Katie Berry, MSW, BHT
Katie was born in Colorado and grew up in Arizona. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education. Katie taught junior high and high school English in Mesa, Arizona for 9 years; her favorite classes to teach were mythology, Jr. Honors, and Shakespeare. Katie was also a coach for girls’ cheer, basketball, softball, and track, as well as a sponsor for a variety of clubs including chess, video game, yearbook, student council, and diversity club.
During a family vacation in France, Katie spoke with two international school teachers and learned she could continue the job she loved while living abroad. Katie spent the next 6 years living and teaching overseas and traveling as much as possible. She spent 2 years in Colombia, 2 years in Dubai, and 2 years in Laos teaching at international schools. Although moving to new countries was challenging, Katie credits this as one of the best decisions she ever made.
Katie took a year off from teaching and returned to the United States to help her family. After that year, Katie was accepted into Colorado State University’s Master’s program in Social Work. Katie received her MSW and is now working toward receiving her clinical licensure in social work; she is excited to be at Spring Ridge working as a therapist.
In her free time, Katie enjoys traveling, spending time with her nephews, playing video games, and reading.
Brandon Courtney BA, BHT
Brandon began working with adolescents in 1994 assisting in workshops exploring self awareness and self esteem. Brandon’s tenure began at Spring Ridge Academy in 2001.
He obtained his Bachelors of Science from Northern Arizona University and attended graduate course work in Counseling and Psychology at Prescott College. He has worked as a direct care staff, Community Life Director, and member of the therapeutic team.
Brandon is currently in facilitating Family workshops exploring family dynamics and communication. He is currently the Program Director overseeing program and staff development. Brandon’s role offers staff development in areas of attunement, values driving care giving and the role of humor in parenting. He is the father of 5 children including triplets.
For over 20 years, Suzie has been part of Spring Ridge Academy. While serving Spring Ridge Academy’s students and families, Suzie has held many roles before taking the role of Executive Director in 2015. Creating a place where students and their families can learn, heal, grow, and connect is Suzie’s focus at Spring Ridge. In Spring Ridge Academy’s ongoing evolution, Suzie’s overarching practice focuses on continual growth and development for high-quality care, treatment, and outcomes.
As a wife and mother, Suzie knows how imperative family is to one’s life balance and has embedded supporting the employees of Spring Ridge to tend to their families in the leadership of Spring Ridge Academy. In addition, Suzie serves on the board of a nonprofit focused on financially supporting treatment for adolescents.
Suzie holds a Masters in Education and Human Relations from Northern Arizona University. Before exploring graduate work, Suzie spent her early career years working in recreational wilderness settings and community-based social work. Suzie has training in the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Model through the Justice Resource Center and Neuro Affective Relational Model (NARM).
When not tending to Spring Ridge Academy families, Suzie spends time with her children.
Clinical Support Services
Starr Denison, LPC
Starr grew up near Los Angeles, California, then moved to Sedona, Arizona in her late teens to pursue her educational goals. She earned a BS degree from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Zoology/Chemistry which led her to a career in the Animal Behavior and Training field for 30 years.
She enjoyed training animals for movies, service animals for people with disabilities, and consulting for rescues and sanctuaries. She found her passion for helping others while working in the sport of equestrian vaulting (gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse), and volunteering with helping young people with physical and mental difficulties in Malibu, CA.
She obtained her BS in Psychology from NAU and her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Prescott College specializing in trauma-focused therapy with a concentration in experiential and animal-assisted mental health.
As a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Starr uses an integrative holistic approach in therapy focusing on the client’s whole person while treating the client as an integral member of the treatment team. Starr’s specialties include working with those struggling with trauma, mental health issues, addiction tendencies, and life skill difficulties. Her goals are to motivate clients, have fun in therapy, and develop a client’s willingness and passion for healthy life-change.
