Staff – Mansfield

Occupational Therapists

Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR

Anna Ballard graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS in 2018 where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Anna then attended graduate school at the University of St. Augustine in Austin, TX. She developed skills with pediatrics during her Level II fieldwork in a pediatric clinic. Anna has enjoyed years of leading summer camp, where she was able to plan activities and foster positive relationships among children across Mississippi. She is happy to be in Texas and loves spending her free time snuggling with her dog and cat.

Favorite Movie(s)

Inside Out, Princess Bride, Tangled, Star Wars, and Finding Nemo

Hometown

Tupelo, MS

Fun Fact

I taught myself to knit during my free time this past year!

Favorite Treat(s)

Chocolate Covered Pretzels!
Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR

Ozioma Odoemenem received her B. A in English and Literary Studies from the University of Nigeria, in 2011. She relocated to the United States in 2015 and decided to switch career paths. She then graduated from The Ohio State University Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program in May 2021. She gained some experience working with the pediatric population during one of her Level II fieldwork experiences, as well as during her doctoral capstone experience. Ozioma moved to Texas with her husband and son immediately after graduation and was blessed to be hired at CEPT soon after. She looks forward to working and bonding with the CEPT family!

Favorite Movie(s)

The Wedding Planner

Hometown

Imo State, Nigeria

Fun Fact

I love thrifting, and I made a side business out of it while in OT school

Favorite Treat(s)

Cheesecake

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Mahlon became a certified occupational therapy assistant in 2015, graduating from Navarro College with Cum Laude honors, where he received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational therapy. He has worked in a skilled nursing facility and a sensory-based pediatric outpatient clinic. Mahlon is certified in Interactive Metronome and is in the process of completing his certification in Handwriting Without Tears. Mahlon also has aspirations of attaining credentials to become a registered occupational therapist.

Certifications/Specialties

Masgutova NeuroSensory Reflex Integration, Handwriting Without Tears, CranioSacral Therapy, Sensory Integration, Interactive Metronome and The Listening Program

Favorite Movie(s)

The Dark Knight

Hometown

DeSoto, TX

Fun Fact

I enjoy producing music in my spare time, and I sing in my church choir

Favorite Treat(s)

Cookies
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Joni Smart is an Occupational Therapy Assistant. In 1998 she graduated with an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy from Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas. Joni began her career working with a non-profit agency assisting individuals with visual impairments ages 0-21 to learn activities of daily living but with an emphasis in a recreational program! Then she moved into pediatric home health with an ECI program for a few years. Her true experience in pediatrics came from my time in a clinical setting from 2003 to 2013. There Joni learned her true passion for children. Her caseload was very diverse and ranged from babies to young adults. Joni is a Kinesio Tex Tape Certified with KT3 in pediatrics. She received her certificate of mastery in DIR/Floortime Model in infancy and early childhood training in 2008. Joni received training in Partial Weight Bearing Training in 2006. She has training in handwriting with Fine Motor Gymnastics to Multi-Sensory Print and Writing Success for children with Autism. She also received a specialized training for a week with Izabela Koscielny, MS PT who developed the Therasuit Method Training and Universal Exercise Unit (Spidercage). Joni’s favorite was the 72 hour course she took in Autism Spectrum Disorders & Other Neurobehavioral Disorder in 2007, that was a collaboration of professionals brought in by our clinical director. Joni’s passion remains with children. She loves watching them succeed and seeing their parents proud of their achievements.

Certifications/Specialties

Kinesiotaping 1, 2, and 3 (pediatrics), Partial Weight Bearing Gait Training (LiteGait), DIR/ Floor Time Infancy and Early Childhood Training, Fine Motor Gymnastics Handwriting, Therasuit Method Training/Universal Exercise Unit (Spider Cage) and Strategies on Behavior and Communication for Students with Autism

Favorite Movie(s)

Steel Magnolias, Young Frankenstein, Mrs. Doubtfire, all Rocky movies

Hometown

Amarillo, TX

Fun Fact

I grew up showing dogs in a professional manner along side my mother and sister. My Mom bred Samoyeds. At one time we had the number one winning Samoyed in the country. His name was Harry and he was my dog but I was in high school so we put him with a professional handler who traveled the world with him to win at shows like the Westminister Dog Show you see on TV.

