Our People

The Sagebrush staff is thoroughly invested in your success in living a healthy, sober life.  Learn more about our highly experienced staff below.

Barry McNinch

Director of Admissions and Business Development

Barry brings to Sagebrush 7 years of treatment experience working with substance abuse treatment (in both development and outreach). Barry obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology from East Carolina University and he is currently working toward his LPC. As a child Barry always had a drive to help others which led to his desire to go into healthcare, with a focus on mental health. While growing up in rural Eastern North Carolina, he had the opportunity to shadow under different professionals within the mental healthcare realm. During that experience, he saw where people didn’t know the system protocols, available programs, or the routes of accessibility. He also saw where these populations were underserved and there were social stigmas towards mental health and treatment. From that moment, he gained a passion for developing and representing quality programs, while educating people on routes of accessibility. Throughout the development of his education and professional career, he has had experience with program development, program operations and program outreach. He has also had the opportunity to collaborate on a startup team that developed Intensive Outpatient Programs and Partial Hospitalization Programs. He has had the experience to serve the LGBTQ, Substance Abuse and Eating Disorder Communities. He recently relocated to Washington DC to volunteer with Non-Profits that work with awareness and accessibility of Mental Health programs within the current Healthcare Reform. In the past, he has worked as an advocate on capitol hill lobbying for legislation for mental health initiatives. Barry enjoys traveling with his partner and being on the boat with his dog Meesh.

 

Vanessa Vergnetti, ND, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

As the CEO and founder of Sagebrush, Vanessa’s vision for healing, growth and recovery are the core of her life’s work.  She is steadfast and dedicated to creating sacred spaces where true transformations can occur.  Her knowledge and expertise in alternative treatments to addictions and other chronic and degenerative diseases have made her a healer, teacher and leader. She is a perpetual student in the abundance of life, holistic healing, spirituality and divine truth. Vanessa takes a personal interest in the personal story and progress of each client.  She is sincere and focused on the profound restoration of the sense of purpose in one’s life and she is determined to educate others in the benefits of recovery and a restored sense of self.  With a Doctor of Naturopathy Degree and a Ph.D. in Natural Health, Vanessa values creating a compelling and enlightened direction for the Sagebrush Team.  Her unwavering devotion to manifesting the gifts of the soul, along with her courageous spirit continually inspire, encourage and guide the path, vision and cohesion of our team.

Martha Rackets, MS, LMFT

Executive Director

Martha brings an extensive background to Sagebrush from her previous work with individuals, couples and families.  She is enthusiastic about working in a team-based, collaborative clinical setting that allows her to provide the most informed and helpful services to clients.  She has two Bachelor degrees from Virginia Tech, a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Kentucky.  She is also a doctoral candidate for Family Science at the University of Kentucky.  Martha empowers clients to challenge their belief system and develop an expressive, confident and grounded emotional system, allowing them to flourish in stronger and healthier relationships.  Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and husband and is extremely active in CrossFit.  She’s an avid sports fan of both Virginia Tech football and Kentucky Basketball.  Martha’s analytical strengths and core values are a welcomed addition to the Sagebrush Team.

 

Thomas Torbinski, MBA

Director of Finance

Tom joins Sagebrush with a strong background in finance and analysis.  He’s worked in various markets for companies small and large but he believes that the financial, planning and analysis components to the position are translatable–regardless of company size or industry focus.  In prior roles, he has had success in introducing sophisticated business intelligence software to help facilitate the teams’ financial reporting efforts. When not at work, Tom can be found spending time with his wife and children.  Tom also enjoys volunteering at his local church, helping with the ESL teaching program.  Tom is inspired by the overall mission of Sagebrush and he looks forward to executing the vision and strategy for the next level of growth.

Amy Scott, LPN

Administrative Coordinator

Amy was born in Alexandria, Egypt and grew up on a horse farm as a child after she moved to Virginia. Amy graduated from Mary Washington University with a BA in Marketing and Communications. She decided to go to nursing school after the passing of her father and received her LPN. She worked with the Juniper program specializing in treatment and education for people living with HIV. Amy comes to us with a love of taking care of people who need it most. In the past, Amy ran her own make up service business and served as a make up artist in Fashion Week. Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and her dog Charlie.

 

Teanda Anderson, AS

Billing Assistant 

Teanda is a customer service oriented professional, backed by 7+ years of valuable medical industry experience.  She earned her Associates degree in Medical Science Billing and Coding at Ultimate Medical Academy.  She is very confident in her work and is excited about bringing her skills to the team.  She lives in Northern Virginia and loves spending quality time with her son Jamir, family and friends.  In her spare time she enjoys watching sports, journaling, relaxing, and catching a good movie when she can.  She brings drive and determination to learn new things to our team.

Synethia Toms, BA

Human Resources Coordinator

Synethia is excited to be a part of a team that is dedicated to helping individuals and families heal and reach balance in their lives. Synethia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech, and brings with her an extensive knowledge of the Human Resources process. She is also an Esthetician and former owner of a holistic skin care business. Her interests include researching, writing, vegetarianism, holistic health, naturopathy, herbology, and human rights. You can usually find Synethia at any Barnes & Noble sitting with a delicious latte and a good book, at the playground with her toddler laughing and having a good time, or listening to a Robert Morse, N.D. podcast. Her love for helping others and strong principles are what keep her grounded in life.

