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Sound Beginnings Staff

Claire Annis
Claire Annis, M.Ed.
435-797-9235
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Claire is a preschool teacher in the Sound Beginnings program. She graduated with her Master’s in Deaf Education, with a license to teach Special Education. Claire loves working with children and has enjoyed working previously in Lewiston, UT as an inclusion preschool teacher. She is originally from Las Vegas, NV but came to USU for her journey in Deaf Education. Claire has a brother in-law with a profound hearing loss that inspired her to follow this path through Listening and Spoken Language. Claire loves hiking, swimming, and going to all new movies with her husband, Devon. She loves the team at Sound Beginnings, including the families and looks forward to great growth with the children we serve.
Beth Foley
Beth Foley, PhD, CCC-SLP
435-797-3924
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Dr. Beth Foley is the Dean of the College of Education at Utah State University. She has received numerous teaching awards, including USU College of Education Teacher of the Year in 1999 and again in 2004. Throughout her 30-year career as an SLP, Dr. Foley has maintained her involvement in clinical activities involving children and adults with complex communication needs. In recent years, Dr. Foley has developed and directed the COMD Augmentative and Alternative Communication Clinic, which provides assessment and intervention services to individuals with complex communication needs. She brings to her teaching a wealth of clinical experiences and was instrumental in establishing the Sound Beginnings program. She is passionate about bridging research and theory with classroom and clinical practice to provide excellent services to children with hearing loss and other communication disorders. Beth lives in Smithfield and enjoys skiing at Beaver Mountain with her son, Michael, gardening, hiking, and many other outdoor activities.
Marianne Huish
Marianne I. Huish, M.Ed.
801-520-1868
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Annie is a Deaf Educator who graduated from Utah State University in 2012. She works with USU’s endorsement program training professionals (SLPs and Special Educators) in teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing. After graduating with a dual undergraduate degree at USU in Family Life Studies and Communication Disorders and Deaf Education, she continued on at the university to complete a master’s degree. Her love for her profession continues to grow as she helps other professionals learn up-to- date listening and spoken language strategies they can implement with the children they serve. One of Annie’s favorite settings is in the classroom, and on occasion finds herself as a substitute in the Sound Beginnings preschool program.
Kali Markle
Kali Markle
435-797-2507
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Dr. Kali Markle is a Clinical Associate Professor of Audiology and a Pediatric Audiologist. A majority of her time is spent in the clinic supervising graduate students and seeing patients; however, she also teaches graduate courses. Dr. Markle provides diagnostic evaluations on children birth to 21 years of age, fits hearing aids, bone conduction devices, FM systems and works with cochlear implants. She oversees the newborn hearing screening programs at two hospitals and helps fit and maintain FM systems at some of the charter schools in Cache Valley. Dr. Markle is a California native who is enjoying more time spent outdoors with her rescue husky, Logan.
Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert-AVEd
435-797-9235
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Nicole Martin is the Director of Sound Beginnings, an Auditory-Verbal Educator, and a Speech Language Pathologist. She received a Bachelor’s Degree at Brigham Young University in Special Education with a minor in music. She also received her second Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Utah State University in Speech Language Pathology. Nicole has loved working with the amazing children and their families at Sound Beginnings. She has also enjoyed working as a clinical supervisor with the graduate students from the Listening and Spoken Language program.
Karen Munoz
Karen Muñoz, EdD, CCC-A
435-797-3701
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Dr. Karen Muñoz is a Professor of Audiology, the Audiology Division Chair, the Interim COMD Department Chair, and provides oversight of the Pediatric Audiology Clinic. She has focused on pediatric audiology since the mid 1990’s and has worked extensively at the state level to support the development of effective newborn hearing screening and follow-up programs. She has also been involved nationally and internationally in providing continuing professional education on best practice to audiologists in the early identification and management of hearing loss for infants and young children. To better serve families living in rural areas, Dr. Muñoz is involved in research to investigate the use of distance technology to improve services and educational outreach. She moved from her position at Northern Illinois University to Utah in 2007 with her husband and son, to join in the development of the Sound Beginnings program.
