Craig Pearson, M.Ed. – Founder, Executive Director
Craig directs the Pacia Life Puerto Rico (Surf House) program as Owner, Founder, and Executive Director. Passionate about empowering students to connect with their individual styles and inner strengths, Craig has counseled and supported students for the past 25 years. You will find Craig connecting with students in the surf line up, alongside on a mountain bike, or running in preparation for his next road race. Craig is a strength-based leader with a Master Degree in Emotional and Behaviors Disorders from Notre Dame College. His work with students and their families has helped hundreds of students achieve their goals of independence and improved relationships. As a Founder and managing partner, Craig utilizes his experience to direct a high-quality educational journey for students and their families.
Lindsey Bauer, BSW – Operations Director, Life Coach
Lindsey Bauer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Magna Cum Laude, minoring in Psychology. During undergraduate studies, Lindsey was inducted into the National Honor Society for Psychology (PSI CHI). She is also a member of the National Honor Society for Social Work (PI THETA PHI ALPHA) and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). During her four years as a student-athlete, she was Captain of FMU’s women’s soccer team and received the All-State Academic Award during her junior and senior year. Lindsey’s field placement at a Center for Family and Child Enrichment, Inc. located in Miami, FL fueled her passion to guide young adults. A Florida native, Lindsey grew up loving every aspect of the water. In her free time she enjoys surfing, snorkeling, and adventuring around the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
Mark Storey, MA – Therapist
A native of Seattle, Mark earned his B.A. from the University of Washington Comparative History of Ideas department after completing his thesis ‘Creativity in Wilderness Therapy’. A strong believer in growth through expanding one’s own comfort zone, he set out traveling after college living in Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and across the US. He later worked in a wilderness therapy program in northeast Georgia before earning his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University. Mark volunteered at an equine therapy program and practiced individual counseling at a rehabilitation facility in Lewiston, ID. Through his style of helping clients work through issues of identity development by harnessing a client’s innate creative strength, he has worked successfully with clients suffering from ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Cutting/Self Harm, ODD, Addiction, Suicidal Ideation, LGBT Issues, Codependency, Family Systems, Abuse, Trauma/PTSD, Grief, and Eating Disorders.
After graduating from Keene State College with a B.A. in Psychology, Zach spent a year working as a paraprofessional in a Middle School and as a direct support professional for Monadnock Developmental Services. Zach is currently working on a post bachelors program in Special Education through Granite State. Zach is a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ways to challenge himself.
Zach is an avid hiker, writer, and athlete. He grew up hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Throughout his life, he has always loved to share his passions and help other people find their own. With a focus on academic achievement, Zach works with our students to create sustainable resiliency and healthy habits.
Having been born and raised in the mountains just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Amy has always enjoyed nature and adventure. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of New Mexico with a strong desire to help others on their quest for personal growth. Amy spent a year and a half working with adolescents in a Wilderness Therapy setting. Because of her upbringing, education, and experience throughout her own personal journey, Amy strongly believes in the healing power of nature and explorations ability to aid in self discovery.
While living in Georgia and North Carolina Amy worked as a white water rafting guide. Amy also has experience working with Equine Therapy and possesses several certifications including Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue, and CPR. As the newest member of the Pacia Family, Amy is grateful that this step in her profession and personal journey has brought her to this beautiful island where she will continue to make a positive impact helping young adults.
Valentina was born in Venezuela, grew up in South Florida, and is bilingual (Spanish/English). She is finishing her Bachelors Degree in Mathematics Education at Florida International University and has been a Mathematics and Reading Comprehension Tutor for over six years. Valentina is a CrossFit Athlete as well as a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer who is currently a fitness coach at Rincon Fitness Center. Valentina is extremely passionate about fitness and education, as well as helping our young adults in their personal and academic growth.
Originally from England, Michelle started riding lessons at 3 years old as a member of the English Pony Club, advancing over a period of 10 years into the British Show Jumping circuit. She has competed and trained under several professionals as well as in the British dressage circuit, with many wins under her belt. She later expanded to the study of Natural Horsemanship training and riding techniques in the United States and competed in Western trail, reining, pleasure and in-hand classes.
Michelle has experience training and starting young and abused horses and has over 10+ years working in therapeutic riding. She was employed by RDA (Riding for the Disabled) in the UK for 5+ years and spent several years volunteering in the States for NARHA (now PATH Intl). Most recently, Michelle trained and performed with the Herrmann Royal Lippizzaner Stallions troupe based in Florida. Michelle is passionate about animals and active with several rescue groups in the area. In 2015 Michelle co-founded West Coast Ecuestre, a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing riding services for both able-bodied and special needs riders in Puerto Rico.
