"What can I say? The Coral Reef Academy staff was incredibly warm and available, and their clinicians are very skilled. That was so reassuring. When you implicitly trust the staff, it feels like your son is just around the corner instead of far away." -Merle M.
Despite-or perhaps because of-our location on a small island in the South Pacific, Coral Reef Academy has attracted world-class talent from Samoa and abroad. We're proud of our clinical staff, our teachers, our mentors and our campus staff and look forward to you meeting them in person and experiencing a warm "Talofa lava!" or "Welcome!" Meanwhile we have provided a brief introduction to some of our staff, below.
Breda Tipi-Faitua Alalatoa, TPAS. MBA
Director Of Operations
Breda's focus under Operations includes: management of program finances, physical facilities, food services, security, transport, vendor relationship management, program contracts, immigration matters, government and private sector relationship management and community relationship management. Breda commenced work at Coral Reef Academy in 1997 as a Program Teacher. She has since then held a range of positions within the organization such as Deputy Program Director, Director Education, and Assistant Executive Director. She graduated from the University of the South Pacific (Fiji) with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English Language-Literature and Public Administration. She then continued on to Auckland College of Education (New Zealand) and graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching. Further studies at Massey University (New Zealand) resulted in a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Sector Management. Breda has recently completed her MBA from the University of the South Pacific. Breda's teaching career commenced at the top government high school "Samoa College", where she taught English language and literature from junior to senior high school levels. From Samoa College Breda moved into a position as an English language and literature lecturer at the National University of Samoa. Breda was appointed as Head of the National University of Samoa's English department in 1994. Since her appointment at Coral Reef Academy, she has continued to connect with Education by tutoring an evening class "English for Academic Purposes" for the University of the South Pacific and Management classes for the Bachelor of Commerce program at the National University of Samoa.
Breda is of Samoan and Tongan descent and was born in Auckland New Zealand and is married with three daughters. She is a proud grandma of 3 grandchildren.
Marcin Ohl, LPC - top -
Marcin Ohl completed his Master’s in Clinical Psychology in Poland at the Warsaw College of Social Sciences and Humanities in 2001 simultaneously with daily individual psychoanalytical training. He also studied Philosophy at the Warsaw University. Marcin enjoys and appreciates the importance of professional development while seeking internationally accredited postgraduate training and supervision such as:
He holds memberships in the British Psychological Society, the Polish Psychological Society, the Australian Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and American Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
- Oxford Postgraduate Training in Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (CBT) in the United Kingdom accredited by the European Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies,
- International Behavioral Analysts' Certification Board's accredited training in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in Poland,
- Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in Holland,
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Italy and Holland,
- Emotions Regulation, Social Skills Trainings and Motivational Interviewing in the United Kingdom and Germany,
- Continuous Professional Training in Clinical Psychology in Australian College of Applied
Marcin worked as a psychologist at the Psychiatric Clinics of Warsaw Medical University. This provided opportunities to tutor students and deliver individual, family and group psychotherapy for mood, anxiety, conduct, sexual, personality, developmental, psychotic, psychosomatic, stress-related disorders and addictions. His clinical experience includes working at various clinical settings: inpatient and outpatient clinics, academic counseling, and school shadowing assistance, private practice, home visits and implementation of complex clinical protocols onsite, at home, school and workplace. He looks forward to working with you and your son in psychotherapy that addresses motivation and psychological skills. He will also share his enthusiasm and love for Samoa.
Tasha Johnson, ACMHC - top -
Tasha Johnson comes to Coral Reef Academy from the state of Utah. She is a licensed mental health counselor (ACMHC), with an MS in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University and a BA in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Additionally, she has training in dialectical behavioral therapy, play therapies, and attachment disorders.
Tasha has been working in adolescent residential treatment for the last couple of years in Draper, Utah. She loves working with adolescents and young adults and has experience working with a wide variety of mental health issues. Some of these issues include family relationship conflicts, post-traumatic stress and trauma, substance abuse, oppositional defiance, depression, anxiety, attachment, ADHD, and pervasive development disorders. Her approach to therapy includes modalities such as cognitive-behavioral, expressive and experiential therapies, and family therapy.
