A. in Music (20th Century Music Theory and Composition) from Harvard College in 1996.

Jessie Johnson | Clinical Practice Manager, Hearing Aid Coordinator

Jessie joined the Center in 2000 and is an essential member of the management team with experience in implementing office management software, procedures, and processes. She is intimately familiar with the complex process of obtaining hearing care, from insurance companies to the range of hearing aid models available. She delivers educational presentations throughout the community on hearing healthcare.  Jessie provides compassionate and knowledgeable service to our clients, and helps people understand their insurance process and how to advocate for themselves. Jessie is a native of Michigan and before joining the Center, was an employee of the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco where she was a part of a team that was awarded the Malcolm Baldridge Award.
Conversational in American Sign Language

Jenny Lieu | Client Services Coordinator, Medical Biller

Jenny began working at the Center in November 2007.  As a Client Services Coordinator she assists  the audiologists with Chinese-speaking clientele and newborn screenings.  As a Medical Biller her responsibilities include using coded data to produce and submit claims to insurance companies, reviewing and appealing unpaid and denied claims, and answering patients’ billing  questions.  Prior to joining the Center, Jenny studied Liberal Arts at San Francisco State University with a concentration in Health Education.  Currently, she is working closely with Dr. Chris Focht in preparing for her Hearing Aid Dispenser license.  When Jenny isn’t busy at the Center, she enjoys all types of sports such as tennis, volleyball, and softball. During the weekends, you can also catch her at local coffee shops hanging out with friends or engaged with a book. She also tries to find time to travel around the world.
Proficient in Cantonese

Christiana Oatman | Development & Administrative Assistant

Christiana joined the Center in August 2016, and assists the Development Director and the front desk team. Her duties range from creating social media posts, newsletters, and the annual report to scheduling appointments with clients and submitting insurance claims. She has a background in journalism, communications, and social justice work and graduated from the University of the Pacific in 2013 with a B.A. in history and a minor in gender studies. When not working at the Center, Christiana enjoys reading, creative writing, exploring the Bay Area, and learning American Sign Language.

Phillip Strickland | Billing Associate

Phillip joined the Hearing and Speech Center in 2015. He is originally from Fresno and graduated  with a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Fresno. Phillip moved to the Bay Area in 2010 and started his career in hospital and clinic accounting in August 2000. Phillip has worked as a biller at Stanford Medical Center, and in addition, has also  worked for major insurance companies such as Aetna, Cigna, and small third-party administrators. The Center is proud to have Phillip on our staff, providing accurate billing  statements and working with  all departments to streamline the organization’s mission and goals, and providing world-class customer service and billing. Phillip is very passionate about his accomplishments and goals. In his spare time enjoys movies, hanging out with friends, and is an avid ASPCA member.

Leslie Villatoro | Client Services Coordinator

Leslie joined HSCNC in August 2012. She works in the Administration Department for both Speech and Audiology, and is also a Test Assistant for the Pediatric Audiologists. Leslie was originally raised in Camarillo, CA but moved to San Francisco at the age of 19 to pursue her education and career goals. Prior to working at the Center, Leslie was a Certified Medical Assistant in Southern California at Channel Islands Urgent Care/Family Practice. She is currently attending City College of San Francisco with intention to transfer to San Francisco State University to focus on Urban Studies & Planning. Leslie also is a supporting member for the Housing Rights Committee of SF. She states that one of her biggest blessings is living in the Bay Area and being able to work for the Center, which she enjoys and admires.

Proficient in Spanish.

Clinical Services

Audiology

Tracy Peck Holcomb, AuD, FAAA | Director of Clinical Services, Clinical Audiologist

Dr. Peck joined the Hearing and Speech Center in 2007 and is a California Dispensing Audiologist. She received her Bachelors in Communicative Disorders and Sciences with a minor in Psychology, her Masters in Audiology, and her Doctor of Audiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her clinical interests include adult diagnostics and amplification, assistive listening technologies, hearing conservation, and community outreach.  Dr. Peck specializes in the evaluation, treatment, and management of tinnitus and hyperacusis and co-facilitates the monthly Tinnitus Support/Education Group at the Center.  Dr. Peck is a fellow member of the American Academy of Audiology, the American Tinnitus Association and is a Past President of the California Academy of Audiology.

