Executive Team Clinical Team Academic Team Medical Team
Craig Christiansen, MA - Owner, Founder and Executive Director
Craig has been developing programs for children, adolescents and families for over 40 years. He received his BA and MA 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. In his free time Craig and his wife Christy like to mountain bike and spend time at the lake with their grandchildren and family.
Christy Christiansen, BA - Owner, Founder and Business Manager
Christy grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in Marin County. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University in Chico, CA in 1973. Following college, she worked in banking and insurance prior to a career in payroll and accounting with a number of school districts, fire districts, non-profit agencies and small businesses. Together with husband Craig, they founded New Leaf Academy. Christy was instrumental in developing our trademark, award-winning 4H Bunny Program (Honey Bunnies) and remains its enthusiastic leader and mentor today.
Deveney Marshall, BA - Associate Director
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 in 2002 when she worked in wilderness and adventure therapy as a field instructor. She also facilitated corporate and team building trainings on both low and high ropes courses. 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.
Patricia J. “P.J.” Swan, M.Ed, LPC - Clinical Director
PJ received her BA 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 25 years, sharing her passion for youth and family development by providing individual, group and family therapy. PJ has served as Clinical Director for New Leaf Academy since 2009. PJ has extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), EMDR, 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. In her free time she enjoys skiing, cycling and paddling.
Jennifer Parker, BS - Admissions and Operations Director
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA in Recreation Administration while also swimming for their Division I swim team. Jen has worked at New Leaf Academy for over 15 years, starting as the Activities Coordinator, then working as a Residential Coach/Counselor and Human Resources Manager before moving into the Admissions and Operations role. Prior to working at NLA, Jen worked with various youth organizations providing activities and sports programming for youth, teens and families. Jen has lived in Bend for over 22 years and loves spending time in the outdoors with her husband and two children. She enjoys skiing, camping and biking.
Joshua Goldstein, BS, MAT – Academic Director
Shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1995, Josh discovered his passion for working with kids. His Bachelors in Biology informed his joy for helping young learners see wonder and curiosity in the world around them, and to see opportunities in the challenges they face. This newfound passion was sparked by his first job out of college as an educator in an environmental education camp. Since that initial experience in education, Josh has held positions at a number of experiential education camps, charter schools, a residential treatment center, public schools, and a 'science at sea' sailing classroom. In 2000 he earned his Masters in Teaching from Southern Oregon University. Out of the gates, he has been balancing his passion for educating and guiding youth with the behind the scenes tasks of growing healthy educational environments and collaborative teams. He also works to find balance between his career, a busy family life raising two precocious kids (his greatest teachers), and playing outside in beautiful central Oregon on trails, rivers, and mountains. He has lived in Bend on and off since 1978 and has no plans to leave anytime soon.
Amber Hailey, BA – Program Director
Amber Hailey holds a BA in Psychology from University of North Carolina Asheville.
Amber has worked at New Leaf Academy in a variety of positions including Houseparent, Advisor, and House Manager. I also worked for a Nationwide non-profit providing in home services for adjudicated youth. I provided in home counseling and managed referrals for services for Western North Carolina. In her free time, Amber enjoys all that Central Oregon has to offer including running, snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking. Her adventure partners include her husband, son and dog. Hailing from the Southeast, she is always looking for the next Pacific Northwest adventure!
Stacie Fox, BS – Human Resources Manager
Stacie has lived throughout the Northwest her entire life, settling in Bend in 2008. After graduating from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education, Stacie pursued a variety of careers in academic and experiential education settings throughout the country. Stacie spent many years working in the wilderness therapy field prior to joining the New Leaf Academy team as a therapeutic advisor in 2013. Stacie moved into the Program Coordinator position with New Leaf Academy in 2015 prior to the birth of her daughter and most recently moved into the role of Human Resources Manager in 2017. Stacie enjoys cooking and spending time in the outdoors with her husband, daughters and dog.
Wendy Jensen – Finance and Administrative Assistant
Wendy was raised in Oregon and has worked in administrative accounting and bookkeeping since 1994. This experience has included a broad range of assignments for various CPA firms prior to joining the New Leaf team. Wendy loves her work at the Academy because “I get to put my skills and experience to use for something I believe in”. When not at work, she enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, biking, skiing and spending time with her 3 children in beautiful Central Oregon.
