Executive Leadership

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MacKenzie Hall, BS

Position: Executive Director
MacKenzie’s journey in the mental health field began in her hometown of St. George, UT. During her college years, she gained experience as a direct care staff at another Embark program and gradually transitioned to various management roles. In 2018, MacKenzie relocated to Montana and assumed the position of Program Director at Chrysalis School, where she developed an affection for the breathtaking Montana landscape and the Chrysalis team. In 2021, MacKenzie embarked on a new endeavor as the Executive Director at Lake House Academy in North Carolina. Drawing upon her extensive experience working with adolescents, she fostered a positive culture, enhanced student programming, and prioritized staff training. However, in 2024, MacKenzie seized an opportunity to return to Chrysalis School as its Executive Director. The campus feels like home to her, and she relishes the opportunity to work with the distinctive age group and student profile that Chrysalis serves. At Chrysalis, MacKenzie thrives on daily involvement in the therapeutic process with students and their families. She finds immense joy in witnessing the small yet pivotal changes that occur on a daily basis. MacKenzie’s leadership style is characterized by empathy, allowing both her team and the students to feel safe, valued, and understood. When she is not working closely with students, MacKenzie indulges her passion for international travel. Additionally, she cherishes the great outdoors and can often be found hiking or exploring the rivers of Montana.

MacKenzie Hall, BS

Executive Director
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Kendra Meiklejohn MS, LCSW

Position: Clinical Director

Kendra Meiklejohn, LCSW, Clinical Director, was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she developed a deep appreciation for the natural world. She earned a Dual Masters degree in Social Work and Kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Health from Southwestern College, Kendra is highly trained in various therapeutic modalities such as EMDR, CBT, DBT, and mindfulness. With her extensive experience and training in wilderness therapy, Kendra has spent over 1500 field days as a guide, mentoring young women, and utilizing the natural world to enhance self-awareness and agency.

Kendra is also passionate about challenging preconceived notions, loving her community and family, and exploring the world around her. In her practice, she strives to provide a trauma-informed approach to therapy while relying on the healing power of wildness, kinesthetic/adventure therapy, and a fostering a strong therapeutic alliance. Kendra believes that eternal optimism is key to facing the tough and arduous work necessary to a well-lived life.

Kendra Meiklejohn MS, LCSW

Clinical Director
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Krysten Fitzsimmons

Position: Academic Director

Krysten is the Academic Director for Chrysalis, and prior to this role she was the Special Education Coordinator and English Teacher.. Through her time at Chrysalis she has taught English 9, 10, 11, 12, Standards Based English, American Lit, British Lit, World Literature and more. Krysten grew up in Oregon and attended college in Montana. She completed her student teaching in Australia while earning a BA in English teaching. She also has a Masters of Science in Special Education. Krysten has worked in therapeutic group homes for teens as part of the direct-care staff and managed weekend programming. She has worked as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional, mainly in special education and English classrooms. Outside the classroom, Krysten enjoys participating in local community theater as well as volunteering to teach hunters, promoting safety and stewardship. For relaxation, she goes for Nordic skiing, hiking and, of course, reading.

Krysten Fitzsimmons

Academic Director
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Kyle Lefler

Position: Program Director
Kyle was born and raised in the mountains of Western Maryland. Her parents taught her to love the natural world and she spent her childhood exploring by foot, bike and canoe. An avid reader & writer her whole life, Kyle received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Mary Washington in VA, studying English with a concentration in Poetry. Following graduation, she began her journey in direct care, working with unhoused women and children in the Metro DC area.
Kyle moved to Montana in 2014 to pursue her childhood dream of working at summer camp year-round, serving as the Retreat Host, Program Director, and eventually, Associate Director at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Lakeside.  At FLBC, Kyle grew in her love for hospitality, outdoor education, creative program management and leadership of young people. Along the way, Kyle hosted several Mother Daughter retreats for Chrysalis (at FLBC!), and her curiosity for and interest in therapeutic care grew.
Kyle moved on from FLBC in 2020, and began her journey at Chrysalis, serving on the adventure team. She is passionate about getting students outside and empowering them to be their truest selves through challenging and fulfilling experiences on trail. She loves learning from and alongside Chrysalis students and her fellow staff.
Away from work, Kyle takes full advantage of the landscape of NW Montana, spending her days biking, hiking, running, skiing and swimming.

