Stan Penrod was born in Utah but grew up in Wyoming. He received his master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia Southern University. He is a retired police officer and has worked as a school resource officer, patrol sergeant, and SWAT. He was a head wrestling coach for local jr. high and high schools. Stan also was a navy hospital corpsman assigned to the USMC Field Unit.
Stan wants to be in a position where he can continue to have a positive impact on the lives around him. He loves being able to guide, educate, and hopefully, enlighten those that have faced some adversity in their young lives.
He is a huge sports fan and loves the L.A. Rams and Dodgers. The outdoors is his life: whitewater paddleboarding and kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking, and trail running.
He has been married for 30 years and has 3 awesome children (2 daughters/1 son), a deadbeat cat, and an obnoxious dog.
Tilo Barboni was born in Ogden and raised in Syracuse, UT. He is currently pursuing Integrated Studies with emphasis on Business Leadership and Interpersonal Communication at Utah Tech University.
Tilo has always considered his purpose is to make connections with others and has put effort into growing and strengthening relationships. He chose Live Strong House because our structure allows interpersonal relationships to flourish. He feels the 3:1 student-to-life coach ratio allows for genuine intimacy and understanding within the relationship.
Tilo’s life goal is to create and nourish his own happiness while simultaneously creating an environment where others can nourish their own. His hobby is to spend time with the people he loves, friends, family, and his support animal. Tilo spends personal time studying philosophy and self-help books, as well as reading fantasy fiction. He will find any reason to go outdoors to live his active lifestyle.
Katie McDevitt lives in Chicago, IL. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Mary’s College.
Before becoming a mom to five amazing children, she taught third and fourth grades in Chicago. Katie has also tutored students with reading difficulties.
She is thrilled to be working for Live Strong House. Her oldest son attended Live Strong House in 2020 and she is passionate about the transformation that occurred within her son while working through the program.
Katie enjoys running, playing tennis, and continuing her journey to be the best parent she can be and helping other parents do the same.
Erik Rhodes was born in Malmo, Sweden but raised in AZ. He has education in automotive technology and several college courses for music production. He was a mechanic for a racing team in Arizona and even track raced motorcycles. He worked several years in wilderness therapy for the ANASAZI Foundation.
What attracted Erik to Live Strong House is the structure, culture, and model it is built on and the opportunity it gives the students to set and achieve goals in real life environment.
Besides working on cars (or anything with wheels or a motor), Erik loves being in the outdoors and is passionate about making music. He comes from a family of 3 dads, 2 moms and 6 brothers.
David Chavez was born and raised in Anchorage, AK. He received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Utah. He has years of experience in sales management, accounting, and finance in a wide variety of businesses.
He loves working with the students at Live Strong House and it brings him joy showing and teaching them new adventures.
David comes from a family of 7 and enjoys climbing, skiing, snowboarding and filmmaking.
Sage Embleton was born in Boulder, CO on the Grateful Dead tour. He was raised in San Diego and has lived in Huntington Beach, CA. He has traveled to 26 countries and all US states (except AK) and sailed around the world on cargo ships as a Merchant Mariner for 3 years.
He is a graduate of Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship and is certified as a Mental Health First Aider and Peer Support Specialist. Sage has volunteered in a wide variety of community services including Tecate, Mexico, California Wildfire cleanup, and Skid Row Los Angeles. He has been a sober living house manager, rehab tech, and AA 12 step sponsor.
Sage wants to use his past experience to relate to young minds who don’t feel understood. He wants to assure that the boys feel loved in the process of healing and growing from trauma, mental health struggles, addiction, and insecurities. He feels there is always fun to be had and love to be shared in even the darkest of times.
He enjoys skateboarding, surfing, fishing, gym, reading, photography, and creating. He comes from a family of 3 (1 younger brother). Sage would like to become a therapist and open his own therapeutic boarding school in the future.
Michael Wangsgard was born in Provo, UT. He has worked in a wide variety of jobs including, HVAC, electrician, excavation, high adventure guide and sailing instructor. He became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14.
Mike was a former student at Live Strong House and feels the members of his treatment team helped shape who he is today. Mike knows the good Live Strong House can have on an individual and loves being able to help other students in their process.
