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Board of Directors

JoEllen PerkinsJoEllen Perkins, LCSW, ACSW
Governance Committee Chair

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Palmdale, California & Grab the Reins, Castaic, California

JoEllen earned her Masters in Social Work from Sacramento State University in the early 80’s.   Upon graduation, she developed a small victim witness assistance program in rural Yolo County, California.   Kicking and screaming she moved to Southern California in 1983 – her 1-year-old son in tow - when her husband became involved in the film industry.   Since moving to the Los Angeles area, she has worked within the LA County Department of Mental Health, beginning  as a clinician working with children and youth, and currently as a mid-level manager.  In addition, JoEllen is an adjunct lecturer in the Master of Social Work program at California State University, Bakersfield.
JoEllen first became interested in incorporating horses in a therapeutic process in 1998 after having received a 'gift horse’ and experiencing the power of that relationship.   She stumbled upon EAGALA in 2000, became certified as a mental health professional, and has been involved with the organization since. In 2006, JoEllen established Grab the Reins, a small private practice focusing  on women in transition. JoEllen lives with her husband of 37 years, one dog, two cats and a tortoise – but visits her ranch family daily.   JoEllen has one finally married son who lives in San Francisco, CA.
Jeff MooreJeff Moore, CPA

Acres for Life, Chisago City, Minnesota

Jeff and his wife Lynn co-founded Acres for Life in 2001 with a mission for helping others experience the healing connection between people and animals. Acres for Life now has a primary team of ten dedicated professionals who work with individuals, families, corporations and residential treatment facilities in providing both EAP and EAL sessions. In addition, Acres for Life offers business consulting and program curriculum. 
Jeff has a Bachelor’s of Science in Accountancy and is a CPA. In his Acres for Life role, Jeff serves as an “other” in the EAGALA model, joining the mental health and equine professionals in group and corporate sessions utilizing his facilitation and team building skills and over 30 years of business and leadership experience. Jeff’s other full-time position is as Senior Vice President of Finance for AgriBank, an $80 billion financial institution providing financing to agricultural producers and rural America. Jeff and Lynn have five children ranging in age from 25 to 7, fourteen horses, two dogs and a variety of chickens and cats. 

Mark WoodMark Wood, PG cert Health Sciences (CAMH), PGC Teaching and Learning, Bphil(ed) Community and Youth work, Dip HE Community and Youth Work 


Whanganui, New Zealand
Mark has worked with young people for 30 years in Europe, the UK, USA and New Zealand. He is a published author having written a guide to working with young men for the UK charity UKYouth. He has many years experience in group work and individual work with young people and their families and communities. He believes that we all have the potential to make changes in our lives at an individual and community level and currently lives in an intentional community. He has been employed in a variety of settings in both statutory and voluntary agencies. He is a professional supervisor for people who work with young people and is clinical manager for the CAMHS service in Whanganui, New Zealand. He is a certified EAGALA practitioner and first used the EAGALA model of work in 2005.
Helena RouheHelena Rouhe, M.A., LMFT

Blue Moon Mending, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

Helena is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified EAGALA clinician. She has her Bachelor's degree in Psychobiology from Pitzer College, and two Master of Arts degrees. One specializing in visual processing/Cognitive Psychology from University of California, Riverside, and the other specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University. The Mind/Body/Spirit connection is the link to all of her professional and education experiences. Helena has experience with starting and facilitating experiential therapy programs; such as rock climbing and equine assisted psychotherapy. She is certified in several intervention models, as well as, dual diagnosis and relapse prevention. She has developed clinical programs for an acute care hospital, residential and outpatient chemical dependency, dual diagnosis, eating disorders and mental health treatment services. Helena has found that growing as a professional in the field of recovery has afforded her a tremendous amount of respect for a person’s willingness to change and grow. Critical to the growth process is the willingness of the support system to change and grow with their loved one.  

Helena has loved horses since she was old enough to point and smile at them. Starting her riding career in pony club she determined she had enough “Thelwell moments” and it was time to switch gears. She rode all around (english and western) for ten years and was state champion several times in different classes. In her twenties, she started riding dressage and has competed through Prix St. George. Now she has a two draft mares that work as therapy horses by day and jousters by night? Helena hopes any way...stay tuned. 


Ric JerezRicardo (Ric) A. Jerez, Ph.D., LPC


Open Arms Behavioral Health, LLC, Lawton, Oklahoma 

Ric is a naturalized, bi-lingual immigrant from Cuba raised in Queens, New York.  In his thoughts and memories of childhood, he can’t remember a time that horses were not involved in his life.  His very first job at the age of 15 was as a stable hand at Belmont Park in New York.  He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1977 to 1985 and was medically/honorably discharged. While in the Marine Corps, he was trained as a Field Artilleryman and taught at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill Oklahoma.  He is a recipient of the Saint Barbara Medal (Exemplary Field Artilleryman) and the Navy Achievement Medal. He is a 100% disabled veteran.  

