Meet The Team

Barrasso Family

Patrick Barrasso, LCSW

CEO, Co-Founder

Patrick is the founder and Executive Director of In Balance Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program, and the In Balance Academy. He is a noted psychotherapist with over 25 years of extensive training and experience in adolescent and adult substance abuse and mental health treatment. He is the "heart and soul" of the In Balance programs. His dedication, direction and personal commitment to helping adolescents and their families is demonstrated in all aspects of treatment. His extensive experience makes him a frequent presenter at both local and national conferences. He has presented at the U.S. Journal Training National conferences, and the FACES, Family and Addiction Conferences and Educational Seminars on a variety of adolescent treatment topics including the challenges of overcoming the culture of adolescent substance abuse.

"The Positive Peer Culture (PPC) model, a pillar of In Balance Academy, is consistent with the philosophy we have used since the inception of In Balance services for youth starting in 1996. This philosophy involves guiding young people to help each other. This is the basis of the positive peer culture. Young people will start to heal the shame that contributed to the mess in their lives by helping each other with day to day difficulties. It is an interesting and difficult process to watch these youth struggle, but it is in these challenging times that true growth takes place. The other night I sat through a community meeting and witnessed two young people try to sort out a conflict with each other. There were several points when I wanted to intervene but I let it play out. They did an amazing job of bringing it to a productive resolution. You see, the heart of our philosophy is that young people can sort out most of their own difficulties with the proper support and guidance. In each step we take with these young men at the Academy the message is clear and consistent: “You are capable.”

It is this message that is reinforced in all aspects of our program, whether it be in an equine experience, a community meeting led by the leadership council or fifteen-mile hike, we continually go back to the idea that they are capable and we treat them as such.

Often drugs, alcohol and other self-defeating behavior leave an individual's self-esteem in serious jeopardy and diminish their ability to problem-solve. This is typical of many young men that enter the Academy. After being at the Academy for a period of time, it is a rare occurrence that our students are told what to do; instead, they are guided to solutions that they feel ownership of. It takes a lot of time, faith, patience and fortitude to graduate from In Balance Academy. Those that do graduate, often have a new belief system about the endless limitations of their capabilities. This belief system keeps our graduates successful long after their ranch experience is over and is a credit to the positive peer culture, under the careful watch and guidance of our dedicated and competent staff. When I was in my crazy teenage years, (yes, they were crazier than most youth we treat) a coach from my junior high reached in and helped to re-direct my life. His words were not profound but his message was. He had a constant belief that I was capable of a different life than what I had created for myself. I often wished he had just given me the answers to solve all my problems. Instead, he simply guided me through my problems until the solutions became known to me. It was his influence that helped launch Patrick, the counselor. My senior year in high school marked the beginning of the transformation in my life.

I began to believe I was capable and once I had a new belief system, people started to seek me out to help them. This process started to reinforce that I was a good person who could contribute something positive to my community. Once this shift took place, I also realized that I had to give up my negative peer subculture and surround myself with a positive one. One of those peers is my wife, now of 27 years. This model that we use has changed the lives of thousands of young people across this world, including my own. Even though that coach had no idea what a positive peer culture was, he helped me believe in myself and encouraged me to help others. This is what we do every day at the Ranch, we help young people believe in themselves and in turn help each other."

Betsy Barrasso

Admission's Director, Co-Founder

Along with her husband, Patrick Barrasso, Betsy has been instrumental in the founding and operation of the existing In Balance operation. Betsy brought to In Balance her experience of over 10 years as a legal assistant and office administrator. She oversees all communications, contracts, document preparation, and has constant contact with clients and referrals. She is in charge of all admissions, client billing and all financial reporting. Additionally, she supervises all administrative and accounting staff and consultants.

Once Upon a Dream

"My husband Patrick and I had a big dream. One we had been planning for at least 20 years. We wanted to open up a program for teenage boys, where they could live and grow and work on their sobriety in a safe and healthy environment. After putting together our clinical team and staff and hours of endless preparation, we were ready. However, we didn’t have a place to call home to open our In Balance Academy."

