Meet Our Leadership Team

John Grago, MA

Executive Director

As a father of two daughters, and CEO of an all girls RTC, I know how delicate daughters can appear, yet how powerful, driven, and inspiring they truly are. It takes a lot of resiliency to navigate the social, academic, and technological challenges our daughters face, but they can overcome it! We see them do it on a daily basis and it’s always rewarding to hear from that Alumni student who says, “I made it”!

My role at Greenbrier Academy involves leading a team of passionate directors in effective implementation of therapeutic, residential, and academic objectives. Each department operates within the framework of our “Aspirational” system and targets individual student and family needs.

In 2009, I joined the Greenbrier Academy as an admissions counselor. Prior to working at Greenbrier Academy, I spent eight years working in a wilderness program where I  served six of those years as a therapist, and two years in the role of an admissions director. I have a BA in Psychology from West Virginia University and an MA in Counseling from Marshall University. I have 18 years working with youth in the private sector and continue to love the challenge of helping preserve and protect the futures of our students.

Mike Beswick, LICSW, BCD

Clinical Director & Director of Family Programming

Mike has developed a national reputation for his work in facilitating healing workshops for young people and their families. It is Mike’s belief that the solutions to many adolescent issues are best addressed through working with the entire family system and he utilizes innovative methods to assist young women in coming to an understanding of the intent of their parent’s actions.
Additionally, he is convinced that modern adolescent culture provide minimal guidance for today’s teens, and, in fact, frequently leads them towards self-destructive behaviors in their search for identity. These “acting out” behaviors, including substance abuse, unhealthy relationships, defiance, and life apathy, are transformed into psychiatric diagnoses, which may paradoxically become stigmatizing and lead to further deterioration. Mike came to Greenbrier Academy out of recognition that it is one of the few places where young women’s “problems” are viewed contextually; their negative actions are their attempts to find acceptance or relief from pain. Greenbrier Academy’s philosophy reduces the shame associated with their past and sparks the desire to discover the authentic self. Mike is certified to supervise the therapeutic hours required for MSW candidates to obtain LPC certification.
Mike brings a wealth of experience to his work at Greenbrier, including advanced training in psychodrama, numerous years of working with students and families regarding significant substance abuse issues, guided imagery, experiential therapy and facilitating nearly 1000 intensive family workshops. He’s listed in the Cambridge Registry of Who’s Who in America and has presented at numerous national conferences.
Mike is married and has two teenage boys, who constantly ask why he wants to spend his day working with girls.

Rachel Call

Chief Marketing Executive & Director of Integration Coaching

Lowell Galford

Academic Director & Math Teacher

Mr. Galford is excited to return to the GBA family as a math and science teacher after being away for a year caring for his father. He is passionate about teaching and helping youth grow. During his year away from GBA, he taught at an alternative school and coordinated an afterschool program. He is an experienced educator in science, math, agriculture education, and special education. Interestingly, teaching was not his first career. Before becoming a teacher he worked in research and extension at UGA, and Clemson.

Kelly Sams

Director of Human Resources

As Director of Human Resources, I maintain a close relationship not only with staff but with our students as well. I joined Greenbrier’s team in 2015 with a background in marketing, admissions, and administration. My previous expertise in relationship management and communication informs my work here at GBA.

Searching for the opportunity to make a difference in young lives, I found my way to Greenbrier Academy and assimilated GBA’s philosophies naturally. I earned my bachelor’s in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and began my professional career working in nursing homes as a certified nursing assistant and activities coordinator. Before I found Greenbrier, my career led me to a 180 bed nursing and rehabilitation center in Beckley, West Virginia, where I served both employees and residents for six years as the Director of Admissions, Sales, and Marketing.

At home, I love to spend time with my family. My husband and I have two daughters, ages 12 and 9; we enjoy participating in outdoor activities together and visiting the beach as much as possible. I feel I have a creative eye for photography and frequently spend my free time taking photos, documenting life through pictures.

Amber Reed

Residential Director

When parents tour Greenbrier Academy, they often ask about our program’s model and how it works. I love answering this question because I credit working at Greenbrier Academy as being a turning point in finding my own mission and true purpose.

