Meet Our Team

Meet The Leadership Team

The leadership team is responsible for the strategic vision of Montana Academy. Strong leadership equates to enthusiastic and positive morale, effective communication, empathy, and fostering a sense of community that permeates our culture.

David Chiarito, MS


David Chiarito, MS

Executive Director

MS Experiential Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN
BS Outdoor Recreation, Unity College, ME

Prior to assuming the role as Executive Director, David served as Director of Outreach for six years. David has been working in the therapeutic field for over twenty years. He began his career in wilderness therapy in the mid 1990’s and has since worked with adolescents, young adults and their families in a variety of contexts. Over the years, David has balanced his therapeutic work with a healthy tenure of recreational guiding including whitewater rafting, kayaking and fly fishing.  David has been with Montana Academy since the Spring of 2016.

Why do you work here?

Working with young folks has always been my passion. Regardless of the context, I enjoy the perspective of young folks and enjoy encouraging them to see a world full of opportunity.

Interests

In his free time, David enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys doing all of the outdoor activities Montana has to offer.

Adam Hannigan Sky House Program Director Montana Academy

Adam Hannigan


Adam Hannigan

Sky House Program Director

BA, English, University of Iowa
Licensure & Certifications: Secondary Teaching Certification (6-12)

After earning his degree in 1998, Adam spent time travelling and working in the mountain west.  After settling in the Flathead Valley he spent 3 years working at a therapeutic wilderness program in the summers and at a rural public school with youth at risk throughout the school year.  In 2003, Adam joined the Montana Academy team and worked on campus as a team leader for 8 years.  In 2012, he moved to the Sky Houses to support families in transition and has been the Program Director since 2014.

Why do you work here

I work at Montana Academy because I believe in what we do, day in and day out.  At every graduation, I am reminded how amazing our staff team and the families are and I feel privileged to be a part of the greater MA community.

Interests

Adam fell in love with Northwest Montana after college and has called Whitefish home since 1998.  His wife and he have two beautiful daughters that they try to get outside as much as possible.  Skiing runs deep his family roots and he loves rafting and hiking in the summer.  He also has the privilege of sharing his passions for soccer, mountain biking and rock climbing with students at work!

Lynn-Marshall-Clinical-Director-Montana-Academy

Lynn Marshall, PsyD


Lynn Marshall, PsyD

Clinical Director

PsyD, Clinical Psychology, Argosy University
Emphasis in Child & Adolescent Development

Since the beginning of her career, Lynn has been focused on child and adolescent development. She specializes in psychological assessment, differential diagnosis, and trauma informed care, in addition to having specific training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, parent-child psychotherapy, and suicide assessment. Lynn uses a strength-based approach to meet the individual needs of neurodiverse learners who may also experience anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, substance abuse or other forms of maladaptive coping. Lynn focuses on the importance of developing authentic relationships to strengthen personal character, purpose, and emotional maturity. She appreciates the challenge of understanding each student’s unique life story and uses her optimism, passion, humor, and kindness to help find the key components that can support students in building a life they want to live. 

Why do you work here?

Montana Academy provides an opportunity for me to be part of the students everyday routines and interactions. Seeing the students function in multiple environments allows me to build a deep understanding of their strengths and areas of need. Using that knowledge I can create growth experiences within a multidisciplinary team that can be implemented and practiced in all areas of functioning.  The therapeutic boarding school environment offers a unique perspective, as a therapist, to see a student’s functioning in real-time and provide in-the-moment strategies to support the students in utilizing healthy skills.  

What are your interests?

I love being outside; exploring and adventuring with my husband, son and daughter. Some of our favorite activities are skiing, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and traveling. I also enjoys relaxing with a good book and learning new things.  

Rick Stern, MEd, MS Montana Academy

Rick Stern MEd, MS


Rick Stern MEd, MS

Academic Director, Social Studies Teacher

MEd, Curriculum Studies, University of Montana
MS, Environmental Studies, University of Montana
BA, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

Teacher Certification:
Broadfield Social Studies (History, Political Science, Geography, Economics and Psychology)

Rick has been with Montana Academy since 2004. Prior to assuming the role of Academic Director, Rick served as Dean of Students. Rick is the Social Studies/Agricultural Studies teacher, an Academic Adviser, and coaches Montana Academy’s Basketball team. Previously to joining the academy, Rick served as the Director of the Montana Field office with the Rock Creek Alliance and was executive director of the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project.

