Our team would like to welcome you to our recovery center and offer insight into what it’s like working with our clients at Cypress Lakes Lodge. Our team are either living in recovery actively or are part of a specialized trained medical team that deals with addiction and mental health. Read through their profiles and get to know them before you schedule your intake call. We can’t wait to go on this journey toward recovery together. Remember, recovery is found with a great support system behind you.


Thomas Isbell CEO

Thomas’ passion for recovery is hard to miss. He worked as a financial advisor for Seamless Capital, an Austin-based real estate company and has traveled the country as a motivational speaker. In recovery since 2010, Thomas has also served as a life coach and manager of a sober living home.

Roy M Serpa

Roy is a proven industry leader with over 33 years experience in the Healthcare services such as Home Health & Behavioral Health. Previously responsible for the oversight and management of annual revenues in excess of $250M & the treatment 15,000+ patients annually. His experience includes facility-based and free-standing Home Health Agencies; Mergers & Acquisitions; Executive Leadership & Management; Executive Sales Management; Turn-around Management and Compliance & Regulatory issues.

Derek Gwaltney

For the past 10 years Derek has worked closely with business development teams at Lakeview Health and Pyramid Healthcare to grow and expand their offerings. Derek and his family recently relocated to Tucson, AZ

Jason Shirley, MA LPC Executive & Clinical Director

Jason Shirley is a Licensed Professional Counselor LPC that attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and B.H. Carrol Theological Institute. He is trained in TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and EAP (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) through EAGALA. Jason’s background in trauma therapy has allowed him to work with different people and family situations over the years. He has previously served as a primary therapist at Cypress Lakes Lodge and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2021. He enjoys getting to know people where they are and begin walking with them to establish a relationship. He enjoys spending time with his wife, five children, and granddaughter.

Jeremy Pulido, LCDC, ICADC Admissions Director

Jeremy is a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Trauma Professional, Life Coach, and has broad experiences in self-help training and changing inner dialogue. He has been working in the mental health, substance abuse and self-help field for more than 12 years. He has experience working with adolescents, adults, and families; who struggle with substance use disorders, mental health issues, and high-risk behaviors as well as those who struggle with daily life stressors. Jeremy has training and experience in bio-energetic and experiential work, which enables him to facilitate in-depth healing work. He was the Chairman and Co-founder of the Young Addiction Professionals, where he advocated for young people working in the addiction and mental health field by engaging them in legislative advocacy and encouraging them to attend training and self-marketing events. Jeremy has since become the Admissions Director at Cypress Lakes Recovery with the goal of helping all those in need to find a safe space where they can heal from their struggles with mental health, substance use, and trauma.

Brigitte Lewis Program Director

Brigitte serves CLL from her desire to share what has been graciously shared with her. She was drawn to work in the treatment field after experiencing her own recovery from addiction. Over the years, working in the treatment field since 2016, Brigitte has gained experiences serving and working with many in various walks of recovery. Brigitte works hard to provide an atmosphere of support to the residents and the Recovery Advocate staff. She believes in giving the residents the ability to make their own choices in their recovery and provide support to make it possible to live a long, sober life! Her greatest joy comes from spending time with her family, spoiling her grandbabies and her pup, Tucker.

Paula Mitchell Business Office Manager, HR

Paula began her professional career obtaining a degree from Chenier Business College in accounting. For 13 years she worked in insurance sales, gaining a Property and Casualty Insurance license and Life and Health insurance licensure during this time. She then transitioned into the accounting and HR field working in the oil and gas industry for 4 years. She began serving in the recovery industry with her journey at CLL and has been with us for 4 years. Paula is known for her efficient work ethics and her heart of gold.

Deborah (Debbie) Darnell-Drake, LCSW-S, LMFT, ACSW Family Program Director

Deborah (Debbie) Darnell-Drake, LCSW-S, LMFT, ACSW joins the team at Cypress Lakes Lodge as the Family Program Director. Debbie has over 25 years of experience in the field of mental health disorders and substance abuse i.e., facilitating Family Weekends for clients in treatment and their family members, marital therapy, assisting clients to re-enter back into the family system prior to discharge from treatment if they are unable to transition to a sober living environment and/or a lesser level of care. It is an honor to work with the clients and their families as they work towards their journey to healing and recovery.
She has a small private practice where she sees clients and families who are in the early stages of recovery and have little to no resources; clients who struggle with Major Depression, Anxiety, Co-Occurring Disorders, and PTSD.
Debbie earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish, French & Sociology from Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois with an emphasis in Group Work, Family Therapy and Casework.
Debbie has facilitated several workshops and presentations in the community and served as an Adjunct Instructor at Lone Star College teaching students who were studying to be Chemical Dependency Counselors. Throughout her career, Debbie has been the Director of Clinical Services at free standing psychiatric facilities and residential treatment facilities.
Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, RV camping, hiking, 5 -10 k walks and white-water rafting.