Favorite Treat(s)

Chocolate chip cookies
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Rachel graduated from The University of North Texas where she received her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology in 2017. She then graduated from Parker University in 2018 with honors where she received her Associate’s of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy. Rachel has plans in the near future to go back to school to earn her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. Rachel enjoys taking extra continuing education classes in her free time in order to further her knowledge and help better serve the clients she works with. She has taken classes focusing on vision, reflex integration and sensory. She has also completed her Kinesio 1&2 Certification. As well as completing The DIR Floortime Model: Introduction.

Certifications/Specialties

Kinesio Taping 1 and 2

Favorite Movie(s)

Frozen and Moana

Hometown

Rowlett, TX

Fun Fact

I did competitive cheerleading for 12 years and won Gold at the cheerleading Worlds

Favorite Treat(s)

Snickerdoodle cookies and plain cheesecake
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Emma became a certified occupational therapy assistant in June 2019, graduating from Navarro College with Magna Cum Laude, where she received her Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational therapy. She has always had a passion to work with pediatrics. Emma is very excited to be a part of the Cutting-Edge team! One fun fact is she swam competitive swimming for 10 years growing up.

Favorite Movie(s)

Harry Potter Series

Hometown

Born in Longwood, Florida, but grew up in Arlington Texas

Fun Fact

I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years!

Favorite Treat(s)

Brownies or anything with chocolate in it
Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, COTA

McKenzie graduated from Texas A&M University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology. She then graduated from Parker University in 2020 with an Associate’s of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant. She completed her Level II fieldwork rotation at Cutting Edge in 2020. She has always had a passion for pediatrics and is excited to be part of the Cutting Edge team!

Favorite Movie(s)

The Incredibles

Hometown

Coppell, TX

Fun Fact

I had a 3-legged hamster named Captain Fluffy when I was younger.

Favorite Treat(s)

Twizzlers
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Katie Paxton has been working with children as a certified occupational therapy assistant since 2017 in a collaborative pediatric outpatient and in-home settings. Occupational therapy has been a part of Katie’s life ever since she, herself, went to OT for dyslexia as a young girl. You could say that she has always known that this was the profession she wanted to be apart of.

Katie attended the University of Arkansas, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2013. From there, she managed therapy technicians at an outpatient sports medicine clinic while studying to become a certified occupational therapy assistant. Shortly after becoming licensed, Katie started working at a collaborative outpatient clinic in the Austin area where she was able to continue learning about feeding difficulties in the pediatric population. She was mentored by several highly trained OT practitioners who continued to teach and develop her love for making a positive impact with that segment of children in need.

Katie enjoys watching her patients and families grow and develop lifelong skills that once seemed difficult.

Katie lived in Austin for 4 years and just moved back to the Mansfield area with her husband, Kolby their son, Karter and their beagle, Griffey Dale. She loves outdoor activities, running, yoga and tending to her plants. This fall, you can find her calling the Hogs on Saturday.

Favorite Movie(s)

Grease or Finding Nemo

Hometown

Dallas, Texas

Fun Fact

I have traveled to Hawaii over 10 times since I was a young child. Its my favorite place to be!

Favorite Treat(s)

Hot or iced coffee, snickerdoodle cookies, or chocolate covered anything!

