A fundamental aspect of Beacon which makes us an effective agent of change is our ability to maintain a small milieu with low staff to student ratios. Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds, with a wealth of clinical and first-hand experience. All of our staff hold current certifications and licensure
Kelly has worked with the special needs population for the last 15 years. During that time she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of special needs. She has specialized in working with individuals on the autism spectrum since 2001. During that time she has developed and directed a long-term residential program, developed a vocational program for a community provider, directed a small business program focusing on micro enterprises that employ individuals with disabilities, provided consultation and education to programs and families with in the state of North Carolina, and developed individualized programming for participants in the home, community, and school setting. Kelly is passionate about helping others achieve personal greatness and develop skills for continued progress. Kelly completed her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis at Ball State University and is a certified Behavior Analyst. Kelly can most often be found at the program during the week but enjoys making the most of her time with her husband, two-year-old daughter and son n the beautiful Asheville area.
Jake first gained exposure to the concept of Adventure as a Therapeutic Intervention in 2008, when he attended an Outward Bound course in Maine. Following that experience, Jake earned a degree in Psychology and Outdoor Leadership at Weber State University in Ogden Utah. After that, he became involved in Therapeutic Wilderness in a professional capacity. Jake started his career as a Field Staff with Second Nature Blue Ridge in Clayton Georgia. In Wilderness, Jake honed his skills working with Adolescents, and developing dedicated, professional Staff Teams. He remained at Blue Ridge as the most Senior Field Staff until November of 2018, at which time he transitioned into a role with a Residential Treatment Center near Asheville, NC. There, Jake developed skills working with at-risk youth populations in a residential setting. Prior to joining Beacon Transitions, Jake worked as the co- Director of Residential Life at Whetstone Academy, where he learned about best practices in working with clients on the Autism Spectrum.
Jake is a certified Wilderness First Responder and enjoys working with young adults in both Wilderness and Residential settings. His experience in the field of Mental Health Treatment is centered around streamlining communication between departments, fostering relationships with Clinicians and referring professionals, and facilitating professional development. In that regard, he excels at strength-based mentoring, and empowering teams to function cohesively.
Jake lives in Asheville, NC with his partner, their cat KB, and dog Sierra. They enjoy all the natural splendor WNC has to offer
Trent has worked with Clients on the autism spectrum since 2013 when he joined Talisman Summer Camps as a direct care staff. He was hooked on the work, and the population from the start. Trent returned to Talisman every year after, assuming several different roles, and leaving as a program manager in 2016. Trent began working for Beacon Transitions following Talisman, and can fondly recall his first day at the residential campus. “It was august 25th, exactly 10:30am. I knocked on the front door of Beacon for the first time, and was greeted by a whole group of young men. From then on, Beacon was home” Trent has been a fixture of beacon since that day. Trent now works as the program director of "8 Lake", our long term residential program. Trent was born in Wellington Kansas, but calls Pittsboro NC his hometown. He attended St. Andrews University as a wrestler, and now lives in Hendersonville NC. In his free time, he thoroughly enjoys Marvel movies, an interest he shares with many of the residents.
Nathan started leading backpacking and canoeing trips at a school for special needs students after graduating from the National Outdoor Leadership School in 2007. The next year Nathan was promoted to a position in the logistics department scouting and planning the trips for the school. Prior to joining Beacon Nathan worked at a program for young adults on the autism spectrum where he led the weekend trips in the community. In his free time Nathan can usually be found outside backpacking, playing Ultimate Frisbee or baseball.
Devan began working in the field of Mental Health Treatment for S.O.A.R in the mid 2010's. He received his bachelors in psychology from Western Carolina University with Honors, and received his Masters In Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Montreat College. Devan leads our health and wellness program, fitness coaching, and he passionately engages in the Highland Games, outside and sometimes inside of work
Raised in Asheville by a multi-cultural family, Valentina is well equipped to help connect Beacon Residents with volunteer and employment opportunities. She is highly integrated in the WNC community and loves to share her passion for creating positive culture with everyone she meets. She graduated with a B.A. in Spanish Literature from UNC-Asheville in 2015, after studying at Guilford College and the University of Arizona. She has worked with students of theatre, creative writing, and speech development and brings a wide lens and scope of knowledge to her work.
Charlie's background is in Special Education, and he came to us from the Buncombe County School District. He has extensive experience in vocational training, and through relationships in the community, helps our residents find gainful employment suited for their skills and training. Charlie Enjoys Mountain Biking, and recycling.