Vanessa Reon Admissions and Alumni Coordinator, RSPS

Vanessa has dual, vital roles at CLL. Working as the admissions and alumni coordinator, her caring heart is seen in the connections she creates and then continues to support of our client’s recovery efforts. In Vanessa’s role as an admissions coordinator, she is honored to be in a position to be a voice of hope to others as they begin to reach out for help. As alumni coordinator, she is able to continue to encourage former clients as they begin to incorporate their recovery into their family, personal and professional lives after completing our program.

Vanessa’s story has 9 years of continuous sobriety through AA and Recovery Dharma. She served as a Housing Service Representative for a national non-profit sober living organization for two years. In that role for sober living, she discovered a passion for helping those in early recovery by making them feel welcome, heard, and worthy. She enjoys watching others apply the things they learn in treatment to their everyday lives. Shortly after moving on from her work with sober living, she began working as a MHT and eventually an IOP counselor. In 2020, she relocated from Louisiana to Texas where she began her journey with CLL as a Recovery Advocate. She received her RSPS (Recovery Support Peer Specialist) certification and is now in her current role. Vanessa loves watching the courage and confidence grow in client’s as they rediscover themselves.


Rebecca Davis LVN

Rebecca has been a nurse in Texas since 2015, mostly working in an acute care setting. She became interested in behavioral health nursing after working in corrections. Rebecca has provided care for individuals who are detoxing from drugs and alcohol, as well as those dealing with mental health issues.

Robert Larson LVN

Robert has been in the nursing field for a little over ten years now. Before starting at Cypress in June of 2020, he worked in skilled nursing facilities where he built strength in leadership and found his passion in going above and beyond for his patients. Robert’s smile is contagious, and he has a natural ability to uplift his patients during some of their darkest times.
Robert believes in kindness and providing the level of care that he would expect if the roles were reversed. With that said, he also is a stickler for the rules and believes “It works if you work it.”
He takes pride in his position and enjoys taking on various roles within his department such as new-hire training and working closely with the D.O.N. to maintain a high standard of organization and patient care. He believes that consistency is key to success.

Valarie Carreon

Valarie received her Nursing Degree from Lamar in 2009 and over the course of her career has worked in Nursing Administration and Liaison roles. When visiting Cypress Lakes Lodge facility for her first interview she immediately knew this was her calling as a nurse. She finds assisting clients who want to overcome addiction extremely rewarding. She hopes to continue her education and receive her degree as a LCDC to further assist others in their journey to recovery.

Cindy Lopez LVN

“What I find most rewarding about my career in addiction medicine is that I have the opportunity to help people during their most vulnerable and challenging moments. Witnessing the hard work and positive changes on the road to their recovery makes it all worth it. I’m also grateful that I can be part of a dedicated team who all want the best for our clients.
“Throughout my nursing career, I’ve had the greatest opportunity to work in many different fields of nursing including long term care caring for geriatric and hospice patients, correctional nursing, home healthcare, and pediatrics. One of the most rewarding aspects of working in addiction are the success stories.”
TCH School of Vocational Nursing
Graduated 2008

Candice Cashat LVN

Candice is an LVN with three years of experience as a Nurse. She received her LVN from Lamar State College – Port Arthur, and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas – Arlington. Candice spent the first two years of her career in a hospital setting and found her passion for working in substance abuse treatment in 2021. She believe’s in practicing with kindness and compassion, and is thankful that she gets to be a part of the work that we do here at Cypress Lakes Lodge.

Dr. Dominick D’Aunno, M.D.

Dominick D’Aunno, M.D. graduated with Honors from The University of Texas Medical School in Houston and completed a residency in Internal Medicine. After serving as Chief Resident and faculty member in the Internal Medicine program, he participated in the Space Medicine Fellowship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and worked as a Physician-Scientist in the Cardiovascular Laboratory. He also completed training as a Flight Surgeon for NASA and the United States Air Force.
Dr. D’Aunno is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. He has provided medical services to special-needs patients (Down Syndrome, Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Child Protective Services, Psychiatric Hospitals) for over 28 years. He has also served as Medical Director for a number of free-standing detox and residential treatment centers.
Dr. D’Aunno has a driving passion to serve the underserved with dignity and respect. He is a strident patient advocate and works very closely with the staff and administrators of the facilities he works with.

Beverly Atma Director of Nurses, LVN

Graduating from nursing school in 2012, Beverly then achieved passing the NCLEX exam and became a qualified LVN. Before coming to work at CLL, she worked in the nursing home field, and began her work in the recovery field with CLL in 2020 as firstly Care Nurse and then promoted to Director of Nurses in 2021. Beverly approaches her work with the desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives. She loves seeing client’s get better, returning home as their true self and not what their addiction portrayed them to be. You can always find a smile on Beverly’s face when you strike up a conversation about her assortment of pets!


