Candace Beardsley, MSSW, LICSW
Candace is a native Vermonter who earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychotherapy from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and a Master of Science and Social Work Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While in Madison, Candace received training at the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) which set her on a course for clinical mental health practice in community-based settings.
Prior to founding Spruce Mountain Inn in 1982, Candace held appointments at three community mental health centers, where she worked in day treatment, crisis intervention, outpatient, and residential programs. In 1990, she won the Vermont State Young Careerist Award given by Business and Professional Women for her accomplishments in her field.
More recently, she served on the Mental Health/ Substance Abuse Advisory Panel of the Vermont Health Care Authority and is a longstanding member of the Executive Board of the American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA). A licensed clinical social worker in the State of Vermont, Candace has overall responsibility for clinical and business operations at the Inn.
Candace loves spending time at the ocean, going camping, and has a passion for antique restoration.
Aaron Aldridge, LCMHC
Aaron Aldridge is an exceptionally trained and skilled professional who began working with clients in residential and transition programs in 2005. Aaron comes to Spruce Mountain Inn after having been part of a team that opened and operated a multi-faceted treatment center located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Aaron’s years in residential treatment and transition settings have uniquely qualified him to assist families and young adults in crisis. Utilizing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing, Aaron’s focus is to help young adults who struggle with issues such as severe mood disorders and substance abuse, and who deal with complex family dynamics.
Additionally, his multi-level educational portfolio – with undergraduate studies in Business and Human Services, and a Master’s degree in Counseling, along with his years of hands-on management and work in various clinical settings – make him a natural fit for the holistic approach used at Spruce Mountain Inn.
As a father of two young adults, Aaron empathizes with parents who want the best for their young adult children as they venture into the world to seek out successful lives of their own. His goal is to help each young resident who comes to Spruce Mountain emerge to a fulfilling and productive life. Aaron loves spending time with his wife and his two adult children. He also enjoys cooking, searching for the perfect cup of coffee, and riding his Harley on sunny days.
Bogie Foden, LICSW
Bogie joined Spruce Mountain Inn with several years of clinical experience, having worked predominantly with young adult clients and their families.
His career path began at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he earned a psychology degree. He went on to travel throughout Central and South America, learning Spanish and gaining an appreciation for local culture before returning to New England to accept a position with True North Wilderness Program in Vermont.
Passionate about this work, Bogie went on to earn master’s degrees in Social Work and Outdoor Education at the University of New Hampshire. Bogie’s educational portfolio includes national research focusing on wilderness therapy and graduate work at a substance abuse treatment center in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Bogie regularly presents at regional and national conferences. His presentations have focused on the importance of family inclusion in treatment, supporting young adults as they transition out of Wilderness, and supporting young adults in the individuation process through effective assessment and intervention. He approaches therapy from a relational, trauma-informed perspective and views residential treatment as a chance to re-center, connect, learn, and grow.
Bogie’s background and experience have provided him with the skills and insights needed in his role as Assistant Director at Spruce Mountain Inn.
Bogie and his wife, Kathleen (who teaches at a local school) enjoy the outdoors. Bogie loves being outside: running, biking, skiing, paddle boarding, golfing and camping are all favorite pursuits.
Peter Butterfield, MA, LADC
Peter comes to us with over 30 years' experience in the helping profession. Peter holds a BA in Philosophy from Wadhams Hall Seminary College and a Master’s in Applied Psychology from Antioch New England in Keene, NH. He is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). Peter’s experience includes having worked with families in distress as well as having worked with young children and their families through Vermont’s Head Start program.
He has been a case manager and clinician for people with persistent mental health issues. As a program director, Peter developed and ran holistic family development programs and chaired several state-wide service provider groups. As a therapist, Peter has worked with individuals, families, and with groups. He is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and uses several other modalities, including Humanistic Existential work, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Object Relations Therapy.
Peter has been married thirty-two years, is a father of three, and has two grandchildren. He is an enthusiast of architecture, antiques, and baseball. Peter likes to putter in his gardens, enjoys raising Bantam chickens, and likes hanging out with his pudgy Jack Russell terrier.
