Craig A. Christiansen, M.A
Founder & Executive Director
Craig has been developing programs for children, adolescents and families for over 35 years. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from California State University in Chico, California before entering the youth and family services field. He has developed numerous programs and schools for special populations, and has extensive experience in legislative advocacy for children at the local, regional and national levels. Craig and his wife Christy founded New Leaf Academy, the first therapeutic boarding school for younger girls in the country, in 1997 in response to inquiries of parents seeking help for their children prior to the onset of older adolescent emotional and behavioral issues.
“At New Leaf Academy we are able to reduce the pressure on young girls by creating a safe, home-like environment, while at the same time raising the bar for both therapeutic and academic expectations. Our girls develop the skills needed to navigate the complex world of peer and family relationships as they grow into happy and confident young women.”
Patricia J. "PJ" Swan, M.Ed., LPC, CADCII
PJ received her B.A. in Education from Portland State University and holds a Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development from the University of Idaho. She has been working in school, residential and wilderness programs for over 20 years, sharing her passion for youth and family development by providing individual, group and family therapy. PJ has extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), anxiety, depression, and addiction issues in families. She believes strongly in providing support and encouragement for all family members working toward successful family reunification. PJ has been actively involved in program development to facilitate family healing. Other specialties include working with young girls, social skill development and family support.
“The girls never cease to amaze me. Despite challenges and difficulties they find strengths, grow emotionally, play (as girls should) and develop meaningful relationships. Watching them blossom in our care is truly a gift to witness and encourage.”
Deveney Marshall B.A.
Deveney attended the University of Oregon where she earned her B.A. in Journalism and International Studies. Her introduction to working with at risk youth was at a wilderness program where she worked as a Field Instructor for two years. After relocating to Bend she became a counselor at New Leaf Academy. She then quickly worked her way up to the Program Director and now Associate Director due to her skill in managing staff, students and logistics. Deveney brings leadership, enthusiasm and integrity to our staff and students.”
“When girls feel comfortable enough with themselves to be whom they are and share what is in their hearts the smile on their faces and the light in their eyes is unexplainable. New Leaf helps bring this out in young girls and I am honored daily to be a part of it.”
Joshua Goldstein, M.A.T.
Born and raised in Bend, OR, Josh has been an educator for nearly half his life. He brings his passion to help students become engaged learners, to become curious about themselves and the world around them, and to see opportunities in the challenges they face. After graduating from the University of Oregon (B.S. Biology '95) and earning his M.A.T. from Southern Oregon University, his first position was with an Environmental Education program in Tennessee. Following his love of teaching and experiential education, Josh has held positions in charter schools, traditional and alternative schools, residential treatment and a "learning at sea" sailing classroom. Josh and his wife are now raising their own family here in Bend.
Jennifer Parker, B.S.
Associate Director of Admissions
Jennifer was raised in Stockton, California as the youngest in a family with three older sisters. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in Recreation Management and was a member of their Division 1 swim team. Jen has worked at New Leaf for over 11 years, and has held a number of positions, including Activities Coordinator, Residential Coach/Counselor and Operations Director. Prior to NLA, she worked as Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club and in the hospitality industry as Resort Activities Manager.
Jen has lived in Bend since 1996, and resides here with her husband and two children. She enjoys skiing, the outdoors, and spending time with family.
Cathryn Perkins, M.S., LPC
Cathryn Perkins received her master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York in Albany. Cathryn has worked at New Leaf Academy for over six years helping our girls and their families. She has worked with middle and high school children in other residential programs prior to joining the New Leaf team. Cathryn has experience addressing many mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and attachment disorders.
"Watching once struggling girls find their strengths, build self esteem, and accept who they are is one of the best rewards I experience as a therapist supporting these amazing students to find peace in their lives."
Lynnea Avenetti, B.S., M.A.
Lynnea was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa, and spent a year abroad studying in Spain. Lynnea attended Eastern Washington University, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and graduated with Summa cum Laude honors. Her graduate work was completed at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, earning her Master of Arts degree in Professional Mental Health Counseling. She has over six (6) years of experience working in boarding school, hospital and community based therapeutic settings, practicing a range of therapeutic modalities in individual, group and family work.
Lynnea is an avid outdoor enthusiast, and enjoys travel, hiking and her fitness routine. She is passionate about the study of foreign cultures and traditions. She lives in Bend with her husband, Nathan, and their cat, Nico.
Camber Perrigan, B.A., M.S.W.
Camber is a native Oregonian who grew up in the Bend area. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, (where she also played basketball for the Bengals) and her Master's degree in Social Work from Portland State University. Working in a variety of community mental health settings, she has extensive experience with a wide range of clientele from infancy through adulthood. Camber has worked for New Leaf Academy for over 9 years, and has enjoyed watching "her girls" grow into confident young women successfully navigating the challenges of family, relationships and school.
Dayna Taus, M.A., LPCI
Dayna relocated to Bend, OR in 2008 from Kailua, Hawaii. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and a Master's degree in Sport Psychology and Addictions Counseling from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, CA. Dayna has 20 years of combined experience working in schools, private practice and wilderness therapy. Dayna is honored to be joining the New Leaf Community!
Laura Diane, B.A., M.A.
Laura has been at New Leaf Academy since our inception, and began her love of the social sciences at birth. Born on the island of Cyprus, she spent her early years in the Philippines and Germany. She spent her school years in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., in a historic area of Northern Virginia. Laura earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Oregon and her M.A. degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland. She loves spending time in nature, be it gardening in her backyard, hiking or camping. Indoors she loves sewing, reading and crafts.
Katie Silver, B.S., M.A.T.
Katie grew up in Central Oregon, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Oregon State University - Cascades Campus. Prior to working and teaching at New Leaf Academy, she taught at an experiential-based elementary school in Ridgway, Colorado, where she once took all of her students on a camping trip in bear country and lived to tell about it! In her free time, Katie enjoys mountain biking, weight lifting and spending time with her "two adorable nieces".
Kim May, B.A., M.A.T.
Kim was born in Everett, WA, received her B.A. in English Literature from St. Francis University and her M.A.T. from Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. She is proud of her track record in building solid relationships with her students, which, in turn, provides them with a high level of motivation. In addition to the Central Oregon staples of hiking and running, she also has a passion for painting and theatre.
Kelli Anderson, B.S., M.A.T.
Kelli was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in English from Corban University, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Her passion for teaching was developed while living in Spain, where she taught English to Spanish students, and continues today at New Leaf Academy. Kelli enjoys visiting with friends and family, traveling on international adventures, and hanging out at home and outdoors with her husband.
Nicole Handley, B.A.
Nicole grew up in Southern California near Huntington Beach and has lived in Bend for 9 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from California State University Long Beach. Her experience includes over 12 years in the public school system, teaching mostly science and math, as well as self-contained classrooms and physical education. Nicole has two children and likes to spend time outdoors, walking her two dogs, hiking, and playing with her horses.