Contact the Autism Education Center at or (616) 331-6480.

START Project Staff

Amy Matthews

Amy Matthews, Ph.D., BCBA - Project Director
(616) 331-3513,

Amy Matthews is a Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and director of the GVSU Autism Education Center. She has served as the Director of the Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project, funded by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education, since its inception in 2001. She supports implementation of the START project activities and presents the Early Childhood Intensive Training series modules. Amy is actively involved in various local and state projects to improve integrated opportunities for individuals with ASD and their families, and is currently vice-chair on Michigan's Governor's Autism Council. Amy has been both principal investigator and project faculty for a number of grant awards over the past 20 years, and she has published and presented in the field of autism spectrum disorders.

Jana Benjamin

Jana Benjamin, J.D. - Project Manager
(616) 331-6482,

Jana joined the START Project in 2014. She earned her B.A at the University of Michigan and her J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School. She has worked in law school admissions, in private legal practice, and for the Michigan Court of Appeals as well as the Michigan Supreme Court, and the State Court Administrative Office. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Board of Law Examiners. Her prior professional experience includes grant administration/monitoring, the creation and provision of professional trainings, and serving as a liaison to student groups, university departments, and outside agencies. As a parent of a child with autism, she has also worked closely with school teams to implement strategies and plans for evaluating and serving children with autism spectrum disorders.

Kellie Fitzgerald

Kellie Fitzgerald - Marketing, Design, and Events Coordinator
(616) 331-6483, 

Kellie joined the START Project in 2014. She earned her B.A. at North Central College in Naperville, IL. She has worked with the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and the Historical Society of Michigan. She brings to START a variety of education-based experiences including coordinating Michigan History Day, a state-wide history fair competition. Her prior professional experience includes event and project coordination, communications, administrative support, and educational outreach.

Lisonn Delcamp

Lisonn Delcamp, Ed.S. - Autism Education & Intervention Specialist
(616) 331-6842, 

Lisonn Delcamp joins the START Project with a wide range of over 20 years of experience working with students with ASD early childhood through post-secondary as a Director, Teacher Consultant, Team Leader, Teacher and Para-Educator. She has had extensive leadership in developing, adapting, organizing, and implementing systems change and integration experiences for students with extremely complex programming needs. Lisonn has successfully expanded the development of the Differentiated Output Hierarchy, Team Processes and Meeting Mechanics.

Jamie Owen-DeSchryver

Jamie Owen-DeSchryver, Ph.D. - Project Faculty
(616) 331-8703,

Jamie Owen-DeSchryver has been with the START Project part-time since 2006. Jamie is currently an Associate Faculty in the psychology department at GVSU, where she conducts research in the field of ASD. She came to START with prior experience as an educational consultant for students with ASD in public schools in New York, and as a co-director for the New York Autism Network. For START she collaborates on projects and co-presents the Early Childhood Intensive Training series. She has published and presented nationally and regionally and works with several committees and groups of individuals in Michigan to improve programming for individuals with ASD.

Melissa Kurek

Melissa Kurek - Secretary
(616) 331-6480,

Melissa Kurek has worked with the START Project since 2012, coming to the project with prior experience in data entry, data processing, report generation, and office logistics. At START, she addresses a range of administrative tasks, including reception and clerical support, data management, and coordination of financial systems. She purchases, processes invoices, and prepares expenditure reports, while contributing to the management and organization of project activities.

Project Consultants

Stephanie Dyer

Stephanie Dyer, Ed. S. - Autism Education & Intervention Specialist - Consultant

Stephanie has been with the START Project as a contracted state-wide presenter and content developer in the areas of special education eligibility, Asperger Syndrome, behavior, IEP development, and systems change since 2008 and joined as half-time project staff in July 2019. Stephanie also currently works in the Professional Learning Unit of the MIBLSI (Michigan's Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative) grant project, with her work primarily focused on district/school implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports and intervention systems within an MTSS framework, as well as trainer and coach development. She has participated on several state-level projects related to autism, behavior, and early childhood and has presented at numerous state and national conferences.  Prior to her work with START and MIBLSI, Stephanie worked as a school psychologist, autism coordinator, and special education supervisor in both urban and rural districts and ISDs.