Ramona Howell Recovery Advocate

Ramona has been with Cypress Lakes Lodge for over five years. She loves working with new clients and watching the little glimmer of hope in their eyes as it becomes a fire of purpose. She approaches her work as an honor and privilege to be a small part contributing to other’s recovery. Ramona holds an AAS in Occupational Safety and Health. Recovery work has deep personal meaning and drew her to help after growing up in an alcoholic home and marrying an addict. She began her own work with 12 step recovery through AL-ANON, only to discover she also needed AA. She is now 15 years clean and sober and continues to inspire others. You can find Ramona also volunteering wherever needed; kitchen, alumni outreach and admissions.

Kathy Austin, RN, ADN, BSN ACNP-BC, MSN Nurse Practitioner

Kathy Austin has been a nurse since 1986. Her first degree was an Associate Degree for Registered Nurse from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing as Registered Nurse from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1990 and a Master’s in Nursing Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Virginia in 2000. Kathy has extensive experience in critical care, nursing and medicine. Since 2019 she has devoted her career to the treatment of patients with substance use disorders. Kathy is heavily involved with the addiction community, attending multiple in-person and virtual meetings each month. She has served as a sponsor to others living with alcohol use disorders. Ms. Austin is deeply committed to her patients with substance use disorders, working to help them to maintain sobriety one day at a time. With the help of her community, faith, colleagues, and friends, Kathy has maintained sobriety for over 10 years.

Tobin Wells, LCDC Crisis Intervention Counselor

Tobin Wells brings extensive community-oriented experience to his role at Cypress Lakes Lodge. During his education in Human Services at Angelina College, he specialized in drug and alcohol counseling and went on to receive his chemical dependency counseling license. He has previously served as an outreach, screening, assessment and referral supervisor for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council; has spoken at community-based agencies including Child Protective Services and probation departments; and has played key roles in organizing local recovery events with 600+ attendees. His wholehearted investment in each client shines through in his dedication to the work we do at Cypress Lakes. He says, “In our field, it is so important that no one is left behind. Anyone can get clean and sober if they are willing to do the work — we can’t give up on anyone.” Tobin enjoys bike rides, traveling and spending time with his family.

Joani Burchett Primary Therapist

Joani Burchett, B.S. Psychology, LCDC-I.
Joani believes that the benefits of therapeutic work include experiencing wholeness as
a person and making vital changes to one’s life in order to live in freedom and fullness.
After graduating with a Bachelor in Psychology, she now is currently working on her
Masters in Professional Counseling, and co-currently is a Licensed Chemical
Dependency Counselor Intern. She holds special certifications in Domestic and
Community Crisis Treatment; Acute Stress, Grief, Trauma Care; Stress and Trauma
Care with Military Application, and Substance Use Recovery. Through techniques such
as EFT, DBT, and CBT she seeks to help the well-being of the clients in their personal
journey. Joani also facilitates groups in Art and Music Therapies, processing the
emotions and thoughts through artistic expression.
Joani enjoys reading, music, writing, coffee, and loves spending time with her five sons
and daughter in law.

Carmen Guhse, LCDC-I Counselor

Carmen Guhse’s passion to help people with addictions was born due to her own experiences with loved ones within her family. Carmen developed a desire to understand more, to give the best support for those working through addiction and mental health crises. She received her Associates at Texas State Technical College in Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and earned a Bachelor’s in Human Behavior from University of Texas at Tyler. She began her professional career in recovery working in outpatient services through the State, completing outreach screening assessments and referrals. Carmen utilizes CBT, Gestalt Theory, and Person-Centered Therapy. Carmen enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and reading.

Wade Fowler Recovery Advocate

Wade is a steadfast, driven individual who has an undeniable passion for what he does. He perseveres in recovery, sharing his experience, strength and hope to those around him. He thrives on making a long-lasting impact in others’ lives through compassion and inspiration. Wade attained a certification as a Recovery Support Peer Specialist and shows through his daily efforts how grateful he is to be a part of the CLL team. He is indeed a light in the darkness and a helping hand to those struggling.

Diana Fuller Recovery Advocate

Diana strives to make this world a better place, one person at a time. She shares her own experiences of hope and strength freely, with the desire to help others recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Her goal is to be a vessel of truth and light to those around her. Dianna is dedicated to showing love and tolerance to transitioning, knowing that her darkest days were her biggest asset. She is known at CLL for her dedication, compassion, understanding and positivity. Her mission is to serve those around her so that they may achieve a healthier, more fruitful life.

