Cottonwood Employee Recognition Program

Cottonwood Tucson Rehab

The Cottonwood Employee Recognition Program is designed to recognize employees and to publicly acknowledge appreciation for efforts that go above and beyond the call of duty and display customer care. 

All employees can nominate individuals for recognition based on behavior that embodies customer service commitments, such as confidentiality, ethics and personal ownership. Employees can use this form to nominate their co-workers. Factors that will also be considered are qualities such as:

Click here to learn about our annual Hildreth and Stone Awards

 Tonya Flournoy, Dietary Aide

March 2020 Employee of the Month

Tonya is the perfect example of someone who represents Cottonwood in a high light. She takes the time to get to know not only her co-workers but also our clients, as people. She steps in where needed, without being asked, and exemplifies leadership when needed. She hasn’t been here long, but she truly has proven herself to be someone with a strong skill and love for what they do.

 Kirstin Girdner, Infection Prevention

February 2020 Employee of the Month

Kirstin is always willing to pass along her knowledge and expertise to those that need it. She shows concern for not only patients, but for her coworkers as well. She is approachable and hard working. She does whatever it takes to make sure her team operates as it should, and goes out of her way to make sure things are covered. Even when the unexpected occurs, she still manages to get the job done without missing a beat. Kirstin is a pleasure to work with, and continues to be a huge asset to the Cottonwood family.

 Maria Borquez, Housekeeper

January 2020 Employee of the Month

Maria has a true passion and dedication for Cottonwood, she is always pleasant has a positive attitude, even on days that aren’t so easy.

 Alberto Sanchez, Groundskeeper

December 2019 Employee of the Month

Alberto is passionate about his work here at Cottonwood and serving others. Alberto does a great job in keeping our facility clean and beautiful, not to mention he is caring for 32 acres on his own and still keeps a smile on his face. Alberto’s positive attitude and kindness is welcoming to us all.

 Gerald Davis, Dietary Aide

November 2019 Employee of the Month

Gerald is the ultimate team player. His willingness to jump in and get things done has been critical to the recent success in the kitchen. His solution-based mentality make him a key staff member at Cottonwood!

Danielle Campos, LPNDanielle Campos, LPN

October 2019 Employee of the Month


Angela Braunreiter, Lead Patient Care FacilitatorAngela Braunreiter, Lead Patient Care Facilitator

September 2019 Employee of the Month


Lisa Cook, Director of Risk/ComplianceLisa Cook, Director of Risk/Compliance

August 2019 Employee of the Month


Olivia Hook, Primary TherapistOlivia Hook, Primary Therapist

July 2019 Employee of the Month


Emily Mattimoe, Recreational TherapistEmily Mattimoe, Recreational Therapist

June 2019 Employee of the Month


Maria Broz, Director of NursingMaria Broz, Director of Nursing

May 2019 Employee of the Month


Kendra Miller, Unit AssistantKendra Miller, Unit Assistant

April 2019 Employee of the Month


Leslie Whitaker, Administrative Services ManagerLeslie Whitaker, Administrative Services Manager

March 2019 Employee of the Month


Nick Baxter, Information Systems SpecialistNick Baxter, Information Systems Specialist

February 2019 Employee of the Month


Randall Rutherford, Program Specialist/Patient AdvocateRandall Rutherford, Program Specialist/Patient Advocate

January 2019 Employee of the Monthem


 James Seymour, MD, Medical Director

November 2017 Employee of the Month

Dr. Seymour is always positive and uplifting, and he is constantly supportive to our patients in a very kind and compassionate way. He is actively involved in educating our tech and nursing staff, and he always strives to have the most consistent care available to our patients.


 Lynn Bertagnoli, Receptionist

October 2017 Employee of the Month

Lynn always displays a positive attitude and it is clear that she loves her job. She is always willing to help others and she goes that extra step for both staff and patients. She is warm and welcoming with a smile on her face, and she always has a willing ear and a great story to tell. Lynn has been a dedicated employee for 25 years this month!


 Randy Rutherford, Patient Care Facilitator II

September 2017 Employee of the Month

Randy is described as kind, compassionate, informative, timely, and engaging. He always displays outstanding professionalism, customer service, initiative, and patient care. One of Cottonwood’s top referents recently reached out to multiple people here at Cottonwood to share how great his experience was with Randy.


 Lisa Cook, Medical Transcriptionist

August 2017 Employee of the Month

Lisa is always willing to assist within her department whenever necessary. She takes the initiative and often schedules her days off for the times when her workload is lower. Lisa is always professional when communicating with staff members to produce quality work, she always stays on top of which patients are insurance-based to ensure the work for those patients is completed on time, and she is an extremely loyal and hardworking employee.


 Brittney Winkles, Patient Care Facilitator

June 2017 Employee of the Month

Brittney is dependable and the epitome of a team player. She always makes herself available in busy or difficult situations and will even inconvenience herself to make sure everyone else is taken care of. Brittney coordinates with patients and staff very well in order to ensure the day runs as smoothly as possible, and she is always thinking of new ways to improve the unit. She loves to use the label maker, and if there is down time you will find her making some kind of sign or redoing whiteboards. To top it all off, Brittney is described as bright, happy, bubbly and vivacious.


