Our Board

The Lowcountry Autism Foundation Board of Directors is a group of individuals who have joined together to help maximize the Foundation’s efforts to act on it’s mission and enhance the lives of those affected by autism in the South Carolina Lowcountry.



Allison Nesser 


Allison Nesser is the founder of Creative Counseling Solutions LLC. She is a South Carolina Licensed Independent Social Worker with a focus in Clinical Practice (LISW-CP -S).

Allison Nesser specializes in working with young children and their families who have experienced significant trauma, grief/loss, depression, anxiety, developmental delay, and behavioral challenges. She has been trained in several evidenced based practices including Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Play Therapy. She focuses treatment on incorporating techniques to best meet families’ needs in order to make a positive change in their lives.

Allison received a BA in Psychology from Miami University of Ohio and completed a dual masters program in Chicago, IL where she earned a Master of Science (MS) in Child Development and Master of Social Work (MSW). Her previous work includes providing direct clinical treatment in a partial hospitalization program, outpatient services, along with school-based treatment where she has been able to successfully develop specific behavior management plans and collaborate closely with teachers and staff to decrease challenging behaviors. In her spare time, Allison enjoys going to the beach, traveling, photography, and spending time with friends and family

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T. David Hoyle

Vice President

David Hoyle is a Member Attorney at Motley Rice LLC where he represents victims of corporate wrongdoing and negligence in litigation ranging from catastrophic incidents to asbestos exposure and environmental contamination. 

David is active in the community, volunteering with the Lowcountry AIDS Legal Clinic in addition to his position as a Lowcountry Autism Foundation board member. He is a member of the Ecclesiastical Court of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and has also been appointed to The Episcopal Church Province IV Court of Review. 

David received a juris doctorate, with honors, from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a B.A. from Wofford College.    He lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife and three children, one of whom has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Nan Herron 


Nan has 27 years of executive search consulting experience. She has completed search assignments in most executive functions including general management, marketing, sales and business development, human resources, engineering, manufacturing operations, finance and information technology. Her clients have ranged from Fortune 200 service and manufacturing firms to entrepreneurial growth companies, from nonprofit organizations to family–owned businesses. She has served diverse clients including Elster Group, McKesson, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Eaton Corporation, PolyOne, Limited Brands, Invacare, The Oatey Company,AMETEK, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Cleveland Metroparks, Reynolds Plantation and the South Carolina Aquarium, and more. 

Nan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Hillsdale College. She has been an active community volunteer throughout her career. 

Shawn Deufel 


Shawn is from Florida and moved to South Carolina in 2014 to pursue a career in Low Income Housing Tax Credit accounting.  He attended the University of Central Florida and graduated a bachelor's in accounting.  He currently works as Auditor with Nesseralla & Company.  Shawn is currently pursuing his CPA license.  


At the heart of her philosophy is a passion to build enduring relationships with individuals, families and businesses through her commitment to providing outstanding service. Susan is well versed in issues surrounding elder care and planning, including retirement community options and long-term care planning. 

Susan has extensive board experience with non-profits that support "at risk" children in Charlotte, NC. Susan is exceptionally service-oriented and values each relationship deeply. She is strongly committed to her community as an active volunteer with Troop 355 of the Boy Scouts of America as well as the Children's Ministries at her church. Susan is married with two children. Susan earned her degree in History and a minor in English at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Susan M. Dixson has been in the financial services industry since 1993 and joined Merrill Lynch in 2013. 

Emily Zimmerman, PhD

Emily Zimmerman is a sociologist and Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a senior researcher at the Center on Society and Health and her work focuses on social determinants of health and stakeholder engagement in research. Emily received her doctorate from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and M.S. and B.A. degrees from Hunter College. 

Emily moved to Hilton Head with her family in 2009 from Virginia. She joined LAF in order to advocate for services for children and their families. She hopes to bring her personal and professional experiences together to help move forward the opportunities to help families facing special challenges.

KIMBERLY scalise

Kimberly is an education professional with more than 20 years experience in a variety of educational programs, ability to serve students (preschool through school aged) with mild to severe disabilities across the continuum of services in many different educational environments. She is an expert in analysis of educational needs of students in the classroom and provides support and training to their families. Additionally, Kimberly supervises early childhood teachers and assistants in order to provide staff support and training in special education. She also is very active in community agencies and a lifelong advocate for all children. 

Kimberly’s education includes: East Carolina University, Greenville, NCM. Ed., Special Education– Mental Disabilities, December 1993; B.A. Special Education-Mental Disabilities, Cum Laude, May 1990, National Board Certification: Exceptional Needs Specialist– Early Childhood through Young Adult, November 2011

Jon Wilson 

Jon is from the west coast of Florida and attended the University of Central Florida and graduated cum laude with my bachelor’s in accounting in 2007. Following college Jon has had a varied and impressive career in accounting as a Compliance Auditor for the Department of Defense, a Tax Auditor for the State of Florida Department of Revenue and as a Senior Accountant for Nesseralla & Company. Jon is currently pursuing his CPA license. 