He enjoys biking, climbing, canyoneering, caving, wake surfing, skiing, playing card games, and camping.
Mike is happily married to his wife, Madison, and lives in Layton, UT.
Logan Norlin is from Wautoma, WI. He attended The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and graduated with a degree in Business Management in 2016. Post-graduation, Logan worked in operations and marketing, specifically in the building supply industry. During this time, Logan began coaching varsity basketball in the summers, where he quickly discovered his passion for working with young men.
Logan was led to Live Strong House and the therapeutic industry by his triplet brother Austin Norlin, who’s also a Life Coach at Live Strong House. Logan places a strong emphasis on teaching self-improvement, competitiveness, and mental health care.
In his free time, Logan enjoys playing basketball, working out, and spending time with family and friends.
David Chavez was born and raised in Anchorage, AK. He received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Utah. He has years of experience in sales management, accounting, and finance in a wide variety of businesses.
He loves working with the students at Live Strong House and it brings him joy showing and teaching them new adventures.
David comes from a family of 7 and enjoys climbing, skiing, snowboarding and filmmaking.
Diana Lopez is currently working on her B.S. degree in Family Studies from Weber State University in Ogden, UT. She has worked in schools with elementary kids and at a young girl’s treatment center and loved both opportunities.
She is happy to be working at Live Strong House with values she identifies with and hopes to help our students take on these values as well. She enjoys working with people and learning what experiences have made them who they are today.
Diana loves being outdoors and values a healthy active lifestyle.
Jaylen Clanton is from August, GA. He received his B.S. degree in Health Human Science with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation from Georgia Southern University. He is currently working on his Associates of Energy Management from Salt Lake City Community College.
He loves everything outdoors, especially scuba diving. He is the oldest of five siblings. Jaylen has a future pursuit to start his own wilderness therapy program and summer camp in the next 7-10 years.
Brandon Bissell was born in Athens, OH, and received his B.S. in Outdoor Education and Recreation with a certificate in festivals, events, and entertainment management from Ohio University. He is planning to pursue a master’s degree in social work at the University of Utah to become a clinical therapist.
He has had a wide variety of experience in work, clubs, and volunteer positions. Brandon has worked in fine dining restaurants, a flower shop and green house, university residence hall, summer camps, and wilderness therapy. He has worked as the programming director for his local college radio station, was an event coordinator for a volunteer-oriented wildlife society and was an active member in a service fraternity throughout his college years. Brandon has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house, nursing homes, animal sanctuaries, animal shelters, local and state festivals and events, and community arts initiatives.
While working as a wilderness therapy guide, he found a passion with working with youth and building meaningful connections while impacting others. Brandon is excited to be a part of the Live Strong House team.
He has 5 siblings (1 sister, 1 half-brother, and 3 stepbrothers). Brandon enjoys backpacking, reading, ceramics, wood burning, wire wrapping, video games, traveling, cooking, camping, and spending time with his dog.
Jeff Gonzell is from Long Beach, CA. He has worked 5 years in the mental health and substance abuse industry as a life coach, functional breathing instructor, and clinical support specialist. He feels Live Strong House aligns with his focus to create a safe environment for students to reach their highest potential. Jeff thinks the tools and skills taught and learned at Live Strong House will continue to help them grow outside of the program.
Jeff started a self-help podcast in 2020. He is a twice survivor of a brain tumor. “Thank you, God!”
He enjoys snowboarding, canyoneering, surfing, hiking, climbing, and camping. Jeff loves music and plays the drums, guitar, and bass.
Jeff loves his family and it’s very important to him to maintain his close relationship with them and be a positive influence in their lives.
Conner Jensen was born in Ogden, UT. He has attended Utah Valley University and is currently working towards his B.S. degree in Business from Weber State University. He has a lot of experience working for delivery companies, such as Amazon and FedEx.
Conner is happy he came upon this job because he is interested in helping people in any capacity. He loves music and play the drums. He enjoys basketball, football, and living an active lifestyle.
Conner comes from a family of 5 (1 brother / 1 sister) and has a close relationship with them all.
