• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Meet Our Team

Executive Director

Rick Pollard, M.Ed.

Rick brings his extensive and varied experience to be our Executive Director and received his Masters in Educational Leadership from Mercer University. He was employed as a retail District Leader for 16 years before he began his life-changing career in schools. In 2004, he began with the inaugural team of New Leaf Academy of NC, an all girls’ therapeutic boarding school that he helped lead over 5 years. He continued his career in therapeutic education as he led admissions teams for wilderness programs, assisting families with placements for a variety of diagnoses. During the 3 years prior to joining the team at Solstice East, he was Assistant Head of School at Brandon Hall School, an independent boarding school in Atlanta, GA. Rick joined Solstice East in 2015 and considers it a privilege to lead the caring Solstice East team that brings so much positive change and healing to the lives of adolescents and their families. Outside of Solstice East, Rick is pursuing his PhD and with occasional free time, he enjoys a variety of activities including kayaking, hiking, singing, printmaking and painting. He loves his daily walks and time with his Yorkshire terrier daughters, Katy and BeBe.

Executive Clinical Director

Jenny Selent, LMFT

Jenny is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Since 2008 Jenny has been helping families and individuals suffering from the severe symptoms of trauma. She has also dedicated much time to developing and implementing relationship-based, trauma-informed programming for the young women at Solstice RTC and Solstice East. Jenny has specialized training in EMDR and Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Areas of expertise include trauma, attachment, family systems, and a variety of women’s issues such as self-harm, body image, identity, and relationship issues. At the foundation of Jenny’s approach as a therapist are two beliefs: 1. Healthy relationships can facilitate healing and 2. Healing can facilitate healthy relationships. When not working, she can typically be found hiking, enjoying the mountains, or playing on her hobby farm with her beautiful children and wonderful husband.

Assistant Clinical & Equine Director, Primary Therapist

Georgia DeFrancia, M.S.W., LCSW

Georgia DeFrancia, a Colorado native, has been living in Western North Carolina for 10 years. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver and has over 15 years of experience in the mental health field with a specific focus on children, adolescents and families in both out patient and residential settings. She has extensive experience working with anxiety, depression, trauma and emotion regulation disorders. Georgia is rostered as a Trauma Focused CBT clinician and is in the midst of becoming certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). In addition, Georgia incorporates equine assisted psychotherapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy into her work. She truly believes that her clients have the wisdom and skills within them to overcome their struggles. Outside the office Georgia enjoys skiing, hiking and creating memories with her family.

Admissions Director

Becca Jefferies

Becca has worked in residential therapeutic girl programs since 2004, beginning as a residential staff at a therapeutic boarding school. Becca was able to apply her professional and nurturing skills to creating a Program Director position in the first year of her time with the program and since has been a founding program staff for two other programs. Becca is dedicated to working with families and young girls to promote healthy living emotionally and physically. “I truly feel that my mission in life includes empowering and educating young women through their healing process.” Becca is a native to Western North Carolina and enjoys all the outdoor activities, and delicious foods, that the Asheville area offers. As a mother of a little girl, her main focus is her daughter. She also values time with her family and friends who provide strong support and inspiration daily, music and recently has began learning to care for and ride horses. Email Becca with your admissions questions at: becca@solsticeeast.com

Director of Marketing & Business Development

Crissa Sinkovic

Crissa Sinkovic graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and held various music business industry positions in New York City before moving to Western North Carolina in 2007. Not long after that, Crissa founded Mason Jar Media, a boutique marketing agency specializing in traditional publicity, digital marketing, and radio promotion campaigns for festivals, musicians, and brands. Nestled in the idyllic, arts-centric town of Asheville, NC, Mason Jar Media went beyond traditional pitching and standard timelines to achieve unparalleled results for nationally renowned clients. Her clients included esteemed festivals like the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, TN), Shaky Knees Festival (Atlanta, GA), and KAABOO Festival (San Diego, CA), and musicians like G. Love & Special Sauce, and TAUK – to name a few.

After becoming a mom, Crissa decided it was time to seek a position that would allow her to transfer her wheelhouse of marketing skills into a role that would make a positive impact on her community. This aspiration came to light in early 2020 when she accepted a position as Solstice East’s Director of Marketing and Business Development.

Crissa is excited to apply her years of entrepreneurship and marketing experience from the creative sector into the mental health field. When she isn’t strategizing marketing plans, you might find her playing dress-up with her two young daughters or taking in the sights at a local festival – sometimes simultaneously.

Program Director

Bri Anicetti, B.A.

Bri graduated in 2009 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Bri moved to Asheville after a year of backpacking internationally. Bri intended to stay in Asheville only temporarily but quickly fell in love with the mountains and her Solstice family. Bri started with Solstice as a Mentor and then Team Manager before moving into the Residential Director role. She feels both pride and gratitude to be a part of the growth and healing she’s seen in students and their families during her time at Solstice. In her free time, Bri is often getting as much of the outdoors as possible. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, biking, and running.

History Teacher

Carol Sowers, M.Ed.

To stay connected to student’s everyday life, Carol continues to lead select History classes at Solstice East. Carol comes to Solstice East after moving to Asheville a little over a year ago from Washington D.C. There she taught IB History and was an Assistant Principal at the Islamic Saudi Academy. Carol has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Master’s of Education Degree with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction. Carol has broad experience in education, having taught ESL and IB History, served as a Dorm Parent, and worked as an Autism Paraprofessional. All of these experiences have informed her educational philosophy and strengthened her love of education. When not at school, Carol enjoys exploring the Asheville area, reading, playing with her Star Wars themed kittens, and spending time with her friends and family.

Adventure Therapy Specialist

Dan Horseman, B.S.

Dan Horseman thrives in the outdoors. From a young age, he participated in sports of all sorts and spent as much time as he could in nature. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Education and Psychology from Georgia College, effectively combining his passions of outdoor recreation with therapeutic experiential education. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Dan moved to North Carolina and worked leading outdoor adventure trips and teaching primitive living skills for children of all ages. His adventurous spirit led him to Colorado where he spent two years coordinating an adventure leadership program for local youth and perfecting his rock climbing technique.

Throughout his work and adventures, Dan’s education post-college has continued. He has received outdoor-related certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, Certified Swiftwater Rescuer, and as a Leave No Trace Trainer. Through his training in sports and the outdoors, Dan has learned that nature, teamwork, and perseverance can build important life skills. He has witnessed the healing powers that can be found through spending time in nature and challenging oneself through new experiences and believes that youth who engage in these mediums develop strong values, build positive self-esteem, foster friendships, grow as young leaders, and engage in healthy lifestyles.