Starting as a residential mentor 11 years ago,, I absorbed the lessons and philosophy offered at Greenbrier Academy and am now proud to hold the position of Residential Director. My motto to our girls is always, “we will love you until you can love yourself”. I strive to be a place of warmth, compassion, and safety for our girls.

Before working at the school I was a Certified nursing assistant for three years and then I worked Motivations, transporting and supervising visits with children in the foster care system. I’m deeply driven to make the lives of struggling children better.

L. Jay Mitchell


GBA is the culmination of my 35 years developing therapeutic programs to heal emotional disorders and to create resilience in adolescents. Beginning with the SUWS Adolescent Program in 1981, the maiden program that sprung the wilderness therapy industry, I’ve been a researcher and an innovator.

I’m driven by “how can we better serve the families that put their trust in us.” With decades of experience and over 10,000 graduates of my residential programs, I’ve given my life to this cause. As the father of 4 daughters, I feel a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy for the families that we serve. I’ve developed an expertise in changing beliefs and re-directing nervous system energy from emotional trauma.

My early years as a USAF JAG and a law firm partner have been invaluable in coursing through the regulatory, financial, and business maze of this evolving industry. GBA is the manifestation of a Vision not an investment.

Brent D. Slife, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist/Co-Founder

Dr. Slife is a clinical psychologist who is currently Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University. He has been honored recently with several awards for his scholarship and teaching, including the Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for his contribution to psychology, the Eliza R. Snow Award for research on the interface of science and religion, the Karl G. Maeser Award for top researcher at BYU, the Circle of Honor Award from the Student Honor Association, and both “Teacher of the Year” by the university and “Most Outstanding Professor” by the psychology student honorary, Psi Chi.
Professor Slife moved from Baylor University where he served as Director of Clinical Training for many years and was honored there as “Outstanding Research Professor” as well as the “Circle of Achievement” award for his teaching. As a Fellow of several professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, he recently served as the President of the Society of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, on the Council of the American Psychological Association, and on the editorial boards of eight journals: Journal of Mind and Behavior, Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, Humanistic Psychologist, Journal of Qualitative Research in Psychology, International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, Qualitative Psychology, and Terrorism Research.
He has authored or co-authored over 200 articles and 7 books, including Human Frailty, Vice, and Suffering: Flourishing in the Context of Limits and Dependency (in press, APA Books), Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues (2013, McGraw-Hill), Critical Thinking About Psychology: Hidden Assumptions and Plausible Alternatives (2005, APA Books), Critical Issues in Psychotherapy: Translating New Ideas into Practice (2001, Sage Publications), What’s Behind the Research? Hidden Assumptions in the Behavioral Sciences (1995, Sage Publications), and Time and Psychological Explanation (1993, SUNY Press).
Dr. Slife is a co-owner, executive board member, therapist/counselor trainer, family program facilitator, and consulting clinical psychologist at Greenbrier Academy. For more information please check his website at

Kim Morgan

Facilities & Environment Director





The decision to enroll your daughter into a therapeutic school is not an easy one and no doubt choosing a school with the right environment is key not only to her wellbeing, but also to her success, both personally and academically. That is where my aspirations lie; to make Greenbrier Academy for Girls the perfect home away from home for your daughter, where she can feel safe, comfortable and inspired.

As Director of Facilities and Environment I am able to put my passion for interior and exterior design to work creating functional and visually appealing surroundings. From dorm rooms to grounds keeping and everything in between—I strongly believe that crafting well-designed spaces for studying, entertaining, and relaxation are key to your daughter’s growth. My additional responsibilities also include overseeing IT and overall campus maintenance.

I first joined Greenbrier Academy for Girls in August 2010 serving as the Admissions Assistant and Receptionist. Prior to this, I was the Sales and Marketing Coordinator and eventually the Sales Office Administrator for The Greenbrier Sporting Club, the luxury real estate development at the world-famous Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. My experience at The Greenbrier included updating content for multiple websites, coordinating on and off-site events, photography and brochure creation for multimillion-dollar luxury homes as well as directly supervising the sales office administrative staff.

