NCOTA Leadership

This is Who We Are

Positions on the board are volunteer based, and nominations and elections are held annually in June.  

NCOTA Board of Directors

Valerie Fox, PhD, OTR/L, CPRP


*Email: [email protected]  

 *OT Education: Master's degree and PhD in Occupational Science from UNC at Chapel Hill

*Current Setting/Title: Durham VA Health Care System, Inpatient Mental Health

*Previous Experience: Psychosocial Rehabilitation Fellowship at Durham VA, SNF

*Clinical/Professional Interests: Behavioral Health OT, OT advocacy and expansion of OT into setting with under-served populations

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: Mother, wife, movie-goer, Netflix-binger, home remodeler, OT advocate, yard-saler, Foodie, Church volunteer, volleyball player

Additional Information: Member of NCOTA and AOTA, NCOTA Award for Outstanding Mental Health Practice (2015), VA Innovations Award (2012), Marlys Mitchell Pioneer Award (2008), R.I.S.E. Award (2008)




Melissa Hale, OTR/L 

Vice President




Mary Bird, OTR/L



Reeti Douglas, OTD, OTR/L 



 *Email: [email protected]

*OT Education: Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with a specialization in Hand Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from University of Texas Medical Branch

*Current Setting/Title: Academia/ Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Wingate University

*Previous Experience: Founding Pediatric Hand Therapist at Sports Medicine Center for Children, Founding Pediatric Hand Therapist at Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center

 *Clinical/Professional Interests: Pediatric Sports Medicine, Pediatric Hand Therapy, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Advocacy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in OT

 *Meaningful Roles and Occupations:  World traveler, runner, avid reader, mountain hiker, scuba diver, and biggest cheerleader of two children

 *Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.): NCOTA board member, AOTA member, COTAD Faculty Advisor for Wingate University, NCOTA Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Committee member,  Mentor for COTAD Minority Mentorship Program




Meredith Gronski, OTD, OTR/L, CLA
Member at Large

 *OT Education: Bachelor of Arts (Psychology; 2003)- Washington University in St. Louis; Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD; 2005)- Washington University in St. Louis

*Current Setting/Title: Academia/Early Childhood

*Previous Experience: Schools, Early Intervention, Community-based Pediatrics

*Clinical/Professional Interests: early childhood, trauma/toxic stress, food allergy self-management, hearing impairment/vestibular dysfunction 

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: parent (of 5 boys), wife, meal prep and trying new recipes, watching beauty blog videos, lector and faith formation catechist

Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.): NCOTA board member, AOTA member, Executive Committee- Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, recently completed term as NCOTA President




Special Interest Section Coordinator



*OT Education: 

*Current Setting/Title: 

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 *Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.): 




 Kimberly Godwin, OTR/L

Legal/Political Chair

 *OT Education: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Winston-Salem State University, current Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate Student at Creighton University

*Current Setting/Title: UNC Health Care at Wakebrook, Senior Occupational Therapist

*Previous Experience: Behavioral Health, SNF

*Clinical/Professional Interests: Mental Health, emerging areas of practice such as primary care, pain management, academia, and breast cancer

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: A proud dog mom, frequent kayak and camping trips, enjoy watching improv comedy, and spending time with loved ones

*Additional Information: NAMI Public Policy Committee member




Samantha Ryan, COTA/L

OTA Liaison

*OT Education: Associate of Applied Science, Occupational Therapy Assistant from Greenville Technical College.

*Current Setting/Title: Pediatric Outpatient Clinic

Previous Experience: Skilled Nursing, Home Health, CCRC, Vocational Rehabilitation, and School Services

*Clinical/Professional Interests: Advocacy, Special Education Rights, sensory processing, emotional and behavioral regulation in children, leadership, 

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: Samantha resides in Cary, NC with her Partner, Jenn, and their son. In her free time she enjoys cooking, exploring outdoors with her dog, and game nights with her friends and family. 

Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.): Member of American Occupational Therapy Association, North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association; graduate of the 2017-18 cohort of American Occupational Therapy Association’s Emerging Leaders Development program. 


Heide Dorfman, OTR/L

NCBOT Liaison





Jacqueline Mayo, OTD, OTR/L

Membership Co-Chair

*OT Education: B.S. Occupational Therapy Utica College of Syracuse university, MS Occupational Therapy Boston University, OTD Occupational Therapy Boston University 

*Current Experience: Education- Cabarrus College of Health Sciences/Chair Master of Occupational Therapy

*Previous Clinical/Professional Experience: Adult acute care and rehabilitation, Home Health, and pediatrics

*Clinical and Professional Interests: Professional and Clinical Reasoning and the inclusion of equity and diversity in healthcare in OT curriculums.

*Meaningful Roles: Parent, Wife, Educator, and Friend. I love entertaining and interacting with my family. I like to read and cook

*Additional Information: NCOTA DEI Committee, NC Interprofessional Education Leaders Collaboration (IPELC), Cabarrus College Educational Excellence Award - 2021





Nikki Kardouni, OTR/L, CLT

Membership Co-Chair

*OT Education: MSOT, PPOTD expected graduation date May 2022

*Current Setting/Title:  Occupational Therapist, Director of Clinical Education, Cape Fear Orthopedics-Outpatient, Adjunct Instructor at Methodist University

*Previous Experience:  Dementia Care in ALF, Acute Care, Outpatient Orthopedics and Lymphedema/Cancer Care

*Clinical/Professional Interests: hand orthopedics, SES- health disparities, lymphedema, emerging roles and student engagement in occupational therapy education, leadership

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: wife to active-duty army soldier, mother of two, avid reader, lover of Orangetheory Fitness, travel, and foodie

*Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc): Member, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), North Carolina Occupation Therapy Association (NCOTA)



Morgan Sawyer, MS, OTR/L, ITFS

Continuing Education Co-Chair

*OT Education: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 *Current Setting/Title: Early Intervention - North Carolina Infant Toddler Program - Raleigh CDSA Occupational Therapist

*Previous Experience: Acute Care

*Clinical/Professional Interests: Early Intervention, Family Coaching

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: Member of a large (and growing!) family, Flower Guild Member at Church; Enjoy baking, photography, gardening

*Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc): Member of NCOTA




Charity Faragoi, COTA/L

Continuing Education Co-Chair

 *OT Education: Associate of Applied Science, Occupational Therapy Assistant from South College Asheville.
*Current Setting/Title: School System
*Clinical/Professional Interests: Advocacy, Leadership, Physical Fitness
*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: Wife to a Retired Army Soldier, mother to 4 children (3 are triplets!). In her free time she enjoys reading, running half marathons and camping.
Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.): Member of American Occupational Therapy Association, North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association



Communications and Outreach Co-Chair



Beth Johnson, MS, OTR/L

Communications and Outreach Co-Chair

*OT Education: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy; Currently pursuing Post Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

*Current Setting/Title: Academia, Assistant Professor

*Previous Experience: geriatric, skilled nursing/long term care, dementia care, pediatric home health, mental health OT

*Clinical/Professional Interests: mental health OT, combat-related PTSD, promoting OT through educating future OTA relationships. 

*Meaningful Roles and Occupations: mother, daughter, sister

*Additional Information: Member of NCOTA, NVOTA, and AOTA; Leadership Award awarded by NVOTA (2019)



Shelley Ashcroft, OTR/L

Awards Chair



Bylaws Chair

*OT Education: 

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Additional Information (Professional Memberships, Awards, Honors, Activities, etc.):