Annie Turri is a Registered Adaptive Riding Instructor with PATH International, the gold standard certification in Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT). PATH International certifies instructors assist children and adults – including veterans and active duty military personnel – with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse. Annie is also a PATH certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) which qualifies her as an instructor to use the horse in partnership with a mental health team to serve wide-ranging audiences for educational purposes and personal growth. She has over 25 years of horse experience, starting in the 4-H International program and working through the system from beginner to intermediate and advanced levels in a variety of English and Western Riding disciplines. Annie is originally from Breckenridge Colorado and holds a BA in Psychology and English from Willamette University. She is a bilingual instructor and is also the co-owner of Rincón Vacations travel company, with nearly 10 years of experience in the travel industry in Puerto Rico. In 2015, Annie co-founded West Coast Ecuestre, a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing riding services for both able-bodied and special needs riders in Puerto Rico.
Jeanne’s passion for teaching sailing started in 1994. Since then sailing has been her life. She had the great fortune of being trained and coached by some of the best professionals in the industry. They showed her their love and passion for growing this sport and in turn, she was inspired and confident to do the same. Jeanne loves taking Pacia Life Students through the whole US Sailing Small Boat Sailing Certification Class. Jeanne, and her staff from Rincon Sailing, use small class sizes and individual attention to teach not only the beauty of sailing but also key lessons about life that come from moving with Mother Nature to reach a specific goal.
The Rincón Sailing curriculum emphasizes water safety, wind awareness, boat handling, and seamanship. Decision making, leadership, and respect for the local marine environment are also highlighted. Rincón Sailing offers graduated educational formats beginning with learning to sail, intermediate and advanced racing. No matter what level sailor, safety, fun, and learning independence is the forefront of the curriculum.
Whit Arnold, Surf Guide/Instructor
After receiving a BFA in Professional Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Whit Arnold went back to California with aspirations of planting his feet in the surf industry. While in California he worked for The Surfer’s Journal, ZJ Boarding House and Kapowui Surf Club. After a few years in LA, the time came to make moves elsewhere so he packed up the bare essentials and drove to North Carolina to be with family.
It wasn’t long before he landed a job working for Morro Negrito Surf Camp as a guide on the east coast of Panama. And, following that was a job with another surf camp in guiding and social media at Surf Tours Nicaragua based out of Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua. It was after this time in Central America when Puerto Rico came into the picture for Whit.
This is his fifth year in Rincon, Puerto Rico working for SASS Global Travel at The Rincon Surf School. As of right now he spends most of his days working as a surf coach and doing ding repair. He is a passionate waterman who is certified in life-guarding and water rescue as well as a self-proclaimed surf nerd who enjoys spending the off-season traveling back to the USA to spend time with friends and family.
Annie Villalba is the founder of Spanish Immersion Rincon-SIR. She was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico. Growing up, she had the opportunity to be exposed to the English language while in school and although it was taught by Spanish speaking teachers, it sparked a desire within her to learn new languages. As an adult she moved to Asheville, NC where she lived for over 10 years, thus giving her the opportunity to not only immerse in the English language but also into the American culture. Upon returning to PR in 2011, she realized the need to offer the same opportunity to all of those who choose Puerto Rico as their new home.
Annie has a BA in Psychology, which is an integral part of her teaching style, by observing and adapting her classes to meet the needs of the students at all times.
Annie states, “I am passionate about languages. I make my classes fun and interactive, so time really flies while you are having fun learning. I look forward to sharing a little bit about our beautiful Puerto Rico’s language and culture with you soon!”
Dawn Bauer, the founder of The Family Hope Line, is a certified Parent Coach and DISC Certified Behavior Analyst.
She personally serves as a family advocate and coach providing support and assistance to parents seeking therapeutic solutions for their struggling teen. She has personally experienced the difficult choice of placing her youngest of three sons in a therapeutic boarding school in 2007.
She has benefited from parent coaching as well. Through this experience, she realized her need for personal work as a parent which was instrumental in the restoration process for her son and her family. Against the backdrop of having served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for over 12 years, she combined her passion for advocacy with her career goals.
As a Parent Coach, Dawn delivers professional and heartfelt guidance to families as they sort through the options available to address the challenges that often arise in teens as they develop emotionally and physically.
With combined studies in communication at Valdosta State University and Applied Behavioral Science at Ashford University, in addition to coaching certification through Next Steps for Success, Dawn strives to utilize her personal experience and her knowledge to offer insight, empathy, and solutions for each family served. She is passionate about helping parents better understand and communicate with their child as they discover the root of their emotional pain and recognize the patterns in their destructive behavior. Through her coaching sessions, she offers empowerment and motivation. She does this via a skills-based approach to better equip parents with the tools necessary to assist with their teens struggles while also working to restore the family unit with trust, respect, and communication.
Dawn is a native of Georgia. Her greatest accomplishment is that of mom to her three adult sons. In addition to the aforementioned 12 years of CASA work she served as a member of Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P 1st, and is Founding Board Member and camp Co-Director of SeaSide Summer Enrichment Camp which serves at-risk adolescents.