Sarah Armentrout

Co-Founder & Head of School,

As co-founder of Carlisle Academy, Sarah manages curriculum development and strategic oversight while also still teaching a student base of para-equestrians, pony clubbers, and student interns. She has been in the field of equine-assisted therapies and equestrian sports as a coach and competitor for over 25 years and is a PATH, Intl. Advanced Riding Instructor, a PATH, Intl. Mentor, and a USEF Certified Silver Level Para-Dressage Coach. In the 1990’s Sarah worked at the National Center for Equine-Facilitated Therapy in Woodside, California under the tutelage of the late Barbara Heine, early visionary of the American Hippotherapy Association. She then moved into management at the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped in Hailey, ID with husband Nick, while also apprenticing as working student for Connected Riding Founder, Peggy Cummings. Prior to creating Carlisle Academy, Sarah was the Group Team Leader of Corporate Communications at Tom’s of Maine, managing brand identity, marketing and corporate giving. Sarah currently serves on the statewide Board of Directors for the Maine Community Foundation and recently graduated with the 4th cohort of MCF’s Leadership Learning Exchange for Equity. Sarah sits on the National Advisory Council of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation and serves on a para-equestrian working committee for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). Between 2016-2019, Sarah acted as the National Coordinator for the Veterans Paralympic Equestrian Sport Initiative through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sport Grant funded to Carlisle Academy, which helped shape the curriculum and pilot for the USEF Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program under USEF Head of Coach Development & Technical Advisor, Michel Assouline. Sarah graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a B.A in Religion and is always ready to integrate her academic interests with daily business operations and industry pursuits. She lives at Spring Creek Farm in Lyman, Maine with her husband and three children, home to their horses and many farm animals.

Nick Armentrout

Co-Founder & General Manager,

Nick has a professional background in small business and supply chain administration, sales, land and livestock management. Over the course of his career, Nick has managed four small businesses for others, and two of his own, throughout start-up phase to maturity. Prior to working for Carlisle Academy he spent 10 years sourcing and supplying raw materials for the manufacture of 100% U.S.-sourced and constructed knit-wool clothing fabrics, as well as goods certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard – “GOTS,” and Cradle to Cradle Certified ™ for the company Ramblers Way. He holds a BA in English from Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland, where he went to play lacrosse but studied Romantic Poets instead. He is University of Maine Master Gardener, and a Saltwater Institute Values-Centered Leadership graduate. Nick has spent most of his adult years engaged with animal agriculture and organic farming. Initially ranching in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, he then returned home to start Spring Creek Farm with Sarah in 1998.  Nick manages Spring Creek Farm, a mixed-power, organic horse, sheep, hay and grain farm that also serves as the host facility for Carlisle Academy. He is most happy behind his 2 draft horses getting a job done.

Alissa Luckey

Office & Communications Manager,

A native Bostonian, Alissa received her Bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in Marketing and International Business and spent 10 years in the corporate digital marketing world, working at several start-ups in both Boston and New York. After relocating to Maine in 2019, Alissa decided to change directions and pursue a more meaningful career, where she could connect to nature and animals – a dream of hers from a young age. As the Office and Communications Manager at Carlisle Academy, Alissa brings both sides of her skills, knowledge, and passions to the table. Alissa can be found both in the office and the stables – managing activities from marketing and customer relations to side walking!

Irene Steltzer

Director of Finance & Human Resources,

Irene began her 33 year financial career in the advertising world after graduating from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, in the print and promotional fields. In advertising, Irene created, executed and reported the financial aspects of all promotional campaigns. After a few years, Irene moved into the manufacturing industry to learn computers, and worked as an Assistant to the CPA and Computer Manager. While raising a family, Irene volunteered in her children’s schools through fundraising efforts, helping children with computers, math, and teaching the children to run their school store. Irene returned to the working world by being an Assistant for a Controller; running a Computer Lab for an Elementary School; and finally being an Accountant for a General Contractor’s small business. From here, Irene began her own business as a Bookkeeper in 2009, and met up with Carlisle Academy in 2011 as its Finance and HR Director. 