"We spent a lot of time searching for the perfect property and had actually settled on a place, but the deal fell through and we were sincerely disappointed - but we did not give up. One morning I awoke from a good night’s sleep and told Patrick I had a dream about a property. I told him it was a little “town” with lots of little buildings on the property. There was a lot of land around it with no neighbors for us to make nervous. He smiled at me lovingly and asked, 'Really? And where would we find a little town? And how much is that going to cost us?' I smiled back and said, I’m not sure.'" 

"One week later, a friend of ours put us in touch with his realtor located in Cochise County. She called me and said our friend told her about us and what we were trying to accomplish. I did not share with her about my dream. She said she had a very “unique” property to show us, she did not know if it would work for us, but she thought it might be worth a look. Patrick and I drove out with our key staff to see this property. As we drove out towards Tombstone, down the San Pedro Valley, I thought, “Where are we going?” It was so beautiful, lots of open range and beautiful wild flowers. We turned down a dirt road. She explained that most of the property around there was state-owned, not a lot of neighbors around. As we drove up to the property, there were horses running alongside our car down the pasture. What a magnificent sight! Once on the property, I looked around and here was a little town called “Tumbleweed.” There were 21 buildings on the property, including a main lodge with a full-size commercial kitchen, several small buildings used for tenants, even its own Chapel! I started to cry as I realized we had just found our town. They were more than happy to hand over the Deed. The work was going to be enormous; staff and friends needing to work hours upon hours to get it to a place of healing and pride. I smiled at Patrick and said, 'Welcome to In Balance Academy.'"

~Betsy Barrasso

Anthony Barrasso, MPA, MLS

Chief Operating Officer

Anthony has quite the eclectic background, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's in Philosophy in 2004 and then again in 2006 with a Master's in Public Administration and Policy.  After which he continued his education at Sandra D'Oconnor Law school where he received a Master's in Legal Studies.

Anthony's relevant work experiences includes: 7th&8th grade boys and girls basketball coach, Wilderness Staff for Aspen Achievement Academy and Intern for the Department of Defense in the Office of Force Transformation.

Anthony's relevant life experience includes: Journey of Hope, a 4,000 mile cross country bicycle trek to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities; 3 months study abroad program in Urbino, Italy; and 22-day excursion to South Africa with 14 In Balance students.

Anthony is functionally important to In Balance in that he has set up systems of accountability that have allowed the Academy to reach levels of efficiency that is unusual among "mom and pop" businesses, enabling In Balance to be more competitive in an increasingly corporate environment.  However, this is not where Anthony's real passion lies.  When he participated on the Journey of Hope he experienced a summer that changed him forever.  He realized the importance and impact of true service, it is this gift that he hopes to share with the rest of the students of In Balance.  Anthony will be transforming the wilderness program into a more service oriented direction.  So far he has planned and participated in two trips to South Africa, one trip to Kenya/Tanzania, one trip to Nepal, and most recently a 22 day trip to Peru. In Peru the boys of In Balance had the chance to trek to 15,000 feet, watch the clouds roll over the cliffs of Machu Picchu, take a canoe ride in the Amazon, celebrate service at two orphanages that service kids with special needs, and build a school in a town that otherwise had no access to education.

Daniel Barrasso, MSW

Outreach Director

Daniel Barrasso joins In Balance with a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Social Work degree through Arizona State University. He comes to the team with plenty of relevant life and work experience. He previously worked at In Balance during its early stages, for 6 years, as a life coach at In Balance Academy, a group facilitator at In Balance Intensive Outpatient and as a life coach for In Balance Transitional Living. He decided to take a three year hiatus in which he worked for a nationally recognized leader in adult residential treatment, where he proved to be a vital member of their team. After becoming lead of their Intake department and garnering extensive professional experience he has chosen to come back to In Balance to further his career. His primary role initially will be to set up systems of admission for our Intensive Outpatient program, our Sober Living homes, and our Transitional Living program. This is a huge responsibility and an integral part of the overall operation of In Balance Continuum of Care. He will also serve as our Outreach Coordinator, for which his primary role will be to establish relationships in Tucson, nationally, and internationally. The feedback from professionals all across the country has been that he is outstanding in both his clinical knowledge of what clients need, and in his ability to develop relationships and be authentic in his desire to get help to those in need.

