- Justin Smith, CEO & Executive Director
While still in high school, Justin Smith went on two short-term mission trips that changed his life. He felt God calling him to full-time ministry and later attended Southeastern Assemblies of God University, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Bible with a minor in missions. While still in college, he began working professionally with troubled youth at the Lakeland Marine Institute in Lakeland, Florida. When he finished his degree in 1996, he moved to Arkansas, where he became a direct care staff member at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. Justin served as the Program Director for 24 years. In 2021 Justin moved into his current CEO and Executive Director position. Justin is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and is a certified crisis training instructor with “Handle with Care” and CPI. He is a certified low and high ropes facilitator and oversees the outdoor adventure portion of the Teen Challenge program. Justin has completed the CrossFit Level 2 Instructor training, allowing TCAR to implement a CrossFit training program for all students. He is enrolled in graduate school at John Brown University, working towards a master’s in the Science of Leadership. Justin married his high school sweetheart while still in college. He and his wife, Holly, have one son who recently married and is finishing his Church Leadership degree.
- Jeremiah Morris, Business Manager
Jeremiah was born in rural SE Kansas and graduated seminary in Springfield, Missouri. He has been a youth pastor, associate pastor, and senior pastor at churches in Florida, Kansas, and Missouri and has been on mission trips to Tanzania and Belize. For the past ten years, he has worked in healthcare management, insurance, and finances. Jeremiah and his wife Jennifer have 4 children: Josiah, Benjamin, Ben, and Lizzy.
- Angela Clyne, Director of Admissions
Angela has a background in administration with the public school system, where she worked for six years. She is originally from Pensacola, FL, and moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1989 with her husband and their two children. She later adopted three more children from the foster care system. She was not raised in a Christian home but has served the Lord faithfully since giving her heart to Christ in 1996. Angela has worked with the youth in her rural community by building a recreational soccer league and teaching youth the value of hard work and determination. She has also worked as a Sunday school teacher and youth sponsor with her church for many years. In addition to full-time employment here, Angela is the Assistant Ministry Leader for the Celebrate Recovery program she started in her church in 2010. She has been part of the TCAR team since 2011.
- Laura Jones, Billing Manager
I was born and raised by the most wonderful parents in Springfield, Mo. I married Craig in 2002 and moved to Arkansas in 2003. We have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. My greatest success is that I raised caring, Christian adults. I have been in the medical billing and coding business for 20+ years, with the last 8+ years spent in the Behavioral health field. I was led to Teen Challenge in 2022. Working with the parents who have placed their trust in Teen Challenge is such a blessing. But the real blessing is seeing the daily miracles in these boys’ lives. God led me to this ministry, and I know I am blessed to be here.
- Heidi McIntire, Billing Specialist
I am originally from Washington State but have lived in Arkansas since I was 13. I moved to Lincoln from Gentry 6 years ago. I am married with 3 boys. I teach Sunday school at my church, Amazing Grace Fellowship, in Lincoln, and I am very active in the ladies’ group and the church in general. Previously I was a shipping manager at a company in Prairie Grove. I went to school for medical billing and coding at Purdue Global and received my certificate in 2019. I feel blessed to be a part of the TCAR family.
- Clint Smith, Director of Facilities
Clint grew up in Morrow, AR. He always knew about Teen Challenge from growing up in the community, and his family has supported the ministry for many years. Clint is a licensed minister and spent more than a decade traveling in music ministry. He worked several years with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission before feeling God speak to his heart, telling him to leave his former job and seek employment at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. Clint’s hope for troubled boys is that they encounter the love of Jesus and understand how important they are to God. Clint is also proud to run the Car Clinic on the weekends.
- Joshua Thomas, Dean of Students
Joshua grew up in a Christian home in Northwest Arkansas. His father was a pastor, and his mother was a teacher. He did well in school but began experiencing depression and self-harm. God intervened in his life and gave Joshua hope for the future. Later, Joshua felt God calling him to work with teenagers. After a period of ministering in youth groups and Christian camps, God led him to Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. Joshua believes troubled boys have the potential to be world changers, and his hope is for them to be saved from the same darkness that tried to defeat his own life. Joshua and his wife, Hannah, have one son and one daughter.
