Brian R. Lopez, Ph.D., BCBA
Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Neurodevelopmental Psychologist

Dr. Lopez has specialized in the diagnostic assessment and evidence-based treatments of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dr. Lopez is a New Mexico native who returned to the Land of Enchantment after training and working in California and Colorado. At JumpStart, Dr. Lopez is a member of our early diagnostic team providing parent training and behavioral consultation. In his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), he collaborates with JumpStart’s Clinical Directors and Supervisors to oversee our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs as well as mentor and interact with members of our team at all levels to foster growth and encourage professional development.

Before founding JumpStart in 2008, Dr. Lopez worked at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine’s Center for Developmental and Disability and UNM’s Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Neuropsychology. There he specialized in the diagnosis of young children with ASD and helped supervise clinical psychology interns and post-doctorate candidates. At UNM’s Center for Development and Disability (CDD), Dr. Lopez was an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and a member of the multidisciplinary diagnostic team that conducted ASD evaluations, collaborated on a range of research projects (e.g., social skills groups, early treatment initiation in newly diagnosed families with ASD, and MEG studies on very young children diagnosed with ASD). Prior to moving back to New Mexico, Dr. Lopez worked in San Diego at the Center for Autism Research Evaluations and Services. He earned his Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology-San Diego in 2001, where he specialized in the treatment and diagnosis of individuals with ASD. Similarly, he completed his APA Internship at Denver Health Medical Center and his post-doctorate training at San Diego’s Children’s Hospital Institute for Developmental Research.

Outside of JumpStart, you can find Dr. Lopez spending time with his family, getting into the great outdoors, and traveling. He enjoys working on his golf game as well as attending professional baseball and hockey games with his two sons and daughter.

Allison Lopez, M.Ed., BCBA
Chief Clinical Officer

Allison came to work in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by chance! After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2009, she moved to Colorado Springs, CO and came across a job advertisement for a tutoring position. While called a “tutor”, it was actually a Behavior Technician position. She recalls, “After seeing the progress of my first two learners, I quickly realized that I had found something I truly enjoyed doing every day.” Allison joined the JumpStart team in 2012 as a Behavior Technician while completing a Master of Education in Special Education: Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Arizona State University. Since then she has specialized within ABA in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI), Verbal Behavior, Precision Teaching, and Instructional Design. In her spare time she enjoys nerding out on Precision Teaching and instructional design literature, cooking, running, watching documentaries and stand up comedy, traveling (especially to anywhere warm with a beach), and spending time with her strong-willed, energetic daughter who loves to dance, sing, and cartwheel all day long. Allison’s favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”

Professional activities and associations:

  • Member of the Standard Celeration Society
  • Member of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts
  • Member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International
  • Member of the Colorado Association for Behavior Analysis
  • Member of the New Mexico Association for Behavior Analysis

Crystal Lane, MBA
Director of Operations

With experience in administration, medical billing, and working with children, Crystal found her niche and home with JumpStart in 2013. Before obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a minor in Biology from the University of New Mexico, she gained experience in administration and billing with Durable Medical Equipment (DME), Orthotics, and Physical Therapy in Arizona and Washington. Additionally, she has worked with elementary-aged individuals with developmental disabilities and other related disorders as an Educational Assistant in a special education classroom at Rio Rancho Elementary. Crystal also has personal experience with individuals with Autism and developmental disabilities, which allows for her to deeply connect with what our learners and their families are experiencing. In 2022, Crystal earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Eastern New Mexico University. As the Director of Operations, Crystal plays a key role in contributing to the big picture of JumpStart by ensuring clinical practice management and daily business operations run smoothly and as efficiently as possible. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, hanging out with friends, playing board games, playing (or watching) sports, trying new restaurants, gardening, and crocheting.

Ellie Aftanas, M.A.
Senior Clinical Service Coordinator

During Ellie’s undergraduate program at Western Michigan University, she took part in an internship program at a specialization school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). After a semester in the internship, she knew that was the direction she wanted to take in her career. Ellie later received her Master of Arts Degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She then joined our JumpStart team in 2016 as a Behavior Technician and later moved onto our administrative team as a Senior Clinical Service Coordinator seamlessly coordinating and managing the critical administrative aspects of clinical service scheduling. Ellie notes, “I love how passionate everyone is at JAC in regards to making a difference in our clients lives, for not only the children, but the families.” In her spare time, Ellie enjoys working on projects in her new house, reading, snowboarding, and hiking!