Shari Shifflett

Office Manager

Shari exudes an approachable kindness and nurturing spirit that aides in providing a safe and welcoming space for new clients at Sagebrush. She incorporates her caring skillset as an Office Manager at Sagebrush, and delights in answering any questions that come her way.  She also brings her gifts in various areas of legal administration and has earned an Associate Medical Degree.  Shari embraces her physically active lifestyle and takes long walks every opportunity possible, along with scenic excursions on her bike.  Her passionate literary interests are reflected in her extensive personal library collection of great classic reads.  Shari brings wisdom, compassion and sincerity to our team.

Keisha Grant

Billing Manager

Lakeisha is a soulful, independent and bright person on the Sagebrush team.  She is extremely focused and determined to provide the best possible experience for everyone that she works with.  The resourcefulness that she shares reflects her extensive experience in medical coding, billing and accounting. Her day to day activities are spent dealing with the not so glamorous aspects of medical billing, but helping people figure out how to pay for treatment is what she does best. In her spare time, Lakeisha is earning her Bachelor’s in Accounting at Strayer University.  Lakeisha delights in taking in a mellow drama or a light-hearted romantic comedy and watching sports (Go Celtics!).  Her steady and patient attitude has made her an integral part of the Sagebrush team.

 

Karena Brooks, MA

Utilization Review Coordinator

Karena was born in raised in Washington, DC.  She uses the struggles of growing up in the inner city as a stepping stone to success through hard work and dedication to her education.  She earned a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and is in her first year of her second master’s program for Clinical and Mental Health Counseling at Argosy University.  She is both motivated and motivating, believing we can all overcome obstacles that seem to hold us back.  Karena enjoys spending time with her daughter, family, and friends.

Jenna Barsotti, BS

Executive Assistant 

Jenna graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Geographical Sciences and a minor in US/Latin American Relations in 2013. While in college, she was an active member of the American Indian Student Union and Kappa Lambda Xi, a multicultural Sorority. Through her humanitarian interests in a diverse group of organizations, Jenna has been presented with many opportunities to volunteer in her community and around the nation.  Jenna exudes kindness and understanding, promoting individuals to tell their story. She has volunteered with children at The One World Center for Autism and at various Indian reservations across the country.  She also completed two years of service through Americorps. Her dedication to helping others is an asset to the Sagebrush team.

Jennifer Ocran

Overnight Staff

Jennifer is originally from Ghana, West Africa and currently lives in Manassas, Virginia.  She studied business administration and completed an MBA with honors, her degree emphasis in marketing.  She has a passion for caring for others which is why she also obtained her license in Virginia as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  She loves to dance, sing, cook, write short stories and attends Zumba classes in her spare time.  She gets such satisfaction in making a difference in the lives of others, something as simple as making sure the Sagebrush homes are clean and relaxed goes a long way.  The process of recovery intrigues Jennifer, as seeing others choose to make a change and staying positive about the process is amazing to her.  She is calm, friendly, talkative, a quick learner, flexible, dedicated, hard-working and goal oriented.  She is proud to be part of the team at Sagebrush.

 

Jamecia Campbell

Overnight Staff

Jamecia is a native of northern Virginia and is currently studying nursing.  As a member of the Sagebrush Team, Jamecia views it as a blessing to work with so many diverse clients and staff.   She comes from a medical office administrative background and has a passion to serve those in recovery.   She thoroughly enjoys aiding people and takes initiative to support clients in living a healthier life.  In her spare time, she often takes her son on adventures to the park, expeditions to the zoo or participates in soccer activities.  Jamecia brings an outgoing, loving and kindhearted nature to her interactions and provides an uplifting spirit to Sagebrush.

 

Laura Schwartz

Program Assistant

Laura was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia where she still lives today.  She has a talent for music, learning to play piano, the clarinet and the saxophone too!  She has a bachelor’s degree in Health System Management and is currently studying to become a certified substance abuse counselor.  Laura is actively involved in outreach with Oxford Houses in the Northern Virginia region.  Laura is passionate in her belief that there is hope for everyone and positive thinking is the first step to feeling hopeful.  She is empathetic to the profound effects of substance abuse on the entire family system and she looks forward to continued growth and experience in the field.  Laura loves traveling and being outdoors.  Her dedication to helping others is refreshing and can be seen in her interactions with both colleagues and clients.

Anthony Hill

Program Assistant

Anthony is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana but now resides in Herndon, VA.  He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminology and a Minor in Sociology from Indiana State University.  His passion is in motivational speaking as it pertains to the recovery process. As a former athlete, his hobbies include running and basketball.  He loves the family atmosphere that the Sagebrush staff provides and looks forward to having impromptu discussions about the 12 step process while interacting with clients. Being a part of the Sagebrush family has given him a new awareness of the importance of other aspects of the recovery process, such as the benefits of yoga, meditation, diet and exercise.   If he were to offer five words to describe his personality, they would be passionate, empathetic, warm, engaging and positive.  He’s been blessed to have worked all 12 steps of the recovery process and looks forward to assisting anyone interested to do the same.

