Meet Our Staff

Administration

 

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Discovery Academy Board of Directors
Steve Nadauld,   Scott Petersen,  Dane Kay,  Jim Salisbury,   Brent Hall,   Steve Petersen

Brent Hall, LMFT

Executive Director

Brent came to Discovery Academy in 2000 after completing his graduate studies in marriage and family therapy at San Diego State University. While in Southern California, Brent worked with adolescent females in a residential setting specializing in sexual trauma and victim issues.

Prior to that, Brent completed his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University where he worked for three years as a summer camp counselor with teens visiting the college for sports, music, dance, and academic programs.

Originally from Idaho, in his spare time Brent likes to ski, hike, and read.

Matt H. Clinical Director

Matt Hendry, LCMHC

Clinical Director

Matt came to Discovery Academy in 2003. He received his degree from the University of Utah and is certified with the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Before joining the Discovery Academy team, Matt worked specifically in substance abuse treatment. Matt is a certified ropes course instructor and has a passionate commitment to experiential therapy. He believes we often learn by doing, and he works hard to create opportunities for students to gain insight through experiential activities, as well as through traditional exercises. Matt is originally from Colorado and enjoys sharing outdoor adventures with his children. He hopes that his children enjoy the outdoors as much as he does.

Laura Steffens

Residential Director

Laura has been with Discovery Academy since 1992. She began as a mentor, served as the Girls’ Program Coordinator for over ten years, and is currently the Residential Director. Laura is responsible for a large department of dedicated mentors and the development of student daily programming. Believing that building relationships is a key principle to working with youth, Laura has integrated community service, theater, athletic teams, and student clubs into the student schedule where staff and students work together to build supportive relationships. Laura is originally from Reno, Nevada and enjoys traveling and antiquing with family, snowboarding, and boating.

Nick Pakidko, M.Ed.

Headmaster

Nick came to Discovery Academy in 2014 and he brings with him 34 years of therapeutic educational experience including a wealth of information and wisdom to our school and industry.

Nick has earned two masters’ degrees in special education, art and design from Brigham Young University and he also holds a third graduate degree in educational administration and supervision. He has spent over three decades working in residential treatment schools with adolescents experiencing behavioral and learning difficulties. The father of five boys, Nick enjoys Australian Rules football, sixties music, geopolitics, religious reading, fine arts, including Kenpo karate and surfing.

Alan Barrett

Business Manager

Alan joined Discovery Academy as the first person hired when the program opened its doors in 1989. He was born and raised in Orem, Utah and has lived in Utah all his life. Alan attended Brigham Young University where he graduated with a degree in business management. He and his wife Kathy are the parents of ten children.

Triston Morgan, Ph.D.

Admissions Director

Dr. Morgan came to Discovery Academy in January 2009. After earning his bachelor’s degree in marriage, family, and human development at Brigham Young University, he continued his education at Loma Linda University where he earned his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy with an emphasis in drug and alcohol treatment. He later earned a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Brigham Young University. He is licensed as a marriage and family therapist in the state of Utah. Since 2002 he has worked as a therapist in different settings, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics and wilderness therapy programs for adolescents. Dr. Morgan is originally from Oregon and likes to ride his dirt bike in his spare time.

Dorothy therapist

Dorothy AhQuin, CMHC

Therapist

Dorothy has been with Discovery Academy since 1992. She is a certified Special Education teacher and a Licensed Professional Counselor. In addition to her therapeutic experience, she taught high school for twenty years, where she had a passion for motivating students who had fallen behind academically. Dorothy believes that academics and therapy work together in treatment of adolescents. It often takes success in both for students to begin the discovery of who they are and what they can become. When Dorothy isn’t busy fulfilling her unique role at Discovery Academy she enjoys cooking, reading, quilting, traveling, spending time with family, and camping.

Phil therapist

Phil Scolville, LMFT

Therapist

Phil has been with Discovery Academy since 2009. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University and his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at BYU and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Phil has worked as a therapist in different settings in Utah and California since 2003, including wilderness therapy programs and residential settings. At Discovery Academy, Phil’s emphasis is on substance abuse and the treatment of anxiety disorders. Phil is married with three children. When he’s not working or trying to keep up with his young family, Phil enjoys snowboarding, hiking, waterskiing, football, and music, mostly indie-rock.

Lance therapist

Lance Hall, LCSW

Therapist

Lance joined Discovery Academy in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Utah University and his master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. He has worked as a caseworker, youth supervisor, and mentor in various settings, and he has also counseled convicted sex offenders, conducted groups in schools, served at a youth crisis center, and worked on the psychiatric unit at a local hospital. He loves the outdoors and believes it is a great place for youth to clear their heads. Lance is married and has three sons, and he loves to spend time with them just being a family.

