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Dedicated Professionals Working to Restore Families

The staff at Lake House Academy brings together education, skill, experience and a love for what they do. Each of these individuals understands the complex family dynamics our girls come from. Our goal is to help your daughter rediscover the confident, resilient and fun-loving person you know and love.

Sara Parisi, M. ED.

Executive Director

Sara Parisi joined the Embark Behavioral Health Care family in...

Rob Gent, MC

Interim Clinical Director

Rob Gent is Embark Behavioral Healthcare’s Chief Clinical Officer, He...

Bridget Camacho, LCSW

Program Director

Bridget earned her Master’s in Social Work with an Animal...

Erika Mackey, M. Ed.

Admissions Director

Erika attended the University of Connecticut and earned a Bachelor...

Deana Collins, M.Ed.

Academic Director

Deana attended Beloit College and earned a Bachelor of Science...

Heidi Strand, BA

Director of Professional Relations

Before joining Embark Behavioral Health in 2013, Heidi worked for...

Kristina Burgess, MS, LPCA

Therapist

Kristina received her Bachelor degree in Psychology at the University...

Carson Ray, LMFT-A

Therapist

Carson completed a bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor...

Andrea Burgess, LCSW

Equine Therapist

Andrea attended the University of North Carolina and earned a...

Leslie Denton

Residential Team Lead

Leslie Denton joined the Lake House team as a Residential...

Celine Armijo

Residential Team Lead

Celine Armijo graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a...

Robin Siedman, MA

Academic Team Lead

After completing her bachelors and masters degrees in Criminal Justice...

Christa Blumm

Health Services Coordinator

Christa Blumm is Lake House Academy’s Health Services Coordinator. Christa...

Carla Silver, BA

Teacher

Carla graduated from UNC-Asheville with a degree in Literature and...

Nonnie Cullipher, M.Ed

Teacher

Nonnie Cullipher has a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from...

Ethan Mays, BA

Teacher

Ethan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina...

Oslo Medley, BA

Teacher

Oslo joined Lake House Academy after teaching and serving as...

Sara Parisi, M. ED.

Position: Executive Director
Email: [email protected]

Sara Parisi joined the Embark Behavioral Health Care family in December of 2020 as the Executive Director of the Lake House Academy. Prior to assuming this role, she began her first career after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point where she received her commission as a military intelligence officer. She served honorably for nine years on active duty including two combat tours, one in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and another in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After transitioning from the military, she wanted to continue to serve her community through helping people achieve a healthy quality of life by pursuing a career in behavioral and mental health. She returned to school and received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with specialization in the treatment of addictive use disorders from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and is pursuing licensure as a LCMHC-A and LCAS-A in the state of North Carolina. She is delighted for the opportunity to integrate her leadership experience into her new career field.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Sara is also deeply passionate about health, fitness and nutrition, and is working towards obtaining her ability to compete at the professional level with the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness in the women’s physique division. She is looking forward to the future when comedy clubs reopen and road trip travel is less restrictive. In the meantime, she is rediscovering her artistic side, love of video games, and can usually be found with a cup of coffee in hand providing lots of love and attention to her rescue pup, Boogie. Despite not being born in North Carolina she is proud to call NC home and is looking forward to what friendships and adventures the western part of the state will bring her on her incredible life journey.

Middle School Favorites

Band: This was the time of my music revolution and exploration into multiple different genera’s. But, my enduring favorite band throughout middle school was Aerosmith.

Hobby/Sport/Activity: Hands down, I was obsessed with WWF (now WWE) wrestling, and was the first girl to join my 8th grade wrestling team. It was my dream to grow up to become a WWF/WWE superstar!

Most Prized Possession: I wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the house without my Chuck Taylor Converse All Star high tops, or my dad’s Vietnam war era, OD green Army field coat.

