NBASLH Board of Directors


Kia Noelle Johnson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Chair

Term 2020-2023

Kia Noelle Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Director of the Stuttering Research Laboratory at the University of Houston. Dr. Johnson completed her doctoral training in Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN). She received a Master’s and Baccalaureate degree in Communication Disorders from Howard University (Washington, DC) and Truman State University (Kirksville, MO), respectively.

Dr. Johnson specializes in Fluency and Fluency Disorders with a focus on children who stutter. Her current research interest is in the examination of speech disfluencies in culturally and linguistically diverse children who do and do not stutter. Aside from teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, she presents her research at local, national, and international scholarly conferences and has first-authored and co-authored many research publications. Dr. Johnson also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence as a Speech-Language Pathologist with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and state licensure with Texas.

In addition to being a member of the NBASLH Board of Directors and 18-year member of NBASLH, she also contributes service to the profession as the National Advisor to the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) and as a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Board of Directors.

Brittney Pettis, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, Secretary, Membership Committee Chair

Term 2019-2022

BPetisDr. Brittney Goodman Pettis is the Coordinator of Speech and Related Services in Sheldon ISD. She attended North Carolina A&T State University and received her Bachelor's degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She received her Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University. At Howard University, She received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to attend Howard University, specializing in multiculturalism. She received her doctorate from Prairie View A&M University in Educational Leadership.

Her expertise is in evaluating and treating speech and language disorders in children who are culturally and linguistically diverse and Assistive Technology. Dr. Pettis is the past Coordinator of Cougar Communication Groups and Clinical Educator at the University, Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic. Her experience includes working in public schools, Charter schools, schools in Ghana, Africa, schools in Belize, and home health/outpatient rehabilitation services in pediatrics. She has experience with individual and group therapy, augmentative communication (including pictures and device-based communication), social stories, play-based therapy, LINC (language intervention in the classroom setting), and the Kaufman Speech Praxis Treatment Approach. Brittney is PROMPT trained. She is also an ACE Award recipient of ASHA. She is past Co-Chair for the CLD Committee for the Texas Speech-Language and Hearing Association. She is the past President of the Houston Affiliate for the National Black Association of Speech-Language and Hearing.

Brittani Hightower, M.S., CCC-SLP, Parliamentarian, Bylaws Committee Chair, NBASLH Cares Chair

Term 2019-2022

BhightowerBrittani Hightower is currently a school-based speech-language pathologist in Houston, Texas. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and state licensure in Texas. Ms. Hightower received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Master of Science in Speech Pathology from Howard University.

Throughout undergraduate and graduate school, she was a volunteer research assistant and was afforded the opportunity to participate in the inaugural study abroad trip for Howard University’s speech pathology and occupational therapy graduate students. In 2013, Ms. Hightower was selected to participate in ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP). Valuable experiences were gained as a student member of NBASLH as she was able to interact with other students in various undergraduate and graduate programs as well as minority SLPs and AUDs from all over the country. Ms. Hightower was recently awarded the ASHA Distinguished Early Career Professional Certificate.

Ms. Hightower has gained clinical experience in both the outpatient rehabilitation and school settings, providing speech therapy services to students and patients ages 3 to 18. She has collaborated with school staff, occupational and physical therapists to address the communication needs of students and patients with communication disorders and/or multiple disabilities. Ms. Hightower has also served as a mentor for newly hired SLPs in her school district.

Darius Thomas-Wallace, M.S., CCC-SLP, Treasurer

Term 2019-2022

Darius Thomas-Wallace is the founder & chief executive officer of Dynamic Therapy, a speech-language pathologist, mentor, and supervisor. Darius holds a unique background in evaluating and treating clients in schools, daycares, clinics, homes, and via telepractice. Darius has extensive volunteer experience including the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association: treasurer (2018 – present) and secretary (2016 – 2018) and the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing: treasurer (2021 - present), board member (2019 – present), convention co-chair (2018 - 2020), and student representative (2016 - 2018).

As student representative of NBASLH, Darius championed the initiative to give the role voting rights on the board. In 2014, he was selected to participate in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Minority Student Leadership Program.