Julia Coats, AuD | Clinical Audiologist

Julia joined the Hearing and Speech Center in June of 2016.  Dr. Coats is a fully licensed dispensing audiologist by the state of California.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Linguistics from Emory University, and went on to earn her Doctorate of Audiology degree from the joint doctoral program in Audiology from San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego.  Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Coats relocated to San Francisco and is pleased to be back in one of her favorite cities.  Dr. Coats has extensive experience diagnosing and treating a variety of hearing and balance disorders in patients of all ages and continues to expand her knowledge of audiology keeping informed of the newest scientific breakthroughs and cutting edge solutions for people with hearing and balance disorders.  Her clinical interests include pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification, aural rehabilitation, and community outreach & education.  Dr. Coats was born in Peru to a Colombian mother and Scottish father, and lived all over the world before choosing to immigrate to the United States as an adult.  As a result, she really enjoys serving the culturally diverse population of the Bay Area.

Proficient in Spanish

Kathleen Favor, AuD, FAAA | Clinical Audiologist

Dr. Kathleen Favor graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University and received her Doctorate of Audiology at the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Dr. Favor came to the Hearing and Speech Center in August 2013 to complete her clinical fellowship year and is very excited to have joined the staff as a full time clinical audiologist. While attending school in Arizona, she took American Sign Language (ASL) courses, where she became conversationally proficient in ASL. Her clinical interests are adult and pediatric diagnostics and amplification, assistive listening technologies, aural rehabilitation, and community outreach. Dr. Favor is a California licensed audiologist as well as a fellow member of the American Academy of Audiology and California Academy of Audiology. In 2015, Kate was honored as a HearStrong Champion by the HearStrong Foundation for overcoming the challenges of hearing loss.
Conversational in American Sign Language

Christopher Focht, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA | Clinical Audiologist

Chris owned a private practice for 20 years before joining the Hearing and Speech Center in 2006. He earned his Masters in Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University. Chris is a California Dispensing Audiologist. He provides clinical services to adolescents and adults, with a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of geriatric patients. Chris is a certified member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and fellow member of the American Academy of Audiology, California Academy of Audiology, and American Auditory Society. In addition to his clinical work, Chris is currently a lecturer in the Communicative Disorders Department at San Francisco State University.
Proficient in French and Italian

Malvina C. Levy, AuD, FAAA | Clinical Audiologist

Dr. Levy has provided clinical Audiology services at the Hearing and Speech Center for over 30 years and is Director of the Tinnitus Program. She is a California Dispensing Audiologist. Dr. Levy earned her Bachelors in Speech Pathology and her Masters in Audiology at the University of Illinois and her Doctor of Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Her clinical interests include digital hearing aid technology, assistive devices, hearing conservation, and Dr. Levy specializes in the evaluation, treatment, and management of tinnitus and hyperacusis. Dr. Levy is a fellow member of the American Academy of Audiology, American Auditory Society, California Academy of Audiology, and the American Tinnitus Association. Dr. Levy has given statewide presentations on Tinnitus and facilitates the monthly Tinnitus Support/Education group at the Hearing and Speech Center.

Reyna Tenorio, AuD, FAAA | Clinical Audiologist

Dr. Reyna Tenorio earned her bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies from California State University Northridge and later earned her Doctorate of Audiology from A.T.  Still University.  In addition to diagnostic testing and hearing aid fittings for children and adults, her clinical interests include Electronystagmography (ENG)/Videonystagmography (VNG) testing, and Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing.  Dr. Tenorio was inspired to become an audiologist after advocating for deaf and hard of hearing students while in the Teach for America program.  Originally from Los Angeles, she has made the Bay Area home as a member of the Hearing and Speech Center.
Proficient in Spanish and American Sign Language

Kylie McLaughlin | Audiology Extern

Kylie completed her undergraduate degree from Clemson University (go Tigers!) and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Before deciding to go back to school, she took two years off to work full- time at a camp in East Texas. She spent the majority of her time outdoors, climbing  trees, and having dance parties!  She is now a graduate student at Northwestern University completing the last year of her doctoral degree here at the Center. When she’s not working, she is typically hanging out with her red-headed pup named Murphy or watching movies. Kylie  says she is so grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the family here at the Center and is thrilled to work with such a kind, caring, and highly qualified staff!