Rob Gent, MC

Position: Interim Clinical Director

Rob Gent is Embark Behavioral Healthcare’s Chief Clinical Officer, He obtained his BA from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. He has lead the Embark Behavioral Healthcare Eastern Division in clinical development and growth and is the lead developer of the proprietary CASA developmental trauma treatment model. Rob shares his work through speaking engagements and nationally known conferences and Developmental Trauma/Attachment trainings. Rob is passionate about neurological, psychological, and physiological development and continues to focus on the advancement of research and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

Middle School Favorites

Band: 

Hobby/Activity/Sports: 

Most Prized Possession: 

 

Bridget Camacho, LCSW

Position: Program Director
Email: [email protected]

Bridget earned her Master’s in Social Work with an Animal Assisted Social Work Certificate at the University of Denver. She has worked in therapeutic residential programming, as a clinical therapist with adolescents, conducted research with the Institute for Human Animal Connection, and served as an Adolescent Program Manager for a mental health program.

Middle School Favorites

Band: Avril Lavigne

Hobby/Sport/Activity: Volleyball

Most Prized Possession: My volleyball

Erika Mackey, M. Ed.

Position: Admissions Director
Email: [email protected]

Erika attended the University of Connecticut and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Relations. She continued on at Georgian Court University and earned a Master of Arts degree in Education. From there, she began a thirteen year career working as an educator in both private and public schools. In 2013, she was drawn to assist families seeking guidance in treatment for their children and worked independently as an educational consultant specializing in therapeutic programs. Prior to joining Lake House Academy, she has worked as an Admissions Associate for New Vision Wilderness.

Erika brings a strong background of knowledge and experience working with children, complex family systems, and diverse academic and mental health histories. She values providing families and referring professionals a high standard of quality care, responsiveness, and collaboration, as evidenced by her strong relationships within the industry and with families who have benefitted from her support.

Erika lives in North Carolina with her two daughters and their dog Ffynn. In her free time, Erika can be found volunteering with her daughter’s theater company, spending time with her family and watching college basketball.

Middle School Favorites:

Band-New Kids on the Block- Hangin’ Tough!

Hobby/Activity/Sport: Swim Team, youth group, playing the clarinet(poorly I might add!), reading my Seventeen Magazine

Most Prized Possession: My Neon Transparent corded phone that would light up when it rang and my curling iron to curl by bangs back!

Deana Collins, M.Ed.

Position: Academic Director
Email: [email protected]

Deana attended Beloit College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Education. She continued at Jacksonville State University and earned a Master of Arts degree in Special Education. During her career she has worked both in the classroom as a special educator teacher as well as in the leadership role of an Academic Director.

Deana brings with her a strong background using specific strategies, resources and assessments that cater to the needs of the learners and allow for individualized instruction. It is a process that ensures students are given guidance and flexibility in their learning process, enhancing their academic growth. She also brings well developed leadership skills and strong interpersonal skills that make effective and well-informed decisions in collaboration with both teachers, parents, and students.

Deana enjoys spending time being active outdoors by running, road biking, and mountain biking. She and her husband enjoy attending any type of sporting activity: basketball, track, volleyball, football. She is an avid reader and can often be found on a front porch with a big mug of coffee and good book.

Middle School Favorites

Band: Tiffany and George Michael

Hobby/Sport/Activity: Basketball, Volleyball, Track

Most Prized Possession: Telephone in my bedroom!

Heidi Strand, BA

Position: Director of Professional Relations
Email: [email protected]

Before joining Embark Behavioral Health in 2013, Heidi worked for more than 20 years as a professional in organized camping. She has created successful programs and business models for traditional and special needs programs for children, adults, and families in the Midwest. While providing opportunities for individuals and groups to learn and grow through their experiences, Heidi’s main areas of focus have been in organized camping/experiential living and learning, domestic and violence prevention and education, and professional and organizational management.

In 2013 Heidi joined New Vision Wilderness’ Wisconsin therapy program as Executive Director. In 2017 she joined Embark’s Eastern residential team, preparing to open a residential treatment center for teen girls specializing in attachment, anxiety, and depression.

Heidi earned her BA in the Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis University.

Heidi has served on local Boards of Directors in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and the American Camp Association. She has served on steering committees for the NATSAP Mid-West and various regional and national professional conference. She is a member and mentor of Evolving Women. When not working,  Heidi enjoys traveling, cooking for friends, planning community parades, and meaningful discussion and hearty laughs with her nephew and nieces.