"I am extremely excited about my return to In Balance. I grew up with an intense passion to help others, whether that meant volunteering at the Children's Hospital, staying overnight at a homeless shelter every Thanksgiving or helping a stranger on the side of the road. I've always known that I wanted to make a significant impact on young peoples' lives specifically; I just didn't know how I wanted to do it. I started off my college career looking to get a degree in education, become a teacher and have the ability to make a positive change in my students. My career path took an unexpected turn when I was asked to come work at In Balance one summer 6 years ago. From the second I came into contact with the population we serve and the dream that is In Balance I absolutely, positively knew that I could not see myself doing anything other than this. I believe full heartedly in the vision of In Balance and am thrilled to be part of the team again."

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Clinical Team

 

Shannon Petrovich, LCSW, LISAC

Clinical Consultant

Shannon has specialized in working with youth and families for over twenty-four years. Her experiences include developing and directing a long-term residential rehabilitation program; being the Clinical Coordinator for a day school for emotionally and behaviorally disordered youth; and over eight years in private practice. In addition, she brings a lifelong love of horses and fifteen years of training and experience in equine assisted psychotherapy. She left her busy practice in Tucson for this opportunity to weave together all of the best practices of residential, individual, group, and family therapy, equine experiential therapy, and 12-step work in our beautiful ranch setting. 

"My parents were both very committed to their work and specifically to improving the lives of others; they have always inspired me to have a positive impact on some small part of the world. I have focused on working with teens with substance abuse issues because my teen years were derailed by addictions, and I often felt I had to find my own way through the mess and confusion I created. During graduate school, and the twenty years since then, I’ve sought to learn and grow in my own recovery, develop a knowledge base, the skills, and the communication strategies, as well as a myriad of experiential methods, to help heal and transform the lives of youth and their families." 

"I met Reed Smith, (the consultant Patrick hired to help develop the Academy) while volunteering at an equine therapy retreat for children with cancer. Reed told me about the development of the Academy and introduced me to Patrick and the management team. The camaraderie, the similarity of vision, values, and the ease with which we talked, convinced me this was the opportunity of a lifetime and the culmination of my life’s work. " 

"One of the values of the Academy is that we believe sobriety has to be more fun than using drugs and alcohol. We are always on the lookout for interesting, exciting activities and outings, and as a result, working at the Academy is a lot of fun! Beyond that we try to practice what we preach in all aspects of our work at the Academy; valuing each other as staff, helping each other, and doing our best to create a healthy family atmosphere. Sharing all of this reminds me daily of the key components of my own balance, health, and ongoing growth." 

"Being many years in my own recovery and a strong believer in 12-step fellowship, I can show rather than simply tell our students that life in recovery is great! They know I’ve been where they are and can show them how to create a happier, healthier life for themselves. Students often say that I challenge them to dig deeper, and that although this can be frustrating at times, they learn a lot about themselves. They discover the old beliefs and choices that get in their way, and they strengthen the best aspects of themselves, so that gradually they begin to believe and experience that they can succeed in anything they strive to do. "

Sarah Ochoa, LPC

Clinical Director

Sarah Ochoa graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, TX with her Masters Degree in Counseling. She is a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in Arizona. She has over 16 years of experience working with adolescents. She has worked in a variety of settings, including outdoor education, wilderness therapy and residential programs. She has been with In Balance since 2010. Prior to that, she spent 6.5 years working at a co-ed emotional growth boarding school in Montana. There, she learned to value the positive peer culture and how it can teach students to take pride in their relationships, their school and their own growth. She has gained years of experience working with a diverse group of teens and their families. She has designed a transition program, family workshop weekends, and gone on several community services trips with students. She has experience facilitating a variety of types of therapy, including: equine, adventure, group, family, and individual. She is also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). She has extensive knowledge of Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) and has trained our staff and assist them in working with students who struggle with learning disorders. Sarah enjoys getting involved in whatever the task at hand is. She does not sit back and watch life pass her by. She enjoys photography and spends most of her weekends off roading in her Jeep with her husband, dog, and friends. She loves to travel around the U.S and has also been to New Zealand, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Ireland. She grew up in Missouri and has since lived in Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, Montana, Idaho and now Arizona. 

