This is a  staff list for The Monarch School in Heron, Montana

This Program is Now Closed.

(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 Monarch School.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at The Monarch School, you have the right to take action. 


If you were harmed (family or survivor) by The Monarch School, please contact 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 Monarch School and rescue them if they are there now. 




Additional Information
Ron Mendenhall President Mendenhall reportedly no longer works for this program.
Jim Rogers Program Director Rogers reportedly no longer works for this program.
Timothy Earle Program Director Earle no longer appears to work for this program.
Jamie Jones Academic Director Jamie has completed the entire Emotional Growth Program at the school, and has found it to be life-changing. She truly believes that she has become a better mother, teacher, and woman through her work at Monarch School.--From the Monarch School website on July 24th, 2009 (CULT)
Tracey Sutton Admissions Sutton reportedly no longer works for this program.  Worked at a behavior modification program in Vermont (unidentified).*
Suzi Cochran Program Coordinator  
B. Lynn Marshall Admissions  
Lorie Hartman Academic Coordinator  
Nancy Carre Teacher Also co-founder of unnamed program in Colorado.  (Subjects: History/Humanities/Literature/Substitute)
Chuck Kilpatrick Outdoor Manager Kilpatrick has worked for two other unnamed wilderness programs.*  Kilpatrick was reportedly fired from Monarch in 2013.
Evan Gray Outdoor Asst.  
Curtis Foster Life Skills Manager Foster reportedly no longer works for this program.  Foster has worked at various behavior modification programs since 1997.  If you can fill us in on the specific programs, please contact us.*
David Barth Life Skills Manager Barth formerly worked for Outward Bound in Pacific Crest Outward Bound School in the Sierra Mountains of California.
Sarah Loseman Life Skills Manager Formerly worked at residential and wilderness programs in Utah and Texas.  Loseman no longer works for this program.
Angie Roberts Instructor Roberts no longer works for this program.  Roberts also worked for Second Nature Wilderness in Georgia.  Second Nature is confirmedly abusive.
Mac Hollan Instructor There is no further information on this staff.*  Hollan no longer works for this program.
Erik Yost Peer Leader Yost no longer works for this program.  Formerly with Second Nature Wilderness, a confirmedly abusive wilderness program in Oregon, Georgia, and Utah.  Yost also went to the University of Utah.
Scott Richardson Peer Leader Richardson no longer works for this program.
Erin Nugent Peer Leader Nugent no longer works for this program.
Ella Caldwell Life Skills Instructor Caldwell no longer works for this program.
Jason Newcomb Peer Leader Newcomb no longer works for this program.
Julie Pitre Peer Leader Pitre no longer works for this program.
Solan Wolf Peer Leader Wolf no longer works for this program.
Adam Stamper Farm Manager Stamper no longer works for this program.
Richard (Rick) Reed Teacher  
Anna Boshka Planning  
Brian Grosenbaugh Teacher  
Katsunori Hanaoka Teacher  
Natty Role (male--first name possibly Nathan) Teacher  
Bruce Bishop Teacher Bishop no longer works for this program.
Doug Dana Teacher Dana no longer works for this program.
Erica Nizzoli Teacher Nizzoli no longer appears to work for this program.
Alysoun Regier Johnston Teacher  
Kally Thurman Teacher Thurman no longer works for this program.
Leslie Handell Teacher Handell no longer appears to work for this program.
Winston Cook Teacher  
Tom Gaumont Teacher Gaumont no longer works for this program.  Gaumont has worked for other unnamed residential facilities/programs.
Meredith Lueck Teacher Lueck no longer appears to work for this program.
Leila Carre-Smith Teacher Smith no longer appears to work for this program.
Katherine Regier Teacher Regier no longer works for this program.
Amanda Obery Teacher Obery no longer works for this program.
Mary Hanson Nurse Hanson no longer appears to work for this program.
Katheryne Montgomery Mail Clerk Monitors/censors/confiscates incoming/outgoing mail.  Montgomery no longer appears to work for this program.
Chad Palmer Maintenance  
Josh Jones Carpenter Jones no longer appears to work for this program.
Jason Jacobs Head Chef Jacobs no longer works for this program.
Justin Carnecchia Chef  
Leanne Smith Cook  
Darlyne Syth Cook  
Cheryl Johnson Cook  
Keri Greer Receptionist  
Sherry Foster Clothing Foster no longer works for this program.
Tamini Allard Nurse Allard no longer works for this program.
Brian Hartman Night Staff  
Josie Platt Night Staff  
Marlene Fausett Night Staff Fausett no longer appears to work for this program.
Keith Ozbun Night Staff  
NO NAMES NO TITLES There is no further information regarding staff at this time.*
*(Monarch School, 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.)
HEAL has received over 15 e-mails and calls regarding alleged abuse and violations at The Monarch School in Heron, MT.
HEAL Review: Monarch School Application/Admissions Packet (Hyperlink to left will open complete text of Monarch School's Admissions Packet for those who prefer additional contextualization.)

