Meet Our Team

Leadership Team

Lisa Hester – Executive Director

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Lisa has dedicated her career to working with children and has done so for more than 25 years. Her experience includes working for a state human services division where she worked with children in the welfare system, provided sexual abuse treatment, counseling and family mediation. She has also worked as a life skills coordinator and in a therapeutic foster care setting. Lisa completed her undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology with an emphasis in Social Work. She has worked towards obtaining her master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver and is a certified Mediator. When not on campus, Lisa can be found enjoying the abundance of outdoor activities our area provides including boating and exploring the back country. She also plays guitar for her own enjoyment and is learning to play the ukulele.

Dr. Todd McKee, Ph.D. – Clinical Director

Dr. McKee has created a legacy of helping children, adolescents and their parents overcome challenges and find the courage to reach for greater possibilities. He prides himself on his ability to connect with children and adults and to meet them with respect, empathy and understanding. He theorizes that the essence of good mental health is the extent to which you understand your relationship with others. He specializes in working with adolescents with co-occurring disorders, personality disorders, compulsivity, and relational issues. His career has spanned more than 40 years and during that time he has worked in a hospital setting, with a private psychiatric group, and he has facilitated psychological testing. Dr. McKee has trained mental health professionals on Crisis Prevention Intervention and a variety of other topics and his research has been published in a number of professional publications. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bellevue University. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. Todd and his wife have three children and in his spare time you’ll find him listening to and making music.

Charla Suppe, M.S. – Academic Director

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Inspiring students, as much as they inspire her, guides Charla in her work on behalf of our students. She has more than 25 years of experience working in an academic setting. She has taught for most of those years and also held administrative roles as a principal for eight years and a vice principal for nine years. Charla received her undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University in English and participated in a Reading Specialist Program from St. Mary’s College. She is a credentialed teacher and holds a master’s degree in Special Education. In her spare time you’ll find her with her family and riding her Harley.

Jeff Miller – Dean of Students

Jeff’s unmatched organization, warmth and unshakable calm assist him in directing students to their appropriate places throughout each day. Hope, purpose, meaningfulness, and strength that young people start to experience when they find their hook is what inspires Jeff in his daily work and he has been shaping the lives of teens for over 18 years. Jeff has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Boise State University. He is certified in CPR, first aid and motivational interviewing. When he’s not working, he can be found mountain biking, hiking and enjoying water activities with his wife and three sons.

 

Theresa Wardle, LCSW – Director of Admissions

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Theresa’s supportive and non-judgmental approach, combined with her understanding of adolescent development and behavior, guides her work with families. A tenured professional, Theresa has worked in the therapeutic adolescent industry for more than 15 years as a field instructor, clinician and for many years, she successfully operated her own home program for struggling adolescent girls. Theresa holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Walla Walla College and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker. Theresa and her husband are parents to a daughter and twins – one a boy and one a girl.

 

Julia Andrick – Director of Outreach and Business Development

Julia has worked in the therapeutic school and program field since 2000. She is passionate about her work on behalf of struggling adolescents and their families. Prior to joining Boulder Creek Academy, she worked for a wilderness therapy program and therapeutic boarding school in Oregon and was responsible for both admissions and outreach. At one-time she worked for a company that owned six therapeutic boarding schools, one wilderness therapy program, and a young adult transition program. When not in the office she can be found being a “soccer mom” to her son and daughter and rising early to go for a run with her dogs.

 

Tai Komanec – Chief Executive Officer

Tai has been with Boulder Creek Academy since 1996. Through her years of experience, she has developed a solid understanding of the many factors involved in providing quality healthcare on our campus. Tai collaborates with regional, state and national agencies to ensure that we are following the most current healthcare standards. Her other responsibilities include recruiting and staff training. Tai holds an Associate’s Degree from Northern Arizona University/ Arizona Western College. She lives in Clark Fork, Idaho, with her husband and her daughter who recently began attending college. In her spare time Tai enjoys the outdoors, NASCAR, and reading.

 

Jolene Hubbard, CPA – Chief Financial Officer

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Jolene is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Idaho and while much of her work is done behind the scenes, it is her accounting strategies and financial savvy that keeps our daily operations running smoothly. Jolene’s experience includes owning and operating an accounting firm and working as an accounting manager. She holds an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. She is the mother of two boys and when not working can be found reading classic books, running, hiking, horseback riding, and baking with her children. Her specialty is gourmet cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache, coconut, or Boston Cream.

 

Academic Team

Charla Suppe, M.S. – Academic Director

Charla Cropped

Inspiring students, as much as they inspire her, guides Charla in her work on behalf of our students. She has more than 25 years of experience working in an academic setting. She has taught for most of those years and also held administrative roles as a principal for eight years and a vice principal for nine years. Charla received her undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University in English and participated in a Reading Specialist Program from St. Mary’s College. She is a credentialed teacher and holds a master’s degree in Special Education. In her spare time you’ll find her with her family and riding her Harley.

