This is a  staff list for Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek, AZ

(a.k.a. Arizona Boys Ranch, Rite of Passage, Sycamore Canyon Academy second location in Oracle)

(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)

 

We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at the Canyon State Academy.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Canyon State Academy, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Canyon State Academy, please contact info@heal-online.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.

 

 

Please don’t place your loved one in Canyon State Academy and rescue them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Simon Ocampo Coach  Ocampo is a certified Physical Education teacher in AZ. Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed  Ocampo is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Mark Yockus Principal In March of 2000, Arizona Boys Ranch changed its name to Canyon State Academy. The name change followed the 1998 tragic incident at the Oracle facility, but was based on new marketing strategies that took place during that time. It continues to operate as a nonprofit organization with Rite of Passage (a for profit company) as a management company and ran by a Board of Directors responsible for the operations.  Yockus reportedly no longer works for this program and now works at Mission Academy.  Yockus is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  Yockus is a certified Prnicipal in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Lynn Croom Principal Secretary  Croom is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  Croom is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Jay Reichenberger Asst. Principal/Dean of Students/Athletic Director Reichenberger has been with Arizona Boys Ranch since 1999 (possibly earlier).  Reichenberger reportedly no longer works for this program.  Reichenberger is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm   Reichenberger is a certified secondary teacher with approved subject of Social Studies.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dr. Greenfield (no first name given) Team Physician Greenfield reportedly no longer works for this program.  HEAL requires Dr. Greenfield's full name in order to verify licensure. 
Troy Watson Coach Watson reportedly no longer works for this program.  Watson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  Watson holds only provisional secondary license/certifications with approved subject of history (2013).  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dan Aning Coach Aning reportedly no longer works for this program.  Aning is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  Aning is not a licensed/certified educator (2013).  (Formerly licensed, but, not currently at time of this writing in 2013.)  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Mannie Lopez Coach  Lopez is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  HEAL requires Mannie's full legal name and date of birth in order to verify credentials.
Paul Collinsworth Coach Collinsworth reportedly no longer works for this program.   Collinsworth is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  Collinsworth is not a licensed/certified educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Paul Graham Coach Graham reportedly no longer works for this program.  Graham is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm  HEAL requires Graham's date of birth in order to verify teacher certification or lack thereof.
Mike Brown Coach  There is a Michael J. Brown (may be a different person) that is a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist.  HEAL requires Brown's full name to verify.  HEAL requires Brown's full name and date of birth to verify whether or not Brown is a licensed educator in AZ.
Tracey Watkins Coach Watkins reportedly no longer works for this program.  Watkins is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm   Watkins is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dave Nelson Coach Nelson reportedly no longer works for this program.  Nelson is a licensed educator in AZ and is licensed to coach sports and teach English.  Source: AZ Department of Education documents submitted by Nelson.
Al Waters Founder Waters is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Howard Pyle Founder (former governor of Arizona)    Pyle is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
George Miller Founder Miller is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Jack Barnes Supporter Jack and Leo donated the property to start Arizona Boys Ranch.  HEAL did not do a background check on Barnes because Barnes does not actively work with youth at this program.
Leo Ellsworth Supporter Jack and Leo donated the property to start Arizona Boys Ranch.  HEAL did not do a background check on Ellsworth because Ellsworth does not actively work with youth at this program.
Barry A. McBride Board of Directors His community involvements and professional affiliations include: Chairman of the Board, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance President, Central Arizona Estate Planning Council Board of Directors, Canyon State Academy Advisory Council, Canyon State Academy Morale and Ethical Trainer, Canyon State Academy Financial Advisory Member, Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation Past President, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Member, Million Dollar Round Table, Honor Roll, Top of the Table Member, Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, Diamond Knight Member, General Agents and Managers Association Foundation Member, Society of Financial Service Professionals Member, Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Past President, NAIFA Arizona Past President, NAIFA Phoenix Past President, Arizona General Agents and Managers Association B. A., Grand Canyon University Chartered Life Underwriter Accredited Estate Planner Registered Representative, Capital Analysts, Incorporated, Member, FINRA – SIPC   McBride is also with Sun Cornerstone Group.  McBride is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Donald R. Alvarez Board of Directors Attorney in Scottsdale, AZ.  Alvarez is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Elizabeth Gonzalez Vice Principal HEAL requires Gonzalez' full name and date of birth to verify teacher certification/licensure.
Louis Ruesing Asst. Principal Ruesing is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
James "Ski" Broman President Broman is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Brian Heath Site Admin. Heath is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