She is owned by several animals including dogs, a pig, horses, and a parrot. She has a wonderful teenage daughter who inspires and teaches Starr daily.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 1240
History, Social Science
Rick has been teaching history in Arizona schools since 2008, AP US History since 2014, and animation since 2006. Having grown up in an arts-oriented environment on the east coast, Rick’s interest in art and history led him to an interdisciplinary doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.
After earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in history, Rick earned a master’s degree from Penn in American Civilization. During his doctoral studies, Rick became interested in television’s effect upon children, and he left his doctoral program prior to dissertation to develop educational television programming.
Rick had taught developmental reading at colleges and prep-schools in the east and spent over twenty years on the creative side of television production in broadcast and cable. He worked in New York City government as an Urban Fellow in the Office of the Special Assistant to Mayor John V. Lindsay and as a free-lance writer for the Village Voice and various Ski publications. During his career in the television industry Rick was a guest lecturer in animated graphics at Cooper Union. He received numerous industry honors, including two Emmy Awards.
Then, after witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center and picking up debris from the catastrophe that had blown into their front yard in Brooklyn, Rick and his wife, Maria, moved to Prescott in 2005.
Maria is a retired clinical psychotherapist. Rick and Maria have a son who lives in Brooklyn and a dog who lives with them in Prescott.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 3080
Douglas DiStefano, LAC
Douglas comes to us from Long Island, New York. He completed his undergraduate studies in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology from Roger Williams University. During this time, Douglas studied in Cape Town, South Africa, where he conducted research on traditional healing practices. He has now lived in Arizona for over a decade, as he completed his graduate studies in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northern Arizona University. Douglas has worked in mental health for over 10 years; he is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is a certified Clinical Trauma Specialist. He currently holds his Associate Counseling license and is a Nationally Certified Counselor.
Douglas has a passion for working with young people and families. He approaches work from a person-centered and family systems perspective, emphasizing the importance of self-discovery and acceptance in the healing process. He believes positive growth comes through connection with oneself and others as well as creating opportunities to develop personal identity through the exploration of personal values, beliefs, and goals. Furthermore, individuals are best understood within the context of relationships. Douglas feels people are resilient and can live a life full of hope and optimism when the right conditions are set.
In his spare time, Douglas feels most connected when exploring the outdoors with his fiancé and dog.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 1192
Susan Dougherty started working at Spring Ridge Academy only six months after the school opened in 1998 and has served as a community coach, a community supervisor, and the assistant residential director. As the current residential director, Susan works closely with community coaches, community life directors, medical staff members, therapists, students, and parents. She is primarily responsible for developing and implementing SRA’s community programming, including training community staff and overseeing the milieu’s daily activities.
Susan was born and raised in Arizona, graduating halfway through her senior year in 1981/1982 from Cactus High School in Peoria, Arizona. She worked for the Child Oriented Occupational Program (COOP) for 2 years while at Cactus High School. After graduation, Susan was employed with a daycare center while attending Arizona College of Medical and Dental Careers. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Dental Assisting and X-ray Technician and worked in the field until her son was born. Susan received her bachelor of science degree in 2013. Susan loves the outdoors, camping, horseback riding, boating, and off-roading in her razor. She is a diehard Cardinals football fan. Susan has been married since 1983, has a son, daughter-in-law, daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons.
Leslie Filsinger, MA, LPC, NCC, NARM Therapist
Curiosity about people and a desire to help those in need has always been a driving force in Leslie’s life. Dedicating her professional life to assisting others toward insight and growth has proven to be the most gratifying to her.
Leslie was raised in Michigan and completed her undergraduate work at Olivet College in Michigan. She received her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Cleveland State University in Ohio. Licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Ohio, she worked in community mental health and private practice.
Leslie and her husband moved to New York in 1989 and Leslie joined a hospital staff to assist them in developing the family therapy component of a newly opened in-patient adolescent psychiatric unit. Licensed as a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) and also a NCC (National Certified Counselor), Leslie spent 18 years working with adolescents and their families as a therapist at a co-educational residential treatment center in Jamestown, New York. In addition to her work as a therapist, Leslie taught Psychology as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College.
