Though everything we do at Shepherds Hill Academy is designed for therapeutic value, our therapeutic team is dedicated specifically to reach your teen’s individual goals in order to contribute to the transformation of his/her life. Our team works with your family during your child’s enrollment to their graduation and with their aftercare plan.
Always working under the umbrella of scriptural authority, our team works hand-in-hand in developing a strategic therapeutic plan that serves not only your teen’s needs, but your family’s needs as well. In addition, they facilitate individual and family therapy sessions designed to promote healing, while building your teen’s relationship with both their family and Christ.
Dan Godfrey, LPC, CPCS
Dan holds a Master of Education degree in Agency Counseling from Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications with a minor in Behavior Science and Counseling from Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, Georgia.
Dan was a volunteer youth minister for 10 years in Gainesville, Georgia. He became a teacher and youth worker as he pursued his degree at Toccoa Falls College. He was also a teacher and youth worker at Lynchburg, Virginia. Dan serves on the Board of Directors and is the Senior Consultant for SHA.
Growing up, Dan lived without a father at home. Because of this, he is sensitive to the needs of young people as they seek for answers that will move them safely forward in life. As he parented his own children, he began noticing the frustrations and lack of skills most parents had in raising their children in an unhealthy culture. Dan is eager to teach and encourage our young people a healthier lifestyle. His goal is to work with SHA in equipping the youth of today with the tools necessary to become efficient change agents of the culture.
Dan and his wife live in Toccoa, Georgia. They have a daughter named Christy Miller. Dan and his wife lost a second daughter when she was the age of 26. Dan likes spending time with his family, learning the guitar, yard work, fishing and camping.
Elise Thrift, LAPC, NCC
Girls Therapeutic Counselor
Elise obtained her Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Art degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia.
Elise has worked with teens for the past seven years (2009) in various capacities, including non-profit mental health organizations. While in college, she helped as a youth leader to provide guidance and discipleship. While pursuing her career in psychology and counseling, she became a practicum student at Shepherds Hill Academy.
Elise strongly believes that God has placed a calling on her life to help restore the lives of both children and teens. As she submits to this calling, she has seen God use her by equipping her with the necessary tools to begin the process of healing. She enjoys using her creativity through art therapy and traditional talk therapy to allow teens to express themselves in a cathartic way. This encourages them to explore some of the issues they face in a non-threatening environment.
She has helped many teens navigate the issues of parental divorce, anxiety, depression, self harm, and poor self image. She loves to see the process unfold as teens begin to trade old habits, behaviors, and coping skills for new healthy ones. She is honored that God has allowed her to be a part of this process.
Elise is happily married to her college sweetheart, Zach. They are blessed with a daughter, Zoe Grace, who was born in 2014. She enjoys reading, exercising, outdoor activities; and when time allows, painting. Her greatest joy is her family, whom she loves to spend time with.
Buddy Prow, LAPC
Boys Therapeutic Counselor
Buddy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. He received his Master of Art degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. Currently (2016), he is pursuing a Master of Art degree in Theology at Liberty University. At the same time, he is pursuing his Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) certifications.
Buddy has many years of experience working with children and families. For six years he served as a Youth Pastor at Lexington Baptist Church in Lexington, Georgia. For ten years, he was a foster parent. He also served as a placement case manager for the Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS) in Barrow County, Georgia.
His previous positions of working with adults with addictions have led him to proactively reach the teens of our culture to teach them preventive methods on addictive behaviors. It is Buddy’s desire to share his personal parenting point of view as a hurting parent of a once troubled teen himself. He wants to help families reunite in a healthy manner for love and support, and to show them there is always hope in the unknown times of parenting a teen.
Buddy is married. He has ten children he calls “mine.” Of these ten children, he has five biological daughters, two adoptive sons, two step-sons, and one foster daughter. When he is not occupied helping others, or being a husband and a father, or studying, Buddy enjoys hunting and golfing.
Vikki Paese, MS, LAPC
Equine Program Director
Vikki holds a Master’s degree in Christian Counseling from Philadelphia Biblical University. She also has obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in English Professional Writing. Vikki has been certified by Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) and O.K. Corral Series for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. She is Natural Lifemanship Certified, has her Associates Professional Counseling (APC) license, and will soon achieve her Licensed Professional Counseling (LPC) status.
She spent seven years working in various corporate, educational, and training positions. At the same time, she became involved with youth outreach programs. She feels God has given her a passion and boldness to develop relationships with the youth of our wayward culture. Throughout her years of working with youth and horses she has observed that the horse will give the teen an honest reaction to how they are being treated. This gives the teen the chance to be on the receiving end of his/her own behavior and realize how it affects others. She is a great mentor and role model and is a secondary therapist for the Girls Next Step Program.
Vikki and her husband have two kids, and she enjoys working, training, riding and learning from horses.
Equine Program Manager
Dawn, originally from Newfane, New York, moved to Northeast Georgia as a young child and calls Georgia her home. She was fortunate to be introduced to horsemanship at the age of 15, and it has been a part of her life ever since. She ventured out into other industries, but found herself constantly being drawn back into working with horses. Dawn will say she finally took all the hints God was showing her and knew working with horses was His calling for her life.
Dawn’s 30+ years of professional horsemanship is a blend of all the wonderful teachers (horses and humans) that she has had over the years, along with the natural abilities and gifts God has instilled in her. Relationship-based horsemanship is as the name implies about the relationship between the horses and the people. Dawn’s diverse expertise is in various areas from training young horses to teaching people safe enjoyable horse handling skills. All which led her to expand her knowledge into the therapeutic side of how horses can help us overcome many of our own personal issues.
Dawn throughly enjoys helping both horses and people overcome challenges together as friends rather than as a servant and master relationship. Understanding the interaction between equine and humans, Dawn also serves as a professional equine riding instructor and therapy horse trainer. She doesn’t just “whisper, she listens.”