Khanh Tran 

Khanh Tran is an alumni of Embry Riddle Aeronautics University and a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda’s Nu Kappa Chapter. He is a 20-year veteran in the Aviation Field and currently works at Boeing, South Carolina as a Flight Readiness Technician. Khanh also hold the position of the current President of the Boeing Asian Professional Association and he is on the Board of the Boeing Employees Ability Awareness Association. He believes, success is to find work/life balance so he could spend time with his wife and son.

When he found out that his son Jacob was on the spectrum in 2013, he made it his mission to work endlessly and devoted most of his time to communicate and engage with Boeing teammates and community organizations to raise awareness to Autism. He utilizes his knowledge of the programs provided by LAF and the support of his LAF Team to supply Boeing South Carolina and other community groups with awareness to Autism. He is also an avid in engaging with teammates and community members with children newly diagnose on the spectrum; to assist in their transition with ease.

I reach for the stars because the obstacles and challenges will make me stronger, but to succeed is to change a Culture.
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PJ Johnson

PJ Johnson, owner/agent for PJ Johnson Insurance, LLC, based in North Charleston has worked in both the healthcare and the insurance industry for the past 40+ years. In her previous healthcare roles, she served as a clinical and operations executive in large non-profit and investor-owned healthcare systems.   Her background includes strategic planning, regulatory compliance and fiscal oversight. 

As a State Farm agent, she established her business in 2011 and has recently relocated her agency to better serve her current and future tricounty customers.  She holds SC property and casualty, life/health/accident, mortgage and Series 6/63 security licenses and is bank certified with State Farm.

During PJ’s professional career she has served on numerous organization and community non-profit boards. She is active in Rotary and served as her club president for 2017-2018.

PJ graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Medical College of Georgia and received her Masters of Science Nursing degree from the Medical University of South Carolina.  PJ has three adult children and three grandchildren and resides in the West Ashley community.


Toni Schneider

Toni Schneider is a high school special education teacher in Summerville, SC. She previously taught four years in a classroom for students with moderate intellectual disabilities. For the 2017-2018 school year, she had the privilege of helping create one of the first two high school programs of the district that is designed to serve students on the autism spectrum. Toni was awarded Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year. Toni graduated from the College of Charleston in 2013 with a degree in special education and a focus in mental and emotional disabilities. She also received an athletic and academic scholarship to play for the College of Charleston Women’s Soccer Team.

Toni lives in Mt. Pleasant and enjoys the many opportunities that Charleston provides such as fishing, crabbing, and camping. She is a strong believer in living a healthy and active life and implements these ideas in her classroom. Toni is looking forward to serving and exploring different ideas, especially in the area of health and wellness, in order to reach and help better serve all families and individuals in the Lowcountry that face difficult challenges.


Betty Sweet Atkinson





Non–Voting Board Members

Tripp Ritchie

LAF Co–Founder, President Emeritus

Tripp served 25 years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, 10 years in leadership positions as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and 21 years as a volunteer with Special Olympics. In 1995, Tripp received the "Jefferson Award" from the American Institute for Public Service, at the United States Supreme Court for his work with low income, minority citizens with intellectual disabilities. Tripp earned his BA in Psychology from Eastern Washington University and MS in Logistics Management from Florida Tech. 

“The energy and generosity of a single human being can move hundreds to reach out and touch the hearts of thousands.”

Tami Lawrence Buck, Ph.D., OTR/L

Clinical Director, LAF Co–Founder

Undergraduate Education:
Humanistic Studies from McGill University 
Masters Education:
M.S.O.T. from Virginia Commonwealth University 
Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University. 

Dr. Lawrence is an occupational therapist with nearly 20 years of experience working with children in various settings with diverse diagnoses. She has worked as adjunct faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and is currently the Director of Hilton Head Pediatric Therapy Center. 

“Every day we are learning more about ASD. All children have untapped potential, and I want to help them discover that.”

Ravi Srivastava, MD, FAPA, FASAM 

Medical Director

Dr. Ravi Srivastava received his M.B.B.S. and M.D. from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, India and did his residency in psychiatry from Albany Medical College, New York. 

Dr. Srivastava is a practicing psychiatrist in Hilton Head Island, who specializes in adolescent psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has been honored as a fellow of American Psychiatric Association and American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is a diplomat of American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Society of Addiction Medicine and American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry. 

Dr. Srivastava has worked with families with emotional problems and behavioral difficulties, both in public and private sector, and is privileged to be given the opportunity to volunteer his clinical expertise to the Lowcountry Autism Foundation. 

Ravi hosts and contributes to our popular “Autism In The News” section that contains a wealth of news articles relating to autism. For your convenience, we have provided a link here.