Want to Meet the staff of Diamond Ranch Academy? Visit our employee blog! On the Diamond Ranch Academy Employee Blog we spotlight some of the great staff that help make great outcomes for these troubled teens a reality.
Emily Farnworth has been at Diamond Ranch for 4 1/2 months as our Night-Time Administrative Assistant. She helps out with processing the student mail and Home Commissary. Emily was born and raised in Idaho. She is one of
eight children. She has lived in Brazil for eighteen months, and loves
the food, people, and language of Brazil. She and her husband, JD, have
been married for 9 months and are loving the newlywed stage of life. JD also
works at DRA as a Night Watch Staff. They love to travel together, camp, and go on long
Emily’s is a white personality,
with yellow in close second according to the Taylor Hartman personality profile. At work, her white strengths help her to
stay calm in stressful situations, go with the flow, and easily adjust to
unexpected changes. Her yellow side helps her to enjoy her work and have
fun whatever she’s doing.
Here are a few thoughts from Emily about DRA:
“I have always enjoyed working at DRA since I started, but
until I attended a Parent Workshop 101 I hadn’t really understood the
magnitude of what I was a part of. I had always assumed what we do is all
about the kids here at the ranch, but in meeting the parents and hearing their
stories I learned that parents and siblings are healing and growing and
changing as much as our students here. My favorite thing to see working at DRA
is families getting stronger.”
Todd Graves is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been working in adolescent residential treatment programs since 2005. He has worked with Diamond Ranch Academy since June of 2011. Todd enjoys working with adolescents because of their energy and ability to give back.
Todd was born and raised in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. He still calls it home, but these days prefers only to visit. Getting used to the sun and wide open skies in Utah has done that to him. Missing the trees in Washington has led to one of his favorite hobbies which include purchasing, maiming, and subsequently killing bonsai trees. Keeping them alive is a skill he simply has not yet learned.
Todd’s colors are blue and white, or white and blue, its tough for him to decide. Being blue helps him to connect with the people around him, especially the students. It makes him better able to empathize with their experiences. His white motivates him to want to challenge students and parents in a way that is peaceful and comfortable. At times this is not always possible which is difficult.
Todd is married and has four boys who keep him and his wife busy. When not at work he likes to do fix-it jobs around the house and to do woodworking projects.
Becky Phillips adds a female touch to the clinical team here at Diamond Ranch Academy. She enjoys working with the many talented professionals on the DRA team.
Becky hails from San Diego, California, and she has also lived in Seattle, Washington, the Bay Area, California and Salt Lake City, Utah. She misses being near the ocean, but has come to love the beauty of the high desert.
Becky began her college career at Brigham Young University, majoring in Musical Theater. She put her college pursuits aside to raise a family of six children-five sons and one daughter. She then returned to college to pursue her passion for helping others with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Utah State University (go Aggies!) and Master in Social Work from the University of Utah (go Utes!) Becky was thrilled to be honored with the Sharon Goodwill Memorial Award for Achievement and Promise in Mental Health from the U of U College of Social Work. She is also licensed as a Therapeutic Recreation Technician. It was a longtime goal for Becky to achieve her LCSW and she is so grateful to her wonderful husband, Mark, for his years of love and support while she pursued her dream.
Becky is a blue/white personality. She is passionate about wanting to connect with others and be a support to help those who are struggling to learn and grow and better their lives. Her students know that she holds them to a high standard and will be their biggest cheerleader when they accomplish their goals and have success. Students often tell her she must be a red, but she actually has no red in her personality at all! She may appear quiet, but lets her little bits of yellow peak through when you least expect it.
Becky and Mark love living in Southern Utah where so many wonderful activities, including skiing, hiking, fishing, trap shooting, camping and more, are all close by. Becky enjoys many genres of music as well as reading, cross-stitching, playing the piano, painting and making and collecting dolls. She also loves to collect quirky and interesting objects for her students to enjoy in her office. Becky prefers the mic when it’s time to play Beatles’ Rock Band, and she loves a good game night with friends or family. Besides their children, Mark and Becky are the proud parents of a highly energetic Maltese and a very talkative African Gray parrot.
