Peter has been a successful leader, pioneer and innovator in mountain sports programs for the last 35 years.He has started three innovative businesses: CityRock, Yosemite Guides, and Gateway Mountain Center, through which he has designed and delivered creative and successful outdoor educational programs for thousands of California youth. Peter has served as Chief Guide for the Yosemite Mountaineering School, and as Chief Examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors Association (Far West). As the founder and General Partner of CityRock Gym, the first large urban climbing gym, Peter was a catalyst for the growth of indoor climbing in North America. As a consultant Peter has designed and developed adventure programs for Disney, Discovery Communications, and Posades Resorts. As a creative mountaineer Peter has succeeded on first ascents on Yosemite’s El Captain and Half Dome, climbed new routes in Peru, Patagonia, and the Alaska Range, and pioneered difficult snow board descents. In addition, Peter has competed in sport climbing World Cups, Cross Country Skiing US Nationals, and performed for ten years with the aerial dance/climbing troupe, Project Bandaloop.
Brian graduated from Tulane University where he studied Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, as well as Business. Before joining Gateway in 2020, Brian provided strategic and technical consulting and operational support for small businesses and nonprofits in Truckee and teams across the country remotely. Brian is an active outdoor enthusiast, practiced meditator, engaged community member, maker, musician, and life-long learner. Brian is eager to support the growth and mission of Gateway by developing and optimizing systems, collaborating with community leaders, and advocating for youth as they learn, heal, and thrive.
Sharon comes to Gateway after a long career of volunteer work and her most recent professional post as a Business Manager in Incline Village. As a volunteer, Sharon was most recently the President of the Incline High School Boosters where her team broke fundraising records two years in a row in order to provide every Incline High School student with a laptop during their tenure at the school. With a multitude of previous stints at various school related volunteer organizations in the Chicagoland Area as well as her native San Francisco Bay Area, Sharon was ready to devote her full-time energy to the Gateway mission of helping youth learn, heal and thrive! In her spare time, Sharon likes to hike and snowshoe with her dogs and family. She is also currently an inaugural volunteer with the NV Promise Scholarship.
Whole Hearts Director
Daniel started his career in the mental health field at an outdoor based residential treatment center in Alaska in 2014. As a Recreational Specialist in a residential treatment setting, Daniel facilitated evidence-based psychoeducational group therapy and experiential modalities for adolescent teens with various behavioral and emotional disorders.Using the Alaskan wilderness as a therapeutic setting, Daniel saw firsthand the profound impact of incorporating adventure-based therapeutic intervention in nature had on improving self-efficacy and resilience in adolescents. Daniel began managing the program in 2018 and was extensively involved in training both new and experienced staff in group facilitation (psychoeducational, experiential, and processing), adventure therapy, crisis interventions and verbal de-escalation. Before joining the Gateway team, Daniel was the Program Director at Willow Springs Center where he provided program development and oversight. Daniel is excited to support the mission of the Whole Hearts Mind & Body program and the Gateway Method of growing a human. He has experienced the importance of integrating authentic relationships, community engagement, peak experiences and nature in a client’s journey to heal, grow and thrive!
WHMB Clinical Director
Denise believes that the unfolding of the human being is most effective when rooted in connection to the natural world. Both professionally and personally, she integrates a holistic approach as a lens for facilitating self knowledge. With over 15 years experience in the mental health community in California, Denise is well-versed in its multiple facets having served as a volunteer, a practicing clinician, Program Director, Quality Assurance Director, and Director of Clinical Operations for both adult and children’s programs. Her experiences as well as her enthusiasm for supporting and training clinicians led her to earn her American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Approved Supervisor Designation and become a co-trainer for the AAMFT Transformed Supervisor training. In 2012 she established ownership of a private practice and, most recently, she served as the Clinical Program Planner for a program that provides funding for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder and a Lead Therapist for an adolescent residential treatment program. Denise’s appreciation for embodied practices is reflected through her experience as a Teacher Trainer for Cloud Nine Yoga, as well as her long standing love for dancing Hula. As an avid hiker, world traveler, and advocate for Earth’s creatures big and small, Denise is thrilled to be a part of the Gateway community.
