About Shine Behavioral Academy

About Us

We Are You…

We are first and foremost parents and professionals in the special needs industry, many of us are parents of children on the spectrum and understand firsthand how difficult the educational experience can be for not only our students but also for their caregivers and families. We know that parent/guardian involvement is essential in order for the child to be immersed in appropriate education and intervention at all times.

The course work at The SHINE BEHAVIORAL ACADEMY will be individualized for all students. The program will not be grade determinant, and the students will work at a level commensurate to his/her abilities. We accept both verbal and non-verbal students. We believe that the ability to learn comes in all forms, shapes and sizes and we must adjust our curriculum to teach to students with varied sensory, communication and learning challenges. Acceptance will be determined by the initial evaluation performed prior to enrollment.

Providing our students with that little bit of extra effort and quality makes all the difference! We offer three small classrooms with a low ratio of student to teacher and paraprofessional, every classroom has a designated teacher present at all times. We also provide an open “center” area where children can learn at their own pace or join others in group activities outside of the classroom. Little extras like a BEAM laser projection system with hundreds of educational games, a rock climbing wall, custom lighting that can be adjusted for our students and an outdoor play area for gross motor activities, socialization and a safe place to get all that energy out make all the difference!

Come on in for a visit and check us out!

Emilye Schmale

Our Founder & Head of School

Emilye Schmale

First and foremost, I am a mother. My eight-year-old son was diagnosed 7 days after birth with his first diagnosis of Hydrocephalus. This resulted in three brain surgeries and a later diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Just before my son’s third birthday we received yet another diagnosis, this time Autism.

I have walked this journey with many others in the DFW area for many years and I‘ve seen the pain and the joy, the success over the little things and the daily struggles and stress from a firsthand perspective. I connect with fellow ASD parents in groups, online forums, at playdates, doctor appointments and special needs functions and conferences. I have felt the desperation and desire for help and support. I saw a way to make a difference, that is why three years ago I created Shine Behavioral LLC, a high quality multi-disciplinary ABA center. We have been honored to be chosen again and again by parents in our community as their therapy center of choice. It is those same parents that asked over and over for not just a therapy center but for a SCHOOL for their unique children to be educated in a truly customized setting.

As the Founder of Shine Behavioral Academy, it is my dream that every child on the spectrum be educated the way the need to be, we must teach in the way they learn and not try to mold the student into our standard educational platforms. It is important to me to provide a safe place where students can learn & grow. After over 15 years as a sales & marketing professional in the corporate world, I am now immersed in my true passion, supporting those on the spectrum via Shine Behavioral LLC and Shine Behavioral Academy.

Evan Skelton

Our Lead BCBA, LBA

(Clinical Director of Shine Behavioral LLC)

Evan Skelton

I hold my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and my Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of South Florida. I am certified by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) as a BCBA and I have over 10 years of experience working directly with children from ages 2-14, early intervention holds a special place in my heart. I have always felt passionate about working with children, but for me, nothing compares to working with children on the Autism Spectrum. There is something so special about getting to know each child on a personal level and seeing the beauty, intelligence, and sense of humor most others may never be fortunate enough to see.

As an ABA provider, I place a heavy focus on early intervention and school readiness. As a school-based Behavior Analyst at the Academy, it is my role to oversee and collaborate closely with other service providers and teachers to ensure each student gets the best continuity of care and attention while incorporating the principals of ABA into the school environment. For me, there is no better reward than improving the quality of life for our special need’s children and their families.

Jourdan Larraga

Lead Special Education Teacher

Jourdan Larraga

Jourdan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences (BSHS) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has a paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and has also completed his Texas Teacher Certification Program from Texas Teachers of Tomorrow to become certified in Special Education EC–12.

As an educator, Jourdan has been privileged to work with students and teachers in various classroom settings. He has worked as a behavior analyst, registered behavior technician, instructional coach, and early intervention teacher. He has also completed field-based experiences in introductory classrooms at one of the nation’s largest charter school networks involving reflective observation of K-12 special education and conducting academic assessments.

Jourdan possesses the fundamental skills, knowledge, and passion for working with our learners in all areas of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), providing individual and group instruction for children on the Autism spectrum. In addition, he strives to create academically engaging learning experiences through an environment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and kindness. Committed to sharing his passion for education, Jourdan also performs responsibility in assessments, determining Special Education eligibility, academic and behavioral interventions, state and federal legal frameworks, and ensuring compliance with all facets of Special Education.

Jakayla Shurm

Special Education Teacher

Jakayla Shurm

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and am pursuing a Master of Education in Special Education (M.Ed.) from Lamar University. I hold a paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). My expertise in an educational setting comes from years of experience working as a preschool teacher K-4, behavioral technician, early intervention specialist, behavior specialist, and now, special education teacher. I specialize in implementing direct treatment plans, skill acquisition, behavior resolution, developing age-appropriate socialization skills, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and data collection focused on exceeding academic goals in all core subjects.

Committed to our mission and philosophy, my goal is to ensure assessment, pedagogy and curriculum are all individualized, and student-centered so that students receive the support they deserve. In addition, I take pride in utilizing my creativity by turning educational lessons into fun experiences for students. I am very passionate about helping students discover a love for learning and knowing that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Kaelyn Berlanga


Kaelyn Berlanga

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Abilene Christian University. I hold a paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). My experience varies from working within employer-sponsored childcare facilities as well as interning directly within various public-school systems. Additionally, I have specialized experience working with children with ASD within the realm of ABA therapy. I specialize in implementing treatment plans, assisting staff within a classroom setting, and documenting individual growth and educational milestones.

My goal is to empower children to build vital skills that will enrich and enhance their lives. I am passionate about helping children achieve their potential whilst also creating a rich and inclusive learning environment. I strive to provide students with the tools and resources needed to become successful and independent. Committed to creating a positive setting I continuously strive to aid students towards reaching new heights and achieving their full potential.

Small classrooms
Small classrooms with a warm individualized setting for each child’s needs.

The BEAM interactive educational projector

The BEAM interactive educational projector game system- to help make teaching fun and teach the way our children learn!

A safe and secure outdoor playground for gross motor, gym, socialization
A safe and secure outdoor playground for gross motor, gym, socialization and just plain ol’ fun!

Customized center area for independent and group work out of the classroom.
Customized center area for independent and group work out of the classroom.