 

Valerie Thompson, M.Ed.- English Teacher

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In her sixteen years at Boulder Creek Academy, Val has had the privilege of organizing and developing curricula for our English and literature courses. Her role as Curriculum Coordinator provides her with the opportunity to collaborate with Clinical Services and Life Skills to create an integrated, dynamic approach that challenges and empowers our students to reach their academic potentials. She approaches teaching as a straightforward, honest, talkative, and empathic mentor who provides a roadmap for students as they navigate the academic world. Valerie enjoys research and presentation opportunities, sharing classroom strategies and approaches with educators, administrators, and consultants in regional and national presentations and workshops. Her favorite modes of teaching include what she refers to as a “guided constructivist” approach to Socratic inquiry, presentation, direct instruction, and role playing. She works with individuals to change their perspectives on learning, focusing on each student’s unique needs and literary “story,” while delivering an anchoring curriculum to the class as a whole. Val received a bachelor’s degree in English from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho.

 

Stan Christopherson, MA – Science Teacher

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Stan came to Boulder Creek Academy as our Science Teacher, where he teaches all of our science courses and some occasional math classes. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, he attended the University of Texas at Arlington and earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Physics and Math. He spent the next eight years working as a chemist in an aluminum plant in Goldendale, Washington. In 2001, he and his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended seminary for three years and obtained a master’s degree. While in Kansas City, Stan worked as a chemist in an environmental lab. In 2004, he moved his family to Bonners Ferry to become a pastor at a local church. Stan is married and has three children, but he and his wife, a special education teacher in the local public school, are also active foster parents, so their number of kids is always changing. Away from campus, Stan is a part of multiple community groups, including one of the local volunteer fire departments where he is a certified fire fighter.

 

Vanny Dye – Physical Education Teacher

Vanny webVanny has more than 41 years of experience teaching Physical Education at the high school level and has coached volleyball, basketball, softball, and gymnastics in addition to being an athletic director. He graduated from Pacific Union College with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a minor in Biology. Vanny is an avid snow- and water-skier. He enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and motorcycle touring.

 
 
 
 

Robert Gonzales – Social Science Teacher

Rob Gonzales webRobert has been working with children for 10 years and enjoys bringing humor and advice into the lives of his students. As a substitute teacher in California, he has taught kindergarten to high school and enjoys hearing all of the kids’ stories and insights. Robert has his undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and his credentials include secondary schools teaching certificate, trauma informed care training, attachment disorder training and CPR certification. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son and doing all things outdoors. Robert also enjoys coaching basketball and loves to check out new recipes for inspiring home meals.

 

Michael Palmer, MBA – Math Teacher

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Mike believes that learning is a journey that beings at birth and never ends. As a Math Instructor at Boulder Creek, he works to expand the horizons of our students and show them they don’t have to “fear” math. He works with students on developing self-confidence so they can make progress toward their personal goals. He is an experienced teacher and has taught at the secondary and post secondary level. Throughout his career, he had to continuously learn new things, like how to prepare the Space Shuttle to launch, how to milk a cow and ride horses, how to fly a plane, how to deal with Russians and secure their nuclear weapons, how to stop terrorists from entering the country and even how to develop lifelong friendships with others. The more he learns, the more he finds he still needs to learn. His past career in the Air Force taught him valuable lessons such as the importance of character, discipline and a commitment to one’s personal best. Michael holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Webster University where he was recognized as a distinguished graduate. He also received a master’s in Engineer from the Air Force Institute of Technology and has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Oakland University.

 

Darcy Sletager – Art Teacher

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Darcy has been working with adolescents since 1997. She enjoys the energy and resiliency of our students and the opportunity to be part of helping them transition into young adults. Her experience includes working at an acute adolescent treatment center, with children through YMCA, and in a private school setting. Darcy earned her bachelor’s degree from Boise State University. In her free time, she spends a lot of time shuffling kids from one sporting event to another. She is mother to three amazing daughters, her super hero toddler son, two dogs, and two cats.

 

Learning Center Team

Martha Jones, M.Ed. – Reading Specialist

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Martha Jones is Boulder Creek’s Reading Specialist. She has a vast array of experience. Her teaching credentials include General Subjects, Learning and Severely Handicapped, Resource Specialist, and Reading Specialist. Her work as a special education coordinator for a Special Education Instructional Materials Center resulted in thirty schools having access to more than 10,000 special education instructional materials. She has more than 20 years experience working as a Resource Specialist for a California school district. Here Martha was responsible for creating a Reading Center that aided with more than 70 students daily. After retiring from the Coachella Valley USD in California, they hired her back as a consultant. She finally bid farewell to California, and she and her husband moved to Naples, Idaho, in March of 2005. It was then that she joined the Boulder Creek Academy team and has continued her work on behalf of exceptional students. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education from the University of Oklahoma. She holds a Reading Specialist certification from Central State University.