 

Hebe Boyett

Program Assistant

Hebe brings her warm-hearted and caring energy to all who interact with her.  She is positive, upbeat and dedicated to bringing out the absolute best in everyone.  The optimism that she brings to life shows through in not only her encouragement and enthusiasm, but also in the heartfelt meanings in her paintings, poetry, short stories and experiences.  She has an incredibly strong ability to connect with clients.  Hebe has been studying Substance Abuse Counseling and Psychology at Northern Virginia Community College and plans to open her own practice one day.  The affinity and enthusiasm that she has for life is contagious and deeply appreciated.

Joshua Bailey

Program Assistant

Joshua strives to share inspirational messages and experiences to those in recovery.  He wants to show and teach others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  His warm desire to help others flows into his daily routines of life.  Currently, he is attending Northern Virginia Community College and plans to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree from George Mason University.  His adventurous drive and daring spirit leads him on motorcycle journeys along local, curvy mountain roads, often exploring up and down the East Coast.  Joshua’s motivation and drive is deeply rooted in the power of holistic healing and recovery.

 

Ashley Rose, BA

Residential Program Manager

Ashley exudes compassion, respect and dedication in all that she does. She exemplifies the facets of loyalty, kindness and professionalism. Ashley’s wealth of administrative experience, coupled with her knowledge of the recovery process, inspires and directs our residential team. Providing love and giving back is part of her innate character. She volunteers at Fairfax Academy, Heartland Hospices and enjoys working with autistic children. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marymount University. Participating in mission trips and spending time with those near to her heart is what she enjoys most in life. Ashley’s soulful nature exudes joy, patience and generosity.

Erica Ohnstad, MA, ATR-BC, CSAC

Creative Groups Facilitator

Erica is a genuine and compassionate part of our team at Sagebrush.  She has an extensive background in working with clients suffering from addictions. She is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in South Dakota and a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in Virginia.  Erica believes whole-heartedly in the healing power of creativity, incorporating both integrative and cognitive approaches to foster growth and self-worth.  She feels that the therapeutic value of art has the opportunity to heal, empower and engage those isolated due to addictions.   Her nurturing spirit helps clients discover their artistic potential.  She attended Augustana University and received her Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology and Fine Arts.  She received her Masters degree in Art Therapy from George Washington University, with a focus on Trauma Informed Care.  She nurtures her sense of wonder and adventure by running and cycling on nearby trails.

 

Laura First, LCSW-C

Expressive Groups Facilitator 

The healing aspects of Laura’s work are rooted in Ancient wisdom and teachings. Those who venture to enhance their recovery journey through movement, song, storytelling and many other forms of creative expression find Laura a willing and helpful guide. She delights in using sound as healing, organic movement that’s both informing and integrating and she views theatre as the art form of unity and clarity.  Her studies, advanced trainings and certifications are in Music Therapy, Adult Story Telling, Play Therapy, Mandala, Journey Dance, Sand Tray Playback Theatre and Performing Arts Productions.  Along with her many talents and gifts, she also actively performs with the National Symphony Orchestra in the United States and Europe, leads Kirtan and instructs Visionary Belly Dance.  Upon meeting Laura, you will immediately sense her radiant vibe, intense imagery and ebullient personality.  She will encourage you to try something new, awaken your inner light and open the door to a story that’s waiting to be told.  Laura’s lifelong career and accomplishments have provided her the opportunity to perform in some of the world’s most amazing venues.  Although she has received numerous grants for her work in Story Telling, Theatre Arts for Growth and Empowerment, her most sacred accomplishments occur in moments of change and healing experienced throughout the creation of art.  Laura exudes the power of prayer and play, the serenity of stone and water, the divinity of dance and meditation and the comfort of home and adventure. She manifests sheer integration of the mind, body and spirit that are on the cutting edge of healing and insight work.  After growing up in the colorful tropics of Hawaii, Laura currently resides on a working farm in rural Maryland with her therapy dog, Collie.

Kristen Burkin, MSW, Resident in Counseling

Addictions Counselor

Kristen was living on the coast of England where she worked with adults and adolescents experiencing issues with addiction before relocating back to Northern Virginia. It was family experiences that led Kristen to this type of work and has led to an increase in empathy for people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Kristen feels a sense of satisfaction when there is openness and honesty throughout the therapist/client relationship, allowing the individual to thrive. Drawing inspiration from nature, as well as authentic people living their truth, Kristen brings all aspects of herself into each session. This allows her sense of humor to meld with her compassion to create interactive interventions that assist in creating a sense of openness in her clients. When not at Sagebrush, Kristen loves to work closely with animals, previously working with an elephant rescue in Thailand, and presently volunteering at a Mastiff dog rescue facility. She is also a part of a book club for insightful women, loves to travel and try new recipes, and fills her life with flavor and fun!

Gabrielle Morrin, MS, CSAC Candidate

Addictions Counselor

Gabby is a native of Perrysburg, OH, located near Toledo.  She now resides in Maryland with her boyfriend and her daughter.  She attended Duquesne University earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in women’s and gender studies before earning her master’s degree in professional counseling from Carlow University.  Gabby worked as a drug and addictions counselor in a correctional facility for 3 years and she has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and homeless shelters while living in Pittsburgh, PA.  Gabby’s compassion and genuine nature flow into the philosophy that we are all humans – some people’s struggles just look different but everyone can achieve wellness!  When she isn’t helping people achieve wellness in the workplace, she can be found at the gym, teaching a spin class or yoga.  She relishes in time spent with family.

