Summit’s leadership and administrative team is composed of dedicated individuals who bring more than 125 years of combined experience to the operation of the program. Most of this experience has been in outdoor adventure programs specifically designed for struggling youth. We believe that a treatment center, and the outcomes of treatment, are only as good as the people providing it (click here to see outcomes). You and your child may remember our beautiful campus, or the serenity of the mountains, but you will likely remember the positive connections you make with our staff above all else.
Meet Our Team
Nichol Ernst, LCSW, Executive Director, Therapist, Owner
Nichol received his Bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from Brown University and his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of New England. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the State of Maine and has worked with adolescents and families at Summit Achievement for 15 years. Nichol’s areas of expertise include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family systems theory, social coaching, and he is certified in EMDR and Mindfulness. Nichol and his certified therapy dog, Baxter, are often found walking through the woods with students or joining them on their wilderness expeditions. When not working with students and families Nichol can be found working on his small farm in Western Maine with his wife and young son while Baxter chases after the pigs, chickens and goats.
Learn more about Nichol here.
Will White, DA, LCSW, LADC, Director of Outreach and Business Development, Co-Founder, Owner
Dr. White received his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver and his Doctorate degree in Leadership from Franklin Pierce University. He has been licensed as a Clinical Social Worker and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor for over 25 years. Dr. White is a nationally recognized expert in the field of adventure/wilderness therapy.
As a much sought after speaker on the topic of Adventure/Wilderness Therapy, Dr. White has presented at national and international conferences, and is the author of the book, Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy.
Learn more about Will here
Anson McNulty, BA, Operations Director, Owner
Anson earned his Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation Administration from Unity College. He is also certified as Wilderness First Responder, CPR Instructor, and CPI (Crisis Prevention and Intervention) instructor. Anson has been working with troubled teens in wilderness and residential settings since 2000 and is dedicated to helping struggling teens find their way utilizing experiential learning. Anson has worked at Summit Achievement since 2002. Anson enjoys family time with his wife and son, and adventuring in the backcountry, whether it be paddling, rock climbing or skiing.
Learn more about Anson here.
Caitlyn E. Cook, LCPC, LCAT, ATR-BC, Clinical Director
Caitlyn is a Board Certified Art Psychotherapist (ATR-BC) who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Rhode Island and her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute. Caitlyn’s experience working with adolescents spans a variety of settings including outpatient, long-term residential, partial hospital, and formerly, as a guide at Summit Achievement. With a focus on promoting personal growth and fostering healthy self-expression, Caitlyn specializes in designing creative interventions to meet the needs of each unique student and family. On her off time, Caitlyn can be found snowboarding, backpacking, wake boarding, climbing and generally enjoying all that the northeast has to offer.
Learn more about Caitlyn here.
Shannon H. Palentchar, BS, Admissions Director
Shannon received her Bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University. She has been working with adolescents and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings including adventure guiding, wilderness therapy, therapeutic boarding, and residential treatment. Shannon has facilitated the role of admissions for a therapeutic program working with adolescent boys and also a residential treatment facility for young adult women. Shannon loves the outdoors and associated adventure sports and enjoys teaching her young daughter about the joys of nature. Some of her favorite hobbies include hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, and making jewelry. You can read a blog she wrote about moving to New England to work for Summit here.
Learn more about Shannon here.
Meg Paul, LCSW, Therapist
Meg Paul comes to Summit after beginning her career as a Summit guide many years ago. She since completed a dual degree masters program, earning her masters in social work and her masters in adventure therapy from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently an independently licensed social worker.
After earning her graduate degrees, Meg worked as an adolescent and family therapist in a community mental health center and then as an equine therapist. During this time, she also managed the coordination and implementation of award winning wilderness therapy programing. Meg has utilized a variety of methods in her practice, including cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, trauma informed therapy, and structural family therapy.
In her free time, you can find Meg spending time with her husband and daughter biking, surfing, skiing, or climbing.
Learn more about Meg here.
Mike Deluca, LCSW, Therapist
Nick Faraldi, LMSW-CC, Director of Parent Support
Nick graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and holds a Bachelors in Sociology from New Jersey City University. He has served in the adolescent mental health field working in various positions since 2010. Nick works with a variety of different clients ranging from substance use disorder, mood disorders, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder. His experience spans a variety of treatment settings including inpatient, intensive outpatient, and community partial care. Nick worked on and off as a Guide since 2012 and is one of the original founding team members of the Traverse program. Nick enjoys snowboarding in the winter and longboarding in the summer.