Middle School Favorites

Band: The GoGos- best band ever – we got the beat!

Hobby/Activity/Sport: Swimming, creative writing, and making sure the collar on my purple Izod polo was always standing up!

Most Prized Possession: My navy blue baseball clogs (really cool blue/white laces). I rarely got up wear them because they were taken away anytime I clomped out of the room in them in a huff or dragged my feet on the ground when I wore them

Kristina Burgess, MS, LPCA

Position: Therapist
Email: [email protected]

Kristina received her Bachelor degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois. After undergrad, Kristina was a substitute teacher and began teaching group exercise classes. Group exercise fueled Kristina’s awareness of impact one’s physical experience has on mental health. This awareness drove her to pursue a career as a therapist. For graduate school, Kristina attended Western Illinois University and received her Master’s degree in Clinical/Community Mental Health. While in graduate school Kristina worked at a private practice implementing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with teens and adults with symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Kristina also completed her 200hr yoga teacher training while in graduate school.

After graduate school, Kristina moved to Asheville, NC and worked with kids in community mental health both as a therapist and a supervisor. Kristina’s approach to therapy is rooted in somatic therapies and attachment theory. She incorporates a mindful, trauma informed, systemic approach with her work with clients and families.

In her free time, Kristina can be found practicing and teaching yoga, hula hooping, cooking and kitting. Kristina also enjoys running and hiking with her dogs Wilson and Otto.

Middle School Favorites

Band: The Goo Goo Dolls

Hobby/Sport/Activity: Playing my Flute

Most Prized Possession: My journal

Carson Ray, LMFT-A

Position: Therapist
Email: [email protected]

Carson completed a bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and Family Relations at East Carolina University. She then attended Appalachian State University, where she received a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Carson completed a year-long internship where she worked at a community mental health clinic, providing free individual and group therapy.

Carson enjoys working with young people and families, and has fun hiking and exploring with students!

Andrea Burgess, LCSW

Position: Equine Therapist

Andrea attended the University of North Carolina and earned a Masters in Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Specialist, and brings a wealth of experience in child, adolescent and family services to the team. Andrea leads Lake House Academy’s Equine Therapy program and is trained in Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), Equine Assisted Growth and Learning (EAGALA) and Parelli Natural Horsemanship. She has experience in juvenile justice wilderness programming, inpatient psychiatric care, experiential programming for child and adolescent residential facilities, as well as experience in private practice. When not working, Andrea enjoys a variety of outdoor adventure including rock climbing, dirt biking, mountain biking and snowboarding.

Middle School Favorites:

Band: Duran Duran

Hobby/Sport/Activity: Riding horses

Most Prized Possession: My roller skates

Leslie Denton

Position: Residential Team Lead
Email: [email protected]

Leslie Denton joined the Lake House team as a Residential Caregiver in the Summer of 2019. Since then she has held roles as a Shift Leader and became the Team Lead in March of 2020. Leslie has a long history of service, caregiving and working with canines. One of her favorite parts of working for Lake House is planning Saturday activities for our students. When Leslie is not at LHA, you can find her hiking, camping and traveling to National Parks with her husband.

Celine Armijo

Position: Residential Team Lead
Email: [email protected]

Celine Armijo graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a degree in Criminal Justice before relocating to the Western North Carolina region. Celine has held positions as an Assault Crisis Advocate, a Court Advocate Trainer and an assistant at a behavioral health center. She joined the Lake House Team in 2019 as a Residential Shift Lead and immediately connected with our students, our families and our clinical model. When not at LHA, Celine can be found in the community and local colleges leading trainings and support groups!

