School Psychologist & Program Director
University of Idaho – M.Ed, LPC, Ed.S
Dan Hanks grew up in the North West, making stops in locations such as Alaska, Seattle, Montana, and finally landing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dan is a founder of Northwest College Support and Cultivation Counseling. Dan describes himself as “A paradoxical combination of therapist, nerd, philosopher, and distance athlete”. Dan competes in Ironman, Triathlon, National Skijoring and Adventure Sports. Dan also enjoys sailing, paddleboarding, and snowboarding. Dan graduated from the University of Idaho and holds a Masters of Education in Counseling and School Psychology. Dan is a licensed Counselor and a certified School Psychologist and is passionate about people meeting their highest potential. He realizes that each individual is different and each person walks a unique path towards a goal. At Northwest College Support, Dan works as a School Psychologist creating and overseeing plans geared to create college success. He specializes in working with individuals with learning differences, individuals on the autism spectrum, individuals with ADHD, and persons struggling with addictions.
Arizona State University – LMFT
Julie grew up in Northern California and Southern Idaho. She attended North Idaho College and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in family studies from Arizona State University. Julie continued on at ASU to earn a masters in marriage and family therapy. While completing her masters degree, Julie practiced counseling through ASU’s counseling clinic and worked as a family consultant for Jewish Family and Children Services. For the past five years Julie has worked at a residential program in Coeur d’ Alene, as a therapist and Adolescent Clinical Coordinator. Julie has a passion for counseling with couples, families, and children. Julie practices cognitive behavioral therapy, and also uses a systems-centered approach to therapy in order to address challenges and issues surround family systems. By teaching family members to focus on creating strong relationships within the family, Julie believes that individuals can reach a fuller and greater potential. In her spare time, Julie enjoys play softball and other recreational sports, camping, hiking, fishing, and spending time with her family.
Portland State University – LCSW
Darlene graduated from Portland State University with a BA in psychology and obtained her MSW in 1988. Darlene has worked in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, residential programs, and inpatient hospitalization programs. Darlene specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults with mood disorders, trauma, self esteem and social skill issues, eating disorders, attachment issues, and learning problems. Darlene is an avid horsewoman, competing in hunter/jumper and dressage, and recently obtained her EAGALA certification so that she can combine her love for horses and her passion for therapy by providing equine assisted therapy at a stable in Rathdrum, Idaho. Darlene raises and trains German shepherds, and loves to spend time outdoors and being active.
Loma Linda University – LMFT
Ryan was raised in a small city near Vancouver, B.C. Crossing the line into the States, he attended Walla Walla University for his undergraduate degree, earning a B.S. in Psychology. Before continuing on to a graduate program and desiring some world travel and service oriented work, Ryan spent time in American Samoa developing lesson plans and exploring first time teaching of middle school and high school students. While challenging, it helped form his decision to subsequently earn a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Loma Linda University in Southern California in 2010. While there, Ryan began his clinical work and thus began his journey of nine years experience working with children as young as 3, families, individuals, couples, and diverse groups in school-based counseling, group homes, outpatient therapy settings, and residential programs.
Ryan prefers to use an eclectic approach to his therapy techniques, including borrowing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Structural Family Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Emotionally-Focused Couples/Family Therapy, amongst others. He has worked in various agencies since obtaining his Idaho MFT license in 2014, and also ventured out on his own private practice in Sandpoint, Idaho, for a couple years before transitioning to a new area to explore furthering his career. Ryan chose MFT because he has a passion for inspiring people to live complete and fulfilling lives. When not devoting his time to helping others, Ryan keeps busy with his wife, Kristin, wrangling their three rambunctious kids, ages one through five. When they’re able, Ryan enjoys showing his family the joys of his other great passions in the outdoors: hiking, fishing, surfing, rock climbing, nordic skiing, gardening, and woodworking.
Boise State University – LMSW
Trent is a licensed Master Social Worker with 12 years experience working with adolescents in wilderness, residential, and outpatient settings. Trent received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Lewis Clark State College and received his Master of Social Work from Boise State University. He excels in working working with adolescents and adults with a variety of different problems with strengths in treating anxiety, depression, Asperger’s and executive functioning. Before joining the mental health field, Trent worked as a professional artist and trained horses. His hobbies and interests include drawing and painting, college football, fishing, gardening, and spending time in the outdoors of northern Idaho. To his wife’s chagrin, he also enjoys working on home “improvement” projects. Trent has been married for 21 years to his wife Donna. They are the parents of five children-one boy and four girls.
University of Idaho – LMSW
Beginning at a residential program located in Kootenai County in 2000, Scott has over 15 years working in the field of adolescent and young adult mental health. He has worked in hospitals (both on psychiatric units and in emergency rooms), as a private therapist doing one-on-one therapy and training as well as having been a chemical dependency counselor working with both youth and adults.
Scott enjoys working with young adults and their families to re-frame and redefine attributes previously known as deficits toward their inherent strengths. He enjoys working with young adults who have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, ADD / ADHD, PTSD, a history of substance abuse, or are diagnosed as bi-polar. Scott’s therapeutic approach is strengths-based and he utilizes Solution Focused / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing.
Scott is an active hiker, lake enthusiast and beginning runner who spends most free time with his two sons.
Eastern Washington University – LMSW
Ashley is a native to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After earning her undergraduate degree in social work from Lewis-Clark State College, Ashley spent time as a river rafting, backcountry, and climbing guide for Youth Dynamics Adventures. Following that experience, Ashley became a field guide at Aspiro Wilderness Therapy program, where she discovered her passion for working with people in a therapeutic setting.
