• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Executive Director

Danielle Andrews, MA, LCMHC, CFTP

Bri-Anicetti
Admissions Director

Bri Anicetti, B.A.

Clinical Director

Caitlin Crolley, MSW, LCSW

Carol-Sowers-small
Academic Director

Carol Sowers, M.Ed.

Adventure Therapy Director

Dan Horseman, B.S.

Operations Director

Pennie McLean, B.F.A.

Executive Director

Danielle Andrews, MA, LCMHC, CFTP

Before pursuing her passion for helping people move forward in their life journey, Danielle Andrews began her career in the business sector, gathering over a decade of experience. During this time, she worked in the Chicago suburb’s corporate landscape specializing in effective mediation strategies, labor and employee relations, leadership development, collective bargaining, and employment law. As she climbed the corporate ladder, Danielle realized that her role became less about relationships and working with people and more about blueprint conflict resolution and policy. She decided to go back to school to add on to her bachelor’s in psychology. In 2010, she received her masters in counseling (LCMHC) from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, with a concentration in wilderness therapy. Her studies brought her to Western North Carolina, where she became a primary therapist for a young adult recovery program specializing in addiction, trauma, and PTSD. From here, Danielle accepted a position to develop an aftercare program for Solstice East graduates and their families, one of the first programs of its kind. In 2015, Danielle joined Solstice East full time as its first Aftercare Specialist. Since then, she has helped hundreds of families on their path to transitioning home.

Danielle has astutely combined her experience in conflict resolution, systemic change management, and counseling, among other areas of knowledge, into enthusiastically working with adolescents and their families. In 2020, Danielle became the Director of Transitional Services for Solstice East and its sister program Journey Home East. Beyond her expertise in post-treatment aftercare, Danielle also specializes in addiction, anxiety and depression, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, and attachment issues. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting, Somatic Psychotherapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). She is Certified as a Family Trauma Professional (CFTP).

When she’s not providing support for students at Solstice East and Journey Home East, Danielle can be found enjoying outdoor activities like mountain biking, snowboarding, and tennis, or visiting with friends and family. She is an avid learner and continues to seek fulfillment through personal growth and education. One of her favorite pastimes is sipping tea on her front porch in the company of her rescue dogs.

Admissions 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.

Clinical Director

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.

Academic Director

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 Director

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.

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.

Executive Director

Danielle Andrews, MA, LCMHC, CFTP

Clinical Director

Caitlin Crolley, MSW, LCSW

Assistant Clinical & Equine Director, Primary Therapist

Georgia DeFrancia, M.S.W., LCSW

Primary Therapist

Dan Hadley, MS, LMFT

Primary Therapist

Kristin Adams, LCSW

Primary Therapist

Zac Tompkins, LCMHC

Director of Transitional Services & Addictions Consultant

Anna White, MSW, LCAS, LCSW

susen
Specialty Groups Therapist

Susan Elaine, M.Ed., LMFT

Terry
Equine Specialist

Terry Kozak, B.A., ES

Primary Therapist

Margo Murphy

Primary Therapist

Kriya Lendzion

Primary Therapist

Kristina Burgess

Executive Director

Danielle Andrews, MA, LCMHC, CFTP

Before pursuing her passion for helping people move forward in their life journey, Danielle Andrews began her career in the business sector, gathering over a decade of experience. During this time, she worked in the Chicago suburb’s corporate landscape specializing in effective mediation strategies, labor and employee relations, leadership development, collective bargaining, and employment law. As she climbed the corporate ladder, Danielle realized that her role became less about relationships and working with people and more about blueprint conflict resolution and policy. She decided to go back to school to add on to her bachelor’s in psychology. In 2010, she received her masters in counseling (LCMHC) from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, with a concentration in wilderness therapy. Her studies brought her to Western North Carolina, where she became a primary therapist for a young adult recovery program specializing in addiction, trauma, and PTSD. From here, Danielle accepted a position to develop an aftercare program for Solstice East graduates and their families, one of the first programs of its kind. In 2015, Danielle joined Solstice East full time as its first Aftercare Specialist. Since then, she has helped hundreds of families on their path to transitioning home.

Danielle has astutely combined her experience in conflict resolution, systemic change management, and counseling, among other areas of knowledge, into enthusiastically working with adolescents and their families. In 2020, Danielle became the Director of Transitional Services for Solstice East and its sister program Journey Home East. Beyond her expertise in post-treatment aftercare, Danielle also specializes in addiction, anxiety and depression, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, and attachment issues. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting, Somatic Psychotherapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). She is Certified as a Family Trauma Professional (CFTP).

When she’s not providing support for students at Solstice East and Journey Home East, Danielle can be found enjoying outdoor activities like mountain biking, snowboarding, and tennis, or visiting with friends and family. She is an avid learner and continues to seek fulfillment through personal growth and education. One of her favorite pastimes is sipping tea on her front porch in the company of her rescue dogs.

Clinical Director

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.

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 certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Brainspotting. 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.

Primary Therapist

Dan Hadley, MS, LMFT

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

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

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.

Director of Transitional Services & Addictions Consultant

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.

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….

Primary Therapist

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.”

Primary Therapist

Kriya Lendzion

Kriya moved to Asheville from Florida almost 15 years ago and loves living in the beautiful mountains. She has a BA in Sociology and holds a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College. She’s a NC Licensed School Counselor, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, and Certified Prevention Specialist. She has extensive experience in middle, high school and college settings with counseling, teaching, staff development and parent education. She has over 20 years of experience working with diverse youth and families, providing empowering information, tools and support to parents, schools, and community organizations. She’s a pro at guiding the kids we care about toward health and resiliently.