Tyler Sloan is from Utah and has worked in the mental health industry for over 8 years. He loves the Live Strong House model and sharing his passions with the students and helping them find the joy in new hobbies. He enjoys watching them challenge their old beliefs and patterns and grow into better men.
Ty loves snowboarding, backpacking, climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. He and his wife, Steph, love to travel, do humanitarian work, and experience new cultures.
Madison Wangsgard was born and raised in American Fork, UT. She has worked in sales jobs but is currently working on getting her real estate license.
She was introduced to Live Strong House two years ago and loved what the program stood for. Her husband, Michael, was a former student and she continues to see how the team at Live Strong House helps him and her grow. She enjoys being a part of helping the students’ progress and work towards their goals. “It’s truly inspiring.”
Madison enjoys climbing, boating, camping, dancing, painting, and playing the piano. She is the third oldest out of 8 children. She is married to her best friend, Michael, who is also a life coach for Live Strong House.
Michael Corbett earned his B.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism with an emphasis in Adventure and Outdoor Programming at the University of Utah. He completed internships at Cloud 9 Paragliding in Draper, Utah, and as a Quetzaltrekker Rock Climbing and Backpacking Guide in Guatemala. Michael has his Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification from the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institution and received his Small Party Assisted Rescue (SPAR) training from the National Cave Rescue Commission. Michael is also the writer and director of a film company called RedCastle Media where he also does aerial videography as a certified Drone Pilot.
Michael enjoys working with teenagers by providing them with productive activities and projects that can teach young men how to pursue a sober and healthy lifestyle and still get a “high” out of life by creating safe and exciting experiences. He believes these unique adventures not only create unforgettable memories, but they also provide learning opportunities by allowing them to be vulnerable by doing “scary things” and offering them a chance to internalize their fears, and then liken it to real life situations.
Michael has always had a passion for the outdoors and takes any opportunity he can to spend time in nature. His main hobbies include caving, canyoneering, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, traveling, filming, reading, and writing. Michael also took part in filming a full feature Documentary called “Chair the Hope” where they traveled to Mexico to deliver 400 wheelchairs for people in need and has dedicated the past five years to help create awareness of social, political, and other world issues on their YouTube channel “RedCastle Crusade”.
Mark Donat has seven years’ experience working as a guide in various wilderness programs and six years’ experience working with adults and children who have special needs. Mark has also worked as an aquatic’s instructor, a high adventure director, and a program director at various Boy Scouts of America summer camps.
Mark is pursuing a degree in Information Systems Management. He loves the outdoors and working with young people.
Carie Olmstead attended Utah State University studying special education. She has worked in a school setting for the past nine years and loves working and helping students succeed.
Carie has been trained to help students learn techniques to facilitate improved executive functioning skills and to implement them in their everyday lives. She loves working with high school age students and the diversity they bring. She also enjoys helping students discover all the possibilities available to them after high school through college and career readiness.
Carie enjoys spending time with her five daughters, her husband, Jake, and their dogs. She grew up in Kaysville, Utah, and enjoys the state’s amazing outdoor playground as well as baking, reading, and High Fitness.
Amy Cagle grew up in Utah after living a short time in the Florida Keys. She was a business major with an emphasis on finance at Weber State University. She is currently working towards her MBA through Western Governors University.
After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, Amy entered the workforce and became a financial advisor for an investment company. She later worked in HR over insurance at the Davis School District. Amy had the opportunity to join the Live Strong House team and has loved working for them.
Amy and her husband of almost 30 years have 4 kids. She enjoys playing golf and tennis, going to the gym, going out to eat, watching sports, and anything to do with being outside.
Sarah Hirschi has a B.S. in Lifestyle Management with emphasis in Exercise Science from Weber State University. She is currently working on a post-baccalaureate towards physical therapy graduate school.
She has worked in managing accounts, programs, and events in diverse industries, including sales & marketing, rehabilitative services, corporate wellness, and race events before choosing to stay at home to raise her 2 children. Sarah has also played the violin for over 25 years and has performed in symphonies, chamber orchestras, and quartets.
