Meet Our Team

Our talented Ph.D. and Master’s level learning therapists work with our students, using research-supported approaches to provide world class treatment for the individuals that we serve. Our talented professionals bring the needed learning tools to the young men and families with whom we work. We develop the educational scaffolding that is essential to produce thoughtful, prepared, and confident young men.

Amee Hardy, LCPC

Executive Director

Bio

Amee earned her Master’s in Counseling from Boise State University in 2005. She has received training in the Trauma Resiliency Model, Social Thinking, the Ruler Approach and EAGALA Equine Therapy. She is a certified trainer for the Arbinger Institute and loves teaching the Outward Mindset. She specializes in a wide-range of diagnoses and clinical modalities including, but not limited to autism spectrum, NLD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, acute mental illness, transition planning, trauma and parent coaching. Prior to becoming the Clinical Director at Novitas Academy, Amee was the Clinical Director of a wilderness program for young adults and the Clinical Director at Cherry Gulch. When she is not working, Amee spends her free time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors enjoying running, rafting, and skiing through with her husband and two young sons.

Melissa Proctor

Admissions

Bio

Melissa joined Novitas after teaching 15 years in the classroom. During those years, she taught special education classes, high school alternative school classes, middle school, and kindergarten. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from William Penn University in Iowa, with endorsements in Special Education and Reading. Much of her time has been focused on childhood development and helping to provide interventions and accommodations within our school teams for students with learning differences. She was a teacher mentor for several years and on the leadership committee for the past 6 years. She and her husband, Chris adopted two beautiful daughters, and they spend time together outdoors camping, hiking, rafting, and playing!

Doug Green

Operations Director

Bio

Doug Green has his master’s degree in educational administration and he successfully taught middle-school mathematics for 6 years, serving at risk youth in the Las Vegas area. He earned his undergraduate degrees in construction management and business management, has been the Human Resources Director for a large, Las Vegas construction company and the Legal Administrator for a Las Vegas law firm. Doug is also a military veteran, having served in various positions in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.

Doug feels that one of his life’s purposes is to help younger kids see how important and amazing they already are and to help them grow and develop into the best and happiest people they can be. With that belief and goal, he has volunteered extensively in the Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, and now finds great satisfaction and purpose with us at Novitas Academy.

As the Director of Operations, Doug’s mission is to facilitate the success of students at Novitas Academy by ensuring that the campus, facilities, food, vehicles and more are perfectly situated. His attention to detail coupled with his affinity for working with youth make him a natural fit here at Novitas.

Andy Sapp, PhD

Founder, President, Owner

Bio

Dr. Andrew Sapp is the Founder & CEO of both Novitas Academy and Cherry Gulch. He has extensive experience working with children and adolescents in the fields of mental health and psychology. Dr. Sapp earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. He also graduated with honors from Oregon State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

In the early stages of his career, Dr. Sapp was a Field Supervisor and Therapist at a therapeutic wilderness program, the lead therapist on the adolescent unit of a locked inpatient psychiatric hospital, a therapist at a group home for foster boys where he did family preservation work. He also worked as a therapist at two community mental health clinics, a community college, an elementary school, and a youth correctional facility. Andrew is a veteran and honorably served as a Naval Lieutenant stationed at a Naval Medical Center where he worked as a therapist.

Dr. Sapp has served on the Government Relations Committee for the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and a committee that wrote best practice guidelines for small therapeutic programs, much of which was later incorporated into NATSAP’s best practice guidelines for members. He has also been honored to present at a number of national and regional conferences.

Dr. Sapp has worked with patients ranging from 4 to 80 years of age and truly understands psychology and human development. He believes that therapeutic intervention can prevent a child from throwing away their future. He truly believes that to reach adolescents, one’s therapeutic interventions must be supportive, creative, and engaging. He is an expert in working with adolescent boys and at using the natural environment and everyday activities to create positive change in a child’s life. He is a firm believer in the power of outdoor experiential activities, adventures, and animals to aid in the healing process. He also believes that to effect lasting change in an adolescent, a holistic (mind, body, and spirit) approach is necessary.

Cherry Gulch is arguably the best therapeutic boarding school in the world for the population of middle school boys that they specialize in. Dr. Sapp and his team started the school from nothing but dirt and sage brush and Cherry Gulch is now the largest private employer in the County. Cherry Gulch has been honored by the Idaho Psychological Association as the “Overall most psychologically healthy workplace” in the State and by the Idaho Business Review as “One of the best places to work” in the State. Cherry Gulch has also been selected numerous times for National recognition for “Excellence in Education”. In 2011, the Idaho Business Review selected Dr. Sapp as one of the top 40 “Accomplished Under 40” professionals in the State.

