Dr. Joshua Lepore started his career in the mental health field as a direct care staff at a level-12 residential treatment facility. He earned his Psy.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology and has been a licensed clinical psychologist since 2012. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at Allendale Association, a residential mental health treatment facility in Illinois, and his post-doctoral training in Transitional Youth Services (TYS) at Casa Pacifica. He continued to work at TYS as a clinician, clinical supervisor, assistant director, and now as Director of Clinical Services overseeing TYS and Camino a Casa. Dr. Lepore holds certifications in Infant Mental Health and Animal Assisted Therapy. He is also the proud parent of Otis, one of Casa Pacifica’s Newfoundland therapy dogs.
Dr. Robert Kretz oversees all aspects of training the next generation of psychologists to work with at-risk youth through Casa Pacifica’s APA Accredited Doctoral Internship Program. He also ensures the quality of testing services across all Casa Pacifica programs. Prior to joining Casa Pacifica in 2009, Dr. Kretz was the Testing Program Director at the California Family Counseling Center and Clinical Director of the Morning Sky School Residential Treatment Center. Dr. Kretz specializes in psychological and educational testing for children, adolescents, and young adults, and treating explosive anger issues and high levels of parent-child conflict. He received his Psy.D. from Pepperdine University in 1999.
Beth Zacher Burke joined Casa Pacifica in 2018 to manage the clinical aspects of the Camino a Casa program. Prior to joining Casa Pacifica, Beth most recently worked at the New York Department of Education and in private practice in Brooklyn, NY. She also previously worked at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center where she created and facilitated the MSAHC's first support group for transgender and gender-expansive youth. She helped the MSAHC develop a comprehensive approach to working with gender-expansive youth and has continued her work with this population in her subsequent roles. She has presented to interdisciplinary teams nationally about her work. Beth holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Smith College and a B.A. from UCLA.
Mydori Saipale received a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, earning her bachelor's degree in 2012. Mydori began her career with at-risk youth in 2012 working for City Impact, a local nonprofit serving at-risk children, youth, and families, as Development Assistant where she helped with youth outreach and the after-school program. She also worked as a Girls’ Volleyball coach at Oaks Christian High School. In 2015, Mydori joined Casa Pacifica as a direct care staff in the Camino a Casa Program. She was promoted to the program’s Assistant Supervisor, and currently serves as the Cottage Supervisor of Camino a Casa. Mydori looks forward to continuing to support and serve youth and their families.
Leah Miner has been back with Casa Pacifica since 2015, spent time working in our Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) program in Santa Barbara in 2005-2006, and has over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families. Leah helped to start our past SELPA program in Santa Barbara in 2015 and in 2017 transferred to Camino a Casa as a Clinician. Leah manages a caseload as a Clinician III and oversees programming for the PHP/IOP programs as well as our Recovery services as the PHP/IOP & Recovery program coordinator. In addition to her work at Casa Pacifica, Leah has worked at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, as a Behavioral Health Clinician at a children’s Medi-Cal clinic in Kern County and served as the Director of Family Services at a non-profit in Bakersfield, CA, Covenant Community Services, for 5 years providing and overseeing their mental health, foster care and mentoring services. Leah holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from National University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Mark Capritto has over 35 years in the field of education - throughout his tenure, he has been responsible for every aspect in the field including educational administration, curriculum, and instruction, athletics, student services, and special education. Dr. Capritto holds three Master degrees in Vocational Education, Educational Psychology, and Counseling Psychology. He also has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management. In addition to his educational experiences, Dr. Capritto served as an MFT intern for 20 years dealing with marriage and family issues, student psychological issues in education, and adolescent therapy. His work with Casa Pacifica includes restructuring the educational program, implementation of a thematic interdisciplinary project-based curriculum, and revitalizing the educational culture/climate of the nonpublic school.
Dr. Myra Saltoun joined Casa Pacifica shortly after it opened, in August 1994, serving as the Director of Clinical and Campus-Based services. Dr. Saltoun has been responsible for bringing many evidenced-based practices and innovative programs to campus that have been recognized at the state and national levels. Under her direction, Casa Pacifica’s mental health services expanded and a competitive APA accredited doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship program was established. Dr. Saltoun completed her doctorate degree at USC, where she became a mentor and professor. Prior to joining Casa Pacifica, she spent 15 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, developing a specialty in treatment of children and adolescents.