Page "A1"

It is a concern that Monarch School requires children provide their passports and/or certified copies of their birth certificates.  Why does Monarch School require this information in this format?  Does Monarch School take children out of the country?  Why does the school require a certified copy of the child's birth certificate when other schools and programs do not?  How is this information used by the program?

The requirements for private schools in Montana are available at  According to the Office of Public Instruction, Jamie Jones' (Academic Director)  licensure to teach in Montana expired in June, 2010.  It has not been renewed.  See:  The Office of Public Instruction lists no known/licensed schools (public nor private) in Heron, MT.  See:  This raises concerns regarding what education/academic service(s) are provided and whether or not such academic services/credits are transferrable to legitimate schools and colleges.  This is a serious concern.

It is a concern that this program seems to only accept children that have been through a wilderness program.  What wilderness programs do they work with and are they reputable? 

It is an additional concern that this program requires all private letters between parent and child exchanged during previous program enrollment.  Why is this necessary and how does this assist the child or the family?

Pages A1-A2

It is a concern that Monarch School requires so much personally identifying information without explaining the purpose of requiring this information.  The program requires the full name, social security number, and religious affiliation of: the child being enrolled, his parents, his step-parents, and his guardian if applicable.  Beyond this, the application also requires the level of education, occupation, and business contact information of all adults in the child's immediate family.  These requests are excessive and raise concerns regarding the privacy of the information and the purpose of Monarch requiring such information.

Monarch School also requests the name and contact information of the party who referred the family to the program.  Parents should ask whether or not referral agents receive any compensation for making referrals to Monarch School as doing so shows a conflict of interest and raises multiple ethical concerns.

Page A3

It appears this program accepts court-ordered youth.  If a child's probation requirements include he/she attend Monarch School, then such may be considered court-ordered.  This suggests that Monarch School accepts youths with criminal tendencies and may suggest parents who have children with learning or behavior challenges that are not criminal in nature consider other options.  It is a concern that a child's privacy in entering the program is already being violated by the program before the first day and that other civil rights violations may be occurring at this program as well.  If the child is placed by government authorities and the program is under contract with the government, then the program must respect and honor the civil rights of those charges.  And, this raises additional concerns.

Page R1

In this section, we will be quoting from the original text.  We have been experimenting with different writing/reporting styles on the HEAL website.  And, for this portion of Monarch's review, we will be quoting a section, explaining that section, and then quoting/explaining, etc. throughout this portion of the review.

Quote: "In the event of a medical emergency while engaged in adventure and/or outdoor experiences, government authorities may be contacted, and the school will abide by their decision regarding any emergency medical evacuation.  It is understood that various government entities react in varying ways, and that the school must abide by their directions in accordance with the rules and regulations that govern the school on public lands.  I/We will bear the costs and consequences of any decision by one of these entities."

