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

Residential Staff at Caribbean Mountain Academy

Our Christian Boarding School Staff

Our Caribbean Mountain Academy staff work with troubled teens at our 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 and all staff make the physical and emotional safety of teens in their care their number one priority.

 Andrew Stroup

Andrew Stroup – Director

Andrew Stroup 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 he began working at Lifeline Youth and Family Services as a direct care staff at Pierceton Woods Academy.  His love for the youth and for the ministry there was contagious, and his wife Erin began working there in November 2009.  Erin began a personal relationship with Christ at a young age of four and was burdened to see others come to know Him themselves very soon after.  She earned an Associate of Arts degree in Biblical studies, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. Andrew has been in program management at Pierceton Woods Academy for six years, and in that time became a certified Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Instructor for Lifeline/Crosswinds by the Residential Child Care Project based at Cornell University, and he was certified by INAJSOP as a CSAYP for working with Sexually Abusive Youth in Indiana.  He will also complete his MBA in 2017. Andrew and Erin have been married for 8 years, and have four children together (Malachi, Levi, Selah and Naomi).  They are both excited to begin the ministry at CMA!

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 M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ while serving as a minster in the Church of God of Cleveland, TN. In 2014 he married his beautiful wife, Alyssa, and served as youth and college pastor at New Castle Foursquare Church in New Castle, IN. They now have a son, Aaron, and love serving Jesus together in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Michael loves all things outdoors as well as reading history and theology books.

Holly Sturges

Holly Sturges MSW, CSWA – Therapist

Holly grew up in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys walking and praying at the beach as well as playing the piano. She graduated in 2014 from Walla Walla University with a Bachelor’s in both Social Work and Religion and earned her Master’s in Social Work in 2015. She enjoyed a previous internship at Jubilee Leadership Academy in Washington working with at risk teenage boys and loves connecting with youth and supporting their growth. Holly is excited to work with teens at Caribbean Mountain Academy as a counselor and mentor. She looks forward to forming positive and uplifting connections with the students and working with their families to develop healthier relationships.

Cristin O'Brien

Cristin O’Brien – Therapist

Cristin received her BA in Music Therapy from Charleston Southern University in Charleston South Carolina. While there, she had a dream of using her gifts to help reach teens in a non-traditional way. After graduation, she moved to Fort Wayne, IN where she used music therapy to help individuals with developmental disabilities for four years. After four years, she felt called to focus on working with teens and families and 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 towards her dream by completing her MA in Counseling from Huntington University, where she tailored her studies to focus on adolescents and trauma. Cristin has partnered with the Caribbean Mountain Academy as a therapist, and is looking forward to walking alongside youth and their families through this stage of their lives.


Troy Gerent – Program Manger

Troy moved down to Caribbean Mountain Academy in January of 2013. God led Troy to CMA through word of mouth by one of his wife’s coworkers while Lexie was a teacher at Doulos Discovery School. 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. Troy has enjoyed working with these teenagers and their families and seeing the impact this program can have on their lives at the crucial point. He is grateful to be where God wants them to be.

Lexie Gerent – Missions Manager

Lexie grew up in Switzerland as a missionary kid and has always had a desire to live outside of the States to serve the Lord.  She attended Taylor University in Upland, Indiana and received a degree in Elementary Education. She moved to the Dominican Republic in July of 2012 to teach first grade at Doulos Discovery School. Doulos Discovery School is a private Christian English immersion school in Jarabacoa. At the beginning of 2016, God called Lexie to transition out of Doulos and work at Caribbean Mountain Academy as the Missions Manager. She now serves along side her husband Troy, who is the Residential Program Manager. Lexie really enjoys hosting teams from the States and being apart of their experience outside of America and watching the impact it can have on people.

Jon and Lindsay Rex

Jon Rex, MA Therapist and Lindsay Rex, House Staff

Jon and Lindsay Rex are a newly married, quirky couple that love people, playing board games, and trying new things. They met and became friends at Grace College in Indiana, and each graduated from there – Jon with his BA in Counseling and Sociology, and later his MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Lindsay with 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 from her own. And since Jon made the decision to become a counselor years ago, he has never once wavered in his resolve and has recently been 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 cannot wait to see how God will use 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.