Kyle Lefler

Program Director
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Jeremy Meyer

Position: Director of Operations

Jeremy began working with young people in therapeutic programs over a decade ago. Like many of the students he works with, his first step on this journey was working in a wilderness program, where he spent four seasons in the Utah backcountry before returning to school as a nontraditional student. He earned his bachelor’s degree in adventure education from Plymouth State University in 2007. Jeremy jumped in with both feet at Chrysalis in January 2008 as a residential and adventure staff member. He continued on to become the designated Lake House parent with his wife, Nikki, from November 2009 to February 2014. In May 2013, Jeremy became the school’s first residential director. Adventure experiences continue to be a special component of the Chrysalis program to Jeremy, as he witnesses the impact they have on the growth and development of students. However, his focus is on strengthening the residential team and the relationships they have with the Chrysalis student community. In addition, Jeremy is a talented landscape photographer and holds an associate’s degree in photographic technology. He’s also renowned on campus for inventing key lime pancakes and continues to jump in with both feet – as the first one into the lake every spring.

Jeremy Meyer

Director of Operations
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Sara Bauer

Position: HR Director

Sara was born in Colorado and raised here in Eureka Montana.

She values her upbringing without much tech or even television, as it allowed her to be out in nature and connect relationally with people of all ages. Sara started traveling and doing service trips at the young age of 16, and fell in love with interacting with people of different cultures.  She also worked with youth throughout her life in a volunteer capacity, and loved to facilitate growth and change in young people’s lives.

Sara started out working at Chrysalis as a Youth Counselor in direct care, and immediately found that this type of work was what she was meant to do.  She worked as a shift supervisor for a short time and then spent 5 years as Residential Manager at Lake House.  Sara is grateful for the growth and knowledge that Chrysalis has offered her during every step of her journey, and has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with both the parents and students of Chrysalis.  In early 2022, she was offered a different path as HR Director and she jumped at the chance to expand her gifts in team management and training.  Sara loves her job, as there is always something new to tackle in this fast paced environment.  She finds joy in training the staff and equipping them with tools to grow in their roles.

Sara is married to her husband, James, and has 4 children of her own. She is an entrepreneur in her down time and runs a successful massage therapy business as well.  She and her family enjoy Montana summers most and are blessed to live in such a calm and beautiful place.

Sara Bauer

HR Director
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Nina Gilkenson

Position: Admissions Director

Originally from Maryland, Nina Gilkenson made the move to tranquil Montana in 2018, and has been enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of her new home ever since. Nina has years of experience working with children and individuals in a variety of settings. Her previous roles include working with clients to find and hold jobs in the community, teaching soft skills, and collaborating with support systems to promote enrichment through community involvement.

When not working, Nina and her partner enjoy exploring their corner of the world and embracing the great outdoors with their three children. Nina has a rich history of teaching dance and art to both children and adults, and was a professional dance instructor/judge before moving to Montana. Dance and art are an integral part of their family life, and their walls are adorned with artwork from their many creative projects.

Nina Gilkenson

Admissions Director
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Jenn McMurry

Position: Director of Outreach

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain states, Jenn developed a passion for raising small livestock, gardening, and rockhounding at a young age. For over twenty years, Jenn has been involved in long-term residential treatment, beginning in Human Resources before moving into Admissions & Outreach. She brings a wealth of experience in assisting families, consultants, and mental health professionals and provides valuable guidance on therapeutic options.

At Chrysalis, Jenn feels right at home, witnessing the growth and healing of each family’s unique journey. Jenn is a devoted mother to an adult daughter, a teen son, and two beloved dogs. Her hobbies include hiking, rock collecting, and getting her hands dirty in the garden.

Jenn McMurry

Director of Outreach
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Corey Hickman

Position: VP Operations

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Corey earned his undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation from Brigham Young University and is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. After several years of working as a recreation therapist and serving in leadership roles in residential treatment settings, Corey completed a master’s degree in human resources from Utah State University. His desire to study both recreation and organizational leadership came from a deep belief that, in order to help students achieve positive growth, the organizational culture must provide them with an enjoyable, healthy environment conducive to change. Early in 2015, Corey accepted the position of executive director at Chrysalis School in Eureka, Montana. True to his profession as a recreational therapist, Corey lives to recreate! Corey’s hobbies include distance running, golf, camping, snowboarding and wakeboarding and visiting America’s national parks. He is passionate about college football. He and his wife, Jessica, have four energetic young children, and they love living in an area that has so much in the way of outdoor recreation.

Corey Hickman

VP Operations