Meet Lloyd Rindels

As the Director of Training and Leadership Development, Lloyd Rindels leads the Shelterwood Mentor program. “Working at Shelterwood with the entire staff, teachers and residential directors has been such a rich and rewarding experience. Everyone here loves God and loves what they do even when it is hard.” Meet Lloyd Rindels, and learn how he works to cultivate Mentors at Shelterwood.

What he loves most about Shelterwood: “I love the impact that Shelterwood has on the lives of teenagers who are struggling and how we help their families,” Lloyd says. “I really believe in what God has us doing, and it makes a difference.”

Before Shelterwood: A veteran of the United States Air Force, Lloyd earned his degree in education from the University of Arizona, and then he worked in the Arizona House of Representatives. In 1987, Lloyd made a career shift and went into vocational ministry as a pastor and served at a church in Phoenix. Upon relocating to Kansas City, he and his wife, Brenda, started a discipleship training program at Kansas City Fellowship church called Master’s Commission, and Lloyd went on to become the Director of the All Nations Training Center at that church. Lloyd and Brenda even lived in Belfast, Ireland, for a year, recruiting for the training center. Back in Kansas City, they planted New Day Church, where Lloyd is the Senior Pastor today.

What brought him to Shelterwood: Lloyd and Shelterwood CEO Jim Subers have a long history together, initially meeting each other while on staff at the same church. “I have been involved for most of my vocational career with training young adults and leadership development,” Lloyd says. “I have not only directed training programs, but built them from the ground up.” So when the opportunity to assist with the Shelterwood mentor program arose in 2014, Lloyd gladly accepted. In 2016, Lloyd became the Shelterwood Director of Training and Leadership Development.

The Shelterwood Mentor Program: Mentors, who are also called Direct Care Staff and Teen Mental Health Staff, are at the heart of Shelterwood’s relational approach. As they work with teens, Mentors lay the groundwork for the social, academic and spiritual growth of the students. For Mentors, this is not just a job or occupation. This is a calling, and Mentors make a profound impact on the teens in their care.

Day in the life: Lloyd is focused on the development of Shelterwood Mentors. “I am very involved in the ongoing training and leadership development with our mentors, giving them both advice and career counseling,” Lloyd explains. “I make sure that they are able to learn and adapt to the roles they have as they mentor teens.” His days involve giving advice, coaching, helping Mentors think critically, problem solve and, ultimately, minister Jesus to the Shelterwood teens.

How Mentors grow at Shelterwood: While Mentors help teens grow, they are growing too. “Mentors grow both spiritually and professionally during their time here,” Lloyd says. “Whenever we serve, we always grow as well, maybe even more than the people we are helping.” Spiritually, Mentors can be involved in Bible studies and life studies and work with teens who are struggling with their faith. Professionally, Mentors receive extensive training. “Mentor training includes everything from becoming state certified to issue medication, to first aid and CPR training, to how to work with people who have behavioral and social challenges. Mentors’ professional development includes a whole list of skills and competencies.”

When he was a teen: “I grew up in a non-Christian home,” Lloyd recalls. “I had a difficult childhood and I am a Shelterwood kid without having the Shelterwood experience — but God found me. So I have always wanted to serve young adults and help them. In a sense, my whole life in ministry is giving back.”

Family: Lloyd and Brenda have been married for 43 years — “I could not have done anything that I have done without her!” Lloyd smiles. They have three children and five grandchildren. Their oldest son is a fighter pilot in the Air Force, their daughter is the Vice President of Strategic Development at Balance Point Corporation and their youngest son teaches English in Hamburg, Germany.

Outside work: “I am an avid fisherman, and any opportunity I have, I love to go fishing, especially when the weather is nice,” Lloyd says. He fishes at most of the regional lakes around Kansas City but also enjoys fishing in Iowa and Minnesota.

Best part of his role at Shelterwood: “I enjoy being able to watch our Direct Care Staff and our Mentors grow and successfully help our teenagers who are struggling. The end result of that is seeing teenagers restored to their families. I do not know of a greater reward than seeing parents and their child back in a good relationship, loving each other and loving God.”