When Dan is not leading group excursions with students, he continues to enjoy exploring the outdoors rock climbing, whitewater paddling, mountain biking, running, and hiking with his wife, Kaity, and dog, Kara.   One of Dan’s favorite personal achievements includes thru-hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in 2013.

Psychiatrist

Tiffany Sauls, MD

Dr. Tiffany Sauls is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with a focus on integrative approaches to diagnosis and treatment of adolescent mental health issues. Not only does she provide medication management, she also assesses for nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, and food sensitivities that can contribute to mental health problems. She approaches psychiatry from a holistic model, using medications sparingly and only after contributing factors have been addressed and corrected. Dr. Sauls is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and completed her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina. She attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and completed residency in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. She is board certified in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sauls worked in adolescent psychiatric residential treatment in Corvallis, Oregon for three years prior to moving to North Carolina in 2013. She lives in Asheville with her husband, two young children, and four animals. She enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking and picnicking. She is very excited to be a part of the outstanding team of mental health professionals at Solstice East.

Psychiatrist

Mona Rice, MD

Dr. Rice is a board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist who completed her medical residency in psychiatry & medical fellowship in child & adolescent psychiatry at the Brody School of  Medicine in East Carolina University.  She has expertise in child & adolescent development & psychiatric disorders.Dr. Rice has been a licensed practitioner since 2006. She initially conducted her outpatient practice for 5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2012, she has been treating children & adolescents in Western North Carolina. Dr. Rice strives to use a reasonable amount of medications that will enhance functioning while minimizing adverse effects. She collaborates with the therapeutic team & counsels her patients to utilize skills learned from therapy.

Operations Director

Pennie McLean, B.F.A.

Originally from Atlanta, Pennie came to the North Carolina mountains in 1999 because of its creative community and beautiful landscape. Pennie obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from University of Georgia. While living in Asheville, she has worked in various jobs such as office management, accounting and marketing in real estate and manufacturing companies. Living close by to the Solstice East campus, Pennie, her husband and young son enjoy the area. In fact, her husband grew up just down the road and they were married on our campus is 2001. Outside of work, Pennie spends her time working on art projects and home design. Especially interested in sustainably built homes, she has taken courses in drafting, CAD and green building practices.

Director of Learning Services

Jessica Stewart, B.A, M.ED

Jessica graduated with honors from Brevard College with her B.A. in English and an emphasis in secondary education. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in special education from Western Carolina University. She has experience teaching in a therapeutic residential setting. This setting is where she fully realized her passion for teaching diverse learners. She has also worked for the Autism Society of Western North Carolina teaching community skills to children on the autism spectrum. When not teaching, she enjoys reading and collecting records.

Executive Clinical Director

Jenny Selent, LMFT

Jenny is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Since 2008 Jenny has been helping families and individuals suffering from the severe symptoms of trauma. She has also dedicated much time to developing and implementing relationship-based, trauma-informed programming for the young women at Solstice RTC and Solstice East. Jenny has specialized training in EMDR and Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Areas of expertise include trauma, attachment, family systems, and a variety of women’s issues such as self-harm, body image, identity, and relationship issues. At the foundation of Jenny’s approach as a therapist are two beliefs: 1. Healthy relationships can facilitate healing and 2. Healing can facilitate healthy relationships. When not working, she can typically be found hiking, enjoying the mountains, or playing on her hobby farm with her beautiful children and wonderful husband.

Assistant Clinical & Equine Director, Primary Therapist

Georgia DeFrancia, M.S.W., LCSW

Georgia DeFrancia, a Colorado native, has been living in Western North Carolina for 10 years. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver and has over 15 years of experience in the mental health field with a specific focus on children, adolescents and families in both out patient and residential settings. She has extensive experience working with anxiety, depression, trauma and emotion regulation disorders. Georgia is rostered as a Trauma Focused CBT clinician and is in the midst of becoming certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). In addition, Georgia incorporates equine assisted psychotherapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy into her work. She truly believes that her clients have the wisdom and skills within them to overcome their struggles. Outside the office Georgia enjoys skiing, hiking and creating memories with her family.

Assistant Clinical Director

Mark Dunn, M.C., LPC, LCMHC, LSUDC

Mark has worked in behavioral health and therapeutic settings for over Thirty years. He entered the behavioral health field in a direct care capacity, learning the important role of creating structure and ensures client safety. Being in the direct care role for over fifteen years helped him understand that relationship building and positive regard are at the heart of any therapeutic relationship. In 1997, he received the Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor Credential and began serving as a substance abuse counselor and program coordinator. During this time, Mark took on his first counseling responsibilities and began learning the intricacies of the addictions field. After several years of counseling he was asked to create new addictions programming and structure, which initiated some of the first programming that focused on core issues and executive functioning skills in a recovery atmosphere. Mark continued his education and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, and thereafter received the Clinical Mental Health Counselor License. Mark has received training in many modalities to help those with trauma including EMDR and Trauma Focused CBT. Loosing his father at an early age inspired Mark to develop and facilitate workshops on working though grief and loss. During his time at Solstice East Mark has been involved in Family Systems, Experiential and Grief and Loss groups. “Patience, a desire to learn, and a sense of humor are at the heart of my success.” In the latter part of his career, Mark has had the privilege to mentor and supervise other therapists. He feels that providing the benefit of his experience to others is a way for him to give back to all those who have mentored him. Mark has had the privilege of working with hundreds of families and many of these families reach out to him years after treatment to provide updates or ask advice. Mark believe this is one of the highest compliments that can be paid to a helping professional, and he continues to be humbled at being a part of the healing process for families.

Primary Therapist

Audrey Pfluger – LCMHCA

Audrey Pfluger embarked into the field of mental health through fortunate happenstance. She began her career by receiving a bachelor’s in Architecture from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and after graduation found herself working on design projects for K-12 public schools. Through one of these projects, Audrey became involved in a volunteer mentorship program for underserved children and adolescents with a parent in incarceration. At this time, she also joined the Girls Empowerment Network where she advised young women in grades 3-12 on mindfulness, confidence, and self-esteem. In 2016, she co-founded a Texas non-profit for adolescents focused on raising awareness about the dangers of sex trafficking and how to build healthy relationships. Upon realizing that her passion for working with adolescents was stronger than her desire to design buildings, Audrey decided to go back to school. She enrolled at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and graduated with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Certificate in Substance Abuse.