When I’m not working, you can usually find me enjoying a good book, gardening, antiquing, discovering inspiration on Pinterest and decorating. But above all else I enjoy spending time with my family at home in Hinton, West Virginia. Together with my husband, Vic, an engineer for CSX, we have two dogs, three adult sons, Bradley and twins, Joshua and Zachary…and now three grandsons, whom I adore!

Meet Our Marketing & Admissions Team

Tracey O'Dell-Caruso

Director of Admissions & Outreach

Admissions is the first point of contact for most families who are searching for the right place to preserve and protect their daughter’s future. I want every family I speak with to experience the love and compassion that is Greenbrier Academy. I want parents to feel confident they are making the right decision.  

I began my career working with troubled youth in public schools.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that education is only a small part of helping others overcome the obstacles that hold them back.  Greenbrier Academy offers girls the support they need in a loving, nurturing environment. I am honored and humbled to be a part of a talented, loving and supportive team who are so committed to the girls and families we serve. Spend five minutes at Greenbrier Academy and you can tell that this isn’t just a job for our staff, it is a mission.

I have a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in teaching. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my daughter and husband, reading, doing yoga and paddle boarding.     

Soriah Mitchell

Marketing Content Manager

As part of the admissions and marketing team, I am reminded daily of the thousands of families who are currently struggling to find help for their teenage daughter. How many parents are out there, in crisis, worried about their daughter’s future, and aren’t aware that programs like ours exist? How many families in crisis don’t know that help is available? These are the questions that fuel my work.

My role at Greenbrier is to connect families to the services they need through providing accessible online information about our program. My background in the social services uniquely informs my contribution to the Greenbrier team. Being deeply passionate about youth work, family systems, and relational therapeutic interventions, it’s a true privilege to be a part of the work that we do here at Greenbrier.   

I come to Greenbrier Academy with a degree in Social Work from Portland State University and previous experience as a child and family’s advocate. As an avid horsewoman, when not at work you can find me up a mountain with my dog and horse.

Meet Our Clinical Team

Mike Beswick, LICSW, BCD

Clinical Director & Director of Family Programming

“Go find yourself” is a popular psychological catchphrase. In reality we develop our identity through the context of relationships, both past and present. I have been guiding youth and their families for nearly 30 years to recreate themselves through the examination and reinterpretation of limiting beliefs formed through relational experiences. I’ve facilitated nearly 1000 family workshops, presented throughout the United States on various mental health topics and have a national reputation for intensive family work.

My theoretical orientation is grounded in Relationality, which adheres to the philosophy that many psychological symptoms are caused by negative relational experiences. I favor a creative and dynamic approach, having extensive training in family systems, psychodrama, brainspotting, neurolinguistic programming, Erickision hypnosis, dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive therapy.

In addition to attending ongoing clinical trainings, I received my BA in psychology from the college of William and Mary and my Masters in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth, Medical College of Virginia. I bring enthusiasm, passion and a warm engaging manner to my work. At home, I’m also an avid outdoor sports recreationist, participating in white water kayaking, mountain biking and backcountry skiing.

Dinah Palmer, LPN

Medical Coordinator

With over ten years of healthcare experience and her compassionate and caring nature, Dinah has spent her nursing career promoting the quality of life in her community. She is committed to working closely with local political, community, and medical leaders to promote economic, social, and educational growth for her fellow citizens. Dinah says, “My passion is to see my fellow man gain education, healthcare, and happiness in life regardless of social and economic status.” She is a staunch spokesperson against domestic violence, “so our children and their family can become productive citizens and little children can feel safe and loved.”
During past work at an adolescent behavioral science hospital unit, Dinah had the opportunity to work with adolescents from various economic and social backgrounds. As part of the treatment team, she was able to gain valuable insights regarding the issues that teens face today. She says, “Each person has his/her own unique personality and must be approached accordingly. I love watching the growth and development of each student as they advance toward a successful life and career, knowing that I am a small part of their success. Through kindness, consideration, and guidance, I want to serve as an example to these young students.”
Dinah also enjoys singing, writing stories for her granddaughter, and being involved in community and church activities.