Interested in becoming a Mentor? Learn more about Shelterwood Mentors and apply today!

Meet JJ Francis

James “JJ” Francis has served in several roles at Shelterwood, and today he is the Assistant Director of Training and Leadership Development. “Young people are not just the future, they are the present, and when you can help them have a relationship with God, that changes everything,” he says. Meet JJ Francis.

What he loves most about Shelterwood: “Bar none, the most important thing is that we get to minister to kids and families,” JJ says about his work at the residential treatment agency. “We get to meet great people, we get to share the love of God and then walk out that love in our day-to-day jobs and activities.”

Before Shelterwood: JJ is originally from Florida, where he started his career as both a youth pastor and a therapist. He focused his education on pursuing a career in both ministry and therapy, and has his Master’s in Counseling and Clinical Mental Health from Pentecostal Theological Seminary. He recently passed the National Counselor Exam, and today, he is working to earn his Doctorate of Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What brought him to Shelterwood: JJ first came to Shelterwood residential treatment agency in May 2013 to become a Mentor. “I believe that people need second chances,” JJ says. “I wanted the opportunity to openly share my faith and pour into young people. If you can affect the life of a young person today, you can impact a community tomorrow.” Since then, he has held several roles at Shelterwood. “I have worked with leadership development, recruited Mentors to become part of our program, trained staff when they joined our team and developed web-based resources for the Shelterwood team.”

Day in the life: As Assistant Director of Training and Leadership Development, JJ has a variety of responsibilities, but everything he does has a singular focus. “We have a motto that every interaction we have with students should be healing, and every interaction I have with Mentors should be encouraging. That is always my goal: to be encouraging. If we maintain a healthy perspective, there is nothing we cannot do.” Currently, he is focused on recruiting new members of the Mentor team. This includes reviewing applications, conducting interviews, visiting school campuses to recruit team members and developing the intensive training for Mentors.

When he was a teen: “I had seen what drugs and drinking had done to people outside, so I had a mindset to stay positive,” JJ recalls. “My dad is a pastor, and so we had traveled to many different places and gone on many missions trips. It made me grateful for what we have here in the United States. My teenage experience was low-key, and I just enjoyed life, hung out with friends, went to the movies, went to church and enjoyed life.”

Family: “I love my family and we are very close,” JJ says. Like their dad, both JJ and his brother are pastors. One of JJ’s sisters lives in Hong Kong and his other sister lives in Atlanta, “but we communicate all the time. When we can inspire other families to maintain strong family bonds, we do all we can to encourage them.”

Outside work: JJ enjoys being involved in his church, working out and staying active and spending time with good friends. “Honestly, I just enjoy being around solid people!” he smiles.

Best part of his role at Shelterwood: “I have been part of every department, and working as a team is my favorite thing to do. This is certainly a calling over a job. God has really revealed Himself as a loving father to me, and one of the greatest benefits of working here is seeing that unfold. God can really work when we allow Him to.”

Meet Sam Cummins

Sam Cummins is the Shelterwood Dean of Student Services and also leads the Independent Studies program. This month, Sam celebrates five years as part of the Shelterwood team. Meet Sam Cummins.

What he loves most about Shelterwood: “I like the opportunity I have to see students meet their individual goals,” Sam explains. “As the Dean of Student Services and in my role leading the Independent Studies Program, I get the chance to help make academic and individual goals for students. It is exciting over time to see students meet those goals and to see them become academically ready to return home and enter into their next chapter.”

Before Shelterwood: Having grown up in suburban St. Louis, Sam always saw himself teaching history class in public school in a suburban environment. “However, my first teaching job after college was in an inner city, private school north of Chicago,” he smiles. “It was a very focused, small school that was designed to help traditionally lower-achieving students be successful. I loved my time there.” He went on to work as a special education paraprofessional. “This was so informative for me as a teacher.”