4Roots Wellness Director
With an M.A. in Holistic Health Education, Nancy has been our Wellness Program Director since 2009. With a B.A. in Communications, she facilitates communications and the integration of our vision/mission, culture, and core values across our organization. Nancy builds curricula, programming and provides staff trainings.
In Wellness, she guides students in connecting with their innate well-being, igniting the joy and empowerment of self-discovery. She specializes in customizing wellness or healing plans for youth, adults, or families engaged in growth and healing.
Certifications: Trauma-Informed Professional, Mindfulschools.org, Mindfulness-based Substance Abuse Treatment, Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Pranayama, Massage/body-work.
Multi-year mentorships/studies: Gestalt Awareness Practice, Somatic Experiencing, Continuum, Healing Arts, Sound Healing, (NVC) Non-Violent Communication, Transpersonal Psychology, Vipassana, and Nutrition. She’s a senior teacher in Angela Farmer’s Inner Body yoga.
Sierra Experience Director
James is an environmental science educator and experienced wilderness medicine professional. He is passionate about empowering and connecting youth in the outdoors with peak experiences and place-based learning. He was raised in Truckee and returned in early 2019 to work with Gateway after nearly a decade away from home. James’ university studies focused on Biological and Earth Systems Science and he loves sharing his wonderment in the complexity and connectedness of nature. He has worked in wilderness and urban emergency medicine and as an academic tutor in Seattle, WA. James feels nature-based learning and wellness adventures help promote physically and emotionally healthy kids and can inspire the activists to confront the social and environmental challenges of the future. He believes in increased access to our public lands and that it’s our responsibility to make space for under-represented people in the outdoors. In his free time, you can find him skiing, mountain biking, and fly fishing out in the Sierra backcountry. James is currently pursuing a Masters degree in education and teaching credential.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kurt is a Managing Director of TrailRunner International, a global strategic communications firm based in Truckee, CA. In his time at TrailRunner, he has managed reputational issues for corporations and foundations, guided clients through disruptive organizational restructurings, and advised on international strategy. Prior to joining TrailRunner, Kurt served as a Managing Director at JPMorgan, leading JPMorgan’s sales and trading in the western region. His clients included some of the largest asset managers, pension funds, and hedge funds in the world. Previously, Kurt spent twelve years at ITG Inc., first as a trader in New York, then running their western region team in California for eight years. Before ITG, Kurt spent two years as a manager in the Strategic Planning Group at American Express, where he provided counsel to various internal business lines engaged in M&A transactions, the launch of new financial products, and the pursuit of new merchant partnerships or customer channels. Kurt holds a degree from Harvard University (BA, Literature), where he played football as a freshman and baseball all four years. He is an avid sports enthusiast who enjoys playing basketball and golf, hiking, skiing, and strumming guitar. Kurt is also deeply engaged in the community, and serves on the advisory board for Gateway Mountain Center, an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of youth through nature-based learning and wellness adventures. Kurt lives in northern California with his wife Kat and their two young children, Josie and Theo.
Mike has been coming to Tahoe for over 40 years and brings some level of financial and business experience to our board. Not only is he a CPA but he has been the president of a number of different companies in San Francisco. He served on the board of the Tahoe Truckee community foundation for almost 10 years and currently also serves on the Truckee Donner land trust. He has worked with young people mentoring and giving guidance for many years
Kristi has a background in Finance and Management Consulting, with degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. Since moving to Truckee, her focus has been on helping nonprofit organizations build strong financial systems, policies and procedures. She has recently worked on projects with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and North Tahoe Arts along with serving on the board of several local organizations. She was raised in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and has lived in Truckee with her husband and two teenage daughters for more than 15 years. She is thrilled to be serving Gateway and its mission to help youth of all backgrounds learn, heal and thrive.
Marco has worked with children of all ages ranging from kindergarten to high school for 21 years. He began his career in 1998 as a tutor and mentor for inner city at-risk kids for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Youth Foundation. Marco holds a B.A. degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Criminal Justice from Cal Poly Pomona. He earned his M.A. in School Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from Loyola Marymount University. Currently Marco works for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District as a School guidance counselor where he spends his time helping students with social, emotional and academic support. In addition to counseling, Marco was also the co-director for the Tahoe/Truckee Aim High program and also served on the board for Learning Bridge of the Sierra. When Marco is not busy fulfilling his many extensive professional roles, you can find him at the local plant nursery, as he is a Bonsai enthusiast. He also loves doing anything outdoors with his dog, Nickel and going on off-roading adventures.