Jessica Persinger

Assistant Medical Coordinator

I became a member of the Greenbrier team in 2012 as a Residential advisor. I enjoyed being a role model to the girls at the academy. I had to leave GBA in 2014 to take care of my daughter. I missed working at the academy so much that I returned in 2017 as a Residential advisor. I was offered the opportunity to become the Assistant to the medical coordinator and that is my current position.  

As the assistant to the medical coordinator I am passionate about the girls being comfortable and safe.  I feel the girls enjoy spending time when I am transporting them to appointments they are very open and honest with me. I feel that this is more than a job it is building relationships and connections just like a family. This has also helped me in having patience and guidance with my own daughter.

I have completed an associate’s degree from University of Phoenix in health care administration and medical records.  I have been trained in medical terminology were I obtained certification and I have been trained in Therapeutic Crisis intervention.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family.  We enjoy various outdoor activities and going to the beach as much as possible.    I love to watch my daughter play sports and I am always the loudest parent cheering her on.

My life has been changed in so many positive ways working here at GBA that I have truly been blessed.  

Tanya McClung, MA, LPC


In life, it is not what happens to us, but who we choose to become from our experiences. Human beings grow and flourish through their relationships. Those relationships play a pivotal role in our development and how productively we perform in our lives. Through life experiences we can discover our own beliefs, strengths, and even weaknesses to help us form meaningful and loving relationships.

I believe that each individual has a different way of processing and healing, which is why I don’t have one theoretical approach and tend to work with a multifaceted agenda. This allows me use an array of practices that include psychodrama, neurolinguistic programming, brain spotting, expressive arts, somatic processing, mindfulness, and meta-modeling. Through these practices my focus becomes helping a student to understand how their negative relationships, environment, behaviors, and beliefs may hinder their movement to a brighter future.

I come to Greenbrier with a Master’s in Professional Counseling from Liberty University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Social work from Concord University.

Carin Kramer, Esq. MPH, MSW


I am happy to come to Greenbrier Academy with a strong background working with children and families. I have been trained in both school-based and outpatient services for children and adolescents. Our relationships with our families strongly influence our views of the world and ourselves, and the interventions that I gravitate toward are those that appreciate the family as a system. The way in which Greenbrier addresses family dynamics as it relates to a girl’s beliefs and identity is what sets us apart.

I have practiced law almost exclusively in Family Court, and have extensive awareness of the impacts of family dysfunction on children. I have had lengthy training in mediation and have always sought to help families discover new ways to work more harmoniously, even in cases involving divorce and changes in custody arrangements. I have primarily represented the interests of children to the Courts.

My educational background includes a B.S. from Boston University, a J.D. and MPH from Tulane University, and an MSW from Louisiana State University. The focus of my MPH was on maternal and child health, which further informs my understanding of appropriate development in children and adolescents.

Stacey Lambert, MSW, LGSW


My experience working with diverse groups of young women has inspired me to immerse myself in learning about the complexities of emotional trauma. I strive to empower my clients to achieve the change necessary to have meaningful, fulfilling relationships with self and others. My desire to promote powerful healing has lead me to Greenbrier’s relationality model, which I find to be in alignment with my observations of how people grow and change.

I have continued to add to my repertoire of helping skills over the last 15 years and utilize a spectrum of therapeutic modalities to include family systems, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, brain spotting, neurolinguistic programming and somatic re-experiencing.

My educational background includes a B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies from West Virginia University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver, one of the nations top social work graduate programs. As a licensed clinician, I have experience working in a variety of diverse settings which include schools, providing in-home services, outpatient mental health and working with victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Heather Bowden, MSW, LGSW


When I think about everything that teenagers must grapple with in the world today, I feel saddened and worried.  There seems to be so much more complexity and contention than even just a decade ago. And yet, I am continuously blown away by the resilience and insight that the students I work with at GBA exhibit. They are given the chance to work through the “tar” (i.e. trauma, anxiety, attachment, substance use, etc.) that threatens to stand in the way of having a meaningful and content future.  