Andrew Stuck – Lead Teacher

Andrew graduated from Bethel College with a degree and teaching license in Social Studies Education in 2008. 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. He is now serving as lead teacher at Crosswind’s Caribbean Mountain Academy. 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 raise their three young kids. Their hobbies include decoding toddler gibberish, cleaning up disastrous messes, and thanking God for the blessings of little ones.


Ruth Anne Ackerman

Ruth Anne Ackerman – Female 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 is excited to see how God will use her to change the lives of youth at Caribbean Mountain Academy.

Cyndi CMA 2017

Cyndi Bontrager – Female House Staff

Cyndi Bontrager is originally from Valparaiso, Indiana and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In the past she led the youth group at her church, worked in orphanages in Romania, and most currently she worked as a case manager for the State of Indiana.  She enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with friends. Cyndi is passionate about working with youth and is excited for the opportunity to serve the teens at Caribbean Mountain Academy.

Heidi Elliott

Heidi Elliott – Female House Staff

Heidi Elliot joins Crosswinds 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 will be helping 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.

Courtney Hass

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 down to serve with Building Bridges of Hope on the Dominican and Haitian border. After traveling back and forth for the next 5 years, it was safe to say that Courtney’s heart belonged in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from Aquinas College in 2017 with and a degree in Community Leadership and a minor in Developmental Psychology. Courtney then spent her summer as an intern at CMA. That fall, Courtney moved to Baton Rouge, LA and began her term of service, as an AmeriCorps member, with SBP. Although she was physically removed from Jarabacoa, Courtney could sense God calling her back. After many hours of prayer and studying the Bible, she decided to pursue this calling. Courtney is thrilled to rejoin the staff at CMA and to be the hands and feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ to the students and community at CMA.

Ramsier Family

Kaitlyn Ramsier – Clinical Manager

Kaitlyn Ramsier grew up in Roanoke, Illinois. She holds both a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. Kaitlyn is also certified in Sign Language Interpreting. She has experience working in two teen residential programs—one based in Chicago one based in Leo, Indiana, Gateway Woods. For the past three years, Kaitlyn has been working as a home-based worker and therapist for Lifeline Youth & Family Services in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Kaitlyn loves being able to “do life” with the staff and students of Caribbean Mountain Academy, walking through daily struggles and triumphs together. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with friends and enjoy other laid-back activities.

Josh Ramsier – Male House Staff

Josh Ramsier is originally from Sardis, Ohio. His previous work with teens includes several summers of volunteering at Gateway Woods, a residential program in Leo, Indiana. Josh also has gone on several mission trips with Jamaica deaf ministries, making him a valuable resource for our mission program at Caribbean Mountain Academy. In his spare time, Josh enjoys meeting new people and relaxing with his wife Kaitlyn.

Max Harris

Max Harris – Male House Staff

Max grew up in Greenville, IL, about an hour outside of St. Louis, MO. He loves reading, basketball, and all kinds of games. 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 program leader in basketball at a nonprofit for at-risk youth, as well as his time as a youth pastor and three months living and working with the people of El Salvador. He now looks forward to working at the Caribbean Mountain Academy, mentoring the students there, and coming alongside them and seeing together how much more the Lord and the world has to offer.


Brianna Female House Staff

Brianna VanDyke – Female House Staff

Brianna is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Kuyper College with a double-major in Bible/Theology and Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on youth ministry and family studies. Since she was 17, she has been deeply involved in youth ministry and has grown to have a strong passion to pour the love of Christ into the lives of teenagers. Brianna loves being given the opportunity and privilege to walk through life beside teens. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the great outdoors, participating in several sports, being with friends and family, and reading. She looks forward to being a part of the staff at CMA and is excited to see how God reveals Himself to her and others through His work in the Dominican!


