Serving families and adolescents with counseling, mission trip experiences and boarding school programs designed to help individuals succeed, families thrive and communities prosper.

Caribbean Mountain Academy Staff

The Caribbean Mountain Academy staff work with troubled teens at Crosswinds’ therapeutic Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic. Through counseling and 24/7 personalized care, they work every day to change the lives of hurting teens. All counselors, teachers, and other key positions are licensed professionals. The physical and emotional safety of teens in their care the staff’s number-one priority.

 

Andrew Stroup

Andrew Stroup — CMA Director

Andrew  began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in junior high, but really made his faith his own when he moved to college.  There, he changed his degree to youth ministry and Biblical studies.  In January 2008, Andrew began working at Lifeline Youth & Family Services as direct care staff at Pierceton Woods Academy.  During Andrew’s six years  in program management at PWA, he became a certified Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Instructor for Lifeline/Crosswinds by the Residential Child Care Project based at Cornell University. He was also certified by IN-AJSOP (Indiana Association of Juvenile Sex Offender Practitioners) as a Credentialed Sexually Abusive Youth Professional (CSAYP) for working with sexually abusive youth in Indiana. He also completed his MBA in 2017. Andrew’s love for the youth and  ministry at PWA was contagious. So contagious that his wife, Erin, also began working there in November 2009.  Erin began her personal relationship with Christ at the young age of 4. Soon after, she became burdened to see others come to know Him in their own lives. Erin earned an Associate of Arts degree in Biblical studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. Andrew and Erin have been married for eight years, and have four children together — Malachi, Levi, Selah, and Naomi.

 

Michael Lopez

Michael Lopez – Pastor

Michael Lopez grew up in central Indiana until moving to Cleveland, Tennessee where he earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Biblical/Theological Studies as well as in Pastoral Studies. From there, he went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ while also serving as a minster in the Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee. In 2014, he married his beautiful wife, Alyssa, and served as youth and college pastor at New Castle Foursquare Church in New Castle, Indiana. They have a young son, Aaron, and love serving Jesus together in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Michael loves all things outdoors as well as reading history and theology books.

 

Gerent Family

Troy Gerent — Program Manager

Troy has had a heart for missions from a young age. He was inspired to spend his life serving others by Jim Elliot’s life as a missionary pilot. He moved to the Dominican Republic with his wife Lexie after she accepted a job at Doulos Discovery School — a private Christian English immersion school in Jarabacoa. While there, God led Troy to CMA through her coworkers at Doulos Discovery School. Troy made the move to Caribbean Mountain Academy in January of 2013. Troy enjoys working with the teenagers and their families and seeing the impact this program can have on their lives at such a crucial point. He is grateful to be where God wants them to be.

 

Westfall family

Jerry & Vini Westfall — Mission Coordinator & Missions Manager

Jerry and Vini Westfall both grew up northeast Indiana. Vini graduated from University of Saint Francis with a Bachelor’s degree in biology. After college, she lived as a missionary in the Dominican Republic teaching English. After nine months, she returned to the U.S. where she married Jerry, became a mom, and was a full-time teacher for four years…but still desired to serve God as a missionary. In 2016, Vini came to Caribbean Mountain Academy on a mission trip with her church and was told that CMA needed both a teacher and a construction coordinator. She immediately knew God was providing an opportunity for her family to serve Him in a more intimate way. Upon returning to the U.S., they decided to follow His call, began fundraising, sold most of their belongings, quit their jobs, and moved to Caribbean Mountain Academy. This is Jerry’s first long-term mission experience, although he has had several short-term mission trips before. He has always really enjoyed helping people, and has had ministry on his heart for the last couple years.