Christin therapist

Christin Buck, LAMFT

Therapist / Admissions Coordinator

Christin came to Discovery Academy in 2012 after graduating with a degree in marriage and family therapy from Argosy University. Prior to joining Discovery Academy, she worked with adult clients in an addiction recovery program. A native of southern Utah, Christin enjoys traveling, the beach, exercising, reading, shopping and time with loved ones.

Brian therapist

Brian Allred, LCMHC

Therapist

Brian comes to Discovery Academy with over 26 years of experience working with youth in a variety of treatment settings. A licensed professional counselor, Brian is a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Over the course of his career he has worked as a therapist, clinical supervisor, and program director. He has helped hundreds of youth and their families work through problems that included chemical addictions, mental health issues and behavioral problems. A self-described”gym rat,” Brian enjoys a variety of sports and recreational activities. His favorite pastime is watching his children perform in band and show choir competitions.

Nate therapist

Nate Porter, AMHC

Therapist

Nate joined the Discovery Academy team in 2006 where he worked first as a front line mentor, then a supervisor, and then as the Boys Program Coordinator for four years while working on his Master degree and joining the clinical department as a therapist. Prior to working at Discovery Academy, Nate worked at the Utah State Hospital where he received extensive training in adolescent care in relation to mental and social issues.  Nate and his wife have two sons. When he’s not working or studying, Nate loves coaching high school football, watching sports, going on dates with his wife, and playing video games with his boys.

Ken Newell Ph.D., Therapist

Ken Newell, Ph.D.

Therapist

Ken joined the Discovery Academy team in 2013 with the unique background of having worked in every level of the teen-treatment continuum. He previously worked in a wilderness program, residential treatment center and an after-care transition program. Ken received his M.S. in marriage and family therapy from the University of Kentucky and his Ph. D., also in MFT, from BYU. He has extensive expertise in dealing with substance abuse, compulsive behavior, depression, relationship issues, anxiety, adoption, self-esteem and identity confusion. Ken was born and raised in Southern California where the weather permitted him year-round access to the great outdoors allowing him to label his personal hobbies as “anything outside.”

Barbara admissions

Barbara Davis

Admissions Coordinator

Barbara Davis, Admissions Coordinator. Please feel free to call anytime to discuss the placement of your son or daughter in any of our Programs!

Girls Program Coordinator

Jen Festi

Girls’ Program Coordinator

Jen worked for five years in a residential treatment program as a mentor and house supervisor before coming to Discovery Academy as the Girl’s Program Coordinator. She enjoys the challenge of working with at-risk youth, especially in the girl’s program. Her greatest reward has been the satisfaction of helping young women find confidence in their talents and abilities, and watching them work towards achieving individual goals. Jen is the mother of three spirited (and sometimes challenging) children of her own. She was born in Virginia, and has had the opportunity to live in many exciting places during her life including, California, Utah, Illinois, North Carolina and Japan (where she taught English conversation classes with a young daughter in tow). Jen likes the outdoor landscape of Utah, camping, film, poetry, art, and collecting family pets.

Matt-K-boys program coordinator

Matt Keifer, BA

Boys Program Coordinator

Matt Kiefer has been a part of the Discovery Academy family since 2008. He began his career here as a supervisor and currently the Boys Program Coordinator. Matt has worked with under-achieving youth since 2005. His experience at as staff at some of DA’s sister companies gave him the opportunity to work with teens with a broad spectrum of behavioral and dependency issues, including sexual issues, behavioral and family relationship challenges, and academic problems. Matt uses his experience to help build positive relationships with students.
Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. He and his wife have two daughters. When he’s not helping Discovery Academy students discover their strengths and talents, he loves playing the guitar or spending time outdoors hiking, mountain biking, fishing or snowboarding.

Tara Student Services Coordinator

Tara Huber

Student Service Coordinator

Bio Coming

Monique academic counselor

Monique Hadley, MA

Academic Counselor

Helping Discovery Academy students arrange their schedules and plan for their academic futures keeps Monique busy. The mother of four boys, Monique earned her bachelors degree at the University of Utah. She also holds a masters degree in school guidance counseling from the University of Phoenix. Monique has spent the past 21 years working in education and career counseling. When she’s not at work, Monique enjoys being with her family, traveling, reading and going to the movies.