John Motley Bus. Director Motley is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Jay Trost Group Living Dir. Trost is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Paul McCurtain Student Services Dir. McCurtain is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Craig Cutshaw Athletic Dir. Cutshaw is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Niles Jackson Shift Supervisor Jackson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Steve Aderholt Shift Supervisor Aderholt is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
David Woodson Shift Supervisor Woodson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Shane Wilson Unit Mgr. Wilson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Thomas Robinson Unit Mgr. Robinson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Derrick Jamerson Unit Mgr. Jamerson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Steven Bates Unit Mgr. Bates is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Hurl Beecham Unit Mgr. Beecham is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Robert Bennett Unit Mgr. Bennett is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Alan Parker Unit Mgr. Parker is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
James Cobb Case Mgr. Cobb is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Scott White Case Mgr. White is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Mary Gohram Case Mgr. Gohram is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Michelle Delacruz Case Mgr. Delacruz is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Lasha McPherson Case Mgr. McPherson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Emily Kamutse Case Mgr. Kamutse is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Anthony Abdo Case Mgr. Abdo is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Derrick Cooper Case Mgr. Cooper is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Michael Scott Case Mgr. Scott is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
Dana Bennett Case Mgr. Bennett is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source: http://www.azbbhe.us/verifications.htm
OTHER OTHER The staff attrition rate at this facility is reportedly so high that coaches stay no longer than a few months.
Memorial Site-- Lorenzo Johnson, died June 27th, 1994 at Arizona Boys Ranch
Memorial Site-- Nicholas Contreras, died March 2nd, 1998 at Arizona Boys Ranch
Police Complaints Involving Canyon State Academy, Rite of Passage, and Arizona Boys Ranch from January, 2000-December, 2013
Complaints include sexual assault of minors, child abuse, missing persons, and more.  There is no valid basis for this facility to remain open based on the information available.  For complete police complaint history on Canyon State Academy (program and location operating under other names), click here.
PCSO: More 911 calls coming from Sycamore Canyon Academy by Catherine Holland Video report by Tanya Mendis Posted on November 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM Updated Tuesday, Nov 11 at 5:37 PM ORACLE, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says it is seeing a spike in 911 calls from a treatment facility that serves troubled teen boys. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu attributes the increase in calls from Sycamore Canyon Academy to the recent placement of several unaccompanied minors from Central America there. According to PCSO, there were eight calls from Sycamore Canyon between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10, 2013. Half of them were hang-ups and two were reporting runaways. Although there was one call each for threatening and disturbing the peace, there were no calls for any violent incidents. A number provided by PSCO shows 13 calls during the same time timeframe this year, nearly half of them involving some kind of violence. Five calls involved assaults on students and staff and one reported criminal damage. "Clearly there's an uptick in violent acts," Babeu said. The most recent call was Wednesday, Oct. 8. PSCO says a 13-year-old from Colombia used a tube sock filled with three bars of soap to attack a 74-year-old Sycamore Canyon staff member who had been called by another boy. Babeu said the teen swung the soap-filled sock "almost like a bat" and hit the man in the head. Other staff members restrained the teen and called 911. The teen who originally called the staff member to request an inhaler denied any involvement in the attack. He and other juveniles that detectives interviewed said there was no plan to attack the staffer, according to PCSO. Deputies took the teen, who has since turned 14, into custody, but said he refused to answer questions without a lawyer. Babeu said the teen was one of as many as 50 juveniles from Central America sent to the facility. He was placed there in July. "These were the ones that came from Texas, were then flown here and bused down to this academy," he said. "This is a population that we haven't been able to assess." Babeu said his office has requested information about the boys sent to Sycamore Canyon Academy, but was denied. "Law enforcement was never provided with the profiles or criminal histories of the unaccompanied juveniles coming from Central America and being placed into our communities," he said in a statement. He also said he believes that "a reasonable person" would see a connection between the recent 911 calls his department has received and the transfer of the Central Americans teens to Sycamore Canyon Academy. Babeu said numerous Oracle residents have contacted his office to express their concerns about what's happening at Sycamore Canyon. Babeu has been outspoken in his disapproval of the government's handling of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who are in the U.S. illegally. "I've said from the very beginning ... the most humane response from our country and the federal government is to have these juveniles from Central America put on a plane and sent back to their country of origin and reunited with their families," he explained. The teen involved in the Oct. 8 incident was booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault. Sycamore Canyon Academy opened in 2007 and is part of Rite of Passage, a national organization that provides programs and opportunities for troubled and at-risk kids. According to its website, the academy features a six-month program built around "cognitive behavioral therapy as our therapeutic approach to changing troubled behavior." Oracle is a small mountain town about 30 miles north of Tucson. The 2010 census put Oracle's population at a little more than 3,600. Read more: http://www.azfamily.com/news/PCSO-More-911-calls-coming-from-Sycamore-Canyon-Academy-282313041.html#ixzz3JIXvCKdB
