Meet our staff and leadership team
The staff and leadership team at White River Academy are qualified in a variety of disciplines, including clinical psychology, education, administration, and other areas essential to day-to-day operations. Each member of our staff and leadership team treats your son with care and understanding about his behavioral issues, while fostering an environment rich in personal growth.
Together, our team creates a safe, secure, and structured environment to help your son overcome his developmental barriers and become the man he is meant to be.
- Parent Liaisons
- Support Staff
- Facility Maintenance
JUSTIN NIELSON: PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR
Justin Nielson was one of the founders when White River Academy was established in July 2002 and currently serves as a member of the board of directors. As school administrator, he is committed and responsible for fostering the tone of the Academy by making insightful decisions which impact parents, staff members, and students in positive ways. Justin Nielson was instrumental in developing the Academy’s standards, goals, policies and procedures as found in the Academy’s Mission Statement. He greatly enjoys working with people and has been very supportive of all the staff members, including counselors, shift managers, staff members and teachers.
Justin Nielson is a key contributor in building cohesive relations with parents, prospective and current students, and employees to meet individual and group goals for each young man who attends the Academy. Prior to his current position as School Administrator at White River Academy, Justin Nielson set up an admissions agency for worldwide therapeutic programs for at-risk youths. He also directed another Academy in Southern Utah.
Throughout his career, Justin Nielson brings more than 16 years of professional, caring experience and dedication in working with at-risk youths. He has specialized in targeted case management, been a psychiatric technician and an assistant recreational therapist. For more than ten years, Justin Nielson also effectively partnered with Organization for Family Advancement, OFFA, and coordinated home life and educational opportunities between foster parents, the state of Utah, and OFFA.
In addition to English, Justin Nielson also communicates proficiently in Spanish. He learned to speak Spanish when he lived in Puerto Rico for five years establishing White River Academy. In addition, Justin Nielson also had the honor of serving a two year mission in Oporto, Portugal for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During that time, he was able to learn Portuguese.
On a personal level, Justin Nielson and his wife Jennifer were proctor parents for another academy in Utah for several years. He currently enjoys many outdoor activities with his wife and their three children, such as baseball, camping, fishing, football, hiking and hunting. His personal philosophy statement: “Seek to understand, then to be understood.”
GARY PORTER: ASSISTANT PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Gary has been White River Academy’s shift manager since October 2009. He is responsible for overseeing support staff members, resolving problems, and diffusing issues. Gary instills techniques to his staff to provide skillful communication and disciplined approaches for positive learning moments. With Gary’s passion for working with youth and using his natural leadership skills, he has a valuable opportunity to assist in the growth and development of the young men who attended the academy.
Gary attended Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho for two years on a wrestling scholarship, where he studied psychology. After attending Ricks College, Gary pursued studies in biology and chemistry with an emphasis in genetics. Born and raised in Delta, Gary resides here with his wife and six children. He decided to diversify his talents and interests in many entrepreneurial venues in the town. He’s actively involved in agriculture, animal husbandry, graphic design, and commodity futures and options trading.
Gary has enjoyed being involved in the lives of young men as a wrestling coach from junior high school to coaching several high school All-Americans at the national level. Throughout more than 21 years of coaching, he has effectively learned to work with young men of all different backgrounds and personalities and their individual problems and concerns.
“It has been my great privilege to have been involved in so many young lives and affirms to me that through hard work and determination, any of man’s inherent weaknesses are overcome and be formed into one’s strengths, if one has the proper motivation and guidance,” says Gary.
SANDY BLACK: EMPLOYEE RETENTION SPECIALIST
Sandy Black was born and raised in Delta, Utah. After several years of living in the Bay Area, near San Francisco, and raising two children, she and her family returned to Delta to be closer to family. She worked towards getting her Certified Nurses Certificate in 1996 and was hired as a CNA with Intermountain Healthcare. In 1998, she attended Salt Lake Community College, where she received her Therapeutic Recreation license has worked as a CNA/recreation therapist for Intermountain Healthcare and Traditions Healthcare for over 20 years. She currently works as a CNA/PCT at the Fillmore Hospital. As a recreation therapist, she invited WRA students to come and participate with the long-term residents in activities, community outings, several different projects and sometimes just visiting with them. She has already been involved with WRA since it was first established. She has a personal interest in working with these young men and has lost a loved one to addiction. Black has witnessed the success that WRA can have with these young men and is excited to be a part of this team.