Dr. Stephen Remolina, MD, PLLC

Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist

Dr. Stephen Remolina graduated from medical school in 2006. He completed two years of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric fellowship training at the University of Arizona, and received four years of Adult Psychiatric training at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital-Creedmoor Psychiatric Residency program in New York. Dr. Remolina is currently, the medical director of the Child and Adolescent unit at Sonora Behavioral Health and provides consultation for multiple residential treatment facilities. Dr. Remolina is passionate about teaching the Art of Psychiatry, both, Psychodynamic and Psychotherapy and believes in the use of thoughtful Psychopharmacology. He has enjoyed teaching medical students from Columbia Medical School and his current role of teaching medical students at the University of Arizona. He is married with two children. Awards: The Conrad Apgar Herr, M.D. resident of the year award at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital-Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, for excellence throughout training in 2012. 
Graduate Medical Education Consortium Committee Member 2008-2012.
American Psychiatric Association Delegate 2008-2010.

Nick Eckley, MSW

Primary Therapist

Nick comes to In Balance Academy with diverse experience in community mental health and residential substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona. Nick has over four years experience providing clinical care to teenagers and young adults. His primary focus has been treating substance use and co-occurring disorders. Nick has experience using CBT and other therapeutic modalities in treating substance use and co-occurring disorders in outpatient, residential and in intensive outpatient settings. Most recently Nick has been a primary therapist at In Balance Transitional Living. Nick obtained his Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Social Work degree through Arizona State University. Nick has seen the effects of substance abuse on individuals and families and strives to restore the lives of those affected by this disease. His energy, relational skills, life experience, and desire to help those in need will make him an amazing addition to the already stellar In Balance staff. Nick and his wife have recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy!"

Matt Hawe, MSW

Primary Therapist

Matthew Hawe graduated from Arizona State University with a Master of Social Work. He has a diverse background working in behavioral health treating substance use and mental disorders. Since 2008, Matt has been assisting adults and adolescents address barriers to living an independent, functional life while learning coping mechanisms to combat the symptoms of their illness. Matt has been an active member in the Tucson recovery community by working a 12-step program, participating in fellowship, and dedicating himself to service work. Matt has witnessed the devastating impact of addiction on the addicted individual, the family system, and the community and has found purpose in devoting his life to the field of substance use disorders. Collaborating with young people who have addictions can be very challenging and overwhelming without an intentional approach. Working at In Balance Transitional Living, Matt has learned the importance of building relationships to the degree that a level of trust is established that enables these young men to be genuine in their journey of recovery. Matt is trained in Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT). The combination of these two modalities assists individuals in moving away from sustain talk and focuses on the factors that motivate them to make an adjustment regarding their disruptive behaviors and substance use. CBT offers a path to modify negative thinking patterns that affect emotions and behaviors. Matt was born and raised in Tucson, AZ and has an extensive knowledge of the surrounding area for hiking and camping. He has utilized his knowledge base and passion for the outdoors through leading the weekend hikes and camping expeditions at In Balance Transitional Living. The wilderness offers an environment to find solace while unplugging from the stresses of everyday life. John Muir lived a life of exploration as he advocated for the preservation of the wilderness. He stated, "everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike." The healing component of the wilderness combined with evidence based practice and the 12 steps is a method for a new way of living while recovering from the heartaches of addiction.

Thomas Vincent, LMSW

Primary Therapist

Thomas Vincent, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) has over 13 years of experience working in the field of chemical dependency treatment. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Psychology and from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Thomas began his career working in the field of recovery at In Balance and it is here where he developed a passion for helping those individuals who are afflicted with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Thomas believes in utilizing a holistic approach to identify core issues as each individual has their own unique story. Thomas utilizes a combination of modalities when working with clients including but not limited to; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Multisystemic Therapy, Neurolinguistic Programming, and Solution Focused Therapy. Thomas is excited to be back at In Balance now as a Behavioral Health Technician and utilize the tools and resources that the program has to help its clients. Thomas was born in Kansas but has lived in Tucson since 1994. He has been married for 12 years and has two children. He grew up playing sports and is enthusiastic about utilizing physical health as a tool and part of his holistic approach. 