While completing her graduate studies, Audrey interned at Solstice East and received additional first-hand experience in trauma therapy as well as training in Brainspotting. Before she would return to Solstice to work as a Primary Therapist, Audrey spent time as a field guide at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. She gained an appreciation for ecotherapy and developed a belief that the modality of ecotherapy, when practiced with other therapy models, can help her clients develop a deeper connection with nature and its resources, allowing for a higher level of balance and understanding.

At Solstice East, Audrey focuses on treating students dealing with issues of trauma, PTSD, addictions, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and cognitive distortions. Beyond her certification as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHCA), Audrey incorporates person-centered, strength-based, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches into her practice. When Audrey is not working she loves spending as much time as she can outdoors, painting, gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Primary Therapist

Becky Miller, LPC

Becky Miller began her career in mental healthcare working with youth in Chicago, IL, where she also received her BA from Columbia College in performance with a focus on improv. It was during this time that she witnessed the powerful connection between art, self-expression, and healing, and would be inspired to pursue a career that would combine her love of the arts and social work. In 2010, Becky received her masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in Marriage/Family Therapy, from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. During her studies, she also trained to become a certified Expressive Art Therapist and explored ways to integrate various art therapy techniques including somatic, movement, and narrative mediums into her practice. Beyond her certifications as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Expressive Art Therapist, Becky has received training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and has studied sexualized behavioral issues in teens/adolescents. She is also trained in Brainspotting, a modified form of EMDR therapy.

Becky believes that all humans have the capacity to grow and heal with the support of therapeutic tools and time. She is passionate about helping parents and teens learn ways to engage with each other in healthy relationships that foster positive connections and healing. In addition to relational issues with self and others, Becky also focuses on treating issues of attachment, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), anxiety and depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and substance abuse.

When she’s not providing support for students at Solstice East, Becky can be found hiking with her pups around Western North Carolina mountains and rivers, spending time with family and friends, enjoying Asheville’s local music scene, writing, practicing photography, gardening, and accepting that she’s probably never going to get around to learning how to knit.

Primary Therapist

Caitlin Crolley, MSW, LCSW

Caitlin Crolley received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. During her studies, she embarked on roles working for both nonprofit and government agencies serving youth affected by violence and trauma; she considers herself fortunate for stumbling upon the field of social work during her freshman year. While completing her graduate degree, Caitlin worked at a domestic violence center and was credited with co-developing a children’s program providing therapeutic, academic, and experiential services to adolescents living in transitional housing.

Upon graduation, she relocated to Western North Carolina where she pursued a career working in community mental health and helped to serve youth and their families in outpatient and intensive in-home settings. And although Caitlin has always felt passionate about helping others, especially girls and women, it was during this time that she discovered a strong conviction to support teens and sexual violence survivors.

Caitlin then transitioned her career to working as the lead counselor for a rape crisis center where she strengthened her knowledge of trauma and the long-term effects that it has on the brain, body, and mind. She strives to empower women to use their voices and to feel heard, and believes that the validation of a traumatic sexual experience is the first step in healing.

Through her ongoing research and treatment of sexual traumas and attachment issues, Caitlin has expanded her knowledge through training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting. She also utilizes practices found in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), psychotherapy, and Yoga for Resiliency and Trauma in treating her clients. During her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, being outside hiking and rock climbing, singing, writing, snuggling with her furbabies, and spending time with her partner, friends, and family.

Primary Therapist

Dan Hadley

Dan received his Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology. He has worked in a variety of settings over the years including private practice, adolescent inpatient and residential treatment, as well as conducted supervision for Marriage and Family therapists and taught in a Master’s-level counseling program. Dan has specialized with adolescents and family therapy for over 27 years. This work has included trauma recovery, EMDR, mindfulness training, family systems therapy training. Dan has extensive experience with intense family therapy, parent training around issues of trauma, depression and anxiety, addiction, and attachment. When he is not at his job Dan very much enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters, and dog, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, camping, doing yoga, and generally goofing off.  

Primary Therapist, LCSWA, LCASA

Kaity Vandenberg

Kaity has over eight years of experiences working with youth and young adults in a variety of settings including clinical, academic, adventure, and summer camp programming and has absolutely loved it. She received a B.S. in Outdoor Education and most recently a master’s degree in Social Work. Kaity is passionate about pairing experiential learning models with therapeutic modalities. She believes that by fostering authentic relationships with others and the natural world, personal healing and meaningful connections continually grow. Kaity feels she has found an inspiring community in Asheville and at Solstice East and she is so humbled to a part of it all. When Kaity is not working, she loves spending time with her family, doing mindful yoga, and spontaneously traveling and adventuring.

Primary Therapist

Kristin Adams, LCSW

Kristin Adams is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that began her social work journey in child protective services in Kentucky before moving to Utah to live on the trail as a wilderness therapy instructor. These experiences inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in clinical social work. For over 10 years, Kristin has served individuals and families in residential, wilderness, and outpatient settings. Her areas of expertise include attachment, family systems, personality development, depression/anxiety, and issues with identity, body image, and self-esteem. Kristin is passionate about female empowerment and strives to help individuals realize their inner strength and voice. When not working, Kristin can be found trail running, hiking, caving, or watching a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game.

Primary Therapist

Olivia Davis, NCC, LPC-A

Olivia Davis is passionate about working with adolescents and considers herself somewhat of an expert in teenagers. She has worked in various roles with youth since 2009 and expresses a natural compassion and understanding of the challenges that adolescents face. Olivia’s journey into the world of relational work with teenagers began over a decade ago when she earned her undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Development from the University of Memphis. During this time she spent time mentoring local teens and leading groups of volunteers.

In 2013, Olivia moved to Western North Carolina to pursue a job working with adolescents and their families at Windy Gap adventure camp. Shortly thereafter, she accepted a mentorship position at Solstice East. She quickly fell in love with the challenge and pride of working in the field of mental health and decided to go back to school to earn her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville. During her studies, Olivia continued to build her knowledge by working at Journey Home East, a transitional-living home and sister school to Solstice East. She also gained experience working in wilderness therapy, as well as working shifts at a drug and alcohol detox clinic. Just before accepting a Primary Therapist role at Solstice East, Olivia served clients on Medicaid as a public school-based therapist.