RENEE WHITAKER: AUDITOR
Whitaker is responsible for performing the quality assurance administrative state regulation audits. Most importantly, she genuinely cares about the employees, parents, and teens at our school. Whitaker has a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in sociology from California State University, Northridge. She enjoys spending time with her family, children and grandchildren in California.
SHANNA THOMAS: INSURANCE MEDICAL BILLER
Thomas attended one year at Dixie State College in Utah, studying administrative business and later became a certified ophthalmic assistant at the American Institute of Medical-Dental Technology in Provo, Utah. She loves her family, especially her four children. She enjoys playing sports, especially volleyball and softball, as well watching good movies and spending as much time with family as possible.
CHRISTY FINLINSON: OFFICE MANAGER
Christy was born in the hospital that White River Academy now calls home. She is the youngest of 8 diverse and unique children. While attending college Christy met and married her cute hubby. After many years of marriage and 5 children they are still every bit in love today as ever. Her family is the most important thing in her life. She recently became a grandma for the 2nd time and could not be happier to have the title of Grandma! She graduated Magna Cum Laude and has a love for learning and the arts. Her and her family love to travel! Her spontaneous nature lends itself toward many weekend trips to go hiking, camping, and all in all exploring the great out-of-doors. She loves to see new places and try new things. She especially loves to try different foods from all over the world.
STACY DEAN: FINANCE MANAGER
Stacy is the third of eight children and comes from a line of accounting professionals. She began working in finance and accounting while still in high school and continued as she worked her way through college in southern Utah. At first the goal was to become a teacher, and then Stacy married, moved to Fillmore, and became a mother of three. After working as a store manager for two years, and a deputy auditor for ten years, she joined the team at White River Academy. She continues her love of numbers and shares a smile often. She loves music, swimming, reading, and spending time with her family.
ROBIN SANDERSON: ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR
Robin Reber brings administrative experience from a variety of positions, including directing the affairs of rural fire departments, university-level athletic departments, long-haul transportation companies, and hospital emergency room services. Robin Reber has provided services for White River Academy since 2007.
Robin Sanderson is an in her community for all kinds of events including: Ironman marathon and triathlon events, paddleboarding, master gardening, disaster prepping, photography, genealogy, hiking, biking and living well. She says, “I love working with White River families. White River is one of the few programs that will actually focus on the skills and paradigm shifts it takes for a boy to become a man. There is a peaceful calm at White River. There is strength, order, dignity, respect, purpose, insight and hope. These young men come from good families who earnestly desire a better path for their sons and entrust their children with us. That is a trust we protect and cherish.”
ANNE SALAZAR: ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR
Salazar grew up in Oregon. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City and several medical certifications. Salazar is married with one son. Her family is very close and they love finding new places to explore and restaurants to try. She loves to travel and go to the movies. Salazar loves being involved with my family and church.
SKYLER PORTER: SHIFT MANAGER
Skyler Porter graduated from Delta High School. After that, he fulfilled a mission in Malaysia for two years where he served the people. When he got back, he attended Southern Utah University where he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Skyler now works here as one of the shift managers. “For the past five years, I have worked in youth treatment centers and came here in March from a position in a coed transitional facility. This kind of work has always been my passion and I love working with youth,” says Skyler. “I love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and sports. I am a wrestling coach and was an individual participant, since I was 5 years old. I love my wife and we live in Delta out by the reservoir. There is nothing more important to me than my family.”
CODY CLEGG: SHIFT MANAGER
He is responsible for being leading student de-escalations. His attention to detail and calmness is appreciated by both staff and students. Cody received his associate degree in business from Colorado Technical University and also specialized in gunsmithing at Penn Foster Career School. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family.
NEIL TERRY: NIGHT MANAGER
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and moved to Delta, Utah when I was 2 years old. I was raised on a farm and graduated from Delta High School. I moved to Nevada, where I was a Deputy Sheriff until I moved back to Delta in 2014. I am the Night Shift Manager and really enjoy working with and learning from the students. My hobbies include spending time w/ family & friends, listening to music, art, playing guitar, and sports.