Stephen Darveaux: Life Skills Facilitator/ NA Group Leader/ Mentor Coordinator
Stephen has worked at Diamond Ranch for 2 ½ years. He started from the entry level position quickly making his way to the job he was born to do. He has just about worked every position possible, giving him much knowledge in every area. He has literally revolutionized every position he has received. Stephen is a blue/yellow personality, which enables him to be very dedicated, empathetic, driven, and yet fun at the same time. Stephen loves his job and is beyond grateful for the skills and tools he receives. He implements just about everything he learns here into his family’s daily life. His family has grown to become a stronger unit and happier than ever due to the gifts he continues to share. Stephen is hoping to start school to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). This way he will be the best he can possibly be and have a degree to back his skills up. This is Stephen’s passion and calling in life. He has experienced first hand what it is like to be a troubled youth and wants to give back what has been given to him in recovery.
Stephen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. His family is number one to him. He has been married to his wife for 5 ½ years. They share three children Gabriel Stephen- deceased at 6 months due to SIDS but would now be 6 ½, Lykan Bryant- 2 ½, and Olive Alaire- 5 months. He and his family like anything outdoors; rock climbing, hiking, camping, long boarding, mototX, etc.
Stephen is looking forward to help improve the lives of others and is planning on staying here at “the ranch” for quite some time. He has witnessed first hand what a profound difference this program can make when the students and their families work together along side DRA to better their lives. He is excited to be a part of this wonderful journey.
Gary Dean was born in Provo, Utah but grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. Gary earned his Associate Degree in Business from Dixie Junior College, and then went on to earn his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from UNLV. Always striving to better himself, Gary is currently pursuing a Graduate Degree in Mathematics from Utah State University.
Gary might be one of the few people on the planet who actually loves math, even word problems?! And as such, has always chosen careers that are steeped mathematics. Gary is currently the math teacher on boys’ campus, teaching classes from Math 54 to Pre-Calculus.
Gary’s white/red personality is perfect for the classroom setting. His white offers patience and a calm demeanor. On the other hand, Gary’s red drives him toward accomplishment and effective time management.
When not teaching or going to school, Gary enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife Stacy have been married 21 years, and together they have 4 amazing children: 2 daughters, one in college at Brigham Young University and one a junior in high school, and 2 sons, one in intermediate and one in elementary school.
Gary loves sports! His favorite sport to both play and watch is basketball, and his favorite holiday is March Madness. On the weekends, Gary helps coach his son’s City Rec basketball, baseball, and flag football teams. And in his spare time, Gary enjoys golfing in beautiful Southern Utah.
There is an old proverb that states “the hardest work of all is to do nothing.” Kelby certainly agrees with this adage. He constantly gives himself to family, work, a ranch, and church. He is never idle.
Kelby is the Physical Facilities Director at Diamond Ranch Academy. He is responsible for the overall ranch maintenance and keeping the grounds in pristine condition. Additionally, Kelby cares for all the animals on ranch ranging from peacocks and alpacas to the pigs and goats. Kelby has worked for Diamond Ranch Academy for 5 years and has enjoyed every second of it.
Kelby is a native to Hurricane and graduated from Hurricane High School.Right after graduation Kelby served a 2 year mission in England for his church.After returning home from his mission Kelby married his high school sweetheart, Kathie.They have three adventurous boys and were just recently blessed with a beautiful daughter.
Kelby is a Blue/Red personality according to Taylor Hartman's Color Code Test. Kelby's blue personality helps him feel compassion and concern to those around him. His red personality gives him the drive to get the job done.
Kelby's favorite part of Diamond Ranch are the people he works with. He truly feels that each staff member is genuine and hard-working. He enjoys being part of an outstanding DRA family!
Part of Diamond Ranch Academy’s draw to parents around the world is its amazing athletic program. Robbie Dias has worked at Diamond Ranch for the past 9 years. His experience starting from the ground up has given him an edge in creating a competitive and motivating athletic department.
Robbie began working in a nighttime staff position while he was attending and playing football at Dixie State College. He quickly moved from night staff to assistant program director, to Athletic Director. He has been in that position since 2005.
Since his advancement, DRAs’ clubs, activities, and athletic program have rapidly grown to an accredited 1A school. This accreditation has made it possible for both our boy and girl students to compete in athletics such as football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.
In addition to the mainstream athletics, students are involved in cheerleading, music, art, fishing and many more.