Olivia focuses on treating students dealing with issues of trauma, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and chronic anxiety and depression. Beyond her certifications as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), Olivia has spent time studying how to treat ASD with trauma therapy techniques. Additionally, she is trained in Brainspotting – a modified form of EMDR therapy. When Olivia’s not in her office, you can find her tending to her garden and many plants, making music, reading crime fiction novels, making things beautiful through calligraphy and interior decorating, and spending time with her husband and young son.

Primary Therapist

Sarah Bolick, MSW, LCSW

Sarah is a graduate of The University of Chicago, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. While an intern, Sarah worked in public schools with elementary and middle school aged children to improve social and emotional well-being through trauma-informed psychotherapy. After graduating, Sarah re-located to North Carolina where she provided Intensive In-Home and Outpatient services to families in rural Appalachia. Sarah believes that healthy relationships are key in the healing process, and is grateful to be part of the Solstice team where the creation of healthy relationships is an integral part of treatment.  When not working, Sarah enjoys backpacking, rafting and hiking in the beautiful mountains of NC.

Primary Therapist

Vicki Mattei

Vicki received her Bachelor’s in Neuroscience from Ursinus College and holds a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies from Western Carolina University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist in North Carolina. Her experience includes work with a variety of mental health and substance use disorders in academic, residential, and outpatient settings. Her approach to therapy is person-centered and strengths-based, and integrates elements of Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Existential Therapy, and somatic work. Central to her approach with clients is the belief that each person has within them the potential to heal from difficult life experiences and transform into a more resilient and authentic version of themselves. She views herself as a guide on this journey, in which connection and relationship are essential for growth. She is holistic in her work with clients, bringing mind, body, and spirit into the work, and has specialized training in Subtle Yoga, a trauma-informed, body-centered approach to working with mental health and trauma. When Vicki is not working she enjoys yoga, reading, decorating, cooking, the outdoors, and spending time with her family.

Primary Therapist

Zac Tompkins, LCMHC

Zac Tompkins received his master’s degree from Western Carolina University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in 2013. When he first began working in the community mental health field, he managed a client base that represented a spectrum of issues and disorders. This experience created an early awareness in him of the critical impact that traumatic events and painful relational experiences in childhood and adolescence can have on mental health and how these issues can arise again later in life. Since then, Zac has developed this understanding further by focusing his career in trauma and attachment repair work by serving survivors of sexual violence at a rape crisis center and in private practice.

In 2017, Zac joined the Solstice East family to continue helping clients that struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, and issues of identity, self-esteem, and attachment – obstacles that so many adolescents face. Through his ongoing research, he incorporates a variety of mindfulness-based interventions into his counseling practice including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Gestalt therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients redefine their relationship with their thoughts, feelings, relationships, and history. Additionally, Zac is trained in and utilizes equine therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting, a modified form of EMDR, to help his clients create distance from painful experiences and foster more adaptive perspectives in their lives.

Core to Zac’s therapeutic work is the formation of a warm and trusting relationship grounded in safety and respect. He believes that each of us has an obligation, whether consciously acknowledged or not, to create our own life meaning in order to build and sustain a life worth living. He focuses his therapeutic work on trauma because he has found that trauma can shatter our preconceptions about meaning in the world and within ourselves. Through the healing process, Zac’s clients wrestle with questions of meaning, and through that process, they renew and improve their self-perspective, pushing forward to achieve contentment and become who they are truly meant to be. When he’s not working, you can find him in the woods, spending time with friends and family, reading, or adventuring on his motorcycle.

Addictions Program Director

Anna White, MSW, LCAS, LCSW

For nearly two decades, Anna White has dedicated her professional life to helping others. She began her career in 2002 as a Child Welfare Scholar, receiving extensive training and meeting additional educational requirements, to receive her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University. Immediately upon graduation, Anna became an Investigator with Child Protective Services and applied her passion for making an impact on the lives of children in a positive and supportive way. In 2011, Anna received her master’s degree as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker from her alma mater, and while working her way through an accelerated degree program, she interned at WakeMed Hospital on the emergency room floor as a Behavioral Health Counselor. This internship showcased Anna’s talent for remaining calm in hectic situations and enhanced her ability to assess emergencies with a cool mind.

After completing her degree, Anna accepted a position as a Crisis Therapist at the Cleveland Crisis and Recovery Center in Western North Carolina. As one of the center’s original hires, Anna became responsible for curating the structure and facilitation of addiction and recovery groups for voluntary and involuntarily-placed residents. She was mindful to implement group therapy meetings because of its proven effectiveness as a therapeutic modality for substance abuse – a belief that she has carried with her throughout her professional journey. As an Assessment Clinician and Outpatient Therapist for Mental Health and Substance Abuse with RHA, Anna fine-tuned her expertise in performing comprehensive clinical assessments and diagnosing treatment plans for clients experiencing a full spectrum of issues and disorders. She also provided individual therapy sessions for clients not only affected by substance and addictions abuse, but also suffering from trauma, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders. Before working at Solstice East, Anna performed LCSW and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) duties at Mission Hospital in Asheville where she utilized evidence-based therapeutic modalities including motivational interviewing.

Anna strives to take the shame out of the misconceptions of addiction. She recognizes that everyone has a loved one that has been affected by addictions and substance abuse. At Solstice East, Anna is involved in the oversight of activities that happen on and off-campus for students going through recovery. She is passionate about her work and is constantly developing and evolving programs that support her clients through individual, group, and family therapy sessions. Her overarching goal is to be an advocate for her clients and to give them a platform to be seen and feel heard.

Anna holds an LCAS certification and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Brainspotting. She also utilizes therapeutic practices found in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in her sessions. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, being outside, and spending time with her family.

