Matt McAlear, M.A., BCBA
Chief Executive Officer
Matt McAlear joined FirstSteps in 2022, excited to bring his 25+ years of clinical and executive leadership skills to our team. As Chief Executive Officer, Mr. McAlear is mission focused, committed to the operational excellence needed to serve our communities’ children diagnosed with autism through the provision of highest quality, comprehensive care that results in a lifetime of increasing independence, choices, and happiness.
With a bachelors’ degree in social work and a master’s degree in special education, Mr. McAlear’s began as a special education teacher and later, principal of a Non-Public School. Inspired by the children and professionals he encountered, he earned his Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential, and shifted his focus entirely to helping those diagnosed with autism in not only their school environments but also in their homes and communities. In this capacity, he witnessed firsthand the tremendous positive impact early and comprehensive ABA treatment could have when delivered consistently and by well trained and highly qualified clinical teams.
Mr. McAlear has since worked in numerous roles, all in service to those with autism and their families. Most recently, he has served in executive leadership at leading national organizations working to expand their service reach to help more families in need. For the past 10 years, he has also served (and will continue to serve) as Executive Director of The California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA). At CalABA, Mr. McAlear helps drive the organization towards its mission of “advancing, promoting, and protecting the science and practice of behavior analysis” through guiding public policy efforts and hosting CalABA’s annual conference which brings together thousands of professionals from across the globe to share research and best practices and inspire the next generation of clinicians. As a result of his leadership and expertise, Mr. McAlear received the Jerry Shook Advocacy Award in 2019 – a true testament to his commitment to the autism community and its service providers.
When not at one of our FirstSteps offices, you can find Matt at his home in Oakland with his lovely wife and two children. Look a bit closer and you might also see him chasing a golf ball through the woods and playing bluegrass mandolin.