Our Team

We Help Boys Through their Present Struggle, and Prepare Them for What Lies Ahead

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Gordon Birch

CEO &Founding Partner

With over 25 years of experience working in the therapeutic industry, Gordon’s expertise includes co-developing and leading operations of 5 clinically driven programs, becoming one of the nation’s largest experiential education adventure therapy programs. Gordon held the position of National Director and was responsible for working directly with multiple state and federal agencies and national accrediting organizations.

These programs served a population of teens and young adults who characterized an at-risk population, struggling with behavioral issues and suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. Under his direction, over 6,800 youth successfully graduated and logged over 450,000 student days in the field.

Gordon is a national leader in the field of Equine Assisted Wellness. Gordon was among the first to be trained and certified in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning. Through the years, Gordon has continued to develop and train Equine Assisted Wellness to individuals and groups in both private and public settings.

As a combat Army Veteran and having an understanding of the therapeutic needs of individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Gordon was asked by Upper Limit Aviation to help develop a training program for veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan war.

Gordon was an officer in the Utah Army National Guard for 18 years and was twice called to active duty in defense of our country. Gordon is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a named member of the Crow Nation. Gordon is a husband and father and his primary passion is his family.

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Brad Matheson, MBA

Director of Marketing & Founding Partner

Since 2000, Brad Matheson has helped hundreds of families navigate the difficult road of choosing the right therapeutic program for their child. “When a parent is exploring the possibility of treatment, nothing is more important than compassion, clarity, and honesty,” says Brad. “That kind of communication goes a long way toward helping parents make a sound decision and feel some peace in the midst of a very difficult situation.”

After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in marketing in 2001, Brad knew he wanted to work in a service-oriented atmosphere. His love and concern for young people made the adolescent treatment industry an obvious choice.

Brad began his career in the behavioral healthcare industry, providing therapeutic solutions to adolescents, young adults, and families. Brad’s experience ranges from wilderness therapy to residential treatment to aftercare and transition; this range of experience has given him a deep understanding of the treatment process in its entirety.

Desiring to contribute at an even deeper level to the treatment work he loves, Brad returned to school to complete his MBA. “I love providing organizational leadership and management support,” says Brad. “But my favorite part of this work is helping families understand and make informed treatment decisions.” Parents frequently express their gratitude for Brad’s caring manner during a very difficult decision process.

Brad and his wife, Tiffanie, live in St. George, Utah with their three children. They enjoy living in an area so full of outdoor opportunities. You will often find Brad on the golf course with his two boys, on the tennis court with his daughter, or reading a good book.

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Mary Lou Wise, LCSW

Executive Director

Mary Lou has been working with young adults and adolescents for 30 years. She grew up on the shores of Bear Lake in southeastern Idaho, where she was at home in nature. She has skills in treating addiction issues such as substance abuse and dependency, eating disorders, gaming addiction. She has skills in working with people with issues in grief and loss, underachievement, oppositional disorders, as well as a wide range of mood disorders.

Her strength as a therapist lies in her ability to connect quickly with clients and use the therapeutic relationship to motivate change and desire to seek the best within themselves and reach their highest potential. Her clients love her for her straightforward and honest approach. She is direct but compassionate and caring.

“My goal as a therapist is to help my clients determine what it is they truly want from life, to recognize their true potential, and to create a life they love and take pride in. I believe we all need to live with intent.”

Mary Lou understands the parental perspective. “One of the greatest rewards of my work, is to help families heal, and to give parents back a child well on their way to a bright and healthy future. I love getting a letter or email from a student or family whose child is living successfully and happily after making necessary but difficult changes.” She believes healing comes from heartfelt and honest communication and authentic relationships.

In her free time Mary Lou loves to travel and to continue to enjoy the outdoors. She loves all outdoor activities, particularly water sports. She and her husband, David, have been married for 29 years. They have four children, a rotating assortment of dogs, and two incredibly adorable grandsons.

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Aaron Cluff, CMHC

Clinical Director

Aaron started working with adolescents and young adults 21 years ago. Initially, he worked in residential treatment helping people with comorbid mental health and substance issues and later with troubled youth and their families in a county SED (severely emotionally disturbed) program.

In 2009, having moved home to the Southern Utah area, Aaron began working in wilderness therapy where he was able to combine two of his passions: his love of nature and his desire to help others. Continuing with these passions, Aaron joined the Monuments team in 2019, where he engages in relationship-based experiential therapy to help adolescents and families set goals, make changes and find long term success.

Aaron believes in the basic goodness of people and that everybody can make healthy changes. Establishing positive relationships with students and helping them increase their awareness are key elements to the success that he has enjoyed with students.

Aaron loves spending time in the outdoors and appreciates the healing effects that nature offers. His primary passion in life is his wife and children, with whom he lives on a small farm in Southern Utah.