Transition Coach

Danielle Andrews, MA, LPC, CFTP

Before pursuing her deeper passions in counseling, Danielle worked for 12-years in the business sector, specializing in Labor/Employee Relations, Leadership Development, Mediation, Collective Bargaining, and Employment Law. Since 2008, Danielle has worked enthusiastically with adolescents, young adults, and families in wilderness programs, private practice, schools, and treatment settings. She is thrilled to combine her background in conflict resolution, systemic change management, counseling, and transitions to her role at Solstice East. Specializations include: addiction, anxiety, spectrum disorders, complex PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and attachment. Danielle is EMDR trained and Certified as a Family Trauma Professional (CFTP). “Character cannot be determined in ease and quiet; only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” –Helen Keller

Specialty Groups Therapist

Susan Elaine, M.Ed., LMFT

Susan Elaine completed her B.A. degree in Psychology/Sociology at Emory and Henry College, Emory, Va. After several happy years as a stay-at-home parent, she completed her Masters of Education degree, with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy, at East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tn. Her training, in the interaction between individuals and systems, led her to identify a therapeutic gap in the unique developmental needs of adolescent girls and young women. After completing licensure as a marriage and family therapist, she focused her training and her passion on issues particular to adolescent girls, including disordered eating, body dysmorphia, trauma, and self-harm. She worked in a service-based counseling center, a private practice, and most recently in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City. She co-founded an eating disorder coalition in N.E. Tennessee, and created an eating disorder resource and provider network in her region. As a woman, daughter, sister, and mother, Susan believes in the intuitive power of the female spirit. She recognizes the power of healing, within a safe, trusting, and compassionate relationship, and deeply values the role of connectedness and mutual support. She remains committed to the valuable work of empowering girls and women within the sacred context of the healing journey.

Equine Specialist

Terry Kozak, B.A., ES

Terry grew up in Lincoln, NE then moved to Fort Collins, CO where she graduated from Colorado State University (CSU) with a Bachelors in Sociology. Terry worked in community mental health with children and families for a few years and then ran a not-for-profit foster care agency for ten years. Terry has always been drawn to horses and began riding at a young age. She took equine equitation classes at CSU and has been taking private lessons ever since. She has always dreamed of blending her love for horses and her devotion to helping children and families, she now feels she has the perfect job as an Equine Specialist at Solstice East. Terry is certified in EAGALA and Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; she is passionate about equine therapy and has seen first hand how horses change lives. With a background in natural horsemanship, Terry has been partnering and dancing with horses for over 20 years. Terry enjoys spending time outside hiking, running and at home on her farm with her husband, 2 children, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, llamas, etc….

Psychiatrist

Tiffany Sauls, MD

Dr. Tiffany Sauls is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with a focus on integrative approaches to diagnosis and treatment of adolescent mental health issues. Not only does she provide medication management, she also assesses for nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, and food sensitivities that can contribute to mental health problems. She approaches psychiatry from a holistic model, using medications sparingly and only after contributing factors have been addressed and corrected. Dr. Sauls is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and completed her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina. She attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and completed residency in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. She is board certified in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sauls worked in adolescent psychiatric residential treatment in Corvallis, Oregon for three years prior to moving to North Carolina in 2013. She lives in Asheville with her husband, two young children, and four animals. She enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking and picnicking. She is very excited to be a part of the outstanding team of mental health professionals at Solstice East.

Psychiatrist

Mona Rice, MD

Dr. Rice is a board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist who completed her medical residency in psychiatry & medical fellowship in child & adolescent psychiatry at the Brody School of  Medicine in East Carolina University.  She has expertise in child & adolescent development & psychiatric disorders.Dr. Rice has been a licensed practitioner since 2006. She initially conducted her outpatient practice for 5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2012, she has been treating children & adolescents in Western North Carolina. Dr. Rice strives to use a reasonable amount of medications that will enhance functioning while minimizing adverse effects. She collaborates with the therapeutic team & counsels her patients to utilize skills learned from therapy.

History Teacher

Carol Sowers, M.Ed.

To stay connected to student’s everyday life, Carol continues to lead select History classes at Solstice East. Carol comes to Solstice East after moving to Asheville a little over a year ago from Washington D.C. There she taught IB History and was an Assistant Principal at the Islamic Saudi Academy. Carol has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Master’s of Education Degree with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction. Carol has broad experience in education, having taught ESL and IB History, served as a Dorm Parent, and worked as an Autism Paraprofessional. All of these experiences have informed her educational philosophy and strengthened her love of education. When not at school, Carol enjoys exploring the Asheville area, reading, playing with her Star Wars themed kittens, and spending time with her friends and family.

Director of Learning Services

Jessica Stewart, B.A, M.ED

Jessica graduated with honors from Brevard College with her B.A. in English and an emphasis in secondary education. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in special education from Western Carolina University. She has experience teaching in a therapeutic residential setting. This setting is where she fully realized her passion for teaching diverse learners. She has also worked for the Autism Society of Western North Carolina teaching community skills to children on the autism spectrum. When not teaching, she enjoys reading and collecting records.

Mathematics Teacher

Dan Coleman, B.S.

Dan Coleman, a Western North Carolina native, received his B.A. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2009 with University Honors and Departmental Distinction. As a licensed math instructor and a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, Dan has spent his professional career working with youth in therapeutic education environments. He enjoys music, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the great outdoors. As a passionate educator, promoting diversity in the mathematical community, Dan came to Solstice East with many ideas for developing a classroom setting that inspires young women to become thoroughly engaged in science and mathematics.

English Teacher

MacKenzie Hand M.S.T

Greetings and salutations. I am MacKenzie Hand, the English teacher for all levels at Timbersong Academy! I am a New York native, having earned my Master’s in the Science of Teaching from SUNY Plattsburgh in upstate New York. After earning my teaching certificate, I moved to Philadelphia, PA where I taught 7th grade Language Arts at a middle school in the Kingsessing neighborhood. I come to Timbersong with an enthusiasm for ELA that is tough to match, and I hope to share that passion and energy with all my students in a safe and nurturing environment, where we can explore humanity and hone our abilities as effective communicators! When I am not busy immersing myself in all the joys of teaching, I am probably busy rambling about J.R.R. Tolkien’s collected works, writing music, or working on bicycles (my second passion, I’ve been a organizing/managing local shops and volunteer cycling workspaces as a mechanic for nearly ten years now). I am thrilled to be living in the city of Asheville, alongside my partner Juliya and our dog, Piper.

Art Teacher

Nikki Shoneman, BA

Nikki has a BA. in Fine Arts from UC Santa Cruz with a focus in painting and drawing and was honored as a California Art Scholar. She exhibits, teaches, performs and offers workshops in California and North Carolina, where she relocated in 2012. She has been oil painting since the age of eight and continues to explore and express through photography, painting, drawing, and ceramics. Her inspiration comes from her deep connection to nature and using art as a deep mindfulness practice.  She conveys those sensitivities through many different media. She is the founder and past director as well as art facilitator for MOVE, a non-profit art organization providing alternatives ways to at-risk youth in the bay area. Now in North Carolina, Nikki continues to offer art classes and loves teaching at Timbersong Academy.

