Boys ranch and therapeutic boarding school for struggling teen boys with behavioral therapy. Arivaca Boys Ranch in Arizona serves families from Arizona, Nevada, and California .

The Staff

Managing Director

Ron Searle, MBA, "Horse Whisperer"

Ron SearleRon lives on the ranch oversees all of it’s operations. He tries to be personally involved with the boys as much as possible. Ron has 18 years of experience in youth education both as an Instructor and Principal of high school students, and 10 years as a University Instructor at Arizona State University. He also founded and owns The Diamond Consortium in Mesa Arizona. He holds a bachelors degree in family financial counseling and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State. He has spent many years counseling and working with struggling youth. He has 30 years of horse experience and is a “horse whisperer.” He also has 20 plus years of working with young men in church-related and Boy Scout activities. He has served as a Varsity Scout Coach, a Venture Post Leader, and a Unit Commissioner for the Boy Scout program. Ron’s desire to help young people, and his love of horses, has led to the vision of the Arivaca Boys Ranch and Academy. Ron also is a licensed Arbinger Instructor and is committed to the Arbinger principles as a cultural basis for the ranch. Ron is dedicated to young people and their futures. Ron and his wife Peggy have eight children and are grandparents of seven.

Clinical Director

D. Hyrum Wright, holds an EDS from University of South Carolina in Counseling. He has a Master Degree from Brigham Young University and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Utah. He currently has his own counseling practice. He is also our director of counseling services. He has 20 years of educational experience (current director of the ASU Institute of Religion) and 10 years of counseling experience. Hyrum has experience in “Natural Horsemanship” and is able to draw from his experience with horse to help clients. He has will helped develop both the curriculum for the boys and their parents. He will also help in training staff and counselors in “Natural Horsemanship” to augment their counseling. Hyrum and his wife have three children and currently live in Gilbert, Arizona.

Chris Wallace, Ph.D. – Director, Psychotherapy Senior Facilitator and Consultant. 

Trained in psychology and the clinical treatment of families, Chris has been a practicing, doctoral level Marriage & Family Therapist since 1990 and for twelve years, was the clinical director at ANASAZI Foundation, a nationally recognized youth treatment program in Mesa, Arizona utilizing the wilderness to bring about a change of heart in struggling youth and their families.  Dr. Wallace is senior facilitator for the Arbinger Institute since 1993 and has been a teacher and consultant in the United States and Europe in many industries, including healthcare, military, government, aerospace, retailing, biotechnology, service and professional groups, and tele-communications, among others.  Dr. Wallace also serves as a senior consultant for Arbinger’s Continuing Education Program.


Dave Jensen, LMSW

For over nine years Dave has been working with adolescents, young adults and the families that care for them. Dave has worked with youth and young adults in hospitals, outpatient clinics, group homes, wilderness therapy and now is proud to be associated with Arivaca Boys Ranch. Dave earned his BA in Religious Studies from Arizona State University with the intent to transition the skills and knowledge acquired there into his future counseling career; he went on to earn his Master of Social Work degree from New York University. His studies and training emphasized clinical intervention including, individual, family and group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and addictions counseling. He has a special interest in helping young adults face the challenges of their world and has seen that the decisions young people make now will shape them for years to come. Dave has worked with the Arbinger Institute for nine years and believes strongly that problems exist in relationships rather than in individuals, and that people have the fundamental ability to change their hearts and their lives. This philosophy informs his therapy as he emphasizes a strengths based and solution focused approach.

Tyler Hoyt

Tyler has been at the ranch since May 2010.  He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the state of Arizona.  He, prior to working at Arivaca Ranch, came from a children's outpatient 0 to 5 clinic where he did family therapy, play therapy, and much work with adoptive and foster families; he also worked with families attempting to rehabilitate and reunify with their children after being involved with Child Protective Services (CPS).  Before that Tyler was trained in Functional Family Therapy (FFT), by James Alexander, and worked as an in-home interventionist of struggling teenage children and their families.  He received his Masters of Science degree at Oklahoma State University's accredited marriage and family therapy program.  He was mentored under an esteemed couple's researcher and clinician, and worked with couples who adopted children with special needs through the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.  Tyler earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University where he met his wife, the mother of their four children.  He and his family live in the Tucson area.