Middle School Favorites

Band: Fall Out Boy and Luke Bryan

Hobby/Sport/Activity: softball, concerts, and many trips to the mall to hangout with friends

Most Prized Possession: My 3rd generation iPhone with a bright pink case and anything from Forever21

Robin Siedman, MA

Position: Academic Team Lead
Email: [email protected]

After completing her bachelors and masters degrees in Criminal Justice at St. Joseph’s University, Robin joined the Lake House Academy team in the summer of 2013. While working as a Residential Coach, she quickly came to realize that being a part of the growth process for Lake House’s girls and families is her life’s passion. In early 2014 she became a Lead Residential Coach and joined the Program Management team in the Fall of 2015. Robin enjoys creating strong bonds with students, focusing on a “jump in the mud” attitude to role model success. Her favorite activities include celebrating holidays with our students, planning fun activities and playing in local bowling and volleyball leagues.

The student’s favorite fun fact about Robin: she used to work as a clown and can make amazing balloon animals!

Christa Blumm

Position: Health Services Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Christa Blumm is Lake House Academy’s Health Services Coordinator. Christa earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Blue Ridge Community College in 2016, and became a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant through the National Healthcare Association that same year. She has worked in the medical field since graduating from high school, spending 16 years working at Pardee Hospital, with 14 of those years specifically focused on supporting the Surgical Associates. She also has experience working as an in-home aide through Four Seasons Home Care. Christa especially appreciates helping to support Lake House students through co-regulation, offering extra support and care-taking in her role. In her spare time, Christa enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3 daughters, vacationing, creating new crafts, and reading.

Carla Silver, BA

Position: Teacher

Carla graduated from UNC-Asheville with a degree in Literature and Academic Licensure. She experiences great happiness watching when a student understands a concept and in turn experiences their own joy. When not teaching, Carla enjoys reading, walking her dachshunds, traveling, cooking, baking, crocheting, volunteering in the community, and enjoying time with family. 

Nonnie Cullipher, M.Ed

Position: Teacher

Nonnie Cullipher has a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from St. John’s College, and a M.Ed. in Education from the University of New Mexico. Over the last 22 years, she has taught History, English, Math, and Science in a myriad of settings around the United States. Nonnie currently teaches World History and Civics and Government at Lake House Academy and helps with individualized student interventions.

Nonnie recently published a book of stories told by bestselling author and Jungian Analyst, Robert A. Johnson, and is currently in the studio working on the narration of the audio version for Audible.

During her free time, Nonnie is an avid hiker, swimmer, and dancer. She is the proud mother of two daughters and is expecting her first grandchild in January!

Middle School Favorites

Band: Police

Hobby/Activity/Sport: I was a total drama and jazz choir nerd, and my favorite past time in middle school was crazy, dress-up dance parties

Most Prized Possession: life-size, stand-up, cardboard Sting in my bedroom and my trusty can of hairspray. Those 80s hairstyles weren’t going to hold themselves up

Ethan Mays, BA

Position: Teacher

Ethan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He has a degree in Biology and a focus in Cellular and Molecular Biology. His favorite thing to teach is experimental design and execution. He is an expert at engaging students with games and role-playing scenarios like Sushi Go! Rise of Tribes, and D&D. Additionally, he is a handyman when needed. In his spare time, Ethan enjoys cooking for his Fancy Dinner Nights, listening to indie music, gaming with friends, and being a dad to his two beautiful cats, Pickles and Cheese.

Middle School Favorites:

Band: System of a Down, the perfect music for an angsty, rebellious teen

Hobby/Activity/Sport: Soccer, paintball, tennis, and playing drums

Most Prized Possession: Tipmann-98 Custom paintball marker or my locks

Oslo Medley, BA

Position: Teacher
Email: [email protected]

Oslo joined Lake House Academy after teaching and serving as the Math Department Director at a private all-girls school in Washington D.C. Leadership skills. They also have experience as an Instructional Coach, Athletic Director and founding PE teacher at KIPP DC: Valor Academy.  Their knowledge of being able to collaborate with an interdisciplinary team to resolve behavioral and academic situations is an invaluable asset to enhance the expectation of excellence within the Lake House Team.

A graduated from Brevard College, Oslo is excited to be reunited with friend and family ties in western North Carolina. When not teaching, Oslo enjoys spending time with my family, adventuring outdoors, and gardening.

 

 

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