Meet the Teams
Ashley Basanese originally joined BalanceSCC in 2003 as an instructional assistant. Through her experiences at BalanceSCC Ashley determined this was the field for her and went back to school at CSUMB to receive her Bachelor's in Non-Profit Business Management with a minor in Child Development. Between 2003 and 2016 Ashley held every role within BalanceSCC with the exception of Executive Director. In 2013 Ashley moved down to part time to go back to school and get her Masters in Counseling Psychology. She graduated in 2015 and rejoined BalanceSCC full time as the lead Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and Safety trainer, providing support on school sites to our staff. Additionally Ashley held the role of Respite Coordinator. In 2016 the board voted that Ashley would succeed Vicky George as Executive Director when the time came. Ashley served on the BalanceSCC board from 2009 until October of 2018 when Ashley stepped up to the role of Executive Director.
In her spare time Ashley loves to spend time sailing and sits on the board of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.
We would like to welcome our newest member of the team, Marlene!! Marlene is joining the team in the role of Executive Assistant. We are excited for you to get to know her!
Marlene was born and raised in South Los Angeles and moved to the Santa Cruz area in 2011. She started her role in administrative assisting in 2014 with the Cabrillo College Extension Department. In 2017 she transitioned into the medical field with a private oncology practice and later also worked in administrative roles with hospice care, and obstetrics and gynecology. In her spare time she enjoys walks on West Cliff Drive with her fiancé and takes cycling, CrossFit, and hot yoga classes.
Jill was born and raised in Santa Cruz County. She started her accounting career at Plantronics in 1996. In 2005 she took a position in the Accounts Payable Department at Threshold Enterprises, eventually working her way up to Senior Accountant. In 2017 she transitioned to the Full Charge Bookkeeper for The Glass Jar before coming to join the Balance team in late 2020.
In her spare time she enjoys taking her mare out for rides on the trails of Wilder Ranch.
Kent earned his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from CSUMB in 2000. Shortly after graduating he was asked to help design a website for Abra Therapy with the team that would eventually become BalanceSCC. He spent the next few years working part time as the BalanceSCC webmaster before joining the staff full time in 2010. Aside from maintaining the website, he keeps the network and computers going, helps out at fundraisers as an event technician, and does all the purchasing for our yearly Teacher Grant Foundation.
Training and Behavior Support Team
Tep began working as an after-school preschool aide at 14 years old, and spent her summers as an SDC classroom aide until moving into a one to one position while attending culinary school. She accomplished her dream of becoming a pastry chef only to realize that her true calling was in the profession she thought she had left behind. After this realization was when she discovered and began working for BalanceSCC. It was during this time that she developed a passion for behavior intervention. She has since worked with students and clients of all ages, been a part of the Soquel District MBIT team, and has become a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention trainer.
These days she finds herself immersed in virtual learning, pickling whatever pops up in the garden, learning new roller-skating moves, and looking forward to her future with BalanceSCC.
Colleen Russell started working for BalanceSCC in April of 2003 after graduating from UCSC. That December she took the idea of starting a social skills group for children and young adults with special needs to Vicky George, where it was met with great enthusiasm and support. For the last 15 years Colleen has had the pleasure to work with the most amazing individuals and their families, alongside the incredibly talented staff at Kid Quest as the Director of Kid Quest. Colleen became a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention trainer in October of 2016. Colleen currently works providing virtual behavior support to BalanceSCC school aides.
In her spare time Colleen loves to play with her two young daughters, bake, read, garden, and walk alongside East Cliff with her family.