Nicole Mcmillon Recovery Advocate

Nicole engages in her role as an RA with the heart to show those who are struggling with addiction that recovery is possible. She began her professional career as a dental specialist in the Arizona Army National Guard, and then went to school to attain her phlebotomy technician certification. Her transition to serving in the recovery field was developed by her own personal struggle with addiction and mental health. She is an inspiration to others as she now has had several years of sobriety and developing a healthy lifestyle. She loves being a Recovery Advocate because she knows what it is to feel lost and hopeless. Nicole daily desires to give others the light and hope that has been given to her.

Tyler Thompson RA

Tyler has been with Cypress since 2021. Tyler has taken this period of time to learn and grow, not only as individual, but as a team member. Tyler values the process of holistic care and takes enjoyment in supporting and aiding individuals in the journey to a healthier lifestyle and mind set. Tyler is very family oriented from close knit family, and he applies the same care and support from home to his work.

Jennifer Rawls RA

Jennifer worked in the healthcare field for 8 years and in the field of addiction/mental health for 3 years. She has struggled with her own addictions & trauma, and loves helping others overcome the struggles in their daily lives, discovering their strengths and finding healing through recovery. She is very passionate about recovery, my family and the outdoors. She implements in her daily life a program of sobriety and addiction recovery, putting God first and foremost. Seeing people’s lives transform through the process of recovery is very rewarding.

“It is an honor to be part of such a passionate team here at Cypress Lakes Lodge, guiding people on their journey of healing.”

Justin White RA

Justin joined the Cypress team in 2018. A Texas native, Justin is an avid Houston Texans football fan. With Justin, family is one of the most important things in the world to him. Spending time with his wife and two sons is what Justin values the most. This prioritization of family, care and support is also applied to his work, creating a compassionate and understanding work environment. Justin takes great pride in his work, and the part that he plays in assisting others on the path to recovery and sobriety.


Zach Patterson Culinary Director

Always invested in making people feel happy with his cuisine selections, Zach views his role as a way to serve people food that aids them in their pursuit for quality of life. Zach began his career in 1996, working ten years at Outback Steakhouse, the last five serving as kitchen manager. He has also worked in the kitchens of places such as Johnny Carino’s and the famous Stanley’s BBQ of Tyler, Texas, his hometown. Zach began his love of cooking as early as high school, creating new recipes in the family kitchen and continues to cultivate those skills in order to make people happy through their culinary experiences.

Vickie Larson Housekeeper

Vickie Larson has been with Cypress Lake Lodge for 2 years. She enjoys coming to work and feels like CLL is a family. Clients and staff alike tell her every day that she makes the house feel like home, always smelling like fresh pot of coffee. She always has a smile for everyone.

Shelby Kerr Cook

Shelby Kerr’s favorite thing about Cypress Lake Lodge is meeting new clients and getting to know them through their shared kitchen experiences. He really loves serving the clients and it brings him joy and happiness by cooking for them. Shelby is a pair of helping hands to anyone in need that day. He has been cooking for almost over 1 year now in the CLL kitchen. Through this experience he has been inspired to learn more and grow in his culinary skills.

Roy M. Serpa Chairman of the Board

Roy is a proven industry leader with over 33 years experience in the Healthcare services such as Home Health & Behavioral Health. Previously responsible for the oversight and management of annual revenues in excess of $250M & the treatment 15,000+ patients annually. His experience includes facility-based and free-standing Home Health Agencies; Mergers & Acquisitions; Executive Leadership & Management; Executive Sales Management; Turn-around Management and Compliance & Regulatory issues.

Derek Gwaltney VP of Business Development

For the past 10 years Derek has worked closely with business development teams at Lakeview Health and Pyramid Healthcare to grow and expand their offerings. Derek and his family recently relocated to Tucson, AZ to join the Sabino family. Derek’s passion to helping individuals find quality treatment is apparent with all he does at Sabino Recovery and has made a great impact to the team thus far.

Kiki Lewis Recovery Advocate

Kiki Lewis has always loved working with people. She finds fulfillment in that passion by working at Cypress Lakes Lodge as a residential assistant, seeing transformations for people as they leave behind old ways and embrace the new. Kiki origins were working as a Forest Technician for more than a year and a half serving in the Louisiana and Texas regions. Then, moving back to her hometown in Woodville, Texas she began working with children and young adults ages 2- 21, for the Sinclair Children’s Center, a division of the Mary Lee Foundation from Austin, Texas. This began Kiki’s love for serving people in the behavioral and mental health field. Following this, she worked at the Pecan Street Shelter with mostly autistic spectrum children for 14 years, which furthered her experience and quality of care for others, preparing her for her role at CLL. Kiki has a humble, straightforward, compassionate approach to her role, and is loved by all.

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