Mark Servis, MD
Mark Servis, M.D. is Vice Dean for Medical Education at the UC Davis School of Medicine, with responsibility for all undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education.He is also a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He has occupied the Roy Brophy Endowed Chair for 12 years. Mark has won several national awards for his teaching and mentoring, has served in a variety of leadership roles at the National Board of Medical Examiners, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training, and American Association of Medical Colleges, and has published over 70 peer reviewed articles and book chapters on medical education and in the field of psychosomatic medicine.
Liana has a background in educational nonprofits and technology product management, with ten years of experience working in technology roles in Silicon Valley. Since moving to northern Nevada from the Bay Area she has worked as a strategic consultant with the Tahoe Expedition Academy in Truckee, CA as well as tech organizations in the Reno area. She is currently working on starting a new nonprofit based in Truckee, focused on curricular programming for middle school students in building adaptability and perseverance. She grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts and spent ten years living in the Bay Area. She has an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She currently resides in Reno, Nevada with her husband and twin son and daughter.
Whole Hearts Minds Bodies Clinical Supervision
Whole Hearts Minds & Bodies
Shelby has been working in the field of mental health for the past twenty years. As a clinical social work intern and with a masters degree in a social work, Shelby has worked in a variety of settings and with various populations including children in the foster care system, teenagers emancipating from the foster care system, child protective services, and Nevada County Wraparound Program. Most recently, Shelby worked at Sierra Mental Wellness Group as a mental health clinician. For nearly six years, Shelby provided therapy for adults, children, couples, and families. It was during this time that she was able to focus on her clinical skills and interest in the treatment of trauma, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Shelby has been residing in the Tahoe area since 2005 and enjoys hiking, skiing, running, and spending time with her family. Shelby is thrilled to join the team at Gateway Mountain Center and strongly believes that forming relationships and connecting with others frequently occurs in the outdoors.
Whole Hearts Minds & Bodies
Shawn has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since January 1998. For the past 20 + years she has had a passion to effect positive change in the lives of families and children. After completing an internship with Placer County Mental Health she worked for Sierra Family Services in Tahoe City for 14 years, twelve of which she was the Clinical Supervisor. In addition to providing clinical staff supervision she provided psychotherapy for adults, children, groups and families. Other duties included drug and alcohol assessment and treatment as well as crisis intervention. Shawn then became the Children’s Therapist for Nevada County Behavioral Health in Truckee were she was able to focus on her interest in disorders beginning in infancy, childhood and adolescents; treatment of trauma and anxiety as well as mood and eating disorders. Currently, she has been working as contracted provider for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District within the Special Education Department working with students who have emotional support needs. She enjoys the work she does with Gateway Mountain Center as a Clinical Support Person to the program and mentors. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, skiing, mountain biking and camping.
Whole Hearts Minds & Bodies
Lisa Steckert is a Clinical Social Worker in the North Tahoe/Truck area. She has lived in the region for twenty years and worked in a variety of settings including as Medical Social Worker at Renown Regional Medical Center and Tahoe Forest Hospital, and Crisis Worker for Sierra Mental Wellness Group. Prior to working as a social worker she taught yoga classes and full day enrichment camps to children and adolescents. It was through this work Lisa was inspired to complete her Masters Degree and clinical license in Social Work so she could expand her work with youth in the community. Lisa’s academic studies, clinical training, yoga practice and motherhood has shaped her work with adolescents and adults.
Guides and Mentors
JED FERRELL, MD
Whole Hearts Psychiatric Resident
I am currently a 4th year psychiatry resident at UC Davis and lived up and down the west coast growing up. I became interested in mental health during and after college while working with adolescents and adults in a variety of crisis settings and inpatient psychiatric hospitals in the Sacramento area. These experiences motivated me to continue my education. I have come to appreciate the multiple etiologies underlying mental illness, conducted research into the impact of inflammation on sleep parameters in individuals with major depression and have become interested in complementary and alternative mental health interventions. After a brief stint in Atlanta for medical school, I was drawn back to the natural beauty of northern California and take advantage of the mountains for snowboarding and mindfulness every chance I get.