Laura Bailey, MA, LMHC

Primary Therapist

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Temple University in Philadelphia, and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling from Southwestern College in Santa Fe. Prior to moving to Arizona, Laura worked in the community mental health field in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, she served child, adolescent, and adult populations. Laura has a passion for treating addiction, trauma, and co-occurring disorders. She works largely from a cognitive-behavioral perspective, believing that each individual has control over his/her thoughts, behaviors, and actions, and therefore is capable of change. Her training includes Interpersonal Neurobiology and Somatic Action Methods, Sandtray, Family Therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and Transformational Ecopsychology. She brings with her a unique perspective as a Registered Yoga Teacher, offering mindfulness and somatic awareness as vital therapeutic tools. Laura is passionate about all forms of art and the potential for creativity in all areas of life and recovery.

Landon Rush PH.D. Candidate

Primary Therapist

Landon has been with In Balance since 2012 where he completed his Master’s Degree clinical hours at the In Balance IOP, followed by his employment as a therapist at In Balance Academy (IBA).  During his time at IBA, Landon has been working on his PhD in Clinical Psychology.  Most of Landon’s clinical work has focused on substance abuse, trauma, anxiety, and depression, but he is skilled in treating clients who are experiencing a range of different problems.  He has worked in the field of substance abuse and psychology since 2008, starting with his time treating CPS cases and doing in-home family therapy for low-income families with a non-profit organization in Tucson.

His doctoral clinical hours were spent helping clients deal with individual and family problems using a range of different modalities.  Landon’s dissertation and research at the Phoenix VA Hospital focuses on assessing PTSD and Depression scales to predict if someone is at risk for suicidality and what the best method of treatment is, then how to apply that treatment to each individual experiencing their symptoms.  Landon has treated clients with a range of struggles paired with their substance abuse over the years and has always brought a thoughtful, but straight forward approach that is key in treating individuals and families struggling with substance abuse.

Through his proven commitment to the field of psychology and the In Balance family, he has shown great dedication to his work and truly cares about those he spends time with.  As the Assistant Clinical Director, he is in the position to help more families and work with more therapists to help our clients in a more thorough manner.

Landon has an extensive background with the military and much of his military career path has been influenced by what he’s experienced in combat and seen during his years in the Army.  He enlisted in the United States Army (2003) right out of high school and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq during OIF 1 (2003-2004), with the following years spent stationed in Germany.  In 2007, Landon joined the Arizona Army National Guard and commissioned in 2013 through the Arizona Military Academy as an Infantry Officer.  He deployed to Afghanistan in 2018-2019 as an Infantry Company Commander and Senior Advising OIC (Officer-in-Charge) while advising Afghan National Army (ANA) leadership in Western Afghanistan.  Landon currently continues to serve in the Arizona Army National Guard as an officer.

Landon and his family are Arizona natives and have spent most of their lives here.  He has been married to his wife Kelle since 2012 and they have two boys, Leo and Oliver.  He enjoys being outdoors and has a love for endurance sports (triathlon, running, and road/off-road cycling) and classic cars.

Heather T. Reed MSW

Primary Therapist

Heather recently graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Social Work. She has received instruction in Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as well as clinical training in the Gottman Method for couples therapy. She chose to study social work after working as the Coordinator for the youth program and volunteering as a comprehensive sexuality educator at her church. In these roles, Heather recognized the importance of involving family, particularly parents, in supporting youth through their struggles. She also found she has an affinity with youth that allows her to earn their trust and respect. While not in recovery herself, Heather is the child of alcoholic parents and one of her two young adult daughters experienced residential treatment, so she comes to the program with a personal understanding of the impact that residential treatment and addiction have on the whole family. Heather initially joined the In Balance team as a life coach while still a graduate student, so she is very familiar with life on the Ranch—its program and its students. Heather’s life experience, education, and deep compassion will serve her well as a member of In Balance’s stellar clinical team.

