Administrative Department

Asha Persaud, MS

Executive Director

Asha Persaud earned dual bachelor degrees from The Pennsylvania State University in Psychology and Spanish and completed coursework in Behavior Analysis. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in School Psychology from Duquesne University. With over 15 years of research experience, Ms. Persaud has trained extensively in diagnostic assessments and behavioral interventions. Ms.Persaud was the Research Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in Autism Research at the University of Pittsburgh. She was responsible for administrating the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and coordinating a research project on language processing in individuals with autism. Ms. Persaud has several years of experience as a TSS, BSC, and Regional Director of a wraparound agency, specializing in autism spectrum disorders. As an educational consultant for several school districts, Ms. Persaud has given presentations and trained teachers and paraprofessionals on inclusion strategies in the regular education classroom and assisted in the development of behavior plans. Ms. Persaud was the Director of Autism Services for The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, where she offered consultation and training services to families and staff.

Ms. Persaud has been involved in the Autism Speaks “Walk Now for Autism” for several years and has served as a Co-Chair for the School Teams. She is the President of The Hope for Autism Foundation, a non-profit company founded to benefit families and individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders. Ms. Persaud was honored as one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 Under 40, and was the Recipient of Fund it Forward's 2016 The Spirit of the Community Award.

Meaghan Nescot

Center Director

Meaghan Nescot joined The Hope Learning Center in 2009 and works closely with the administrative, therapeutic and educational staff in overseeing the day to day operations of the center. Meaghan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with a minor in Psychology from Geneva College. Meaghan has several years of experience working one on one as a Therapeutic Staff Support for children with Autism, Asperger’s,Down Syndrome, ADHD, and behavioral issues prior to her start at Hope. She has also volunteered her time working in different settings with children such as after school programs, summer camps, alternative housing for children, and schools.

Andrew Petro

Operations Manager

Andrew Petro joined The Hope Learning Center in 2018 and holds his B.S.Ed. from Geneva College and an MA in Higher Education and Administration (also from Geneva College). Licensed as an elementary teacher (K-6) and Business and Computer Information Technology (K-12) Andrew has a number of years experience with a focus of work in operations and administration. Andre was an instructional leader and technology manager at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School for a decade and a private education consultant for online learning and curriculum development for the past four years.


Audrey Mackie

Office Manager, Assistant to The Executive Director

Audrey Mackie joined The Hope Learning Center in 2011 working in an administrative capacity. Audrey earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Audrey has an extensive background in media and public relations in addition to event planing. Audrey works closely with the executive director and administrative team managing day to day operations, client relations and staff needs. In addition to her administrative duties Audrey assists in planning and executing the annual Night with Santa event at Hope to benefit The Hope for Autism Foundation.

Ashley Dembowski

Service Coordinator

Ashley Dembowski joined The Hope Learning Center in 2017. Ashley has worked as a substitute teacher in various districts and classrooms and later worked as a paraprofessional for two years, and a long term substitute Special Education teacher for two years. These positions allowed Ashley to gain a wide variety of knowledge and experience in the education field, as well as allowing her to work with students of varying disabilities and ages.

Lisa Kushner

Billing Coordinator

Lisa Kushner joined The Hope Learning Center in 2018. Lisa received her Bachelor's degree from University of Pittsburgh in Health Information/Medical Records Administration and has numerous years of experience as a Licensed Registered Record Administrator. Lisa has brought great knowledge and experience with her to The Hope Learning Center and works closely with administration on all aspects of insurance intake, eligibility, benefits and billing across settings here at Hope.