Lauri Nelson
Lauri Nelson, PhD
435-797-8051
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Dr. Lauri Nelson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education. She directs the graduate training program for deaf education master’s students and DHH endorsement students. Dr. Nelson has a dual background as a pediatric audiologist and as a licensed deaf educator. Prior to coming to USU, she worked in a variety of clinical audiology settings, including cochlear implant programming at Primary Children's Medical Center and as a clinical researcher at Advanced Bionics Corporation. In education, she worked as an itinerant teacher and an aural habilitation specialist. USU is a wonderful opportunity for her to combine these experiences with her love of working with graduate students who will make a difference in the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Dr. Nelson is a Utah native and lives in Davis County. She and her husband are the proud parents of four sons and four dogs. Her family enjoys football, camping, riding motorcycles, and any event that includes food.
Elizabeth Parker
Elizabeth Parker, M.Ed.
801-949-3406
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Liz began teaching children with hearing loss in 1980 at the Utah Schools for the Deaf & the Blind. For ten years, she taught preschool through sixth grade students in the Auditory/Oral program in a mainstream setting. In 1990, she began working for Utah State University as a Clinical Instructor, supervising student teachers and teaching classes in the Communication Disorders/Deaf Education Department. In 2001, she began traveling to Nakuru, Kenya and did volunteer work at Ngala School for the Deaf and continues to take groups of travelers with her non-profit group, RaFIKis. In 2005, she became the Director of the Deaf Central Division of USDB, serving over 200 families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, using ASL/English or Listening and Spoken Language, preschool through high school. In 2010, she regained her senses and retired, only to return, part-time as an Aural Habilitation Specialist. She is pleased to serve at USU once more where she hopes to share her experiences and knowledge with future teachers of the deaf.
Cache Pitt
Cache Pitt, AuD, CCC-A
435-797-9311
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Dr. Cache Pitt is a Clinical Associate Professor of Audiology and provides clinical supervision to graduate students in Audiology. He was born and raised in Lander, Wyoming. He went to the University of Wyoming where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Audiology. Dr. Pitt began his career in audiology at the California Ear institute in Palo Alto, CA where he worked with adults and children with cochlear implants. He, his wife Suzanne, and their 2 sons Logan and Ryan and their daughter Lauren are very happy to live in Cache Valley where they are closer to family. Both Dr. Pitt and his wife enjoy hiking, cooking, movies, and playing the piano.
Marie Rood
Marie Rood
435-797-9225
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Marie Rood is a Paraprofessional in the Sound Beginnings program. She studied at Ricks College, and Utah State University. In 2002 she earned her Oregon Paraprofessional Certification. In 2009 Marie and her husband Kevin moved to Logan, Utah from Coos Bay, Oregon where she had worked for 14 years as a Paraprofessional at a K-4 elementary school. Marie worked in Resource Room, Title 1, and Federal Indian Education programs. Marie and her husband Kevin have been married 33 years and have two married sons. Marie enjoys reading, traveling, family time, and taking her dog Stella for walks. Marie is excited to be starting her 8th year working at Sound Beginnings.
Tiffany Shelton
Tiffany Shelton, Au.D., CCC-A
435-797-1374
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Dr. Shelton is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Audiology. She spends the majority of her time supervising graduate students and seeing patients in both the adult and pediatric clinics. She is not a native to Logan, however she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Audiology at Utah State University, and is proud to say she is a “True Aggie”. Later, she went on to earn her doctorate at A.T. Still University in Arizona. She began her career working in a private practice, and an ENT medical clinic. For over 11 years she has worked as a clinical supervisor at USU where she performs diagnostics, works with hearing aids, BAHA devices, and conducts Auditory Processing Disorder evaluations. Dr. Shelton, and her husband, Steve have 4 children, Kurtis, Kevin, Kira, and Kaylee, and one daughter-in-law, Erin. Dr. Shelton enjoys reading, watching classic movies, playing games, gardening and spending time with her family.
Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith, M.Ed.