HEAL: It is inappropriate for a state to allow programs like Monarch School to operate without proper insurance coverage or to cover the costs of their engaging in this type of business.  Monarch School chooses the wilderness locations and other locations where it operates.  If there is a serious risk to life, liberty, or health, then the program must certainly bear the brunt of the responsibility for such risks.  If the program wishes to be a limited liability endeavor, then it should also be required to provide the safest environment possible and limit/reduce serious risks whenever possible.  And, this would necessarily include choosing a safe environment and treating the children with respect and dignity so they are not inclined to risk harming themselves nor others.  It is unreasonable for a state to not regulate programs that put children at risk.  It is unreasonable for unregulated programs to place the entire assumption of risk on families who believe their deceptive marketing practices and are not present to agree to the conditions, methods, or location(s)/facilities used by Monarch School.  It is unprofessional and seemingly unconscionable for Monarch School to put the entire burden and risk on the family while maintaining complete control of the conditions and environment to which the child is subjected while enrolled.   

Quote: "I/We give consent for blood to be tested for above-named student for medical diagnoses, treatment and release of information.  This consent includes, but is not limited to: blood testing for HIV antibodies; testing with the western blot; hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases.  I/We hereby have been informed that the accuracy and reliability of the HIV test is still uncertain and the test results may, in some cases, indicate that a person has antibodies to the virus when the person has antibodies (false negative)... I/We understand that this consent and authorization to release medical information will remain in effect for 30 months after the date below and may be revoked by the undersigned at any time within that period."

HEAL: Why does the program need to test for STDs and why do they need to disclose the results to third parties?  Has Monarch School ever traumatized a child by telling him/her that he/she was HIV-positive, when he/she was not?  How is this information used?  Monarch School is not licensed as a medical facility and it is unclear what the purpose is of their requiring such private information.  It is also a concern that such information is protected health information and that it is being entrusted to a limited liability company that is not a medical facility.  Monarch School should disclose to families each individual and/or business that receives protected health information regarding their family. 

Page R2

Quote: "I/We hereby authorize the school to refer above-named student to the school's clinical services contractor in the event he/she is in need of psychological services.  I/We assume all financial responsibility for such services." 

HEAL: Licensed and professional mental health services come at an extra cost at this apparently unlicensed school in Montana.  This is a concern as most private and public schools provide some form of professional counseling to students without additional cost.

Quote: "I/We hereby give consent, and assume financial responsibility for the school to administer tests to the above-named student that are pertinent and appropriate.  The test may include psychological and/or academic test."

HEAL: It is a concern that a school charges extra for providing academic testing.  This is an additional concern and raises questions regarding how the "tuition and fees" are used by the program. 

Quote: "In the event that a temporary transfer of the above-named student is deemed necessary by the school, I/We hereby agree to authorize the transfer and assume financial responsibility for the period not to exceed three (3) days to the appropriate agency."

HEAL:  It is a serious concern that the program can transfer a child to another program or facility without advance notice of the specific placement being given to the family.  It is an additional concern that the family will be charged for the failures of Monarch School to meet the needs of the child. 

Quote: "In the event that the above-named student has run away from a Monarch School program, I/we herby authorize and accept financial responsibility for runaway services to be rendered for a period of time not to exceed five hours at $100 per hour."

HEAL:  It is a concern that Monarch School accepts no responsibility over children in their care.  It seems that as a surrogate for the family, the school has the rights and responsibilities to safeguard children in the program.  In the event of a runaway, other programs such as Anasazi (not an endorsement) accept at least 50% of the financial liability in the event of a runaway.  This seems more fair as a contract term.

Quote: "I/We hereby give consent and authorize the school personnel to utilize reasonable force to restrain, control and detain the above-named student for and including, but not limited to, the following purposes; to protect the student, protect property, protect Monarch School personnel or others from physical injury or threat of injury from the student."

HEAL:  It is a serious concern that this program uses restraint to restrain, control, and detain children who have not been adjudicated and therefore are being held in violation of their civil rights.  See for more information on civil rights violations.  This is not legal advice and is provided for information only.  It is a serious concern that restraint/force is used in cases where an imminent threat of bodily harm is not present.  This suggests an abuse of force by the program and we would recommend against placing a child in any program that does not have a strict "hands off" policy in regards to students who pose no imminent threat of physical harm to self or others.

Quote: "I/We hereby consent and authorize the school to search the student and the student's personal effects.  The school is hereby authorized to confiscate any and all items deemed by the school to be contraband."