Leslie has expertise in treating trauma, neglect, attachment disruption, sexual abuse and sexual deviancy. She utilizes a trauma-informed, psychodynamic and relational injury approach to treatment. Leslie has specialized training in emergency mental health, trauma-focused therapies, Post Induction Therapy, EMDR, Hypnosis, Trauma Release Exercise, NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM), Neurofeedback, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
After raising their four children, Leslie and her husband transitioned to the warmer climate of Arizona. Obtaining her Arizona licensure (LPC) Leslie was excited to join the Spring Ridge Academy team in June 2014.
Leslie finds her work with the students and their families at Spring Ridge Academy inspiring and she appreciates the opportunity to contribute to Spring Ridge Academy through her administrative responsibilities as Clinical Director.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 1140
Cindy Fogel, MA, BHT
Cindy grew up in Minnesota and moved to AZ where she completed her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Prescott College. Cindy was always the kind of person who people trusted and opened up with. It made sense that she would pursue counseling psychology as her career.
Cindy has been working therapeutically with children and families since 1991. Her career started in social services where she became a supervisor. Always being drawn to the healing of the natural world Cindy moved in to wilderness therapy in 2001, working therapeutically with a diverse population of adolescents and their families.
Cindy has spent years developing advanced techniques in counseling psychology. After many fulfilling years as a wilderness therapist, Cindy moved back to AZ in April 2013 to work at Spring Ridge Academy.
She chose to come to work at SRA because of their extensive family therapy component as well as their stellar clinical team and cutting edge therapeutic approaches to addressing trauma and mental health issues.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 1070
Dance and Yoga
Gretchen has been teaching Dance and Yoga at Spring Ridge since 2005. She earned her BA in Wilderness Therapy with a minor in Dance from Prescott College in 2001.
Gretchen is a National Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, a certified TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises) practitioner, and she is currently working on her Master of Education.
Gretchen has been working with adolescents in both therapeutic and adventure settings since 1998.
She has extensive experience teaching yoga, dance and outdoor adventure skills in settings ranging from charter schools, private studios to therapeutic wilderness programs.
Computer Lab Instructor
Leslie Kaw, M.Ed.
Leslie has been working in the field of education for the last 15 years. She has worked with students in all grade levels and with various needs and abilities. Her passion for working with students led her to become an Instructional Assistant in Special Education.
Leslie earned a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Life Coaching from Liberty University in 2018 while continuing to work in the classroom. She also earned an M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction for Special Education from Liberty University in 2020. In addition, she is working on completing a Master’s in School Counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University with a focus on college counseling.
Leslie believes that each student is capable of learning new skills. She enjoys helping students find what they are passionate about and creating manageable goals to help them reach their full potential.
Carrie Kray, LMSW
A native of Michigan, Carrie Kray moved to Arizona in 2013 with her husband and loves this beautiful (and warmer) area. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, with dual concentrations in clinical and administrative tracts, from Andrew’s University as well as in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University. She co-authored an article based on graduate-level research work: The Impact of Child Abuse on College Students, published in The Journal for Christian Education in 2015.
Carrie has over 27 years of behavioral health experience in a wide variety of clinical areas, including therapy, case management, and crisis intervention. She has worked with children and adolescents, families, couples, and adults with serious mental illness, general mental health issues, co-occurring issues, and developmental disabilities. She also has over 11 years of experience within the behavioral health field in program development, leadership, and management. Still, she has found that being a witness and support to another person’s healing is her true calling and has a special interest in helping individuals navigate and heal from trauma.
She believes in treating the whole person and loves that Spring Ridge Academy also holds this perspective. Employing different therapeutic modalities to align with each individual, she is passionate about promoting hope to individuals and belief in one’s abilities, including the ability to heal. She utilizes family systems, strengths perspective, and person in environment theoretical frameworks and is trained extensively in CBT and EMDR. She has also used solution-focused therapy, play therapy, and motivational interviewing.