Jim Hessler, MSSW
Case Manager/Family Therapist
Jim came to Spruce with extensive experience working in mental health and developmental services. He earned his MSSW at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2004, where he participated in a pilot program promoting independent living for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Jim brought the program to Vermont in 2006 and coordinated its implementation and development through the Howard Center in Burlington, VT, before coming to Spruce Mountain.
When not in the office, Jim can be found on the soccer field, getting slivers in his wood shop, or trying to keep up with his two young boys.
Smita Lahoti, M.D.
Dr. Lahoti was born and raised in India. In 2003, she earned her first medical degree in Obstetrics & Gynecology from Pune University. Dr. Lahoti followed this by earning a medical degree in Psychiatric Medicine in 2009 from Mumbai. Dr. Lahoti moved to the United States and began a residency in the department of psychiatry at the University of Vermont. She completed her residency and became licensed in Vermont in 2021.
In addition to joining the team at Spruce Mountain Inn, Dr. Lahoti works at a fellow treatment program for adults here in Vermont. She also volunteers her time as director of psychiatry at Connecting Cultures, a program for refugees who have survived torture and other traumas. In addition, she maintains a private practice.
Dr. Lahoti is married and has two children. When she isn’t enjoying time with her children at musical and theatrical events, she and her husband enjoy travel.
Karen O’Hara, MS
Karen began her work as a Psychotherapist at Johns Hopkins’ Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland where she also earned her Master’s Degree from Loyola University Maryland. She has also spent several years working in Johns Hopkins’ Partial Hospital program, and in their Outpatient Department offering individual and family therapy.
A native Vermonter, Karen moved back to Vermont where she worked as a Clinician with youth for C.H.O.I.C.E. Academy before coming to Spruce Mountain. Karen is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and trauma interventions including Cognitive-Processing Therapy (CPT).
Karen is passionate about animals, and enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, especially when she can get out on a lake water skiing.
Tom Novak, MBA
Career & Education Development Coordinator
Tom holds a BA and MBA from Temple University, where his Master’s studies focused on Human Resource Administration, before completing Doctorate of Education coursework in Vocational Education. He brings more than 20 years post-graduate professional experience in career services and academic advising, most recently serving as the Director of Career Services for Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine.
In his free time, Tom enjoys reading memoirs and the daily newspaper and spending time with his wife and son. He credits golf with making him a happy human being.
Brad Beaudet, MA
Laura Mathieu, BA
Allison Miller, B.A.
Allie is a Residential Counselor and Expressive Arts Leader at Spruce. She holds bachelor degrees in both Art and Anthropology from Wheaton College of Massachusetts. Her experience includes educational advising as well as teaching arts in a variety of mediums and settings. Her work in the arts has also included a focus on social/emotional expression.
In her free time, Allie enjoys hiking, skiing, and painting.
Sebastian Morland, WFR
Sebastian came to Spruce Mountain in 2013 after 10 years of working in education and wilderness therapy programs with youth. Sebastian is passionate about wilderness and experiential programming and provides leadership for Spruce’s TREK adventure program, which engages residents in multi-day outdoor trips designed to build leadership skills and increase self-confidence. He holds certifications in Wilderness First Response (WFR), Outdoor Leadership Programming, flat water and river paddling, and is a Level 1 Nordic Ski Instructor through the Professional Ski Instructors of America.
Sebastian is an avid mountain biker and likes to play frisbee golf in his off time.
Shannon Smith, B.A.
Shannon holds a B.A. in Clinical Psychology as well as an M.S in Educational Psychology, both from Mississippi State University.
Prior to her work at Spruce Mountain Inn, Shannon worked with children and young adults with behavioral/emotional needs at the largest school district in Colorado. She also managed a math and science camp for gifted teenagers for two summers at Mississippi State University—a program in which students attended high school and college simultaneously.
Shannon's hobbies include hiking, biking, being in nature, ceramics and furniture restoration.