Lauren Campbell, MA, Resident in Counseling

Addictions Counselor

Lauren is a native of Akron, Ohio, where she earned her B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art at Wittenberg University. Lauren moved to Washington, D.C. to continue her mental health studies at George Washington University, where she received her M.A. in Art Therapy. Lauren brings a creative and nurturing atmosphere to her work to allow clients to feel supported in their journey to wellness. Her trauma-focused master’s program and previous work in a variety of mental health settings have provided her with a well-rounded clinical background, which makes her adaptable and able to meet clients “wherever they are.”  As an art therapist, Lauren believes that all people have an inherent capacity for expressing themselves creatively to explore their experiences, increase self-awareness, find new solutions, and improve overall well-being in therapy. In her free time, Lauren enjoys expressive hobbies like ukulele, dance, yoga, cooking, and painting, and loves to travel to new places whenever possible.

Whitney Brown, MSW

Addictions Counselor

Whitney is a native of northern Virginia where she currently resides with her fiancé and Italian Mastiff.  She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Masters of Social Work from Binghamton University in upstate New York. Whitney is a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor, which she utilizes as a recovery tool, guiding clients through trauma informed yoga therapy. She has used her skills to teach yoga to local organizations and communities to aide in building positive self-image and internal awareness. Whitney is experienced in working within the LGBTQ community, with adolescents, and with individuals living with addiction. She values each and every individual’s story, while taking into account everyone can evolve into their better self with love and compassion internally and through support. She fully believes in “meeting people where they are at,” and building positive relationships in order to successfully work with individuals from all walks of life. She takes a holistic approach to healing and recovery. She utilizes various therapeutic methodologies such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Theory, and Dialectical Behavioral Theory when working with clients. Whitney enjoys being physically active and spending time with family and friends. She is excited to be working with the Sagebrush team and looks forward to helping transform the lives of people living with and impacted by substance abuse.

Kristin Lynskey, LPC

Primary Therapist, Expressive Art Therapist

Kristin is a native of northern Virginia, born and raised in Woodbridge.  She received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy and has over ten years of experience providing professional counseling.  Kristin holds deep passion and a wealth of clinical experience in providing guidance and support for others recovering from addiction.  Her therapeutic approach involves the use of mindfulness practice to change habitual patterns of addiction, expressive arts to reconnect with inner wisdom, and body energy psychology practices to integrate mind, body, and spirit. Kristin is kind and inviting. She relishes in bonding time with her family and friends.  Kristin maintains her own wellness through creative writing, her love of nature and mindfulness practices.

Steffanie Kelshaw, CSAC, NCC, CCTP, Resident in Counseling

Addictions Counselor

A native of New Jersey, Steffanie has lived in the Washington, DC metro area for the past eight years. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Vermont and a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from George Washington University.  As a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, and member of the American Counseling Association, Steffanie is a true believer in the capacity of people to recover and is dedicated to delivering effective care to clients. She uses a variety of therapeutic treatment approaches, incorporating motivational interviewing techniques to encourage clients to elicit change within themselves. Beyond her expertise and affiliations in the realm of therapy and counseling, she is an avid sports fan and enjoys participating in running events. Her endless energy is infectious and her dedication to the holistic treatment model and enthusiasm have been a welcome addition to Sagebrush.

Taylor Shay, MS, LMFT

Outpatient Clinical Program Manager

Taylor was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii before moving to San Diego, California when she was in the 6th grade.  With over 15 years of experience working with diverse populations, she attributes her cultural awareness to her experiences growing up in Hawaii. Her mother was a nurse which she believes also had a significant impact on her desire to help others.  Taylor attended California State University where she majored in counseling psychology and earned her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She moved to Virginia in 2012 to be close to her family and began a job as a Clinical Manager with a substance abuse treatment facility.  Taylor hopes that her interactions with people will ultimately improve their relationships with themselves and their loved ones.  She is positive and friendly, bringing a smile with her in everything she does.

Candice Arnold, LPC, CCTP

Counseling Supervisor

Candice believes that everybody can change and recover in life. She believes in the sincere importance of self growth, that it is a life long journey. Candice shares an optimistic view with each client and family that she works with. She approaches counseling as a collaborative process that is individualized. She is passionate about being a stable, positive support and providing a safe environment, one in which she can teach skills and reinforce one’s own abilities to overcome obstacles in life. Candice brings light and a freshness of knowledge to recovery. She received her Master’s degree in professional counseling from The University of Georgia. She is also a National Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the states of Virginia and Georgia. Her southern charm is rooted in being born and raised in Northern Virginia and from residing in Georgia. She has an avid appreciation for the culinary world, appreciating its many zest and flavors. If she is not cooking or watching a romantic comedy in her spare time, she is spending quality time with loved ones. Candice is personable and courteous in her esteemed and gentle guidance.