 

Andrew Stuck

Andrew Stuck — Lead Teacher

Andrew graduated from Bethel College in 2008 with a degree and teaching license in Social Studies Education. Since then, he has taught English in South Korea, worked in a life skills classroom, served as a residential trainer in an adult group home, and taught at Lifeline’s Pierceton Woods Academy. Andrew is now serving as Crosswind’s Caribbean Mountain Academy’s lead teacher. By God’s grace, he enjoys helping shape the hearts and minds of his students. When he isn’t teaching, Andrew enjoys helping his wife, Sarah, raise their three young kids. Their hobbies include decoding toddler gibberish, cleaning up disastrous messes, and thanking God for the blessings of little ones.

 

Josh & Kaitlyn Ramsier, MSW, LCSW— House Manager & Clinical Manager

Josh and Kaitlyn made CMA their home in July 2014. Josh is currently the house manager after previously working as house staff. He grew up in southeast Ohio and has held a variety of jobs as he has skills in many different areas. Josh’s responsibilities include creating in-house staff’s schedule, encouraging staff growth and conflict management, and looking at the big picture of the students’ success during their time at CMA. Originally from central Illinois, Kaitlyn holds a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University in Chicago and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2014. She has been the Clinical Manger at CMA since 2015 following her first year as in-house staff, and has experience in residential work and home-based counseling. Kaitlyn’s responsibilities include working with the counselors, supervising them for licensing, and facilitating development and growth within the department. She has also supervised college internships at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Josh and Kaitlyn have been married since 2013, and have three beautiful children: Oliver (2015), Elana (2017), and Letti (2018). They enjoy their lives in the Dominican Republic and cling tight to their faith and relationship to Christ through all hardships and joy. They love the students and work done at CMA.

 

Cristin O'Brien

Cristin O’Brien — MA Therapist

Cristin received her BA in music therapy from Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, she dreamed of using her gifts to help reach teens in a non-traditional way. After graduation, she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where she used music therapy to help individuals with developmental disabilities. After four years, she felt called to focus on working with teens and families, so she left her position as a music therapist to become a family consultant with Lifeline Youth and Family Services. In the meantime, she had continued to work toward her dream by completing her MA in Counseling from Huntington University, where she tailored her studies to focus on adolescents and trauma. Cristin has enjoyed walking alongside youth and their families through this stage of their lives while working for CMA as a therapist.

 

Jon and Lindsay Rex

Jon & Lindsay Rex — MA Therapist & House Staff

Jon and Lindsay Rex are a newly married couple who loves people, playing board games, and trying new things. They met and became friends at Grace College in Indiana before they both graduated. Jon received a BA in counseling and sociology, and later went on to earn his MA in clinical mental health counseling. Lindsay received her BA in drawing and painting. Lindsay has always dreamed of living overseas and has had a passion to meet new people and learn to relate to people from cultures different than her own. Since Jon made the decision to become a counselor years ago, he has never once wavered in his resolve and began pondering what it would look like to use his skills in a ministry setting. When Jon brought up the idea of moving to Jarabacoa to pursue a job in counseling there, it seemed like the dreams that Lindsay had had since she was young, Jon’s skills and passion for counseling, and God’s plan for their lives as a couple were colliding in the best of ways.  Jon and Lindsay enjoy seeing how God uses them in the Dominican Republic, first in their ministry to each other as husband and wife, and second as they are living as ambassadors of God’s love to everyone else around them.

 

Holly Sturges

Holly Sturges, MSW, CSWA — Therapist

Holly grew up in Portland, Oregon. She graduated in 2014 from Walla Walla University with a bachelor’s degree in both social work and religion. In 2015, she earned her master’s degree in social work. Before coming to Caribbean Mountain Academy, she enjoyed an internship at Jubilee Leadership Academy in Washington working with at-risk teenage boys. She loves connecting with youth and supporting their growth, which she gets to do through her work with teens at CMA as a counselor and mentor. Her goal is to form positive and uplifting connections with the students, as well as work with their families to develop healthier relationships. In her free time, she enjoys walking and praying at the beach, as well as playing the piano.