Musical Arts Teacher

Dustin Wallace

Dustin moved to Asheville from Central Pennsylvania in late 2016 and brings a wealth of experience in both mental health and music education. Dustin began touring as a professional musician at age 17 playing with various Blues acts around the east coast and midwest. After six years as an Aerospace Propulsion Engineer in the U.S. Air Force, Dustin began working in direct care in both inpatient and residential treatment settings while teaching individual instrument lessons as well as classes in music history and marketing at both the secondary and collegiate level.. During this time, Dustin also founded the punk band With The Punches and toured nationally and internationally for five years. Dustin currently splits time between Timbersong and building custom guitars.

Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design; Science Teacher

Sara Camuso, B.S. Ed. Secondary Education, Biology

Sara Camuso, while not a WNC native, has been in the Asheville area for nearly 10 years.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, specializing in Biology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Prior to teaching, she also received a Bachelor’s degree in Turfgrass Science from The Pennsylvania State University and was the previous field manager for the Asheville Tourists baseball team.  Sara has experience as both a classroom instructor as well as leading out of the classroom learning experiences such as education seminars and public science conventions. Aside from her role as Science Teacher, Sara works with the current faculty in her role as the Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design to create multidisciplinary learning experiences.  Sara is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Instructional Design.  In her free time, Sara enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing, and whitewater kayaking, as well as sharing her passion for the outdoors.

Math Teacher

Michael Lambeth

Michael grew up in the small town of Pine Island, MN and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Biology and Environmental Science.  As he was completing university, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life, so he joined the Peace Corps and became a math and science teacher in Sierra Leone.  The two years spent in West Africa were life-changing, and helped form him into the teacher he is today.  Upon returning to the U.S. he has taught both math and/or science in California, Massachusetts, and in North Carolina.  He loves working at Timbersong Academy and using his diverse experiences to help the students succeed.
Humanities Teacher

Mark ​​Wonnacott Ph.D

Mark Wonnacott is originally from Belleville, Illinois, just outside St. Louis. He earned a BA in philosophy and political science from McKendree University, a Master’s in communication from the University of Central Missouri, and finished PhD coursework in communication at the University of Kansas. His experience translating complex concepts to broad audiences lead him to teaching, and he as been at private high schools since arriving in western North Carolina five years ago. His favorite part of teaching is the relationship building that accompanies it, which is a primary motivation for him to come to Timbersong. When not in the classroom, Mark enjoys cooking, writing dystopian science fiction, and hiking with his dogs Barley and Kili.

English Teacher

Anne-Marie Farmer

Anne-Marie comes to Solstice East with experience in independent, public, and therapeutic schools in Vermont. Anne-Marie earned her teaching certification in English from the state of Vermont after completing a four-year secondary education program at the University of Vermont. Her background in wilderness therapy has been the foundation for her relational approach throughout her experience as an educator. Her passion for creating engaging, student-centered lesson plans that meet the unique needs of diverse learners has been a guiding principle for her career. She has built her practice around empowering students to find their voice and develop the skills to engage with the world around them through literature. It is this educational philosophy that drew her to working at Solstice East. She is proud to be a part of the teaching staff here and join the greater community. While not in the classroom, Anne-Marie enjoys going on hikes with her dog, Aslan, and spending time with her friends and family.

Program Director

Bri Anicetti, B.A.

Bri graduated in 2009 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Bri moved to Asheville after a year of backpacking internationally. Bri intended to stay in Asheville only temporarily but quickly fell in love with the mountains and her Solstice family. Bri started with Solstice as a Mentor and then Team Manager before moving into the Residential Director role. She feels both pride and gratitude to be a part of the growth and healing she’s seen in students and their families during her time at Solstice. In her free time, Bri is often getting as much of the outdoors as possible. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, biking, and running.

Residential Trainer

Danielle Manion, B.A.

Danielle graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville with a BA in psychology. Following college Danielle has worked in developmental childcare centers, YMCA summer camp and after-school programs and a Psychiatric treatment facility. Danielle has always has been passionate about helping young people who were “at-risk” or in need of extra guidance and support, find a greater peace and meaning in their lives. Since coming to Solstice Danielle has enjoyed using the relationship based model to not only build relationships with these young women, but has continued to learn more about herself. Danielle hopes to foster an understanding of self worth in the youth that she works with so that they may see the great potential their lives have in store for them. Away from work, Danielle loves creek hopping, waterfall jumping and any outdoor adventure she can find with her dog by her side. She has grown up in these beautiful mountains and is constantly finding new outdoor treasures. Danielle value the importance of a healthy active lifestyle and the benefits that working out and running have on everyday happiness.

Alarka Team Manager

Afton Weiner, M.S

Afton strives to make every day feel like Summer Camp! After attending summer camp for 9 years as a camper and 7 years as a counselor, department head, and head counselor, Afton decided to turn her passion into a career. She received a Master’s degree in Camp Administration and became the Program Director at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp in central Florida. Knowing it was time to leave the nest, Afton decided to give the mountains a go and found Solstice East. “I didn’t just find another place to work, I found a community.” Here, Afton can apply her passion for play in a new and meaningful way that fosters connection, healing, and growth.

Hominy Team Manager

Lauren Westmoreland

Lauren was born and raised in Mooresville, NC. While in high school she worked with teenage girls who struggled at home and at school. She continued in the mentor role at Western Carolina University where she mentored freshman throughout her undergraduate degree. She graduated from WCU in 2015 with a degree in psychology and a minor in nutrition. Lauren has worked at Solstice East since 2015 and takes pride in the growth and all that she has learned working here. Lauren believes that there is an opportunity to learn in everything that we do and cherishes her time and growth at Solstice East. Lauren’s passion at work is to guide the students into loving and valuing themselves in a way they deserve and empowering them to make healthy changes in their lives. Outside of work Lauren enjoys hiking with her dog, cuddling with her cat and traveling. 

Laurel Team Manager

La’Neice Blessing

La’Neice grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She left home in 2012 to attend Outdoor Educators institute in Oakland,California. After graduating from the program, she worked with multiple non-profit organizations in the Bay area. Her main mission was to support youth in finding healing through the outdoors. In 2014 La’Neice was offered a position at Trails Carolina. It was there that she discovered the importance of teenagers having strong role models in their life who can show up and meet them where they are at. La’Neice transitioned to Solstice in 2017 and has worked as a mentor and rec staff. When La’Neice is not working she spends her time reading, rock climbing and playing board games.