Ashley Void, MA

Residential Program Manager

Ashley is a native of Washington, DC and still lives in the city today.  Growing up, Ashley was a social butterfly and it shaped her to be the extrovert she is today. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Human Service Counseling as well as a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  Ashley is passionate about helping others.  She’s directed multiple programs aimed at helping reintegrate individuals with chronic mental illness and co-occurring disorders. Ashley is a reliable and empathetic support system for our staff and clients.  She is approachable, resourceful and helpful.  Outside of work, she can be found socializing with her friends or curled up watching hours and hours of YouTube!

Jessica Watkins, MA

Addictions Counselor

Jessica is a counselor in residence who has come to Sagebrush after over three years at Phoenix House of the Mid-Atlantic. At Phoenix, she was a primary counselor for the Partial Hospitalization program and has experience working with Intensive Outpatient and Women’s Residential programs, as well. Prior to earning her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Regent University, Jessica worked for eight years as a high school English teacher, which explains her love of psychoeducation groups and why you won’t escape her office without getting a recommended reading list (The Happiness Trap, Man’s Search for Meaning, and The Compassionate Mind are three great places to start!). Her favorite counseling techniques are REBT, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, and Narrative Therapy. In addition, she is extremely passionate about Compassion Focused Therapy and how it can be used to promote healing and acceptance in both the self and intimate relationships.

George Harrington III, Ph.D., LPC, LMHC

Residential Program Manager

George Harrington is a native of northern Virginia. He attended Emory and Henry College in Emory, VA for his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and attended Radford University in Radford, VA for his Master’s degree in Community Counseling. In 2010, George moved from Virginia to Miami, FL, to further his educational endeavors. He holds a Ph.D. in counselor education, specializing in marital, couples, and family therapy from Barry University in Miami Shores, FL. George holds licenses in Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and in Virginia as a Licensed Professional Counselor. He has a wide variety of experiences in counseling, family therapy, clinical supervision, and management of mental health programs. Prior to beginning his employment at Sagebrush, George has worked as an in-home family therapist, a primary therapist at inpatient substance abuse treatment center, a clinical services manager, and a senior manager for psychosocial rehabilitation. He has intern experience as a short-term crisis counselor, group therapist for at-risk youth, and doctoral supervisory internships of masters-level counseling students in marriage and family therapy. George has served as an adjunct faculty at Barry University, teaching master’s level counselors-in-training. He has also served as an editorial board member for The Professional Counselor online journal. George has been described as an upbeat and positive individual, who works hard to ensure ethical and legal quality of care is provided to those he enthusiastically serves. Along with his father, George is a Free Mason, and regularly donates blood as part of the lodge’s community service initiatives. George is an active individual, who enjoys playing softball, golf, exercising, skiing. He is also an avid supporter of Washington DC sports teams.

Kelley Kuchinov, ATR-BC

Experiential  Therapist

Kelley comes to us from the New Jersey area, while living there she received a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She then worked for 13 years at Princeton House Behavioral Health, where she discovered her true passion of working with women, specifically those who experienced trauma and who struggled with addictions.  Kelley also has experience bringing creative arts therapies to Residential “Mommy and Me” programs.

She believes that hope is essential and therefore change is possible.  Throughout her career, she gained training in DBT and Psychodrama, through which she continually discovers creative ways to offer these skills to her clients.  Kelley has presented at National Conferences on topics of Art Therapy, DBT and specifically Mindfulness.  Not only is she knowledgeable in these therapeutic approaches, but she also feeds her soul by spending “QT” with her family, travelling, road trips, and meeting up with life-long friends when possible!  People describe her as creative, loyal, honest, funny — corny at times — and loves to dance! She would like to share the wisdom of Rafiki from the Lion King, which sums up her goal of balancing acceptance and change–“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Alexandra Raines

House Manager

Alexandra was born and raised in Maryland. She studied English literature at the University of Maryland. Alexandra has a unique background in healthcare and management and hopes to provide essential leadership to a diverse, multidisciplinary team. Alexandra has also held significant roles within substance abuse treatment facilities. She is passionate about the 12-Step philosophy and is committed to assisting individuals with their journey to recovery. Alexandra is involved in community activism and regularly spends time volunteering in underserved local areas. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children.

Hilary Therit, MA, NCC, Resident in Counseling

Residential Therapist

Hilary is a native of Pennsylvania, but has lived in the DC area for the past three years. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Mental Health from Mary Baldwin University, and her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, she sought out opportunities to be involved with the mental health profession, including internships with both inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs.As a Nationally Certified Counselor, and a member of the American Counseling Association, Hilary is dedicated to providing the best care for her clients, and has a deep passion for providing guidance and support for those recovering from addiction. She takes a holistic approach to healing and recovery by utilizing various therapeutic methodologies such as Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Motivational Interviewing, Attachment theory, and Gestalt theory. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and practicing yoga.

Delia Brady

Program Assistant

Delia Brady is a proud and excited new Program Assistant with Sagebrush. She was born in the Bronx, NY and was raised in Atlanta, GA.  She is a veteran of the U.S. military having served in the Navy.  In addition to being employed here at Sagebrush Delia is also in pursuit of her BA in Business Administration.  She is eager to be of assistance wherever possible and is extremely excited about life. Delia is looking forward to building a future here at Sagebrush.  Delia loves reading, the outdoors, animals, long trips, smiling, life and being of service.