Certified Speech Therapists

Lead Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

Karen is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. In her spare time loves to travel and spend time with her family and do artwork of different kinds. She received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, and her Master of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has held Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1999. Karen has worked in the school setting, in pediatric home health where she provided speech, language, and feeding therapy for children in their homes, and truly believes that she has found her niche in the clinical setting at Cutting Edge. Karen has a passion for helping children reach their highest potential, and loves partnering with parents to help them achieve. She has maintained certification in VitalStim as a provider for pediatric and adult treatment since 2005, and has an extensive background in feeding and swallowing. Karen has also completed training for the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding and is using it with children with feeding aversions and difficulties. She is also trained in the use of PECS and LAMP Words for Life, and has experience with a variety of dynamic communication devices. Karen maintains membership in ASHA as well as the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Certifications/Specialties

VitalStim- pediatrics and adults, Beckman Oral Motor, Language Acquisition through Motor Planning for Life, Picture Exchange Communication System and Sequential Oral Sensory

Favorite Movie(s)

A Star is Born (all versions), Elf, and Water for Elephants

Hometown

The place I lived the longest is Plano, TX – when I was growing up, my dad was in the Air Force so we moved a lot

Fun Fact

I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 3 years growing up

Favorite Treat(s)

Dark chocolate and cashews
Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

Wendy Sharp received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders from Abilene Christian University, a Master of Science in Special Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Tennessee State University.  She has held her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2004. Wendy has always had a passion for helping children reach their full potential and has been able to do that through her work as a Speech Language Pathologist in the public school system as well as pediatric in-home therapy. She has experience providing therapy with a focus on language, social skills, articulation, fluency, and a variety of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (from low-tech to high tech). Wendy loves to travel and was fortunate to combine her love of travel and her career while working as a travel SLP over the last several years. As a travel therapist, she was able to work/live in a variety of states including Tennessee, Maryland, California, and even Alaska before returning back to where it all began in Texas in 2019. Wendy is excited to be a part of the Cutting Edge team and looks forward to helping your child achieve their goals!

Favorite Movie(s)

The Holiday, Elf, and all the Marvel movies

Hometown

Houston, Texas

Fun Fact

I was in the studio audience of a game show and was shown on tv multiple times

Favorite Treat(s)

Anything chocolate or spicy, even better if you can combine the two
Speech-Language Pathologist, SLP

Stephanie graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience and Business in 2018. After graduating, she worked as a registered behavioral therapist (RBT) for one year while completing post-baccalaureate classes at the University of North Texas to transition into the field of Speech-Language Pathology. She then began graduate school at the University of North Texas and completed her final practicum placement at Cutting Edge! Stephanie earned her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2021.

Stephanie has experience with pediatrics and adults of all ages in a variety of settings. She has experience evaluating and treating language, articulation, phonology, fluency, feeding, and social communication disorders. She has specific interests in the areas of social/pragmatic skills, feeding, and oral-facial motor musculature. Stephanie has experience providing speech therapy to children diagnosed with syndromes, developmental disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorder in which she enjoys incorporating behavior therapy principles to help her patient’s succeed.

Stephanie’s favorite part about being an SLP is seeing her patients reach their full potential and building relationships with her patients and their families throughout the course of therapy. Stephanie is so excited to be at Cutting Edge and is looking forward to collaborating with other therapists in order to help her patient’s achieve their goals!

Certifications/Specialties

Certified Autism Specialist  (CAS)

Favorite Movie(s)

The Santa Clause trilogy

Hometown

Mansfield, TX

Fun Fact

I love Canada because I am Canadian and lived there till I was in the 5th grade! Dogs and bears are my favorite animals, so my golden doodle's name is Koda Bear. Gig em'!

Favorite Treat(s)

Anything with chocolate

Physical Therapists

Lead Physical Therapist, PT

Beth Ward has been in clinical practice in Pediatric Physical Therapy since graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois in 1970.  She worked in Home Health and in an Easter Seal out-patient clinic program in Chicago before her family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada.  In Las Vegas she was the Owner/Manager of 3 Pediatric clinics that offered Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy to the families of children with a wide variety of special needs.  In 2013 she moved to Texas to be closer to family and continues her work in Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Beth considers herself to be a life-time learner and has taken the opportunity to develop clinical skills in diverse areas.  She has a particular interest in Cranio-sacral Therapy and has taken many other courses over the years in such areas as Yoga for the Special Needs Child and Neurobiological Approaches to treatment.  Some of the most important learning along the way has come from the children and their families with whom she has been privileged to serve.