Speech Language Pathology

Sara Coffey, MS,  SLP | Speech/Language Pathologist

Sara is a licensed speech pathologist who obtained her master’s degree at San Francisco State University in Communicative  Disorders.  She originally earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Psychology from Marist College.  Sara spent seven years in the classroom teaching both general education and children with speech and language disorders.  After receiving her master’s degree, she joined the staff at the Auditory Oral School to focus on working with deaf and hard of hearing  toddlers and preschool-aged children.  In addition, she also provides individual speech and language therapy to children and adults to address  articulation and language.  Sara is committed to helping children in the community improve their listening, understanding, and speaking skills.

Tricia Evans, MA, SLP | Speech/Language Pathologist

Tricia has worked as a Speech/Language Pathologist at the Hearing and Speech Center since receiving her B.A. from the University of the Pacific and M.A. from San Diego State University in Communicative Disorders. Tricia enjoys working with a diverse population of children who experience difficulty with articulation, apraxia, and language disorders. She has a particular interest in the diagnostic process and assessing children with Language Processing Disorders. Tricia brings to her work over 35 years of experience in Speech and Language Pathology. Over the course of her career, she has made countless presentations in the field of communicative disorders. Tricia has also worked with the Child Development Center of CPMC from its inception to the present, at various Headstart centers, and with the Preschools for All program. She has special memories of children being able to clearly articulate a favorite word for the first time and the happiness of parents who can understand and converse with their child. Tricia enjoys the process of supporting each child to achieve the highest communication skills.

Hazel Lam Thilak, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech/Language Pathologist

Hazel joined the Hearing and Speech Center in 2004 and has over ten years of experience working with the pediatric population. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and her Master’s degree in communicative disorders with a concentration in speech-language pathology at San Francisco State University.  Hazel sees a diverse group of clients, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, who are diagnosed with a variety of communicative issues such as speech and language delay, speech and language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, children apraxia of speech, and social pragmatic disorders.  She is particularly interested in early intervention and has successfully helped many toddlers learn to talk clearly and speak in sentences. She welcomes the challenges of working with a diverse population and has found joy in witnessing her clients experience the success of  speaking more clearly, communicating more effectively, and approaching their goals of interacting with others like their same-age peers.  Hazel is fluent in Cantonese and is one of a handful of speech-language pathologists in the San Francisco Bay Area who specialize in bilingual speech and language evaluation and therapy in Cantonese.
Proficient in Cantonese

Rose Phung, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech/Language Pathologist

Rose, a native San Franciscan and heritage speaker of Cantonese, takes joy in serving the diverse population of the Bay Area in her capacity as a speech-language pathologist at the Hearing and Speech Center. Rose received her Master of Science in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Language Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied linguistics, French, and Italian. Her clinical experience includes working with toddlers, preschoolers, and middle and high school students. Prior to her career as a speech-language pathologist, Rose worked as an educator in early childhood education, and was a teaching assistant at a San Francisco private school. She currently provides services to our community members with a variety of communicative needs, including those who have articulation disorders, phonological disorders, hearing impairment, and receptive and expressive language disorders. Rose also works in partnership with Golden Gate Regional Center to provide evaluations of young children for determination of eligibility for Early Start services.

Proficient in Cantonese

Education and Social Services

Shannon Simonson, MA | Director of Education and Social Services

Shannon has over 15 years of experience working with children with hearing loss and their families, and was previously a teacher for children ages 3-7 with hearing loss. Later, she became a family counselor, helping families understand their child’s rights and needs. Shannon founded an after school homework program, as well as a summer camp for children with hearing loss. In her work, Shannon has developed collaborations with many other organizations including the YMCA, Chinatown Beacon Center, and the Boys and Girls Club, creating opportunities for children as well as staff to learn about hearing loss and increasing resources available to children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Shannon is a member of the steering committee for the Special Needs Inclusion Project of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families. She is also a consultant for the nonprofit, Hear Me, providing education about hearing loss and children. Shannon has also provided advice to city agencies and community organizations about providing appropriate accommodations for children with hearing loss. Shannon Simonson holds a MA degree in Special Education with a focus on Deaf Education and a Bachelors degree in Social Work.
Conversational in American Sign Language

Barbara Bell, MSW, LCSW | Clinical Social Worker

Barbara, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has been working with children, families, and adults at the Hearing and Speech Center (formerly the Hearing Society) for 30 years. Barbara has provided assessments, case management, and psychotherapy to deaf, hard of hearing and deafened adults. Barbara also conducts youth activities, assisting with afterschool groups and coordinating mental health peer groups, and works with the San Mateo Behavioral Health and Recovery Agency providing services for deaf and hard of hearing adults, youth and children. Barbara also coordinates the monthly cochlear implant support group for people considering a CI, people who have a CI, and family members. Barbara is deaf, communicating with speech and lipreading, and she is fluent in ASL. Barbara also has a hearing dog named Bernard.
Fluent in American Sign Language.

