Faculty and Staff


Director of Counseling


Like most counselors and those in the business of people helping, Dr. Heather Paessler-Chesterton (“Dr. C”) has a heart for the hurting. A Regent University graduate, Dr. C earned a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and has spent the past decade as a counselor educator and faculty member at Walden University. Her background is also rich in clinical work, specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, with an emphasis on trauma and attachment. Dr. Chesterton’s work has spanned the country as a consultant, researcher, mentor, and supervisor. She speaks at local and national levels on working in diverse settings and meeting the needs of challenging youth. Dr. C is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, and she also holds certifications in school counseling. Dr. Chesterton is also a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer for the American Red Cross.

While Dr. C has been blessed to have experienced a wide range of professional opportunities, she feels particularly called to the role of “people helper,” as well as being of service to other people helpers. She and her husband have been active in urban youth ministry and reside in Western New York with their three young children. As faculty and Director of the Masters in Counseling Program, she is dedicated to partnering with both students and faculty in order to empower them toward remarkable goals and to help prepare them as their own professional calling unfolds.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
  • M.A., Community and School Counseling, Regent University
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire

Executive Director

Scott has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is the Executive Director of the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling. Scott was previously the Founder and Director of the Wabash Friends Counseling Center for 21 years. The counseling ministry grew to 7 satellite offices in surrounding cities with over 20 clinical staff. In addition to this Scott created a yearly psycho-educational conference that became one of the largest one-day conferences in the Midwest for nearly 25 years. Scott is also an executive leadership coach and business consultant. Scott met Dr. John Townsend in 1996 and has co-facilitated 5 different teams with John. Scott is also a Senior Director of the Townsend Leadership Program  and runs a group out of Indianapolis.

Director of Curriculum and Assessment


Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas has served as interim and as an assistant dean at Concordia University and previously worked in the office of Adult, Graduate and Online Programs to help programs from all over the university reach new levels of rigor and relevance in an online environment. She began at Concordia as a professor in the School of Education, then as Director of Curriculum and Assessment for the Master in Arts in Education Masters programs, which include masters degrees for Administration, Curriculum and Instruction and School Counseling. She also assists in the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.

Most recently she has moved to the Dallas Texas area with her family. She will continue working remotely with Concordia and the Townsend Institute as Director of Curriculum and Assessment primarily working with CACREP Accreditation.

For the years prior to higher education she led national Counseling/Academic services for a large national human services provider and consulted internationally in Europe and the United Arab Emirates in the areas of counseling, education and special education services. She has hosted several national conferences for counselors and educators and presented on these topics across the United States and the United Kingdom. Prior to her national position she was a principal at Excel Middle and High School, a school designed exclusively to serve expelled students. The school became a national model during her stewardship for agencies who seek to serve the, “hardest to serve” populations of young people.

During her Ph.D. research and while completing her clinical supervision for her licensure in psychotherapy (FL) she completed her dissertation on the effect of counseling interventions on the academic achievement and behavior of secondary at-risk youth. Beyond her primary career, she has served as an adjunct professor and curriculum writer of Psychology and Education at Belhaven University from 2005 to March 2010.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Education and Leadership, Barry University
  • M.A., Counselor Education, University of Central Florida
  • B.A., Psychology, University of North Florida


Bobbi has a Masters in Counseling degree. She is a Billings, MT based Townsend Leadership Director, leadership coach, therapist, and founder and director of the AJ Blain Foundation. She has specialized experience in characterbased growth and works with leaders and others to help them maximize their organization's' performance and to have balanced and healthy lives. She has extensive experience with personal growth, loss and grief.