Patricia J. “P.J.” Swan, M.Ed, LPC - Clinical Director and also a member of the Executive Team. See BIO above.
Camber Perrigan, LCSW – Therapist
Camber attended Idaho State University where she earned her BA in Social Work. She had the unique opportunity of playing collegiate basketball at the University. It was during that time when she received her introduction to working with at risk youth through mentor programs and an internship in a family services program. Camber began working for New Leaf Academy in 2004. In 2008 she decided to go back to graduate school. She continued to work for New Leaf Academy throughout her time in graduate school. Camber graduated from Portland State University in 2011 with a Masters in Social Work. During her free time, Camber enjoys spending time with her family and participating in various volunteer activities.
Kirsten Romney, MSW, CSWA - Assistant Clinical Director andTherapist
Kirsten joined New Leaf as a therapist in the summer of 2017. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and with a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University. A native of Canada, Kirsten has grown up living in many places throughout North America and the Caribbean, and has worked with families from various cultural backgrounds. Tier 2 trained in the Collaborative Problem Solving model, Kirsten brings a trauma informed, flexible, and strengths based approach to working with youth and families. Kirsten has worked with a variety of youth and families experiencing challenges with depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, LGBTQ identity work, trauma, refusal, and significant family and school conflict. An outdoor enthusiast, Kirsten spends most of her spare time swimming, biking, running, skiing, backpacking and hiking.
Kari Somera, MA, LPCI – Therapist
Kari received her BA in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University and her Masters in Counseling from Western Seminary. Kari is a Korean adoptee from Portland, Oregon. She comes from a large diverse family of seven children, with multi-ethnic parents and siblings with disabilities. After undergraduate school, Kari returned to her motherland in South Korea to re-unite with her biological family and visit her orphanage where she resided for three years of her young life. Kari has extensive experience working with young and adolescent girls. She is passionate about working with girls in their identity formation, developing their self-esteem and empowering them to use their voice to self-advocate and become strong, secure, confident leaders in their community.
Kari’s career background includes working with children and adults with developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum, Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome and various learning disabilities, as well as working with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, attachment issues, oppositional defiant disorder, and mood disorders. Through this work, Kari has become skilled in using a strength based approach with her clients, helping them identify their internal and external strengths in order to meet their goals and desired outcomes.
Taylor Case, MSW, CSWA – Therapist
Taylor grew up on a farm about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois. Early on in her life Taylor found herself drawn to working with people and has spent the last nine years working in residential, school and wilderness settings, working primarily with adolescents. Taylor’s journey eventually brought her to Bend where she worked at a local wilderness therapy program as field guide before deciding to pursue her graduate degree. Taylor received her BA in Clinical Psychology from Edgewood College in Madison, WI and completed her Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University.
Taylor views problems as separate from people and deeply believes that all youth are resilient and have the internal capacity to reach their goals when provided with the right support and resources. Taylor practices a strengths-based, relational approach when working with youth and their families, and believes it is essential to form an authentic relationship that centers around unconditional positive regard.
Outside of her passion for people Taylor is an avid outdoor enthusiast. You can often find her hiking in the backcountry, on a mountain with a snowboard strapped to her feet, or out somewhere camping and stargazing.
Allison White, MSW, CSWA – Therapist
Allison grew up in a large family in Central Florida and began her professional journey studying Social Work at Florida State University. She has lived in five different states and enjoyed trying her hand at many diverse, challenging and rewarding job and internship experiences - mostly with adolescents. Prior to becoming a therapist at NLA, her favorite work experience was the years she spent with adolescents in the woods as a wilderness therapy field guide. This inspired her return to higher education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she earned her master's degree in Clinical Social Work. Most recently, her career has centered around therapeutic behavioral and family work with adolescents and adults in a nonprofit community mental health setting. Allison comes alive when she sees young people connect better to themselves and others through vulnerability, growth and healing. If she's not indoors nesting, sewing or tending to her house plants, you can find her adventuring in the great outdoors with her partner and two dogs.
Cathryn Perkins, MA, LPC – Aftercare Program Coordinator/Therapist
Cathryn was born and raised on the beaches of Southern California, then ventured north to attend University of the Pacific where she earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology and played D1 field hockey. Prior to settling into her career in mental health, Cathryn traveled the US indulging numerous personal passions. After discovering a passion for supporting adolescents and their families while working in a residential treatment center in Arizona, she moved to New York and completed a Master's of Science in Mental Health Counseling from University at Albany (SUNY). Cathryn has been a member of the New Leaf Academy team for 9 years, is a licensed therapist in Oregon and is certified in EMDR. Recently, Cathryn transitioned into the role of aftercare coordinator, spearheading and developing NLA's aftercare program.