Dr. Sapp is deeply passionate about helping boys who struggle academically because learning differences run in his family and he too has undiagnosed learning disabilities that he has spent much of his life trying to overcome. Andrew believes that these challenges have helped him become more determined to reach his goals. By far his greatest accomplishment has been starting two successful programs and serving the many students and families that have benefited from this award winning and life changing programs. His greatest joy is spending time with his three precious little girls and his wonderful wife.

Si Steinberg, MD

Consulting Psychiatrist

Bio

Dr. Si Steinberg was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and obtained an undergraduate Bachelors of Science degree in Anthropology-Zoology. Dr. Steinberg’s primary undergraduate focus was on Medical Anthropology. He graduated Honors with High Distinction.

Dr. Steinberg attended the University of Michigan Medical School where he was admitted to Alpha Omega Alpha, an honorary medical society for top students. Following his graduation from medical school in 1986, he attended UCLA where he spent the first two years of his psychiatry residency. The latter three years of his residency training, including his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, were at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. In addition to his Child and Adolescent Fellowship, Dr. Steinberg also obtained subspecialty training in Family Therapy through an externship at The Brattleboro Family Institute. He also obtained additional independent training and supervision for the treatment of victims of child abuse and adult survivors of trauma. Dr. Steinberg then went on to serve as the Clinical Director at a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital in Lewiston, Idaho. He simultaneously became the primary consulting psychiatrist at a regional residential child and adolescent treatment center as well as consulting with rural community mental health clinics in the Lewiston-Clarkston area.

He has consulted with various school districts in the Lewiston/Clarkston/Boise/Nampa/Ontario areas. Dr. Steinberg is currently the primary consulting psychiatrist for the State of Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections, Ada County detention center, and several group homes for adults and children with developmental disabilities. In addition, he is the Medical Director and treating psychiatrist for numerous community mental health clinics in the Treasure Valley. Dr. Steinberg regularly conducts trainings for physicians, other mental health professionals and the general public in the areas of diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders with particular emphasis on differential diagnosis, child trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and medication management.

Bobbi Geiger, MNA, M.Ed, LSW

Clinical Director

Bio

Bobbi Geiger has over 25 years of experience in child welfare and human services as a practitioner and a senior manager. Bobbi began in a Therapeutic Foster Care program in North Dakota in 1992. She served as a case manager for seven years before moving into progressive managerial positions. In the fall of 2009, Bobbi relocated to Idaho to develop a statewide therapeutic foster care program as an Executive Director. Under her leadership, the program grew to five locations throughout the state. In addition to her work in therapeutic foster care Bobbi has worked in various roles in community-based treatment programs including a youth detention center, group home, and day treatment programs.
She holds degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice from Minnesota State University, a Master of Education in Counseling from North Dakota State University, and a Masters of Nonprofit Administration from North Park University, Chicago. She is a Licensed Social Worker in Idaho. She was the 1998 Child Welfare League of America’s Western Region Child Welfare Worker and the recipient of the PATH Don Crompton Award of Excellence in Social Work in 2001.
Bobbi was drawn to Novitas Academy because of their approach to treatment, their focus on collaborative relationships, and their commitment to helping adolescents move towards a healthy start to adulthood. Bobbi believes wholeheartedly in using a relational approach as the foundation to join with others to help them address the obstacles that life brings to us all in different ways.
Bobbi strives to create a nurturing and safe atmosphere in which individuals are respected and can be supported in their efforts to change and grow as well as become connected to their strengths. She is genuine and passionate about helping adolescents and families. Adolescents and parents appreciate her nonjudgmental approach and her compassionate, calm and sincere style.
Bobbi is dedicated to equipping young people with the tools and techniques for embracing their growth and supporting their transformation during adolescence. Her areas of interest include transitions, conflict resolution, depression, self-injurious behaviors, anxiety, trauma, grief, parenting skills, social skills, and independent living skills. Bobbi integrates techniques from a variety of approaches in her practice that include family systems, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, experiential, mindfulness, systemic and structural therapy. She believes helping is an honor, therapy is a collaborative adventure and that we all do well when we can.
Outside of Novitas, Bobbi enjoys time with her husband and adult children, gardening, caring for her pets, reading and relaxing in the sun.