What brought him to Shelterwood: After relocating to Kansas City for his wife’s work, Sam heard about Shelterwood from a friend at church. Shelterwood was looking for an Independent Studies teacher, a role Sam initially was not interested in because of his passion for teaching history. “John Lawrence, the Shelterwood Principal, offered me the role with the promise that after leading Independent Studies for a semester, I could begin teaching history the following fall,” Sam says. When fall arrived, as promised, John approached Sam about teaching history — but Sam turned down the job. “I loved Independent Studies so much!”

Sam Cummins NATSAP Award Shelterwood Therapeutic 1024x604 Meet Sam Cummins
Sam Cummins (center) joins Shelterwood colleagues in celebration of his NATSAP Excellence in Service Award.

Independent Studies, defined: “Shelterwood is unique in that we offer typical courses in traditional classrooms, like history and science,” Sam says, “but we also offer Independent Studies so students can pick up with any part of the curriculum in any subject area. Some students arrive behind in credits in a subject area we do not offer, like AP History or Spanish, for example. Independent Studies allows students to make up credits and even get ahead. I compare it to a one-room schoolhouse.”

Day in the life: Sam spends a good part of his day working with students in the Independent Studies classroom, helping students achieve their individual academic goals. “The other portion of my day, as Dean of Students, I work to get students what they need to be successful, like academic support, behavioral support, learning plans and resources on the Shelterwood campus.”

When he was a teen: Even as a teenager, Sam had an affinity for the underdog — “people who have amazing talent and amazing capacity, but do not always do things in the traditional way, people who others may write off but have amazing abilities,” he explains. “One of my best friends in high school was blind, and he was brilliant, but other people did not see it.” That very passion drives his work today at Shelterwood.

Award-winning work: Sam is a recent recipient of the NATSAP Excellence in Service Award. Principal John Lawrence nominated him for the award, commending Sam for the time he has invested to help students be successful. “When students are struggling in other classes, Mr. Cummins does not hesitate to step in and offer support to the student and to the other classroom teachers . . . Whether working with students, communicating with parents or interacting with other staff, Mr. Cummins is one we can count on.”

Family: Sam and his wife have two daughters, ages six and four. Both are adopted, and both are blind. “God has really led both my wife and me to work with the visually impaired,” Sam says. They are getting ready to adopt a third child soon, from the Republic of Georgia.

samandfamily Meet Sam Cummins
Sam Cummins enjoys the Fourth of July with his wife and two daughters.

Outside work: Sam enjoys running, and recently completed the Kansas City Marathon. He also enjoys traveling and learning as much as he can about the world.

Best part of his role at Shelterwood: “I enjoy getting to connect with our students. Our students are accepting, talented people with great leadership skills, and I love seeing them meet their goals and use the adversity they have faced to become strong, resilient people. I love hearing from our graduates about the amazing ways they are facing the challenges in their life — our graduates are able to be of encouragement in their own communities, in part because of the skills we have given them here at Shelterwood. We are having an impact not only on individuals, but on communities across the country and around the world.”

Meet Lis Klemme

Elisabeth (Lis) Klemme, Brain Balance Program Director at Shelterwood, loves being part of a new chapter in our families’ stories. Get to know Lis.

What Lis loves most about Shelterwood: “Shelterwood fosters a continual growth process. I love that I’m constantly learning and constantly growing,” Lis says. “Shelterwood continually challenges its staff to be better and to grow in a kind, loving way.”

Brain Balance, defined: Often, students arrive at Shelterwood with a gap between their biological age and their brain’s age of maturity. For example, a student may be 16 years old, but with a brain function at age 11. Because of the gap, the student can struggle to handle situations as someone his or her biological age should. “Brain Balance helps make the brain teachable, so students can better learn,” Lis explains. Shelterwood is the only therapeutic boarding school with Brain Balance right on campus.

When she was a teen: “Sometimes I look around and think, perhaps I should have been at Shelterwood as a teen!” Lis says. “My mom was a politician and I learned from an early age how to just put on a pretty face. On the one hand, I was on the soccer team and Honors society and youth group, but then I had another side that was far less positive. I went to church every Sunday, but I spent Saturday night partying or doing things that were not God-honoring,” Lis reflects. She dedicated herself to Christ at age 17, as a senior in high school. “I always had a relationship with God, but when I gave my life up to God, that changed everything.”