Favorite Movie(s)

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Hometown

Cleveland, OH

Fun Fact

I would love to swim with dolphins one day

Favorite Treat(s)

S’Mores
Physical Therapist, PT

Marsha Whalen has been in clinical practice in Physical Therapy since graduating from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids Mi in 2004.  Marsha has worked in both Pediatrics and Adult outpatient clinics in Michigan and was the clinic director at 2 clinics in Michigan before moving to Texas in 2014. Since moving to Texas Marsha has worked as a pediatric physical therapist for the local school system and worked as a coverage physical therapist for an outpatient clinic. In the past Marsha has done aquatics physical therapy and she started training for equine physical therapy and therapeutic horseback riding in 2019.  Marsha has wanted to work with children since working with a family friend’s son with Down’s syndrome in the pool in the summer during high school.  She is looking forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your goals.

Favorite Movie(s)

Lilo and Stitch

Hometown

Zeeland, MI

Fun Fact

My sons and I like to practice surfing in the backyard pool. They even got the dog to try once.

Favorite Treat(s)

Ice cream, chocolate, and any gluten free sweets
Physical Therapist, PT

Miko graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2017 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She began her career the same year in Katy, TX, treating both children and adults with orthopedic and neurological conditions. In addition to traditional land therapy approaches, Miko is also experienced in aquatic therapy. Various treatment diagnoses she has worked with include: Autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Miko is a proud older sister to a brother on the Autism spectrum, who she credits to getting started on this career path.

Favorite Movie(s)

Pitch Perfect

Hometown

Grand Prairie, TX

Fun Fact

I am an avid exerciser and have run 6 half marathons (the most recent being the Disney Princess half marathon back in February).

Favorite Treat(s)

Cheese
Physical Therapist, PT

Lezi graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. While at UTA she discovered her passion for pediatrics as she volunteered at a motor skill intervention program for children with movement and coordination difficulties. Lezi received the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in 2021. Her favorite part of being a PT is being able to encourage children to learn new skills that carry over into their everyday activities. She enjoys collaborating with other therapists to provide patients with the best possible care and is excited to be a part of the Cutting Edge team!

Favorite Movie(s)

Tangled, Big Hero 6, Meet the Robinsons, and Maleficent

Hometown

Arlington, TX

Fun Fact

I would love to live in Spain one day!

Favorite Treat(s)

Cinnamon rolls, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Twizzlers!
Physical Therapist, PT

Nicole graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2018 with her B.S. in Exercise Science. Within the same year, she was accepted into graduate school in Texas and moved away from her home roots. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 2021. Nicole has clinical experience in outpatient neurodevelopmental pediatrics, outpatient orthopedics, and acute care. She has experience with a multitude of treatment diagnoses including Developmental Delay, Torticollis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Cystic Fibrosis. She is extremely passionate about children along with their families and highly focuses on individualized care through play-based therapy and evidence-based practice.

Nicole is a huge advocate for mental health and has become certified under the Mental Health First Aid program. She loves spending time with her husband and rescue dog Lady. Her favorite activities outside of work include weightlifting, exploring the outdoors, and listening to music.

Favorite Movie(s)

Grease, Legally Blonde, & The Notebook

Hometown

Rio Rancho, NM

Fun Fact

Giraffes are my favorite animal! Did you know their spot pattern is uniquely different? Not a single one is the same!