HEAL:  It is a serious concern that children in this program are subject to strip-searches without probable cause.  This is in violation of their civil rights.  See:   We have found a few places in this contract that suggest Monarch School openly violates the rights of children in the program.  This is a serious concern and should be taken as a warning against the conditions at this facility.

Quote: "I/We hereby consent to the above named student's participation in all activities and programs conducted by Monarch School and its entities.  I/We hereby voluntarily release and discharge Monarch School and its officers, directors, shareholders, employees and agents of any and all claims demands, actions, suits or proceedings which the student or any parent, relative, or next of kin of the student may have for any or all injuries, damages and expenses, including but not limited to death and to all personal injuries and illnesses and all damages to personal and real property caused by arising out of, or otherwise related to the student's participation in any activity or program conducted by or on behalf of Monarch School or any of its entities, including but not limited to the activities and program set forth in this consent and release."

HEAL: It is a serious concern that in the event Monarch School and/or its affiliated entities act(s) or fail(s) to act in such a manner that it results in the death of a child in the program that they refuse to be held responsible for that or any other injury.  This is a serious concern given the number of deaths due to improper restraint and other abuses prevalent at programs in this industry.  Based on this portion of the release, we would recommend against placing any child at Monarch School.

Page R3

Quote: "MARKETING/PUBLIC RELATIONS RELEASE...I/We hereby authorize and release the use of the likeness of and information about above-named student for such purposes.  Such material may be in printed, photographic, electronic, or digital form.  It is understood that the student will not be identified by full name or full address in such information without the additional consent of the undersigned."

HEAL:  A parent has the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See for additional information.  The above agreement appears to be a violation of the child's privacy rights and an exploitation of the minor by a program that is holding the minor involuntarily.  This is a serious concern.

Quote: "I/We hereby authorize the release of my/our name, personal contact information and the above named student to Outdoor Experience for the sole purpose to purchase, ship and be contacted by Outdoor Experience in regards to clothing and outdoor gear. (Outdoor Experience--a retail store in Sandpoint, ID)"

HEAL:  Is Monarch School a wilderness program or a college preparatory boarding school?  The information in the contract suggests it is a wilderness program as opposed to a school.  Is Monarch School a front for other wilderness programs? 

Quote: "I/We hereby authorize the release of my/our name, personal contact information and the above named student to the Monarch Parent Foundation.  I/We herby authorize the Monarch Parent Foundation to contact us."

HEAL:  The primary goals of the Monarch Parent Foundation appear to be fundraising oriented.  This is a serious concern as it suggests that it is just another way for Monarch to enrich itself.

Page R5

Quote: "I am duly aware of the risks and hazards inherent upon entering the premises of the equestrian center at Monarch School, and in participating, either as a student, boarder, attendant, spectator, riding member or in any other capacity, in horseback riding, and/or events and hereby elect voluntarily to enter upon the premises knowing the present condition thereof and knowing that said condition may become more hazardous and dangerous during the injury, including death, that may be sustained b me or damage to any property of mine while on the premises...This waiver and release of liability shall be binding upon my heirs, personal representatives and assigns...I, having read this release and understanding all of its terms, hereby execute it voluntarily with the full knowledge of its significance."

HEAL: Are children expected to and/or coerced or "encouraged" to participate in the equestrian program in order to progress through the program?  Children are in the program involuntarily and this is confirmed by the program's use of restraint to "control and detain" individuals who may runaway or escape from the program.  It is highly questionable whether or not being coerced or "encouraged" to work cleaning up horse manure is something that benefits the individual more than the horses' owners.  And, given the risk/benefit analysis, it seems the program should assume some of the responsibility and liability in this case.  In fact, one might argue that Monarch School should assume all responsibility, especially when and if participation in the equestrian program is necessary to progress/graduate.  So, this particular waiver raises many serious concerns and parents should inquire regarding program requirements and forced unnecessary risks.

Page R6

Quote: "This document contains important information about professional counseling services and business policies at Monarch School.  Certain psychological services are required for all Monarch students, and represent costs additional to the Monarch School's tuition and fees."

HEAL:  Why at a "specialty school" are the "specialties" extra?  What is the point of paying tuition and fees?  How can Monarch School explain its high base costs when all of the "special" services come at an additional cost?