My journey to be part of Greenbrier Academy and helping in the “tar removing” process was a nonlinear one. I was born and raised in the New River Valley in Southwestern Virginia and received a BA in Studio Art at Hollins University. In 2009/2010 I lived in Ghana for a year at which time I founded a primary school in a remote rainforest village. This was simultaneously the most naïve and momentous experience of my life. To support and build a better school building, I began a non-profit, the Pocket Project.  After a couple more trips, I eventually handed over the school to the local government. The Nsumensa Village Primary School is still running today.

It was the international humanitarian work that inspired me to pursue social work. I received my MSW degree from Radford University with a certificate in Military Social Work. With experience in a residential treatment center, private practice counseling, and hospice – I joined GBA ready to empower and heal on an individual and family level. Joining me in this process is my dog, Henry, who often rests his head on my student’s knee when they are down or snores in his sleep during sessions.  

Carol Lewis, MA, LPC, LSW

Equine Assisted Therapist

When someone has experienced trauma of adversity in their past relationships with others, it may be easier for them to develop a relationship with a horse; who relates to them in the present moment. Experiential activities with horses help the individual to move beyond the limiting belief system that they may have about themselves and their place in the world.  Equine therapy naturally supports the relationality model that is embraced by GBA.

My educational background includes a BA in Sociology from the University of New Hampshire, and a Masters Degree in Counseling from Marshall University Graduate College in WV.  For 12 years I had the opportunity to work as a social worker with individuals with developmental disabilities. During that time I developed and directed a therapeutic riding program as a certified PATH Instructor.  Prior to my position at GBA I was employed for 12 years as a licensed professional counselor for a rural residential treatment facility in WV for adolescents who where in temporary custody of the state. During that time I developed and directed an Equine Therapy program for 10 years.  

My passion is in being able to combine my avocation, my love of horses, with my vocation of being of service to others.  I believe that the very principles that guide true horsemanship skills are also the premise of virtuous life skills. As Buck Brannaman, a renowned horseman/clinician has said,

“Horses and Life, It’s all the same to me.” 

Dianna Dorman, LGSW


Everyone has a positive intention behind the behavior they engage in. We’re all greatly influenced by our relationships, family experiences, and social placement in the world with regard to race, culture, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. It is through the context of our relationships combined with the power of possibility that healing can occur.

I believe that no single approach works for everyone. My therapeutic method is eclectic and contextual. In my practice, I pull heavily from relational principles and work from a personal-growth model where my role is that of a partner in holistic healing. I incorporate art, somatic experiencing for the treatment of trauma, psychodrama, mindfulness, and hypnotherapy. My focus is aiding students to discover underlying false beliefs that are impacting the environments, behaviors, and strategies they have engaged in up until their treatment stay. Utilizing this new self-awareness, I support students in discovering their unique capabilities and developing new beliefs that are more in line with their true nature.

My educational background includes a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a double minor in Sociology as well as Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Meet Our Academic Team

Lowell Galford

Academic Director & Math Teacher

Mr. Galford is excited to return to the GBA family as a math and science teacher after being away for a year caring for his father. He is passionate about teaching and helping youth grow. During his year away from GBA, he taught at an alternative school and coordinated an afterschool program. He is an experienced educator in science, math, agriculture education, and special education. Interestingly, teaching was not his first career. Before becoming a teacher he worked in research and extension at UGA, and Clemson.