Robbie loves the athletic piece of his job the most. He enjoys watching the students compete in the various sports. Some students often times would not have the opportunity in their home schools to compete at this level. He has seen the students compete and win and gain all they can from sports.
Robbie’s yellow/blue personality is a perfect fit for his position. His personal motive in life is to have fun! He connects with the students by helping them enjoy their lives through clubs and activities. His blue helps him build solid relationships with the students and staff.
On a personal note…Robbie was born in Alabama but spent most of his life in St. George, Utah. He played football in high school and college. He served an LDS mission in Brazil. Robbie met his wife Carly while attending college. They have three awesome kids, Skye, Davyn, and Raider, and reside in Hurricane, Utah.
Often times at Diamond Ranch Academy we get a husband and wife team that together and individually add so much to the family atmosphere DRA has tried to capture. Haley and Tim Stroshine both work at DRA but in different arenas.
Haley Stroshine is an Administrative Assistant. She has the opportunity to meet and interact with the parents when they come to DRA for visits. Haley said it always brings a smile to her face when parents see first-hand the change their child has made in just a few short months. She feels there is nothing better than being a part of a team that helps change lives for the better.
Haley’s blue/white personality helps her feel compassion toward the students and families she meets. Her white helps her to think logically and be calm and patient in stressful situations. Haley’s past job and educational background has given her the experience to manage efficiently. She was a manager at a food storage company call Shelf Reliance, attended the University of Utah, BYU-Idaho and a semester at Utah Valley University pursuing an exercise science degree, in hopes of becoming a physical therapist.
Haley loves the outdoors, whether it’s playing soccer, running, camping, and hiking, or fishing. She loves watching football (including our own DRA football team)! She enjoys cooking and trying new recipes but most of all she loves spending time with her husband Tim.
Speaking of Tim… Tim Stroshine is part of DRA’s Youth Development Staff. He is actively pursing a degree in biology at Dixie State College with the hopes of being accepted to medical school in the fall of 2014. Tim is very much looking forward to becoming a doctor. He would love to be and anesthesiologist and work in the operating room. He also has a passion to eventually go to third world countries and help those less fortunate with their medical issues.
Tim is a full time student during the week and spends his weekends at DRA. His “big blue” personality helps him with his job because he is motivated to help the students through his overactive compassion. His blue makes him a perfectionist, which helps him to see the small things before they become big issues.
Tim receives the most satisfaction from seeing a young man finally understand the purpose for being at DRA, and allows the program to help him. Tim also feels the benefit from therapist training he receives. It helps him understand more about the issues our students deal with, and how his position can support their success.
Outside of work and school, Tim loves to play golf. He, like his wife, enjoys the outdoors and loves to camp and hike. Most of his time is spent with his family. Tim comes from a large family of 8 with five brothers and two sisters. There is always something going on.
Our Admissions Counselor – Maurie Simons – is recognized by Diamond Ranch Academy as an incredibly, wonderful, person. She has been with DRA for seven years. Most of those years have been with a phone to her ear. She works with parents when they are considering DRA as a school choice. Maurie said the most rewarding part of her job is introducing parents to DRA in the beginning and witnessing their struggle to make this difficult decision, to the happiness they experience when their child has found success at the end of the program.
Maurie is a blue/yellow on the color code. She said her blue helps her connect emotionally with parents, and her yellow helps her to love all kinds of people. Maurie is a practical joker. She enjoys life to its fullest. She has six children and one granddaughter, and gets the most satisfaction spending time with them. They enjoy movies, vacations by the ocean, and amusement parks. She is anxiously anticipating her new grandson in December.
Maurie said she “loves, loves, loves, her job”. She loves the parents, students, and staff at DRA. Each person is an integral part of DRA, but Maurie is the one of the first contacts at the school. She has an important role here and it does not go unnoticed. Her hard work and dedication has laid the foundation for the success of Diamond Ranch Academy.
Dan Borchardt is an integral part of the Diamond Ranch Academy Team. He is on our Admissions crew as the Admissions Coordinator. His educational background and experience at Diamond Ranch have been instrumental in helping our program succeed.