 Rosa Salguero, Housekeeping Director

May 2017 Employee of the Month

Rosa takes extreme ownership of and pride in her work. She always greets staff and patients with a happy smile and a willingness to help while trying to stay in the background and not be noticed, but she is always there to make sure Cottonwood is neat and tidy. She leads her staff with the idea she won’t ask them to do anything she would not do herself, and she is always at their side to help. Rosa has been an amazing employee of Cottonwood for nearly 28 years!


 Kathleen Parrish, Clinical Director

April 2017 Employee of the Month

Kathleen is a very skilled communicator, and is often described as experienced, organized, thoughtful and supportive. She constantly goes above and beyond in her role as Clinical Director, and she always shows compassion when interacting with patients, family members, and her fellow staff members. Kathleen is always willing to share a funny story that is often accompanied by some kind of cookie or treat, and she is a wonderful example of what makes Cottonwood a special place for our patients to find recovery and our staff to come to work.


 Katia Cardenas, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor

March 2017 Employee of the Month

Katia is Cottonwood Tucson’s exercise guru. She is a great motivator and has what seems to be endless positive energy that is contagious to anyone around her. She is always willing to jump in to help in any situation, she constantly strives to improve her groups and interactions with the patients to better their treatment, and her commitment to each patient is evident in all the work she does.


 Veronica Leybas, Patient Care Facilitator

January 2017 Employee of the Month

Veronica is a hard worker and a quick learner. She is also a team player who is always willing to speak up, and she is always in a good mood with a great attitude. Veronica also consistently finds ways to decrease milieu tension and increase patient and staff self-worth.


 Mary Becker, Directory of Human Resources

December 2016 Employee of the Month

Mary is extremely professional, and her desk is evidence of how organized and conscientious she is about completing every project. She worked successfully in numerous roles here at Cottonwood over the past several years before assuming the role of Director of Human Resources in 2016. She had some big shoes to fill and has exceeded all expectations. Mary is both kind and a good listener, and she has an open door policy when it comes to helping employees, making her an exemplary human resources professional and an integral member of the Cottonwood staff.


 Lisa Lovelace, Lead Admissions Coordinator

August 2016 Employee of the Month

Lisa is extremely action-oriented and passionate about her job. She goes above and beyond every single day and always displays great leadership qualities. Lisa works well and often with every department while always maintaining a positive attitude.


 Rebecca Rhodes, Milieu Manager, Office Manager - Clinic

July 2016 Employee of the Month

Rebecca is extremely organized and patient. She is very friendly and easy to work with. Rebecca always keeps the patients best interest in mind. She is constantly adjusting and then readjusting schedules in order to ensure each patient is seen when they need to be. Rebecca is described as the glue that holds the Clinic together.


Antonia LandauAntonia Landau, Milieu Manager, Sweetwater Adolescent Unit

June 2016 Employee of the Month

Antonia always stays calm and collected even during very stressful situations. She always has a positive and uplifting attitude. She is very easy to approach and is always willing to offer advice or support. Antonia is a great example of a person who leads by example. She always keeps the best interest of her staff and patients in mind. Antonia is described by many as a role model and an everyday superhero.


 Martha Barragan, Housekeeper

May 2016 Employee of the Month

Martha is very hardworking and known as a go getter. She always has a positive attitude and demeanor and is always kind and courteous to anyone she interacts with. She always pays attention to the smallest details which shows her commitment and dedication to her work. Martha’s extra effort in keeping our admissions building looking its best ensures that everyone that visits Cottonwood feels welcome.


 Eric Clark, Sous Chef

April 2016 Employee of the Month

Eric is very hardworking and very personable. He is always willing to go above and beyond to help someone even before being asked to do so. Eric is always positive and welcoming. He goes out of his way to acknowledge everyone who enters his department by name and is the first to say “how you are you today?”.


 Melissa Rosinski, Primary Counselor for the Adolescents

March 2016 Employee of the Month

Melissa is very hard working and easy to work with. She cares deeply about patients and the families she works with. She connects well with her patients and is very knowledgeable and sharp when it comes to working with the adolescents. She is dedicated to her role and has stepped up in a time of transition without complaint.


Kim SinesKim Sines, Vice President of Clinical Services

February 2016 Employee of the Month

Kim is very easy to work with. He is always willing to help and provide guidance. He never gets upset or even rattled in any way. He has perfected the art of being professional and hilarious at the same time.

Theo EverheartTheo Everheart, Health Information Management Technician/Analyst

January 2016 Employee of the Month

Theo always has a positive attitude and goes above and beyond to help get resolutions in difficult situations. He gets the work done timely which impacts patients. Theo maintains a calm, friendly, courteous and professional demeanor at all times and responds quickly to requests and respects all ethical and confidentiality guidelines. He is always available to help an employee, patient or family member and is an integral member of the Cottonwood team and ensures that his job is done in an ethical and confidential manner.

 Nikol Fields, Administrative Assistant in Administration

December 2015 Employee of the Month

Nikol is consistently professional, courteous and pleasant to everyone. She displays good boundaries and uses good judgment with her interactions with others. Nikol works very hard in her position as an Administrative Assistant for Administration but when needed she helps out and assists other departments in positions she is trained to do. She is always willing to share her knowledge and is very versatile. Nikol handles and organizes many files and supplies that keep Cottonwood running smoothly. She accepts new challenges and assignments gracefully. Lastly, Nikol always has a smile to offer and greets everyone kindly. Nikol is a great resource to others and truly a “shining star.”