What brought her to Shelterwood: Lis earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri, and after graduating, spent time writing grants and working with children through after-school programs, and then got plugged into the Brain Balance community. “One of my Brain Balance mentors was connected with Amanda Gunter, and when the coordinator role opened, it was a great opportunity for me,” Lis recalls. “I got to train with the previous Director, who was retiring, so it was such a smooth transition into both Brain Balance and Shelterwood.”

SW TherapyQuotable ElisabethKlemme Meet Lis Klemme

Favorite part about being the Brain Balance Program Coordinator: “One of the things I love about Brain Balance is that every day looks different,” Lis says. She works directly with students, counselors, parents and coaches. “My role is making sure everyone is engaged on all fronts, and I love being kept on my toes!”

Most unique aspect of Shelterwood Brain Balance: “Brain Balance is really innovative in that it acknowledges that not all behaviors are the child’s fault,” Lis explains. “Brain Balance starts first with the immaturities in the brain and gets to the root of the problem. Integrating Brain Balance from the beginning to the end also helps therapists along the way to know where the students are, so they are able to serve them more effectively.”

Family: Lis met her husband, Jason, while they were students in college. They have a two-year-old daughter named Corrine. When the weather is nice, Lis and her family head to the park or go for a bike ride. They also enjoy spending time with friends from their church.

Best part of her Shelterwood job: “I love enrolling new families!” Lis says. “It is such a new beginning for every family, so I get really excited when I am able to be part of that treatment plan and part of the next chapter in their story.”

Meet Jessica Wood

Jessica Wood, Clinical Director at Shelterwood Academy, loves seeing families restored and relationships rebuilt. Get to know Jessica.

Jessica1 683x1024 Meet Jessica Wood

What Jessica loves most about Shelterwood: Jessica points to the sense of community throughout Shelterwood. “This is a very compassionate environment in which to work, and the importance of family is communicated to our residents and our staff,” she says.

When she was a teen: Growing up in a small town in South Dakota, Jessica loved her strong support system, including her family, friends and youth group. “I also encountered some of the struggles teens today do, and I really leaned on that support system,” she says. Jessica also enjoyed being actively involved in school, clubs and sports, including volleyball and basketball.

We all scream for ice cream: Jessica’s father owned a Dairy Queen in their small town, and Jessica worked there as a teen. She still loves working with ice cream today, especially baking ice cream cakes. Her favorite flavor? Chocolate chip cookie dough.

Before Shelterwood: Jessica earned her doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist for the state of Missouri. She spent more than eight years in residential therapy for children and adolescents. “While I have always loved working with adolescents, I felt something was missing and wanted to incorporate a spiritual element into my work,” Jessica explains. Her family had relocated to the Kansas City area, and her sister-in-law mentioned Shelterwood. Jessica continued to explore Shelterwood and applied for the Clinical Director role. “From the location to my desire to incorporate spirituality into my practice, this was all God’s timing,” she smiles.

Her favorite part about being the Clinical Director: In her role, Jessica says, no two days are the same! “I enjoy getting to be involved in a variety of activities and handling a variety of responsibilities,” she says. She provides therapy to students and their families, explores training opportunities, tackles administrative duties and more. “I really enjoy the opportunity to have a caseload and provide therapy, but also to help others in our team grow. All of our therapists come from different backgrounds, and it is fun to see how it all works together to benefit our students.”

The most unique thing happening in Shelterwood counseling right now: “We’re constantly refining our approaches to therapy,” she says. “From sand therapy to equine therapy to experiential therapy, we’re always striving to advance the therapies we’re providing for our students.”

Family: Jessica has been married to her husband for two years. They have one daughter, Lily, who celebrates her first birthday this month.  

Outside work: Jessica loves staying active and working out. She also enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family, including going on walks. “I also love just relaxing at home as a family and snuggling Lily!” she smiles.  

Best part of her job at Shelterwood: “I love watching families heal and grow in their relationships,” Jessica says. “It is a difficult thing to have your child away from home, and the best part is to watch those reconnections built and those relationships restored.”