STAFF & COUNSELORS
Our team works through the root-cause issues in each boy’s life that are bringing about poor choices and destructive behaviors. Lakeside Academy is built on a foundation of Christian faith – fostering new behaviors, character development, and helping each boy recognize who he was created to be. Our staff is highly trained, caring and committed to helping your son build new healthy behaviors, positive relationships, and explore daily opportunities to be excited about their future.
Growing up as a teenager I always seemed to get into trouble and do things I wasn’t very proud of. Since my senior year of High School I have had a passion to help people who may find themselves lost, confused, or hurting. I am passionate about helping teenagers find freedom and hope in whatever struggle they may find themselves in. I have a degree in Communications from Metropolitan State University, as well as an Alcohol and Drug Counseling license. I enjoy being outside, traveling with my wife, and reading while relaxing. I am unfortunately a die-hard Vikings and Minnesota sports fan (this is our year!) I look forward to working with your family, and just remember HOPE IS POSSIBLE!
Degrees in Biblical Studies and Alcohol & Drug Counseling
I have a passion for helping people find freedom addiction and other life controlling problems. As a young person who struggled with substance abuse and rebellious behavior myself, I know first-hand what it feels like to be lost, confused, and deceived by the lies that this lifestyle promises. For the past 13+ years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping others find the same freedom from substance abuse and sin that I found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, working in youth ministry, corrections, and substance use disorder treatment.
I started my journey at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in 2008 after being a lost and hopeless addict for 10 years. I found hope in restoration in the Long Term Program at MnTC. After completing the program I served in the roles of Program Staff, Admissions Representative and Supervisor at MnTC in Minneapolis before moving out to Lakeside Academy when we opened the doors of this campus up in June of 2015. I enjoy utilizing my administrative talents and I have a tremendous passion with building relationships in our community and with the volunteers serving at Lakeside. As a recovering addict who loves the outdoors, I feel at home at Lakeside Academy in this beautiful setting sharing about freedom from addiction and love of Christ.
My role is to work with parents/guardians to develop a funding plan specific to their unique situation as they consider Lakeside Academy for their son. I have worked with children and adolescents for over 15 years. My background in the mental health industry has given me valuable experience working with insurance companies and billing processes. I coordinate with our clinical staff and insurance companies to maximize health insurance benefits for our students. I also provide guidance regarding outside lending sources and potential financial assistance opportunities.
Lead Youth Counselor
BS in Youth Ministry | Licensed Pastor
I have worked at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge since May of 2007. My journey started as Lead Staff in our men’s program for 4 years, Pastoral Counselor of Men for 3 years and then found my true passion as Lead Youth Counselor. I love working at Lakeside Academy because God has called me to help the hurting find true and lasting freedom in Christ. I love building relationships with teens who need to have a chance and an opportunity to change, by coming alongside them in their journey. I’m passionate about helping guys overcome their past and explore their God given purpose, gifts and future. It is my greatest joy to help them move from being a hurting boy to empowering them to become healthy, strong, and godly men. Lakeside has so many opportunities for teens to explore their unique gifts and callings by redirecting them on a new and exciting path in life – one that includes more than sobriety, but a life worth living.
Treatment Director, LADC
When I was 16 years old, I experienced a calling to help others that had substance use disorders and other life-controlling problems while I was going through chemical dependency and mental health treatment at a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My parents arranged my admission to treatment out of their concern about how my substance use negatively impacted my relationships with my family, friends, God, education, physical health, and mental health. I began to realize the impact of substance use on my life and was searching for a higher power learning the 12 steps and reading the Bible my mother gave me. After breaking through denial and accepting the help that was offered, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Higher Power, then I pursued a career as an alcohol drug counselor. Therefore, I have over 40 years in long-term recovery and over 35 years of education, training, and experience working with many diverse individuals and Families with substance-use and mental health problems. I love watching God restore families by turning the hearts of the parents toward their children and the hearts of the children toward their parents as God has restored me to my family. Malachi 4:6.
Special Education Teacher
BS in English Teaching from Metropolitan State University
Growing up, I was the kid who just didn’t understand why I had to do what was being asked of me. For the most part, I went along without causing too much trouble, but I didn’t have a clear direction or plan. After a couple of years at the U, having only gone because it is “what you’re supposed to do,” I left to see what this “real world” thing was all about. I was blessed enough to meet an amazing woman, and we started our family. So, after a 10-year hiatus, with a full-time job, a wife, two children, and our third of four on the way, I went back to school and became a teacher. Now I share my journey with my students hoping they can learn from the mistakes and see that it is possible to overcome the challenges once they have a mission and a plan.
B.S. in Psychology, Family Social Science and Educational Psychology | Minor in Religion University of Minnesota
M.A. in Education University of Minnesota
My beginning is similar to many of the students I have worked with over the years. I am an licensed instructor in emotional/behavioral disorders, with nearly 30 years of experience in public schools and in care treatment programs. I am married to an amazing woman, and we’ve raised three wonderful children. I have had success working with difficult students. I love my family, music, sports, the BWCA, my dog and theater/drama. On a fun note, I was a blogger for Star Tribune for eight years (2008-16), covering the Minnesota Vikings. Skol!