Dan grew up a Florida boy, who wrestled alligators, surfed, scuba dived, fished, and soaked up the tropical sun. He had no thoughts in his mind to move to the hot desert. After meeting Ricky Dias while serving an LDS mission in Poland, he decided to give it a try. Ricky introduced him to Diamond Ranch Academy and also to Ricky’s little sister, Stari. Dan fell in love with both and firmly set his foot in the red dirt of Hurricane, Utah. He married Stari, and they have two beautiful boys, named, Ryan, and Titan.
While pursuing his education, Dan has had experience as one of our youth development staff, as well as the Observation and Assessment Supervisor (O&A), where Shane Johnson currently works. He completed his Bachelors degree in business and is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration from Southern Utah University. He believes that knowledge is power.
Dan is a red/blue personality, which helps him stay objective in his position, while also working hard. He is trying to constantly better himself, create lasting personal relationships with the DRA staff and his family. He feels DRA has a great program and plans on staying with us to help it grow and progress.
In his spare time, Dan loves the outdoors, including, camping, fishing, and all types of water sports. He also enjoys fixing cars. Dan is a hard worker with the best of Diamond Ranch in mind.
On to Dan's better half!
The style, look, and flare of the students at Diamond Ranch Academy are originated from our in house hairstylist ….Stari Borchardt! One of the first experiences students receive when coming to Diamond Ranch Academy is a supreme hair cut from Stari. She said that some hair cuts are more welcome than others. Her white/blue personality really helps in the “not so willing” customers. Stari has a way to remain calm and collected during stressful situations. She does not get upset or intimidated, simply acts professional and continues to do her magic. Each student looks very well groomed and clean cut when they leave her chair. She also owns her own business called “Stari Style”, where other stylists can rent space from her to do hair.
Her latest “Stari Stylings” were seen on the cheerleading squad at the last DRA game against Duchene High School. She took the time to curl and style each of the girls’ hair. They looked so amazing!
Stari is married to Dan Borchardt who is also one of the first faces parents and students see when considering DRA as a school choice. Together Stari and Dan have two beautiful boys and just found out they are expecting another one this coming spring. Stari said her first priority in her life is her boys. She loves being a mother and is very hands on, she loves playing any sport with her boys.
Stari was a star soccer player at Dixie State College. She is quick and skillful. She loves to spend time with her husband riding motorcycles, or just having fun.
It takes all types of skill sets to make Diamond Ranch Academy the great place that it has become. Thanks Stari!
Taunie Carter has worked for Diamond Ranch Academy on and off since 2007. Her greatest perk of the job is learning great life skills. Taunie is a C-Shift Supervisor over the girl’s campus. She absolutely loves working with our students and feels the skill set she is gaining from her job is helping her with not only her work, but her family life as well.
Off the job site, Taunie is a mother to a cute little two year old named, Khole. She is expecting a baby boy in December. She and her husband are planning on naming him Kyle “Krue” Carter. Taunie has had extra work from home the past three months as her husband of 4 ½ years, is serving in the military. He is attending “Major” training in Georgia and will be there until March 2012.
Taunie is a red personality, which helps her to accomplish things and keep a logical perspective, especially managing her time while her husband is away. She has a real presence to be a leader. Taunie has put herself through school and received training from Taylor Andrew’s School of Hair. She works on the side at Escape Hair and Body to help support her family.
Taunie enjoys her career at DRA as well as her talent of doing hair. In her not-so-spare time she loves to take her daughter to anything that involves water. You will find them at the splash pad on a hot Southern Utah day.
Taunie was nominated as “Employee of the Month”, this last February and continues to show her devotion and loyalty to the success of the students at DRA.
Brigham McLaws is the Stone Ridge Campus Director, he has been with Diamond Ranch Academy for 4 ½ years. Brigham said he has learned more about himself and about people in general, while working at DRA, than he has in the 10 years before working at the ranch. Brigham loves to help the students grow and to see the changes they can make not only with themselves, but with their family and friends. Brigham feels like working at DRA is similar to being a part of a family. He really enjoys the people he works with.
Brigham has completed two years of college and is currently working toward his Bachelors in Business management. He is extremely interested in studying people’s body language and will be attending a national workshop to be trained by FBI and body language experts. Some activities outside of DRA include basketball. Brigham thinks basketball is the best sport on the earth. He coaches DRA’s student basketball team and loves it. He also loves to re-finish antique furniture or the opposite, make new furniture look antique. Brigham has a great work ethic. He was born and raised in Southern Utah. During Brigham’s entire High School career he used to milk 25 cows every morning before going to school. Brigham has a wonderful wife, Natalie, and 3 beautiful children Daxton Ryder-10, Kaleb Bridger-8, and the precious miss Chloe Ann-5. They are the loves of his life and what keeps him going each day!
