All staff members at Elk Mountain Academy are chosen for their heart and enthusiasm for youth. Staff selection is primarily based on the ability for staff members to provide strong and positive role models for the students on our campus. As such, it is noteworthy that many of our staff members are themselves recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and their stories of success are an inspiration to the students in our program. Staff members in every area of the program are encouraged to engage in activities with the students in order to help bonds of friendship and trust develop between staff and students. It is our philosophy that strong connections between staff and students will have the greatest impact on students’ success in our program.
Carl Olding is our founder and was the first therapist in the history of EMA. He received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in 1988 from JFK University in Orinda, CA. He has dedicated his practice and his life to aiding young men on their paths to recovery. Carl has a unique approach to using recreational therapy to teach young men to develop healthy habits and outlets for their free time. He is a committed Christian, but believes it is critically important to allow students to come to their own understanding of their Higher Power. Every Sunday he attends church followed by an AA meeting. Monday through Friday he leads Morning Prayer called “First Light” with EMA students who attended the Attitude Adjustment meeting.
Loretta shared Carl’s dream of creating Elk Mountain Academy and in January 1994 became its co-founder. Her work begins at the ground level when she interviews parents and educational consultants to discuss the needs of each prospective EMA student. She ensures that the placement is appropriate for each individual and that the Academy’s experienced and trained staff is prepared to work with every young man on an individual basis. Loretta also oversees the daily operations of EMA. With her business degree, she is able to add to the administration side as well. She has always had a passion to help teenagers be successful and embraces the concept that part of this journey is to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. She became a Christian at a young age and believes in leading by example. Loretta has raised two children of her own. This has helped her to understand that the EMA students need to feel welcome and loved while away from home and family. To this end, she orchestrates special events, holiday parties, and ceremonies that celebrate important events and achievements in the lives of “her boys”.
Mark Rocha is Elk Mountain Academy's Program Director. He has been happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Penny, for forty years. They have raised two daughters that also have a passion to help young people. His vast experience as a youth pastor and program director for 30 years, has given him insight into the hearts and minds of teens. Marks vision to build a youth center for teens in Clark Fork, Idaho has blessed hundreds of young people, Spiritually, Emotionally, and Physically. The young men from Elk Mountain Academy have been blessed to meet there weekly for AA meetings, basketball, and other youth activities. He coached basketball at the local high school for twenty years, as well as, being a substitute teacher and mentor for ten years. He enjoys many outdoor activities with the local youth and his family. He is an avid rock climber, fly fisherman, mountain biker, and disc golf player. Spending time in the mountains of North Idaho, wake boarding, snow boarding, hiking, and backpacking, and teaching kids how to as well, brings him much joy in his life. Marks drug counseling experience and personal struggles as a youth, gives him empathy, and a deep desire, to reach young people with the hope of God's grace.
Janice Knight is a member of our therapeutic team. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Southern Utah University in 1997 and graduated with a Master of Arts in Education, emphasis in Educational Counseling, in 2000. Janice is both a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor through the National Board for Certified Counselors. She has worked in the field of treatment for over 13 years in a variety of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, residential programs, outpatient programs, wilderness therapy, and her own private practice. Janice enjoys living in Northern Idaho with her 2 young sons.
Barbi Flanders is the Director of Business Affairs at Elk Mountain Academy. Before joining our team she lived in Hawaii and has over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Her last position before coming to Elk Mountain Academy was Assistant Front Office Manager of a hotel with over 750 rooms. In her spare time she enjoys taking walks with her collie and working with computers.
Tina is our Director of Academics.She has over 18 years of experience in education. Tina was the lead teacher at the alternative high school in Hastings, Nebraska for 17 years. She has a heart for at risk youth. She has solution based, open minded thinking and enjoys working with individuals to create and achieve educational goals.In her free time, Tina enjoys creating art, spending time with her family and strengthening her relationship with her Higher Power.
Jessica Belville graduated from Clark Fork High School as Salutatorian. Following graduation she married her high school sweet heart, Jeremy. She went on to graduate from North Idaho College with Phi Thetta Kappa Honors. She has been blessed to travel much of the country but she and her husband have chosen to settle in beautiful Hope, ID. She enjoys spending much of her spare time with her family. And she loves hiking around the surrounding area while enjoying one of her greatest passions, photography. She looks forward to being an asset to the wonderful Elk Mountain Academy team.
Ashley works along side Joey in the Adult Program. Ashley just completed her Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training at The Yoga Garden in PA. She also brings her strong organizational Skills and a women’s touch to the program. She enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, yoga, and being outside in the sunshine.
As Program Director of Elk Mountain Academy’s After Care Program since January of 2014, Joey brings a strong background of experience that allows him to relate to the young men and guide them on their continuing journey of leading a drug and alcohol free life. He comes from a loving and supportive family and has strong Christian values. He understands what it is like to fall live with the disease of addiction. He also knows how to work out of the addiction and still live a happy and fulfilling life. In many ways, Joey is an “old soul”. His path to becoming Program Director of After Care began to evolve when he was a student at EMA. Other boys often came to him looking for support and guidance. Joey supervises daily living. He supports them to “show up for life” by encouraging and holding them accountable to activities such as: going to college classes, church, AA meetings, group sessions, therapy, and work. In addition to being an EMA graduate, practicing Christian, Joey is a wilderness first responder, and has longevity in sobriety.