- Natasha Campbell, Human Resource Manager
I was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. As a teen, I was called into full-time ministry, but I wasn’t a good public speaker. It wasn’t until I was hired as an administrative assistant in 2013 that I realized I could serve God through paperwork! From 2013-2018, I served as Administrative Assistant, H.R. Manager, Compliance Officer, and Billing Specialist. I left TCAR to start my family but always missed Teen Challenge. In February 2023, I was asked to return as the Human Resource Manager. I am glad to be back home, loving on and serving the staff as they love and serve our clients.
- Joy Thomas, Director of Education
Joy is originally from California but grew up in Northwest Arkansas. In her late twenties, she surrendered her heart to the Lord. Joy is a University of Arkansas graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She is also a certified teacher. Joy worked in the public school system before she founded Maranatha Christian School in 1992. She was the Principal and teacher at the school for 21 years before coming to Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. Joy believes she has the perfect job now and that God is the answer and provides healing for the troubled boys she works with daily.
- Crystal Reynolds, Academic Supervisor
Crystal grew up in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. During her fourth birthday party, she decided to follow Jesus and never looked back! She followed him to Texas to attend Southwestern Assemblies of God University. While a university student, she began working with at-risk children during the school year and troubled youth in the summers, interning in the classroom at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. In 2015, she received an English B.A. and Bible A.A. Working in the educational or administrative departments, Crystal has been part of the Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch team since May 2013.
- Gregg Watson, Teacher
Gregg has been a Teacher at TCAR for three years. He was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Harding University. Gregg is married to a nurse and has five children, two sons that have graduated from college and three daughters currently in college. Gregg’s hobbies are fishing, kayaking, shooting sports, and the Razorbacks.
- Chris Newman, Teacher
Chris grew up in the oldest town in Texas. He is a certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. Before coming to Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch, Chris worked with troubled youth in the alternative education system in Texas. His hope for troubled boys is that they come to know their identity in Christ. Chris and his wife, Ashley, have three children.
- Kim Igo, NATC Academic Specialist
Before coming to Teen Challenge, Kim taught at a Christian school. Kim is originally from Westville, Oklahoma. Since joining the team in December 2013, Kim has seen firsthand the positive impact of Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch on troubled boys; she considers it a blessing to be part of their recovery process and enjoys getting to know the students as they experience a change in their lives. Kim has been involved with youth through her church for many years as a Youth Worship Leader, Sunday School teacher, and Missionettes leader. She is also currently the Director of The Grace Place, a food pantry and clothing store for people struggling in Lincoln, Arkansas.
- Richie Swearingen, Director of Clinical Operations
Richie Swearingen is the Program Services Director and has been at TCAR for a year and a half. He grew up and currently lives in Van Buren, AR. He started at TCAR as our Registered Nurse and was later promoted. Richie is married to Megan, and they have 3 children. Richie’s passion for TCAR comes from his Love for the Lord.
- Kate Jackson Bright, Clinical Department Assistant
Kate grew up near Joplin, MO but has since followed her new husband to AR in 2022. She began in the TCAR Billing Department but has since found her niche with our Clinical Team. She has worked odd jobs throughout her young adult life, including over six years at Chick-fil-a. Kate originally started her college degree as a business major but moved to Art History. This included an opportunity to study abroad in Europe. If you ever see any art painted across the TCAR property, it was likely done by Kate. She now hopes to continue learning and growing while she’s here and looks forward to whatever adventure God has planned.
- Adam Persenaire, Therapist Supervisor
Adam is a licensed clinical social worker. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Before attending the U of A, he completed his associate’s degree at ASUMH while working within the banking world. God moved Adam from his small community to the growing northwest Arkansas area after revealing his call to ministry and his call to further his education. Adam began working at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch following his graduation. Adam feels there is no better place to serve than in a ministry that aims to share Jesus with teenage boys. Adam considers it an honor and a privilege to serve as a small part of working towards spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical health in the lives of the students who come to Teen Challenge.
- Katie Carney, Therapist
Katie Carney is a Licensed Counselor with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from John Brown University and a Bachelor’s degree in Leisure Service Management from Oklahoma State University. She has 15 years of experience working with adolescents and youth in various settings, including Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club programs, summer camps, school-based therapy programs, and residential therapeutic boarding school programs. Katie’s professional career has centered around counseling troubled teens at alternative schools and residential rehabilitation programs. Katie is currently the primary group therapist at TCAR and gets to combine her love for God, horses, adventure, and people as she serves the young men at TCAR.
