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.
Dr. Richard Bernstein, MD
“Dr. B” is a board certified psychiatrist who was a career faculty member at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and an Attending Psychiatrist at Fletcher-Allen/UVM Medical Center, where he directed the Psychiatry Residency Training Program, the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, and the Outpatient Services Program. He has served as an examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry, a reviewer for the American Journal of Psychiatry, and as President of the Vermont Psychiatric Association.
Currently, Dr. B serves as a Physician Member of the Vermont Board of Medical Practice as well as Vice President of the Board of the Richmond, VT Rescue Service. He joined Spruce Mountain Inn as our in-house psychiatrist to keep himself busy after his retirement from UVM, and deeply enjoys his work with our residents and staff.
He and his wife are the proud parents of four children and seven grand-children. For fun, he writes stories, cuts wood, plays golf and is struggling with the cello.
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.
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.
Sarah Watkins, MSW
Case Manager/Family Therapist
Sarah joined the Spruce Mountain Inn team in 2008, shortly after she moved to Vermont and hiked the Long Trail. Sarah has a diverse background in clinical and experiential work in various parts of the country, including serving as a Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor for Outward Bound in Florida, Unit Director for the Boys and Girls Club of America, and as a mental health and substance abuse counselor on an Indian reservation in Taos, New Mexico. Sarah's work experience includes case management and advocacy for victims of domestic violence and directing a camp program for children with cancer and their families.
Sarah is the proud mama of three and thus has no “spare” time, but she loves to be outdoors enjoying Vermont’s amazing natural resources.
Gordon Maynard, MSW, LICSW
Gordon joined Spruce Mountain Inn having spent his career as a clinician in a variety of settings. During his many years of working with young adults, Gordon developed a deep understanding of disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, substance use, depression and insomnia. His treatment background includes training and expertise in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing for trauma, CBT for insomnia, anxiety and depression as well as ACT for PTSD, depression and anxiety. Gordon understands what a difficult time it can be for individuals who suffer a mental health crisis and understands, too, that their families suffer alongside them. He appreciates how a mental health crisis can interfere with a person’s life, and his goal is to help guide his clients toward successful life management and independent living.
Gordon earned his B.A. in social work from Trinity College of Vermont and his M.S.W. with an emphasis on family therapy from McGill University in Montreal, QC. He is a native Vermonter who grew up on a dairy farm and spent several years in the construction industry prior to returning to school. He and his wife have three adult children and two granddaughters.
He enjoys hiking with his wife and dog, woodworking, and kayaking Vermont’s beautiful lakes and ponds.
Lynn Rockwell, M.Ed
Lynn is one of Spruce’s most senior staff, having served as a Clinical Case Manager here for more than 17 years prior to “retiring” into her current part-time role as Parent Coach. Her experience spans not only her work here, but extensive work in educational and community-based programs as well. Lynn holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Vermont. In 1991, she received the Vermont Department of Mental Health’s Individual Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of mental health.
Lynn enjoys her retired farm animals, mentoring a teenager, camping, and especially spending time with her grandchildren.
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.
Michael Kucserik, MS, LADC
Michael joined Spruce Mountain Inn with over twelve years of experience in individual and group counseling. His expertise comes from having spent more than a decade working with young adults in various treatment settings.
In 2011 Michael left his post as a school counselor to accept a Field Instructor position with Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program, where he worked with at risk youth. He later joined the Brookhaven Treatment and Learning Center team in Vermont and subsequently began his work as a substance abuse counselor in his own private practice.
Michael empathizes and understands that, for people who struggle with addiction, life can seem out of control. He also believes that with help and support, recovery is possible. Along with being licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor, Michael’s educational portfolio includes a B.A. in psychology and a M.S. in counseling.
In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys. He’s an avid bowler and enjoys riding his bike whenever he can.
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.
Brad Beaudet, MA
Tim Aiken, BA
Tim has been with Spruce Mountain Inn since 1999, first subbing and then as a Residential Counselor. He currently works the overnight shift. Aside from enjoying the rewarding work he has here at Spruce, he also enjoys woodworking, gardening and collecting sports and gaming cards.
Krystal Barr, B.A.
Cameron Mack, BA
Cameron arrived at Spruce after several years working with gifted and special needs clients and survivors of TBI. He has a degree in Anthropology from State University of New York and is an RTY 200 Yoga Instructor and is now leading our yoga group. His passion is contagious for helping others explore the connection between their body and breath, while learning alignment-based poses (asana) and a variety of breathing and mindfulness techniques. Cameron’s other passions are music, movement, and wilderness, which he also shares with the SMI community as much as possible.
When not at work instilling passion in others, Cameron can be found at one of the many local disc golf courses in the area slowly working towards global dominance.
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.
Jessica Polus, BA
Jess is a Residential Counselor and Support Worker at Spruce. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in Arts and Humanities and French from Michigan State University College of Arts and Humanities. She has previously worked as a Behavioral Interventionist at CHOICE Academy, a therapeutic High School through Washington County Mental Health. She is passionate about the benefits of meditation and consciousness development and enjoys sharing this passion with residents at SMI.
She is currently studying to be an instructor of Heart-Based Meditation. Jess has also taught English as a second language in Forges-Les-Eaux, France. She also enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, reading and playing music.
Laura Mathieu, BA
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.
Tina has been with Spruce since 2000, working first as the Payable/Payroll and Benefit Manager and then becoming our Business Manager in 2001. Previously, Tina’s past positions included working in real estate and sales administration, training, contract and office administration. She is a native Vermonter from a large family and enjoys Vermont’s beautiful summers (especially when she can be on a motorcycle).
Tina loves spending time with her family and spoiling her grandchildren, traveling, walking on any beach, hunting for and collecting vintage treasures to decorate her home in mid-century modern style.
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.