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Haydn Jessup, LCSW

Primary Therapist

Haydn Jessup, LCSW has been working with teens for the last 5 years in a variety of settings including a school district, crisis shelter, emergency room, therapeutic boarding school, and psychiatric facility.  Haydn has always had a passion for working with teens, and gets to further that passion at Monuments.

As a clinician, Haydn lovingly pushes his clients to achieve what they truly want to achieve, even though they may initially lack the confidence or skills to do so.  His approach is based in helping others see their emotions as part of their experience, and not something that should dictate their behaviors or be avoided.  He likes to get out with his clients and teach, as well as learn, through experience.

Haydn has experience working with clients who suffer from substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.  His experiences have led him to become trained in EMDR and Equine Therapy.

 
Haydn was raised just 45 minutes from campus in Beaver Utah.  He is married, has 3 kids who he loves to play with, and loves longboarding gardening, playing sports, and wrestling with his kids.
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Susan Lawlor, LMFT

Primary Therapist

Sue has been working with individuals, couples, and families for over 12 years and has been licensed to practice in four states.  Having experienced a variety of cultures, she has worked with clients from many different countries and walks of life and truly enjoys learning about her clients and their unique perspectives.

She loves to travel to unusual and diverse parts of the world, and in her work strives to understand perspectives of the individual, their families, their communities, and their cultures.  Her goal is always to strengthen and build relationships by increasing understanding, improving communication, and building skills.

Sue incorporates trauma-informed approaches into her work including EMDR, CBT, somatic work, and mindfulness.  She has worked extensively with trauma, depression, anxiety, and relational issues.

In her own life, Sue loves hiking, biking, and being in nature. She utilizes yoga and other mindfulness-based activities to remain centered and grounded both in her personal life and in her work.

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Andrew Larsen, LCSW

Primary Therapist

Andrew earned a Master’s degree from the University of Utah in Social Work. His passion for helping teens with mental health needs is evident in his varied professional experience. Prior to joining the Monuments team, Andrew worked for a residential treatment program as a youth therapist and Weber School District as a Mental Health Specialist. 

He was also a member of the Stabilization and Mobile Response Team for youth mental health crisis. He has been a Youth Trauma-Focused Therapist for Weber County Human Services and a Counselor for the State of Utah Juvenile Justice Services. In his early years, he worked as a Field Guide for an adolescent wilderness therapy program. Andrew truly understands the challenges that teens face in today’s world.

Andrew enjoys fishing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, playing basketball and the piano, gardening and baking.

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Christin Jesson, RN

Nurse

Christin began her career as a nurse in 2014, initially focusing on geriatric behavioral and mental health. After spending time over the winter volunteering with the boys at Monuments Treatment Center, teaching Dutch Oven cooking classes, she was so impressed by the students and team mentality at Monuments she changed her career focus to adolescents.

Christin is excited to bring to Monuments her passion for holistic nursing, which is utilizing nursing knowledge, theories, evidenced based practice and intuition to recognize and care for the totality of the person as a whole.

When not at work, Christin can be found outside, either gardening, farming, hunting, or exploring Southern Utah’s breathtaking scenery and rich history.

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Dr. James Palmer

Psychiatrist

Dr. Palmer grew up in small town Utah but has had wonderful opportunities to complete schooling all over the country from undergrad at the University of Utah, medical school at Des Moines University with classwork in Des Moines and clinical training in Cleveland, OH, general psychiatry residency with Maricopa Integrated Health Systems in Phoenix, AZ, and child/adolescent psychiatry fellowship with Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. 

He is very grateful for all those who have shared hundreds of accumulated years of experience as patients and mentors. Training in such diverse environments has taught him to learn to work as part of a team and understand a person as a whole. This helps him provide a caring, informed, and evidence-based practice for wide ranging mental health challenges.
 
James’s first clinical experience came even before medical school as a residential line staff. In that capacity, he came to appreciate the comprehensive nature of a residential treatment team in facilitating stabilization and growth. He does not take lightly the trust implicit in his work to be a member of the treatment team. This perspective has driven him to be an accomplished psychopharmacologist but also to understand people are much more than their psychopharmacologic profile. He approaches his work with an individualized application of this understanding to support a person’s growth toward their potential. Currently, James works across a continuum of care in inpatient, residential and outpatient settings and appreciates the role that each can have in fostering growth.
 
Throughout these years of education and training, James continues to hold that his most grounding and stabilizing influences have been his family and appreciates whatever time he has with them.”
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Kristi Gilbert

Academic Director

Kristi comes to Monuments with a unique blend of experience in corporate, public, and private education.  