Susan Wallace, BA – House Manager and Therapeutic Advisor
Susan attended the University of Oregon where she earned her BA in Social Science. She began working with at risk youth was in 2005 where she worked for a residential treatment center. Susan joined New Leaf Academy in 2008 and is currently the house manager and advisor in the Sagebrush house. Susan brings her dog Bentlee with her to work each day to play with and support the girls. Susan spends her free time enjoying her family while camping and exploring all the nature has to offer.
Rebecca Izzo, BA – House Manager and Therapeutic Advisor
Rebecca is originally from Spokane, Washington. She graduated from Whitworth University in 2014 with her BA in Psychology. Shortly after she began working in wilderness therapy as a field instructor in southern Utah, teaching teens and young adults tools for communication and emotion regulation in a backcountry setting. Rebecca worked in this industry for two years, becoming a senior field instructor where she managed a team of staff, treatment plans, as well as safety and logistics for the group.
Rebecca has a current Wilderness First Responder certification. Rebecca moved to Bend, Oregon at the beginning of 2017 and began working as a life skills coach at a residential therapeutic program for adults. She joined the New Leaf team at the end of November in 2017 and is passionate about empowering young women to learn how to use their voices and develop healthy relationships. When Rebecca is not working, she loves to be doing anything active outside with her husband. She enjoys trail running, backpacking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, practicing yoga, gardening, and trying out new vegetarian recipes.
Amelia Vasquez, BS – Therapeutic Advisor
Amelia graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University in 2014. For the past 7 years she has been working with children and at-risk youth in a variety of different programs. In the more recent years I have worked with non- profit, residential and wilderness programs with lower income youth and families. Although it can be a challenging field, it is where her passion lies. In her down time she loves exploring the outdoors and finding secluded areas to swim and kayak. When in the city, dancing and cheesy karaoke are her personal favorites.
Taryn McPheeters – Therapeutic Advisor
Taryn is a native Oregonian who moved to Central Oregon in the Fall of 2018. She joined the New Leaf team after working for the past 5 years at a residential treatment center for youth in the Willamette Valley. Taryn is a certified EMT and is working toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Taryn has a big love for kids and animals and has a passion for helping youth grow into their full potential and discover their own passions.
Taryn enjoys being active outside and exploring, being crafty with wood and other mediums, reading and cooking.
Joshua Goldstein, MAT – Academic Director and also a member of the Executive Team. See BIO above.
Laura Diane, BA, MAT – Teacher
Laura has been a teacher at New Leaf Academy since its inception, helping to develop our academic program. Since receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with a Minor in English from the University of Oregon, she has been licensed to teach Social Studies and English classes. At-risk students have been her primary focus for the past 30 years in public and private schools, and she finds it rewarding to make a difference in a child’s life through education. Laura has also earned a Master’s degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Laura has lived in Bend for the past 30 years, but growing up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs and several foreign countries surely began her lifelong interest in the social sciences. She looks forward to experiencing the history and culture of a place whenever she travels. She loves spending time outdoors, be it gardening and playing with her dog in the backyard or enjoying Central Oregon’s natural beauty through hiking and camping. Indoors she loves sewing, reading, and crafts.
Kimberly May, BA, MAT – Teacher
Kim May graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature from Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA; she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching and teaching license at Western Oregon University. In addition to her classroom teaching experience, Kim has also collaborated with students at a youth shelter to create a community art exhibit, and she served as a crew leader for the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps. Outside of the classroom, Kim enjoys paddle boarding, hiking, ballet, and travel.
Katie Silver, BS, MAT – Teacher
Before coming to New Leaf Academy, Katie taught at an experiential-based public school in Ridgway, Colorado. She was a member of the Ridgway School District's Professional Evaluation, Retention, and Compensation Committee. She also taught summer school in Delta, Colorado, under a Colorado Department of Education grant-funded position for new teachers with high student gains. Katie received her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Oregon State University- Cascades, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from University of Oregon- Cascades. She holds an Oregon Initial 1 Teaching License with authorizations in PK-12. Katie grew up in Central Oregon and enjoys baking, Crossfit, mountain biking, and spending time with family.