Ashley StuartAshley Stuart, Recreation Therapy Tech

November 2015 Employee of the Month

Ashley has experienced continual growth while employed at Cottonwood. She has held several positions – even in a temporary capacity. Ashley is always very willing to help wherever and whenever needed and does a spectacular job in all the roles. She always has a smile and a positive attitude and is a great all around employee. Ashley’s gentle presence makes her approachable. She is always observant and her keen eye helps to support patients at all times. We are happy that Ashley is a part of the Cottonwood team!

Leslie WeicheltLeslie Weichelt, Executive Assistant & Risk Manager

October 2015 Employee of the Month

Leslie is multi-talented and can balance many projects at once. She is extremely organized and always very willing to help and will take on projects even if they are not familiar to her. When that occurs, Leslie works to obtain needed information to complete the project. She has a very high work ethic and takes the work seriously – always strives to do whatever the task at hand is very well. Leslie is a great resource and always willing to help co-workers resolve problems – she has a true “Can Do” attitude. She is the “Queen of Multitasking” and manages several projects at one time and obtains every item and piece of information needed to complete each task or assignment. Leslie is an absolute whiz on the PC – if she cannot fix a document no one can! The word “Professional” describes her to a tee. Finally, Leslie is also an extremely nice person who genuinely cares about her co-workers.

Tab HoytTab Hoyt, Chief of Medical Services

September 2015 Employee of the Month

Tab is easy to approach and is always available to field questions from staff. He provides quality service to our patients and is kind, caring, patient and compassionate. Tab ensures that the highest of standards are upheld in provide care and his well respected by his peers for his knowledge and professionalism. He has a great sense of humor and wears a smile all the time. , never make you feel like you are a bother. One of Tab’s greatest qualities is remaining calm at all times.


Alberto SanchezAlberto Sanchez, Groundskeeper

August 2015 Employee of the Month

Alberto always wears a smile and is a happy person to be around. He is a hard worker but he always has time to stop and talk about his knowledge of plants, specifically desert plants. Alberto is pleasant, friendly and very professional.


Thomas SchaeferThomas Schaefer, Primary Counselor/Therapist

July 2015 Employee of the Month

Thomas is a perfect example of a team player. He is dependable and reliable and upholds all promises he makes. He goes above and beyond to help patients and co-workers and is extremely compassionate. Thomas is a very hard worker and what really sets him aside is his wonderful sense of humor. That funny side of him coupled with his positive attitude makes him one of our shining stars.


Shellie NikitenkoShellie Nikitenko, Utilization Review Coordinator

June 2015 Employee of the Month

Shellie is a hard working, dedicated employee willing to help everyone at a moment’s notice. She is extremely kind and understanding with each individual patient and always has a smile and a kind word for everyone she encounters. Shellie’s work involves numbers but she knows everyone by name and treats them all with respect. She is conscientious in the work she does with patients and their families. Shellie is an outstanding employee and brings much joy, energy, and professionalism to Cottonwood. Shellie is a great employee that possesses a wonderful laugh and a sincere smile.

Lauren RushLauren Rush, Patient Care Facilitator II

May 2015 Employee of the Month

Lauren always exhibits sincere care for both patients and employees. She is a great role model and has a good attitude. Lauren takes extra steps to ensure stability and support for everyone. A very positive person, she keeps calm under pressure. Lauren has great time management skills and takes pride in what she does. She is dependable and very competent in her role and often works additional hours when the unit is very busy. Lauren is a great listener and exceptional team player and really makes sure that employees new to the unit are thoroughly trained; she is patient with new orientees and goes the extra mile to make sure they have an understanding of the Patient Care Facilitator role and the patients.

Julie HallJulie Hall, Payroll Manager

April 2015 Employee of the Month

Julie is always polite and very helpful when questions arise. She frequently goes out of her way to assist in any way possible with payroll questions. Julie’s job is very time consuming and time sensitive and she does it very well. She has a great sense of humor and the ability to brighten the day for those that interact with her. We are fortunate to have her as our Payroll Manager!


Joel Fry - Patient Care FacilitatorJoel Fry - Patient Care Facilitator

March 2015 Employee of the Month

Joel is dependable, trustworthy, ethical and professional at all times. He is excellent with patient care and manages milieu issues appropriately. He always goes the extra mile to assist our patients and their family members and is helpful to other departments too. Joel will come in when not scheduled to assist the unit needs. He helps in interviewing applicants and training staff. Joel has an excellent attitude at all times.


Wendy CorralesLinda, Lead Admissions Coordinator

February 2015 Employee of the Month

Linda always maintains a high degree of professionalism and believes in the Cottonwood Mission. She has been a great asset to Cottonwood and truly cares about our reputation. Linda has the bests interests of Cottonwood and its’ patients at heart. She is compassionate about getting individuals the help they need and is willing to go the extra mile for them. Linda is a patient advocate and is tireless in her efforts to help patients through the admissions process. Linda’s compassionate and empathetic manner is essential when speaking with potential admissions. She has a cheerful disposition and a great sense of humor – just a few of the reasons that she is well liked and respected by others.

