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Therapists & Staff


Catalyst Therapists & Staff

Jillian D. Pelland, OTR/L

Owner, Director of Occupational Therapy Services

Jillian is a 2001 graduate of Xavier University's Occupational Therapy program. She has experience working in hospital settings, schools, and private practice. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) as well as the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) and has completed the Level 1 Hippotherapy training through AHA.

Jillian D. Pelland

Jillian has long had the dream of operating a farm-based therapy practice. She has a passion for working with animals and understands how powerful the human-animal connection can be. In 2013, she took her first step towards making this dream a reality by purchasing The Stables at Rose of Sharon. She has spent the years since then learning the ins and outs of running a farm and preparing for the therapy practice to open.

Jillian is married to her high school sweetheart, David, and is the proud mother of four children, who you are bound to see running around the farm. She is an active member of the community through her involvement in various local organizations, including St. Hilary School, City Hope, and the Akron Art Museum.



April Paul-Schimmoeller, OTR/L

April Paul-Schimmoeller is a 2000 Graduate of The Ohio State University's Occupational Therapy program and is a proud Buckeye! She has experience working in rehabilitation, hospital, long term care, outpatient and school settings. She is a Certified Lymphedema therapist and has training in many manual techniques. Her focus the past 8 years has been in pediatric therapy. April's true passion is working with children, with the support of their families, to foster skills to help them shine. She believes in a holistic, individualized and creative treatment approach to facilitate skill development. She is excited to have such an amazing setting at Catalyst Farm to incorporate this type of treatment.

April Paul-Schimmoeller

Mindy Zimmerman, PT

Director of Physical Therapy Services

Mindy received her bachelor's degree in physical therapy in 1999 from the University of Findlay after earning an associate's degree in physical therapy assisting from Stark State University in 1992. Her experience base includes working with a variety of clients from infants to adults with neurological and musculoskeletal impairments. Mindy has worked in a variety of settings, including public schools and home health as well as inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. She has been working with clients in individual and group settings for more than 20 years. Over the past several years, her work has been intensively focused on the pediatric and early intervention populations.

Mindy Zimmerman

Mindy feels privileged to be working with children to facilitate the development of their functional skills and to achieve their fullest potential in a fun and supportive environment. She is excited to be a part of the Catalyst Farm Team.


Dianne Bertuzzi, MA, CCC-SLP

Director of Speech Services

Dianne has extensive experience in providing speech and language services to children. Her special interests include treating children with autism, expressive and receptive language delays, apraxia, and phonological disorders.

Dianne earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a master's degree from Kent State University. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) from which she has earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). Dianne holds a license from the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology as well as a teaching license from the Ohio Department of Education. She has completed the Level 1 Hippotherapy training through AHA.

Dianne Bertuzzi

Dianne has a passion for helping others, which has led to a variety of volunteer opportunities. She has been a weekly volunteer at a local food pantry for the past seven years.


Darcy Bishop, COTA/L

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Darcy is a certified occupational therapy assistant who has 10 years of experience working with children ages 3 to 21. Since graduating in 2006, her focus has been in pediatric outpatient clinics and school-based settings.

She believes that each child is unique and truly special and that treatment should focus on the whole child and the family that nurtures her or him. She is a proponent of a holistic approach, including movement, play, and relaxation as essential keys to learning and making lasting changes. She incorporates yoga, Brain Gym, sensory strategies, energy work, aromatherapy, and reflex integration to help engage each child's mind, body, and spirit.

Darcy Bishop

Darcy could not be more excited to be able to share her love of all creatures great and small with children and to watch the magic unfold.


Amber Duch, PTA

Amber is a 2013 graduate of Shawnee State University’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. Since graduating, she has had the privilege of working with all ages in various settings.

Amber’s true passion is to work with children and to help them achieve their fullest potential. She enjoys the challenge of creating unique and fun treatments that encourage learning and progress towards functional outcomes. She currently volunteers as a soccer coach for Wadsworth’s community soccer for ages four and under. 

Amber Duch

Amber has a love for animals and working with children and is thrilled to combine the two at Catalyst Farm!


Megan Miksch, LPC

Megan Miksch is a licensed professional counselor. She graduated from the University of Akron in the marriage and family therapy program and has worked with individual adults and children, couples, and families in various practice settings. She has experience counseling clients with mental health and alcohol and drug-related concerns using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT), trauma-centered therapy, and others. Megan is looking forward to utilizing an animal-assisted approach in addition to traditional counseling skills to aid in the success of her clients here at catalyst farm.

Megan Miksch

Animal "Staff"

Our animals are a part of the team, and they love their work! Our animal "staff" includes horses, goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, bunnies and more!. Each animal, with its textures and personalities, brings its unique experience to the group and private sessions.

Animal Staff