Anne Hunter

Art Teacher & Drumming Coordinator

Anne has worked in the field of arts education since 2009. She joined Greenbrier Academy in 2012, bringing with her a love of art and creative expression. Before her start at GBA, Anne worked as a guide with the True North Wilderness Program in Vermont in 2008. While in Vermont, she also served as an aid and behavior interventionist for an 8th grade student. Anne graduated from Alfred University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and Education. Motivated by her love of travel, she studied abroad for some time at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy.
Anne’s creativity and drive to help children led her to Greenbrier Academy. Serving as both our art teacher and drumming coordinator, her inventiveness is put to good use at our school. “I love engaging in the process and experience of healing teens through art and rhythm,” says Anne. She finds it tremendously rewarding to witness her students’ journeys as they find strength and self-worth through honoring their unique creative expression, whether it be through visual art or through the power of drumming. “I love watching students reach for new goals as they develop the discipline and passion to meet them.” Anne enjoys working with teens in particular because of the vibrancy and spirit that they bring to the classroom. She strives to encourage her students to discover their inner beauty and confidence by helping to guide them technically and emotionally as they push their creative boundaries. “I love helping students understand the significance of their voice and the integral part they play in our school and community.” She feels lucky to teach in such an amiable environment alongside her devoted and compassionate coworkers.
A strong proponent of humanitarian work, Anne has participated in service trips to Kenya and the Dominican Republic as well as a GBA service trip to Nicaragua. She gives back on a local level by painting murals in her community here at home. Anne enjoys getting students involved in such projects as well. She enters students into art contests at the local Carnegie Hall and promotes their involvement in the charity event “Empty Bowls.” She also accompanies her drumming performance group to local schools, churches, festivals, and private events in the area. In her time away from GBA, Anne participates in making and selling many kinds of art, including the ceramics that she creates in her own personal ceramics studio at home.

Susie Blankenship

Registrar & College Counselor

Susie joined the Greenbrier Academy team in 2011 after obtaining her first Bachelor’s degree in HR Business Management from Radford University, a second Bachelor’s degree in Human Service Counseling from Old Dominion University and some Master’s work in Special Education at Grand Canyon University.
With prior experience as a TCI instructor, one-on-one assistant and administrative assistant, Susie originally served as a lead night residential advisor at Greenbrier Academy. She then transferred to the math department before assuming her current position as registrar/college counselor.
Married with a daughter and twin boys, Susie enjoys hunting, NASCAR, volleyball and basketball, as well as spending time with her family go kart racing. She is also a member and officer of the Narrows Jr. Woman’s Club.

Cristiano Melo

Spanish Teacher

Arriving at GBA from Brazil, Cristiano brings with him a vast knowledge of languages and cultures to share with our students. Cristiano attended the Southern University of Santa Catarina where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Language Education and Second Language Learning. Working as a teacher, Cristiano gained experience teaching English and Portuguese to middle and high school students in Brazil for seven years. He also taught at Colégio UNESC for three years and at KNN Idiomas, a language school, for three years. In 2011, Cristiano was awarded and elected into the Fulbright Program, where he received a Language Teaching Assistant scholarship allowing him to teach Portuguese at Bluefield State College for one scholastic year.
Growing up, he always respected a teacher’s role because of their ability to positively influence those in their classes. Being a teacher, he has had the opportunity to motivate individuals who may have felt misguided or misunderstood. He loves being able to provide students with a new view of learning and strives to inspire them as he has been inspired.
Having worked closely with young adults and business professionals for some time, Cristiano has walked with people from many different paths of life. As a teacher of both the young and old, he has spent time not only cultivating an effective approach to teaching, but also learning how to listen to, motivate, and understand his students on an individual level. Having led him to Greenbrier Academy, languages are, above all, Cristiano’s passion. “As some may give themselves to more commonly recognized artistic passions, I devote most of my time to this art form,” says Cristiano. “I think the ability to communicate with and understand people from all over the world is something magical.” At GBA, Cristiano found another interest in the school’s theater program. “Allowing one to become another person on stage, through physical expression and imagination, provides a deeper understanding of self and one’s personal capabilities.”
In his time away from GBA, Cristiano enjoys being in nature and experiencing the natural beauties of the world. Outdoor sports and games always keep him grounded and in high spirits. His other interests include reading, watching movies, participating in theater, and traveling. At school, Cristiano is driven by his philosophy that positivity and personal progression can be born out of a student finding their worth in everyday accomplishments. “Gaining self esteem in daily successes quickly diminishes negative feelings on which one may be focusing. Therefore, I try to constantly provide opportunities for my students to accomplish these small successes in order for them to take their own steps in finding more meaningful success in life.” In a lighter sense, Cristiano seeks to incorporate fun and humor in his classroom. “We are all here to enjoy life, and I think promoting light heartedness and warm humor is a great way to build strong, trusting connections with my GBA students.”

Adam Lewis

Math Teacher & College Prep

My mathematical interests include geometry, abstract algebra and the role of mathematics as both a cultural instrument and a system for logical expression. To appeal to different learning styles, my preferred teaching style combines direct instruction, technology applications and opportunities for student creativity and research. I enjoy helping students find opportunities to make relational connections through mathematical concepts.