Wendy CorralesWendy Corrales, Clinical Specialist

January 2015 Employee of the Month

Wendy is dependable and knowledgeable and goes above and beyond to fulfill job responsibilities. She continually displays a helpful, cooperative and positive attitude towards patients, family members, and co-workers. Wendy is respectful to everyone and is always willing to learn and help out as needed in all areas at Cottonwood. She voluntarily assists co-workers with interpretation services (Spanish Translator) when needed. Wendy is a valued member of the Cottonwood staff.

Maria Borquez, HousekeeperMaria Borquez, Housekeeper

December 2014 Employee of the Month

Maria is always friendly and greets everyone with a smile. She is an employee that we utilize to translate when needed and she very willingly does so. Her warm greeting to everyone serves as a reminder for us to slow down and make time to greet others in the same way. Maria takes ownership of her assigned areas of responsibility and strives to do the best job she can possibly do.

Kathleen Parrish, Clinical DirectorKathleen Parrish, Clinical Director

November 2014 Employee of the Month

Kathleen has both employees’ and patients’ best interest at heart and really cares. She supports staff with genuine care and understanding and works to affirm strengths when offering constructive feedback. Kathleen actively connects with each person she supervises. Her strong clinical skills are appreciated and respected by staff. She performs her responsibilities with grace and integrity while following rules and regulation to a tee. Kathleen is a strong member of our clinical and management teams!

Eileen Jacobson, Addiction Services and Dual Diagnosis TreatmentEileen Jacobson - Health Information Manager and Compliance Officer

October 2014 Employee of the Month

Eileen is extremely detail oriented and highly organized. She is tenacious in making sure all data regarding organization effectiveness is accurate and understandable. Eileen seeks help from peers in interpreting information. She keeps Cottonwood focused on what is required by both of our governing boards – CARF (Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities) and the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health so we are always “survey-ready.” Eileen is a master at accurately conveying detailed accounts of all aspects of clinical data and quality management. She has been a great asset to our team and we appreciate her keeping us compliant.

Debbie Dutko Castle, Clinical NurseDebbie Dutko Castle, Clinical Nurse

September 2014 Employee of the Month

Debbie always has a great attitude and is very nice to patients and fellow peers plus she is very helpful and fun to work with! She has been described as being trustworthy, competent, and intuitive. Her great sense of humor and positive outlook is missed when she is not on duty. Debbie is a very skilled nurse and highly dedicated to the care of patients. In addition to those skills, she has an infectious laugh that brings joy to others. Debbie is consistently upbeat, friendly and willing to do anything required at a moment’s notice. She is an all-around asset to the team at Cottonwood.

Pamela McFarland, Patient Accounting DirectorPamela McFarland, Patient Accounting Director

August 2014 Employee of the Month

Pam has a calming effect on patients and staff. She is very understanding, compassionate and truly cares. Pam is always willing to help others and is respected by one and all. She has the capability to make individuals feel better after spending time with them using her heartfelt patient manner. Pam is pleasant and loyal and sits quietly in her office and performs her responsibilities and makes herself available to problem solve and share her vast knowledge. She handles difficult situations with a positive attitude and gets the job done.

Chris Branch, Maintenance TechnicianChris Branch, Maintenance Technician

July 2014 Employee of the Month

Chris always responds promptly to maintenance requests throughout the campus; he responds with a smile and a positive attitude every time! He is a good communicator letting employees know the status of their request and when it will get completed. Chris does not get frazzled by last minute requests and tasks that need to be completed immediately. He just gets busy and gets tasks done! Chris is reliable, friendly, helpful, prompt, courteous, polite, and hard-working. His greatest trait, however, is his wonderful sense of humor. It is hard to be around him and not laugh at something he says. Chris strives to portray the compassion we expect by a reassuring smiling and just saying hello to all whom he passes during his workday.

Dawn Majalca – Pharmacy Technician CoordinatorDawn Majalca – Pharmacy Technician Coordinator

June 2014 Employee of the Month

Dawn is responsible, reliable, dependable, and always pleasant and consistently goes above and beyond while performing her position responsibilities. She is able to manage numerous details with extreme accuracy and works well with the team. Dawn is very helpful and answers all questions that are asked of her. She is a problem solver and diligent at getting the details correct. She is a very, very, hard worker.

Dawn is an asset to our Cottonwood team and handles her responsibilities with seriousness but always with a nice smile.

Craig Gray - Patient AdvocateCraig Gray - Patient Advocate

May 2014 Employee of the Month

Craig is a strong link in our clinical program. As the Patient Advocate, he is always positive, friendly and easy to talk to which makes is easier for our patients to approach him with suggestions for improvements. He is very enthusiastic about his position and has a genuine interest in resolving issues. Craig sometimes has to let a patient know that we cannot change a process but he has a true knack of turning a negative into a positive in those communications. He recently graduated with a degree in Public Policy and we are confident that any future endeavor he undertakes will be successful. We are proud to have him as our Patient Advocate.

Lauren GolombekLauren Golombek - Primary Therapist

April 2014 Employee of the Month

Lauren makes a positive impact on the community and has a high degree of professionalism, commitment and flexibility. She has a high work ethic and a "can-do" attitude. She provides significant, genuine support to patients and staff and builds wonderful rapport with patients. A dedicated employee with positive energy, Lauren is always smiling and cheerful. She works well with other departments, employees and referents and is very passionate about her job.