Xela Goodman

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in History and Education, Xela served in the Peace Corps for nearly three years as a school and community resource volunteer in South Africa. It was in this foreign environment where Xela developed her adventurous spirit and fully understood and embraced her passion for being of service to others. Upon returning from her overseas adventure, Xela received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She first began her clinical experience working with adults who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness where she ran group therapy and served as an advocate. After working with the adult population, Xela took on the challenge of working with adolescents and was captivated. For several years, Xela worked as a clinician at two different wilderness therapeutic programs before finding her way to Arivaca Boys Ranch. She has experience working with a variety of issues including defiance, substance abuse, depression, trauma and more. Xela typically uses art therapy and mindfulness techniques to aid her strengths based and systems perspective, Gestalt approach. It is Xela’s hope that the teens she works with will gain a better sense of self and confidence while learning effective coping and interpersonal skills.

Glenn Banks, Jr., is a Licensed, Independent Substance Abuse Counselor and holds a Masters Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from the University of Phoenix.  He also holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Arizona State University.  He has 12 years of experience working in the helping professions.  He was a trailwalker for the Anasazi Youth Wilderness program.  He became the Clinical Director for the dually-adjudicated youth program at Prehab of Arizona.  He performed an internship with Empact SPC of Tempe, AZ counseling individuals, couples, and families, and at the same time, he worked for the Maricopa County Mobile Crisis Unit.  During his 7 years working for ValueOptions and Magellan of AZ, he assessed individuals for SMI (Seriously Mentally Ill) benefits.  He attained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America and has been a Scoutmaster for 4 years.  Glenn served our country for 6 years in the United States Air Force as an encryptionist; including service with the 106th Air Group in the Arizona Air National Guard.

Operations Manager

Luke Hallows

Luke has helped direct two youth schools in the last 14 years as well as built three youth programs from the ground up. He has experience in training staffs and developing facilities for new programs. He also has experience as an enrollment counselor. Luke as owned his own landscape business and has a variety of experience in construction and maintenance. Luke loves to be around young men, and they love to be around him. Boys learn to love hard work under Luke’s tutelage. Luke and his wife have five children and live in nearby Sahaurita.

Program Director

Matt Howard
Our program director Matt Howard calls the ranch home. He lives there with his wife Rachelle and their two young children Eli and Jonathan. The Howards share years of experience helping teens in wilderness therapy. Life long students of the Arbinger Institute it is their belief that lasting change comes only when a trusted friend makes an unassuming invitation to change. They hope to be such a friend to the boys at the ranch.

Both Matt and Rachelle attended Brigham Young University where Matt received a Bachelor degree in English Language and Rachelle a Masters degree in Marriage Family and Human Development. Matt takes care of the day-to-day operations of the ranch. Whether its planning the daily schedule, showing the ranch to guests, or driving the tractor he's there to pitch in. Rachelle opens her home to the boys once a week where she teaches the boys a class about morality and values. Eli and Jonathan are "little brothers" to all the boys, proving a never ending source of love and admiration.The Howards delight at the opportunity to learn from and love each boy that comes to the Ranch.

Academic Director

Devin Tarwater

"Born and raised in Tempe, Arizona. Earned Eagle Scout at the age of 13.
Participated in Freshman, JV, and Varsity tennis and Marching Band in High School. Lived in Italy for two years as a service volunteer. Taught Italian for three years in Provo, Utah. Graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Economics and a degree in Italian. Started working at Arivaca Boys Ranch in May 2010 and enjoys every minute helping the boys work towards their academic success. Devin is currently preparing to attend law school to pursue a career in either immigration or sports law, but he doesn't let that distract him from doing the best he can to help build men of integrity on the ranch."

Enrollment Director

Kathy Cazier

Our Director of Enrollment came to us from ITT Technical Institute In Spokane. She understands and supports the value of education in the future of our young men. You will find a willing and understanding ear to discuss your son and our program here at Arivaca Boys Ranch. She raised 7 children and she and her three youngest children have been thru the Arbinger programs. She can answer all your questions and help you thru the sometimes daunting task of finding the right program for your son and assisting in the enrollment process itself.


Academic Assistant

Jill Farrel
A retired special ed teacher of 30 years, Jill Farrell serves as our
tutor. Her indomitable spirit and cheery smile rub off on even the most
reluctant of students. While Jill is there to help all the boys with
their questions her primary responsibility is to help boys who are in
need of special accommodations. Jill is also our connection to the local
library, supplying books for the ranches many book worms.



