About Our Team

Grow Assessment & Counseling Services:
Helping Students Meet Their Potential

Our diverse team of professionals specialize in assessment and coaching to help parents to uncover the causes of children’s learning difficulties and collaborate with the school to garner needed supports.

You are welcome to contact us for a complimentary 30 minute consultation about your child and learn how working with a Grow professional can help your child achieve their full potential.

954 Risa Rd, Suite A
Lafayette, CA 94549

Book a 30-Minute Phone Consultation

Our Clinicians

Alyssa luu, ed.M, ncsp

licensed educational psychologist

Alyssa is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She is a Bay Area native and has worked as a practicing School Psychologist in East Bay public schools since 2012. Alyssa earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Education Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She also holds a Master of Education in Applied Development and Learning Psychology and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology: Schooling from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York.

Alyssa has extensive experience with conducting relevant comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations, consultation/coaching, behavior modification, and mental health support; especially with adolescents! She enjoys fostering cooperative relationships and is dedicate to the holistic wellbeing of students by celebrating each student’s unique learning. She strongly advocates for appropriate success strategies and supports to help students thrive. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys spending time with her husband, two boisterous young children, and dog (and sometimes their geckos).

charity plaxton-hennings, ph.d.

licensed clinical psychologist, credentialed School psychologist

Dr. Charity Plaxton-Hennings is a pediatric neuropsychologist, licensed clinical psychologist, and credentialed school psychologist. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Public Health, a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Psychology. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Pediatric Neurodevelopment. She currently serves as a Director of Special Education. Dr. Plaxton-Hennings spent the first 8 years of her career as an Associate Professor at Azusa Pacific University and has since held several adjunct faculty appointments at many colleges and universities. She is certified as a trauma specialist and has an extensive background in crisis intervention, including serving for two weeks in New York following 9/11. Historically, she also worked in private practice conducting neuropsychological evaluations, therapy, organizational consulting and training. She currently serves as reviewer for the Journal of Contemporary School Psychology and serves in leadership positions on state and local organizations.

Javarte Bobino, Psy.D.

Licensed Educational Psychologist

Dr. Javarte Bobino is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and credentialed school psychologist who holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Psychology. He completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He possesses years of experience working with youth and adults in a variety of settings. Dr. Bobino has been an adjunct instructor for Mills College, St. Mary’s College of California, Loyola Marymount University, and University of San Francisco. Dr. Bobino is native to the Bay Area and specializes in working with foster youth, developing mental health program initiatives, optimizing the learning atmosphere, student development, and promoting a safe learning environment.

Jenna Palacios, Ed.S., M.S.

Licensed Educational Psychologist

Jenna is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and California credentialed School Psychologist with over 10 years of experience in education in different capacities for school districts in San Diego, San Bernardino, LA and Orange counties. She received B.A.s in both Psychology and Spanish from San Diego State University. She also attended graduate school for School Psychology at SDSU, earning an M.S. in Counseling and an Ed.S. degree in School Psychology. Jenna’s areas of expertise and interest include bilingual assessment, culturally affirming and responsive interventions, preschool assessment/early childhood education, and inclusionary practices. She is most passionate about disability justice and is drive to ensure that disabled students thrive with equitable access and opportunities in all settings. Jenna takes pride in connecting with families and providing psychoeducation to empower them to be the best advocates for their children. In her free time, Jenna enjoys watercoloring, roller skating, pilates, meditation, reading and doing her own nails.

Laura Hansen, Ed.S., M.Ed.

Licensed educational Psychologist

Laura is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and a credentialed school psychologist. She earned her Ed.S. and M.Ed. in School Psychology from the College of William and Mary and her B.A. from Villanova University. She has worked with youth and families throughout the Bay Area since 2015. Laura’s goal is to support families through an approach that is student-centered, culturally-responsive, evidence-based, and strengths-focused. She has broad experience working with diverse learners with disabilities and difficulties that impact learning.

Laura lives in San Francisco with her husband and dog Larry. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, playing board games, and getting outside as much as possible: hiking, cycling, and going to the dog park.

Marianne Lapastora, PsyD

Licensed educational Psychologist

Marianne is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and credentialed school psychologist in California. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Developmental Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology, and a Doctorate in Psychology. Marianne has worked as a psychologist in public schools for a decade and has also served as an adjunct faculty member in National University’s Master’s program in School Psychology. She embraces a neurodiversity affirming perspective and has special interests in ADHD, Autism, anxiety, and traumatic stress. She is additionally trained as a children’s yoga teacher and enjoys teaching mindfulness to kids. Marianne also loves creating professional development and educational materials for teachers and parents in order to help them understand and support children’s needs. When she is not assessing students, she enjoys gardening, watercolor painting, and learning new musical instruments.

Nicole Smith, Psy.D., ABSNP

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate in School Neuropsychology

Dr. Nicole is a licensed clinical psychologist with a board certification in school neuropsychology. Originally from Perth, West Australia, she relocated to the USA to attend Northwestern University, where she excelled in Division 1 Field Hockey and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She furthered her education with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a Doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology from Alliany International University in San Francisco.

Dr. Nicole’s professional focus lies in areas crucial to student development. She specializes in assessment and intervention for ADHD, learning differences, socioemotional development, and executive functioning. Dr. Nicole’s approach to assessment is grounded in a strengths-based perspective, providing a comprehensive, big-picture view of each student. This methodology ensures that interventions are tailored to leverage individual strengths while addressing specific needs.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Dr. Nicole enjoys traveling, reading, watching movies, learning German, and spending time with her family.

Shietel Chhana, Psy.D.

Licensed Educational Psychologist

Dr. Shietel Chhana is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP), Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and has a Diplomate in School Neuropsychology. She holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling, an Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, and a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Shietel has been a practicing school psychologist for the past 12 years working with students in public, nonpublic, and residential school settings. Her additional mental health experiences include working with children, adolescents, and families in group homes, residential treatment centers, county mental health programs, and psychiatric hospitals. Her professional interests include school neuropsychology, school mental health, student and educator trauma, crisis response, and professional development for educators. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. 

Our Leadership Team

Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D.

Founder of Grow Assessment and Thriving Students Collective™

Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., is a California-certified psychologist and a licensed public school psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her doctorate in Education at the University of California at Berkeley and conducted post-doctoral training at the Autism Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco.

A sought-after speaker and national media expert, Rebecca’s expertise has appeared in various publications, including Huffington Post, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, and Parents Magazine. She has also published several books and created online courses for parents and professionals on supporting struggling students, particularly those with attention and executive functioning challenges.

Sarah Eisenberg Hauser

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah is a passionate and tenured business Executive Leader in the education technology industry, with extensive background in marketing, education and business. From working directly with students, public administrators, and members of the private sector, she brings over 20 years of sales, management, training, marketing, operational and customer success, and recruiting expertise.

Sarah holds a BA in Sociology and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and two Master’s degrees: An MBA in Marketing and a Master’s in Teaching from the University of San Francisco, She also completed a certification program at Columbia Business School in Building and Leading Effective Teams. Sarah resides in Oakland, California with her 3 amazing children and husband.

Mike Attia

Vice President of Operations

Mike’s journey into helping students overcome educational barriers started in 2007, when he started teaching SAT prep while getting his bachelor’s in mathematics at UCSD. He spent the next 15 years of his career working in operations and management at The Princeton Review. Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Mike lives in Oakland, California. When he’s not at work, you can often find him in front of a piano, singing with his local community chorus or eating (food is the great love of his life).