Riot at Rite of Passage leads to fires, escapes David Jacobs, RGJ 6:33 a.m. PST March 2, 2015 Smoke billows from a fire in a maintenance shop building to the west of the gym that is seen (lighted building) Saturday evening at Rite of Passage-Silver State Academy.(Photo: Keith Trout/Mason Valley News) 26 CONNECT 15 TWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE A riot broke out Saturday night at the Rite of Passage youth facility near Yerington, leading to fires and the initial escape of 10 people, the Lyon County Sheriff reported. Sheriff Al McNeil provided the information Sunday in a Facebook post. "I do not know the riot's root cause," McNeil said. "Six escapees were later caught; however, as of this morning, four were still at large." Details on the at-large youths were not available. The riot included two structure fires, McNeil said. A fire photo, posted on Twitter by Keith Trout of the Mason Valley News, shows heavy smoke coming from a building. The extent of fire damage is not known. No injuries were reported. "Nine deputies spent most of the night assisting tribal police," McNeil said in the post. Messages seeking further details were left Sunday at the sheriff's office and Rite of Passage. According to its website, Rite of Passage's Silver State Academy serves boys 14-17 who have a history of delinquent behaviors, mild mental health issues and special education needs. It "has been providing residential treatment services to at-risk-male youth who are provided skills and opportunities to turn their lives around since 1987," the site states. The facility is at 100 Rosaschi Lane. In December, large-scale fights at Rite of Passage prompted calls for law enforcement and emergency medical responders, the Mason Valley News has reported.   Source: http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/03/01/youth-riot-ends-rite-passage-near-yerington/24236239/
Uprising at juvenile camp leads sheriff to call for changes Associated Press By SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press3/4/2015 © AP Photo/Mason Valley News, Keith Trout This Feb. 28, 2015 photo shows smoke rising from a fire at the Rite of Passage Silver State Academy near Yerington, Nev. Authorities are investigating a riot at a juvenile rehabilitation camp in northern Nevada where two… RENO, Nev. — School officials insist that everything is back to normal after a riot at a juvenile rehabilitation center in rural western Nevada. But the local sheriff says the neighboring town is on edge and "at its wits' end" following the latest in a series of violent outbursts by the teenagers. Two buildings at the youth camp on the edge of Yerington were set on fire, four staff members were hurt and 10 of the youths were on the run over the weekend after escaping the facility that doesn't have a fence to lock in its troubled population. Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil said he is worried it could be worse, that someone might get killed. He's pressing officials at the Rite of Passage Silver State Academy to make changes so it doesn't happen again. "I've had public safety concerns over the years because there is no fencing to keep them on the property," McNeil told The Associated Press. "They break into my citizens' homes and steal keys and steal cars. My community is at its wits' end right now." "This is rural Nevada, and every home has a gun. My biggest concern is one of these kids will go into a house at 2 a.m., and there will be a farmer or a rancher there — and we'll have a fatal shooting. In Nevada, that would be a justifiable homicide, but nobody wants to see that," he added. No one was seriously injured, but one staff member had to be treated at a local hospital after Saturday night's incident, McNeil said Tuesday. The state fire marshal is investigating the arsons, and Yerington Tribal Police are probing the cause of the riot — the fourth uprising in four months at the school for at-risk teens, McNeil said. The camp is on tribal land about 8 miles north of Yerington and 70 miles southeast of Reno. McNeil said several youths "made a bunch of improvised weapons," but he had no further details about the incident or nature of the minor injuries. "You break a table leg, and then you have a club," McNeil said. Six of the escapees were captured shortly after the riot that broke out about 8 p.m. Saturday, and the other four the next morning, he said. One building housing the laundry and another with a maintenance shop suffered an undetermined amount of fire damage. The academy is a nonprofit, licensed and accredited charter school operated by the Rite of Passage Adolescent Treatment Centers and Schools, which is based in Minden, Nevada, and sponsored by California's El Dorado County Office of Education. Rick Wright, corporate human resources director for Rite of Passage, said he couldn't comment on details or the status of the youths who were involved because of confidentiality requirements regarding juveniles. "We had an unpredictable situation," Wright told the AP. "We are studying the events of what happened so we can prevent them in the future." "We were well staffed up, but we've upped the staffing as a preventative measure," he said Tuesday afternoon from Minden, which is about 40 miles south of Reno. "Operations have gone back to normal. Everything was back to normal by Sunday." The school is required to have one staff member on site for every eight youths, "and we were well in excess of that — approximately 3-to-1," Wright said. He estimated that there were about 25 youths at the school at the time. He said he couldn't comment on what sparked the uprising. "I'm not at liberty to say. It's still under investigation," Wright said. Officials for the El Dorado County Office of Education in Placerville, California, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. John Dibble, chairman of the school's advisory board, said school officials are considering changes to improve safety at the facility that opened in 1987. "I'm devastated that once again we were a threat to the community, and that's not something we enjoy being," he told KOLO-TV in Reno. McNeil said this isn't the first time there has been trouble at the camp. There were three less serious riots during a two-day period at the school in December, he said. The school's website said it provides counseling, educational, vocational and athletic programs for boys ages 14 to 17 "with a troubled past." The majority are sent there on court orders as an alternative to prison. "We are disappointed with the actions of a few of our students, and those responsible will be held accountable," the school said in a statement on its website. "We are still positive that our program benefits disadvantaged youth and will be evaluating future admissions." Most of the youths are sent there from neighboring California, McNeil said. Yerington Tribal Police did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.  Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/uprising-at-juvenile-camp-leads-sheriff-to-call-for-changes/ar-BBid7yd
Also See articles here and here.
Out of sight - Out of mind!  Bring Maryland kids back to Maryland, or at least no further away than neighboring states.  
by Anonymous Contributor (via e-mail on 1/31/16)

The Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit (JJMU),  an oversight division of the MD Office of Attorney General, in a December 2015 3rd Quarter Report cited, " on two separate occasions during the quarter, boys that DJS sent to the Canyon State facility in Arizona sustained significant injuries, reportedly during inappropriate restraint procedures utilized by facility staff. According to reports, the boys had their arms held behind their heads during the restraints while they were in a seated position with both legs extended in front of them. Their heads were then forcefully pressed to their knees for an extended period of time as staff took turns maintaining the restraint. One boy had difficulty breathing during the restraint and suffered knee and face injuries. The other boy suffered from a compression fracture to his back". (http://www.oag.state.md.us/jjmu/reports/15_Quarter3.pdf )    (Report also available here.)

As correctly noted in another discussion posting on this forum, The operator of Canyon State Academy in Arizona is Rite Of Passage Inc, the same for-profit company that owns and operates Silver Oak Academy in Carroll County Maryland. Over the years, monitoring reports from western states have cited ongoing concerns regarding Rite Of Passage Inc's misuse of physical restraints. Rite Of Passage was a proponent of boot camp-type programs and a young man died in one of their camp programs in 1992 (http://nospank.net/n-b98.htm  Child Meets Violent Death in Desert Boot Camp ).  

I question the $60,000,000 million contract amount for only 48 beds at Silver Oak Academy cited previously within this forum, but I did manage to locate that same figure in Board of Public Works meeting minutes. I also was able to find concerns in prior JJMU reports of misuse of physical restraint by the Silver Oak Academy program. That seemed deeply concerning in light of the fact that the previous tenant,  Bowling Prep School,  that operated on the same site where
Silver Oak Academy currently operates was closed down because of an earlier restraint-related death. Why does Maryland continue to send the state's youth to far away out-of-state programs in the western United States? Interestingly, research also revealed that a youth died in a restraint-related death in the late 1990's on the Arizona site where Rite Of Passage, Inc. now operates the Canyon State Academy that was cited in the JJMU's 12/2015 report.  

Interesting how Rite Of Passage had a kid die in a restraint at their Nevada camp in 1992 and then proceeds to takeover and buy programs in Arizona and Maryland that were closed due to restraint related deaths.

 *(Canyon State Academy, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)

 Last Updated: February 3rd, 2016

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