Organizational Consulting and Change Theory

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, Pepperdine University
  • M.A., Psychology, Pepperdine University
  • B.A., Theology, Concordia University, Seward, NE


Gilbert has an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and a MA. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. He currently is the Dean of Students at Concordia University, Irvine and has taught Christianity and Contemporary Culture for several academic programs throughout campus as one of Concordia's most endeared instructors. In addition to his leadership and teaching roles at Concordia, he has worked for many years as a Director of Christian Education at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Arcadia, California, where he developed servant leaders within the church and the youth ministry. At Concordia University, he is passionate about developing wise, honorable, and cultivated student leaders. He has conducted numerous presentations on servant leadership, community service, and many relevant issues critical to college age students.

Marianne is a licensed psychologist in Oregon and was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist by California. She had a private practice for several years working with many families, doing play therapy with kids, couples , as well as individuals. Marianne is a Level 2 EMDR provider and enjoys working with those who have experienced trauma and those who are struggling with various addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. I am the director of, and a practicing psychologist, in the Counseling Center at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. She also teaches Family Systems Theory and Therapy and Clinical Interventions at the graduate level. Currently she maintain a small private practice.

Eileen Callahan completed her graduate and post-graduate education in clinical social work and psychotherapy at New York University. Currently, she is pursuing a Certificate in Spiritual Formation through Soul Shepherding, a non-profit ministry aimed at helping pastors and ministry leaders foster a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Eileen Callahan is a licensed psychotherapist and executive coach who helps clients experience real transformation in their personal and professional life. As founder of RESTORE Executive Coaching Experience, Eileen leads clients through an exclusive program designed to overcome depletion, stress and disconnection. As a personal growth and leadership facilitator for Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s Ultimate Leadership, Empower Now, and One Week Intensive for Therapists workshops, Eileen has helped hundreds of participants identify goals, overcome obstacles and grow as leaders.

Jill has a Ph.D. from Capella University in Organizational Management with an emphasis in Leadership. She has M.S.M. from Notre Dame de Namur University with an emphasis in Project Management. Jill’s experience spans from 12 years in the collegiate classroom to working in the board room as a business executive for more than 20 years. A dynamic and seasoned entrepreneur with a track record in developing and implementing effective business processes. Jill has experience in managing and leading internal teams, creating win-win relationships with vendors and suppliers to improve costefficiency across the supply chain, and tracking adherence to organizational strategy, strategic objectives and action plans. Currently she is the chairman and CEO at NSI (Nutritional Services, Inc.) in San Carlos, CA.

Pamela has received her Masters in Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary and was part of the Inaugural class of the Townsend Institute at Huntington University where she received the Advanced Executive Coaching Credential. She is a Leadership Coach and Organizational consultant with the Townsend Leadership Group. She is now an active TLP Director, co-leading a group in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. Pamela is certified in the 16 PF and also offers the Myers Briggs, Strong Interest Survey, and Emotional Intelligence Assessments. Pamela has received training from Dennis Del Valle in Process Group Dynamics and Experiential Training as well as several psychodramas trainings under the Bridging Harts Institute and Psychotherapy. Pamela has also completed both the Ultimate Leadership Workshop and One Week Intensive for Counselors in Newport Beach, California hosted by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. She coaches individuals and teams to build self-awareness, improve communication skills and deal with conflict in a way that solves problems and helps people grow.

Michelle has a Master of Arts in Children and Family Ministry from Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, MN. She has a Master of Science-Organizational Development and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Abilene Christian University. Currently she is Executive Director of Leadership Development & Training at Greater Houston YMCA Association, Houston, TX. Previously she was the Senior Training Manager at Cameron in Houston, TX. She was the Executive Director at CrossPoint Community Church in Katy, TX and the Next Generation Strategic Leader at St. John in Ellisville, MO

Steve is owner and doctor for Veterinary Healthcare Concepts for the past 25 years. He leads this multiple discipline practice with general and emergency services including orthopedic and neurosurgery. Steve is an avid outdoorsman, rancher, and pilot. He is instrument rated and certified in high performance aircraft. Steve has a passion for developing students and investing in their lives. He and his wife Lisa led the college class at their church for many years, which grew to a weekly gathering of over 200 students under their leadership. Steve and Lisa have served in leadership capacities and as local board members of Young Life, an organization designed to introduce high school kids to Jesus Christ. Steve currently is a director for the Townsend Leadership Program.