 Ken Naig - Facilities Manager

March 2014 Employee of the Month

Ken gives “hard-working” a new definition. He is an excellent team player who responds very quickly and has a great attitude. Ken is always willing to lend a hand or help solve a problem even when he is swamped with work. He constantly looks out for the welfare of others even if it means he has to drop everything to make sure tasks are done completely and safely. He is described by his peers as being honest, kind and a gentleman. Among his many responsibilities at Cottonwood, Ken is responsible for overseeing the Housekeeping Department and he has been commended for doing a great job with this staff.

Kristen DoeKristen Doe - Adolescent Primary Therapist

February 2014 Employee of the Month

Kristen is passionate about her work and truly cares about her patients.
She is a dedicated, conscientious employee and a concerned and helpful colleague. Kristen is a positive example of the gifts of recovery and while she has a quiet demeanor she does not miss a beat of anything that is going on. She possesses a great amount of depth and thoughtfulness in decision.

She is well respected by her peers and an advocate for the patients assigned to her care.

Jean Pierre "JP" ValeroJean Pierre “JP” Valero - Information System Specialist

January 2014 Employee of the Month

JP is an Information System Specialist that joined the Cottonwood Information Technology in October of 2010. JP consistently goes above and beyond to make sure things run smoothly for staff. He does a great job at trouble shooting and responding promptly and is knowledgeable and willing to research resolution to IT problems when an answer is not immediately obvious. In fact, knowledge seeking and attention to detail is this JP’s forte. He is always approachable no matter how much he has to do and is very responsive to emails or phone calls and is quick to resolve issues. JP has a kind, caring, easy-going attitude and considers every question as an important one and never treats inquiries as insignificant or trivial. His ever present smile along with a positive attitude allows him to quickly take care of tasks; he is a master at multi-tasking and willing to drop what he is doing to help and take care of new situations that arise. JP has personal standards set for his department and has redesigned the way tasks are handled in his department to ensure maximum efficiency. He can be seen all over the campus at Cottonwood – in the attic one minute and down to the desktop the next! He is sometimes referred to as the grunt guy and is an IT person extraordinaire!

Larry GeorgeLarry George - Adult Patient Care Facilitator

December 2013 Employee of the Month

Larry George is an Adult Patient Care Facilitator at Cottonwood. He is a dedicated employee that helps out with whatever is asked regardless of whether the task is in his home department or not.

Larry is very receptive to learning and improving his overall performance in his role. He consistently maintains a positive, can-do attitude with the patients and his coworkers. Larry is the type of employee that willingly works extra shifts to help and never complains when asked to do so. He is a great asset to Cottonwood since he has experience working on all three shifts and through that understands what is it like for patients at any time of their day. Larry always has the best interest of the patient at heart and he truly cares about their recovery and is always willing to talk with patients about the recovery process. Larry is quiet and unassuming and that is one of his greatest assets and why he was selected as our most recent Employee of the Month.

Audrey BidimanAudrey Bidiman - Receptionist

November 2013 Employee of the Month

Audrey has been a loyal and hardworking employee since 1997 and has worked in numerous positions throughout her tenure at Cottonwood. In her current role as a Receptionist, Audrey is happy and enjoyable and her positive attitude is ever present. She greets all patients, co-workers, family members and visitors with a smile and is very kind and respectful to everyone. Audrey is always willing to take on any task and goes the extra mile to help with any and all questions posed to her. She is known for her kindness and willingness to help resolve problems. Her giggles help everyone in her work area to have a good day. She is a caring and cohesive presence. If there was one word to sum Audrey up it would be positivity!

Valerie Leviton, RNCD, LCSW - Director of NursingValerie Leviton, RNCD, LCSW - Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services

October 2013 Employee of the Month

Valerie is one of those employees that you can count on to accept responsibility and proceed forward to ensure that the job gets done. She is always willing to take on projects no matter the level of difficulty. She puts a great deal of thought into any decision and always keeps the client at the center of her decision making. She seeks others' opinions and input to ensure that she arrives at a decision that will be the least impactful to the fewest amount of people.

Valerie is not only a licensed Nurse, she also has an Arizona license as a Clinical Social Worker. Her background and experience in both areas are invaluable to Cottonwood and provides her the knowledge and expertise to work effectively across disciplines.

Valerie is a compassionate healthcare provider and manager. She manages her staff fair and consistently and has high expectations of those who report to her. She assures that her staff is well-oriented to the department and encourages them to seek knowledge in areas that will allow growth.

Valerie is a central cog in the Cottonwood wheel!

Hilario “Lalo” OchoaHilario “Lalo” Ochoa - Administrative Assistant/Scheduler

September 2013 Employee of the Month

Lalo is reliable, patient, and a juggler of many people’s schedules while continuing to be friendly and willing to help with any issue with the daily patient and employee schedule. He is also very good at brainstorming when scheduling conflicts arise and resolves the issue in an efficient manner. Lalo’s job can be frustrating but he consistently shows enthusiasm and care for his job and the people around him while meeting the needs of patients. Lalo’s personal integrity and work ethic are an asset and is easily is viewed as a role model for both patients and staff. He takes a personal interest in the progress of the patients and goes out of his way to support and encourage them in their work. Lalo is selfless in his desire to be the behind the scenes person helping provide the best treatment experience for our patients. He treats the daily scheduling as a mission to keep Cottonwood’s operations running as smoothly as possible. Referred to by some staff as “The Schedule Guy”, we are fortunate to have Lalo on our team to help in providing the best experience possible for our patients.