Sarah’s happy place is being in the mountains, digging in dirt and creating things with power tools. She loves hiking, backpacking, running, skiing, gardening, reading, playing the violin, and exploring the outdoors in remote places. She greatly enjoys creating new adventures with her family.
Madi Topik is from Syracuse, UT. She is currently working towards her B.S. in Political Science from Weber State University. She hopes to attend law school in the future.
She loves learning through formal education, as well as through new experiences. Combining her love for these, she has completed many internships, including at the Davis County Attorney’s office, the Utah State Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and the US House of Representatives.
Being an academic tutor at LSH allows Madi to share her passion for learning with others. She loves seeing the growth in the students as they put their minds to work.
She is the oldest of four children and is a proud owner of her perfect puppy, Ozzy. She enjoys baking, dancing, and reading.
MaKiah Barker grew up in Mona, Utah. She has a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies from Weber State University. MaKiah has a passion for helping people feel validated, loved, and see their full potential. She has been heavily involved in various programs and organizations that are focused on mental health awareness and self-improvement. MaKiah plans on returning to school to earn her master’s degree.
MaKiah loves spending quality time with her husband and family. Together, they go camping, boating, hiking, riding four-wheelers, and enjoy working on their family’s cattle ranch. When she isn’t outdoors, MaKiah is most likely exercising at the gym listening to her favorite playlist.
Justin Sheets was born in Ogden, UT. He received his B.S. in Psychology and his M.Ed. in Sports and Physical Education from Utah State University. He competed in Division 1 cross country / track and field at USU, and his future pursuit involves becoming a collegiate running coach.
He has worked as a registered behavior technician performing behavioral therapy with clients on the autistic spectrum and was a graduate teaching assistant and undergraduate P.E. course instructor at USU. He volunteered as a cross country / track and field coach at Logan High School. He likes working with youth and helping them progress on their own personal goals.
Justin enjoys cooking, running, playing most sports, playing with animals, exploring national parks, and going on walks with his wife. They adopted a fluffy, long-hair, orange tabby over a year ago.
Bailey Rinaldi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Utah. She has been working with adolescents for many years and has found it is her true niche. She works hard to build rapport and connection with each student so they can feel safe to be open and vulnerable. She specializes in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Expressive Art Therapy. She also has a wide knowledge of many other modalities that help with Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Autism, Substance-Use, and Trauma.
“I cannot go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” -Lewis Carroll
Bailey believes whole-heartedly in this quote when working with adolescents. Everyone has mistakes in their past they are trying to learn and grow from. Adolescents hold onto those mistakes and begin to create their identity from them. It is imperative to help adolescents understand that their mistakes do not define them. This creates change for the future and a wealth of insightful knowledge when harnessed correctly.
Bailey enjoys reading, swimming, crafting, and spending time with her family when she is not working.
Gray Aydelott was born in Ogden, UT but his family roots are southern bred from Georgia and Tennessee. He is currently working towards his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Utah in SLC, UT. Aside from returning to school and pursuing a career in clinical therapy, he really wants to develop his own studio and do more research on music therapy.
He has a passion for working with our students on overcoming their adversity and recognizing their potential. Live Strong House feels like home to him.
Gray is a professional musician / performer / songwriter / actor and loves performing, writing music, traveling, fishing, cooking, and playing guitar.
Amy Spalding was born in Salt Lake City, UT, and received her B.A. in English from Weber State University in Utah. She has worked in various jobs including print journalist, broadcast news archivist and high school scholarship advisor. She is currently writing an historical novel based on her grandmother’s life. She is fluent in Japanese.
She loves working with teens and seeing them progress and grow in confidence. She believes there is greatness in everyone. She and her husband started a nonprofit to fund mental health treatment for adolescence called The DeNovo Project.
Amy enjoys reading, going to the gym, watching movies with her family, paddleboarding, watching and playing sports, travel, and fashion. She is an avid sports fan of the LA Dodgers and the Jazz and has a dream to travel the country in an RV to see baseball games in every MLB stadium in America.
She and her husband have 5 kids (4 boys and 1 girl) and loves being a mom and doing things as a family.
