Executive Staff of High Watch
President & Chief Executive Officer
“I believe in The High Watch Way and our Core Set of Values and I see first-hand every day how we save lives and families here at High Watch. I am proud to ensure that our guests are treated respectfully and with integrity by our team of compassionate, talented staff.”
Jerry has over twenty years of experience as an executive with non-profit healthcare organizations. Prior to joining High Watch, Jerry was the Executive Director of a Connecticut-based emergency medical service provider. Jerry is a licensed paramedic and served for many years as the President and Chairman of a large non-profit paramedic service in Southern Connecticut. He also serves on the State of Connecticut Alcohol & Drug Policy Council.
Outside of his work with High Watch, Jerry is very active in charitable social service organizations. Domestically, Jerry has served as a municipal Ethics Commissioner, as a Board member of the Pomperaug Health District, and as a member of the Connecticut Department of Public Health EMS Advisory Board. Internationally, he is the Co-founder of Empowering Communities Worldwide, which sponsors and organizes free medical aid missions to traditionally under-served, sub-Saharan African nations.
Vice President of Admissions
“My role is to break down barriers to recovery. When someone battling addiction comes to us seeking help, the admissions staff and I do whatever it takes to get that person into High Watch. I know this is the best place with the best people and we in admissions are the gateway to the help guests need.”
Rob has been with High Watch since 2007 and ensures that individuals in need of assistance can be placed with us immediately.
He works directly with guests, their families and caregivers to navigate the insurance approval process and to make arrangements for self-paying individuals. Rob believes that it is essential that individuals seeking help with their addiction not be turned away. The fact that they have come to High Watch seeking help is so important and there may not be another opportunity to get that person on the road to recovery.
Vice President, Clinical Services
“Licensed clinicians are at the center of the care we provide our guests. We work with them to help them understand their addiction, develop coping mechanisms and achieve successful recovery.”
Amy Sedgwick holds a Master of Science in Counseling Education. She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, a Nationally and Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and a Certified Co-occurring Disorders Professional. She also holds a Specialty Certificate in Problem Gambling, focusing on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of gambling disorders.
At High Watch, Amy oversees all levels of clinical care, ensuring each client is provided with an individualized experience while creating a positive narrative to support long-term recovery. Following her completion of Yale’s leadership program, Amy was awarded as an Outstanding Woman in Behavioral Health Leadership. She now serves as the President on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Certification Board.
A skilled presenter, she offers various trainings to staff, the community, and other addiction professionals and has also served as a faculty speaker at the Cape Cod Symposium of Addiction Disorders.
Jessica Colin-Greene, JD
Vice President of Programming
Jess serves High Watch as Vice President of Programming. In that role, she oversees all recovery programs and manages the guest experience.
Jess has spent much of her career with international non-government organizations. She has volunteered in African and Asian nations caring for and supporting displaced, vulnerable, and underserved populations.
Jess graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a degree in International Social Justice. She then graduated with High Honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is a member of the Connecticut Bar. While at UConn Law, Jess served as a Notes and Comments Editor for the Connecticut Law Review, and published an article, Identity and Personhood: Advocating for the Abolishment of Closed Adoption Records Laws, in a 2017 edition of the law journal. She also served as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Victor A. Bolden in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Before coming to High Watch, Jess worked as an attorney at Shipman & Goodwin LLP.
Jess has spent considerable time visiting temples, backpacking, and engaging in spiritual exploration in India and Thailand.
View Jess’s webinar with Russell Brand here.
Chief Financial Officer
“None of our truly talented clinicians can do their work if we do not have the financial resources to facilitate it. Central to our effort here is our ability to pay for the treatment we provide to our guests. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
Derek has an extensive background in non-profit, medical research and healthcare finance and administration having served as a Chief Financial Officer exhibiting strong organizational and leadership performance.
His role at High Watch is to ensure that we have the financial capacity to deliver the care and services our guests need day in and day out. His work and the work of his team is critical to our mission of seeing the disease of addiction go into remission for each individual who passes through our door.
He is directly responsible for overseeing our core mission of Fiscal Stewardship: “We shall manage responsibly the resources of the Farm and commit ourselves to be good and faithful stewards of all donations.”
Dr. Gregory Boris
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Board certified in Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Boris is an award-winning physician.
He has served most recently as the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT from 2002 - 2020. He is also an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Quinnipiac University School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Dr. Boris believes that guests of High Watch should receive holistic care for more than just their mental health and addiction needs. He believes that their physical health is equally important in ensuring that guests are able to manage their addiction successfully.
Dr. Boris received his degree in medicine from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health center in Bronx, NY. He is certified as a Medical Review Officer by the AMMRO.
Vice President of Operations
“I believe in High Watch because I am a product of this amazing place. I can relate directly to what our guests face every day and I love watching them grow in their recovery. The clinicians and staff here do amazing things for our guests and I’m very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Vice President of Communications and Chief Marketing Officer
“Our storied history demands that we remain stewards of Bill Wilson and the many trailblazers in recovery who have defined High Watch. As world leaders in alcohol and addiction treatment, we have an obligation to share our mission and our programs with colleagues, our alumni, and those seeking recovery.”