Favorite Treat(s)

Iced coffee, Crumbl Cookie, & anything chocolate

Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical Therapist Assistant, PTA

Amanda is a 2013 graduate of the Kaplan College Physical Therapist Assistant program. Amanda received physical therapy treatment when she was in high school which led her to begin volunteering at a local physical therapy clinic. It was during her volunteer hours that Amanda found her passion for physical therapy as a treatment modality. While in a pediatric clinical rotation, Amanda became driven to make a career out of helping children. After receiving her license, Amanda began working with a pediatric home health company in May 2014. While she enjoyed her time in home health, Amanda is excited to continue her passion of pediatric Physical Therapy with the Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy team.

Certifications/Specialties

Aquatic Therapy

Favorite Movie(s)

A Knight’s Tale and The Lion King

Hometown

Wylie, TX

Fun Fact

I am a clown in the Shrine Circus

Favorite Treat(s)

Gummy bears and Twix ice cream bars

Administrative Staff

Office Manager

Nicole was born in Big Spring, Texas and her family moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area shortly after. From Kindergarten to College she has spent her academic life in Arlington & has remained in the area since.

In 2009, she started working on with adult mental health patients & in 2011 she had the opportunity to work with the pediatric population. Pediatrics was what she was drawn to the most. Nicole believes that it is important to be able to get the care one needs as soon as they are in need of services. Starting early & getting the proper care is essential to one’s future.

Outside of work Nicole enjoys a good book and relaxing with peace and quiet! When hanging out with friends she always enjoys trying new foods and loves to support small business mom and pop places. She is a sports fan & has been rooting for all of our home teams since she was little!

Nicole is happy to be a part of CEPT & has enjoyed seeing the growth in Mansfield. She looks forward to see what the future brings and is available to help you and your family.

Favorite Movie(s)

A League of Their Own

Hometown

Arlington, TX

Fun Fact

I am always up to try something new… like cappuccino chips! I don’t recommend them but I’ve tried them.

Favorite Treat(s)

Chai Lattes, mangos, rice krispy, and twix
Senior Office Coordinator

Paola began gaining front desk experience in high school while taking Medical Billing and Coding classes. While working in a pediatric clinic, she found her passion for helping children and their families. Shortly after, she moved to the Dallas area and became apart of the CEPT family. Paola looks forward to meeting your family!

Favorite Movie(s)

Lorax

Hometown

Puerto Rico

Fun Fact

I love playing volleyball

Favorite Treat(s)

Bundt Cake!
Senior Office Coordinator

Zita was born and raised in New Orleans. In 2005, she and her family moved to Arlington where she began working as a medical receptionist in 2015 after enrolling in college.  She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology at UT Arlington where she gained experience from an internship doing research on pediatric motor development.

From her internship and several volunteer experiences, Zita has found a passion for working in pediatrics and in the therapy world. In the future, Zita would like to continue her studies to become a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Favorite Movie(s)

All Marvel and Disney princess movies

Hometown

New Orleans, LA

Fun Fact

I absolutely love animals. Especially dogs!

Favorite Treat(s)

Beignets and funnel cake
Therapy Technician

Caronina or Nina is a class of covid graduate from Texas State University where she studied Exercise Sports Science and Pre-Rehabilitation, although she was born in Arlington, Nina calls Okinawa, Japan, home. She grew up there as her parents work for the US Military and had the opportunity to move overseas in 2008. Nina’s family still lives there while she continues to work and eventually continue her education in this field, hoping to become a Doctor in Occupational Therapy and work for the military overseas. Other than being a health and fitness enthusiast, Nina enjoys playing many different instruments, with piano being her favorite which she started when she was just three years old. She is also skilled in playing the saxophone, trombone, violin, ukulele, and percussion. Nina also has experience working in medical clinics and offices as she started interning early on in her college career at the US NAVY Hospital and she even secured a medical job at a lab right after graduating college, helping the community with the covid crisis, now she decided to directly work in field she studied joining the CEPT team!

Favorite Movie(s)

Parent Trap starting Lindsay Lohan

Hometown

Arlington, TX

Fun Fact

I traveled to 22 countries at the age of 23!

Favorite Treat(s)

Cookies, chips and Kit Kats

Therapy with a purpose – it's imitated, but not replicated.