ISAAC DODOO: SHIFT MANAGER
Isaac is responsible for monitoring the staff and students. Through positive peer culture, he disciplines boys in a teachable learning form of communications. In addition to raising his own children, Isaac brings many years of experience working with children and in gaining their respect. Isaac was born in Accra, Ghana, but moved to the United Kingdom with his parents when he was young boy. He speaks fluent English, Ghana’s official language (there are nine major dialects in Ghana, but Dangme and Ga are the two spoken primarily in Accra).
Isaac holds a diploma in electrics from Accra Polytechnic School. In addition, he has mastered multiple languages, including: Awosa, Ewe, Fante, French, Ga, Spanish, and Twi. He also loves to travel. Some countries he has visited are Belgium, the U.K., France, and Germany. Isaac, who now lives in Delta, Utah has been married for over ten years and has five children. Isaac’s personal philosophy statement: “Use experiences to love life!”
CHANTELLE EDWARDS: SHIFT SCHEDULER MANAGER
Chantelle was born and raised in Millard County. She has a small town soul and a love for the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, exercising, and spending time with her family are her favorite activities. While growing up, Chantelle was a total daddy’s girl. Her parents taught her strong morals and set great examples for her. She graduated from Millard High School in 2010. Chantelle started working at White River Academy in 2016. Since then, she has become passionate about helping the students learn and grow as individuals. In August of 2017, Chantelle lost her father. In this tragedy she has found comfort and reason in mentoring the students. She feels blessed to be a part of such a rewarding program and is honored to be part of the students’ journey.
DAVID GREENE: SAFETY AND SECURITY MANAGER
David was born in Anaheim California, Where he spent his young life with his Father, Mother, and 2 siblings, to the age of 12. His parents moved him and his sister to Kanosh Utah where they had spent many summers camping at Adelaide Park and the mountains all over Utah. He spent his high school days here but then they moved back to California. While in California he attended college and met his childhood family friend and now wife again. They adopted 2 girls and had 2 of their own boys. David moved his young family back to Kanosh so that his children could have the same freedoms he had as a young man. While coaching baseball, he made a friend Jamie Orullian, who would ask him later to come to work at White River Academy. His love for working with youth seemed to fit in with the White River Academy statement. He loves family reunion trips, camping, different foods, travels, and looks forward to time spent with his kids.
DANIEL SANDERSON: CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, PHD
Sanderson is a clinical psychologist with an e-therapy and private practice at the Therapy Associates Group of St. George, Utah. He’s also a skilled forensic and neuro-psychologist with a particular passion for psychological assessment and evaluations as they pertain to assisting in intervention and treatment. Sanderson has provided counseling, treatment and therapy for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families for more than 25 years. He is known for his developmental, experiential approach to treatment and his unconventional therapeutic sessions; successful interventions and disruptions. Sanderson has extensive experience in treating attention deficit disorder; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and personality disorders. In addition, Sanderson has treated substance abuse and addiction, process addictions, drug and alcohol addiction; eating disorders and sexual disorders. Sanderson has worked with split & blended families; adoption and international adoptions as well as treating reactive attachment disorder.
He earned his doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. “Doc Dan” is what his clients use to reference him. Sanderson is the creator of the “developmental vacation model” which is a highly successful and unique theory for treating adolescent and young adult behavior issues. He is the father of five children.
AUSTIN DAY: EQUINE THERAPIST
Austin Day holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University in biology, and a master’s degree in education and education administration. He is also a certified equine-assisted psychotherapist. Austin Day’s life revolves around teaching and a deep love of horses. He has spent his entire life riding, participating in rodeos and showing horses. With more than 40 years of experience, Austin Day’s married his love of horses with teaching and educating youth, by creating experiences that will last a lifetime. He agrees with the heartfelt adage, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
CORRINE DAY: EQUINE THERAPIST
Corrinne Day retired from the federal government after 30 years of service. Her family is her main interest in life. She has three children and nine grandchildren. Corrinne Day is heavily involved with horses and watching her grandkids participate in rodeos and other sporting events.