A nearly life-long student of traditional healing arts, Rob first began healing work as a Reiki practitioner at age 15. During his senior year of high school, he began his work with children as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Further pursuing his passion for healing, Rob enrolled at the University of New Hampshire, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Psychology and Interpersonal Communications. In his adult years, he has volunteered in numerous settings, including assisting learning-challenged youth at The University of New Hampshire’s Center for Academic Resources, leading meditation workshops for the YMCA, and helping people of all ages one-on-one as a mentor. In the for-profit sector, Rob has many years of experience in operations management, overseeing teams as large as 45 in multi-million dollar enterprises.
Case Manager / Mentor
Gamalier A. Gonzales, began his career as a Personal Care Assistant assisting patients of all ages. Growing up with a younger brother with disabilities, he realized his calling to help those in need. After five years, Gami went back to school. After receiving his Associates of Occupational Studies of Medical Assisting, he worked for Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services for 2 years as a Mental Health Technician. He continued to work with the severely mentally ill in various institutions including high security facilities. Gami is currently enrolled in school perusing a BS in Nursing with a minor in Psychology and is currently working in a Wellness office caring for Medicare patients. Gami’s unltimate goal is heal those in need; be that need physical or mental.
Keith is an Oakland, CA native. Since moving to Lake Tahoe in 2007, he has attended Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) and earned a degree in Environmental Sustainability & Technology. Moving from the city to the mountains gave him a personal perspective on the benefits of being in nature and he loves to get urban youth excited about nature by leading them on educational excursions throughout the Tahoe area. He is also programs manager for The Sugar Pine Foundation, which is a non-profit who’s mission is to save the natural biodiversity of Lake Tahoe’s forest through education and hands on experiences”.
I am currently a student entering my 4th year at the University of Nevada, Reno. My is major is Philosophy with an emphasis in ethics, law and politics and double minoring in psychology and political science with a specialization in public administration. I am originally from Elko, NV. Currently in my education, I am researching Alzheimer’s Disease and other memory loss mental illnesses in the parameters of philosophy of mind and the effects it has on others. I am currently a Student Coordinator at Our Lady of Wisdom Newman Center, planning and helping students with their spirituality and university life. I enjoy four wheeling, the snow and hanging with good friends. I love expanding my mind and helping others grow. I am a very big fan of reading books and watching engaging TV shows/movies.
Shireen grew up in San Diego, CA, and moved up to Truckee after graduating from college. Originally Shireen moved to Truckee for an AmeriCorps job where she taught environmental education for a local non-profit. Moving up to Northern CA meant being closer to the mountains, which Shireen considers her second home. Growing up, Shireen spent countless Summer and Fall seasons in Yosemite Valley camping and hiking with her family. Over the years, her love for the mountains and nature translated into a love and ever growing passion for rock climbing; and what better place do pursue that than here in Tahoe! Having found Gateway Mountain Center, Shireen has found the perfect balance to both work with students and introduce them to the wonderful world of nature in unique and empowering ways.
Climbing Guide Lead / Guide
Jared grew up in small town Indiana but knew in his heart the West was where he belonged. After earning a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife Science from Purdue University, he ventured far from home, trying to figure out where he would eventually settle down. Through good fortune, Jared found himself in beautiful Lake Tahoe, with no plans on leaving anytime soon. Jared’s passions lie in nature and the outdoors, and sharing it with others (especially our youth). From leading nature hikes and catching snakes, to rock climbing and skiing, Jared has a well-balanced skillset and a desire to pass on his knowledge and skills to the next generation.
Guide / Instructor
Cali Bowman is a happy energetic forest enthusiast who spends her time exploring various ways to enjoy her environment. After graduating from UCSB with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Literature, she traveled extensively throughout the world before settling in the beautiful Tahoe Basin. In her free time Cali enjoys hiking the Sierra Nevada which she calls her home while looking for new potential spots to rock climb and bike in the summer and possible mountains to ski for winter adventures. During winter months she works as an EMT Ski Patroller at Sierra-at-Tahoe. During summer she guides groups of enthusiastic youths with Gateway Mountain Center and teaches yoga outdoors.