Tasha developed a love for Polynesian cultures while living in Hawaii a few years back. She has moved to Samoa with her daughter and is excited about being a part of the Coral Reef Academy team, and being immersed in a new culture. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, hiking, reading, gardening, making jewelry and creating artwork.
Tara Souch, M.C., CCC - top -
Tara has come to Coral Reef Academy from British Columbia. She holds a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from City University of Seattle and she is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
For the past three years Tara has been passionate about her work with struggling teenagers and their families at a wilderness adventure program on Vancouver Island. Drawn to island life, warm-water surf, adventure and new cultural experiences she is excited to do similar work at Coral Reef Academy in Samoa.
Tara has been working with youth and young adults in social service programs for twelve years. She has experience in supporting youth and families through a variety of challenges including: substance misuse, anxiety, depression, homelessness, life transitions, anger and violence.
Most of the programs she has worked for have been in an outdoor setting. Tara believes that outdoor recreation and time in nature promotes self-efficacy while fostering a sense of community and belonging for people of all ages.
Her therapeutic approach weaves narrative therapy, systems theory, ecopsychology and contemporary rites of passage. She prefers this multi-dimensional approach when working with teenagers as a means of exploring healthy ways for young people to be initiated into whole-adulthood. Tara has trained extensively with the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. She has also attended training in cognitive behavioural therapy (Dr. David Burns) and nature-based therapeutic programming (The School of Lost Borders).
Tara also holds a Wilderness Leadership Certificate from Capilano University, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and English Literature from Wilfrid Laurier University.
In her free time Tara enjoys spending as much time as she can in the mountains and in the ocean. She is an avid surfer, mountain biker, skier, snowboarder, globetrotter and yogi. She also enjoys curing up in a hammock, reading a good book with a good cup of tea.
Moana Jonas - top -
Head Program Teacher
Moana Jonas comes to Samoa by way of New Zealand. She was educated there, and received a Diploma of Teaching from Waikato Univesity. Before moving to Samoa in 2006, Moana worked for over 10 years in a variety of educational settings. She has worked at all levels of schooling from the primary to senior levels. Her final position, before joiing Coral Reef Academy was with a High School for students with special needs. Here she gained valuable experience in working with students requiring additional support and skills. Most importantly, Moana brings her love of teing passion for providing a supportive and effective learning environment for our students to work each day.ore pal note, Moana joined the Coral Reef Academy team in 2010. She works closely with all the students, identifying their academic plan, working with their individual learning nd supporting them at the various levels of education presented in our school.
Vanya Taule'alo, Ph.D. Fine Arts - top -
Vanya is an artist and educator. She was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has lived in Samoa since 1976. During her first twelve years in Samoa she established a kindergarten and a private primary and secondary school. In the early 1990's her family took six years study leave in Sydney where she completed a Masters in Fine Arts at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Vanya completed her doctorate in Fine Arts in 2006 the University of Newcastle in Australia. "Fetaia'i i Gafa we shall meet in our children, An Investigation into Contemporary Samoan Art." Her exhibition is her personal journey and follows the merging of two very diverse and rich cultures; her Anglo-Celtic heritage and her husband's Samoan gafa, which is manifest in her children. She did this through distance mode.
Over the years Vanya has exhibited in New Zealand, Australia and Germany and she has published articles pertaining to her work and that of other Samoan artists. Her works explore themes relating to the society in which she lives, the myths, cultural practices, issues relating to identity, family, the environment and climate change. Her current works examine the fragile mangrove ecosystems in Samoa and she is developing a visual response to the recent tsunami.
Between 1997 and 2008 Vanya was a senior lecturer at the National University of Samoa, attached to the Faculty of Education focusing mainly in Visual Arts. She was the advisor and major writer for the Visual Arts Secondary Curriculum, which was introduced into secondary schools in 2005. In 2009 she has been consultant/writer for the Samoan Primary School Visual Arts Curriculum and eight Teacher Manuals years 1-8. As well she enjoys mentoring students at the Better Way programme for the Coral Reef Academy.