TANA FREY: THERAPIST, CMHC
Tany has been working in the adolescent treatment industry since 2004 in a variety of settings, including wilderness therapy, residential treatment, transitional boarding schools, intensive outpatient therapy and private practice. Her years working as a field instructor in a wilderness therapy program introduced Frey to many experiences she incorporates into therapy. Frey received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University, where she majored in psychology and minored in outdoor recreation. She received her master’s in clinical mental health counseling from the University of Phoenix in 2013. Frey’s experiences including working with youth and their families struggling with substance use, oppositional defiance, trauma, sexual abuse and sexual dependency, and processing dependencies. She utilizes an eclectic model in her therapy sessions and seeks to work with her clients in ways that make sense to them. Frey also enjoys more experiential methods of treatment and will typically be found using art, music, creating, and play as a tool in her therapy sessions.
Frey has a deep love and passion for the outdoors and the power of the wilderness in accompanying healing. She finds as much enjoyment in reading as she does in spending time with her husband, son and dog outside in the beautiful Southern Utah desert.
LANDON STOTT: GROUP LEADER
Mr. Landon married his wife Malorie in 2013 and has two children. He served as a missionary to West Africa from 2010 to 2012. Mr. Landon enjoys playing all sports and all-things football related. He also loves spending time outside with his family, especially when it involves hunting and fishing.
Mr. Landon’s most inspirational quote is: “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” -Vince Lombardi
PHILLIP WINTCH: ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR, LCSW
Bio Coming Soon…
KRISTI HEISTERMAN: ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR, CMHC
Kristi received her Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences with emphasis in Psychology from Utah Valley University. She went on to receive a Master’s of Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Phoenix and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2014.
She began working in the field of treatment in 2010 with her first job as support staff at an equine assisted therapeutic boarding school. At the same time, she began her career with the State of Utah-Department of Human Services. Throughout her experience in the field, she has had the opportunity to work at both adult and adolescent residential treatment centers, juvenile detention and receiving centers, intensive outpatient services, and has facilitated individual, family, and group therapy. She was the Project Director for the State of Utah, Healthy Transitions grant that focused on helping teens acquire the skills and resources needed to transition into adulthood successfully. Kristi is especially interested in the areas of sexual trauma and abuse, addiction, process addictions, anger management, behavioral management, transition to adult living skills, youth with criminogenic needs, youth that have been involved in the foster care system and/or that have experienced attachment disruptions, including adoption.
In her free time, Kristi enjoys outdoor adventuring with her husband and their two dogs. She enjoys road-tripping, hiking, and kayaking. She is a lover of all things Disney related and has set a goal to accomplish the Dopey Challenge at some point in her life. She also enjoys scrapbooking and reading and is an active member of her local library’s book club.
Kristi’s favorite quote is by Victor Frankl, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
EMILEE KRUPA: SUDC (SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER COUNSELOR)
Emilee’s journey into the recovery field began as a residential staff for an adult substance abuse treatment center, and soon she fell in love with the world of recovery and helping those that suffer from addictions. Later she began working for a therapeutic boarding school as an assistant supervisor, and after completing college she joined their clinical team as a substance abuse counselor. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in psychology from Utah Valley University and completed the substance use disorder counselor program there. With extensive knowledge of the twelve steps, Emilee believes that recovering from addiction is successful through sharing “experience, strength, and hope” and she believes that those who struggle with addiction can and do recover. Emilee continually follows research in the recovery community, and is fascinated about learning new ways to help those she works with build a strong, personalized recovery program that they become passionate about living. Emilee is a licensed SMART Recovery facilitator as well as a Licensed Prime for Life Facilitator in Utah. In her spare time Emilee enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two dogs, and loves all of the outdoor adventures Utah has to offer. She is an avid hiker, camper, and rock climber.
KRIS CARY: ACADEMIC DIRECTOR
Kris Cary has been White River Academy’s academic director since December 2006. His primary responsibilities are to review student’s transcripts and create appropriate academic curriculum. With more than 20 years of involvement with at-risk youth, Kris Cary focuses on the academic process, delivery, content and course application for White River Academy.