Kathy Gallagher | Preschool Teacher

Kathy is the Lead Teacher at San Francisco Kids Academy, the mainstream preschool at the Hearing and Speech Center. Kathy has over 17 years of experience working with children and their families, including 10 years of owning and operating her own full day preschool. Kathy has led the Kids Academy since 2007, bringing creative and interactive activities together for students and parents. She strives to make each child in her care feel special and liked. Kathy is committed to working with families to ensure that her program meets her students’ individual developmental needs.

Deborah Karres, PhD | Education Specialist

Dr. Karres is the lead teacher in the Hearing and Speech Center’s Infant/Toddler Communication class, focusing on early education needs, developmentally appropriate learning, and communicative skills development. She has over 25 years of experience addressing the needs of learners who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, or communicatively challenged, including students with autism spectrum disorder, and behavioral, learning, or emotional challenges. As a teacher and diagnostician, she has experience serving student needs across a range of communication modes and placement options. Dr. Karres brings experiences to the Hearing and Speech Center which include serving northern California school districts and training teachers at the university level in California and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Eileen Lantrip | Paraprofessional

Eileen works alongside Dr. Karres in the Infant/Toddler Communication classroom. She has over 14 years of experience working as an educational assistant in our Infant/Toddler, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten-2nd Grade classrooms, and the after school homework program. Eileen is a native of San Francisco and mother of a hearing impaired teenage daughter.

Steven Lopez | Program Manager

Steven is the Program Manager for the Hearing and Speech Center’s youth/family services, as well as adult/senior services, in the counseling department. He was born and raised in San Francisco, along with his two older sisters who are both Deaf, by hearing parents who immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua. Steven was born with a hearing loss and, at an early age, attended the Total Communications Program at the Hearing and Speech Center. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Hospitality Management with training in non-profit organizations from California State University of Northridge. Being Hard of Hearing also inspired Steven to achieve a certification in Deaf Education from Ohlone College. After a few career changes, he decided to give back to the organization  that had given so much to him, and joined the HSC family to be an advocate for children with hearing loss and their families. In addition, he offers a wide range of services such as hearing screenings, hearing loss presentations, and community support, all while encouraging the adults and seniors to self-advocate. Additionally, his personal goals include educating and providing valuable resources to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Hearing loss community throughout the Bay Area. On his own time, he is often involved in Deaf community events throughout the city.
Proficient in American Sign Language

Angie Seah | Paraprofessional

Angie has been a teacher at San Francisco Kids Academy since 2007.   She started working at the Center in 2000 as a paraprofessional in the Auditory Oral Preschool classroom before moving into SF Kids Academy.   She takes great pride in facilitating the language and social-emotional development of each individual child through play-based learning in the classroom, as well as working with their families. Angie has a son who attended Auditory Oral Infant/Toddler classroom when he was first diagnosed with a severe to profound hearing loss.  He went on to attend the Auditory Oral Preschool, as well as the Kindergarten to 2nd class, before graduating into the mainstream public schools.  He has since graduated high school and is now taking college classes.  Angie majored in Child Development at San Francisco City College and has been living in San Francisco for the last 20 years.  She was born and raised in Singapore and enjoys reading, cooking, and yoga in her free time.
Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese

Dorothea Tolliver | Employment Counselor

Dorothea leads the Hearing and Speech Center’s Career Steps Program, assisting Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in learning how to successfully job search in the community. She provides individualized job preparation, job development, and job retention support. She also provides education and supportive counseling concerning adjustment to hearing loss to individuals and families affected by hearing loss or deafness of any kind of degree. Dorothea received her Bachelors degree in Sociology from Southern University Baton Rouge, and was born and raised in San Francisco. She was born hard of hearing and learned American Sign Language and English starting at age 5. Before coming to the Hearing and Speech Center, she worked for three years at Lighthouse for the Blind, New Orleans as Program Coordinator for the Pathways to Success Work Readiness Training Program. Ms. Tolliver interned for two years at Louisiana School for the Deaf, teaching deaf and hard of hearing high school students as a Career Coach. She is very passionate about deaf and hard of hearing culture and  giving back to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Fluent in American Sign Language

 

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