435-797-7455
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Lauren Smith is the teacher of the parent toddler class and early intervention home visits for Sound Beginnings. She is originally from Farmington, but she attended USU for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, so she thinks of Logan as home. Before she came to Sound Beginnings, she worked for the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind as an early childhood teacher meeting with families in their homes. Lauren is working on the auditory verbal educator certification through the Alexander Graham Bell Association. Lauren grew up in a family of musicians and she loves to incorporate music of all kinds into her sessions. Her professional goal is to create a partnership with each family that will create positive outcomes for every child.
Jeanette Smoot
Jeanette Smoot, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert-AVEd
435-797-9229
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Jeanette Smoot earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Communicative Disorders at Utah State University. She is nationally certified as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist and loves her work as a Speech and Language Pathologist. This will be her 8th year serving families at Sound Beginnings and mentoring graduate students. She is constantly amazed by the children she serves and is happy to be part of their individual stories of growth.
Amie Stelmack
Amie Stelmack, M.Ed.
435-797-9235
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Amie A. Stelmack earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Geography at Worcester State University, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She earned her master’s degree in deaf education at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts and worked as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and an early intervention specialist in Massachusetts. While residing in Georgia, Amie served as a licensed GA Pines, SKI-HI parent advisor and a certified Wilson Level I reading specialist. She continued her work as an early intervention specialist, providing services as both a teacher of the deaf and a developmental specialist. She consulted with many towns as well as provided direct service for children ranging in age from preschool to high school. She worked at the Katherine Hamm Center as a teacher of the deaf in their three-year-old transition class. She has also taught elementary students and preschool at the Katherine Hamm Center. Amie currently works at Sound Beginnings as a preschool teacher and graduate student supervisor.
Wendy Thompson
Wendy Thompson
435-797-9234
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Wendy Thompson is the Office Manager for the Sound Beginnings, Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Clinic. Wendy worked for medical facilities for over 20 years before coming to USU. Wendy grew up on the Oregon Coast and moved to Utah in 2009. She has been married to Bill for 21 years and they have a 20- year old. Wendy enjoys spending time with her family and being outside. She is taking piano lessons. Wendy enjoys reading and crocheting double sided blankets. The best part of her day is talking to the children as they come to school. Her personal motto is to follow the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Kaytie Ward
Kaytie Ward, M.Ed.
435-797-9235
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Kaytie Cook Ward is a teacher of the Deaf at Sound Beginnings and is originally from Magrath, Alberta, Canada. Leading the kindergarten class, she gets to incorporate her love of language, reading, and movement at a fun and interactive level. Her interest in the field started as a young child when her parents recognized her need for speech therapy. After some intense articulation sessions and a constant but loving reminder to “slow down” so others could take in what she was saying, language and how it develops became a passion. Slowing down helped her see the importance of all steps that go into making speech work. It wasn’t just sounds, it became a way to communicate, wants, ideas, needs and imagination. Language was power! Prior to starting at Sound Beginnings, Kaytie graduated with her Bachelors in Communication Disorders from BYU, and later with her Master’s from USU. She has worked in different school settings in various positions, including a school librarian that created and implemented a reading program for students with additional needs to being a one on one para educator helping students mainstream into their typical classroom settings. Kaytie loves movement and believes learning should be hands on, meaningful, and most of all fun. She and her husband love living in Cache Valley and look forward to continue working in the community.
Karl White
Karl White, PhD
435-797-3013
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Dr. Karl White is a Professor of Psychology and the founding Director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM). He was instrumental in the vision and development of the Sound Beginnings program and continues to play a key role in its funding and operations. Dr. White is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on early identification and treatment of hearing loss. He has hundreds of publications and presentations at scholarly meetings and has been an invited speaker to 35 countries where he has assisted in the implementation of newborn hearing screening and intervention programs. He also serves on many national and international advisory groups for organizations such as the United States Department of Health and Human Services, March of Dimes, the American College of Medical Genetics, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. White and his wife Amy have lived in Colorado, New York, Washington, D.C. and Munster, Germany, but think Cache Valley, Utah is the best place of all. They are the parents of 8 children and 9 grandchildren. They enjoy horseback riding, traveling, and spending time with their family.