 

Clinical and Life Skills Team

Dr. Alan S. Unis, M.D. – Psychiatrist

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Dr. Unis is our licensed independent physician who has focused his practice on utilizing opportunities to study the early stages of mental illness in children and to minimize the impact of such illnesses upon their lives. His expansive knowledge stems from his professional background and the experience he has acquired. He fulfilled a Mead Johnson Fellowship with the American College of Neuro-Psychopharmacology and earned the prestigious Thomas H. Holmes Scholarship, which he used at the University of Washington to enhance his knowledge of research and psychiatry practices. Dr. Unis is a member of the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry. His work has been recognized by his nomination as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Unis earned his doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh. He fulfilled a fellowship program in Neuropharmacology at the University of Utah Health Care, and a residency and fellowship in general, child and adolescent psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), University of Pittsburgh. In addition, he became accredited as a diplomat in child and adolescent psychiatry and as a diplomat in general psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

 

Dr. Todd McKee, Ph.D. – Clinical Director

Dr. McKee has created a legacy of helping children, adolescents and their parents overcome challenges and find the courage to reach for greater possibilities. He prides himself on his ability to connect with children and adults and to meet them with respect, empathy and understanding. He theorizes that the essence of good mental health is the extent to which you understand your relationship with others. He specializes in working with adolescents with co-occurring disorders, personality disorders, compulsivity, and relational issues. His career has spanned more than 40 years and during that time he has worked in a hospital setting, with a private psychiatric group, and he has facilitated psychological testing. Dr. McKee has trained mental health professionals on Crisis Prevention Intervention and a variety of other topics and his research has been published in a number of professional publications. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bellevue University. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. Todd and his wife have three children and in his spare time you’ll find him listening to and making music.

Kim Carey, LMSW – Senior Therapist

Kim CompressedKim has been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, and Seeking Safety. She has worked as a therapist at an inpatient substance abuse treatment center and in both public and state run adolescent treatment centers. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Social Work and her master’s of Social Work from Eastern Washington University. Family time is the most important and rewarding for Kim and in her free-time can be found spending time in the beautiful outdoors of Northern Idaho, cooking, doing crafts and reading books with her son.

 

Nicole Klupenger, LPC, CADC II – Senior Therapist

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Nicole has been working as a counselor since 1998. She is trauma certified and experienced with ADHD, Autism and Sensory Perception Disorders, Anxiety/Depression, Suicidality, Crisis Management, Eating Disorders, Developmentally Delayed, PTSD, and Traumatic Brain Injury. She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Assertive Community Treatment to reach students. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in both Idaho and Oregon and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She holds memberships with the American Counseling Association and the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors (NADAC).

 

 

Jared Sartell, LMSW – Senior Therapist

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Jared’s approach with students is relationship-based. He builds on this connection to help students come to understand their own value and develop healthy skills and positive passions. His areas of specialty include anxiety, adoption/attachment, and sexual offending behavior. Jared has worked with children and adolescents in a variety of settings including therapeutic boarding schools, juvenile probation and parole, and individual and family counseling with a private agency. Jared holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Washington University. He is licensed in the State of Idaho in Social Work and is a trained Search and Rescuer. When not working with our students, Jared can be found playing with his wife and two daughters in the outdoors. Favorite activities include fly fishing, backpacking, mountain biking and archery.

Deborah Beazley, LCSW, NCC – Clinical Therapist

Deborah has more than 20 years of experience working in the behavioral health field and in providing therapeutic interventions with young adults and their families. She uses an informed cognitive behavioral and experiential approach. Past experience includes working as a family court mediator, facilitating outpatient therapy at West Virginia University Carruth Center and as a primary therapist at a therapeutic boarding school in Montana. Career highlights include designing and implementing an outdoor experiential program for students mandated to treatment after receiving a citation for alcohol abuse, development of a sexual assault prevention curriculum for college freshman, expanding the use of animal assisted therapy for clients with trauma and founding the West Virginia Center for Dispute Resolution. She is also an accomplished speaker having presented on topics including the Intentional Use of Experiential Therapies and Sexual Assault Prevention. She holds two master’s degrees from West Virginia University – one in Social Work with a concentration in Direct Practice and the other in Counseling. She completed her undergraduate studies at State University of New York at Geneseo. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Idaho, Montana and West Virginia and is a National Certified Counselor.