Quote: "Please read this document carefully so you are fully informed about what costs you can expect initially and then each month for psychological services provided to your child and family...Psychological services have benefits and risks...The laws and standards of our profession require that we keep treatment records.  You are entitled to receive a copy of y our records, or we can prepare a summary for you...In general, the privacy of all communication between a client and a psychologist/professional counselor is protected by law, and we can only release information about our work to others with your written permission.  But there are a few exceptions."

HEAL: Does Monarch School and/or their contracted counselors use experimental or evidently harmful (nervous breakdown inducing) methods?  This is a question we recommend parents ask any program they consider.  Programs and therapists should be able to explain in layman's terms the methods used and the purpose of those methods.  They should also be able to detail the risks and/or benefits of all methods they actually do employ in the program.  It is a concern that the therapist will discuss private and confidential information with Monarch School personnel or staff that may not be qualified to understand the sensitivity required in regards to the information discussed.

Page R6A

Quote: "We may occasionally find it helpful to consult other professionals about a case.  During a consultation, we make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of my client.  The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential.  If you don't object, we will not tell you about these consultations unless we feel that it is important to our work together...We will be happy to discuss these issues with you if you need specific advice, but formal legal advice may be needed because the laws governing confidentiality are quite complex, and we are not attorneys."

HEAL:  It appears there is a Freudian Slip in the second sentence of the above quote.  It would appear that the form was authored by an individual as opposed to a business.  This is implied by the use of the words "my client".  The remainder of the document uses the plural (We/Our) to self-identify.  But, here it appears it may be only one individual.  Parents should ask for the name of any and all therapists/psychiatrists/counselors that are working with their children and look into the professional backgrounds of said individual(s).  We recommend families object to terms that deny them access or knowledge of those who have been given access to their protected health information.  Again, this is not legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.

Quote: "Initial service costs between $875 and $1,250...We believe it is important for the family to be involved in the student's development and progress.  Monarch School requires a minimum of two hours of family services per month.  These services are billed at $125/hr, totalling $250/month.  Additional services are available at the family's request."

HEAL: It is a serious concern that there are so many additional fees and costs for an already expensive program that is not a licensed medical facility nor a school under the Office of Public Instruction, Montana.  What are you paying for?

Page R7

Quote: "I agree to RELEASE, HOLD HARMLESS, AND INDEMNIFY SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN LLC, SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN FACILITIES LLC, SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN SKI OPERATIONS LLC, SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN REAL ESTATE LLC, ("SCHWEITZER"), AND ITS OWNERS AFFILIATES, AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES from all claims for any cause, including negligence, which arises out of participation in skiing, snowboarding and all related activities; including, but not limited to, Schweitzer Snowsports School programs and travel to and from Schweitzer Mountain, or travel to and from Schweitzer Snowsports School.  This Release is binding as to any other persons, including family members, heirs and executors...  If I am signing on behalf of a minor, I accept full responsibility for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the minor's participation in skiing, snowboarding and all related activities, including Schweitzer Snowsports School programs and/or travel to and from Schweitzer Mountain.  I understand my child may ride the lift alone, with another child or with an adult other than his coach.  I also agree to HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY Schweitzer Snowsports School and Schweitzer for any claims brought by or on behalf of the minor."

HEAL:  It is reasonable to require such a release, but, not to include injuries that arise due to negligence or other tortious conduct on the part of Schweitzer or associates.  This is a mild concern.

Quote: "I hereby grant Schweitzer Mountain Resort, their representatives or assigns (including any agency, client, partner or publication) irrevocable permission to publish photographs of me.  These images may be published in any manner, including websites, newsletters, advertising, periodicals and publications of any sort.  Furthermore, I will hold harmless Schweitzer Mountain Resort, their representatives and assigns from any liability, by virtue of blurring, distortion or alteration that may occur in producing the finished product, unless it can be proven that such blurring, distortion or alteration was done with malicious intent to me."

HEAL:  It is a serious concern that Schweitzer Mountain Resort seeks to exploit and benefit from photos taken of guests of the resort while accepting no responsibility or liability for their own negligent acts in the event such acts occur.  It is a concern that children's privacy rights are being violated again or signed away without consideration to the wishes of the individual being exposed/exploited.  This is a concern.

