Dr. Andrew Sapp is the Founder & CEO of both Novitas Academy and Cherry Gulch. He has extensive experience working with children and adolescents in the fields of mental health and psychology. Dr. Sapp earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and also graduated with honors from Oregon State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
In the early stages of his career, Dr. Sapp was a Field Supervisor and Therapist at a therapeutic wilderness program, the lead therapist on the adolescent unit of a locked inpatient psychiatric hospital, a therapist at a group home for foster boys where he did family preservation work. He also worked as a therapist at two community mental health clinics, a community college, an elementary school, and a youth correctional facility. Andrew is a veteran and honorably served as a Naval Lieutenant stationed at a Naval Medical Center where he worked as a therapist.
Dr. Sapp has served on the Government Relations Committee for the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and a committee that wrote best practice guidelines for small therapeutic programs, much of which was later incorporated into NATSAP’s best practice guidelines for members. He has also been honored to present at a number of national and regional conferences.
Dr. Sapp has worked with patients ranging from 4 to 80 years of age and truly understands psychology and human development. He believes that therapeutic intervention can prevent a child from throwing away their future. He truly believes that to reach adolescents, one’s therapeutic interventions must be supportive, creative, and engaging. He is an expert in working with adolescent boys and at using the natural environment and everyday activities to create positive change in a child’s life. He is a firm believer in the power of outdoor experiential activities, adventures, and animals to aid in the healing process. He also believes that to effect lasting change in an adolescent a holistic (mind, body, and spirit) approach is necessary.
Cherry Gulch is arguably the best therapeutic boarding school in the world for the population of middle school boys they specialize in. Dr. Sapp and his team started the school from nothing but dirt and sage brush and Cherry Gulch is now the largest private employer in the County. Cherry Gulch has been honored by the Idaho Psychological Association as the “Overall most psychologically healthy workplace” in the State and by the Idaho Business Review as “One of the best places to work” in the State. Cherry Gulch has also been selected numerous times for National recognition for “Excellence in Education”. In 2011, the Idaho Business Review selected Dr. Sapp as one of the top 40 “Accomplished Under 40” professionals in the State.
Dr. Sapp is deeply passionate about helping boys who struggle academically because learning differences run in his family and he too has undiagnosed learning disabilities that he has spent much of his life trying to overcome. Andrew believes that these challenges have helped him become more determined to reach his goals. By far his greatest accomplishment has been starting two successful programs and serving the many students and families that have benefited from this award winning and life changing programs. His greatest joy is spending time with his three precious little girls and his wonderful wife.