Jason is a communications strategist with many years of experience in healthcare and advocacy.
He focuses primarily on spreading the word about High Watch's 80 year history, its close ties to the Twelve Steps, and the tremendous work the High Watch family does every day. In his role, he oversees all external communications including Alumni Relations, Development, Outreach and Business Development, Outcomes Research, digital and social media, and community and public relations.
Jason is a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars, and webinars speaking primarily about public affairs, advocacy, and the ethics of marketing. He is proud of the work that his team does in maintaining close ties with alumni and in sharing High Watch’s expertise with colleagues both locally and around the world.
View Jason’s webinar here for the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.
View Jason's webinar here for the NCAD 2020 Virtual Conference, titled "Policy, Power and Politics: Advancing Your Agenda with Legislators and Regulators"
Listen to Jason's podcast here about marketing in the addiction recovery industry.
Highly Credentialed Clinical Staff
Sarah Williamson, MD
A Board Certified Psychiatrist, Dr. Williamson brings a special focus on emotional health and well-being to our guests.
Prior to joining the medical team at High Watch, she served as Attending Psychiatrist in the partial hospitalization program at Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT.
Dr. Williamson has spent her career working closely with clinicians, social workers, and other medical professionals to treat the whole individual on a collaborative manner. She most enjoys building connections with guests and helping them to comprehend the challenges they face in their lives and how best to feel empowered to work through them.
Dr. Williamson received her degree in medicine from Ross Medical School. She completed her residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Dana Pollack, MSW, LCSW, CTT
Coordinator of Trauma Services
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dana Pollack is recognized for her ability to develop individualized treatment for residents based upon their strengths using an eclectic approach. Ms. Pollack is a specialist in relapse prevention using cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. She is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Helping someone to better understand themselves or move through a difficult situation in their life, is what Dana finds the most rewarding part of her work.
Ms. Pollack received her MSW in Social Work with a specialization in addictions from Fordham University and her BS from Dominican College.
Ms. Pollack has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
John Connelly, LCSW
John’s journey to become a substance use disorder clinician started like many with his own recovery from this disease. His first ride up the Hill of Hope was in 1990 to share his story at the Saturday night meeting. He experienced first-hand the unique power of HighWatch that night. He would make numerous trips to that meeting over the years, never dreaming that one day he would have the opportunity to help people get and stay sober as a member of this amazing clinical team.
John employs motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and a body-centered Gestalt approach to help people recognize that substances are both a cause and a symptom of their pain. John’s experience as a recovering person also informs the work he does as he emphasizez the healing power of connection.
John received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at Lehigh University and after working in the broadcasting and mortgage businesses, he found his true calling and got his MSW from Springfield College
Michelle McDowell, LMSW, CAC
Michelle McDowell believes in the mission of High Watch because she has benefited from treatment on the Hill of Hope. During her stay at High Watch, Michelle began to rewrite the script of her life, beginning to believe that she was capable of change instead of destined to live a life of addiction. As a clinician, Michelle strives to pay this gift forward to her own guests as it was given to her, helping them to envision new outcomes for themselves.
She utilizes aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Narrative Therapy to help guests recognize that substance use is an unhealthy way of dealing with trauma and life stressors. She works with guests to identify their strengths, nurturing the beginnings of hope as they learn healthier coping skills and emotion regulation.
Michelle received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. Michelle is an LMSW who works in our Residential department.
Jessica Niek, LADC, CAC
Jessica brings a wealth of knowledge about gender sensitive, trauma informed care in her role as a clinician at High Watch Recovery Center. Jessica has specialized training in “A Woman’s Way Through The 12 Steps” which is directly in line with High Watch’s philosophy of care. Jessica has prior experience working with other residential treatment programs. She finds addressing all areas that encompass addiction including behaviors associated with cross addiction and co-occurring disorders, is critical to building solid foundations of recovery. Jessica employs a number of treatment modalities but maintains a strong preference for the power of group work.
Jessica holds her Master’s Degree in Human Services with a concentration in alcohol and drug counseling from Post University. Jessica is also an LADC and a CAC.
Lauren Woods, LMSW
Lauren is an experienced therapist having treated individuals struggling with substance use disorder in both residential and outpatient settings prior to her arrival at High Watch..
She focuses on providing person-centered, individualized care from a trauma informed perspective. Lauren runs High Watch's women’s relapse prevention groups and creates strong bonds within the group, modeling healthy relationships.
Lauren received her BS and MS in social work from Southern Connecticut State University.
Donna Hoskins, APRN
Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
A Board Certified Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Specialist. Donna brings extensive management and nursing experience to the High Watch clinical team.
As a clinician, Donna’s approach is holistic. Her education in psychotherapy was Interpersonal, but as her style has developed, it has become more eclectic, including more CBT and mindfulness techniques.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing, and is a member of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, AANP, and the American Nursing Association, ANA. She is Board Certified in Adult Psychiatric Nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Ms. Hoskins is credited with being one of the founders of Women’s Support Services in Sharon, CT, as well as, one of the developers of the Cornwall Child Center in Cornwall, CT.