Stacie Rulison

Stacie Rulison, M.S., M.Ed., BCBA - Consultant

Stacie Rulison joined the START Project in 2015 as a part-time consultant with a diverse background in ASD and business. She is also a part-time ASD consultant for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Stacie is the parent of a child with ASD and the parent representative and secretary for the governor-appointed Michigan Autism Council where she also chairs the Adult Services committee. She was on the development team for the Michigan ASD State Plan, and for several years she has been involved in various school, disability, and ASD-related board and committee initiatives. Previously, she served as program and operational director for the Autism Alliance of Michigan. Stacie has conducted numerous presentations statewide on ASD and has worked and consulted clinically as a behavior analyst with ASD service providers and school districts.

Lindsey Harr-Smith

Lindsey Harr-Smith, M.A., CCC-SLP- Autism Education & Intervention Specialist - Consultant

Lindsey Harr-Smith is a speech-language pathologist and Autism Education and Intervention Specialist - Consultant for the START Project. She is a content developer and statewide presenter with START specializing in Peer to Peer Supports, Self-Management, and Universal Supports for students with ASD and complex educational needs. She also provides support to school-based teams across the state to increase the implementation of peer to peer programs and inclusive opportunities for students with ASD. In addition, Lindsey is also an Autism Consultant and Peer to Peer Consultant for Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA). With over 15 years of experience in the school setting, Lindsey works and supports students with complex needs, provides training on evidence-based practices, and coaches teams on the development and implementation of peer to peer programs in preschool-12th grade settings.  

Kim Miller

Kimberly Miller, M.Ed. - Consultant

Kim began her career in education in 1994 as a teacher for students with ASD in Clarkston, MI. She has had the privilege of delivering instruction in a variety of settings, including center based, cross-categorical, resource, and general education classrooms in Michigan, Louisiana, and Indiana. In 2014, Kim became a teacher consultant for students with ASD for Saginaw ISD and an EPLI Trainer of START Content. She has been active in the START Peer to Peer Community of Practice as well as the ASD and Sexual Health Community of Practice. Kim began contracting with START in 2019 and thoroughly enjoys the opportunities that the work has provided in integrating her passions for ASD, teaching, teaming, & solution oriented thinking to further develop resources & systems that lead to improved outcomes for students with ASD and their families.

Carrie Carr

Carrie Carr, M.A.; Curriculum & Instruction - Consultant

Carrie Carr has been with the START Project since 2016 as a contracted state-wide presenter and content developer for Peer to Peer Supports for Students with Autism. Carrie also serves as the regional Teacher Consultant for Students with Autism for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District. Previously, she was a general education classroom teacher and earned her Autism Endorsement and master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Carrie assisted with the development of content for Michigan’s ASD State Plan in the focus area of Educational Supports and Services. She has extensive experience working with school-based teams to support meaningful engagement and inclusion in the general education setting for students with autism.

Gina Sanderson

Gina Sanderson, M.S., BCBA - Consultant

Gina is a school psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She has worked with the START Project as a contracted state-wide presenter and content developer since 2008, specializing in the areas of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), Asperger Syndrome, and Self-Management. With over 20 years of experience working with school-based teams supporting students with complex educational needs, Gina currently works for the Lenawee Intermediate School District as an Autism Consultant and provider of Practical Functional Assessment and Skills Based Treatment (PFA-SBT) for students with severe problem behavior. 

Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers, Psy.S., BCBA - Consultant

Kelly is a school psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Currently, she works as the Special Education Coordinator at Char-Em ISD. Prior to that, she worked with the Autism Education Center from 2001 as a contractor, and then full-time from 2003 until March 2020. Kelly has extensive experience and expertise on topics related to evaluation for special education eligibility, positive behavioral interventions and supports and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), IEP development and implementation, and guiding principles for establishing effective programs for students on the autism spectrum. She also contributes to the development of systems of support for students with ASD as they transition to employment settings, including the utilization of tools, checklists, and resources that improve the process of transition.