Kristen Pilarcik, MA, Academic Director
Kristen earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from Ithaca College and her Master’s degree in English and teaching certification from Southern Connecticut State University. She holds her Professional teaching license and has over twenty years of classroom experience in a variety of settings in New England. More recently, Kristen’s classroom experience involved teaching in a non-traditional learning environment. She believes in the power of positive reinforcement and in establishing open communication between teachers, students, and their families as keys to academic success.
In her free time, Kristen loves backcountry skiing, trail running and spending time with her two grown children.
Learn more about Kristen here
Brian Nelson, BS, Teacher
Brian earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mountain Recreation Management from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He worked as a one-to-one classroom teacher for at-risk-youth at an independent alternative high school in Vermont for six years teaching mathematics, as well as a number of other subjects. Brian has also worked in the Mount Washington Valley ski resort industry as ski patrol, trail maintenance supervisor, and the manager of the largest single span zip line in New England. Brian has recently returned to the field of education as he has a passion for working with students one-to-one and helping them gain confidence, learn and grow. Outside of work Brian enjoys skiing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.
Cody Richardson, BS, Teacher
Cody received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from New England College in Henniker, NH and his teaching certification from North Dakota State University. He is a licensed science teacher working in North Dakota for five years with public schools, as well as at White Mountains Community College in New Hampshire, before joining Summit. Cody wants to help the students explore science to gain a better understanding of how it applies to their world. Cody enjoys Dungeons and Dragons, board games, swimming, fishing, and exploring the outdoors.
Andrew T. Farris, BA, Program Director
Andrew graduated from Green Mountain College with a Bachelor’s degree in Adventure Recreation. He is certified in Wilderness First Responder and is a Leave No Trace Master Educator. Prior to joining the Summit team, Andrew taught environmental education to elementary students, adventure education to college and corporate groups, and provided adaptive recreation opportunities for people with physical and cognitive disabilities at a summer camp associated with a children’s hospital. Andrew enjoys fly fishing, hiking, backcountry skiing, making music, and witty puns.
Learn more about Andrew here.
David Longe, Field Director
David graduated from Greenfield Community College’s Outdoor Leadership Program in 2012. He is also certified as a Wilderness First Responder, a PCIA single pitch instructor, an ACA level 3 canoe instructor, a Leave No Trace trainer, and ACA swift water rescue. David’s passion for helping others was sparked at The United ARC where he served as direct care staff for adults with developmental disabilities, in an independent living program, and as an in-home care provider. He first joined the Summit team as a Wilderness Guide and was promoted to Shift Coordinator. During his free time, David enjoys woodworking, making music, skateboarding, and playing in the mountains whether on rock, rivers, snow or ice.
Dr. Drexel R. Gordon, DO, Medical Director
Dr. Drexel graduated from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1990 and subsequently completed a Residency in Family Medicine. In addition to his oversight of Summit’s medical services, Dr. Drexel practices in nearby Bridgton, Maine, and serves as the Medical Director of Bridgton Health Care Center, a rehab and nursing facility. He has been the Medical Director at Summit since 2000. Dr. Gordon relishes his current roles as husband, father of two, and steward of nine acres.
Nancy Coleman-Murphy, BS, Program Nurse
Nancy graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She has over 20 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in a variety of settings, including over 10 years at Summit. She has also worked in home healthcare, at a ski area mountain clinic, hospital emergency department, operating room and ambulatory care unit. Nancy has held an Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification and CPR certification for 20 years. Living in the mountains with her husband, son and yellow lab, she enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, off-road motorcycling, and gardening.
Tyler Schwarz, Head Chef
Tyler has held several head chef and sous chef positions in the Mount Washington Valley, and enjoys cooking seasonally inspired dishes with ingredients native to New England.
Monique Britt, Office Manager
Monique earned a BS in Business Management from the University of Illinois in Urbana. She moved to the White Mountains over twenty years ago to raise her two, now adult, children. She has spent many years managing office and service oriented settings. Monique loves a challenge, and enjoys working with people. She also practices Reiki in her spare time, as healing has always been a passion of hers. Monique lives in Fryeburg, ME and enjoys traveling, reading, photography, gardening, and hiking with her grand dog, Peyt.
Jim McClurg, BA
Jim earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maine in Orono. He has previously taught and advised students at three different boarding schools, West Nottingham Academy in Maryland, St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, and Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine. Jim is well known for his record of establishing meaningful connections with young people through teaching. Jim is an incredible athlete who spends his free time in the woods or on a mountain.