Darius received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Howard University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Dr. Shauntelle Cannon, AuD, PhD Student, Audiology Student Representative

Term 2021-2022

Shauntelle CannonDr. Shauntelle Cannon is currently a first year PhD student in Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University. Dr. Cannon received a Bachelor's of Arts in Linguistics in 2012 and a Clinical Doctorate of Audiology in 2017 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC). Dr. Cannon's clinical interests include hearing healthcare and hearing conservation across the lifespan and her research interests include vestibular diagnostics and vestibular rehabilitation in the aging population. She worked as a research audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital (Omaha, NE) prior to starting her PhD program.


Chimezie Chidi, M.A.,CCC-SLP

Term 2021-2024

Chimezie Chidi has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 20 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, in 1999 and a Masters of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology from San Jose State University, San Jose, California, in 2001. Professionally Chimezie has worked in various settings, including public schools, charter schools, skilled nursing facilities, and now owning her private practice. She also has a strong management background where she served as a lead Speech Therapist in a start-up Charter School and was quickly recognized for outstanding dedication and producing strong outcomes in implementing high-quality related speech services instruction and compliance in Special Education to students in closing achievement gaps. Chimezie eventually was promoted to an Associate-Director role of the Speech Department for a total of seven years, sharing this information because there is not a work setting in the field that she's unfamiliar with or inexperienced. Chimezie is always ready to take on new tasks and create solutions.

Born in Berkeley, California to Nigerian immigrant parents that always instilled the value of advocacy, justice, giving back, mentorship, and community, these values have remained with her throughout her life, both professionally and personally. When not working, Chimezie enjoy spending time with her two children, volunteering, and playing tennis.

Kyomi Gregory, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Mentoring Programming Committee Co-Chair

Term 2020-2023

Dr. Kyomi Gregory is currently an assistant professor at Pace University in New York, New York. She previously attended Louisiana State University to earn her PhD in December 2015 where she was funded by a National Institute of Health diversity supplement. Her long-term goal is to develop a line of research that will significantly improve assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse children and improve teacher and parent training prevention models focused on early intervening services. Dr. Gregory received her BA in communication disorders from the State University of New York at New Paltz and her masters in speech-language pathology from University at Buffalo. Dr. Gregory was chosen for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Pathways program and received an award as the "top 40 under 40" at her alma mater SUNY-New Paltz in 2017.

Kennedy Kehaulani Guess, Student Representative, Student Activities Committee Chair

Term 2020-2022

Kennedy GuessKennedy Kehaulani Guess is a passionate and driven first year master’s student at the University of Houston. Kennedy graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. During her time at Kentucky, Kennedy was a catalyst for change. In April 2018, she received a $10,000 grant from the Office of Institutional Diversity to found Still We Rise-- a program and scholarship that celebrates the resiliency of students. Still We Rise is now an annual event that has been endowed by the University.

As an undergraduate, she received a multitude of awards--including the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award and the Human Development Institute’s Kevin Burberry award. Kennedy is a founding member of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Council for Student Diversity. She is a member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association’s Minority Student Leadership Class of 2018. Additionally, she is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH). She was able to highlight her dedication to NBASLH in 2019 when she not only attended the convention, but hosted the Student Mentor Luncheon. After completing her master’s degree Kennedy hopes to continue her legacy by obtaining a PhD. Her current research interests are bidialectalism and Aphasia.

Marilouise E. Nichols, M.S., CCC-SLP

Term 2021-2024

Marilouise E. Nichols, M.S., CCC-SLP is a medical Speech-Language Pathologist who has focused her career in the areas of dysphagia in medically-complex patients and neurogenic communication disorders in adult inpatient rehabilitation and acute care. She currently works in long-term acute care (LTACH) at Houston Methodist Continuing Care Hospital in Houston, TX. Additionally, she serves as a graduate Clinical Educator at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (Austin and Dallas campuses). Marilouise earned her B.A. in psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and earned her M.S. in speech pathology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. Marilouise is passionate about serving culturally-diverse and underrepresented populations in the healthcare system and increasing the visibility and leadership of minority populations in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. She enjoys mentoring pre-professionals and early career professionals, and is the founder and writer of a professional blog,, aimed to empower and engage young minorities in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

Marilouise was recently awarded ASHA’s Distinguished Early Career Professional Award and ASHA’s Award for Continuing Education (ACE). She is an alumna of ASHA's Minority Student Leadership Program (M.S.L.P), a mentor in ASHA's Student-to-Empowered Professional Program (S.T.E.P), and member of ASHA’s Healthcare Leadership Development Program (LDP) 2020 cohort.

Lauren Prather, M.S., CCC-SLP, Mentorship Committee Co-Chair, Public Relations Committee Chair

Term 2020-2023

Lauren Prather is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati (UC) in Communication Sciences and Disorders where her research focuses on language and literacy for underserved populations. She received her Master of Science degree from Tennessee State University in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Memphis in Communications. Before pursuing her PhD in August of 2017, Lauren worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services and Let’s Talk Therapy in Atlanta, GA which is inclusive of her clinical experience in both the school setting and private practice. She has collaborated with multidisciplinary teams to address communication, educational, and social needs of students with a wide variety of disability classifications. In 2017, Lauren spearheaded Let’s Talk Therapy’s Speech and Language Enrichment Program and in February (2020), she organized and facilitated Talking Black in America, where the executive producer Walt Wolfram and esteemed faculty from UC were featured on the panel. Currently, she supervises graduate clinicians at the University of Cincinnati.

Lauren’s accolades include serving as the Student Representative for NBASLH, bylaws and social media committee, and past host of the 2019 convention gala. She was selected in ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP) in 2013 and was an invited panelist for the PhD Information Sharing Session for the MSLP at the 2017 ASHA convention. This past February, Lauren was highlighted by the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association as a future leader in the profession.

Garvin Romane, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, ASHA CE Administrator, CEU Committee Chair

Term 2020-2023

Dr. Garvin P. Romane received his doctorate in language, literacy and learning from Fordham University, where he specialized in the use of iPad technology to support instruction in articulation, language and vocabulary development. He is an adjunct professor of speech-language pathology at Touro College in Brooklyn and a supervisor of speech-language pathologists for the Brentwood Union Free School District in Brentwood, N.Y. His main research interests include cultural and linguistic diversity in students, assistive technology, strategic learning, and the use of technology to advance speech, language and literacy skills.

Additional interests include systematic review and meta-analysis, teaching and learning, and effective intervention services for academic weaknesses or disabilities. Dr. Romane holds a license in speech-language pathology, a master’s degree in speech pathology from New York University, and a master of science in education in administration and supervision from Fordham University. He is also certified as a school district and building leader and a teacher of the speech and hearing handicapped (TSHH). Dr. Romane is chief executive officer for NEXT Level NYC Tutors, a speech/supplemental educational consulting practice specializing in speech and language therapy for all ages, as well as academic coaching.

Dr. Jasmine Simmons, Au.D., CCC-A

Term 2020-2023

JasmineDr. Jasmine Simmons is an audiologist living and working at a private practice in Florida. She received a B.A. in Communication Disorders from the University of Akron and her Doctorate of Audiology from Central Michigan University (CMU). While at CMU, Dr. Simmons served as the fundraising chair for the Student Academy of Audiology. She is certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association to practice Audiology and is licensed to practice in Florida. Dr. Simmons’s passion for audiology stems from both personal and clinical experiences. She was born with a bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and received her first cochlear implant at the age of two. When working with her patients she demonstrates empathy and patience by reflecting on her personal experiences. One of her ambitions is to give back to the community. She has done this by being a camp counselor for teens with hearing loss for the past eight years.

Lastly, Dr. Simmons is driven to increase awareness about audiology as a career option among young Black children, teenagers, and young adults. The first Black audiologist she had an encounter with was not until she was in high school. This amplified the lack of representation of Black individuals in Audiology which led Dr. Simmons to be a co-founder of Black Audiologist United (BAU).

Chrystal Ingram Williams, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Term 2021-2024

Chrystal Ingram Williams is a 2001 and a 2004 graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham NC. Chrystal been a speech language pathologist for 17 years, with an extensive background in inpatient psychiatric hospital, skilled nursing and short-term rehab and pediatric private practice settings. Historically she has served as a Director of Rehabilitation and Clinical Director. Areas of interest and expertise include adult dysphagia and child language and literacy identification and intervention for minority school age children.

Chrystal has received FEES and Vital Stim training and obtained the certificate for a Certified Dementia Practitioner. She has supervised over 75 undergraduate students, graduate students and clinical fellows. Chrystal was recently nominated for an ASHA Board Position and was previously interviewed and published in News-Line for Speech language Pathologists.

Presently, Chrystal is a Clinical Associate Professor at NCCU and is pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education leadership from Northcentral University. A mom of three, she operates Bee Social Media Marketing, LLC, a social media marketing agency for small businesses.