Richard Raposa | Crosswinds

Richard Raposa – Facilities Manager

Richard Raposa first came to the Dominican Republic with a church team for two weeks 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, who he now has two beautiful children with. 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 wife and children and visiting close friends in Jarabacoa.

CMA Coupledone

Alex & Damaris Garcia – IT Manager & House Staff

Alex and Damaris moved to Jarabacoa in 2012 where they have been asking God to provide a way to be used in His service. They are faithful members of a community church where Alex assists with evangelizing and Damaris works in the Women’s ministry. Alex is a Microsoft Certified Technician and has brought his expertise to work as the IT manager, and now house staff, at CMA. In his free time Alex likes to spend time with his wife, explore the outdoors, and work on electrical/electronic projects. Damaris has extensive experience working in the mental health field with both families and children. She worked for 8 years at the Florida Health Department as a Family Support Worker with the Healthy Start Program.  Following that she worked another 8 years for an Outpatient Mental Health Center as a Psychiatric coordinator and behavioral technician. They are both very excited to be taking part in the bible studies and community that comes with being a part of CMA. To be able to follow God’s direction for their lives and grow in Christ as they impact the lives of the youth around them is their greatest desire.


Julie Forsyth

Julie Forsyth – House Staff

Julie is from Kalamazoo Michigan and graduated from Cornerstone University with a Bachelors degree in Business Management. Prior to joining Crosswinds, she worked with Stryker Instruments for over 11 years. She wants to work with youth at CMA so that she can encourage the youth and help them see their potential and purpose in life. She loves the Dominican Republic and has done mission trips there for ten years as well as other mission trips in Latin America. Julie enjoys getting to know people, hearing their stories, and doing life with them. She is excited to help and work with others to improve their life as well as grow in her own journey.


Nick and Melyssa Geever – Male and Female House Staff

Nick and Melyssa Geever have both felt a call to overseas missions for most of their lives. They both attended Olivet Nazarene University in central Illinois, where they met on a missions trip to Honduras. Nick is originally from Central Illinois, and received a degree in Intercultural Studies from Olivet in 2015. His favorite pastimes include Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, and spending time with loved ones. Melyssa is from Central Michigan, and received a bachelors in Business Administration from Olivet. Her favorite things to do include playing the piano, having fun outdoors, cooking and watching movies with Nick. They are both very excited to work with the students at CMA and use their talents and passions for God’s glory.


Stephanie Larwson Summer Intern

Stephanie Larson – Female House Staff

Stephanie grew up in Northern Wisconsin and recently finished her Bachelor of Social Work with a major in Spanish at Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, IL.  After spending the summer as an intern at CMA, Stephanie felt God pulling on her heart to continue her ministry there long-term. She sees her time at CMA as an incredible opportunity to be a witness of God’s Grace while being able to walk alongside students and staff and serve them in whatever capacity God allows.  Stephanie is looking forward to continuing to pursue and deepen the bonds she began to build while in the DR during the summer as well developing new relationships. She also is excited to continue to enjoy the constant adventure that life in the DR provides.


Vini and Jerry Westfall – Missions Community Coordinator and Missions Construction Coordinator

Vini grew up in Fort Wayne, IN and graduated from the Univeristy of Saint Francis with a Bachelor’s in Biology and was a full time certified teacher in Fort Wayne for 4 years. Vini served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic for nine months immediately after college. Her job was teaching English at a school in a very poor neighborhood, but it was this job that made her want to serve as a missionary long-term. After visiting Caribbean Mountain Academy on a mission trip in 2016 it was told to Vini that the school needed a teacher and a construction person. A perfect fit for Vini and Jerry! Vini served as a teacher at CMA for one full year before transitioning to the mission team staff. Jerry grew up in Huntington, IN. This is his first long-term mission experience, although he has had several short-term mission trips before. Jerry has always enjoyed helping people and ministry has been on his heart for several years. “I’m excited to be serving at Caribbean Mountain Academy because it sounds like a great opportunity for my family to be immersed in a spiritual environment where we can grow in God’s faith together.”


Maribel Nunez | Crosswinds

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 positions at the 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.