Janet Smaldone, PT; HPCS (Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist)

Clinical Director, PATH Registered Therapist, Certified Physiotherapist for US Equestrians Network,

Janet joined Carlisle Academy as a physical therapist in 2011, is a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist credentialed by American Hippotherapy Certification Board, and an active dressage rider. At Carlisle, besides providing HPOT services to all ages, she is on the faculty for Para-Dressage Clinics. She has over 30 years of experience as a physical therapist in primarily pediatrics, in a variety of settings, including 10 years at National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy located in Woodside, California, and has also worked in adult rehabilitation. She was appointed 2018 USEF Para Dressage Team Physical Therapist and worked with the athletes in training and at the World Equestrian games that year. She became a USEF licensed official as a National Classifier for Para-Equestrian Sports in 2019. In addition to being employed at Carlisle Academy, Janet works in elementary schools for SAU16 in NH, and provides consultation for Richie McFarland Children’s Services (early intervention) in NH. She is also certified in Pediatric and Baby NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment), and has varied training including craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, and yoga.

Rebecca Henry, MS, OTR/L, AHCB-CT

Staff Occupational Therapist

Rebecca Henry is a Certified Therapist through the American Hippotherapy Certification Board and PATH, Intl. working at Carlisle Academy’s Therapy Center using hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. When not at Carlisle, she is at Southern Maine Health Care in the inpatient department. Rebecca is also Adjunct Faculty at the University of New England teaching an undergraduate course, developed by Carlisle Academy entitled: Introduction to Equine-Facilitated Therapy & Wellness and offered within the Department of Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies. Rebecca completed most of her undergraduate coursework at Worcester State College and transferred to The University of New England for her graduate degree. While at UNE she both competed on the Cross Country Team as well as filled the role of assistant coach for Cross Country. She maintains memberships with several professional organizations including: AOTA, MEOTA, AHA, and PATH Int.. a licensed Occupational Therapist for over 15 years, Rebecca has experience working with children and adults with physical, developmental and mental health disabilities within acute care hospitals, a school for children with Autism, skilled nursing facilities, and a private clinic focused on Sensory Integration. Rebecca’s passion to help others and a long time love of horses fuel her work at Carlisle Academy.

Maddie Cicatelli, OTR/L

Staff Occupational Therapist 

Maddie has been riding and working with horses since she was 8 years old. From that time she has strived to turn her passion for helping others and love of horses into a career. Maddie graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2019 with a Master’s of Occupational Therapy and a concentration in Therapeutic Horseback Riding, receiving her OT license shortly after. Maddie also received her PATH Intl. certification in 2016, a Massachusetts riding instructors license in 2014, and now also has her PATH CTRI. Maddie completed her Level II occupational therapy fieldwork experience here at Carlisle Academy and jumped at the opportunity to become part of the team as a new staff occupational therapist. Maddie always wanted to practice hippotherapy as an OT and is grateful that Carlisle is able to make that dream a reality. When not at Carlisle, Maddie enjoys low level dressage training on her 12-year-old thoroughbred, Remy as well as working her per diem job at a skilled nursing facility.

Joyce Brown, CTRI

Certified PATH, International Instructor

Joyce began at Carlisle Academy in 2007 as a horse handler and instructor, holding various administrative roles as well through early 2014. She continued to volunteer as an apprentice and joins Carlisle staff again for the 2020 season as an instructor in the Therapy Center. Joyce is a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and a PATH, Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. A confirmed horse lover from her first Shetland pony ride at 3 years old, Joyce finally had her first “official” riding lesson in her mid-30s and has been riding and studying all things equine ever since. With all she learned through her relationship with her first horse Lady, she was inspired to develop Hands to Horses, an unmounted therapeutic horsemanship program for the experiential learning program at Sweetser which she taught for many years. Joyce studies the art of dressage and remains in awe of the gifts horses share with us in every single interaction.

Kate Goldwyn Musk

Equestrian Center Coach, Certified Centered Riding Instructor/Pony Club Instructor,

Kate Goldwyn Musk teaches riders of all ages at Carlisle Academy’s Equestrian Center. She has been a professional riding instructor, trainer and horsewoman for more than 20 years. She is certified as a Level 2 Centered Riding® Instructor, and was also certified as a CHA Instructor in 2003. She founded and developed her own farm, Strawberry Fields, where she taught hunter seat, jumping, basic dressage, recreational riding, and Centered Riding® to riders of all ages.  Kate competed from childhood in local to national level horse shows. Coached by Gary Duffy, she competed in Equitation and Junior Working Hunters, from Wellington, FL to Saratoga, NY, including the Washington International Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Devon Horse Show. She has extensive experience coaching and preparing horses and riders for hunters, pony hunters, equitation, junior and adult amateur classes. Kate initiated the SUNY Cortland Equestrian Club and has also taught children and adults with special needs. It is Kate’s belief that while competition can offer fun and achievement for many riders, good horsemanship, sportsmanship and the love of the horse must always come first.