Ms. Hoskins holds a BA from George Washington University and a Masters degree in Psychiatric Nursing from St. Joseph’s College, in West Hartford.
Tami-Jo Lind, LCSW, CTT
Tami-Jo has worked in the behavioral health field and with individuals in crisis in residential and outpatient settings.
At High Watch she utilizes Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help guests work through their addiction. She believes in the importance of evidence-based practice in preventing relapse, which is a central focus of her work.
She is very active as a volunteer and leader in the non-profit behavioral health community and serves on the Board of Directors of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health in Torrington, CT.
Tami-Jo received her BA in Social Work from Central Connecticut State University. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University. She is certified in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Suicide Prevention, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate.
Tami-Jo has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
Janet Prindle, LCSW, CTT
Janet is a seasoned social work professional with over 30 years’ experience working with clients spanning all age groups. She has held both clinical and administrative roles and has received four awards for outstanding performance in the social work field in the past six years.
Janet has expertise in treating individuals with co-occurring disorders. She has a strength-based approach to treatment and believes strongly in empowering individuals to take charge of their recovery. She utilizes evidence-based treatment including Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.
Janet believes that the greatest calling in life is to be of service to others.
Janet received her BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University and her MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Janet has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
Jeanne Bielawa, MA, LPC, M.S. ED, CTT
Jeanne is an experienced therapist working with individuals, couples and families from diverse backgrounds.
She believes through the use of proven techniques, tailored to meet individual needs and a relationship built on trust and mutual respect, comes long-lasting positive change.
She designs integrated treatment plans for individuals with co-occurring disorders in order to facilitate changes in behavior, including cognitions and maladaptive schemas.
Jeanne’s vision is to help those she works with find their truth, power, hope and strength in order that they may fully realize the life they deserve.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Western Connecticut State University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health from Fairfield University.
Jeanne has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
Danielle Ouellette, LPC, LADC, ATR, CTT
Danielle is a talented therapist with a specific expertise and interest in Art Therapy. She is licensed as a registered art therapist working towards her board certification.
Danielle has many years of experience in both outpatient and residential recovery settings. In addressing the needs of High Watch guests, Danielle utilizes a number of treatment modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Seeking Safety protocols, and Trauma-focused Interventions.
Danielle received her Bachelors Degree from Assumption College and her Master of Science Degree in Art Therapy/Counseling from Springfield College.
Melissa Jacobs, LPC, NCC, CAC, CTT
Melissa has extensive experience working closely with individuals struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. She has worked in residential settings as well as with individuals in intensive outpatient programs.
Melissa combines traditional counseling methodologies with alternative therapies such as yoga to help guests work through their addiction. She employs evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in her treatment approach.
Melissa received her B.S. and her M.S. in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Western Connecticut State University.
Melissa has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
Kimberly Cognato, LPC, LADC, CTT
Kimberly has been working with individuals struggling with addiction and mental health for over a decade. She has worked in both private and non-profit settings and has helped individuals through residential and detox recovery.
Working directly with High Watch guests and seeing them progress is the most rewarding part of Kimberly’s work and she works directly with our guests do develop individualized treatment based on their unique needs and strengths.
Kimberly holds a certification in Co-occurring Disorders and Addiction. She is a Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Kimberly received her MS in Community Counseling from Western Connecticut State University.
Kimberly has completed 200 hours of specialized trauma training through Spirit to Spirit to become a Certified Trauma Therapist.
Jesse Mancinone, LPC
Jesse is a Licensed professional counselor specializing in both mental health and recovery for over a decade. Jesse brings a wealth of experience with family work, prevention and 12-step facilitation into his role at High Watch as a primary therapist. Jesse is trained in Family Constellation Therapy and specializes in men’s issues. Jesse received his Master of Science in Community Mental Health Counseling from Southern New Hampshire in 2011. Jesse is also a certified school counselor and has experience working with youth. Jesse believes that building rapport and guiding guests to become the most authentic version of themselves while making lasting healthy connections, helps in building long term recovery.
Kevin M. Chandon, PA-C
Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Mr. Chandon brings to High Watch Recovery Center over a decade of clinical experience in emergency medicine and urgent care practice. He received his formal training at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
Focusing on the medical aspect of each guest’s care plan, he helps manage chronic health problems, monitors and attenuates withdrawal symptoms, and promotes the wellbeing for our guests as they heal. He believes that physical exercise, proper nutrition, and excellent sleep hygiene are essentials for recovery and good health, minimizing our dependence on pharmacotherapy. He works closely with his supervising physician, Dr. Boris, and the team of psychiatrists to develop an integrated approach to recovery.
He shares his own recovery journey to guests through programming. He facilitates nature hikes in nearby nature preserves and on the Appalachian Trail as well as leading the Pride Forum, a recovery-focused peer group of LGBTQ guests and allies. Breaking stigma, living authentically, and taking care of oneself are the essence of his practice.