Lead Client Care Manager
God has given me a passion for the work that goes on at Lakeside Academy. Having struggled myself as a teenager and needing treatment, I know what it’s like to be hurting at a young age. As a young man, God did transforming work in my life, giving me joy, peace and a purpose. I’ve been working at Lakeside Academy since we opened in 2015, and have had the pleasure of working with an amazing team of individuals dedicated to helping teens and families in their time of need. I love the outdoors, especially hiking, canoeing and fishing. At Lakeside, I get to enjoy it all with the teens that come into the program, along with sharing the hope and love that can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
At the very point I realized my life purpose was not simply to make myself happy, I decided to pursue a career centered entirely around the idea of helping others in any/all ways that I can. Each step I have taken since that point in time has brought me closer to realizing my true potential, and I continually feel empowered to grow continually throughout the rest of my days. Having a significant using history, beginning at a young age, I find myself easily able to resonate with the young men here at Lakeside. I seek to address these boys entirely; emotional, psychological, and spiritual needed to be met for me to have any growth of my own, and I want to offer as much care as I can to these guys. I plan to devote the rest of my life to God and any/all things he calls me to do.
I am beyond blessed to be in the position I currently am here at Lakeside.
Food Service Manager
AA-Dietetic Technician-Normandale Community College, CDM, CFPP.
I’m married to my wonderful husband, Dan, and we have four beautiful children. I enjoy cooking, menu planning and teaching. I’m blessed to work with these young men, and enjoy helping them gain kitchen, food safety and sanitation skills. It’s very rewarding working in a Christ-centered recovery program. I get to see God leading and touching their lives firsthand. To witness these young men gain strength for lifelong freedom is the most gratifying part of my job. We have a great team who cares for each boy individually, and I love seeing their young lives transformed.
I am a registered nurse, a mother of 8, and a grandmother of 2. It is a privilege to be called by God to help take care of these boys while they are here at Lakeside Academy. I see the boys on a regular basis and I make sure that all of their medical needs are being met. I educate the boys about health and wellness, help them manage their medication and work with parents and physicians in the community when the boys need to be seen for a medical concern. I really enjoy spending time with the boys and making them feel well-cared for, loved and listened to.
Client Care Manager
Bachelor’s Degree in Pastor Studies/ Licensed and Ordained Minister
I am grateful to be here at Lakeside Academy serving the families and young men who are a part of our program. Having served in full time ministry for over two decades I have seen the restoration power of God in the hearts and lives of so many young people. I have served in youth ministry and in the public high schools as an athletic coach for well over fifteen years. I have served on many different councils and committees to serve the needs of youth and their families throughout the state on Minnesota. Over the last twenty years I have been fortunate to be involved in leadership roles ranging from the church to the public high schools as well as the business world. I am excited to bring these skills and life lessons here to Lakeside Academy and count it a blessing to be able to work side by side with the great team here at Teen Challenge.
God gave me a passion for helping teenagers find freedom from their problematic behaviors. As a young man that struggled with substance use myself and graduated the Men’s long term program, I know the feelings of being lost and hopeless and the feelings of overcoming the past. At Lakeside Academy, it would be an honor to help your son work through their substance use issues and help them find freedom and joy in recovery, without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Co-Occurring Mental Health Therapist
I believe that the relationship built between the therapist and students is sacred. In my work with your son, my message with each individual is, “You are the expert of your story and I am here to walk alongside you as we process life and relationships at your pace.” In my work I use a holistic approach, honoring all the parts of the person: the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. I tailor all mental health sessions for the individual and the individual needs that each teen boy requires for their mental health services. I have extensive experience with adult and adolescents and work with entire families.
Licensed Practical Nurse, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor
I have been an LPN for 30+ years. I am married with 3 adult children and a 10 year old granddaughter. After having a teen who struggled with addiction issues, I was blessed with the opportunity to go back to school and receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Alcohol & Drug Counseling in 2010. By the grace of God I was led to Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge to complete my LADC internship and I am grateful to have stayed there ever since. While working as a counselor in the women’s program I realized my true passion is nursing. When the nursing position opened up, I was able to change roles to fulfill that passion. I am on-site at Lakeside Academy on work in the short term women’s program as well. I love working with teens and especially enjoy watching the boys grow and become the men of God they were called to be.
I have worked at Lakeside Academy since 2019. It has become incredibly clear to me that this is where God has put me. I love serving, teaching, connecting and interacting with these amazing young men while standing by their side and supporting them in their walk. “A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. It brings me so much joy to watch the transformation of these young men and the work God has done between admission and graduation. “With God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26. My wife Stacy and I have raised, home-schooled, and been blessed with 4 incredible children. I love spending time with my family, sports, outdoors, and board games.
Working at Lakeside Academy is a long-awaited answer to prayer. I became an addict at an early age, trying to disguise who I was as a person and trying to bury the trauma I had been through. I remained an addict through my early 30s, until God broke through the midst of me making the worst decision of my life, and redeemed me. My first life verse is Romans 3:23: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. My second life verse is Romans 8:1: Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The first reminds me that we all start out the same. The second reminds me that once I am His, I am His. I’ve worked with at-risk teens for over a decade and my passion remains the same: to help them from taking the long way around like I did. I enjoy spending time with my husband and adult children and my little puggle, Gus.