Jodie has worked with families in crisis for over 15 years, developing and leading numerous workshops designed to encourage, support and educate parents in their role and enhance communication in the parent-child relationship. Along with her experience in the Social Service Industry, she is a life coach and mentor. Jodie leads weekly group sessions for troubled teens and actively volunteers in local community enrichment programs. Currently working toward her Master’s Degree in Psychology, Jodie will then receive her clinical therapist license. Together, Jodie and Kevin are the proud parents of five beautiful children
Joyce prefers the students to call her Grandma, which is a proper name because she treats each young man as if he were her own grandson. God has given Joyce a passion for helping young people. She has been involved in supporting teens for over 30 years, through her church and her work. She and her husband, Steve, moved to their property in Clark Fork, in 2002, shortly after Joyce retired from Point Loma Nazarene University, in San Diego, CA. She is a board member and volunteers weekly at The Filling Station Youth Center in Clark Fork, a non-profit organization, built and maintained for enriching the lives of the Clark Fork Valley teens.
Chris Hutto was born in Colusa California, and moved with his family to Clark Fork in the mid 2000’s. He graduated in 2011 top of his class. After high school he worked mostly in the construction industry but found his true passion was for ministry. Due to his time in the ministry field, he developed a keenness for communication with unsettled people, as well as cool headedness in dealing with rough individuals and dicey situations. He enjoys skiing, hiking around the mountains of beautiful north Idaho, photography, and is also a talented musician. Chris joined the Elk Mountain Team in hopes to be a Godly mentor for the boys, as well as have a positive impact on their recovery.
Heide Belville is a loving Christian mother and wife and has raised five kids of her own, three of which are adopted. Heide has worked with EMA for six years but has a tremendous amount of experience prior to her arrival in 2007. Heide spent 20 years performing the tasks as a youth leader in her Christian communities and churches. She has also volunteered on teen "help lines" for teens in immediate crisis.
He has workedalongside the young men since his employment with Elk Mountain Academy began in August 2001. Dave is involved in the day-to-day operations at EMA, including site development, recreation coordination, building construction, and student discipline. Dave has a heart for struggling teens and he uses every opportunity to encourage the students to assume their responsibilities to succeed as young men. Dave and his wife have 4 teenage boys and a girl of their own, which helps Dave identify with our students and their unique issues and struggles.
Bob is one of our teachers here at EMA. He has a heart for the Lord, and as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ uses God’s Word as his life guide and authority. Bob has a passion to help struggling adolescents, and with over 10 years experience working with Special Ed. and troubled teens he has much to offer the EMA boys. In his free time he likes to fly fish, take longs walks and read a good book. He sees his purpose at EMA as one who serves, coming alongside each of our boys in their journey with the hope of making some sort of a significant difference and lasting impact. He strives to provide the services and guidance of meeting the specific challenges of each unique individual. Bob has a BA in Speech Communication/Secondary Education earned from Boise State University; two years in the Biblical Studies Program at Moody Bible Institute NW Spokane; and an MA in Human Services Counseling with the Life Coaching Cognate from Liberty University.
Born and raised in North Idaho, he graduated from Clark Fork High School as Salutatorian. Following high school he joined the United States Marines and served as a team leader and squad leader for 3rd Battalion 8th Marines, (SPMAGTF) Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response Africa. He served overseas as well as on the Presidential Guard and the USMC Color Guard in Washington D.C. While in the Marines he married his childhood friend Lacey. After five years and upon receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to Idaho to work and enjoy the great outdoors he grew up in. He is an avid backpacker, mountain biker, snowboarder, and photographer. He enjoys challenges and looks forward to being able to make a difference in the Elk Mountain Academy boys’ lives.
J.W. is night staff. He grew up in central Ohio.
Joining the Air Force after High school began his travels around the country. Following his service time he attended multiple colleges, not only pursuing his education but also following his passion for competitive Archery. Chasing an Olympic dream for nearly 16 years. After participation in 3 Olympic trial and Earning 2 Collegiate National Championships he returned to his first passions, being in the outdoors hunting, fishing, horseback riding and taking photographs.
Began his family in Arizona following college. Had a factory management career there for over 15 years. Following his entrepreneurial spirit with many part time endeavors, it was time to go all the way into full time self-employment. Then came an opportunity to revive two old businesses in a wilderness area of North Idaho, a store and steakhouse.
Moving to the Sandpoint area in 2009. Circumstances provided his first opportunity as Direct care staff with Elk Mountain Academy when the program resided in Heron, MT.
After a number of years and a short stint at another Therapeutic boarding school the option came about to return to Elk Mountain Academy.
Timing was right with the hope of making a positive difference in futures of our students.
Dyan Schecterson brings nineteen years of teaching in public education in Washington State and Idaho, serving students with a wide range of academic, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
Dyan’s philosophy is “help kids learn how to learn, so they can be lifelong learners.” Her strong suit is English and writing; additionally, she is a freelance writer. Born and raised in Seattle, Dyan also lived in Australia for many years. As a follower of Jesus, Dyan recognizes how the Lord has had a purpose and plan for her throughout her life. Her hope is that her students will come to realize that God has a purpose and plan for each and every one of them. Today, she and her husband consider themselves winners in the geographical lottery, making their home in nearby Heron, Montana. After having raised four children, they now raise a variety of furry and feathered creatures.