Higher Ground Learning is a premier tutoring company out of Salt Lake City. They offer customized one-on-one tutoring sessions for our students preparing for the ACT/SAT and/or Advanced Placement classes. They fit our model perfectly.
Austin Norlin was born and raised near Silver Lake in Wautoma, WI. Growing up, he spent most of his time outside: fishing, tubing, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding and fort building. He was eager to try every sport in school and won an award for being the most well-rounded varsity athlete.
Austin’s active lifestyle took a hit in his late teen years when he got sick with Lyme disease. It took about a decade for Austin to fully recover from his illness. During this time, Austin realized the importance of mental and emotional health while showing resilience and resourcefulness to find healing and relief. He feels this experience gave him a passion for teaching adolescents about the importance of living an active, well balanced, and well-nourished lifestyle.
Along with the activities Austin grew up with, he has taken on rock-climbing, canyoneering, hiking and mountain biking since living in UT. He has a passion for inviting Live Strong boys into these hobbies and helping them discover activities they love. Austin was even able to recruit his triplet brother, Logan, to move out to UT to become a life coach for Live Strong House.
Austin has been working in the therapeutic industry for the past five years and has been with Live Strong House since they opened their doors in 2016. He continues to learn and grow in connecting with teenage boys who need extra support and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
We have partnered with Coral Sands Academy, a private online school, to offer an individualized academic program for our students at Live Strong House. Our teachers provide instruction for students of all abilities with one-on-one and small group instruction. Students can efficiently work their way through an online class or dig into a project-based course customized for them.
Alani and Seni Havili are life coaches for the Young Adult House students at Live Strong House. They are a newly wedded couple.
Alani has a Bachelor of Sociology from the University of Utah. Since graduating from the University of Utah in 2018, he has worked with troubled youth through health facilities for adolescents.
Seni has a Master’s of Business Administration from Arizona State University. She has worked in the healthcare and education field during her time in college. Seni worked as a research assistant in a hospital, as well as tutored and mentored students of various ages from diverse backgrounds and walks of life.
Alani and Seni both come from family-orientated backgrounds. In their free time, they enjoy delicious food, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Emil Harker graduated in 1999 with a M.S. degree from Utah State University. He is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), and is based out of Farmington, Utah. Emil specializes in the counseling of Divorce, Family Conflict and Communication, Relationship Issues, Addiction, etc. His groundbreaking communication book “You Can Turn Conflict Into Closeness” has earned him the reputation of being a thought leader in communication and conflict resolution.
In his 20+ years of experience in mental health, Emil has worked as a Wilderness Therapist, an RTC Therapist, a psychiatrist therapist in the hospital setting for adults, adolescence and children; a crisis worker in the Emergency Room, and is a highly sought-after presenter, speaker, trainer and facilitator in communication and conflict resolution.
We are excited to announce the addition of the “Break Through Parent Training and Support Program” to the Live Strong House program created and presented by Emil Harker. This is a 10-week program offered for parents to enhance skills, communication, and conflict resolution, and to help build relationships within the family. We feel this program is imperative to the overall success and outcome of our students and families with Live Strong House. For more information on our parent program, visit RTC Parents.
Emil loves helping parents build the confidence to take toxic conflict and turn it into closeness; and take miserable breakdowns and turn them into breakthroughs.
Joshua holds an MA and PsyD in Clinical Psychology from the American Psychological Association accredited John F. Kennedy University. In addition to providing consultation services with Live Strong House, he is the lead psychologist of ClearView Psychological Services; a dynamic team of psychologists who provide comprehensive psychological assessment and consultation services to clients in treatment and out. If additional testing for auxiliary services is needed, ClearView Psychological Services can provide those assessments.
After his first season working in wilderness therapy in 1994, Joshua knew he wanted to focus his life’s work on supporting adolescents, young adults, and families in transition. He has worked as a transporter, a line staff, a therapist, a staff psychologist, and clinical director in his 24 years working in mental health.