Nancy has a Master’s in Counseling and is a speaker, teacher, counselor and coach. She is a Director for the Townsend Leadership program in New York City and the Dallas Fort Worth area. She is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in individual, marital and sexual issues. She is also a Certified Sex Therapist. She was on staff at Gateway Church for over five years, serving in the Marriage and Family department and Intimate Life. She loves to help people grow into their full potential, empowering them to be truly alive. Nancy teaches on topics ranging from relational health to sexual and spiritual growth and development.

Ben received his Masters in Counseling at Huntington University. He has worked with kids and teens for the last seven years in a variety of roles and has a passion for youth development. Ben has worked at Compass Rose Academy for the last 4 years as Philosophy of Care Coordinator. Here, Ben helps bring the therapeutic model to the residential setting by bridging the gap between therapy and everyday living. Ben is an avid soccer fan.

Gregg has a Ph.D. in organizational leadership from Regent University and a Master’s from Hofstra University. He is the Group Life Pastor at Living Faith Christian Church on Long Island, NY, joining the staff in 1983. His primary responsibilities are to train and develop our church's leaders. Gregg has a passion for building community in the body of Christ, and helping people grow spiritually and emotionally. In addition, I served as an Adjunct Professor at Nyack College, Bethel Seminary and Huntington University.

Joel is a licensed mental health counselor and holds a Masters degree in mental health counseling from Huntington University. He has completed a post-masters degree in addiction counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition, Joel is a certified Gestalt therapist and currently enrolled as a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is training to become a certified hypnotherapist. His clinical experience includes lead therapist with youth in a residential care program; behavioral technician at a facility for sexually maladaptive youth; and as a private practice clinician. Currently he is an addictions counselor at a community mental health agency, in Marion, Indiana where he is leads group psychotherapy using Supportive-Expressive Psychodynamic Therapy and 12-Step Facilitation Therapy group modalities to help facilitate long-term dynamic/characterolgical change. He has been a featured workshop speaker both locally and nationally on topics ranging from addiction treatment to experiential-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy. Joel is on the NFL list of approved therapists.

Dr. R. received his MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Biola University and his PhD in clinical psychology from California Graduate Institute. He has been in private practice since 1987, providing individual, family and group therapy. He has worked Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud providing individual, family and group therapy in an in-patient hospital program. He is currently a group facilitator for the Ultimate Leadership seminars conducted by Cloud/Townsend Resources in Costa Mesa, CA. His private practice is currently in Santa Ana, CA. Dr. R. has worked with several churches. He was a presenter for Wednesday Night Applications at Mariners Church in Newport Beach, CA. He developed a program similar to the Wednesday Night Applications for Richmond Community Church in Yorba Linda, CA. He has conducted seminars in numerous churches on various topics including; forgiveness, anxiety, depression, confrontation, as well as presenting various books by Drs. Townsend and Cloud. He currently is involved leading growth groups at his home church, North Coast Church, in Vista, CA.

Ginny is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Consultant, Speaker, Executive Coach, Adjunct Professor and Townsend Leadership Director who brings 23 years of experience to her industry. She received a Master of Science in Counseling from Indiana University Southeast, a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University Bloomington and her Marriage and Family Certification at Indiana Wesleyan University in Indianapolis, IN. Additionally, Ginny leads two Townsend Leadership groups, working with multi-level leadership from various industries nationwide. With 15 years in the field of education, Ms. Tackett is passionate about helping leaders overcome and eliminate the obstacles that may be preventing them from reaching their full potential. She challenges leaders to access deeper emotional and relational connections, which will profoundly affect their personal and professional lives. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, Ginny has lectured on workplace relationships, leadership, culture and organizations.