A Concord University graduate with a degree in math education, I was born in West Virginia and worked as a private tutor for two years before joining Greenbrier Academy in 2014. Before arriving at Greenbrier Academy, I helped to organize a writing center at New River Community and Technical College. Since joining Greenbrier Academy, I’ve supported groups of students in volunteer activities including youth tutoring and our recycling program.

Outside of school, my hobbies include camping, hiking, computer programming and linguistics.

Jennifer Mann

English Teacher

I actually started my career with Greenbrier as a Residential Advisor. This allowed me to be immersed within the community, culture, and model that represents our school. This well-rounded experience has prepared me beyond measure for the wonderful opportunity of becoming an English Teacher, as well as a Balance Body Mind coordinator.

Every student desires a learning atmosphere that is inviting and inspiring. I have always possessed the passion to help others and I’m grateful that my work at Greenbrier Academy allows me to do so on a daily basis. Working with students in a small environment allows them to feel more comfortable and engaged in higher learning. My classroom and compassionate teaching techniques allow for my students to grow both academically and socially.

I have an educational background that includes a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Concord University. I’m currently furthering my education in Special Education at Walden University and am excited to continue my journey with Greenbrier as I grow alongside our wonderful community!

Kelly Arfsten

Equine Director


I enjoy nothing more than seeing people and horses connect and build a relationship. I believe in the benefits of equine assisted therapy and feel fortunate to be able to provide the girls at GBA the opportunity to develop a deeper sense of what horsemanship can teach us.

Growing up in Germany, I was fortunate to be able to work under great trainers. It was there that I developed the interest and dedication to the equine species while working with a variety of breeds and disciplines. Me speciality is in dressage as I’m passionate about the light feel of communication between a human and horse.

I came to the US many years ago to study Equine Science at the University of Wisconsin. After graduating, I’ve been thrilled to continue to work with horses and people, fostering that magical connection. I worked with a variety of horses and people throughout the country until I settled in West Virginia.

Rodger Persinger

Academic Substitute

Anastasia Ward

English Language Arts Teacher

As an English language arts teacher, my goal is to instill a love of reading and writing in each of my students. I want to teach them how to know and strengthen their voice along their journey here. I was instantly drawn to Greenbrier’s philosophy that emphasizes the importance of building healthy relationships in the classroom context. Prior to my time at Greenbrier, I served as an English teacher, substitute teacher, mentor, and writing tutor.

I value the importance of communication and have witnessed the therapeutic strength in writing to determine meaning. Throughout my time here, I’ve been able to help students raise test prep scores, win scholarship essay contests, and teach students to use reading and writing skills as a platform to heal.

I graduated from Marshall university with a duel Bachelor’s in English and education.

Meet Our Residental Team

Amber Reed

Residential Director

When parents tour Greenbrier Academy, they often ask about the program’s model and how it works. Meeting Amber may be the best answer to their questions, as she credits working at Greenbrier Academy as being a turning point in her own life direction. Starting as a mentor to the girls, she absorbed the lessons and philosophy offered at Greenbrier Academy and made changes in her life that resulted in her quickly becoming a source of inspiration to the students.
Amber lives by the motto, “we will love you until you can love yourself” and everyone that meets her, be it student, staff or visitor immediately feels embraced by her warmth, compassion and ability to empathically connect.

Alicia Dennison

Residential Assistant

One of the greatest parts of this position is getting to see first hand the changes made in the girls that pass through our doors. It is a wonderful experience getting to mentor and help in the transformation process that these young women make when here. My hope is that I can have a lasting impact, no matter how small, on each student I get the privilege to work with.

I have worked at Greenbrier Academy for 8 years and have become very appreciative of the relationality approach used here. I fully agree that our relationships help shape us into who we are and that forming positive bonds is essential to our emotional health. I also appreciate the different virtues that we try to instill into the students and staff alike. I have seen some incredible outcomes due to the overall vision of our program. I am currently working towards my undergraduate degree in special education.