Matt Day

Veterans & Military Liaison,

Matt grew up on a small farm in Maryland with cattle and a few horses.  He was very active in 4-H, particularly in beef production and livestock judging.  He raised several state, and national grand champion steers, and also represented the state of MD at the Eastern National Livestock Show in their livestock judging national championship. After college Matt served in the Air Force and Navy in Special Operations/Warfare capacities.  Multiple deployments throughout the world built the foundation of a great deal of pride.  Typical for so many other veterans, his service was also the basis of some physical and emotional wounds. In 2017 Matt came to Carlisle Academy as a participant in a half-day clinic for veterans. His continued participation grew into a Farm Management Internship that was funded by the Carlisle Charitable Foundation. His reconnection with horses, livestock and with the good honest work that farming demands, lent itself to an increased sense of connectedness, confidence and self-worth.  His relationship with Carlisle Academy grew, and now Matt is proud to serve as the Military and Veterans Liaison.  


Instructor & Pony Club Assistant

Olivia is a life-long horse person having grown up on her family’s Hundred Acre Wood Farm in Jefferson, Maine where they hosted both Pony Club and 4-H programs. Olivia has achieved her C-3 Eventing Pony Club Certification, has taught lessons at Camp Medolark, and currently teaches youth in Carlisle’s Pony Club Riding Center Program. When not teaching or training, she is busy at the University of Southern Maine pursuing an Art Education degree and performing on the track team.   

Sarah Belanger

Horse Handler

Sarah grew up working with draft horses on her family’s farm in Maine. She is an experienced horse woman with miles of driving singles and teams. Sarah completed a Stable Management Internship at Carlisle Academy in 2016, after which time she joined the staff as a Horse Handler. Sarah continues to advance her riding skills in dressage, enjoys all aspects of horse management at Carlisle, and hopes to own her own draft horse farm in the future.

Affiliate Instructors:

Deb Dean Smith

USDF Gold Medalist, Professional Dressage Instructor

Deb is a guest instructor focused on teaching able-bodied and para-dressage riders during her monthly visits to Carlisle Academy. Deb has been the trainer at Huntington Farm in Vermont since 1994. She is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist who has received many top placings and high score awards in USDF shows on various horses. Deb has trained many horses from youngsters through to the FEI levels. A former high level event rider, Deborah teaches many event and dressage students throughout the New England area.

Diana Gallant

Certified Equine Experiential Education Facilitator

Diana Gallant is a learning and performance development consultant with over 20 years’ experience analyzing workplace performance issues and developing solutions aligned with strategic business goals. She has broad industry experience across financial, automotive, transportation, healthcare, telecommunications, sales, customer service, engineering, government, higher education and non-profit organizations. A life-long horsewoman, Diana recognizes the benefits horses bring to teams and leaders in the workplace as safe, entertaining, and nonjudgmental “simulators” of common group dynamics. Her unique combination of professional and equine experience forms the basis of her team building and leadership programs. Diana earned a B.S. in Rehabilitation from the University of Maine at Farmington and an M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Northern Colorado. She is also a certified facilitator of equine experiential education programs designed specifically for team and leader development in the workplace.

Scott Monroe

Para-Driving Coach, Level 2 PATH Driving Instructor & USEF National Combined Driving Single Horse Champion

Scott Monroe, National Combined Driving Single Horse Champion in 2005, 2006 and 2011, has represented the United States three times internationally at the USET level as well as once for Canada as a navigator. He has been honored with USEF Horse of the Year twice as well as Reserve HOTY twice and Morgan Horse of the Year with Shadow, a stunning black Morgan. Scott has more than 25 years of driving and training experience and uses many methods of Natural Horsemanship. He is an ADS “R” Combined Driving Judge, ADS “r” Technical Delegate, USEF ”r” Combined Driving Judge, USEF “r” Technical Delegate and a PATH Level 2 Therapeutic Driving Instructor. As a PATH Instructor he enjoys working with para-drivers and has a special connection with Veterans as he is a United States Marine Corps Veteran.