Brigham is a great asset to DRA! He is excellent with the students and a wonderful team-player.
Aisake Vuikadavu, Diamond Ranch Academy’s Administrative/HR Assistant, has lived in so many exotic places and had even more adventures, we find it amazing he has set roots in Hurricane, Utah. Aisake grew up in Fiji and Hawaii. He graduated High School in Fiji. 2 years following he graduated from the Royal Military Academy, in Sandhurst England. He spent 3 years in the Military, and worked as a Platoon Commander in Egypt on the Israel/Egypt Border. He also travelled extensively through Europe and the Middle East.
In addition to Aisake’s education and military service, he had to opportunity to serve an LDS mission in Salt Lake City. Upon completion of his mission he attended BYU. It was there he performed with BYU Living Legends at the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening and Medal Ceremonies. He toured South Africa with a BYU performing group as well as, performed with Tourism Marketing team in the US and Caribbean.. He also played rugby for 3 years at BYU. In all that spare time he found time to complete his Psychology degree from BYU.
Aisake is married and has 3 beautiful girls (1 wife and 2 daughters). He is a white/red on the color code. His white gives him awareness, flexibility, and understanding. His red drives him to do whatever it takes to get the work done and on time. Aisake started at DRA as an HYDS, his self initiative and work ethic was the catalyst for his position in the administration. Aisake said he enjoys what he does. He loves the work environment and the people. He also enjoys solving the challenges. One of his quotable quotes is “Who Dares Wins” (Motto of the British Special Air Service).
Some hobbies include: rugby, crossfit, zumba, seafood, photography, travelling, performing, gardening, reading and playing Jenga with my little girl, and trying out anything new.
Charissa Thurston is new to our administrative staff. She has worked as our Administrative Assistant for 3 ½ months. Charissa developed a love for working with teenagers from her seven years experience as an Orthodontics Assistant. Not only can she appreciate the pains of attaining a beautiful smile, she now enjoys seeing our students at DiamondRanchAcademy, using those same efforts to thrive and change their lives for the better.
Charissa’s current assignments at DRA include maintaining the positive front desk atmosphere, and facilitating parent mail and parent visits. She is putting together a “parent packet”, which includes a list of activities in the Hurricane/St. George area, restaurants, hotels, and other information that would be helpful for visiting parents. She is DRA’s very own concierge.
Charissa was born and raised in Farmington, New Mexico. It was there she developed her love for Mexican food, “the hotter the better”. She has been married for 16 years and has 4 children. Charissa loves to dance, go camping, water-ski, and spending time with her wonderful family. She enjoys sports such as, football, baseball, and especially dance. (Yes dancing is a sport).
DRA welcomes Charissa to the front lines of DRA and hope she continues to enjoy her work. We are glad to have her.
Bo Iverson is one of Diamond Ranch Academy’s veteran employees, and currently our Director of Education. He has been here since its inception. He has witnessed first hand the growth and progress DRA has made in just 10 years. We have grown from 20 students to now averaging over 150, and have become a well known, progressive, campus. It is Bo’s hope to be with DRA to see the same type of growth and success within 10 more years. Bo is encouraged with the character of DRA’s program and education, he can see when the students begin to value themselves, they also begin to value their education.
Bo is a Southern Utah native. He graduated from Pineview High School, attained his Associates degree from Dixie State College, his Bachelors, and his Master in Education Leadership from Southern Utah University. He is currently on the Accreditation Committee for the state of Utah office of education. Bo said, “What stands out about DRA are the employees. The school is only as good as the people who work there.” He said DRA has good people working with the students for a great cause.
One of Bo’s passions is baseball. He said, “I am head coach for DRA’s baseball team when they win, and only the assistant when they lose.” He loves taking his 9 year old son to the games. He coaches his son’s team as well. Bo’s other passion is his family. He has been married for almost 11 years and has two kids, a 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter. He wants to continue to be a good husband and father and do lots more fishing.
Bo loves being a part of DRA’s mission and is glad to help it move forward.