When not working, she enjoys writing, poetry, reading, fitness and holistic health, hiking and exploring area archeological sites, kayaking, meditation, and visiting her grown children and her granddaughter back in Michigan.
Phone:928-632-4602 Ext. 1240
June Lombardi has been in education for over two decades. Her love of teaching began with the Equestrian sciences, where she worked with Thoroughbred Race Horses as a rider and liaison to Pimlico Race Track’s youth outreach program “Pony Pals.” Her formal teaching career began in Czech Republic followed by Russia, where she taught English as a second language and worked on her history research. She has traveled and worked extensively throughout the world and is thrilled to be returning to Arizona and joining the SRA community as a History Teacher. Student growth in a safe and structured classroom is Ms. Lombardi’s focus. She tries to provide learning in the content areas, as well as information on the processes of learning, so students will be prepared to move forward and be successful in whatever they choose to do in the future.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 3022
Community Life Director
Christine has a background primarily in behavior analysis, working with individuals who have neurodevelopmental disorders. Over the years, Christine has worked as a behavioral respite caregiver, early interventionist and CBT/Crisis counselor, and most recently, Christine worked as a case manager within the homeless youth system. While working in this position, Christine worked with therapists to create behavioral and therapeutic interventions, primarily with transitional aged youth. It was during this time that Christine chose to change her career direction and apply for a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Christine is excited to be a CLD at Spring Ridge Academy and learning more about providing therapeutic services to young people.
Transition and Alumni Specialist
Angie was born in Springfield, Missouri and lived there for most of her life until moving to Arizona in 2005. She has raised three children. She put herself through Drury College by bartending and waitressing before she went to work at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. She served as a Correctional Officer for nine years and Correctional Counselor for two years.
After this time, Angie decided that she wanted to do something to give back and try to help others before they ended up in the criminal justice system.
After moving to Arizona and relocating from Phoenix to Cordes Lakes, she began work at Spring Ridge Academy and has held a number of different jobs, including serving as a Community Life Director for over 4 years. Even though they can be challenging, she finds working with the Spring Ridge population very fulfilling and rewarding.
Angie have black belts in two different styles of martial arts, and her hobbies are exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns, camping and hiking.
Meestor joined the Spring Ridge Team in 2016. He quickly adopted our campus as a home, and the students and staff quickly domesticated him with treats, a warm place to sleep, and some standard vaccinations. Meestor spends his days comforting students, sleeping in offices, and hunting. He gets along with all the dogs and humans on campus and loves to lay out in the sun. Over the years, Meestor has had many names, including Mister and Tigger.
Beth Ragland began her college studies at Auburn University and completed her higher education at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She has been in the business development, outreach, admissions, and management of behavioral healthcare programs since 1994. Beth brings experience in start-ups, working with short, intermediate, and long-term residential programs, therapeutic boarding schools, and day treatment/schools. Beth joined the staff at Spring Ridge Academy as admissions director in 2021.
Beth has worked on various community projects, including the Junior League, the Gothic Guild (supporting the arts), Angels for Children, and numerous others in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Partnership for a Drug-Free Community, the advisory board and fundraising committee for Saving Teens, and serving on the membership committee for NATSAP. Beth’s hobbies include reading, travel, movies, Pilates, yoga, and spending as much time as possible at the beach and with her daughter.
Clay Smith’s love of great literature and commitment to lifelong learning brought him to the teaching profession and to Spring Ridge Academy in 2014 after he attended the Parent Challenge and Action trainings.
SRA’s philosophy of personal growth through self-knowledge, acceptance, and hard work closely mirrored his own, so he jumped at the opportunity to share his skills and enthusiasm with SRA’s remarkable students.
