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.

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.


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.

Niesha Spencer

Administrative Coordinator

Niesha was born in Richmond Virginia, but has lived in the state of Maryland for over 20 years. She provides a warm and loving atmosphere to the front desk. Niesha brings various area of healthcare experience to Sagebrush, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management at Strayer University. Niesha is passionate about cooking and trying new recipes and loves spending family time with her adorable son And boyfriend.


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.

Joya Lee, MSW, CSAC Candidate

Case Manager

Joya was born and raised in the beautiful Roanoke Valley before moving to Michigan when she was in the 5th grade. She returned to Virginia 20 years ago and she currently lives with her two children and three toy poodles.  She attributes her compassionate, nurturing and helpful demeanor to all the time she spent with her grandmother throughout her life. Joya spent over 15 years working side by side with families and children in her in-home daycare.  While working and raising her family, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University and she also has her Master of Social Work degree from Boston University.  Joya has gained invaluable experience working as a case manager at a homeless shelter, and found her passion for working with people with mental health and substance use disorders while interning at a men’s residential substance abuse treatment facility.  Her positive nature and use of a strengths based approach help her instill hope and motivation in the people with whom she works.  She considers herself a lifelong student and finds great fulfillment in continuing education. In her free time she enjoys going on walks, spending time with her children, gardening, lifting weights, going to concerts, and watching hockey.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Amanda Migliaccio, PsyD

Addictions Counselor

Amanda is originally from New York.  She recently relocated from southern Virginia to northern Virginia to pursue her passion for Psychology.  She began her studies at Penn State University where she completed her Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She then obtained her Masters of Arts and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology and is currently pursuing doctoral licensure in Virginia.  She has over five years of clinical experience working in a variety of settings facilitating mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. She is committed to assisting others in personal exploration and growth. She provides this assistance through the use of integrating multiple different treatment modalities aimed to serve a client’s individual needs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and taking her dog on long walks.

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.

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!

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.

Erica Ohnstad, MA, 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.


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.

Suzanne Mondesir, BS

Program Assistant

Suzanne is passionate about providing support and service to clients and being an important part of their journey to recovery.  She is a native of Rehoboth, Delaware and now resides in Virginia, where she avidly explores life, cuisine and nature with her family.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Springfield College and she is a certified massage therapist.  Suzanne brings over twenty years of experience working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  She is devoted to helping others cultivate change within themselves and to practice a healthier way of life.  Suzanne’s consistent enthusiasm, patience and wisdom contribute to the exceptional care provided at Sagebrush.

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.


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.

Michelle Carswell

Program Assistant

Michelle is a friendly, encouraging and supportive addition to the Sagebrush Team.  Beyond having had an extensive professional background as a successful entrepreneur, she is a mentor and a job coach for individuals throughout her community in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  She finds her interactions at Sagebrush to be very rewarding, especially in the areas of step work, enforcing positive recovery and maintaining positive networks.  During her spare time, she has an avid passion for learning, loves to cook, enjoys arts and crafts, and spending time with her family.  Michelle is dedicated to teaching positive life skills and enhancing the quality of the life for all of our 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.


Michael Murphy

Program Assistant

Michael is a native of Northern Virginia and grew up in Alexandria, VA. He enjoys watching others change their lives and grow into new individuals. His compassion for others helps him to appreciate all the small things in life.  Michael realized that helping others was his calling so he decided to go back to school he hasn’t looked back!  He is currently working on his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Michael loves baseball (Go NATS!) as well as football (Hail to the Redskins!).  He enjoys spending time out with friends and family and believes his relationships with others are essential stepping stones to his own path to happiness.

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.

Pamela Foster, BS

Overnight Staff

Pamela has a brave heart and spontaneous spirit that manifests in her desire to work with those in crisis.   A quest for meaning, practicing spirituality and exploring the divine details of each day are motivators for her in her life’s expeditions.  Whether she is wrapped up in her studies, as she pursues her Masters in Social Work, or she’s hiking along the peaks of Machu Picchu, Pam carries ambition, hope and inspiration wherever she goes.  She is dedicated to those in recovery and conveys the optimistic attributes that are available in each human life.  Pam’s ability to connect with others is a truly a gift 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.


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.


Ashley O’Sullivan, BSN

Admissions Coordinator

Ashley is a Virginia native, and she loves everything the area has to offer–from the rich cultural diversity to the vast amount of historical importance Virginia holds. She grew up knowing she had a passion to help and serve others. She went to VCU School of Nursing and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2014. After working for three years as a nurse in areas such as emergency, medical, telemetry, and psychiatric, she decided to join the Sagebrush team to tackle addictions and mental health. She adores her family and loves books, movies, delicious food, and Fall weather. Ashley is thrilled to be a part of the Sagebrush team.




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.

Thomas Trachsel


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


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.

Vanessa Baker


Vanessa lives in Northern Virginia and is currently working on a culinary arts degree. Vanessa has extensive kitchen experience as well as food management experience. Before coming to work at Sagebrush, Vanessa led a large team as a food service supervisor at a women’s correctional facility. Vanessa has a passion for food and believes food brings people together. She is calm and friendly, showing empathy for those suffering from addiction and alcoholism. Her smile is as inviting as her delicious food!

Jolene Alexander


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.

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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