Meet Our Academic Team
The academic team’s main goal at Boulder Creek Academy is to provide education to adolescent boys and girls using unique hybrid-programming that allows each student to experience school and portions of their social life together. We focus on empowering students and families to achieve excellence in personal growth, relationships and lifeline learning. This co-ed therapeutic boarding school serves students in 8 -12 grade with average class sizes of six students. Our academic team consists of trained staff who helps students to make the most of their strength, develop lifelong strategies to cope with areas of weakness, and regain confidence and self-esteem.
Charla Suppe, M.S. – Academic Director
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
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.
Vanny Dye – Physical Education Teacher
Vanny 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
Robert 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
Mike believes that learning is a journey that begins 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 Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Oakland University.
Darcy Sletager – Art Teacher
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
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.