We have an amazing set of staff who are here for the long term, which is exactly what this campus, and what these students, need. Ultimately, we want to accomplish the organization’s mission, which is changing hearts and bringing hope to individual, families, and communities
Andrew Stroup is the campus director to Caribbean Mountain Academy. He has been committed to children and families for his entire career. He began by obtaining a double major in Youth ministry and Biblical studies from Grace College in Winona Lake Indiana. In 2008, Andrew began working at Lifeline Youth & Family Services as a direct care staff at Pierceton Woods Academy. During Andrew’s almost 10 years of leadership 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 Masters in Business Administration in 2017. Andrew’s love for youth and family ministry made his transition to CMA a natural fit, so in April 2017 he transitioned with his wife Erin and their 4 kids to continue their work helping families be restored.
Troy Gerent is the Program Manager at Caribbean Mountain Academy. He has been working at CMA since January 2013. Prior to his time at CMA he worked as a Paramedic in Cleveland. He obtained certifications in EMT-B, EMT-P, ALS and PALS. After moving to CMA, he shifted his focus to working with teens and how to better equip the staff to work with the students in the program.
His favorite part about working at CMA is making sure that we are offering our families the best possible services and experience. This is accomplished by continually re-evaluating and identifying ways we can make improvements to the program and the community environment. Troy enjoys working out with our teens and educating them on how to make healthy eating choices and how to stay fit.
Troy and his wife have been married since December 2012. He has a little boy named Chase and a little girl named Amelia. Troy likes spending time with his wife and kids adventuring around the CMA campus with Chase looking for bugs, sticks and fun things to build.
Vini Westfall is the Missions Manager at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Prior to her time at CMA she taught Biology, Biomedical Science, and Integrated Chemistry and Physics at Carroll High School. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Saint Francis and a certified teaching license in Life Science and Physical Science. She is TCI and CPR certified. She is passionate about serving the Dominican culture and helping others to do the same. Her favorite part about working at CMA is seeing heart changes in CMA students and even mission team participants that come to serve short term.
Cristin O’Brien is one of the therapists at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Prior to her time at CMA, she spent 1.5 years working with Lifeline Youth and Family Services as a home-based caseworker, and 4 years before that as a home-based music therapist with developmental disabilities. Cristin holds a BA in Music Therapy with a minor in Psychology, and an MA in Mental Health Counseling. She currently maintains her Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) certification, and is also a Licensed Mental Health Counseling Associate (LMHCA). Cristin has long had a passion and desire to help hurting adolescents, particularly those who have experienced trauma. She enjoys anytime she is specifically able to utilize music in a therapeutic manner to help inspire change within the students of CMA. Her passion for music extends to her helping out with the praise team here at CMA. A Michigan native, Cristin has also lived in South Carolina and Indiana, and is excited to add the Dominican Republic to the list of places that she has lived.
Favorite Part of Working at CMA: Working out in the gym with the students, and, of course, beach trips!
Andrew Stuck is the Education Coordinator at Caribbean Mountain Academy. His responsibilities include overseeing the education of all the students as well as providing campus with a healthy dose of sarcasm. He is a third generation missionary, raised in Ecuador to church-planting parents. He graduated from Bethel College with a degree in Social Studies Education. He holds certifications in TCI and CPR and is working towards a masters in Educational Leadership. His diverse educational background includes teaching English in South Korea, working in a middle school life skills classroom, coaching mentally disabled adults, and supervising the education of teenagers in a court-placement residential program. Outside of the classroom, he keeps busy making life an adventure for his four children. He and his wife enjoy hiking, reading, board games, and debating which is the best iteration of Doctor Who.
Favorite Part about working at CMA: Witnessing the “aha” moments in students’ relationships with parents and with God.
Max Harris is the House Coordinator at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Before coming to CMA, Max worked as a youth pastor at a local church and as program lead at a nonprofit for at-risk youth in Illinois, as well as spending a number of months living and working with the church in El Salvador. He holds an undergraduate degree from Greenville College in Youth and Family Ministries, a master’s degree from Duke University in Theological Studies, and a certification in TCI. CMA combines his love for Latin America, the church, youth, and teaching beautifully.
Favorite Part About Working at CMA: Spending time showing the students how to really hoop on the basketball court.
Courtney Hass serves as house staff at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Prior to her time at CMA she served an AmeriCorps term with SBP in Baton Rouge and traveled to and from the Dominican Republic to serve with another organization, Building Bridges of Hope. She holds an undergraduate degree in Community Leadership (Nonprofit Business) and Developmental Psychology, and certifications in TCI, CPR, and First Aid. Courtney originally fell in love with the Dominican Republic in 2012 when traveling to visit friends in another part of the island. She spent the summer of 2017 as a house staff intern at CMA and came back on as full time staff in September of 2018 after completing her AmeriCorps term.
Favorite Part About Working at CMA: Being able to give back to the communities here (both on campus and off) and helping teach our students the value of service.
Jon Rex is the male counselor at Caribbean Mountain Academy. He earned his bachelor of arts in both sociology and counseling at Grace College in Winona Lake, IN. He then went on to get his Masters also at Grace completing his program in 2017. Jon received a portion of his clinical experience from Lifeline at their residential facility in Pierceton, IN working with male teenagers in the court system. Prior to finishing his clinical hours he was told of a job opening to serve at-risk teens in the Dominican Republic through Crosswinds (Lifeline’s sister company). Six months later he and his wife moved to the DR in hopes to teach and model for the students how to cultivate positive relationships. All with the driving purpose to share with them the love of Christ. Jon enjoys a wide range of activities in his spare time that includes playing board games, doing outside activities (running, biking, and/or hiking), playing video games, but what he enjoys most is spending time with his wife.
Ruth Anne Ackerman is House Staff at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Before coming to CMA, she volunteered at Jubilee Academy working with at-risk children. She holds certifications in TCI, CPR, and First Aid. Ruth Anne is passionate about people and spends her time developing meaningful relationships with the staff and students at CMA. Her favorite pastimes are exploring new places in Jarabacoa, writing on her blog, and talking with her family back in the States. Her heart is that Christ would be glorified in all that she says and does.
Favorite Part About Working at CMA: Sharing the Gospel with the students.
Josh Ramsier is a Christ-follower and currently holds the title of Maintenance Manager (since November 2018) at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Josh came to CMA in July 2014 with his wife, Kaitlyn and since has become the father of 3 children. When he first came to the campus he worked as a male house staff and has also worked as the House Manger for 3 years. Prior to moving to CMA Josh lived in Ft Wayne, Indiana after getting married in March of 2013. Josh has a variety of skills in various areas. He has worked as a carpenter building houses, electrician, in heating and cooling areas, and volunteered time working in another residential facility in Indiana. He was born and raised in Southeast Ohio but also spent time in Colorado. Josh enjoys the sunshine in the Dominican Republic and the Spanish culture. He enjoys spending time on his bike or in the waterfalls, beaches, and rivers close-by.