Heather lives by the motto, “I am a social worker, educator, and mother who is determined to save this world one teen at a time,” and is grateful to be able to live into this motto here at In Balance Ranch.

Ather Dawood, BHT

Primary Therapist

Ather has been with In Balance Academy (IBA) since May 2018 where he began his career as a Life Coach and was rapidly promoted to a Group Leader position, and ultimately placed into a Shift-Lead role. Ather holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Dixie State University in Saint George, Utah. During his time at IBA, Ather has been working on his Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Through his current education, Ather has received coaching in Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Ather believes that each client is capable of governing his or her own thoughts, behaviors, and actions, and consequently is capable of change.

 

Ather was born in Mosul, Iraq and moved to the United States in 2007 along with his sister, twin brothers, mom, and dad in efforts to pursue the American Dream. Ather is trilingual and is fluent in Arabic, Chaldean, and English. Ather loves to travel the world and possesses a large understanding of culture and diversity having lived in Iraq, Turkey, Tanzania, and United States. Ather was also a collegiate soccer player at Yavapai College and Dixie State University, and went on to play semi-professional soccer in Tucson, Arizona for F.C Tucson prior to joining IBA. With that said, Ather understands the importance of utilizing physical health as a tool and part of his rounded therapeutic approach. 

 

Throughout his life, Ather has worked many different jobs and states that each occupation has taught him something unique about himself and others. Working with adolescents who suffer from Substance Abuse Disorders and/or other co-occurring disorders has taught him to be empathetic, accepting, patient, authentic, and nonjudgmental. Ather decided that he wanted to work in the field of recovery after losing his high school best-friend to substances and it was then where he developed a passion for helping individuals who are affected by drug misuse. Ather lives by the motto “I like to think that I am making a difference in the world with one sober student at a time.”

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Academic Faculty

 

Wendy Levin BA, MAT

Academic Director

Wendy has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.A.T. from Simmons College and has been teaching since 1991. For 17 years she taught History at an independent college preparatory boarding school in California and upon leaving became the first recipient of an award, named in her honor, which is given annually to a member of the faculty who exhibits “enthusiasm, leadership, and dedication to students.” Before moving to Sierra Vista, she taught both English and Social Studies at a college preparatory charter school in Nevada and has also taught at a local public school. Wendy has been Academic Director at San Pedro Valley Academy at In Balance since 2013. She is also licensed to teach Social Studies and English (grades 6-12) in Arizona. 

 

Wendy has chosen to work in schools which strive to maintain high standards while stressing an individualistic approach. She models passion for learning and strives to create a positive student-centered environment, using a “teacher as coach” approach. Her primary goal is to help students learn how to learn by providing them with a variety of tools and options so they can figure out what works best for them. 

 

Wendy enjoys, reading, taking walks in the Arizona sunshine, listening to “boring” podcasts about archaeology, history, and currents events, and binge watching documentaries and British mysteries. 

Jim Reynolds

Academy Teacher

Jim Reynolds comes to us from New England. He has 37 years of teaching experience with youth and adults. He has over 25 years of experience as principal and administrator in private schools at both K-12 and college levels. Jim also has used his teaching skills on construction sites over the past 30 years as Site Supervisor and Project Manager. He has been noted not only for his supervisory skills, but his high-end finish carpentry. 

In 1967, his father founded a center for men dealing with addictions, so Jim grew up in a family that was centered on service to others. As an adult, he served as Director of the center for six years. Volunteering his time and skills, he has helped to design and build ten churches along the East Coast. He also has enjoyed doing missionary work in Colombia, South America. For twelve years, he has served as Activities Director and Head Counselor for Juniors (8-12 year olds) at a one-week, Virginia youth camp, and for the past six years has been honored to be Dean of Students at the annual Northeast Regional Student Convention. 