To his work as a psychologist, Joshua brings a wide variety of unique life experiences, including several years as a soldier in a Special Forces unit, overseas work with the Drug Enforcement Agency, rowing for his college varsity crew team, traveling solo through Asia, starting an environmental education program for inner-city youth, and being a parent himself. He and his family work to spend as much time outside and traveling as possible. When he can’t get out, he enjoys wrenching on Land Cruisers and American muscle cars. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two children.
Kim Jensen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LSCW) and received her MSW and certificate in Disabilities Studies from the University of Utah, where she also received her B.S. in Communication/Journalism.
Kim has worked as a clinician in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, on the crisis line/suicide hotline, with MCOT (Mobile Crisis Outreach Team) and with incarcerated youth. She is a governor-appointed board member of the Youth Parole Authority and the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council. She serves on the Autism Council of Utah and provides research and expert testimony for individuals with autism who encounter law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Kim has presented at multiple conferences and provides training on autism.
Kim and her husband are the parents of three adult children and two goldendoodles. She enjoys outdoor adventures in the mountains, including skiing, hiking and mountain biking, and enjoys global travel. She is also a published author of a children’s book and freelances for FACES magazine.
Jessica Walker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and received her MSW at the University of Utah. She received her BSW at Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYUI.)
Jessica started working with teenagers in 2006 at an inner-city youth program in Chicago; this started her passion for working with teens. She then went on to work as a Juvenile Probation officer and support staff for boys and girls in a residential treatment center. Jessica worked in an outpatient setting as a LCSW for a year and a half with victims and perpetrators of sexual and physical abuse. She returned to the treatment center world and worked as a full-time therapist with teens and their families for 7 years at ViewPoint Center. Jessica has experience working with families and teens who struggle with anxiety, depression, substance use, ADHD, neurodevelopmental struggles, personality disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Jessica focuses on building a positive relationship with teens and their families through experiential activities and a strengths-based approach. Jessica is experienced in CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, experiential modalities, substance use and trauma-informed CBT.
Jessica and her husband are parents to 4 boys, 1 girl, a grand-baby, 2 dogs and 10 chickens. Jessica loves being with her family camping, hiking, mountain biking and traveling. She also loves playing volleyball, softball and to “dance like no one is watching” in her living room with her daughter.
Krissy Swahn, FNP, comes to Live Strong House with a lifelong desire to work in the medical field and practice medicine through the nursing viewpoint. She’s worked pediatrics, family care, and geriatrics, and her passion to help people of all ages stay the course to health is rooted deep.
Having previously lived in California, England, and Scotland, she settled in Utah where she attended Weber State University and Westminster College. While pursuing her education, she held on to a desire to help patients learn about overall health, leading her to become a family nurse practitioner.
Krissy enjoys teaching her patients how to take good care of themselves, see their knowledge base grow and learn how to manage their health. Outside of her practice, she enjoys riding horses, reading books, and spending time with her husband and children.
Kelsee Webb was born and raised in Temecula, California. She graduated from Brigham Young University–Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Math in 2017.
After graduating, Kelsee moved to Arizona and worked in wilderness therapy as a Trail Walker for The Anasazi Foundation for a year and a half. It was while working for Anasazi that Kelsee fell in love with behavioral therapy and working with adolescents. Kelsee has been an assistant life coach and school tutor at Live Strong House. Recently, she was hired to be a teacher for Live Strong and is very excited for the opportunity to work closer with the boys in and out of the classroom!
Kelsee enjoys surfing, soccer, volleyball, snowboarding, climbing, and playing the bass guitar.
Miller and Jennie Atagi are life coaches for the adult students at Live Strong House. They have been married for 27 years.
Miller has a Master of Social Work and has worked with teenage boys for the last 26 years. Whether in his occupation or in his personal life, Miller has worked with teenagers and young adults throughout his life. He has also worked as a hospice social worker for the last 18 years.
Jennie has a Bachelor of Public Relations. She has worked with youth throughout her career; from running her own preschool to working with junior high kids. Jennie has also worked as an executive assistant for Nilson Homes.
The Atagis’ greatest accomplishment is their family: Wilson and his wife Hannah, Noah, and Ethan. All three sons are enrolled in college. Noah plays football for Weber State University and Ethan plays football for Brigham Young University. The Atagi home is a constant, revolving door with the boys and their friends coming and going. Miller and Jennie are thoroughly enjoying this time of their life!