After discharge, he worked as a land surveyor for several years, and in 1989 he started preaching for the Church of Christ in Temple, Oklahoma where he preached for over 20 years.  In 1991, he went back to school and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Family Science, a Master's Degree in Behavioral Sciences and earned a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology in 1999 after which he started doing private practice work and joined the faculty of Cameron University. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology where he’s taught counseling and marriage and family courses at the graduate level for fifteen years and currently teaches Family Relations.  In 2006, he established Open Arms Behavioral Health, LLC, a CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited outpatient mental health clinic which provides approximately 175 hours of mental health services for people of all ages to the Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma area per week, and includes EAGALA Model EAP since his EAGALA Certification in 2013.


Wanda Whittlesey-JeromeWanda Whittlesey-Jerome, Ph.D., LMSW

Governance Committee

New Mexico State University, Corrales, New Mexico

Wanda earned her B.S.W. from the University of North Texas, and an M.S.S.W. and a Ph.D. in Social Work both from the University of Texas at Arlington. Wanda is a Licensed Master Social Worker, practicing the EAGALA Model and evaluating its effectiveness in the Horse Capital of New Mexico – Corrales – and beyond. As part of her 12 years of direct social work practice with homeless clients, survivors of interpersonal violence, incarcerated individuals, and others, she became a high-level administrator of social services and substance abuse treatment programs for The Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Social Service Center in Dallas, Texas, followed by a university teaching career that now spans 23 years. Her university teaching began at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas, followed by a move to New Mexico where she taught and was an administrator in the School of Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University. Currently she teaches graduate foundation practice, human behavior and the social environment, and advanced group work as Associate Professor for the School of Social Work at New Mexico State University’s MSW Program in Albuquerque.

Wanda is EAGALA Certified mental health professional. Having had the pleasure of living with horses during her life, she is also a major equine enthusiast! To Wanda, horses are profoundly important – and she is happy to help encourage and support their role in mental health treatment. She recently completed co-facilitating an eight-week EAGALA program for veterans and their families, and plans are underway to conduct a study of EAGALA and well-being among female survivors of military sexual trauma. Her earlier research focused on the impact of EAGALA on resilience of at-risk youth. Recently, she published results of her study of the impact of EAGALA on self-efficacy among female survivors of interpersonal violence. Wanda and her husband, photographic artist Ric Speed, live in Corrales, New Mexico with their Labradoodle Pearl, Australian Sheppard/Blue Heeler mix Ozzie, two black and white cats - Abbi and Lizbeth, and a myriad of Gambril quail and cottontail bunnies.


Misty Jones

Misty M. Jones

Governance Committee

The Bridges Program, Kentucky

Misty has been the Executive Director of The Bridges Program in Owensboro, Kentucky, for the last eight years. She also served for nine years as a board member and one year as president at Dream Riders of Kentucky, which exposed her to EAGALA. This experience prompted Misty to become a certified EAGALA Equine Specialist working towards her advanced certification. Misty has been involved in Drug and Alcohol prevention as a motivational speaker to groups in the court system as well as schools and civic organizations for the past twenty-three years. The Governor of Kentucky, the State Attorney General, and the County Judge Executive have recognized Misty for her sixteen years of advocacy for victims of violent crime. She has also been awarded the Robert M. Strauss award for her work in drug and alcohol abuse prevention. In 2015, she was awarded the Beacon Award through Lighthouse Recovery for her work with addicts using the EAGALA model. Misty has served with the Juvenile Drug Court task force for the last eight years while providing family therapy with horses to adolescents working through recovery. In addition, she has served with the Aubrey’s Song Foundation for the last four years, which brings awareness to eating disorders.

Misty resides in Owensboro, Kentucky, where she houses two Appaloosas, one Quarter horse, and two Miniature horses for her therapeutic work. She also has a spunky Golden Retriever named Bear, who enjoys ruling the barn and rolling in dirt. When she is not trail riding, Misty has a profound love of the outdoors and is an avid hunter and markswoman on the range with rifles, shotguns, and pistols.


Lisa KrystosekLisa Krystosek, J.D., M.H.A., L.P.C.

Governance Committee

Bridle Ridge Acres/Community Treatment, Inc., Hillsboro, Missouri

Lisa is a licensed professional counselor practicing in Missouri. She is also a licensed attorney and mediator. Lisa earned her M.A. in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University and her Juris Doctor and M.H.A. from St. Louis University. She is currently earning a Doctorate in Counselor Education from University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Lisa is an Eagala Certified Practitioner and is working toward Advanced Certification. She qualifies as both a mental health specialist and an equine specialist. She is also a TF-CBT certified practitioner and finds the Eagala model to be a powerful and effective method for helping her clients address trauma-related issues. Lisa is currently employed at Bridle Ridge Acres, a therapeutic farm owned by Community Treatment, Inc. She works with the Division of Juvenile Justice to provide equine-assisted psychotherapy services to adolescent boys in recovery. She also works with Veterans Treatment Court to provide services to Veterans through the Bridle Ridge Acres Veterans Equine Program (B.R.A.V.E.).

A life-long horse person, Lisa grew up with a variety of ponies in her backyard. Throughout high school and college she re-trained and re-homed off-the-track thoroughbreds. She enjoyed competing in horse trials and jumper divisions for several years and her main focus is now dressage. She makes a point of having as much fun as possible with her adorable Haflinger/Paint gelding named Q. In addition to working with horses, Lisa also has a therapy dog named Louis and a “therapy cat” named Freddy.