Primary Therapist

Kristina Burgess

Kristina comes to Solstice with a reputation for success with adolescents in residential treatment, intensive in-home treatment, and crisis management services. Her experience ranges from students struggling with developmental trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, OCD, and learning disabilities. Kristina graduated with a Master of Science in Clinical and Community Mental Health from Western Illinois University in 2017. We are excited to have Kristina on our team and help Solstice East families on their journey toward healing.

Carol-Sowers-small
Academic Director

Carol Sowers, M.Ed.

Michael-L-Teacher
Assistant Academic Director

Michael Lambeth

AnneMarie
English Teacher

Anne-Marie Farmer

A-Nikki-Shoneman
Art Teacher

Nikki Shoneman, BA

Dustin-Wallace
Musical Arts Teacher

Dustin Wallace

Science Teacher

Talin Brown, M.S

Math Teacher

Laura Edwards

Academic Director

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.

Assistant Academic Director

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.
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.

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.

Science Teacher

Talin Brown, M.S

Talin grew up in North Alabama, where he taught science to students of all ages at a hands-on science center for eight years. He graduated with honors from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a B.S. in Biology, and then moved to Miami where he earned a Master of Science degree in Biology from Florida International University. After moving to North Carolina, Talin completed a teacher training program through the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. Talin brings to Solstice East a passion for science and an enthusiasm for teaching through hands-on, experiential lessons. When not in the classroom, Talin enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and gardening.

Math Teacher

Laura Edwards

Laura has transitioned into the role of math teacher after working with the academic team as a substitute teacher and learning services paraprofessional.  She has a B.S. in Mathematics from Louisiana State University, where she was part of a scholarship program that promoted diversity and research in the STEM fields, which motivates her to empower young women in these subjects.  She also has experience teaching and serving students in various therapeutic settings and enjoys the opportunity to work with students on a more intimate scale.  Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, bicycling, camping, and reading.
Afton_s
Alarka Team Manager

Afton Weiner, M.S

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.

Kelcie
Nurse

Kelcie Barker, RN

taylor
Nurse

Taylor Irwin, RN

kim
Transportation Coordinator

Kim Gregory, CNA

Makayla Davis
Medical Transportation Coordinator

Makayla Davis

Dr. Gerald Travis, MD

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.

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.

Dr. Gerald Travis, MD

Dr. Travis is board certified in General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with over 30 years of renowned experience. A graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. Dr. Travis is a longtime representative of the North Carolina Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and was instrumental, as Medical Director, in launching a comprehensive, psychiatric care unit for the area’s largest medical hospital. He has presented on Personality Disorders, ADHD, Eating Disorders in Adolescents, Panic Disorders, and several other mental health topics during his tenure. In his spare time, Dr. Travis can be found enjoying time with family, playing golf or trumpet, or engaging in his local community via service work.

Operations Director

Pennie McLean, B.F.A.

Colt-Wight
IT Tech

Colt Wight, B.A., QMHP

Gaynor-Mulrooney-C
HR Administrative Assistant

Gaynor Mulrooney

Shawn-Scullin-SE-Facilties
Facilities Manager

Shawn Scullin, M.S.

jim
Facilities Director

Jim Tomes

kim
Transportation Coordinator

Kim Gregory, CNA

clef
Chef

Joe Hollenback

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.

Chef

Joe Hollenback

Joe Hollenback received his culinary arts degree in 2009 from Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, FL. After working in Jacksonville, FL for a few years, Joe moved to Western North Carolina in 2013 and began working at Posana, a celebrated downtown Asheville restaurant known for its delicious gluten-free options. In 2017, after opening the Golden Fleece Slow Earth Kitchen, he returned to Posana to become its Chef De Cuisine. Joe joined Solstice East in 2019 and is continuously thrilling and surprising the students and staff with new and exciting meals. One of his goals was to expand the on-campus garden, creating an edible landscape with dynamic diet options to suit everyone’s needs. He enjoys pushing the envelope and encourages Solstice East’s residents to try new foods and flavors. Joe takes pride in showing students that their efforts in growing food is rewarding, and believes that understanding the benefits of proper nutrition will help in all aspects of life. In his free time, Joe loves to go mountain biking and spend time with his wife and their adorable pup, Kaya.

Adventure Therapy Director

Dan Horseman, B.S.

Adventure Therapy Specialist

Grier Marzendorfer

rachel
Fitness Coordinator

Rachel Rothstein

Adventure Therapy Director

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 Therapy Specialist

Grier Marzendorfer

Grier Marzendorfer has always enjoyed being in the outdoors. When she found out they would let her study it in college, she said “sign me up for this major!” Grier began her education at Young Harris College, but transferred to and graduated from Georgia College & State University with an Outdoor Education degree. Her minor was in Psychology and she focused on the therapeutic use of adventure. Alternative educational knowledge Grier pursued was getting her Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Swift Water Rescue certifications.

Right out of college, Grier spent some time rock climbing guiding for Adventures on the Gorge in West Virginia. She also spent some time working at Alta ski resort in Utah. During her free time, she pursed adventure activities including whitewater kayaking, snowboarding/skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, and hiking.

With whitewater kayaking being her main passion, she knew Asheville would be a great place to work and ended up coming across the mentor role at Solstice. Grier was able to incorporate the knowledge she has learned through her outdoor pursuits and education to the adventure programming at Solstice. After a couple years as a mentor at Solstice, Grier transitioned into the Adventure Therapy Specialist role. Now she spends her time creating and implementing adventure programming while incorporating adventure therapy concepts to each adventure.

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.

Bri-Anicetti
Admissions Director

Bri Anicetti, B.A.

Admissions 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.