Mindy Johnson is excited to be a part of the Live Strong House care team. She graduated in 1998 from Weber State University Nursing Program. She has been a nurse for 24 years and loves taking care of people. Mindy has enjoyed getting to know the youth in the program at Live Strong House.
Mindy has always lived in Utah and wouldn’t live anywhere else! She is a married and is the mother to 4 boys and 1 girl. Mindy and her husband love helping with the Goliath Race (established by Mark Spalding) which supports the De Novo Project. She participated in the first Goliath Race 5K and it was a personal best for her. She enjoys reading, watching movies, camping, being outdoors and traveling with friends and family.
Jordan Bybee has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Brigham Young University. He has worked with adolescents for the past several years in different residential settings. He began his journey working with adolescents struggling with substance abuse related issues. He has spent time working in a sex-specific treatment, working with adolescents on the autism spectrum, and assisting adolescents who suffer from trauma through EMDR therapy.
Jordan is passionate about assisting youth and their families in establishing healthy and long-lasting relationships. Jordan takes a strengths-based, solution–focused approach with his clients. He strongly believes that through assisting students in developing emotional regulation, productive hobbies, and interpersonal regulation skills that they are best able to reconnect with what matters most in their lives. Jordan believes that change best occurs through the family unit and providing an environment where the student is comfortable and able to learn and grow.
Outside of work, Jordan enjoys spending time with his wife, mountain biking, fishing, watching sports or a great movie, and just being in the outdoors.
Haley has a B.S. in Psychology and Family Studies from Weber State University and an M.S. in Clinical Social Work with an emphasis in mental health from the University of Utah.
She is a trained trauma-informed therapist and has spent time working with individuals and their families who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Haley has worked in a variety of settings and worked with a variety of client demographics, including; adolescents, parents, and families. She especially loves working with adolescents and loves the energy that they bring to the process.
Outside of her professional life, Haley enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing and watching sports (especially University of Utah football), and doing anything outdoors. She loves more than anything spending time with her husband and their four children.
Monica Prusse has grown up in Utah and attended Utah State University graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, with minors in French and English and a Secondary Education certification, in 2001.
She taught English and French for several years before staying at home to raise her 4 children. She began an at home-tutoring business working mainly with math students, acting as an educational liaison between teacher and parents to help students develop their executive functioning skills. She also worked with the Utah State Board of Education to develop Criterion Referenced Tests in Secondary Mathematics, and Pearson Educational Measurement scoring SAT essays for college entrance.
In 2014, Monica returned to the classroom and added a Special Education certification to her teaching license. Her love those exceptional students, identifying their needs and creating educational programs where they can thrive, helped lead her to Live Strong House where the focus is on the success of each student as a unique individual.
Growing up in Utah, she has a love of all things mountain, lake, and desert. She adores science fiction and Masterpiece Theatre, but her most loved activities are camping with her family, backpacking with her girlfriends and biking with her husband.
Paul brings to Live Strong House 28 years of experience and knowledge in the residential treatment industry. His roles have included special education teacher, group facilitator, and director of academics, residential and marketing. He has served as an executive director for the last 10 years.
Paul earned his B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, and a Master of Science in Special Education from the University of Utah, where he also earned distinction as a Comprehensive Behavior Specialist. He has specialty training in behavior management, behavior consulting, assessments and testing, and vocational training. Paul holds a Special Education teaching certificate from Utah State University. He has six children and a wife he loves doing everything with. He enjoys the outdoors, running, and biking, but his favorite thing of all is playing with his kids and dancing with his wife, Sara.
Kurt brings to Live Strong House over 9 years’ experience of working in the residential treatment environment in a variety of capacities. Kurt has been a clinical team member, lead supervisor, de-escalation specialist and PCS instructor, as well as a Red Cross certified CPR/First Aid instructor. Kurt also brings a vast experience of working with youth as a former high school assistant football coach for 8 years as well as several years coaching little league football.