Dana Norton, MA

Program Assistant

Dana is originally from Ohio and earned her B.A. in Psychology at Bowling Green State University. She has completed 3 years of graduate coursework in Clinical Psychology which included training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and neuropsychology. She co-authored a research paper on gender roles and trauma and presented original research at the Midwestern Psychological Association annual conference. Upon moving to Virginia, she gained experience working with the homeless population in Fairfax County and went on to work in a variety of mental health treatment and advocacy/outreach positions. Dana enjoys reading, crocheting, adventurous/disastrous cooking experiments, and volunteering with a pet rescue non-profit group.

Willow Smith, MA

Residential Therapist

Willow Rose Smith is originally from North Wisconsin and is excited to be completing her Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist residencies at Sagebrush Treatment Center. Willow attended The University of the South: Sewanee in Sewanee, TN for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. While at Rollins, Willow earned her certificate in Family and Relationship Therapy, which strengthened her knowledge and skills base working with families and couples from a systemic perspective.

Prior to beginning her employment at Sagebrush, Willow worked as a mental health residential therapist at Center for Discovery in Fairfax-Station, VA. Her experience also includes a psychology internship at the Yale Child Study working with adult pregnant and parenting mothers, a counseling internship working with adult male veterans with addictions, and a practicum and internship working with children and their families suffering from abuse at the Howard Phillips Center for Children and their Families (Arnold Palmer Hospital) in Orlando, FL.

Willow moved to Virginia upon completion of her Master’s degree to be closer to family and pursue her passion for helping the substance use population. She uses a variety of therapeutic treatment approaches including: trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, mindfulness meditation, and creative arts techniques. In her spare time, Willow enjoys being out in nature, running, playing tennis, water coloring, and baking gourmet desserts for friends and family

Jasmine Nejat, MA

Addictions Counselor

Jasmine is a resident in counseling with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. She provides group, individual, and couples therapy. Jasmine sees both clients in addiction treatment and those seeking mental health counseling. Jasmine uses a range of techniques from mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), person centered and solution focused approaches, as well as motivational interviewing to work toward change. She hopes to work with clients and couples to find healing and recovery in their lives as well as live their best life. She is a meditation and yoga instructor and brings mindfulness and mind-body practices into the counseling sphere to bridge the gap between mind and body. She enjoys stand up comedy and the outdoors in her free time.

Maria Maslyanko, MS

Overnight Staff

After finishing her undergraduate degree in Finance and graduate degree in Health Services Administration, Maria joined the U.S. Army. While there, she worked as a Behavioral Health Technician. Working with people inspired her to pursue the fields of science and medicine. Once her military obligation was completed, she returned to Virginia to finish her degree in Biochemistry. Maria is very excited to join Sagebrush and learn from so many incredible people. In her spare time she tutors high school and undergraduate students in  chemistry and watches movies with her two favorite beings–her cat Marx, and her dog L.

Randall Drury, MA

Program Assistant

Randall was born within the contiguous U.S. and spent his childhood living in various parts of
our country (Honolulu, Jacksonville NC, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, and Twentynine Palms).
His adolescence/adulthood has been much less transitive; being a Washington metro area
resident for several years. Randall enjoys spending time with family, engaging in the arts,
volunteering, and helping others. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology
and is currently studying Effects of “Mean‐agers” and the Father/Daughter Interaction.
Randall’s career in Human Services continues to afford him the opportunity to help others, and
as a team member at Sagebrush Treatment Center, he provides support to others endeavoring
recovery.

Chris Nicholson

Program Assistant

Chris was born in Jacksonville NC but lived a transient life as a son of a Military father which has taken him to live in places in the far east like Manila, Philippines as well as Okinawa, Japan.  He enjoyed seeing the world and experiencing various cultures even though he moved about every three years.  While on the island of Okinawa, he learned to scuba dive and got PADI certified.  He moved back to the States during the latter part of his teenage years.  He has since resided in Northern VA where he finished high school and earned his A.A.S. in Information Technology/Security from ECPI College of Technology.  When Chris has free time he enjoys family, fishing, exercise, fellowshipping with friends, and being a dog parent. With the experience of having worked all 12 steps of the recovery process, he has a passion for helping others through their recovery process.

Sharonda Stevens

Program Assistant

Sharonda Stevens is a graduate of Lincoln Technical Institute with studies in the medical field as a certified medical assistant. After graduation she spent the next two decades working in pediatrics, internal medicine, and Ob-Gyn practices. She then took on the role as an Office Manager with Dr. Jabola who specializes in gynecology and obstetrics. She has an extensive background in both clinical and administrative work, and will soon be working toward her Master’s degree in Counseling. Sharonda has also developed her own line of  natural, holistic, and healing hair and body products. She is thrilled to help ensure that Sagebrush’s mission is accomplished.

Morgan Hedman, MA, Resident in Counseling

Addictions Counselor

Morgan is a native of Maryland where she currently resides with her husband. Morgan earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. Morgan previously attended the University of Colorado, Boulder and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, where her interest in counseling began. Before beginning with Sagebrush, she worked in addictions counseling for adults and adolescents for 3 years with Phoenix House of the Mid-Atlantic, in the Intensive Outpatient Programs. She also has previous experience assisting with career counseling for adults with chronic mental illness. Morgan utilizes an integrative approach to counseling, using various treatment theories and interventions including motivational interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and the humanistic approach. She works with clients to identify strengths and successes so that their lives can be more positive, productive, and enjoyable. She values each individual’s story and enjoys assisting the client in gaining insight into what meaning they want from their lives.