Eno Team Manager

Margo Murphy

Margo moved to Asheville when she was 13 and hasn’t been able to stay away since. The mountains always call her back home. Margo has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Human Service Studies from Elon University and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Margo has been at Solstice for over 2 years, which started as a job as a mentor/internship, and was fortunate enough that it turned into a career. Margo has said, “The relationships I have at Solstice are so important to me and I continue to learn and grow every day through the work, which is my favorite part.”

Nurse

Kelcie Barker, RN

Kelcie is a native of Asheville and received her nursing degree locally at AB-Tech. Kelcie has been an RN for over a decade, working in geriatrics, women’s health, and adolescent treatment centers. She really enjoys working with this age group and finds it very rewarding to help adolescents healing from their trauma. When not at work, Kelcie enjoys hiking, backpacking, going to see live music, traveling, gardening, and learning about native plants and permaculture systems. She and her husband have a small urban farm with potbelly pigs, ducks, chickens,  a few barn cats, and a dog, Birch.

Nurse

Taylor Irwin, RN

Taylor Irwin joins the Solstice East team from Eliada Home, a residential treatment facility for adolescents. Taylor attended the University of Central Florida and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Psychology degrees in 2014. Prior to relocating to Asheville, NC, she worked for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for two years as a pediatric nurse in St. Petersburg, FL. Taylor is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Saving (PALS) and is a Certified Pediatric Nurse. In her spare time, Taylor enjoys mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, reading, and playing with her fluffy dog, Jasper.

Psychiatrist

Mona Rice, MD

Dr. Rice is a board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist who completed her medical residency in psychiatry & medical fellowship in child & adolescent psychiatry at the Brody School of  Medicine in East Carolina University.  She has expertise in child & adolescent development & psychiatric disorders.Dr. Rice has been a licensed practitioner since 2006. She initially conducted her outpatient practice for 5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2012, she has been treating children & adolescents in Western North Carolina. Dr. Rice strives to use a reasonable amount of medications that will enhance functioning while minimizing adverse effects. She collaborates with the therapeutic team & counsels her patients to utilize skills learned from therapy.

Psychiatrist

Tiffany Sauls, MD

Dr. Tiffany Sauls is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with a focus on integrative approaches to diagnosis and treatment of adolescent mental health issues. Not only does she provide medication management, she also assesses for nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, and food sensitivities that can contribute to mental health problems. She approaches psychiatry from a holistic model, using medications sparingly and only after contributing factors have been addressed and corrected. Dr. Sauls is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and completed her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina. She attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and completed residency in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. She is board certified in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sauls worked in adolescent psychiatric residential treatment in Corvallis, Oregon for three years prior to moving to North Carolina in 2013. She lives in Asheville with her husband, two young children, and four animals. She enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking and picnicking. She is very excited to be a part of the outstanding team of mental health professionals at Solstice East.

Transportation Coordinator

Kim Gregory, CNA

Kim became a Certified Nursing Assistant and Med Tech while working on her bachelor degree in Psychology from Mars Hill University. Since then, she has worked on the Memory Care units of various long term care facilities. In the medical department, she helps with the reorder and distribution of medications, transporting the girls, as well as help address certain medical needs.

Medical Transportation Coordinator

Makayla Davis

Before working with Solstice East, Makayla was a field instructor for SUWS of the Carolinas. She graduated from North Greenville University in Greenville, SC with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2016. After graduating, she worked at the Mission Hospital psychiatric facility Copestone as a behavioral health technician before continuing her journey at SUWS. While working at SUWS, she was able to obtain her Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. She has worked at Solstice for a little over a year and loves her job. In her free time, she enjoys lots of hiking and whitewater kayaking.
Operations Director

Pennie McLean, B.F.A.

Originally from Atlanta, Pennie came to the North Carolina mountains in 1999 because of its creative community and beautiful landscape. Pennie obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from University of Georgia. While living in Asheville, she has worked in various jobs such as office management, accounting and marketing in real estate and manufacturing companies. Living close by to the Solstice East campus, Pennie, her husband and young son enjoy the area. In fact, her husband grew up just down the road and they were married on our campus is 2001. Outside of work, Pennie spends her time working on art projects and home design. Especially interested in sustainably built homes, she has taken courses in drafting, CAD and green building practices.

IT Tech

Colt Wight, B.A., QMHP

Colt joined the Solstice East team in the spring of 2014. He enjoys preparing and supporting new hires for their direct care role as well as keeping emails and print jobs flowing. Colt has many years of direct care and supervisorial experience with wilderness and residential therapy, and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Recreation Administration. In his free time, Colt enjoys hiking, trail running and rock climbing with his wife and two daughters.

HR Administrative Assistant

Gaynor Mulrooney

With a career in office administration that spans 25 plus years, Gaynor has worked on 3 continents and in a variety of working environments from Defense Force to Private Game Reserves. Going from Africa to Europe to the United States, she arrived in Asheville in 2011 and fell in love with the Asheville culture and the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway. She accepted her position as Administrative Assistant at Solstice East in 2013. Gaynor is also a notary public for the program.

Facilities Manager

Shawn Scullin, M.S.

Facilities Director

Jim Tomes

Jim is excited to be working at Solstice East and brings one of his eight dogs with him to work regularly, Bella. The students love having her on campus and feel connected to her and Jim! He has a soft spot for animals of all kinds, but especially dogs. Jim has four children and eight grandchildren. Jim enjoys woodworking and metal working and comes to Solstice with a background in Manufacturing with a focus on Engineering and Operations. Before coming to Solstice, he most recently worked as a Maintenance Director at a Skilled Nursing facility. Jim said, “I love working here. Just to be a part of this organization is a privilege. The staff is dedicated to helping our residents and each other. I have not had a single time where anyone has hesitated to help.” We are so lucky to have Jim as a part of our wonderful culture.

Transportation Coordinator

Kim Gregory, CNA

Kim became a Certified Nursing Assistant and Med Tech while working on her bachelor degree in Psychology from Mars Hill University. Since then, she has worked on the Memory Care units of various long term care facilities. In the medical department, she helps with the reorder and distribution of medications, transporting the girls, as well as help address certain medical needs.

