aboutWho We Are
In The Beginning
It was the 90’s. Madonna, Boyz II Men, and Whitney Houston were playing on the radio as Dr. Natalie Davenport drove with a newly minted Ph.D. from Iowa State University headed to her next adventure: Texas.
She was ready to set the state on fire touching the lives of children as an educator and clinician. This same level of commitment remains today and serves as our guiding light.
Texas introduced charter schools in the mid-’90s. Dr. Davenport soon discovered an unmet need. Many of the charter schools were not knowledgeable in SPED law, nor did they have the funds or human talent to provide SPED services.
Diagnostic Assessment Services, DAS was born.
27 years later, DAS continues to thrive while remaining committed to the same principle: make a difference in the life of a child using our clinical skills, education, experience, and compassion.
DAS remains a woman-owned business as Dr. Davenport continues to serve as CEO and Founder. Our leadership team consists of five strong highly educated women who lock arms to serve the needs of one child at a time. They understand the law, best practices, and their specialization is all woven together with a heart to serve.
We Stand Committed To
Meet Our Team
Chief Clinical Officer, Ph.D, LSSP
Dr. Michelle DeLaGarza has 23 years of expertise in education. She has served as a General Education and Special Education Teacher, Diagnostician, Systems Consultant on Social Emotional Program implementation, Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and Adjunct Professor.
This experience has been built on her training in the A&M system, where she earned her teaching certification, Master’s degree in Special Education, and Doctoral degree in School Psychology.
Dr. DeLaGarza has worked with Diagnostic Assessment Services since 2013 as a Lead LSSP, moving to Director of Psychological Services, and to Chief Clinical Officer in 2017. She provides leadership and guidance to more than 60 clinicians and 100+ schools.
She has a deep commitment and belief that when DAS provides quality services with quality professionals, student success will be achieved, one child at a time.
Why did she choose DAS? In her words “To choose DAS is to choose quality.”
Assistant Director of Related Services, B.S., Assistant SLP
Shana is passionate about children. She is committed to meeting their individual needs within the educational setting while helping them develop a love of learning.
Her educational career started with her degree at the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelors of Science in Speech Pathology in 2012. She holds a Texas Speech Pathology and Hearing Association membership and is currently working towards a Master’s in Education.
In the school setting, she works with pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade students for the past 5 years. Shana has also worked with pediatric and geriatric populations in the home health environment.
“Working at DAS is different. It’s better. What makes this company the best choice for a career is the DAS staff and the students we serve. Not only do you find quality support, as a clinician I can manage my time the way I need to while maintaining a strong relationship with the schools.”
Director of Special Education and Diagnostic Services, M.Ed. Educational Diagnostian
“ I believe every school regardless of their size or budget should have access to quality special education services for their students.”
Natalie Hudson is the Director of Special Education and Diagnostic Services for the Houston area. Her experience as a charter school Special Education Director showed her how challenging special education budgets can be and opened her eyes to the need for professional contracted special education services.
Her career spans 15 years as a Teacher and Diagnostician, District Coordinator and SPED Director focused on instructional strategies and differentiating instruction for students in the general education classroom.
Natalie joined the DAS team in the 2018-2019 school year after witnessing smaller districts and charters schools struggle to maintain compliance and keep up with evaluation timelines. The comprehensive special education services from DAS makes every school capable of not only compliance but ensuring growth from their special education population.
Ms. Hudson has presented at various districts, charter schools, and conferences as well as Harris County Department of Education.
Director of Speech and Related Services, M.S., CCC-SLP
Orit is passionate about providing skilled speech therapy services to school-age children and sharing her insights with parents and school staff so children can reach their full potential and thrive in an educational setting and beyond.
Her education began with a B.A., Communication Disorders, Speech-Language and Hearing from Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, in June 1998. She obtained her M.S. in Communication Disorders, Speech‐Language Pathology from The University of Texas at Dallas in May 2011. She has been an active member of the Texas Speech Language Hearing Association since 2009, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association since 2011.
Orit has 16 years’ experience diagnosing, planning and treating children with speech and language disorders. She has provided speech and language services in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, home health, and outpatient facilities.
Beginning in October 2013 as an SLP, she accepted ever-increasing roles as SLP Supervisor, Lead Clinician, Compliance Manager, Director of Speech and Related Services and Chief Operating Officer.
When we asked Orit why she is passionate about DAS, “they have allowed me to grow and develop my clinical and managerial skills. I’m able to explore different roles and expand my responsibilities in different ways to support my students.”
Director of Counseling and Diagnostic Services, M.A., Licensed Professional Counselor
Ellen believes all children possess the potential to be successful. She is passionate about helping them overcome personal obstacles and recognize their value.
She loves her job as Director of Counseling Services because it allows her to make a positive impact on children’s lives by planning and providing counseling services to a diverse group of students alongside a team of equally committed professionals.
Ellen holds a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is an active member of the Houston LPC Association and enjoys volunteer opportunities such as Candlelighters Camp Cliff, a camp for families coping with pediatric cancer, and Child Advocates of Houston.
Ellen gained valuable clinical experience as a psychometrist at UT Southwestern Neuropsychology Clinic and as a Counseling Intern at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. During graduate school, she worked as a substitute teacher. During the past 5 years, she has developed and fine-tuned her counseling skills as a therapist, but also as a crisis interventionist, evaluator, and leader.
Ms. Ortega was drawn to DAS for the unique opportunity to reach students in the school environment and to use a wide range of skills in order to address their various needs most effectively.