 

  Garcia couple

Alex Garcia — IT Manager & In-House Staff

Alex moved to Jarabacoa in 2012 where he has been asking God to provide a way to be used in His service. He is a Microsoft Certified Technician and has brought his expertise to work as the IT manager, and now house staff, at CMA. He enjoys taking part in the bible studies and the community that comes with being a part of CMA. Alex’s desire is to be able to follow God’s direction for his life and grow in Christ as he impacts the lives of the youth at CMA. He is a faithful member of a community church where he assists with evangelizing. In his free time, Alex likes to spend time with his wife Damaris, explore the outdoors, and work on electrical/electronic projects.

 

Ruth Anne Ackerman

Ruth Anne Ackerman — House Staff

Ruth Anne Ackerman joins Crosswinds from Columbia, South Carolina. She has a heart for young people who are in difficult situations and has a brief background in children’s ministry. Ruth Anne enjoys seeing how God uses her to change the lives of youth at Caribbean Mountain Academy.

 

Ben Bassett — House Staff

Ben grew up in a small town in central Illinois. With a town of just 600 people, his family volunteered at church, community, and school events. Because of this, his family instilled an example of service that he has tried to emulate. Ben loves to work with youth and children. He has served as a youth group sponsor, camp assistant manager, and mission trip sponsor. These passions for youth and service led Ben to CMA for a four-month internship. It was evident that his work at CMA was not done, so he committed to staying long-term, allowing God to use him as he sees fit.

 

Thomas & Brianna Beck (VanDyke)

Thomas & Brianna Beck (VanDyke) — House Staff

Thomas and Brianna Beck are a newly married couple who enjoy outdoors activities, movies, and spending time with other people. Thomas graduated from Dordt College with a BA in elementary & middle school education. Brianna graduated from Kuyper College with a BA in interdisciplinary studies & Biblical studies. Their paths crossed when they both stood in their close friends’ weddings, and a relationship bloomed from there. Brianna has spent the last two years as a house staff at CMA, while Thomas taught and coached in Montana. Now they both are excited to be serving together, and allowing God to work in and through both of them here in the DR.

 

Heidi Elliott

Heidi Elliott — House Staff

Heidi Elliot came to CMA from Ohio after being raised in the mountains of Maine. She attended Rosedale Bible College for two years and has also studied abroad in Kenya. While in Kenya, she felt a strong calling to missions. At Caribbean Mountain Academy, Heidi helps troubled youth work through various struggles in their lives and with their families. Heidi likes to be a part of something greater than herself and wants to make an impact in the world around her. That is exactly how God is using her the Caribbean Mountain Academy.

 

Julie Forsyth

Julie Forsyth — House Staff

Julie is from Kalamazoo, Michigan and graduated from Cornerstone University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Prior to joining Crosswinds, she worked with Stryker Instruments for more than 11 years. Her desire while working with youth at CMA is to encourage them and help them see their potential and purpose in life. She loves the Dominican Republic, having traveled there for mission trips over the past 10 years. Mission trips have also given her the opportunity to enjoy other parts of Latin America. Julie enjoys getting to know people, hearing their stories, and doing life with them. She enjoys helping and working with others to improve their lives, as well as grow in her own journey.

 

Geever couple

Nick & Melyssa Geever — House Staff & Case Manager

Nick and Melyssa have both felt a call to overseas missions for most of their lives. They met on a mission trip to Honduras while both attending Olivet Nazarene University in central Illinois. Nick is originally from Central Illinois and received a degree in intercultural studies from Olivet in 2015. As part of the male house staff at CMA, Nick plays a very key role in our male student housing as he works very closely with our students during their treatment. He teaches life and leadership skills while building relationships with each of our students. Melyssa serves on campus as a case manager. She oversees all programs for students and is the point-of-contact for parents who want to be involved in their child’s treatment and progress while they are here at CMA. Melyssa is from central Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Olivet. Her favorite things to do include playing the piano, having fun outdoors, cooking, and watching movies with Nick.Nick’s favorite pastimes include ultimate frisbee, hiking, and spending time with loved ones. They are both very excited to work with the students at CMA and use their talents and passions for God’s glory.