Kurt attended Weber State University studying Business Administration with an emphasis in finance. Kurt has played semi-pro football for the last 14 years. He has a passion for extreme skiing and fly fishing, enjoys spending time with his family and particularly teaching his niece and nephews how to truly embrace his life motto of, “Work hard, play hard.”
Misti Fleming was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications and Political Science. She worked for a few years writing news and producing programs at local radio stations before taking a break from her career to pursue motherhood.
After being raised in a family of 6 girls, Misti was blessed with 4 sons. She enjoys being surrounded by boys and feels right at home working with the boys at Live Strong House.
Mark has a B.S. in Family Studies and Psychology from Weber State University and an M.S. in Clinical Social Work with an emphasis in Forensic Clinical Social Work from the University of Utah. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Family Life Educator, trained Neurotherapist, and Field Instructor at the University of Utah. Mark is also the founder of the De Novo Project, a charity that provides mental health services and scholarships for therapeutic boarding schools.
One of Mark’s hobbies is competing in endurance events. Mark refers to these hobbies as self-therapy. He runs, bikes, or swims most days and has competed in marathons, Ironman triathlons, and ultra-distance cycling events. He created his own ironman-distance (140.6 mile) triathlon called The Goliath Race, which funds the De Novo Project. He’s also a mediocre skier and rock climber. What Mark enjoys most is spending time with his wife Amy and their five children, Devin (18), Sam (16), Ty (12), Noah (10), and Drue (8). Mark and Amy were high school sweethearts and have been married for 22 years.
Aaron Edwards has a B.S. in Technical Sales and Marketing from Weber State University. For nearly 20 years, Aaron was an owner of a successful business, acting in many capacities, including project manager, sales manager, general manager, and the association president of the industry. Aaron was the lead on innovation and bringing new technology to the industry.
Aaron has always enjoyed mentoring adolescent boys and has been involved with youth programs for more than fifteen years. During this time, he developed a true passion for youth and now dedicates his career to helping youth with their challenges. Aaron’s business expertise and real-life application helps youth better understand the dos and don’ts of life. Aaron knows what it means to become a contributing member of society, not just emotionally but also by learning practical skills like writing a resume, interviewing for a job, developing and keeping a budget, and handling life’s challenges. At Live Strong House, Aaron provides opportunities for residents to gain these skills.
Aaron loves to bike, run, hike, ski, and camp—anything that involves the outdoors. He has completed many long-distance races and events and enjoys any athletic challenge. Aaron is married and enjoys family time with his wife and four daughters.
Marilyn Siegel LCSW-R holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and education. In 1991, she completed her Masters in Social Work at New York University. She is certified in the Bayley Scales of Infant Assessment, Vineland Training, and the Conners Scale. Marilyn completed postgraduate training in family therapy and in Siphy certification. She completed additional coursework in the areas of Mood Disorders, Substance Abuse, Object Relations, and CBT, to name a few.
Marilyn holds professional affiliations numerous organizations, including NAEYC, NASW, NCCIP, and NATSAP. She holds NYS certification in Elementary Education (1987) and NYS certification in Social Work (1991). She is an Associate Adjunct Professor at NYU and a supervisor of graduate students in Social Work/Psychology (1991).
Marilyn has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She has developed a residential program and, since her return to private practice, has dedicated a portion of her practice to helping teens and their families prevent higher levels of intervention. She collaborates with educational consultants, wilderness therapists, and treatment facilities. Marilyn works therapeutically with the family as a whole and frequently assists the reunification process after therapeutic placements.
The Denovo Project
The De Novo Project is a non-profit that provides scholarships for the Live Strong House and other residential treatment centers (RTCs) that are out of reach for most. The De Novo Project also provides funding to local individuals with mental health needs that traditional insurance does not cover.
The De Novo Project was inspired by the need for mental health services for those suffering from severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and other concerns. Ironically, mental health receives limited attention and funding, yet it is one of the most important aspects of our lives.
It takes family, friends, community, and skill building to overcome these mental Goliaths. To learn more about how the De Novo Project is helping local individuals, as well as adolescents and young adults all over the country, visit www.thedenovoproject.org.