Delicia BatemanDelicia Bateman - Unit Assistant

August 2013 Employee of the Month

Delicia Bateman, Unit Assistant, is always warm, friendly, positive and professional even in the most stressful days and with increased workload. She is able to follow through with her duties in an area with multiple interruptions and changing priorities. Delicia communicates clearly and assertively and stays calm and focused during crisis situations – she helps to maintain unit stability. Delicia’s job is very difficult and she handles it in an accommodating and easy going manner. She can change gears instantly when needed, especially for patient care issues that may arise. She is very flexible. Delicia is known to be reliable and can be counted on to get things done with very little notice.

Sarah LindSarah Lind, MA, LAC - Specialty Therapist

July 2013 Employee of the Month

On any given day, Sarah performs a number of duties spanning across multiple disciplines. She is always available to step in and help out whenever and wherever it is needed. Sarah performs her job responsibilities with grace and is competent, cooperative, skilled, professional, and dignified. Being a Specialty Counselor/Therapist can be very difficult and Sarah handles it in an accommodating and easy going manner. A typical day for Sarah at Cottonwood could begin working in Family Program, then to Sweetwater to cover an adolescent group and in her “spare time “, she could be in equine to provide a helping hand there. Her skill, flexibility and dependability is relied on and we appreciate her work ethic.

Lisa Cook - Medical TranscriptionistLisa Cook - Medical Transcriptionist

June 2013 Employee of the Month

Lisa joined the Cottonwood team as a Medical Transcriptionist in June of 2011 with over nine years of medical transcription experience. From the day she was hired, the staff that work closest with her have had only wonderful things to say about her transcription skills. She has a keen sense of accuracy and is diligent as well as patient and kind. Lisa is a loyal, hardworking employee that is habitual about editing memos and emails. Her best friend is Google which she uses to look up medical terminology. A devoted employee, Lisa is known to schedule time off based on when she believes the workload will decrease. One of her co-workers made the statement that Lisa is able to comprehend “gibberish” and manages to create a great end product. Lisa takes her position at Cottonwood quite seriously and makes the most of her day by remembering humorous quotes that she hears when she is transcribing. Perhaps the secret to Lisa’s success rate is found in the endless supply of chocolates hidden by the infamous tissue box in her office. Lisa is a huge asset to Cottonwood and a valued member of our team.

Holly Farr – PRN Patient Care FacilitatorHolly Farr – PRN Patient Care Facilitator
May 2013 Employee of the Month

Holly demonstrates leadership, initiative and responsibility. As a PRN Patient Care Facilitator she does not see the patients on a daily basis and as a result has to continually develop rapport with them. Most of her time is spent in the milieu supporting, encouraging and teaching patients how to better handle certain situations that arise. She has good insight into patient behavior and good ideas as to the best way to assist them. She consistently maintains a positive, can-do attitude even when asked to step into a situation with little time for preparation, and she is always willing to help without hesitation. She is one of the primary planners of potlucks in the Nursing Department, and perhaps one of her greatest assets is the ability to keep the mood light in the department by playing practical jokes on her co-workers and manager. While Holly has done an exception job as a PCF, she will soon be leaving that role as she becomes an LPN and an RN later in the year. Congratulations to Holly on all her achievements!

Amy Hawthorne - Primary TherapistAmy Hawthorne - Primary Therapist

April 2013 Employee of the Month

Amy is one of our Primary Therapists for the Adult Patient population. She is always positive and encouraging with patients. A great communicator, Amy keeps Cottonwood management informed and has a wonderful rapport with her patients, family members and referents as well as her co-workers. She displays sensitivity and compassion and is a strong patient advocate. Amy is a role model and is known for her professionalism and genuine warmth. She is confident and competent in her role as well as being extremely reliable – when Amy commits to anything we can assure that it not only gets done but is performed with excellent follow-through. She is a quick learner and oriented to Cottonwood very fast since she joined our team of professionals in August, 2010.

Thomas Mattimoe - Sous ChefThomas Mattimoe - Sous Chef

March 2013 Employee of the Month

Thomas joined the Cottonwood team in January of 2009 as a Cook. Thomas was a wonderful addition to our Dietary staff and was promoted to his current position as Sous Chef within his first year of employment. He always has a kind word for patients and staff. He is friendly and thoughtful and always focuses on making the dining experience the best. His willingness to train other employees and improve their individual output is remarkable. Thomas makes it a point to know every patient’s name and remember their individual preferences. He maintains great boundaries and yet remains kind and genuine – a true attribute for the role model he has become. Thomas’ dedication to Cottonwood is evident through his hard work and his commitment to improving efficiency, effectiveness and the quality of the product. He portrays high degree of professionalism and when he is not at work he devotes his spare time to Cottonwood’s Road Clean Up Commitment to the Tucson community.

Joel Keller - Clinical NurseJoel Keller - Clinical Nurse

February 2013 Employee of the Month

Joel is a clinician that is dependable and reliable and makes the well-being of patients and their recovery a top priority; he reaches out to patients to ensure that they receive what they need. As an avid reader, Joel is devoted to lifelong education and he works hard to keep current with all diagnosis and treatment modalities for the behavioral health issues Cottonwood treats. He is known for reading the current literature that the patients are reading to help him understand and connect with the patients. Joel is organized and efficient and states assessments to the treatment team in a professional way. He makes sure that he always has current and accurate patient information to share with the treatment team. In his professional manner, he fields and handles difficult calls in a compassionate way. Joel is solution oriented and will always try to find a way to solve problems. He will never shy away from difficult situations or problems and is active in creating solutions. Joel strives for accuracy with medical interventions and communications with staff and patients and is able to multi-task when in the role of charge nurse and manages the department well even when it is very busy.