Kris Cary received a master’s in educational leadership with an emphasis in alternative education from Arizona’s Prescott College in June 2009. Previously, he earned a bachelor’s in Kinesiology from West Texas A & M University in December 1994. His professional experiences include working in group homes for adjudicated males, males in self-contained classrooms and those who are participating in credit recovery programs. Kris Cary has also coached in various recreational and high school sports.
Kris Cary’s passion is sports of all kinds, camping, and working with youth. Two of his proudest accomplishments include being named a 1989 NCAA All-American in the 3000 meter steeple chase and serving as a scout master in the Boy Scouts of America program. Kris Cary says that his most treasured activity is spending quality time with his wife and family. His personal philosophy statement: “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
KRISTINE KINIKI: ACADEMIC COUNSELOR
Kiniki has been working in the educational field for many years. As an academic counselor for White River Academy, she exchanges information designed to help students reach their educational and career goals.
ROXANNE LAYTON: SUBSTITUTE TEACHER
Roxanne Layton grew up in Washington State and developed a deep love for nature and the outdoors. Living in both Washington and Utah, she raised three daughters and two sons. Roxanne has worked with children and youth for 40 years, spanning from very special needs to gifted students. She is an author/illustrator and has published several books for children. Working as an aide and a substitute teacher has given her years of joy and fulfillment. Layton and her husband run a small raw milk dairy on their rural farm, where they are happily involved with their livestock, chickens and pets.
MARCI BROWN: ACADEMIC TESTER
Brown oversees the student academic testing and knowledge skill base for the teachers. She provides White River Academy with a solid foundation to effectively assess the student’s skills and their learning. Brown enjoys spending time with her family and working with the youth.
JONATHAN BARNEY: CLASSROOM INSTRUCTOR
Barney has been a classroom instructor since August 2011. He is responsible for implementing instructional activities, where the students are actively engaged in meaningful learning experiences. His classes include business, financial literacy, math and science. Barney academically challenges the teens, engages them to learn and assists them with their academic goals.
Barney received his bachelor’s degree in business finance from Southern Utah University, from which he graduated with Magna Cum Laude. Previously he had also received an associate degree in business from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Before working at White River Academy, he was a chief financial officer. Barney was a key player on an executive team by controlling, forecasting, implementing, managing and planning all financial-related company activities. Barney has also worked as a hotel manager, demonstrating both his business and people management skills. He was responsible for the day-to-day management of the hotel and its staff.
Barney is married and has three children. He enjoys gardening, hunting, research, and spending time visiting the national parks across the United States. Some of his personal achievements include several years of successful lobbying in pursuit of crucial child protection laws in Utah and once having obtained a U.S. patent. Barney’s personal philosophy is that with a context perspective, his students are able to use education, instead of just memorizing answers.
STEVE BROWN: CLASSROOM INSTRUCTOR
Brown is the language arts and social studies teacher at White River Academy. He received his bachelor’s in English with a focus in creative writing and a minor in history from Southern Utah University. He is working on a MFA in creative writing through the University of Texas at El Paso and is a published poet.
Steve began his teaching career in the Chinle Unified School District on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where he worked with disadvantaged youth. After six years of teaching 7th and 8th grade language arts, Steve was asked to serve as school improvement coordinator for Tsaile Public School in the Chinle District. In that position, along with several peers and a supportive principal, he created major changes at the school, including instructional and assessment practices that ultimately moved the school from an “under-performing” label to a “performing plus” label. Steve has also worked as an outside consultant for school districts through Southwest Educational Consulting Associates, improving school culture and climate, facilitating improvement plans and designing professional development and curriculum programs for language arts. He has also provided training in the “six traits of effective writing,” at multiple schools in Arizona and served as a coach for the Arizona Department of Education’s Professional Development Leadership Academy, a program designed by the state to turn at-risk schools and districts around.
Brown’s basic educational philosophy is this: students want to learn and what keeps them from learning is low self-esteem. Boredom and behavior problems are a cover-up for, “I don’t get this.” Brown believes the tools students need to achieve and build confidence are:
- Access to real data –how did I do last time and what do I need to do to improve?