Drew Sy, BA
Drew works overnight at the Inn. He comes highly recommended by many of our local staff. After years of working in early childhood education, Drew is currently working on his Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northern Vermont University-Johnson, and is planning to become a play therapist.
He runs a playgroup at the Plainfield Community Center and spends his free time with his family and his cats.
Conor Teal, BA
Conor is now a Residential Counselor at Spruce, following a year of subbing here. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013 with a BA in Planning, Public Policy and Non-Profit Management. Conor has experience in labor activism and legislation promotion. He has several years’ experience working in residential treatment with children in Jasper, Oregon.
Conor enjoys music and playing bass guitar, woodworking projects and built his own tiny house on a trailer. He serves on the Energy and Tree Committees for the City of Barre, where he currently lives with his Labradoodle, Roland.
Linda joined Spruce Mountain in 2008 as our housekeeper and now works as our fabulous Operations Assistant, managing all the day-to-day needs of our facilities & vehicles and coordinating logistics for residents and staff. We make good use of Linda’s gifts in woodworking, furniture restoration, and home improvement, and she is famed for her ability to transform a space or item into something beautiful.
One of Linda’s passions is making sure that Spruce is in tip-top shape, pleasant and supportive for clients and staff.
Our in-house chef, Ryan, hails from rural Minnesota and came to Spruce after more than a decade as a chef in some of Vermont’s finest food scene hot spots including Salt in Montpelier and the famed Positive Pie. Ryan is passionate about creating simple, healthy, beautiful comfort food for our community, and enjoys sharing his love of cooking with the residents in our weekly Cooking Group.
In his non-Spruce life, Ryan can be found romping the local area with his wife, daughter and their dogs.
Lise joined Spruce, coming from the Business Office of Goddard College where she was a Senior Staff Accountant and software liason. She holds an Associate Degree in Computer Programming and Accounting from Champlain College and a Bachelors in Math and Secondary Education from Johnson State College. Lise owned a dairy equipment company for many years, worked as a Field Director for the Girl Scouts and has also been a high school teacher. She enjoys doing programming and tweaking software.
In her spare time, Lise keeps busy volunteering, tutoring and training and camping with her husband where they can ride their ATV.
Sylvia Charron is our Administrative Assistant. Sylvia’s desk is front and center in the office here and, during the week, she will most likely be the cheerful voice you hear on the phone. She has many years of experience working as an administrator, most recently at the Mayo Nursing Home in Northfield doing all things administrative. Previously, she had a long tenure with the Washington Northeast Supervisory Union where she was Executive Assistant and HR Coordinator. She has also worked in healthcare providing executive support and coordination in the field of human resources.
Sylvia lives in Barre and enjoys Cross-Country skiing in the winter, power walking in the summer and spending time with family and friends.
Karna joined Spruce Mountain in June of 2020 after running her own housekeeping business for five years in Vermont. Moving to Vermont by way of Flagstaff, AZ by way of Minneapolis, MN; Karna has found her home, love and family in the green mountain state.
She is a mother of four and spends her time caring for her family, growing things, cooking, making music, camping and adventuring in the Northeast Kingdom and beyond.
Thank you for supporting me in my journey and all the difficulties I have had. You all have taught me a lot, especially self-care maintenance and self-expression. You helped me learn to respect myself and feel that I am worthy.
It’s hard to believe that in less than 9 months our son went from a depressed, anxious and helpless person to a confident, social and relaxed one. The transformation from when he came to Spruce until now is truly remarkable. I don’t know how you did it.
There is no way we can possibly thank you enough for everything you did for my son while he was at Spruce Mountain. During what was the most traumatic period of our family’s life, we felt so fortunate that there was a place that could offer help for our son. Thank you all so much for helping our family get through a very dark time. We couldn’t have done it without all of you being there for us.
Why Residential Treatment
Residential treatment programs have the potential to be much more effective than treatment received in someone's typical living environment. Our program is designed to be immersive and community-based.