- Cheryl Comfort, Therapist
Cheryl moved to Arkansas, with her son, in 2013 to be closer to family. Coming to a new state as a single mother was a struggle, and not having employment or knowing anyone outside her mother and sister. God led Cheryl to return to school to pursue counseling through divine inspiration in Isaiah 61, which has become the foundation of Cheryl’s counseling service to reach others for Christ. Cheryl studied Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy at John Brown University and graduated with her second Master’s degree in 2018. One year after graduation, Cheryl worked at Piney Ridge Treatment Center for four years, completing her supervised hours and earning her LPC in August 2022. Cheryl is certified in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telehealth. Cheryl’s clinical experience includes addressing depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism, ADHD, grief, sexually maladaptive behaviors, and anger management. Cheryl married her son’s father earlier this year and lives with her husband and son in Siloam Springs.
- Ryan Sylvester, Therapist
Ryan Sylvester is a Licensed Associate Counselor. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master’s of Science in Counseling degree from John Brown University. Ryan went through his own struggles with trauma and addiction as a teenager and young adult, and after years in rehab, therapy, and recovery, he felt God call him to become an addictions counselor. He believes that God made a special way for him to end up here at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch as a therapist. He feels incredibly humbled and grateful to now be able to give back and minister to the young men coming into the program and even further blessed to have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with them as well. Ryan is trained in Accelerated Resolution Therapy for trauma and related issues and practices attachment theory, existential, motivational interviewing, and other counseling modalities to fit the needs of his clients. Ryan is recently married to his wife, Rosie, who is also a teacher here at Teen Challenge.
- Ronnie Jones, Supervising Case Manager
Ronnie was born and raised in Louisiana. After high school, he developed a personal relationship with Jesus and earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from East Texas Baptist University. He went on to work as a salesperson. Ronnie was promoted through the tiers toward financial success until God called him to the ministry nine years later. Ronnie began volunteering in the local community, seeking ways to serve and meet the needs of the people around him. Soon after, he found and joined the Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch team. He and his wife, Leah, have six children.
- Steve Williams, Case Manager
Steve received his bachelor’s degree from Evangel University and holds a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from John Brown University. He has studied addiction and recovery through the American Association of Christian Counselors, is a certified parenting coach, and is a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God. He felt God call him to work with teens in 2001, and he began volunteering much time with the youth in his church and community. In 2006 he decided to leave his career in the corporate world to join us at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch. He says he has never regretted it. Steve believes the spiritual attack on these young men at an early age speaks to the significance of their calling. His passion is to see them become free from the issues that hold them back, so they can reach their potential and fulfill their purpose.
- Jeff Allen, Case Manager
Jeff has lived in Northwest Arkansas for more than 20 years. He graduated from the Adult & Teen Challenge of Mid America program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It was there that Jeff knew he was called to ministry. Jeff has since spent many years in ministerial service, working with troubled teenagers and participating in worship ministry as a singer and guitarist. His hope for troubled boys is that they learn to walk with God. He and his wife, Diane, have been married since 2002, and they have two children: Thomas and Grace.
- Tyler Tennison, Case Manager
Tyler has been a Case Manager at TCAR for three years. Tyler was born and raised in Arkansas and holds a Bachelors Degree in Christian Counseling from Ecclesia College in Springdale, AR. Tyler and his wife Allyssa (who also works at TCAR in the kitchen!) have been married for 7 years, and they have two children, a boy who is 6 and a girl who is 2. Tyler accepted the call to work with you in 2009 at Camp War Eagle and has been working with youth since. He says when he found the job at TCAR, he knew it was the place he was meant to be, and it has been a perfect fit.
- Richard Ramos, Case Manager
Richard is from Bakersfield, CA, but has lived in Farmington, AR, for over 12 years. He is a US Army Vet, serving as a Cavalry Scout and cross-trained as a Tanker. He has an Associated Degree in Business and is working on a BA in Psychology, concentrating on Addiction through Southern New Hampshire University. Richard spent 20 years in the oil field, 10 of which were International. He is active at Grace Covenant Church in Lincoln, AR.