Cristy Kay, LMSW – Clinical Therapist

Cristy Kay

Cristy brings hard work, creativity, and enthusiasm to her work with Boulder Creek Academy students. She is an experienced counselor and has facilitated grief camps, trained other professionals in child development and behavior. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Walla Walla University and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Southern Adventist University. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and a member of Phi Alpha Honors Society. She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder. Cristy is a lover of all people, outdoor adventure, music, and play.

 
 

Rob Rossi, LCSW – Clinical Therapist

Rob’s approach to working with students is solution focused. He frequently utilizes DBT skills, mindfulness trainings and creative interventions in expression such as dramatic arts or sculpture to reach students. Prior to joining the Boulder Creek Academy team Rob worked at a therapeutic boarding school in Montana. He has also spend a good portion of his career working in the wilderness therapy arena where he worked as a wilderness therapist, assistant lead field mentor and guide. Rob holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota where his clinical focus was on non-voluntary clients, adolescents, and the wilderness milieu. His undergraduate degree is in Theatre from Morehead State University. He is a licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is an accomplished speaker and trainer. Recent presentations included “Improvisation as a tool for meeting clients where they are at and getting out of your own way.” And, “Therapy slam: using creativity and self-expression to build autonomy and emotional IQ.”
 

Greg Watson, LPC – Clinical Therapist

Greg has focused his work on adolescents with pervasive social challenges and brings a client-centered approach to his work with our students. He uses rapport building, mindfulness techniques and play therapy as tools to reach students that are also challenged with ADHD, executive function disorder, defiance, depression and anxiety. When Greg observes a student move from Point A to Point B therapeutically, beginning to utilize their newfound coping skills and becoming more socially confident, he also sees a decline in depression and anxiety. It also is an indicator that the student has what he or she needs to create a happier lifestyle for themselves. Greg holds a master’s degree in Impact of Technology on Depression Levels from Northwest Nazarene University and his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Idaho State University. He is a Certified Professional Counselor. When not working with our students, Greg can frequently be found hiking with Jack, his Springer Spaniel. He also dabbles in photography, and enjoys golfing and playing pool

 

Jeff Miller – Dean of Students

Jeff’s unmatched organization, warmth and unshakable calm assist him in directing students to their appropriate places throughout each day. Hope, purpose, meaningfulness, and strength that young people start to experience when they find their hook is what inspires Jeff in his daily work and he has been shaping the lives of teens for over 18 years. Jeff has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Boise State University. He is certified in CPR, first aid and motivational interviewing. When he’s not working, he can be found mountain biking, hiking and enjoying water activities with his wife and three sons.

 

Jeremy Huisentruit – Team Manager

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Jeremy has worked with adolescents for more than 10 years. He values the opportunity to witness our students as they begin to respond in a positive way to the structure clear boundaries we create for them at Boulder Creek Academy. Jeremy graduated from the University of Montana and also holds a wilderness first responder certification. When not working, you can find Jeremy fly fishing, hiking, camping, and playing racquetball. In the winter he enjoys cross country skiing and snowmobiling.

 

Adventure Education Team

David Frost – Adventure Education Director

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Dave is a master of creating adventure experiences that are challenging, rewarding, and full of teachable moments for our students and families. He has spent countless days in the field working with adolescents and families. His experience includes working as an adventure coordinator at a therapeutic boarding school in Oregon, as a lead instructor at a therapeutic wilderness program, and creating and leading custom experiences at Indiana University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Radford University.

 

Dave is certified and trained in:

Equine Skills Staff

Feathers – Behavior Specialist

Feathers takes his work seriously and enjoys working with BCA students. Feathers specializes in teaching students about attitude, self-control, and how her rider’s feelings transfer to her while in the ring. She is inspired by students who are calm, relaxed and practicing patience with her. In her spare time, she likes to hang with her other horse buddies and share tips about student behaviors over a game of swish your tail.

 
 
 

Louie – Entertainment Director

At 26, Louie is our oldest equine staff member. He loves to laugh and is always good for a joke with the students. Louie enjoys his home at Boulder Creek Academy and is often seen laying around the corral or helping his other horse buddies scratch the hard to reach places. When he’s not teaching students how to ride, he can be found working on his knots and untying himself to better communicate with kids face to face.

 
 
 
 
 

Tater Tot – Director of Hay

Tater Tot is our 13 year old Haflinger/quarter horse cross. He is our newest equine staff member and his responsibilities include training students to horse-back ride and the keys to positive animal communication. His calm demeanor and dry sense of humor make him a student favorite and his Tot’s hobbies include hay tasting and reviewing, horse fashion blogging and Scrabble.

 
 
 
 
 

Tux – Communication Director

As our Equine Communication Director, Tux specializes in communication and teaching students the value of reading body language. He is 17, which he finds beneficial in allowing him to find common ground with our 13-18 year old student body. Tux was a professional show horse for 13 years where he learned that it’s not about what you look like, it’s about who you are on the inside.