Kristi Gilbert spent 25 years in the high-tech industry as a professional writer, trainer, and instructional designer.  She also ran her own company that provided instructional design services, content development, and content delivery systems for corporate education, training, and certification programs. 

Kristi comes to Monuments with a unique blend of experience in corporate, public, and private education.  

Kristi Gilbert spent 25 years in the high-tech industry as a professional writer, trainer, and instructional designer.  She also ran her own company that provided instructional design services, content development, and content delivery systems for corporate education, training and certification programs. 

After 25 years in the high tech industry, Kristi Gilbert retired so she could “do something that mattered”: 

Kristi states, “Reflecting on my personal experience, the people who have had the most significant effect on my life outside my own family have been teachers. Elementary, middle-school, high-school, church, music, sports, and college teachers have profoundly impacted my life experiences, world view, values, and sense of identity—for good and for ill. I remember my teachers more than any celebrity, actor, musician, or politician of my era. “

With her extended experience as a professional writer and her love of literature, Kristi decided to become a high school English teacher. She obtained her teaching credential, then threw herself, wholeheartedly, into public education.  She quickly became a department chair at her first school.  She seeks to enrich classroom instruction with experiential, hands-on learning activities. Her guiding instructional rationale is, “What good is it to learn a principle if you can’t apply it?”

This is the vision that Kristi brings to Monuments. She is passionate about teaching and endeavors to help students connect their education in meaningful ways to the world around them. 

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Michael Dawson

Progressive Education

Michael started his work with youth as a member of a mobile crisis response team. During that time he discovered his love for working with youth and their families while helping them heal. He became very eager and excited to lead and teach DBT courses for his community and continues to do so. 

Michael started at Monuments before the facility even opened. He has worked tirelessly to help the facility become a safe and inviting home for our students. He was the first staff for our first student and has since worked in our academic department before taking over  Progressive Education.

Michael loves our students. He tries to create an individual and meaningful relationship for each of his students while pushing them to find a passion for skills and abilities.  

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Tera Purcell

Co-Program Director

Tera began working with Monuments soon after it’s opening. She started out as a staff where she began building healthy relationships and understanding how to work with the young men attending the program. She enjoys being involved with students in all of the areas of the program including Horsemanship, Photography, Outdoors, etc. She loves helping the students learn and grow into the men they strive to be. She is always willing to lend a listening ear and a helping hand. She makes Monuments feel like home. 

Tera has 3 years experience in Administration. She works along well with clients/co-workers and believes that organization and communication are key. Working together to keep our young men safe and succeeding is her mission at Monuments.

Tera grew up in a large family with 4 brothers and 3 sisters. She’s from a small town in Utah where she learned to love and enjoy the outdoors. Tera is a mother of 3 beautiful children. Together they enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, camping and spending time with her boyfriend at his farm. 

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Matt Reed

Co-Program Director

Matt has been working in a treatment center setting for over five years, three of which he has spent running and managing various types of different programs. As a graduate of Southern Utah University, Matt earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Sociology with emphasis in Psychology and Family Life and Human Development. 

While attending SUU, Matt volunteered and worked for several different organizations in Cedar City including CASA, DCFS, and the Guardian ad Litem’s Office. This allowed him to find his passion in life and centralize his career around working with youth.

Matt has a huge drive to foster healthy relationships with his students. He believes in a strong sense of unity and teamwork revolving around confronting any tasks that need to be addressed. One of his primary focuses is providing a safe atmosphere where students can just be themselves. He believes this allows them to open up to those around them while also empowering them to confront whatever struggles they may have in life.

In his free time Matt enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Laura and their 2 year old son Jace. He loves the outdoors and attending or watching sporting events.

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Jason Stone, LMFT

Primary Therapist

Jason has been working with teens and families since 2017 as a marriage and family therapist. Prior to joining the Monuments team, he worked in Las Vegas in a private practice and with a community mental health agency. Jason is excited about the opportunity at Monuments to integrate experiential learning into the therapy process. He believes that experiential therapy can help to address our physical, mental, and emotional well-being simultaneously. 

Jason is passionate about working with teens and families that struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, and other problems. He has received training in trauma work and emotionally focused therapy (evidenced-based couples and family therapy). 

He strives to provide nonjudgmental acceptance to encourage self-esteem, self-compassion, and an increased desire to improve relationships. “I am touched when I get a letter from a client or family who has benefited from the therapy process and has taken the time to acknowledge their improved relationships and coping skills.”

Jason has been married for 25 years and has one daughter. He recognizes that his family relationships are precious and tries to make that a priority. He loves hiking, basketball, biking, and kayaking. “I find that being in nature helps me slow down and appreciate the good in my life.” If it is cold out, you might find him enjoying a good movie or book.

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Monuments

815 WEST 200 SOUTH 2
PAROWAN, UT 84761

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