- Gail Davis, Registered Nurse
Gail is a Registered Nurse and works at TCAR part-time. She was raised in Ashdown and now spends much time helping her mother there. She has 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Gail says she has always known she wanted to be a nurse since she was young. She received her associate degree in nursing in 1977 and immediately began work in the Ashdown Public Schools. After 35 years and retiring from nursing school, she moved to Little Rock to work for the State Health Department. Gail has used her nursing career to help educate the public regarding their health. A move to Fayetteville to be near her grandchild in 2016 landed her in the Arkansas Veteran’s Home, where she retired again from the State. Unable to hang up the towel, Gail began working at TCAR in January 2023. Gail says she has always loved all her nursing jobs and feels God placed her at TCAR. She feels blessed to be a part of such a loving Christian organization and knows God will use her here.
- Jan Lance
- Matt Clark, Equine Specialist
Matt grew up in West Texas on a cotton farm. He attended Texas Tech University, receiving his BS in Human Sciences, concentrating on family studies, addiction studies, and psychology. He participated in multiple college ministries, including Brothers Under Christ and the Wesley Foundation. Matt fell in love with horses while working at a summer camp in college, where he also fell in love with his future wife. He moved to Arkansas in 2020 to be closer to her and began working at TCAR. They were married in March 2021. Matt works with the therapy team and our horses to do Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. He says, “Horses naturally mirror our emotions. I love watching our boys learn how non-verbal communication can deeply affect a horse’s behavior and then begin to relate what they learn to their lives.
- Hannah Thomas, Equine Assistant
I’m the Equine Assistant at Teen Challenge, I grew up in Oklahoma, moved to Arkansas when I got married. I have two kids, a boy and girl. I struggled with knowing who I am until God met me at a crossroad where I chose Him. Ever since, my passion has been showing people who they are in Christ. A great tool God has given me to use, is the horses. Horses have a way of making you reflect on yourself and evaluate what you are bringing out into the field. I love teaching the students how their actions and emotions, good or bad, affect the world around them, using the horses.
- Robert Mason, Director of Direct Care
Robert has lived in Arkansas his whole life. He worked in upper management for Sonic Dive In for over 15 years. In 2011 he graduated from an Adult & Teen Challenge of Mid-America program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After completion, Robert knew he wanted to give back to the ministry that saved his life. Robert started work at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch in the summer of 2019. His mission is to teach troubled boys that there is a life of freedom outside of life-controlling issues. He and his wife, Cassi, have been married since 2014, and they have 4 children: Rebekah, Emma, Tyler, and Harper.
- Jordan Cuttell, Outdoor Adventure
Jordan serves as one of the Outdoor Adventure staff. I lead the intake trips and take guys camping when they arrive at our program. He came through the program 2012 as an angry and rebellious student. Through what he learned here, he says he has been able to be successful in sobriety and build character. Much to his surprise, the Lord called him back to this ministry! He says life is pretty good now. In addition to getting to spend time in the woods, he has a wife and two daughters. He is also a member of The Arkansas National Guard.
- Seth Carroll, Outdoor Adventure
Seth is originally from Stockton, Illinois. Seth volunteered in youth ministry at a local church during his freshman year of college. It was there that he felt God calling him to full-time ministry. He continued ministering to youth through sports and outdoor recreational ministry programs and serving in churches nationwide. Seth has Associate Degrees in General Studies and Bible and Theology, and he completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Southeastern University in 2016. Later that year, Seth joined the Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch staff team. Seth’s desire for these troubled boys is for them to “learn to walk out their faith in Christ.”
- Phil Bernhardt
Phil Bernhardt is originally from west-central Illinois. After feeling the call to enter full-time ministry, Phil attended Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, where he later earned a Bachelor’s Degree. While still in college, he heard a chapel message that encouraged him to learn more about the ministry of Teen Challenge. This led to a three-month internship with Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch and a full-time position with the ministry. Phil has been working faithfully as a direct care staff member at Teen Challenge Ranch of NW Arkansas since 1981. He has seen many lives transformed in his 40-plus years of service.
- Cynthia Montoto, Shift Supervisor/Missions Coordinator
Cynthia Montoto attended Victory Bible Training Center and MCTC College, earning her associate’s Degree. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry. Cynthia worked for Millennial Christian Center as a team leader in missions and outreach. She was very active in fundraising and traveling to promote the Gospel. Her heart truly is winning souls for the kingdom. In December 2018, Cynthia received her ordination from Bishop McIntosh, James, and Susan Hall. Cynthia states that this was one of her highest honors. God led her to Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch in May of 2018. She desires to help these young men see what God has created them to be.
Clinical and Case Management: