NBASLH Board of Directors


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

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. 

Cathy Runnels, M.S., CCC-SLP, Immediate Past Chair, Resound Committee Co-chair

Speech-Language Pathology has been a passion throughout my life. While my sole career, I've worked in many area's of the profession providing services in medical, educational and now, in the business sector. As CEO of Accent on Speech LLC, my experiences combine to serve clients seeking therapy along with professional adults and companies seeking training in order to strengthen ways to communicate their brands and services. 

A little more about me: I grew up in Dallas, Texas and attended Chapman University in Orange, California for undergraduate training, and Syracuse University in New York for the Master of Science degree. My first job was at Harlem Hospital in NYC then the University of the District of Columbia when I moved to the DC area. I held various clinical and administrative positions in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. In 2003, I began full-time work in my practice, Accent of Speech, a company based in the Washington DC metroplex with a global reach. Syracuse University honored me as Alumna of the Year (2011) and I have been active in ASHA becoming Fellow in 2014. You can reach me through my website

George Castle, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Praxis Review Course Board Liaison

Dr. George Castle is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at New York University (NYU). He received a B.S. in Communication Studies from SUNY Oneonta, M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Columbia University and a Ph.D in Hearing & Speech Sciences from Vanderbilt University. He is certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association to practice speech-language pathology.

Dr. Castle is generally interested in how people learn and process information. His research interests are in the measurement of cognition and the development of language and literacy in typically developing individuals as well as those with autism spectrum disorder. He has conducted research studies on vocabulary and reading comprehension in typically developing and ASD populations and has received predoctoral translational research funding from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the relationship between pragmatic language, oral language comprehension and reading comprehension.

Clinically, Dr. Castle has treated individuals in early intervention (Birth to 3), school-age and adult populations across a variety of disorders. He has also served as an externship and clinical fellowship supervisor for graduate students earning state licensure and national certification.

Lastly, Dr. Castle is passionate about the recruitment of underrepresented groups to the field of communicative sciences and disorders. More specifically, he is interested in developing pipelines from high school to graduate school, focusing on mentorship and college and professional readiness. 

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

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

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.

Kyomi Gregory, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Mentoring Programming Committee Co-Chair, Cultural Humility/Responsiveness Task Force Committee Chair

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.

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

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.

Lauren Hastings, M.S., CCC-SLP, 2021 Convention Committee Co-Chair, Partnerships Committee Chair

Lauren Hastings is the Owner and Speech-Language Pathologist of Hear to Speak, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. Lauren received a Masters of Science in Speech & Hearing Science from Tennessee State University and a Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology from Andrews University.

She has held various clinical positions in Tennessee and Georgia ranging from rehabilitation centers, school districts, and an Autism center. She enjoys collaborating with a variety of professionals including school psychologists, special educators, occupational therapists, neurologists, and gastroenterologists. Her clinical and research interests include child language disorders, bilingual language development, the impact of socioeconomic status in language/literacy development, feeding disorders, and early intervention.

In 2016, Lauren began full-time work in her practice, Hear to Speak, a company based in South Fulton (Atlanta) Georgia which serves the pediatric population using a community-based model. Currently, she serves on the social media team for NBASLH assisting in the maintenance of the Association’s Facebook page.

Katrina Miller, Ed.D, CCC-SLP, Affiliates Committee Chair

Dr. Katrina Miller is currently a Clinical Associate at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Department of Communication Disorders. She especially enjoys working with adult neurogenic populations and is presently the Program Director for the Neurogenic Aphasia Group (NAG) at NCCU. A native of Fort Washington, Maryland, Katrina received her Bachelor of Science Degree and Masters of Arts from Hampton University and furthered her education at Nova Southeastern University with a Doctorate in Education and a concentration in Speech Pathology. She is a Certified Speech Language Pathologist with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She has also worked as a mentor for students in the university, hospital and public school settings.

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

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.

Linda Redmond Tayor, M.A., CCC/SLP, Cultural Humility/Responsiveness Task Force Committee Member and Resound Committee Member

Linda Redmond Taylor is a speech/language pathologist living in Memphis, TN. She received a B.A. (cum laude) in Communicative Disorders from the University of Mississippi, and a M.A. (cum laude) in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Memphis (formerly, Memphis State University, where she was the first Black individual to receive the African American Minority Grant offered at M.S.U. for the graduate program in speech/language pathology). She is certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association to practice speech-language pathology, and is licensed to practice in Tennessee.

Linda, a native Jackson, Mississippian, declares that NBASLH has enhanced her very existence as a Black professional, even being instrumental in her writing her third book, Introduction to Ebonics (Professional Publishing House, 2016), on which she has presented locally and nationally. She was honored to be the Donn Bailey Lecturer for NBASLH in 2017, and was awarded the Dr. Jeanette Jennings “Trailblazer” Award by the Ole Miss Black Alumni Association in 2015. Recently, she became certified as a “ProLiteracy and Literacy Mid-South Volunteer Tutor” to tutor adults. Also, she serves on the Board of Directors for Tennessee-based STEP, Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents), a non-profit program that teaches advocacy skills to individuals with disabilities, and their families. As one of NBASLH’s newest Board members, Linda aspires to be an asset on the Recruitment Committee because she realizes there is a pressing need for Blacks to enter the field of Communication Disorders, and to be retained in the field to be service providers for all who need them, in general, and Blacks. Professionally, she is co-owner of Right Stuff Health in Memphis with her husband, health evangelist, Franco Taylor, N.D. Ultimately, Ms. Taylor seeks to help, mainly, African American Language users/Ebonics speakers, who have never achieved proficiency in English enhance their written and spoken communication skills in order to be more successful in society.

Lauren Prather, M.S., CCC-SLP, 2021 Convention Committee Co-Chair, Mentorship Committee Co-Chair, Public Relations Committee Chair

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.

Dr. Jasmine Simmons, Au.D., CCC-A

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).

 Kennedy Kehaulani Guess, Student Representative, Student Activities Committee Chair

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.

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

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.

Dr. Cannon is extremely passionate about educating the public about hearing loss and improved communication strategies as well as vestibular loss, balance impairment, and vestibular rehabilitation. Additionally, she is passionate about the mentorship of students and working towards increasing diversity within the field of audiology and hearing science.