Why do you work here?

I work at Montana Academy because I appreciates the opportunity to help teenagers and their families make meaningful, positive changes in their lives, and I enjoy helping people appreciate a variety of perspectives about the past, present, and future of the world that we live in.

 Interests:

Gardening, playing and listening to music, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, family adventures, playing and watching sports, reading, learning, writing, and trying to make the world a better place.

Amy Nimmo MS, LCPC


Amy Nimmo MS, LCPC

Admissions Director

MS, Mental Health Counseling, Capella University
BS, Health & Human Services, emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation, Southwest Missouri State University

Grief counseling & training, Tamarack Grief Resource Center
Crisis management and clinical experience, Kalispell Regional Medical Center & Western Montana Mental Health

Amy joined Montana Academy in 2000 and currently serves as the Admissions Director. Amy began her tenure at Montana Academy as a Weekend Team Leader and has also served as a primary therapist for a team of females on campus as well as a primary therapist at Sky House for both males and females. Amy has also spent time working in other contexts including grief support and education, experiential therapy and crisis management at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and Western Montana Mental Health.

Why do I work here?

I am honored to work among such a talented, collaborative group of colleagues supporting students as they embark on a journey of self-discovery. Being part of a caring community that fosters authentic connection, open and honest communication and positive personal transformation is both humbling and rewarding.

Interests

In her spare time, Amy loves adventuring in the beautiful wilderness Montana has to offer. Hiking, mountain biking, rafting, skiing, and gardening are among some of her favorite activities as well as cooking, traveling to new places, and reading.

Mary’l Luntsford


Mary’l Luntsford

Student Life Director

Licensure & Certifications:
Crisis Prevention Institute Certified Instructor
Mandt Training
Juvenile Detention Training, Montana Law Enforcement Academy
MAPP (Foster Care Training)

Montana Academy
Girls Night Staff – from 1999 to 2000
Team Two TL – from 2000 to 2013
Sky House Manager – 2013 to 2016
Shift Supervisor on Campus – 2016-2017
Program Director – 2017 – PRESENT

8 years as foster parent of teenagers 13+
AWARE

Interests

When Mary is not working, she enjoys camping with family, berry picking, dart tournaments with her husband of 45 years, and any board games and card games that exist. She and her husband are also avid visitors of Montana Lookout (Fire Towers) and Forest Service Cabins. Mary enjoys teaching life skills to her grandchildren and she recently became a Great-Grandmother to a wonderful boy. Her biggest enjoyment all my life is – cleaning; just about anything she can get her hands on… something her mother shared with her through her growing younger years. She finds cleaning the best stress reducer.

Amy Zink BSLS


Amy Zink BSLS

Operations Director

Education: AAS, Office Technology, Flathead Valley Community College AA, Business Management, Flathead Valley Community College BSLS, Management and Organizational Communication, Montana State University

Amy has been working as a Business Administrator since before she graduated college (20+ years).  Amy started as an Administrative Assistant and after  5 years, became the Business Manager and a few years after that joined the Leadership Team.

Why do you work here?

I love working in an environment where I see and feel a purpose. I love watching the transformation of the students while they are here.  

Interests

Amy and her daughter’s barrel race and love riding horses. She also loves anything outdoors; camping and kayaking being at the top of her list.  

Anne Barrier Montana Academy

Anne Barrier


Anne Barrier

Program Director

BA Psychology, Recreation Management

Certifications:
Clinical First Responder
Motivational Interviewing
Leave No Trace Instructor

Anne started her career working with youth and their families with The North Carolina Outward Bound School: Florida At-Risk Wilderness Programs— where she worked in logistics and later as a Family Coordinator and the Admissions Specialist. During her time with Outward Bound, she gained family-centered perspectives through working with parents and teenagers together. Anne worked in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming as a Recreation Park Ranger with the Youth Conservation Corps before making her way to the Flathead Valley to work with Montana Academy

Why do you work here

My favorite part of working at Montana Academy are the moments when you get to reflect back to the students the good that you see in them and in their journey that they aren’t always seeing. “Holding the hope!”

What are your interests?

You can find Anne playing with her two miniature Australian Shepherds, Banjo and Mabel, exploring new places, fishing, playing the banjo, skiing in the snowy months, or chasing mountain streams!