Ashley worked as a life skills coach at Northwest College Support while earning her Masters in Social Work from Eastern Washington University. In addition to her role as a therapist at Northwest College Support, Ashley plays an important role in organizing and leading the wide range of recreational activities for students at NWCS. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys softball, hiking, volleyball, nutrition and fitness, and snowboarding. Ashley’s approach to therapy is strengths-based and client centered. Helping clients tune into their own personal gifts and strengths in order to find solutions within themselves to solve problems. Ashley commonly practices Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in her work with clients.
Bear the Dog
Spokane Dog Training Club
Bear was born in Germany, and moved to beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2015. He chose to follow his dreams, side by side with his human Darlene Pessein in order to impact and change the lives of young adults at Northwest College Support. He received extensive training by Darlene, and acquired additional educational advancement from the Spokane Dog Training Club where he went on to graduate. He recently obtained his certification in Pet Therapy through The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dog Organization.
His therapeutic approach is unconditional love and consistent positive regard towards his students as well as his grateful coworkers. In his spare time he enjoys playing on his farm with sister Lexi and his goat and chicken friends. He also enjoys swimming in the lake and receiving endless amounts of back scratches outside of work.
Administration and Marketing Director
University of Idaho
Adam attended the University of Idaho an North Idaho College for both computer science and psychology. Adam has over 13 years of experience in psychological care and support, as well as strong background in web and software design. After pursuing a career in technical fields, Adam discovered his love for working with people to achieve their goals. Adam is a founder of Northwest College Support and Cultivation Counseling. He also founded CDA Computer and Coeur Design, which exist to provide job experience and internships for students of Northwest College Support. Adam has spent many years developing the compassion and skills to help individuals achieve their goals. Adam is also the primary administrator of Northwest College Support. Adam enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, sailing, swimming, hiking, biking, and other activities around the beautiful Coeur d’Alene area. He is also passionate about teaching these activities to residents.
Admissions Director & Academic Coordinator
Traci grew up in Tacoma, Washington. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington where she earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in psychology and a minor in philosophy. Traci lives in Coeur d’Alene. She enjoys boating on Lake Coeur D’Alene, rooting for the Gonzaga Basketball team, hiking, x-country skiing, and yoga. Traci has worked as an academic coach for the past five years. In that time she has coached college students with a wide range of challenges towards academic success. These challenges have included serious health issues, mental health disorders, and learning disabilities. Traci has also worked with students dealing with general life issues such as cultural dissonance, grief, and the common problems of adjusting to college life. Recently, Traci has also worked with students in Special Education programs in schools, and run after-school programs for at-risk youth. Traci values education, and the idea of life-long learning. She strongly believes in helping to ensure that all students have a positive experience in their schooling.
Operations Manager – CDA
Jenell grew up in North Idaho. She graduated from North Idaho College and Christ For The Nations Institute (CFNI) in Dallas, Texas. At CFNI she received her Bachelor’s in Practical Ministry. She has been on many mission trips across the globe and is working with her church to train interns for the mission field. She currently resides in Hayden, Idaho and does administrative work as well as life coaching at Northwest College Support. As a life coach Jenell works with the college students, helping them with life skills and daily living activities. Jenell also performs many of the administrative duties for NWCS in addition to life coaching. When Jenell is not working, she likes to travel, go boating, read, connect with friends, and spend time with her family.
Colorado State University
Jamie grew up in Denver, Colorado and attended college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. At CSU she received a Bachelor of Arts in History with a Social Studies teaching concentration and a minor in English. She obtained a secondary Colorado state teaching license and went on to teach 9th grade geography in Aurora, Colorado. After this she moved to Vigo, Spain where she taught English to primary level students and traveled around Europe for over eight months. Jamie recently moved to Spokane, Washington where she acquired her secondary Washington state teaching license in Social Studies.
Jamie has a passion for learning as well as the overall well being of her students. She is dedicated to the development and success of her students and is invested in their growth as individuals. Outside of work Jamie enjoys running, hiking, and traveling.
Savannah grew up in Lewiston, Idaho and attended college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. At Gonzaga, she received a Bachelor of Education in Special Education and was an active member of Gonzaga’s Volleyball program. After graduating, she competed for a professional volleyball program in Linz, Austria. Once she made the move back to the U.S., she spent some time substitute teaching and coaching high school volleyball in Lewiston.
Savannah is driven by helping others learn and succeed, not only in academics, but in life. Outside of work, Savannah enjoys anything outdoors, traveling, connecting with others, and coffee.
University of Alaska
Ashley grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and lived there for 29 years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at University of Alaska and graduated in 2014. Ashley also acquired her Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University in 2017. Ashley is certified as a highly qualified teacher in Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming. She has taught 6th grade, 5th grade, and Kindergarten. Ashley considers herself a life-long learner and loves inspiring others to learn more about the world. She enjoys helping others and looks forward to assisting college students with realizing their academic goals.
Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her sons and her dogs. She loves animals and the outdoors, and also enjoys hiking, trips to the lake, reading, writing, and doing art projects.
Life Coaching Supervisor
University of Idaho
Conor Kenna was raised in Northern Idaho. He attended College at University of Idaho, and interned for Northwest College Support while going to school there. After graduating with a Bachelors in Psychology, he moved to Coeur d’Alene to continue working with the company, and also to take advantage of the incredible opportunities that the Northwest offers.
Conor enjoys hiking with his dogs and canoeing in the summer, and snowboarding in the winter. He also is a member of the volunteer group Order of the Antelope, which spends time protecting wildlife in Oregon.
Eastern Washington University
Shem is a graduate of Eastern Washington University with two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Shem enjoys learning about history, playing basketball, watching the Denver Broncos, and local theatrical performances. As an aftercare specialist, ensuring the students that he works with are successful in school, as well as life, is his passion. He believes in the words of Aaron Sorkin that, “education is the silver bullet.” As well as Pericles of Athens who said, “All good things must flow into the boulevard.”