Outside of Greenbrier, I enjoy spending time with my husband, twin boys and two daughters.

Lindsay Funk

Residential Assistant

I knew that working at Greenbrier Academy was the perfect fit for me. I love having the opportunity to spent time with, get to know, and contribute to the journeys of the amazing ladies at GBA. I am very grateful to have been a part of the Greenbrier community since 2016.

As a Residential Advisor, I enjoy being able to see the girls not only on campus, but off campus as well, whether it be on an adventurous outing white water rafting or volunteering at a local nursing home. What I love most about my job is seeing the light come back into the eyes of these incredible young women.

I pursued my education at Fairmont State University, where I received a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. I was named to the President’s and Dean’s List and had the honor of being selected for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.  My education has helped prepare me to support each and every student at Greenbrier Academy.

Outside of GBA, I enjoy spending time with my husband and beautiful daughter and also playing with our three dogs.

Michelle Dekle

Residential Assistant

“I’m not going to tell you it is going to be easy. I’m telling you it is going to be worth it.”

Being part of the residential team at Greenbrier since 2009, I’ve shared so many emotions with the girls. There have been sad moments, and I have cried with those dealing with struggles in their lives. I have also shed tears of joy seeing the girls overcome their struggles and fears. I enjoy serving as a positive influence in the girls’ lives and hearing the success stories from those who have graduated from GBA. I also enjoy accompanying the girls on service trips to Nicaragua and adventurous outings including rafting, zip lining and rock climbing. I encourage and motivate the girls to stay active and cheer them on while watching them play sports.

My educational background includes a Certificate of Completion in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention from Cornell University. Outside of GBA, I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two children, my church family and friends. My hobbies include participating in church activities, playing basketball and listening to music.

Meet Our Village Team

Paul Fowler

Village Director

Paul Fowler is a U.S. Army veteran and was previously employed in law enforcement.  Paul has spent the past 17 years working with youth and his specialty has been working with them in the Village environment.  Paul has worked with thousands of young men and women over the course of his career.  Paul lives in West Virginia with his wife of 21 years and his youngest son.

Meet Our Consulting Team

Dr Douglas Eitel ,MD, PLLC

Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Eitel is the Medical Director and owner of Doug Eitel MD, PLLC. He currently devotes this practice to helping children, teens and young adults build their personal success stories.

Prior to medical school, Dr. Eitel earned his law degree at the University of Virginia and his MBA at Cornell University. He served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed with this unit to the Middle East. Later, as a JAG lawyer, he practiced law in Alaska and Seattle. After the military, Dr. Eitel practiced health care and family law in Boston and Vermont. He was also a tenured university professor where he taught business law. His law background is currently applied to forensic aspects of psychiatry. Dr. Eitel completed his psychiatry training at Wake Forest University Medical Center where he was appointed Chief Resident. Dr. Eitel has been treating children, teens, and young adults in the Greenbrier Valley since 2003.

While seeing patients in West Virginia,  Dr. Eitel recently served as the Medical Director for the War Heroes Hospital in Colorado. This hospital is designed to treat young men and women returning from active duty combat missions with PTSD. He also served as the Medical Director for the Colorado Autism Center.

Carole T Giunta, Ph.D.

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Carole Giunta is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 20 years experience in assessment and treatment. Throughout her training and professional life, Dr. Giunta has had a strong interest in psychological assessment. It is her commitment to making psychological assessment results accessible and useful which guides the philosophy of her practice. For many years, Dr. Giunta and her associates have been actively involved in helping young people and families understand their strengths and vulnerabilities and discover new paths for healing and learning. Dr. Giunta greatly enjoys the opportunity to work with adolescents and their families.
In addition to her interest in adolescents, Dr. Giunta also conducts evaluations with a broad range of other clients, working closely with attorneys and physicians to facilitate understanding of their clients’ mental health and neuropsychological functioning in light of legal or medical problems. She frequently consults on matters of mental health and the law and provides expert witness testimony. Dr. Giunta holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Vermont.
Dr. Giunta and her associate, Dr. Orth, conduct psychological and psychoeducational assessments at Greenbrier Academy. To learn more about services offered, please visit