Alexis Padilla, Family Program Administrative Assistant Alexis Padilla - Family Program Administrative Assistant

January 2013 Employee of the Month

Alexis is very customer focused! She has a perpetual smile on her face and is always willing to do whatever she is asked. She is known for being a “yes person” and is very helpful even when she is given last minute assignments to fulfill. She is a team player and her sunny disposition shines through in everything she does and is reflected on to everyone she meets. A caring, committed employee, she attends to every little detail and goes the extra step to make sure her job is not only done but done well! While her primary responsibility is to coordinate the Family Program she is always willing to step in and help her co-workers. It is not unusual for Alexis to help out with the phones and reception area and we appreciate her willingness to assist without hesitation. We are very glad that she joined us at Cottonwood – she is someone that makes a difference!

Amanda Scofield - Lead Patient Care Facilitators

Mark Levine - Specialty Counselor

December 2012 Employee of the Month

Mark is a dedicated and highly-skilled clinician. He goes above and beyond to meet the needs of both patients and staff. He is always positive and willing to help; he never complains about anything he is asked to do even if it means changing a group topic and include additional patients into his group with very short notice. Mark’s flexibility and willingness to provide exceptional work transcends everything he does. He is well liked and respected by patients and staff. Mark is known for his gentle mannerisms and respectful approach – these attributes translate into care and concern for others.

Mark has been a loyal employee of Cottonwood for over ten years and this honor of Employee of the Month is well-deserved.

Amanda Scofield - Lead Patient Care Facilitators

Amanda Scofield - Lead Patient Care Facilitator

November 2012 Employee of the Month

Amanda is one of the Lead Patient Care Facilitators on the Adult Unit. In this role, she wears various hats and she wears them in the most positive manner. She is always pleasant to the patients and goes out of her way to assist them. She also works with all of the other techs and goes out of her way to help and orient them to the role of the Patient Care Facilitator as well as demonstrate positive leadership in the process. Amanda works with all of the other departments and is pleasant and will always help when needed. Department managers request her assistance specifically because she is very knowledgeable and a great resource. Always with a can-do attitude, Amanda represents Cottonwood well and works hard to make Cottonwood a great place.

Diana Zumas - Primary Therapist

Diana Zumas - Primary Therapist

October 2012 Employee of the Month

Diana has demonstrated an ability to develop a therapeutic alliance with her patients. Her facilitation of her primary group is led with extremely strong clinical skills. Diana is a role model that has the ability to empathize with her patients and maintain appropriate boundaries, an asset for any Primary Therapist. We are very fortunate to have Diana as a member of our Clinical Team!


Brittany Duarte, Rehab Tucson, Alcoholism Rehab

Brittany Duarte - Admissions Facilitator

September 2012 Employee of the Month

Brittany is always positive, energetic, and willing to help out in all areas at Cottonwood. She has worked in several departments across our campus and has provided diverse services to the organization – Brittany can cover as a Patient Care Facilitator, the switchboard, bookstore, clinic, and the clinical program as well as support the Administrative area. She is a team player in every sense and is always willing to chip in while successfully completing her own job responsibilities. She continually goes the extra mile and more and is very efficient in every challenge presented to her. She is very flexible and strives to learn new skills. Brittany has recently joined our Admissions Department as an Admissions Facilitator as her primary role. We are very fortunate to have this exceptional employee as a Cottonwood employee.

Elisabeth "Betty" Cox, Cottonwood Alcoholism Rehab

Christina Rocheleau – Bookstore Coordinator
August 2012 Employee of the Month

As our Bookstore Coordinator, Chris is extremely knowledgeable about the resources available for our patients. She strives make excellent recommendations for reading materials on an individual level. Chris gets to know each patient and has an excellent “bookside” manner with them. She is also extremely helpful towards staff and is a very hard worker. We are lucky to have her on our staff.


Elisabeth "Betty" Cox

Elisabeth "Betty" Cox – Director of Human Resources
July 2012 Employee of the Month

Betty is our Director of Human Resources. She joined Cottonwood in November of 2008. Her co-workers nominated her commenting that while her work often goes unrecognized, she always does her work with a smile, setting an example of professionalism, leadership and dedication in all she does. Betty is helpful, thorough and always follows through; she often helps staff members work through difficult situations by being a good listener and problem solver. Her organizational skills and enthusiasm for being part of the Cottonwood Team shines through with her sense of humor and energetic style. Betty insists on "livin’ life."

Emily Mattimoe, Tucson Rehab, Alcoholism Rehab Arizona

Emily Mattimoe – Coordinator of Recreation Therapy
June 2012 Employee of the Month

Emily always displays a positive attitude and goes above and beyond in her work. She is a constant source of encouragement and willing to share information with both staff and patients. Described as being vigilant at her job she is also committed to making all activities a fun experience. Emily is a great role model for everyone she interacts with and she is always willing to help others and offers great ideas wherever she is assisting. Emily is well known for her constant smile and having an extremely infectious laugh. Cottonwood is very fortunate to have such a team player working with us.