Jared has been engaged with children for over 17 years in variety of professional settings that include: an acute psychiatric inpatient & residential lock-down hospital for adolescents, an outpatient wraparound program for the State of PA, the Fitzsimon Middle School in north Philadelphia, an orphanage in Kathmandu Nepal, the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Children’s’ Center, a preschool in Doylestown PA, some remote villages & nomadic tribes of northern Mali, West Africa. In addition to serving as an outdoor education guide and rehabilitation mental health specialist, Jared enjoys relating to children & youth as a professional AASI Snowboarding coach, mentor and instructor as well as engaging children as a rock climbing instructor, coach and USA Climbing judge.
My name is Andorra Fierro and I grew up in San Diego, often found outside, playing softball, playing with my dogs, playing in the sand and water at the beach. I love the ocean and have always found peaceful moments when I am outside and near water, liquid and frozen alike. The mountains and Lake Tahoe have been a tremendous blessing for my family and myself since moving here in 2002. My husband, our two dogs and cat are happily nestled in the woods of Tahoma, spending as much time outside as possible hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, disc golfing, paddle boarding, swimming, snowboarding and split boarding. The resources to create a healthy and balanced lifestyle here are boundless. Everyone should have the opportunities afforded to us and know where to find those resources. I got my Masters in Education and a Kindergarten through 8th grade teaching credential because I see the rewards and joy kids garner from new experiences, new skills, and greater knowledge of how they experience the world. Confidence, humor, connectedness with family, friends and their environment, curiosity, overcoming fears and uncertainties to persevere, are all eureka moments that kids deserve to have daily. My goal as a mentor is to foster authentic relationships with kids and help guide them towards these eureka moments.
Michael spent much of his free time as a youth getting lost in the hills surrounding his childhood home in the Bay Area. Daytime trips out to the coast with friends and weekends spent backpacking the Sierra instilled a deep love of nature that only grew with age. After graduating high school he moved to Colorado to pursue a degree in Natural Resource Recreation from Colorado State University. In 2014 he moved to Truckee in order to be closer to family while still enabling him to maintain an active mountain lifestyle that he feels is essential to health and wellbeing. Michael believes that time spent in nature provides opportunities to create experiences that challenge oneself. These experiences can be used to cultivate growth in many other aspects of one’s life. It is Michael’s goal as a mentor to provide youth with opportunities and perspectives that will enable them to overcome the many challenges that life may throw their way.
I grew up in Minnesota, but have lived in Colorado for the last 10 years where my love of the outdoors grew. I obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Sustainability Studies and Outdoor Education and am working on my Masters of Science in Environmental Policy & Management through the University of Denver. I have taught Outdoor Education for Colorado Mountain College, and worked in the outdoor industry during my time in Colorado with the passion for connecting people to the natural world. When I’m not working you can find me outside, rafting, mountain biking, climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking and exploring. I have a drive to protect our waterways and create an empathy for the environment and am excited to share my passion at Gateway Mountain Center.
Taylor Zehren is an outdoor enthusiast and environmental advocate that lives her life seeking adventures with purpose. After graduating from University of Portland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Spanish, she departed on an 11 month overland trip, driving to the Southern reaches of South America. Along the way she performed an independent research project examining environmental and human rights issues. Landing in Bariloche, Argentina for two years, she completed a Fulbright scholarship, taught English, science, and outdoor education, and explored the expansive wilderness of Patagonia. Finally, she returned to Lake Tahoe two years ago to co-found the nonprofit Do Good Sh*t, on a mission to implement environmentally safe and equitable sanitation services around the globe. In her free time she enjoys climbing, skiing, mountaineering, trail-running, trekking, yoga, painting, and playing with her dog.
MBSAT Jr. Instructor
Zack is a profound young man in the transitional period from client, to MBSAT instructor and eventually mentor. Overcoming his own battles with addiction and trauma, Zack wishes to pay forward the amazing tools and resources he has gained through Whole Hearts. California native and has spent many years living on the east coast with his father as well. Being true to his heart he is back in the mountains doing the things he loves, skiing, climbing and adventuring. Through this healing journey, Zack has tapped into his intuitive healing talents and looks forward to strengthening his gifts as he offers his gift of healing to the world.