Perhaps the most important aspect of Mountain Valley is our staff: people who genuinely enjoy helping children. Our team has a rich combination of training, experience and education.
Dan Petrie, Chief Executive Officer
Dan started working as a group home counselor with emotionally disturbed and behaviorally challenged youth in 1985 and started as a residential counselor at Milhous Children’s Services in 1987. Dan worked as a Counselor, Lead Counselor, Shift Supervisor, Training Coordinator, Program Director and Sr. Program Director in his career at MCS spanning over 30 years. Dan attended California State University and graduated with a BA and MA in Psychology.
Richard Milhous, Chief Financial Officer
Richard Milhous is one of five family founders of Milhous Children’s Services (MCS) in Nevada City, California, which opened in 1968 as Milhous Boys Ranch. He was Chief Executive Officer of the organization for over 47 years and now serves as Chief Financial Officer for Mountain Valley Child and Family Services, providing ongoing support and consultation to the Board of Directors and staff.
Richard has filled many roles at our organization including counselor, training coordinator, cook, rancher, 4-H leader and the ranch’s first schoolteacher. He has overseen program development, construction, maintenance and animal care, milked dairy cows, raised livestock and operated heavy equipment, all in service of helping troubled children learn to reintegrate with their families and communities.
Richard was born in Lindsay, CA in 1941, moving with his family to a 600-acre ranch in North San Juan in Nevada County at age 10. In 1959, Richard graduated from Nevada Union High School, in Grass Valley, CA. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from St. Mary’s College in Lafayette, CA.
Richard holds several pilots’ licenses and takes aerobatic training to further his flying skills. He also rides Harley Davidson motorcycles, goes ballroom and western dancing and has trained horses and dogs to be working animals on the ranch. Richard married Janet Chesney in 1962 in Auburn, CA. They have three children, 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Clinical Director, Kamiko Lucas
Kathleen Benson, School Director
Our School Director, Kathleen Benson, is a 35-year veteran teacher and school administrator as well as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Education has been her life’s journey and encouraging significant outcomes for her students is her passion.
Ms. Benson has multiple credentials and qualifications and implements a strength-based, trauma-informed approach to working with the students at our Academy. With a strong emphasis on collaborative, supportive teamwork, she works with students, their families and School Districts to ensure that children are stabilized and learning in a way that is individualized to their needs. Kathleen has a B.A. in Counseling from Prescott College and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences from the Leadership Institute of Seattle.
Mental Health Workers
Mental Health Workers are the foundation of our residential programs. Client care, relationships, and safety stem from the everyday interactions with these dedicated direct-care personnel. Our Mental Health Workers share with, learn from, educate, and inspire clients and peers alike. Every day brings new challenges, but also new opportunities to have a positive impact on the lives of our children. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility to hold such a position.
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