Sean Dickson joined Casa Pacifica in 2013 as an Administrative Program Coordinator and worked with several campus programs, primarily serving the admissions and ongoing administration of the public sector STRTP residential program. In 2016 Sean was part of the Task Force that launched Camino a Casa. Sean has an affinity for the Casa Pacifica clientele, as he was raised in a household with a special-needs focus. His sister is deaf and his mother worked as a speech therapist for the schools and community. As the first point of contact with new families and incoming youth, Sean recognized that many shared his passion for musical expression. Tapping into his extensive background in the entertainment industry as a writer and musician, Sean provides individual guitar coaching and guitar clinics for youth on campus.
Melissa “Missy” Andrews came to Casa Pacifica in 2006 as a volunteer and quickly realized her passion for at-risk youth. Establishing the “Diamonds in the Rough” running club, she helped youth prepare for and run local 5K races. Missy officially joined Casa Pacifica’s staff in 2010 and has built programs in a variety of areas. She served as the Physical Education teacher with the nonpublic school for 8 years before becoming a Recreation Therapy Specialist and Family Facilitator with Camino a Casa. Prior to joining Casa Pacifica, Missy worked as the Director of Family Ministries at Lifehouse Church in Northridge, CA for 22 years. Always incorporating fitness into her life, Missy holds certifications in group fitness, personal training, cycling, strength and functional training, and yoga. She was head cross country and track coach at Agoura high school from 1999 -2005.
Dr. Kimberly Valenzuela has worked for Casa Pacifica in Santa Barbara County since October of 2004, and oversees Santa Barbara’s community programs including: Camino a Casa IOP and PHP, Wraparound, In Home Therapeutic Programs, SAFTY Crisis Response Services, and School Based Services. Dr. Valenzuela has worked with youth for over 20 years in various settings, including Day Treatment Intensive, psychiatric hospitals, as an in-school therapist, and in outpatient mental health services in Los Angeles County. Dr. Valenzuela completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego, and then obtained both her Master’s degree and Doctorate of Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. Dr. Valenzuela later received her Doctoral Board Certification in Behavior Analysis from National University.
Dr. Katie Pfeiffer has worked at Casa Pacifica since 2010 and has over 15 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults struggling with mental health and behavioral symptoms. She oversees referrals into all the Casa Pacifica residential, PHP, and IOP programs, and conducts initial screenings and placement interviews. Dr. Pfeiffer specializes in clinical assessment, clinical health psychology, crisis intervention, and trauma informed therapy. Prior to her work at Casa Pacifica, Dr. Pfeiffer worked with Ventura County Behavioral Health, Aurora Vista Del Mar Hospital, WISE and Healthy Aging, and the Telecare Corporation. Dr. Pfeiffer received her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University.
Laura Niedringhaus brings over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit, behavioral health, and addiction sector. In her previous roles in dual diagnosis treatment programs, she was an essential and passionate member of the management team and was responsible for overseeing business development, marketing and community outreach, and oversight of the alumni department. Throughout her tenure, she maintained direct contact with clients, donors, families, community members, treatment professionals, hospitals, schools and government officials to bring awareness and understanding of how mental health and substance use work together. Laura received her Bachelor of Science in Management and is completing her studies in the Master of Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Mary-Lynn Wagner came to Casa Pacifica in January of 2008 as a volunteer while completing her Psychology Degree at California State University Channel Islands. Her passion for working with children flourished and she was brought on board at Casa Pacifica’s NonPublic School (NPS) in August of that same year. She received her Substitute Teaching Credential and worked in the elementary school classroom, spearheaded the SRA Corrective Reading Program, and opened the Orientation and Intake Room at the NPS. After eight years at the NPS, she began working with Camino A Casa to facilitate the academic program for the residential and partial hospitalization programs. Mary-Lynn’s compassion and heart for the children are the center of her work as she completes her 12th year at Casa Pacifica.