Michael Tilden, MSW

High Adventure Therapist

Bio

Michael Tilden originally from Los Angeles, California loves his family and the outdoors. He completed his undergraduate degree in Recreation Therapy. While in college he worked for ANASAZI Foundation (wilderness therapy) as a trail guide for 4 years. There he found his passion for serving at-risk youth and found his wife – a fellow trail guide.

Michael also began his high adventure guiding career by leading various rock climbing, mountain biking, mountaineering, and canyoneering expeditions through his universities’ outdoor program. He later worked at Heritage Schools residential treatment center as a recreation therapist, implementing and running their therapeutic high adventure program.

Michael then completed his master’s in social work at BYU. He worked for Oxbow Academy as a therapist for 2 years.

Michael’s family finally settled in Boise where they could be close to family. Michael recently received his American Mountain Guide Association SPI rock climbing instructor certification.

Michael loves to help his students build grit, mastery, and connection through therapeutic outdoor activities. He has extensive experience working with Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Attachment issues, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, Autism, Sexual Addiction, Trauma, DBT, CBT, EMDR, and Sand Tray therapy modalities. Michael believes in meeting his students with equal empathy and accountability. He believes in healing the heart, mind, and strengthening relationships and environmental factors.

Michael is a proud girl dad and happy husband. His family loves spending time together, especially outside. They enjoy running ultramarathons, backpacking, biking, camping, canyoneering, climbing, and mountain activities.

Cody Ward

LCPC

Bio

My passion for working with youth started when I was a kid.  In middle school I served as a youth mentor for kids struggling in elementary school and led our student team to support peers who were struggling with academics, social skills, family hardships, and behavioral struggles. This process led me directly to where I am today. I attended Boise State University and majored in psychology and pre-med. While attending Boise State I worked full time as an Assistant Resident Director and a youth mentor at the Boys and Girls club. I also worked at a psychiatric inpatient hospital for adolescents. I took a full time job working as rehabilitation tech/ youth mentor at Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections while maintaining a 4.0 GPA my senior year and earned my Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in counseling.

After working for a year as a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, I attended the University of Kentucky where I earned my Masters of Science in Education and Counseling Psychology, with a specialty in Adolescent and Child Development researching gender norms as it relates to functioning and masculinity.  I also became a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor with an emphasis in addictions in adolescents and young adults.  I co-wrote and published a treatment plan book on co-occurring disorders. Throughout my time at university of Kentucky I worked closely with the Psychology Department and taught Psychology 101.

I have been counseling adolescents, young adults and their families for the last 9 years mostly in residential settings.   I spent two years working closely as a supervisor and consult with the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.  I am a certified instructor for Suicide Prevention, Adolescent/ Child Development, and Addictions. I have attended and presented at national conferences on youth and integrated family work.  I serve on Boise State’s board of professionals that consult and help determine appropriateness for incoming students for their Masters of Counseling program.

While in Graduate School I was also trained and certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by the Linehan Institute. Where I use a lot of the elements of DBT in my daily use related to Collaboration, Emotional Regulation, and Distress tolerance.

I believe in trauma-informed care lens when working with youth, and I taught a trauma-informed care curriculum for Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections (IDJC) based on research we conducted on trauma in that setting.

I was the IDJC representative on a state wide crossover program with Health and Welfare that met with legislators, judges, and directors to find ways to better collaborate on cases where youth ended up in multiple systems (i.e. health and welfare and justice system)

I was selected as one of 50 people in Idaho and surrounding states to be trained in neuro bio feedback at Boise State University by some of the top people in the field.

As for my motto I believe all youth have a desire to succeed and be functional members of society, but often through organic brain problems, trauma, and other life stressors they developed ways of dealing with the world that can lead to dysfunction later in life (maladaptive coping skills).  If they had the skills, knowledge, and/or motivation to be more functional they would be. My goal is to help youth feel safe and secure so that they can explore new ways to address the world and their problems.   I believe that we don’t change when we are comfortable and that our job as a counselor is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable for meaningful change and that I approach that through a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy trauma informed lens.

I have worked with some of the most difficult youth and most challenging problems and find it extremely rewarding when we can help them find solutions to complex issues and problems creating dysfunction in their life.  This also serves me well in that I am able to take a calm and non-judgemental approach with all the youth I work with and thrive on helping them find ways to work through the most complex problems.