Nathaniel President

Overnight Staff

Nathaniel was raised in northern Virginia and brings his larger than life personality to Sagebrush. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Health Services Management. He also has 8 years of experience in the medical field, holding roles such as lead medical assistant and clinical coordinator. He enjoys spending time with his close family and friends, and has a passion for helping other in need with his creative problem solving nature.

Alex Golden

Program Assistant

Alex Golden was born and raised in northern Virginia. Alex spends most of her free time with her family and enjoys raising her two year old son. She is very passionate about recovery and helping others in their journey to find a new way to live. Alex enjoys going into detox and treatment centers to share her experience, strength, and hope.

 

Elmon Arrington

 

Program Assistant

Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Elmon (pronounced el-MAHN) has a true passion for learning and helping people. Nearly 30 years as a professional barber has enabled him to be able to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life and with very diverse backgrounds. Elmon is currently earning his B.A. in Psychology, with a concentration in Forensic Psychology, minoring in Sociology & Justice Studies. He has future plans to further his education by seeking a doctorate in the field of psychology. Elmon is happy to engage in discussions on a vast variety of subjects ranging from his interest in music, to boxing, to philosophy, history, mythology, etc. He is always willing to lend an ear and always ready with a helping hand.

Melanie Green, MSW, PCAT

Addictions Counselor

Mary Jane Basilio

Overnight Staff

Mary Jane was born in the Philippines, but grew up mostly here in Northern Virginia. She received her first Bachelor’s in Biology at the University of Virginia. She is currently trying to switchover into the healthcare field and is currently studying nursing at George Mason University and is due to graduate this fall of 2018. She has a passion in helping and caring for others, and believes that her calling is in advocating for health and wellness. Mary Jane loves to travel and being outdoors. On her free time, she likes to spend time with her 3 year old and family. She likes to relax through reading and through arts and crafts.

Susanne Navas, MA

Program Assistant

Carla Sanchez

Jessenia Delgado

Jonathan MeKenney

Program Assistant

Alma Benavides

Sharell Butts

Noelle Hunt

David Yeager

Program Assistant

Martin Hite

Program Assistant

Rob Shaw

Program Assistant

Phalande Jean, MA

Residential Therapist

Phalande Jean is a Haiti native, born and raised. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Visual Communication from the University of Miami.  Phalande also received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University and continues to work toward her licensure. Phalande is an all-around creative as a poet, singer and graphic designer. On her down time, you can find her at a brunch, at the museum or making music.

Worlali Negbegble, MHS

Overnight Staff

Worlali was born and raised in Ghana, west Africa, and moved to the United States in 2007. He developed an interest in healthcare and obtained his CNA. He also attended Washington Adventist University and received his undergraduate degree in Allied Health, Mathematics, and Science. He then obtained his Master’s degree in Health Science from Pennsylvania St. Francis University. Worlali is passionate about helping people, and gained a great interest in doing so while working at multiple group homes. In his free time he enjoys singing and dancing.

Meghan Robinson, MA

Addictions Counselor

June Cartmill

Program Assistant

DeAndre Whitestone

Program Assistant

Amy Ewii

Overnight Staff

Suzanne Mondesir

Program Assistant

Sam Choura

Residential Therapist

Arianna Agnellini, BA

Admissions Coordinator

Arianna was born in New Jersey but has lived in the Northern Virginia area for more than 19 years.  She is vibrant and attentive offering a listening ear to those who want to share something with her. She recently graduated from VCU with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in social welfare.  Arianna’s past experience in banking has helped her to learn the value of building long lasting relationships with colleagues and customers.  Arianna hopes that her interactions with others leave them feeling positive, listened to and valued.  She is fond of reading and writing in her spare time.  Her happy and warm-hearted nature is a welcomed addition to Sagebrush.

Abel Bibilari

Chef

Abel was born in Grenada, and later moved to the United States where he attended high school in Tennessee. He then attended the University of Tennessee and studied food technology. He first realized that he wanted to become a chef after working at Houston’s restaurant, and his favorite cuisine to cook is seafood. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering at the soup kitchen and does this as much as possible. He would like to impart upon others his humility, and his passion for culinary arts.

Juan Ovalle

Chef

Juan was born in Guatemala and later moved to San Antonio, Texas. While there, he was fascinated and welcomed by northern Mexican food. Back in Guatemala, he was introduced and firstly inspired to traditional Guatemalan cuisine by his Grandmother. Besides ancient and simple cooking techniques, she taught him respect and a lot of love for food (especially how blessed and satisfied one should feel after every meal prepared by their hands). In 2001, by destiny he got to meet Chef Jacques Blanc (chef and owner of Le Provencal in Washington, D.C. 1965-1982). Chef Blanc mentored him for a few years and opened the door for Juan in the area of traditional French Cuisine. Juan previously worked at Country and Golf clubs around the D.C. area for about 12 years, and enjoyed the benefit of golfing while there. His major achievement has been having the honor of serving President Obama when he visited Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, VA. Juan enjoys nature as a primordial need and family time (that includes his puggle, Diego). His hobbies are collecting coins and bills and making soaps. Juan loves to see good smiles and believes in the benefits of healing through food and is an advocate of “farm to table”.