Mark academic counselor

Mark Edwards, MA

Academic Counselor

Mark first came to Discovery Academy in 1990. Since that time he has held many different positions including mentor, assistant boys’ program director, and art/English/history teacher. He is currently one of our academic counselors. Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in art education from Brigham Young University and has certifications in commercial art and graphic art. He also holds a master’s degree in school guidance counseling. He is married and has two boys. He enjoys the outdoors, photography, and scuba diving.

Kristi registrar

Kristi Steimle, BA

Registrar

Kristi came to Discovery Academy in 2000 after earning her bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University. Kristi’s multiple talents have helped her serve our organization in a variety of capacities in educational support over the years. She currently works as the school’s registrar. She loves musical theater and working alongside the students in the drama productions. Kristi enjoys seeing the change that comes over Discovery Academy students as they grow and progress, and feels honored to play a part in their development.

Lauryl Campbell

Teacher

Lauryl completed a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry at California State Fullerton. She then completed a M.S. in Physiology and Developmental Biology. She was a physiology teacher at BYU before she joined Discovery Academy as a science/math teacher in 2011. She has publications in the Immunology and Cell Biology Journal. She was a very popular teacher at BYU and is really enjoying bringing science to high school students. While she teaches, she is finishing her Ph.D. in cell biology.

Randall Davis

Teacher

A talented teacher and administrator, Randall first joined the Discovery Academy faculty in 1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in both English and Spanish and has also earned a master’s degree in secondary education from BYU. Randall has spent the past 35 years teaching in public schools in Utah and Idaho. While he calls Florida home, Randall’s lived in 22 different places from coast to coast over his lifetime. He and his wife are the parents of four grown children. In his spare time, Randall loves spending time with his family and documenting his family history. He also enjoys collecting record albums, cookbooks, traveling and working out.

Coleen teacher

Coleen Gleason, BA

Teacher

Coleen came to Discovery Academy in 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English/secondary education from Brigham Young University, but she gave up her successful teaching career to raise and mostly home-school her seven children. Later, when most of her children were grown, she found that she enjoyed working with students with special challenges when she taught GED classes for several years. A published author, she especially loves helping students learn to write. Coleen enjoys reading, writing, cooking, alternative health, and camping with her large family. She has been married for over thirty-five years and has twenty grandchildren.

Elaine teacher

Elaine Layosa, MA

Teacher

Elaine came to Discovery Academy in 1992. After graduating in microbiology and chemistry from Brigham Young University, she moved to southern California and worked as a microbiologist in the food and flavor industry. She later completed a degree in secondary education at California State University and earned her master’s degree in educational counseling in June 2005. Elaine has been a high school teacher since 1985 and has taught biology, chemistry, A.P. chemistry, physics, A.P. physics, principles of technology, and ESL. Elaine enjoys anything that has to do with science, hanging out with her grandchildren, reading, hiking, and going on road trips. Elaine was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Jonathan Montgomery, BS

Teacher

Jonathan joined Discovery Academy in 2012 after obtaining his degree from Western Governors University. He also completed a degree at Snow College. He is a member of Kappa Delta Pi National Education Association. Before Discovery Academy, Jonathan worked for eight years investigating and preventing Internet fraud. He followed his passion for science into the education field where he now encourages critical thinking, exploration, and hands-on activities to help students gain a rich appreciation for the natural world. Jonathan is from Utah, has been a martial arts instructor, and often explores the night sky with his telescope.

Thomas Richards, MA

Teacher

Thomas Richards joined Discovery Academy in 2011 and holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in biochemistry. He’s been teaching in Utah for more than 18 years. When he’s not in the classroom, he enjoys fishing, backpacking and spending time with his family.

Courtney Wikle

Teacher

Courtney came to Discovery Academy in 2012 after graduating with a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Brigham Young University. She has taught Pre-Calculus and Secondary Math 2 at the high school level. Growing up near Portland, Oregon, Courtney has developed a passion for the outdoors. She enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, wakeboarding, and almost anything else that can be done outside. She played tennis and volleyball in high school and still tries to play as often as she can. More than anything, however, Courtney loves hanging out with her family. She is the seventh out of eight children and currently has 25 nieces and nephews.

Robert Stoddard, BS

Teacher

Robert came to Discovery Academy in 2005. He earned his associate’s degree from Utah Valley University and his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University. He is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Utah. After high school, Robert spent some time overseas in Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands. Before joining the faculty at Discovery Academy, Robert taught for several years in the public school system. Robert and his wife have been married since 1994 and have four children: two boys and two girls. Robert loves to spend time with his family, reading history books, and playing or coaching sports. He grew up near Seattle, Washington.