Personally I found that outdoors, sports, and active lifestyle served me well as a youth and believe that the body and mind are connected. I believe that keeping both healthy are important for achieving a satisfying life.  I spend a lot of my time being active and outdoors.  I have a passion for being outdoors and you can find me in the summer often white water rafting, hiking, camping,, backpacking, and generally spending time outdoors.  In the winter I enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and hot springing. I was raised in a small town by two loving parents on a small farm in small town Idaho and have strong connection with my family where we regularly find ways to spend time together and have new adventures. Away from Novitas, I work hard to be the best dad and role model for my son. He holds my heart and is a constant source of joy.

I am an avid runner, including marathons; I qualified for the Boston Marathon and enjoy races like the Tough Mudders and Spartan races. When not active I also like to read, play chess, and challenge myself to learn and grow.

Cole Sewall

Residential Director

Bio

My name is Cole Sewall, I’m married to my wife Lori and I’m a father of two amazing kids, my seven year old boy Kalen and two year old girl Christen. I’ve lived in Idaho my entire life. My interests include hiking, snowboarding, camping, hunting, wake-boarding, and anything to do with the outdoors.

I am a Residential Manager at Novitas Academy. Prior to Novitas Academy I worked for thirteen years at Cherry Gulch Therapeutic Boarding School. I had many roles and my last role at Cherry Gulch was the Residential Director. Over the years I have developed many skills in the residential field. I have completed several facilitator trainings and certifications which are as follows. Licensed by Satori S.A.M.A certified facilitator, Licensed Facilitator In The Arbinger Institute Model, CPI Certification, Certified Youth Care Practitioner and C.R.M Trauma Informed Care certification. I’m proficient or familiar with a vast array of intervention programs. These include de-escalation techniques, physical management programs, leadership strategies and residential treatment best practices. I love working with struggling youth and creating program systems to get our boys engaged in treatment and residential life.

Blaine Geiger, LMSW

Residential Manager

Bio

Blaine Geiger, LMSW, is a Residential Manager at Novitas Academy. He provides residential oversight at the back end of the week. Blaine earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota. He was a long time resident of North Dakota and moved to Idaho ten years ago. He values family, humor and flexibility. Working at Novitas is a great fit for him. His absolute favorite past time is pheasant hunting in North Dakota.

Carleen Schnitker

Academic Director

Bio

Carleen Schnitker is a passionate educator who dedicates her talents towards optimizing schools and systems to best meet the needs of all students. Carleen has been an educator for 20+ years. She is the founding principal of the first Innovation school in Idaho! She lead a team through a design process to inspire, research, calculate, transform, and open Union High School, a Big Picture Learning school, which is an alternative public high school in Nampa School District. Carleen has taught and led secondary schools in Meridian, Eagle, Online, and in Nampa, including a career technical education alternative program, where she was honored as the District Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Carleen has worked in and developed multiple programs and schools, while writing grants and innovating forward to do what is best for ALL students.

Carleen Schnitker has also been involved in many civic and professional organizations including the Idaho Association of School Leaders, Stanford School reTool Leadership, Big Picture Learning, Deeper Learning Network, National Math Alliance, Algebra Project, Young People’s Project, Idaho Mastery Education Network, and more. Carleen is a True ColorsTM elite trainer, and an expert in both adult and youth learning. She has presented in many international conferences, and is looked to for guidance and support by many educators throughout the world.

Carleen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Boise State University. She earned her Masters degree in Educational Administration from the University of Idaho. Carleen also works with multiple National and International networks who create and support opportunities of equity and access to students in education everywhere. Carleen is extremely passionate about creating, supporting, and sustaining schools which truly help students by meeting them where they are, and growing them forward, through their OWN passions, interests, and pursuits.

In addition to all of this, Carleen is a proud mother of two adult kids and a very spontaneously brilliant grandson (yes, she is bias.) Carleen is a native Idahoan and the middle sister of three, thus named as the only “boy” in the family. Her father’s name is Carl, so she is Carleen. Her parents wanted to use the middle name Alex, so the cat got named Alex, while Carleen’s middle name became Alexis. She is definitely the outlier in the family. Carleen loves the Idaho outdoors, nature, architecture, landscaping, woodworking, biking, Saturday market, cultural events, traveling, spending time with her family, close friends, and so much more! The best days, however, are when the Idaho sun is shining in her backyard, and she is able to build various creative and unique projects, while listening to a nonfiction book on her headset (and her day is even better if her kids or grandson are hanging out with her!)