He and his wife recently relocated to Arizona. Jim has always had a special place in his heart for teenage boys who are dealing with the recovery process and is very happy to be a part of In Balance Academy. Jim enjoys playing his guitars, hiking, camping, maintaining his personal library of 2000+ books and spending time with his wife. 

One of his favorite quotes is, "My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Scott Meinhardt, A.A.S., (B.A.S. in progress)

Academy Teacher

Scott has an A. A. S. degree in Computer Science from Cochise College and is in the process of getting his B. A. S. degree through the University of Arizona. Prior to In Balance, he has tutored math students at all levels both privately and through Cochise College.

Scott has three children that all happen to have dyslexia. This has made learning in a school environment quite difficult for them. Conversations and disagreements with their school helped him understand the complications that arise with certain learning disabilities and, for the most part, how to overcome them. Of course, all three kids are gifted in the area of math.

Scott stays busy outside the classroom by playing video games with the kids, bowling with the wife and brother, hiking the local mountains with friends, and the occasional carpentry or landscaping "honey-do" list. 

Mark Hixson

Academy Teacher/Coach

Mark Hixson moved to the desert of Arizona from the rainforest of SE Alaska in 2013. He is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys packing a camera on any of his adventures. While growing up, Mark wanted to be a cowboy. He followed that dream to Texas, where he studied Agriculture at West Texas State. After receiving his BS, he returned to Alaska, where he owned and operated a marine business for 30 years.

For the past 40 years, Mark has worked with youth, in the church, on the street, in the schools, in the home, and in the wild. He enjoys working as a coach and has developed and coached teams ranging from pee wee to adult. He credits those that worked with him in his youth for the passion that he has for youth today. He brings that passion for youth to the classroom as our Science teacher as well as his passion for the many plants, critters, and lessons that lay beyond the walls of the classrooms.

He has climbed mountains, swam in oceans, and crossed rivers all in search of an adventure. He enjoys spending time with his wife, cooking, and working in his garden. It now brings him a joy to bring the adventures of the mountains, oceans, and rivers into the lives of his students.

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Milieu & Equine Staff

 

Peter Doyle, BA

Operations Director

Peter Doyle is an alumni of all three In Balance programs and has worked for the In Balance Continuum since 2008. Peter has his Bachelor's degree and is also a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. Peter graduated Cum Laude in May 2015 with his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Peter has been active in the local 12-step fellowship since 2006. He assists with the daily living, milieu support, staff supervision and recovery of the In Balance boys and also assists residents in meeting their program fitness goals. He is a Certified Personal Trainer and can deadlift over 600lbs. Being an alumni of In Balance allows Peter to bring a unique perspective to the staff and program management as well as the residents because he has had direct experience with what the residents encounter as they go through the program.

Rene Raney, MA

Equine Director

Rene worked for In Balance Ranch Academy in 2006 as a group leader and proved to be a valuable asset to our team. She left to obtain her Masters Degree and now she returns to us with a Master of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology/Equine Assisted Mental Health, she also has an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy certification and many years of horsemanship experience. Her eclectic background includes barrel racing, owning her own horse training facility, being a program coordinator at a world renowned psychiatric hospital, and a substance abuse counselor. We are extremely lucky to have such a qualified and experienced Equine Director to take our already stellar equine program to even greater heights. 

Sharon Reynolds

Administrative Director

Sharon Reynolds grew up in Southern California and moved to Maine at seventeen to attend college.  She has a variety of qualifications and experience that make her uniquely suited for her role at In Balance.  With over thirty years of teaching in private schools, which includes fifteen years of teaching children to read, and almost twenty years of owning a bookkeeping business, she brings those diverse experiences to her position as Administrative Director.  Sharon has taken the administrative assistant team to new levels of productivity with her drive to always find a better, more efficient way. 

Sharon also has a great love for music and plays the piano, organ, guitar, and the old-fashioned accordion.  She brings this passion to the academy and directs our music program that includes Christmas caroling and live performances at SPVA graduations. 

Sharon has self-published children’s books that are enjoyed by family and friends and delights in the opportunities to mentor the next generations in her very large extended family. 

She is grateful for her faith, her husband, and the opportunity to serve with him at In Balance any way she can.

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