Mary Schlicker, Arizona Alocholism Rehab, Tucson Rehab

Mark Schlicker – Lead Groundskeeper
May 2012 Employee of the Month

Mark has an amazing passion for his work as the Lead Groundskeeper at Cottonwood.  He is always friendly and more than willing to share his knowledge about desert plants.  He is a hard working individual and never lets the extreme temperatures stop him from doing a great job.  Mark is a kind person that has an incredible eye for beauty and a unique consciousness for sustainability.  The work that Mark does around our campus provides a little piece of serenity to each and every Cottonwood employee.  One word can be used to describe Mark – AWESOME!

Melissa Young, Cottonwood Tucson Rehab, Alcoholism Rehab

Melissa "Moe" Young
April 2012 Employee of the Month

Moe is an incredible addition to the Sweetwater team.  She is consistently going above and beyond with not only her assigned patients but also offers to help out with other patients when needed.  Moe is insightful, compassionate and kind and her friendly personality helps patients feel comfortable and supported.  Moe has been a great resource and support for staff as well. 

We are glad to add her to the ranks of Employee of the Month. 

Richard Serna, Alcoholism Treatment, Tucson Rehab Center

Richard Serna – Executive Chef
March 2012 Employee of the Month

Richard is very creative and serves our staff and patients with a zeal to appeal!  He is enthusiastic about his role as Cottonwood’s Executive Chef and strives for excellence in all his food preparations.  He is a great mentor and challenges the employees in his department to adopt high standards which yields an excellent end result.  Richard incorporates his responsibilities in support of wellness initiatives for both patients and staff.  He utilizes the many interactions he has to educate patients, visitors and staff on the benefits of eating organic, natural foods and whole grains. He is dedicated, loyal, committed and always professional in ensuring that our patients and staff are provided nutritious meals.  Richard participates in food competitions outside of his responsibilities at Cottonwood and has been highlighted in several magazine articles.  We are proud to have him as a member of the Cottonwood team. 

Tab Hoyt

Tab Hoyt - Nurse Practitioner
February 2012 Employee of the Month

Tab is always available to field questions from staff.  He is easy to approach and always has a smile on his face.  He is a huge asset to Cottonwood and has very high personal standards and applies those standards to all his responsibilities.  A long time loyal employee, Tab adds greatly to the quality of medical care provided to patients.  He uses every possible opportunity to educate patients in all aspects of their healthcare in a kind, caring and professional manner.  He also takes time to educate staff on new medications and treatments after doing a great deal of research.  He is a role model for other staff and ensures that patients’ medical conditions are treated in the safest, healthiest and most effective way possible.  Besides all of these attributes, Tab has a good sense of humor and remains calm and under control in any situation.  That along with his boundless energy makes him a well deserved Employee of the Month! 

Linda Rautenberg, Alcoholism Treatment Center, Rehab Tucson

Linda Rautenberg – Clinical Nurse
January 2012 Employee of the Month

Linda is a motivated and self-directed Clinical Nurse with a very high work ethic.  She is always flexible when asked to change her shift or stay past the end of her shift  to help out her co-workers.  She is a very hard worker and a decisive leader that goes the extra mile to ensure patient care is managed safely, comfortably and with compassion.  Our clinicians depend on her accurate skills and are confident in her assessments.  

She manages difficult situations with ease and is a great support to all of our patients.  Linda is a shining star and a true asset to the Cottonwood team. 

Jana Zeff Martin, Alcohol Treatment Center, Tucson RehabJana Zeff Martin - Marketing Coordinator
December 2011 Employee of the Month

Jana is a team player that has a great attitude.  She is very creative and takes initiative to get things done.  Jana always puts the customer first and acknowledges the contributions of all members of the Cottonwood team.  With her high energy level and enthusiastic approach to her position, she displays loyalty, integrity, compassion and, above all, is passionate about her position.  She is always available to help others and cheers others up by using her wonderful sense of humor.  Jana is dedicated to Cottonwood’s mission and to the organizations success in helping individuals that take advantage of our programs.  She is an outstanding employee that any employer would want on their team – we are glad she is on our team of professionals. 

Maria BrozMaria Broz - Milieu Manager of Adolescent Department
November 2011 Employee of the Month

Maria is the Milieu Manager of the Adolescent Department. She is the definition of positive! She is a role model to Adolescent staff as well as the patients. She is a caring, effective and fair supervisor – a true leader and teacher! Maria takes charge in problem resolution and always offers a reasonable solution in any situation. She is respected by her staff because she is intelligent, compassionate and strong and those characteristics are prevalent whether she is dealing with patients or staff. She manages high-stress situations with grace. Maria has assembled an outstanding team over her years in the Milieu and we are very happy to have her as a manager on the Cottonwood team!

Mary VandineMary Vandine - Receptionist
October 2011 Employee of the Month

Mary works as a Receptionist and also fills in as a Driver for the clinical programs. She is always professional and treats everyone with dignity, respect and love. Mary’s extremely approachable and is always pleasant and her warm, friendly, graciousness comes through loud and clear whether she is answering the phone or greeting visitors. She is a loyal and is committed to Cottonwood patient success. Mary is helpful and tackles her job with a sense of responsibility and determination to do a good job. One of Mary’s greatest character assets is her wonderful sense of humor – that attribute is appreciated by her co-workers.

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