- Instruction that is relevant and delivered in small chunks (teacher models, group practices together and student practices alone for mastery)
- A culture where mistakes are viewed as vital learning experiences on a path of continual growth
- Lots of practice time. With these things in place, Brown believes all students can achieve.
REG CHRISTENSEN: CLASSROOM INSTRUCTOR
Christensen has dual degrees with bachelor’s degrees in math education and science in mathematics. Recently he finished a master’s degree in mathematics education. Christensen minored in Spanish and has a musical background. He is the proud father of five children and spends the majority of his time with his wife and children. Christensen enjoys the outdoors, good food, and serving in different church callings. Thanks to his music background, he also teaches a young men’s choir here at White River Academy.
KYLE FRANCOM: INDIVIDUATED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) WRITER
Francom works according to Utah’s State Office of Education to create individual education program plans for White River Academy’s special needs students. These plans are followed by both the teachers in the classroom along with other related program services. IEP plans lead to the overall improvement of the students’ outcome within the program.
KAMRON DAY: CLASSROOM INSTRUCTOR
Bio Coming Soon…
CYDNEY CARY: ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Cydney Cary has been our registrar since December of 2007. Her responsibilities include: Managing student academic records, student enrollments and tracking individual and overall academic progress. Cydney Cary also in in charge of releasing academic records, secretarial duties for all special education needs, assisting in the state accreditation process and overseeing high school graduation programs.
In addition to her professional career at White River Academy, Cydney Cary has volunteered as a youth leader in her community and has been a licensed foster parent through the state of Utah for more than three years. She has also taught in and operated a preschool out of her home for more than four years.
Cydney Cary’s empathy, experience, and commitment to helping families have been motivating factors in her life and have assisted the White River Academy team to reach out to more families in need. Cydney Cary’s varied hobbies include collecting lighthouses, enjoying all kinds of music, genealogy, and reading. She has been married for nearly 30 years and has three children. Cydney Cary’s personal philosophy statement: “It is our job as leaders, parents, and educators to lift up, dust off, and inspire those placed in our care; thus, insuring a brighter and more prosperous future generation.”
CINDY PORTER: PARENT LIAISON
Cindy graduated from Lehi High School and later graduated from the American Institute of Medical Technology. She completed a successful internship with Charter Canyon Hospital, a mental health and drug rehabilitation hospital in Orem, Utah. After her internship she was employed with Charter Canyon Hospital where she continued to run the Medical Records Division of the hospital she later became their patient Treatment Plan Coordinator. She enjoyed working with those with addictions and mental issues and helping them to work towards their goals. She and her husband live in Delta they have been married for 27 years and have six children. They stay very busy following the kids to all their sports and activities and working on their farm. They love just spending time together as a family.
JAMIE ORULLIAN: PARENT LIAISON / EVENT COORDINATOR
Orullian is a Utah native, born in Fillmore near White River Academy’s home town of Delta. She received a degree in business from Dixie State University, in Utah, and a degree in family and human development with an emphasis in family relations from Utah State University. Orullian has worked as a social worker for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, as an Upward Bound coordinator with the U.S. Department of Education and as a recreation director for east Millard County. She’s also an avid volunteer who has acted as the family support coordinator for the Utah National Guard’s 1457th Combat Engineer Battalion.
In his spare time, Orullian enjoys reading, cooking, shopping and vacationing with her family. She has seven children and her favorite quote is, “If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
RACHEL BOND: PARENT LIAISON
Rachel Bond is the main communication line between the adolescents and their families. She works closely with the school’s treatment team and the students to give valuable current information to the families about their sons’ progress. Her husband and she were blessed with three children. They try their best to make family time a priority. They love their dogs and living in a small community. Her hobbies include board games with her family, hiking, arts and crafts, and any fun exercise.
JENNIFER NIELSON: AFTERCARE SPECIALIST
Jennifer Nielson’s main responsibility is to make sure students are receiving quality care and effective growth opportunities. She watches out for the students’ individual needs and progress. She is in regular contact with students and is the parent’s contact person within the program for the purpose of coordination of updates and progress reports. She assists the Group Leader, day and night staff, and the counselor in the student’s daily schedule. Jennifer Nielson also coordinates basic needs for each student such as medical visits and tests. She participates in our student meetings and cottage meetings to provide necessary information to the program director.