Carleen recently joined the Novitas family, as part of the Academic team. She begins her journey with us as an Academic Coordinator and instructor.

Terry Rothamer

Teacher

Bio

In 2008, Terry moved to Idaho from Arizona with his family to start a business and was excited to resume his career in education thereafter. He went back to school and earned his Masters of Education from the University of Idaho in Educational Leadership. Terry has a diverse background in education, business and the technical sector and has worked as a teacher, principal, business development executive, network consultant, and entrepreneur. All those positions taught him valuable lessons, but he is most passionate about working with students and helping them achieve their academic and personal potential. He loves spending time with his wife and two kids exploring the outdoors, watching a good movie, visiting a museum or attending a sporting event.

On a personal note and as an educator, I have a passion for helping young people recognize their potential regardless of past, present or future setbacks. I personally have experienced some challenges and had to work my way through them. However, adversity can be a great teacher and education coupled with compassion and perseverance can greatly empower and enhance our lives. I bring this passion and perspective into my teaching and feel that Novitas provides me with a wonderful opportunity to give back. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to be here and work with these young men.

Korinne Pecunia

Science Teacher

Bio

Meeting the individual needs of students and acting as an advisor for their post secondary planning gives me a great sense of purpose in life. My passion is working with youth who have struggled in a traditional model, helping them to discover their own passions and attain small victories, ultimately pushing them hard enough to be proud of what they have done and build their confidence in their own abilities. Continuous growth and collaboration is critical and I model that for my students and colleagues. I am committed to helping kids grow socially and emotionally in addition to setting high expectations for academic growth.

I have expertise in STEM areas and research and throughout my career I have been recognized for improving student achievement and helping to develop, implement and instruct innovative programs and classes. I love working alongside students, actively researching and testing ideas together. I strive to make topics relevant and exciting for students and have found that increases student engagement dramatically. My students always have a voice in my classroom and we have fun by DOING science together. I teach my students graduate level laboratory techniques because I know they find it fascinating and they’re completely capable. My favorite topics to teach are human biology, botany, beekeeping, aquaponics, horticulture, farming, technical math concepts and laboratory chemistry and biology techniques. 

My professional experiences showcase my dedication to education and serving others. Some of my experiences include sitting on an AdvancEd accreditation review team, teaching a session on learning outcomes at the Idaho Mastery Education Network conference, onsite principal of the UHS summer school, leading professional learning, mentoring new teachers on Big Picture teaching approaches, and using formative assessment, standards based grading and mastery based teaching and assessment. In addition to this knowledge and experience, I have also been involved in recruiting, accreditation, curriculum work, higher education teaching experiences, managing internships, acting as liaison to internship mentors, schools, parents and community members, and sitting on committees. 

I completed my undergraduate journey at Boise State University where I majored in Biology Secondary Education with an additional certification in physical sciences. I built upon my degree program at BSU taking biochemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry and three semesters of physics to align my credentials with pre-medical students. During this time I worked at BSU as a paid laboratory research assistant and as an Anatomy and Physiology tutor. 

Upon completion of my undergraduate degree I began working as a Program Manager at Huntington Learning Center where I was responsible for hiring and training new teachers, reviewing nationally accepted exam data with parents to identify learning gaps for students, and individualizing student curriculum. I have since taught both middle and high school science in traditional and non-traditional learning environments. In addition to my 6-12 teaching experiences, I began teaching dual credit college  biology classes in 2015. I have taught both online and in-person Biology 100 lecture courses as well as in-person Biology 100L labs and a hybrid fitness class with College of Western Idaho.

For the past five years I have been working for a school of innovation using the Big Picture Learning Model, a research based approach to teaching. This is where I learned to focus on personalized learning, as well as real-world, interest-based learning through internships and projects. We also placed a strong emphasis on post secondary preparation and planning. I began experimenting with various interventions and realized more student potential by finding out what works for each student and at different times in their lives. My teaching experiences with at risk youth steered my interests away from medical school as I fell in love with the barriers I saw my students overcoming in my classroom. I realized I was changing the trajectory for students who were headed in the wrong direction and developed amazing relationships with students and families. 

I decided to pursue my M.Ed in Educational Leadership at BSU and completed my coursework in 2019. I am currently pursuing an additional Special Education Director endorsement.

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