Pages R8-R9

Quote: "I and/or the user also understands that all types of mountain recreation are hazardous sports and accepts and assumes the inherent risks of the mountain recreation including but not limited to: changing weather conditions; bare spots; variations in snow, ice and terrain along with bumps, moguls, stumps, forest growth and debris and rocks; loose gravel and dirt, uneven terrain; grooming and other types of equipment on slopes; lift towers and other structures and their components; collisions with other and the recreational user's failure to participate within their own individual ability.  In using equipment and recreating at the area, such dangers are recognized and accepted whether they marked or unmarked.  The user realizes that falls and collisions and other accidents do occur and that serious injury or death may result and, therefore, assumes the burden of being in control at all times."

HEAL: Are children at Monarch School required to participate in mountain sports?  Are children at Monarch School offered an equally fun and safer alternative form of recreation?  Are children required to participate or assist as snow-caddy's in order to progress in the program?  All of these issues raise serious concerns given the lack of responsibility claimed by both Monarch School and Schweitzer.

Page R10

Quote: "I/We hereby release and discharge Monarch School, its agents, employees, officers, directors and affiliated entities from all claims, demands, actions, judgments, and executions the undersigned may have against Monarch School for all personal injuries, known or unknown, and injuries to property, personal or real caused by or arising out of the removal and transportation of the student from Monarch School programs."

HEAL:  Monarch School should be properly insured to cover passengers in their professional vehicles subject to injury as a result of Monarch School's driver's negligent or intentional conduct that results in injury or death of the passenger(s)/student(s).  It is a serious concern on a number of grounds.  A parent reported to HEAL on February 16th, 2011 that their child had been transported by a program in New York to a hotel where the child was raped.  The individuals involved are reportedly being prosecuted.  But, it raises serious concerns when a program refuses to take responsibility for the welfare of children in the program or while under the control of the program whether on or off campus.

Page M1

For this section, we will not be quoting/explaining.  The primary concern here is the requirement that along with the medical and dental insurance policy information, Monarch School requires the social security number and birth date of the policyholder.  This is a serious concern as the program is not a medical facility and such information, if needed by a legitimate medical hospital/doctor, could be obtained by the medical service provider.  Generally, hospitals do not require the social security number and date of birth of the policyholder as long as the policy number and the individual seeking services are represented and/or covered.  This raises concerns and families should inquire to the reason for Monarch asks for such personal-indentifying information.

Page M5

Quote: "During off campus trips, it may be necessary for the administration of medications to be performed by an individual other than a school nurse."

HEAL:  It is a concern that potent and often harmful psychotropic drugs will be administered to children by non-medical personnel while off-campus. 

Page M7

Quote: "I acknowledge that it may be necessary for the administration of medications to my child to be performed by an individual other than a school nurse, and specifically consent to such practices, and...To indemnify and hold harmless Monarch School and its employees and agents against any claims, except a claim based on willful and wanton conduct, arising out of the self-administration of medication by the pupil."

HEAL:  It is a serious concern that Monarch School demands complete control of the child's environment and requires parents to indemnify Monarch from liability related to the negligent dispersal of medications.  This is especially true since Monarch does not entrust medication dispersal to medical professionals at all times.  It would be less of a concern if the medications being administered had less threatening side-effects. 

HEAL suggests parents not place their children at Monarch School and recommend children be removed who are in the program now.  If Monarch School would like to request a review, we will need the following:

* Complete Contract with all Waivers and Terms (including tuition rates, fees, and costs)

* Parent and/or Student Handbooks (include Privilege/Consequence Level System, if applicable)

* Proof that Monarch School is an accredited, licensed school that provides legitimate and transferable academic credits

* Proof that Monarch School is licensed as a residential treatment center or wilderness program in the state of Montana

Upon receipt of the above materials, we will edit our site as needed.  And, we will present any additional concerns or questions to Monarch School.  Should Monarch School choose to respond to our questions and concerns in a professional and reasonable manner that satisfies our concerns, we will consider revising and/or removing Monarch School from the HEAL watchlist.  This is in line with our policy as stated at  For more information, see our Request Log.  (Review requests can be submitted to: HEAL, 126 SW 148th St, Ste C100-422, Seattle, WA 98166-1984)