Since June 2008 Vanya has become a full time artist and visual arts educational consultant. She hopes to spend more time in her studio and build a small gallery/viewing area for her works.
Filia Sua, RN - top -
Filia is the program nurse for Coral Reef Academy. She looks after the health and the general well being of all students and staff on campus. She has been working with the Coral Reef Academy since July 2008. Prior to working for Coral Reef Academy, she was firstly employed as a Registered Nurse mostly at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital, now called the New Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Australia from 1988 till 2006, secondly at the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick, Sydney Australia and occasionally at the Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland New Zealand. Her main field is the Pediatric Emergency Department with some experience in the Adolescent Mental Health. She did all her nursing and education training in Samoa.
Raised in one of the rural village of Samoa called Sauano, Fagaloa. Filia now lives with her one and only 4year old son and her husband at Maagao, not far from Apia the capital of Samoa. Filia has recently moved back from Australia and established their small Bed and Breakfast Accommodation, which is running beautifully at the moment by her husband despite the tsunami which hit Samoa on September 29th.
Lisa Morales Von Colln - top -
Marketing & Admissions Director
Lisa comes to Coral Reef Academy with over 16 years experience in admissions, marketing, transports, and management. She received her B.S. degree in Business from Brigham Young University. Lisa was an integral part in the formation of two residential treatment centers specializing in the treatment of troubled adolescents and has served as Admissions Director and Marketing Director for a variety of therapeutic programs. Her most recent position was the Director of Marketing for an inpatient treatment center that specialized in the treatment of women with eating disorders.
Lisa's goal in admissions and marketing has been to provide compassion and certainty to the families with whom she works during their troubling times. She is excited to be able to provide a treatment center option to professionals and families that not only provides extensive treatment, but also adds the Samoan culture which are woven throughout the program activities. Alofa, Tautua, Fa'aaloalo –love, service, respect– values which the program are built around.
Lisa is married and the mother of 3 beautiful children. Being the mother of adopted children, she has served on a board for potential adoptive parents and worked closely with birth mothers during the adoption process. When Lisa is not watching her children play sports she is an avid runner and crossfitter. As a certified CrossFit Endurance Trainer, Lisa loves to coach and train others.
Motoi Motoi - top -
Motoi was born in Sauniatu, Samoa but grew up in Hawaii and Utah, where he developed a love for sports. Motoi maintains a passion for instilling in our young men the importance of lifelong learning, health and fitness. He also serves as a role model through extensive participation in fitness activities and coaching of competitive (rugby/basketball/soccer/volleyball) and non-competitive activities with a focus on team sportsmanship, physical strength, endurance and flexibility. Our athletic program is accredited by Park City Independent, so Motoi's documentation and observation of individual participation is crucial. As Sport's Coordinator, Motoi also organizes CRA's sports participation within the community.
Motoi returned to Samoa about 5 years ago. He has 3 children, Ivan 5, Chance, 2 ½ and baby girl Ioana, 5 ½ months. He loves spending time with his family after work, and doesn't mind babysitting for his daughter for as long as it takes. He enjoys cooking good healthy food using home grown local vegetables, fruits and spices.
Motoi has been with CRA since July 2008, firstly hired as a student mentor and later promoted to the position of Sport's Coordinator. He enjoys his role as the Sports Coordinator a lot as not only allows it him to help and interact with students, in the gym and on the field, but it also helps him stay in shape and exercise.
Faumui Harry Carter - top -
Harry has been with CRA for 12 years, working in different departments. He started as student mentor, mentor supervisor, maintenance manager, residential manager and now Samoan Culture Coordinator. Harry is a Samoan matai (chief) his matai title is Faumui, for 26 years. He is 53 years young, happily married to Barbara with 3 children. Harry was educated in Samoa and later in New Zealand.
Harry brings his knowledge of his Samoan culture and customs after being a matai for his family for 26 years. He is still active in his role as a leader for his family, village and church.
Harry teaches the students Samoan culture and history on Mondays, Samoan handicrafts and Samoan cooking on Tuesdays, Samoan language and Samoan myths/legends on Wednesdays, Experiential trips on Thursdays and Samoan dancing and singing Fridays.