Thomas Trachsel

Chef

Chef Thomas received his culinary training at the prestigious Johnson and Wales University.  While there he made Dean’s list and received a University Merit Scholarship due to his excellent academic achievements. He has over twenty years of experience in the corporate dining sector of the food service industry.  As an Executive Chef/Multiple Site Manager, he provided elevated quality of food service at many government accounts: United States Courthouse, Institute of Defense Analysis, Office of Personal Management, all Department of Homeland Security sites, Foreign Affairs Training Center, Department of Education, National Institute of Health, and so on. He assisted in managing the culinary programs, menu development, and cost control analysis. In addition, he received awards for achieving the highest level of customer service and financial success in the field. When he’s not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family. Besides spending time with his family and friends, he also enjoys volunteering his culinary skills to provide helping hands.

Douglas Nyantakyi

Chef

Douglas was born in Accra, the capital of Ghana.  Douglas is hardworking and focused.  He’s worked in catering for more than 7 years so he sure knows how to feed a crowd!  He shares his culinary talent as well as his calm, friendly demeanor with the clients and staff of Sagebrush. In his free time, Douglas enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies.

Jolene Alexander

Chef

Jolene was born in Iowa and grew up in a little town called Underwood.  As a child, she was blessed to have had the opportunity to spent a lot of time with her Danish grandmother who taught her how to cook and bake.  This one-on-one time together instilled in Jolene the joy brought about by making and sharing food with others. Her warmth is genuine, she cares deeply and she’s always smiling!  Jolene enjoys gardening and building rock gardens and walkways in her free time.  Her compassionate nature is a blessing to Sagebrush.

Elzbieta Chiaia

Massage Therapist

Fueled by her intuitive senses and hunger for spiritual growth, Elzbieta left her native Poland and immigrated to England and eventually to the United States. She immersed herself in studies of different philosophies and spiritual practices. Her search resulted in a passion to facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing for others. Today, she brings the compassion of heart through her hands.

For the past 20 years, Elzbieta trained in multiple modalities including Therapeutic Massage, Reflexology and Manual Lymphatic Drainage. She was trained by renowned Polish healer Mietek Wirkus in BioEnergy Healing.  Elzbieta studied the Rosen Method Bodywork (accessing the unconscious through touch).  She is also trained in Integrated Energy Therapy and the Alchemical Alignment: Bodywork for Trauma Resolution and Embodiment of Spirit.  Elzbieta is a Reiki Master.

Throughout her career, she successfully treated patients dealing with issues related to grief, anxiety, fear, physical and emotional trauma and sexual abuse. She successfully helps her clients achieve trauma resolution through her bodywork and keeps informed about the most current alternative health treatments. She also continuously works on her own personal growth so she can bring certain qualities of wholeness, stability and peace into her work.

Elzbieta is certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She is a Member of the American Massage Therapy Association.

Ashley Forbes, LAc, MSOM

Acupuncturist, QiGong, Health and Wellness Instructor

Ashley comes to Sagebrush with a passion for healing through holistic modalities, treating the root of the addiction and not just the symptoms. She recently moved from Austin, Texas but is a native of the Washington, DC area. Ashley received her Masters in Acupuncture and Integrative medicine, with an emphasis in nutrition and mind-body work. She has a BS in Business and Psychology from East Carolina University.

Ashley studied and practiced in the Austin area for over 10 years prior to relocating to the Northern Virginia area. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, but found mental health practices to be the most rewarding. When she is not working with clients, she can be found outdoors with her two large pups.

Peter Shin, NCBTMB, LMT

Massage Therapist

Peter came to America in 1992 as a student from South Korea.  He began his journey in South Korea in 1987, learning of acupressure, moxibustion, and cupping as the parts of traditional oriental medicine.   His motivation was out of necessity to relieve his wife of debilitating lower back pain.  Today, as a result of his efforts and learning, she is good in health.  They now live in Fredericksburg, Virginia with their two wonderful children.

Several years ago, while working as an Activity Director at a Senior Health & Day Care Center in Gaithersburg, MD he realized his desire to pursue massage school training toward a license. In 2009, he became Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB) as well as Licensed as a Massage Therapist (LMT) in Virginia.  In 2015, he was also certified as a Lymphedema Therapist.   Though he performs massage in several modalities, his special focuses are in deep tissue massage, acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, reflexology, Swedish gymnastics (Sport Massage), Thai massage and Lymphedema Therapy.

From his experience, he believes that to receive massage regularly is one of the best health investments one can make.  Over the many years, he continues to study human anatomy and physiology and finds the human body a mystifying work of art and healing.  He believes that watching over and serving others is his calling.  He is dedicated to continuing his studies in Naturopathy and Traditional oriental medicine in order to help and care for others.  He is both sociable and humorous with all those he encounters.  He enjoys singing and gardening as hobbies.  He finds joy in working with Sagebrush staff and clients, as he witnesses first-hand the emotional and physical changes of feeling better.

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