Rachel Galindo, M.S.
Clinical Service Coordinator (New Mexico)

Rachel gained professional experience in healthcare administration, case management, and behavioral health, before obtaining her Associate of Arts degree in Human Services Management in 2015. She then went on to work with children as a New Mexico state-certified childcare provider. In 2020 Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and in early 2022 received a Master of Science degree in Psychology from the same institution. Rachel joined our JumpStart team in August 2022 as a Clinical Service Coordinator. She notes, “I was looking for a quality employer that allowed work in helping/supporting children, while also caring for my family”. As a Clinical Service Coordinator, Rachel provides stellar customer service to children and families seeking and receiving Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services at our Albuquerque and Rio Rancho centers by supporting the administrative coordination of care from intake through discharge. Her favorite part about her pivotal role at JumpStart is assisting families and children navigating what could be a stressful time in life. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Kaitlin Jarrell
Clinical Service Coordinator (Colorado)

Bio coming soon!






Sandi Keeton
Family Support Specialist

Sandi joined our JumpStart team in 2021 bringing with her over fifteen years of high-end customer service experience. Over the course of her profession, she has earned a reputation for her ability to create a strong culture of empathy. After working as a Corporate Sales and Training Executive in Southern California, Sandi is excited for this new opportunity to bring her passion for service excellence and family support to JumpStart. Sandi plays a key role to JumpStart’s mission and goals in supporting learners and their families, and the community as the first point of contact for those seeking and receiving psychological diagnostic evaluations, consultative services, and Applied Behavioral Analysis services.

Jessica Wendzinski, B.A.
Project Coordinator

Jessica graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. She then went on to teach middle and high school math and science in Louisiana and back home in California. Wanting to make a bigger impact on the education reform movement and confront the educational inequity experienced by marginalized communities, Jessica moved to Oklahoma where she coached 150+ STEM teachers. She reflects, “While in the classroom, I felt I was doing a disservice in supporting the academic and holistic growth of my students on an Individualized Education Plan due to a lack of knowledge about their diagnoses and their learning needs as a result. I made the tough decision to leave public education and in 2017, I started working at JumpStart. It was my hope to learn more about autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as how to best support the growth of children who have these diagnoses.” For two years, Jessica served as Office Manager at our Englewood, Colorado center. Since then, she has become our administrative secret weapon, able to handle any task that comes her way. In her role as Project Coordinator, she collaborates with our team across all departments to optimize and enhance current processes to better the overall care provided to our clients and the experiences of our staff. Since welcoming her own little one into the world on Valentine’s Day 2021, Jessica spends the majority of her time going on walks, reading pop-up books, and rediscovering the wonders of our world. She, her partner, and son also enjoy going on hikes and traveling to new places fully embodying her favorite quote by John Muir, “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

Rae Fitzpatrick-Blackmun, B.A.
Executive Assistant of Operations

Rae graduated from the University of Oregon in 2018, majoring in Family and Human Services and minoring in Japanese. During her time as an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to be a mentor for girl-identified youth on the Autism Spectrum as well as spending time as a research assistant looking into the effectiveness of mindfulness-based coping mechanisms for youth in the area. Shortly after graduating, Rae moved from Portland to Denver and was lucky enough to immediately find JumpStart! She joined our team as a Behavior Technician and later spent two years as a Clinical Trainer.  In 2021, Rae made the switch to our administrative team as our Executive Assistant of Operations where she supports all business functions including finance, human resources, operations, and office management. She notes, “I loved working directly with clients and staff, but on the administrative side I really have grown interested in everything that goes on behind the scenes that make it all happen! In the future, I want to continue to serve my community whether that is hands-on or behind the scenes and one day hope to go back to school to pursue my master’s degree.” Outside of JumpStart, Rae enjoys cooking, bouldering and watching documentaries. A fun fact is that the only food she does not like is Red Vines.

April Upplegger, MHA
Community & Engagement Specialist

April joined the JumpStart team in May 2018 bringing with her years of hospitality and customer service experience. She received a Bachelor of Science in Sport, Arts, and Entertainment Management from Point Park University before specializing in event management. After working in corporate events, conferences, and weddings, April earned an Executive Master of Hospitality Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. April enjoys using her hospitality and business administration background to create unique employee engagement and wellness experiences as well as connect our JumpStart team and families to support our community. She notes, “This is my first experience working in the healthcare field and I have enjoyed seeing the amazing change that our learners make and the dedication our team has to making a difference in the field.” In her spare time April enjoys cooking, hosting events for friends and family, hiking, gardening, and traveling the world with her husband and two kids.

Services in Colorado

Englewood, CO 80112
(303) 284-7328

Services in New Mexico

Albuquerque , NM
Rio Rancho, NM
(505) 828-3837

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