External Link:
Monarch School is officially closed as of Friday, September 15th, 2017.  Source:
NW Montana therapeutic boarding school to pay families nearly $1 million SEABORN LARSON Seaborn Larson Criminal justice Sep 19, 2018 Updated Sep 21, 2018 Facebook Twitter Email Subscribe for 17¢ / day Facebook Twitter Email Print Save The owners of a therapeutic boarding school for teens located deep in northwestern Montana have agreed to pay nearly $1 million to families it shut out of the school with just two days' notice in September 2017. Parents who sued the Monarch School in Heron accused the owners of treating Monarch, which charged more than $30,000 per semester, as their "personal piggy bank," holding "shareholder" meetings in places like Hawaii and London and buying high-end vehicles like BMWs and Mercedes-Benz as company cars. In July, Monarch and its operators Patrick McKenna, Michelle McKenna and Dawn Bristol, agreed to a $925,000 settlement with the parents who paid top dollar for their troubled youths to attend the school a year ago, according to records filed in Sanders County District Court. The names listed in court records include a dozen families from Los Angeles, St. Louis, Dallas and more. None listed is from Montana. These families went after Monarch in October 2017, and have alleged malpractice, breach of contract, fraud and a heap of other civil charges against the now-defunct school. “While there are many good (alternative boarding) schools, there are others who aren’t,” said Rob Bell, one of the attorneys representing the families. “These are situations that are rife for exploitation for someone who’s a little savvy.” According to the school’s admission form, Monarch charged $30,800 per student per semester, which would include things like group and individual therapy, college preparatory classes, room and board, and basic medical services. The school opened around 2000; however, financial documents included in court records indicate the school had been falling deep into the red for the last five years. From 2013-2017, the school’s debt grew from more than $195,000 to more than $1 million. Despite the consistent growing debt, “the McKennas appear to have treated the school as a personal piggybank,” the family’s attorneys wrote in court records. “The other piece,” said Lance Jasper, who works with Bell at Reep, Bell, Laird & Jasper, “is when parents seek recompense in these situations, Monarch School claims to have no assets and the owners seek protection.” Disclosures in court records show the McKennas funding “shareholder meetings” in Hawaii, London and Las Vegas. These meetings would include discussion on hiring a new clinical director, how to market for greater exposure and “discussion on what to do with the negative web sites that keep getting back on the first page and how to explain to families.” Tax records showed Monarch owned several high-dollar business vehicles, including a 2012 BMW, a 2014 Land Rover and 2017 Mercedes Benz. Within days of the school’s closure on Sept. 13, Patrick McKenna began shifting those vehicles to his own assets. On Sept. 15, for example, he filed a bill of sale with the Idaho Transporation Department agreeing to pay $24,000 to Monarch School for the BMW. However, as the families' attorneys noted, McKenna never appeared to pay the school for the vehicles. Subscribe to Breaking News * I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy. He also wrote himself checks consistently, including one $7,800 check less than two months before school closed, according to the records. Grizzly Law in Kalispell, representing McKenna, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. When Bell and Jasper requested to inspect all data pertaining to Monarch’s operations, the school’s attorneys said it would be impossible. “… Monarch shut down its network and factory reset all computer hard drives when it ceased operations to ensure their students privacy and HIPAA rights were protected,” they wrote. The Monarch School is one of several residential programs for trouble teens in sparsely populated areas of northwest Montana. The schools do not have direct oversight by the state government, but rather through a commission made up partially of industry leaders. When Monarch shut down nearly a year ago, the McKennas posted on a message to the community, as reported by the Bonner County (Idaho) Daily Bee: “We can no longer sustain the number of students we need to continue our work,” they wrote. “In 17 years, there have been many changes at Monarch School, many changes in the population of students and families we have been serving and many, many wonderful people who have dedicated their lives at Monarch School. It has been an amazing journey that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you for being a part of our dream and our memories.” Source:


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Last Updated: September 22nd, 2018

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