Bill Sweigert, MAT – Teacher
Bill grew up in Spokane, WA and attended college at Seattle University. Bill was lucky to be chosen for a coveted Masters in Teaching Graduate program at Island Wood, on Bainbridge Island, WA. Bill's education and experience has been in outdoor, experiential education in Science, Art and Music. He completed the Columbia Teacher's College Readers and Writer's Workshop, certified in Teacher's Pro-Certification boards, participated in the Ruler Mindfulness Training focused on compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence.
After teaching for 10 years in the Seattle area, Bill relocated to Bend in 2016 to be closer to family and nature. He was a substitute teacher throughout Bend and was a teacher at the Waldorf School of Bend prior to teaching Science at New Leaf Academy.
Bill's teaching philosophy follows the Beginner's Mind concept, which is to look at each day with wonder and an openness to all possibilities. He believes the best teachers are the ones who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.
Bill is an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. He studies Karate and Wushu with his son.
Maryann Deke, BS, MAT – Special Education Teacher
Maryann grew up just outside of New York City. She graduated from Villanova University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. She earned a Masters for Teachers from Pace University. After that, she added a Special Education Endorsement from Eastern Oregon University.
Prior to joining the New Leaf Team, Maryann worked with special education students in various settings. She supported students who were unable to attend school to due to physical or mental illnesses. Additionally, she has worked with special needs students in life skills classrooms. She has also taught elementary school in both New York and Oregon.
In her free time she enjoys road biking, mountain biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and hiking with her husband and 3 children.
Bethany McWilliams, BA, CTRS – Physical Education Teacher and Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Bethany grew up in a small farming town on the Olympic Peninsula fervently playing year-round sports. She happily spent her childhood stealing bases and diving after loose balls. Because the opportunity to play team sports does not present itself as often as an adult, it is now more likely to find Bethany on the soccer field coaching the New Leaf Academy team! In her free time, you can also find her road cycling, backpacking, snowboarding and mountain biking with her husband and their dog.
Bethany graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor's Degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Environmental Education. As a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, Bethany has made it her life's work to kick down barriers that keep children of varying backgrounds from having the opportunity to play, recreate, and enjoy the out of doors!
Dr. Angelina Montoya, MD – Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Angie grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and has lived in the Bend area since 2005. She is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. After her residency and fellowship training at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, she lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming where she had a busy practice as 1 of only 3 child psychiatrists in the state. Angie has worked with New Leaf Academy students for over 12 years.
Dr. Erin Christiansen Sutton, MD – Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Erin is a board-certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist specializing in individual, group and family therapy as well as comprehensive medication management services. Most recently, Erin was with the Cognitive Psychiatry group in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Erin graduated from the University of Colorado with a double major in Biology/Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. She attended medical school at St. George’s University, with coursework in Newcastle, England and Grenada, West Indies. Following her internship in Bangkok, Thailand, she worked rotations at various hospitals in New York City, including Manhattan Psychiatric Center. Erin completed her residency at Loyola University in Chicago and completed her fellowship in Psychiatry at Duke University in Durham, NC. Erin is the daughter of founders Craig and Christy Christiansen and grew up in Bend, OR.
Kathy Tiller, RN – Program Nurse
Kathy has been the Program Nurse at New Leaf Academy for 10 years. She was born and raised in Southern California. Moved to Bend in 1990 with her husband. She graduated from Central Oregon Community College with a degree in Nursing and has held her Oregon Registered Nurse license for 26 years. Her experience has included working in the specialties of Internal Medicine, Allergy, and Mental Health. In her free time she likes to spend time with her family and enjoy the incredible outdoors of Central Oregon.
Jess Joseph, BA – Student Health Coordinator
Jess received her BA in Human Development and Family Sciences at OSU Cascades. She has over 10 years of experience working in the field of human services. Some of her former positions included Activities Director for Boys and Girls Club and Direct Service Provider for Good2Go Oregon. Jess started out as a House Parent back in 2008 where she worked in the home for 2 years. Jess came back to NLA in 2017 as the Student Health Coordinator.
Jess has lived in Bend since 2004 and resides here with her two children ages 13 and 17. In her free time, Jess enjoys the outdoors, camping, live music, cooking and spending time with her family.