At SRA, Mr. Smith has designed curricula with a focus on student individuality, choice, and discovery. Mr. Smith holds a BA in English Literature from Grand Canyon University and has completed a post-baccalaureate certification program in Secondary Education.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 3180
Director of Operational Excellence
Erin Smith, Ph.D.
Erin Smith has been at Spring Ridge Academy since 2008 as an English instructor and moved into the role of vice principal in 2016. Prior to Spring Ridge, she served as an adjunct English professor at Yavapai College, taught at a Prescott-area charter school, and worked with elementary school students in a before and after school program.
Erin earned her Ph.D. in leadership in educational administration in 2019. She also has an EdS in the same specialization that was completed in December 2015. She received her BA in English from the University of Arizona in 2006, and her MEd in secondary education and teaching from Grand Canyon University in 2010.
She is certified by the state of Arizona in secondary education in English and as a principal. She is an active member of the ASCD and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2014, she was nominated by a student as a National Society of High School Scholars educator of distinction and later in that year was named a Claes Nobel Top Ten Educator.
Erin has presented at the Utah Regional NATSAP conference, Southwest Regional NATSAP conference, published two novels, and serves as the director of the youth and family ministry at her spiritual center.
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 3090
Ken was born, raised and lived most of his life in central Iowa. Following high school, he worked for a manufacture of zinc and aluminum die-castings for 21 years. During those 21 years, he had a broad spectrum of duties ranging from machine operator, machine shop foreman, shift supervisor, tool designer and process engineer.
He entered college full-time in 2001 earning his BA degree in Mathematics Education from University of Northern Iowa in December of 2005. Ken is certified to teach grade 6 – 12 mathematics in the state of Arizona. He taught at charter schools in the Prescott area and has been at Spring Ridge Academy since August of 2007.
Terry Vaughan, MD
Dr. Terry Vaughan is a physician specializing in psychiatry who has over 20 years of experience treating psychiatric and addiction patients in Prescott, Arizona. She graduated with her medical degree (M.D.) from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1993. Afterwards she began her internship in internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital and completed her psychiatry residency in 1997 at Indiana/Purdue University.
She began her career as Medical Director of a geriatric inpatient psychiatric unit and outpatient clinic with Tenet Hospital Corporation in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Starting in 1999 Dr. Vaughan moved to West Yavapai Guidance Clinic in Prescott where she was promoted to medical director and supervised a medical staff of 16 physicians and mid-level practitioners over her tenure of 10 years at the clinic.
She started her private practice, Psychiatric Services of Prescott in the year 2010 and has been seeing private patients in her office while consulting with and treating patients in residential treatment centers over the last 10 years.
Dr. Vaughan has also served as medical director of an inpatient detoxification center and has significant experience in treating withdrawal and medication assisted management of addictions, including certification for treatment with Suboxone.
Dr. Vaughan has experience in treatment of dementia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder as well as anxiety disorders, substance dependence, process addictions, gambling disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, developmental disabilities and neurocognitive dysfunction due to traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders as well as psychotic disorders.
Dr. Vaughan has passed board-certification testing in general psychiatry and works with both adults and adolescents. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and is a fellow of the AP A. One of her greatest honors was being selected as one of the country’s exemplary psychiatrists in 2009 by the national alliance for mentally ill (NAMI).
Justin has worked in education since 1999 functioning as a mentor in collegiate graduate programs, instructing as an English and Environmental Science teacher (grades 9-12), and administrating as an educational leader.
Justin is certified in the state of Arizona to teach English and Environmental Science. He is also certified as a K-12 Principal. He earned his BA in environmental science and his M.A. in humanities at Prescott College. He also earned an MEd from Northern Arizona University in education leadership. Justin has been at Spring Ridge Academy since 2001.
His present role as Principal at Spring Ridge Academy allows him to lead with the firm belief that “education is the number one source of renewable energy.”
Phone:928-632-4602 ext. 3050