Jennifer Nielson enjoys spending time with her husband and their three sons. Her hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, crafting and traveling.
LOREN PENCE: ACTIVITIES DIRECTOR
Pence and has been working with troubled at-risk adolescents at White River Academy since 2007. He has covered various positions including support staff, night staff, shift manager, physical education supervisor, and vehicle maintenance. He currently enjoys being activity director and is currently working toward becoming a certified recreational therapist. His compassion and experience has helped WRA’s Team be successful to the student’s daily activity skills.
Pence is a graduate of Delta High School. He has been a life coach to people with disabilities helping them to build good self-perception about their capabilities. He has also volunteered his time to coach during the Special Olympics. In April 2013 he was certified as an EMT and continues to look for further opportunities to better his self through education.
Pence married his high school sweetheart and has a beautiful daughter. His hobbies include backpacking, camping, fishing and spending time with family. He also enjoys vehicle restorations and lending a helping hand to whomever stands in need. His personal philosophy statement is, “Study the behaviors of others to broaden your own awareness and compassion towards humanity.”
TYLER SHANK: SUPPORT STAFF
Tyler was born and raised in Delta, Utah. He graduated Delta High in 2004, joined the Army in January of 2006 and trained to be a combat medic. Tyler deployed to Iraq October 2006 – January 2008 and received an Honorable Discharge from the Army in February 2013.
Tyler married his wife Kristy in March of 2009 and together they have two children. In his leisure, he enjoys fishing, riding four-wheelers and hanging out with his family.
His most inspirational quote is “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13
KIM CROPPER: SUPPORT STAFF
Kim Cropper was born in Delta in the building that White River occupies now and was raised just one block up the road. She and her husband have operated a family farm for 27 years. For the last 12 years, Cropper has been employed by the local school district as an educational specialist. She has spent most of her time there working at Delta High with resource students in study hall classes. Working with youth is a great passion, which is what brought her to White River.
She is the mother of five children, ranging in age from 27 to 18-year-old twin girls and has one granddaughter who just turned one. Her favorite things to do are to spend time with her family and to go on motorcycle trips with her husband.
CHRIS EVANS: SUPPORT STAFF
Chris Evans has a Bachelor s Degree from the University of Utah majoring in Environmental Science. Previously coming to White River Academy, he was a Utah State Park Ranger for over 16 years at Yuba State Park along with his wife. He has 4 children and enjoys hiking, hunting, fishing, and the outdoors with his family. Other interests include coin and stamp collections and doing crossword puzzles.
CANDY LAMKEY: SUPPORT STAFF
Candy is part of White River Academy’s support staff, and works early in the morning with the students. She loves her family and enjoys drawing, the outdoors, and rock hounding.
SANDY KINSMAN: SUPPORT STAFF
Sandy is a support staff member responsible for interacting with the teens, by providing them, with program direction and guidance using her positive peer culture skills and natural genuine care for children. Sandy graduated from Delta High School. Prior to working at White River Academy, she used her natural talents of effective customer service skills in retail. In addition to her warm and outgoing personality, she has a true love for children and had an opportunity to raise her two beautiful grown children to be productive successful adults. Sandy loves to camp, oil paint, and read. Her personal philosophy statement is to always care and show love to children, as they provide great joy in one’s life. “It is said that LOVE is spelled TIME. Students know you care if you show them you care enough to give them your time,” says Sandy.
MANDY MASON: SUPPORT STAFF
Mandy was born in Payson, Utah and was raised in Delta, Utah. She graduated from Delta High School with a General Education Degree in 2009. In 2011, she received her CNA Licensee and followed up with her Phlebotomy License in 2012.
CHRISTIAN PORTER: SUPPORT STAFF
Christian was born in Provo, Utah in 1993. He attended Elementary school in Delta, middle school in Florida, and high school in the United Kingdom. He also attended two years of community college while there, studying public services. While living in the U.K., Christian volunteered for five years for the West Bank Community Forum. This group provided activities and outings for underprivileged children in the area. Activities included bingo, a gardening club, craft sessions and a youth club. Christian also chaperoned on these outings.