 

Max Harris

Max Harris, MA — House Staff

Max grew up in Greenville, Illinois about an hour outside of St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Greenville College with a degree in youth and family ministries and went on to get his master’s of theological studies from Duke University. Max has enjoyed working as a basketball program leader at a nonprofit for at-risk youth, as well as his time as a youth pastor. He also spent three months living and working with the people of El Salvador. He now enjoys working at the Caribbean Mountain Academy, mentoring the students there, and coming alongside them and seeing how much more the Lord and the world has to offer. In his spare time, he loves reading, basketball, and all kinds of games.

 

Courtney Hass

Courtney Hass — House Staff

Courtney was born and raised in the beautiful state of Michigan. She was first introduced to the Dominican Republic in 2012 when she first traveled there to serve with Building Bridges of Hope on the Dominican and Haitian border. After traveling back and forth for the next five years, it was safe to say that Courtney’s heart belonged in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from Aquinas College in 2017 with a degree in community leadership and a minor in developmental psychology. Courtney spent the summer after graduation as an intern at CMA and then moved to Baton Rouge in the fall. There, she began her term of service as an AmeriCorps member with SBP. Although she no longer lived in Jarabacoa, Courtney could sense God calling her back. After many hours of prayer and studying the Bible, she decided to pursue this calling. Courtney rejoined the staff at CMA in 2018 and is enjoying being the hands and feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ to the students and community at CMA.

 

Mykayla Hurtekant

Mykayla Hurtekant — House Staff

Mykayla Hurtekant comes to Crosswinds from Elkhart, Indiana and has previous experience doing inner city ministry through Youth for Christ. After a six month internship in Costa Rica, she knew God was calling her overseas. Mykayla experienced Caribbean Mountain Academy first-hand during an internship this past summer. After meeting the students and staff, she realized this is exactly where God wanted her. Mykayla is very excited to pour her whole heart into loving the students and walking alongside them. S

 

Zechariah Millette

Zechariah Millette — House Staff

Zechariah was born and raised in the great state of Alaska. As someone who experienced a troubled childhood himself, Christ made a radial appearance in his life at the age of 18 and forever changed it. During the year after he had accepted Christ in his life, Zechariah moved to Arizona and spent four and a half years in Phoenix pursuing his degree in family studies with a minor in music and biblical studies at Arizona Christian University. Zechariah developed a passion for missions and youth ministry after his freshman year of college and spent the next three summers working with youth in Eastern Europe. There, he fulfilled the mission to equip young leaders to fulfill Christ’s commission through their communities and local churches. Zechariah spent the year prior to joining CMA as a social worker for a social service and behavioral health organization in Phoenix. He helped families who are in the DCS system and equipped mothers and fathers to be the parents God has called them to be. In 2018, God opened a new door for Zechariah. As a house staff member, he continues to pursue Christ’s mission in his life.

 

Maribel Nunez

Maribel Nuñez — Office Manager

Maribel Nuñez has been part of the Caribbean Mountain Academy team since March 2013. Originally from La Ceiba, Honduras, Maribel holds a degree in accounting and has extensive administrative experience. Her previous experience includes having positions at Hyatt Regency in Miami, Jarabacoa Christian School in the Dominican Republic, and a five-star restaurant near Caribbean Mountain Academy. She loves getting to see changes in the lives of the students and enjoys hearing them talk about the progress they have made during their time at the school. In her spare time, Maribel enjoys watching movies and cooking delicious meals for her husband and three children.

 

Richard Raposa

Richard Raposa — Facilities Manager

Richard Raposa first came to the Dominican Republic with a church team to build a church in Jarabacoa. As his group was getting ready to leave, Richard felt called to stay and has been working with various ministries in Jarabacoa ever since. He eventually met and married a Dominican woman. They now have two beautiful children. Originally from Massachusetts, Richard has experience with church building, community outreach, and mission team management. Recently, he has enjoyed renovating and rebuilding the Caribbean Mountain Academy campus. When he’s not working to maintain or improve the campus, Richard enjoys spending time with his family and visiting close friends in Jarabacoa.