Debbie special education

Debbie Heselton, BS

Special Education

Deborah came to Discovery Academy in 2012 after working with troubled youth at Discovery Ranch for three years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Utah Valley University, and taught and practiced master aesthetics. She also has experience with teaching students that have special challenges within the public school system, as well as teaching in the private business sector. She raised her five children in Utah and has six grandchildren, who are the light of her life. A New England native from Massachusetts; she’s lived in New York, Idaho, California and Hawaii. Deborah enjoys cooking, reading, photography, hiking and spending time with family.

Michelle Bishop Teacher

Michelle Bishop, BS

Teacher

Michelle came to Discovery Academy in the summer of 2013 after working with students in a treatment setting for the past three years teaching Geometry and Algebra II . Michelle graduated from Utah State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics Secondary Education. She loves teaching and helping students understand and enjoy math. Michelle has lived in Utah her entire life and loves the different seasons that come each year. In the summer she loves to hike, boat and camp. During the winters she loves to go snowshoeing, snowmobiling and sledding. Michelle also loves to travel and hopes to make it to all seven continents one day.

Justin Reeves Teacher

Justin Reeves, BA

Teacher

Justin joined the Discovery Academy faculty in 2007 teaching English. He obtained a bachelors degree in English Education from Utah State University and recently finished his Masters degree in Education from Brigham Young University. He enjoys the outdoors, especially fly fishing and camping, and also reading, from biographies to comic books. He has a wife and 3 energetic little boys who keep him very busy. He enjoys attending sporting events and really loves watching movies. He hopes one day to teach film classes at the university level.

Xolani family services

Xolani Radebe

Family Services Coordinator

Xolani has been with Discovery Academy since 2006 where he began as a mentor and is currently the Family Services Coordinator. He is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to moving to the United States in 2000, Xolani worked as a volunteer in South African youth community outreach programs where he taught music programs and coached sports teams. At Discovery Academy, Xolani’s passion for music and sports is an integral part of experiential activities such as drama/theater and intramurals. Xolani and his wife are raising three beautiful children. They enjoy mountain biking, fishing, and writing music together.

Sara medical services

Sara Carter, MA

Medcial Services

Sara has been with Discovery Academy since 2004. She was born and raised in Spanish Fork, Utah, married her high school sweetheart of four years, and they are the proud parents of six children. Ever since she was a little girl, Sara dreamed of being a nurse. Her parents had to get her a nurse costume for Halloween for eight years in a row because she refused to be anything else. Sara has earned phlebotomy, MA, CNA, EMT, and PCT titles, and as the medical professional at Discovery Academy, she’s not afraid to give your children a little TLC when they need it.

Janet Stodmeister Psychiatrist

Janet Stodmeister, APRN

Psychiatric Services

Janet has worked in the mental health industry for over thirty years. She completed her masters degree as a psychiatric nurse practitioner from the University of Utah in 2011 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 1981. Janet has experience at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center inpatient and outpatient psychiatry center, specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents. She is also a nursing professor at Roseman University. Janet’s treatment philosophy is founded on principles of positive psychology, holistic healing practices and expert pharmacological treatment. Because of this perspective, she sees the whole person; she always considers each person’s story and how that story shapes behaviors. She believes anyone can learn new ways of being as they capitalize on their strengths and learn new skills, which ultimately invites change. A Chicago native, Janet enjoys spending time with her family, her guitar, and cooking and hiking.

Luda food services director

Luda Antujchow

Food Services Director

Luda Antujchow has been with Discovery Academy since 1994. She received a degree from a culinary college in the Ukraine and spent 15 years as a professional chef in one of the most prominent restaurants in her Ukrainian home town. She is passionate about cooking and adds a little bit of love to every dish she prepares. Luda credits Discovery Academy students (and television) with helping her learn to speak English. She says one of the proudest days of her life was when she received her full American citizenship in 2009.

Oleg facilities manager

Oleg Antujchow

Facilities Manager

Oleg Antujchow came to work at the Academy in 1994. He graduated a Ukrainian technical college and left his wife and daughters in the Ukraine to forge a new life for the family in America. He had no way of knowing he would be joining another family – the Discovery Academy family. As facilities manager, Oleg keeps mechanical systems running properly and the grounds and buildings beautifully maintained. He feels it is important for Discovery students to learn basic maintenance and repair skills and he enjoys teaching them. (He also loves accompanying students on fishing trips.) Nine months after joining Discovery Academy, Oleg was able to send for his wife and daughters. He says mastering English and the American culture was difficult but he feels proud to be an American citizen.

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