After returning from the U.K., Christian served a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in Melbourne, Australia. Upon his return from his mission, he started employment at White River Academy. Christian’s family consists of his parents, two brothers and a sister. He is the oldest child. Christian’s hobbies include studying history, especially World War II. He enjoys traveling and have been to England, Wales, France, and Australia. He is also very interested in the Pacific Island Culture and learning their language. He enjoys electronics.
RUSSELL SCOUGARD: SUPPORT STAFF
After graduating from Delta High School, Russell moved onto Job Core. His family has been in the Millard County, Utah area for over 200 years and is very proud of his heritage. In his spare time, he loves to hunt, fish, go rock climbing, planting crops, gaming, working out, and camping. Russell loves his family and has a 13-year-old son and a girlfriend of over 10 years. For him, the rewarding part of this job is to work with the students and see their personal growth and changes since coming into the program.
PATRICK STRODE: SUPPORT STAFF
Patrick lived in Delta from the ages of eight to 15. He moved back to his hometown in April 2015. Patrick has had personal experience in abusive homes and with stability issues during his younger years. He understands the difficulties of overcoming a negative pass. Patrick believes the past is only there to drag us down, and we must make the choice to throw off the chains of yesterday to move forward today. His favorite quote to live by is “do or do not, there is no try!”
Patrick is honored to have such a rewarding position here at White River Academy. Being from similar backgrounds as some of these boys makes his job all the more interesting. Further, having the opportunity to be part of their lives and make a difference in them has been a blessing for himself and his family.
ALLEN HOUSTON: SUPPORT STAFF
I grew up on a farm, milking cows, growing hay, and potatoes. I have a background in mechanics with vehicle, motorcycles/atvs, and heavy duty construction equipment. I’ve done construction work, worked in lumber yards, stocking drywall and shingles. I know the value of hard work and dedication to reach goals. I like working here because I like to see kids that have struggles be able to redirect and overcome their problems and become better people.
SWADE JOHNSON: SUPPORT STAFF
I enjoy working at WRA since one is able to get to know one self by helping others and is able to look at future obstacles in different viewpoints and you are able to do this one is better equipped to guide another to the correct path in life. Being able to see someone go from their worst to their best is one of the best things to be able to see and down their road they will be able to help someone else to get through their rough times since they have went through it as well. Personally, I do go out shooting and I enjoy going off roading also playing video games.
SIOBHAN CHRISTENSEN(CHEVY): SUPPORT STAFF
Chevy was raised in the Delta area and has always been an adventurous spirit. She credits much of her spunk and zeal for life to her Irish heritage. After graduating high school she started her next adventure in life and joined the Army. While serving her country she ran into the man who would be the love of her life. Ironically, she had known him most of her life. It was her brother’s childhood best friend. They were soon married. She was released from her service in the Army to be able to go with her now husband (A United States Marine) all around the world. They loved everywhere they were privileged to be stationed, but her favorite was the years they spent in Japan. Chevy is the mother of 3 wonderful children. Along with working full time for us, she is currently working on finishing up her BS degree in psychology. She looks at every day as a new adventure whether it is helping the boys at WRA through their morning routine or going to Ireland to visit her aunts and uncles. We appreciate her positive zest for life and are grateful to have her as a Support Staff.
MANUELA ALI RAMIREZ: SUPPORT STAFF
Bio Coming Soon…
MATHEW WOOD: SUPPORT STAFF
Bio Coming Soon…
DAMIAN ROMAN: SUPPORT STAFF
Bio Coming Soon…
SHARON ROPER: CHEF
Sharon Roper was born in Toledo, Ohio, and lived there until she was 16. Her family moved to Delta, where she met her husband. They have been married for 42 years and have two sons together as well as seven grandchildren. Roper worked for IHC in radiology and management for 27 years. During this time, she began her own catering company and later opened her own bakery for six years. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her family.
AMBER CLEGG: ASSISTANT CHEF
Bio Coming Soon…
AMY JO GORDAN: ASSISTANT CHEF
Bio Coming Soon…
BRITTNEY THOMAS: ASSISTANT CHEF
Bio Coming Soon…