Though everything we do at Shepherd’s Hill Academy is designed for therapeutic value, our therapeutic team is dedicated specifically to reaching your teen’s individual goals in order to contribute to the transformation of his or her life. Our team works with your family from your child’s enrollment to his or her graduation and 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 sessions for the adolescent sessions designed to promote healing, while building your teen’s relationship with both your family and Christ.
Elise Thrift, LPC
Elise Thrift, LPC is the Clinical Director for Shepherd’s Hill Academy. She oversees the direction of the therapeutic team to provide excellent care for the individual therapeutic needs of the client and support for families.
Prior to this role, Elise obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a dual focus in both Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling from Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA.
Elise began working with children and teens in a nonprofit agency specializing in play therapy. She has received training in sand tray therapy as well as art therapy interventions to utilize with clients in the individual setting. Elise began working at SHA in 2016 as a Girls Primary Therapist. In her work at SHA, Elise has helped many teens navigate the issues of parental divorce, grief, attachment, anxiety, depression, self-harm, abuse, emotional regulation, substance abuse, impulse control, interpersonal relationships, college and career planning, and adjustment.
Elise strongly believes that God has placed a calling on her life to help bring healing and hope to those who are hurting. Elise takes a Client-Centered Approach to individuals to provide unconditional positive regard and empathy. This, in turn, is often a catalyst for clients to explore how their past behaviors contribute to their current functioning. Much like Christ’s model of relationship, Elise strives to lovingly guide teens towards wisdom and emotional health. Elise also utilizes other empirically sound interventions such as CBT, psychodynamic, and DB informed interventions to use with both clients and their families.
Elise is happily married to her college sweetheart Zach. They are blessed with two children. She enjoys spending quality time with them on their small family farm.
Family Relations Coordinator
Aimee has a Bachelor of Science degree in Counseling & Psychology from Toccoa Falls College, in Toccoa Falls, GA. Her near-future plans include pursuing a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Liberty University.
She has a heart for helping teens and their families. Aimee worked as a Direct Care staff member in the Girls Residential Program of Shepherd’s Hill Academy from 2016-2018. In her role as Family Relations Coordinator, her goal is to offer support, relationships, and tools to parents to make effective and lasting changes in their home.
Aimee wants to serve families in crisis because she came from such a spiritually sound, disciplined, and loving family. She feels God has called her to use what she has learned growing up to spread the message of hope and encouragement to families in need.
Aimee is recently (2020) married to her husband Josh. She enjoys crafting, being outdoors, snorkeling, and being at the beach.
Angela received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Piedmont College in Demorest, GA. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Liberty University and is excited to move to the next step in her educational journey through practicum and internship.
She has many years of experience in youth and children’s ministries. Beyond the years of volunteering, she assisted her husband as a Youth Pastor for seven years and served as a Director of Children’s Ministries for three years. Angela has a love and passion for ministering to, encouraging, and serving others and is excited to have the opportunity to work with teenage girls again at Shepherd’s Hill Academy. She hopes to learn all that she is able to fulfill God’s calling and become an effective counselor while having a restorative and encouraging impact on those she works with.
Angela is married to her high school sweetheart, Joseph. They have two children. She enjoys being involved in church and ministry, hiking… especially to waterfalls, exercising/working out, spending quality time with family and friends, going to beaches, and watching the GA Bulldogs play.
Buddy Prow, LPC
Boys Therapeutic Counselor
Buddy has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. He received his master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. Currently (2016), he is pursuing a master’s 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, GA. For 10 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, GA.
His previous positions working with adults with addictions have led him to proactively reach the teens of our culture to teach them preventive methods for 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 10 children he calls “mine.” Of these 10 children, he has five biological daughters, two adoptive sons, two step-sons, and one foster daughter. When he is not occupied helping others, being a husband and a father, or studying, Buddy enjoys hunting and golfing.
Equine Program Manager
Dawn, originally from Newfane, NY, 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. These things led her to expand her knowledge into the therapeutic side of how horses can help us overcome many of our own personal issues.
Dawn thoroughly enjoys helping both horses and people overcome challenges together as friends rather than in 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.
Jordan Parson, LAPC, NCC
Girls Primary Therapist
Jordan is a graduate from the University of North Georgia with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Jordan is currently pursuing her Licensed Professional Counselor Certification in the state of Georgia but is a National Certified Counselor through the NBCC.
Jordan has experience working in a Community Counseling Center working with individuals of all ages but developed a passion for working with adolescents. Living a Christian lifestyle began at a very young age, and she still enjoys learning more about Christianity in church and her family bible studies. She believes God has called her to spread love and hope.
Jordan comes from a very large family and has enjoyed growing up on her family’s farm. She spends a lot of her time outside; either gardening, hiking, or spending time with family and friends. When she cannot be outside, she spends her free time in the kitchen because she loves to cook and bake. Jordan is very excited to be part of the therapeutic team at Shepherd’s Hill Academy.