Adventure Therapy Specialist

Dan Horseman, B.S.

Dan Horseman thrives in the outdoors. From a young age, he participated in sports of all sorts and spent as much time as he could in nature. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Education and Psychology from Georgia College, effectively combining his passions of outdoor recreation with therapeutic experiential education. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Dan moved to North Carolina and worked leading outdoor adventure trips and teaching primitive living skills for children of all ages. His adventurous spirit led him to Colorado where he spent two years coordinating an adventure leadership program for local youth and perfecting his rock climbing technique.

Throughout his work and adventures, Dan’s education post-college has continued. He has received outdoor-related certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, Certified Swiftwater Rescuer, and as a Leave No Trace Trainer. Through his training in sports and the outdoors, Dan has learned that nature, teamwork, and perseverance can build important life skills. He has witnessed the healing powers that can be found through spending time in nature and challenging oneself through new experiences and believes that youth who engage in these mediums develop strong values, build positive self-esteem, foster friendships, grow as young leaders, and engage in healthy lifestyles.

When Dan is not leading group excursions with students, he continues to enjoy exploring the outdoors rock climbing, whitewater paddling, mountain biking, running, and hiking with his wife, Kaity, and dog, Kara.   One of Dan’s favorite personal achievements includes thru-hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in 2013.

Adventure Leader

Adam Becker

Adam graduated Warren Wilson College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Outdoor Leadership and a minor in Biology. He has worked as a Lead Sea Kayaking Guide in Hawaii, led Whitewater Kayaking in Colorado and was a Ski Patroller in Cataloochee. Adam is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician, Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, a Swiftwater Rescue Technician, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Wildland Firefighter Type II. Adam says, “I have learned and grown massively through my experiences in wilderness and in Adventure settings. Providing similar challenging and empowering opportunities for our students allows me to share those experiences that have been incredibly important in my own development.”

Fitness Coordinator

Rachel Rothstein

Rachel was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. She has been working in the Wellness/Fitness industry for about 15 years and has a plethora of experience with people of all backgrounds and ages ranging from 5-95 years young. Rachel received her Bachelors of Science from App State U and Masters of Science from The Citadel, with degrees in Exercise Sports Science with minors in Psychology and Health Care Management.

Rachel’s passion has always been helping individuals incorporate movement and positive vibes into their everyday life!
Some of her favorite things to do are hanging out with her partner and two dogs. She also enjoys cooking and going on adventures.

Adventure Therapy Specialist

Tashni Chamberlain

Tashni comes to Solstice East with broad experience in therapeutic settings and the outdoor adventure world. Her diverse background ranges from leading an environmental conservation crew in Nevada to working in recreation therapy in Vermont. Among other things, she is a yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner. In her free time you can find her baking with sourdough, silversmithing, trying her hand at pottery, and of course exploring the outdoors.

Executive Director

Rick Pollard, M.Ed.

Rick brings his extensive and varied experience to be our Executive Director and received his Masters in Educational Leadership from Mercer University. He was employed as a retail District Leader for 16 years before he began his life-changing career in schools. In 2004, he began with the inaugural team of New Leaf Academy of NC, an all girls’ therapeutic boarding school that he helped lead over 5 years. He continued his career in therapeutic education as he led admissions teams for wilderness programs, assisting families with placements for a variety of diagnoses. During the 3 years prior to joining the team at Solstice East, he was Assistant Head of School at Brandon Hall School, an independent boarding school in Atlanta, GA. Rick joined Solstice East in 2015 and considers it a privilege to lead the caring Solstice East team that brings so much positive change and healing to the lives of adolescents and their families. Outside of Solstice East, Rick is pursuing his PhD and with occasional free time, he enjoys a variety of activities including kayaking, hiking, singing, printmaking and painting. He loves his daily walks and time with his Yorkshire terrier daughters, Katy and BeBe.

Admissions Director

Becca Jefferies

Becca has worked in residential therapeutic girl programs since 2004, beginning as a residential staff at a therapeutic boarding school. Becca was able to apply her professional and nurturing skills to creating a Program Director position in the first year of her time with the program and since has been a founding program staff for two other programs. Becca is dedicated to working with families and young girls to promote healthy living emotionally and physically. “I truly feel that my mission in life includes empowering and educating young women through their healing process.” Becca is a native to Western North Carolina and enjoys all the outdoor activities, and delicious foods, that the Asheville area offers. As a mother of a little girl, her main focus is her daughter. She also values time with her family and friends who provide strong support and inspiration daily, music and recently has began learning to care for and ride horses. Email Becca with your admissions questions at: becca@solsticeeast.com

Director of Marketing & Business Development

Crissa Sinkovic

Crissa Sinkovic graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and held various music business industry positions in New York City before moving to Western North Carolina in 2007. Not long after that, Crissa founded Mason Jar Media, a boutique marketing agency specializing in traditional publicity, digital marketing, and radio promotion campaigns for festivals, musicians, and brands. Nestled in the idyllic, arts-centric town of Asheville, NC, Mason Jar Media went beyond traditional pitching and standard timelines to achieve unparalleled results for nationally renowned clients. Her clients included esteemed festivals like the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, TN), Shaky Knees Festival (Atlanta, GA), and KAABOO Festival (San Diego, CA), and musicians like G. Love & Special Sauce, and TAUK – to name a few.

After becoming a mom, Crissa decided it was time to seek a position that would allow her to transfer her wheelhouse of marketing skills into a role that would make a positive impact on her community. This aspiration came to light in early 2020 when she accepted a position as Solstice East’s Director of Marketing and Business Development.

Crissa is excited to apply her years of entrepreneurship and marketing experience from the creative sector into the mental health field. When she isn’t strategizing marketing plans, you might find her playing dress-up with her two young daughters or taking in the sights at a local festival – sometimes simultaneously.

Admissions Assistant

Olivia Cotton

Olivia Cotton received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a focus on Positive Psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2017. Shortly after graduation, Olivia moved from the Atlantic coast to the mountains of Western North Carolina to accept a mentoring position at Solstice East, and to pursue a career in the mental health field. Before shifting into the admissions department, Olivia worked directly with on-campus students for two years. In her free time, Olivia likes to travel, explore hiking trails, and spend time with friends and family. She is proud to work for a company that values community, support, and healthy relationships, and feels like Solstice East has assisted her in her own therapeutic journey – just as much as the program has helped the residents they serve.