Director of Food Services (Ranch Chef)

Jon Sharp
Jon Sharpe is our ranch chef. Hired as "the cook" but the quality of his
cooking quickly promoted his title to "chef". Jon has worked in many resorts in southern Arizona as a chef.
Jon can often be found sharing bits of wisdom and encouragement with the boys as he serves up meals. A quiet example of honest living, Jon is liked and respected by all the boys. They show their respect by keeping Jon's kitchen rules: no cussing in the kitchen, respect to elders, and dinner before dessert.
Jon is also an accomplished carpenter and teaches a woodworking class twice a week.

Assistant Food Specialist

Chonchita Alverez, 35
Conchita lives in Arivaca. She has work at the Post Office, Community Human Resources, and Carivaca (care center). Conchita loves the young men at the ranch as much as they love and respect her. She is a great asset to the program.





Special Activities Director

Lolo DeMarco – 25

Lolo lives in Tucson. She is enrolled in school majoring in Recreational Management and Youth Leadership. She is minoring in psychology. Lolo finds joy in her personal interaction and relationships with each boy she serves.


Staff (Wranglers)

Ricky Lyman 24

Ricky lives in Gilbert, AZ. He loves the outdoors, camping, and fishing. He loves to spend time with the boys camping, riding horses, and special activities. Ricky states,” I love to see the miracles unfold in these boys lives as they slowly change and become men of integrity.”



Jordan Mayberry 24

Jordan has studied at Eastern Arizona College and hopes to continue to become a high school teacher. He loves being a big brother to the young men at the ranch and sets a great example. He finds great satisfaction in seeing these young men change their lives and loves being a part of this transformation.




Chris Hoerner 23

Chris is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He has a degree in Social Work and a Minor in Outdoor Educatio. He wants to be a flight nurse. Chris loves building relationships with each individual boy at the ranch.





KJ (Kevin Johnson) - 23

KJ grew up in Delta Utah but made his way to Arizona. He now lives in Mesa. He is interested in attending Law School. For now, he loves spending time at the ranch, working with horses and learning. He most loves developing relationships with the young men here and watching them grow.




Kyle Fuller 22

Kyle lives in Mesa. He is currently in a program training to be a “myropractor.” He likes being with the boys. He like the Arbinger principles, and he loves the ranch setting.






Jeff Hoskins 25

Jeff lives in Gilbert. He hopes to pursue a career in electrical engineering. Jeff loves watching how the ranch makes such a difference in young men’s lives.





Dan Wooten







Jeff Nielson 22

Jeff has been at the ranch nearly a year. The boys respect and look up to him. He is an active outdoorsman who camps, rappels, and loves to ride horses. Jeff lives in Mesa and has recently enlisted in the Marines. He will be leaving shortly. He will be missed by all the boys who love him.

Collin Perryman 27
Collin comes from California. He has a degrees from Arizona State University and is starting a PHD program in Montana in the fall. He hopes to become a therapist. Collin adds maturity and insight to our wrangler staff.

Scott Spencer 23

Scott wants to study architecture. He lives in Mesa. “I really like being able to see boys change for the better. It is an inspiration to me.”

Brennan Kartchner 22

Brennan attends the University of Arizona. He is majoring in Political Science. Brennan is an expert guitar player and currently plays in two bands. He shares his talents with the ranch and many boys are learning guitar. He is interested in a career in politics.

Austin Cazier 22

Austin attends school in Tucson where he lives. He is majoring in Developmental Psychology and interested in a career in education. He plays the drums and gives the boys drum lessons when he is on shift. The young men love Austin and he is a great example

Nathan Smith

Chris Bawden

Shawn Nichols
Ryker Kizzar

Stetson Kizzar

Jeremy Buehner

Arivaca Boys Ranch - General Partners and Board:

  • Ron Searle - Managing Partner
  • Carter Poulsen - CFO
  • Partners - Norm King, John Poulsen, Clif Pinckard

Contact us for enrollment information
Home page


quoteYou will be amazed, like we were, to know what can be accomplished in only a month with your son! -Parents

Our son has grown so much and come so far, and now realizes just what he can be. You have saved our son. -Parents

He is a completely different son! We are so proud of the young man he has become. -Parents

We couldn't be happier and more at peace with where our son is right now. What a blessing you have been in our lives, and I know that it was through divine intervention that led us to Arivaca. -Parents quote2

Read More Parent Testimonials...