Staff of Safe Harbor Academy, the Christian therapeutic boarding school depicted in the Hallmark movie, Safe Harbor. – affordable schools and boys ranches.


Safe Harbor Staff

Robbie Smith

Robbie W. Smith, D.Min., M.A. Counseling Psychology, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Robbie is a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and she holds an Honorary Doctor of Ministry degree from Southeastern Theological Seminary Jacksonville, given for her service and knowledge of Christian Ministry to children and families; she holds two earned Master’s, one in Christian Counseling from Southeastern Theological Seminary Jacksonville and a second in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Florida. Robbie has served multiple professional organizations in an official capacity including Treasurer of the Northeast Florida Mental Health Counselors Association. She was Treasurer for the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies from 1991 to 1994, served as President of FACCCA from 2005-2008 and is currently serving on its Executive Committee.

Doug Smith

Douglas R. Smith, D.Min., M.A. Counseling, Co-Founder (retired)

Douglas R. Smith, D.Min. holds an Honorary Doctor of Ministry degree from Southeastern Theological Seminary Jacksonville; a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling from Southeastern Theological Seminary; he is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and a Professional Member of the National Christian Counselors Association. He is also an ordained minister.

Doug is a member of the Meninak Club (“Bringing help where none is available”); a former member of the Northside Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. ABC World News Tonight profiled Dr. Smith as the “Person of the Week” in May 1996.

Dr. Smith’s previous background is in Mechanical Engineering; he was a merchant seaman graduating from the Harry Lundberg School of Seamanship in Maryland. He has taught college level courses in acoustics, acoustics theory and musical acoustics. He has built experimental aircraft, drag racing, and hydroplanes sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association.

Leslie Kritzman

Office Manager

Leslie, Office Manager

Leslie has the first smile people see when they walk into Safe Harbor’s door. Her warm smile and joyful demeanor make her a pleasure to be around. She brings administrative experience and grace under pressure to the office at Safe Harbor. Leslie and her husband Bill have three wonderful children, Scott, Blair, and Emily. Like any mother of three, Leslie handles multiple tasks at once, helping each person entering the office, whether for the first time or the last time, feel welcome, appreciated and well served. Before becoming a part of the Safe Harbor team she was an Assistant Corporate Secretary/Treasurer for 28 years. Her heart for the boys and families of Safe Harbor is evident in all she does for the program.


Admission Coordinator

Laura, B.A. Public Relations, Admission Coordinator

Laura is relatively new to the Jacksonville area. She moved to Fleming Island in January of 2016. She was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and a graduate of Mercer University, with a BA in Public Relations. Laura did some of her graduate studies at the University of London in the UK in the early 90’s before returning to study in the United States. She was the Director of Admission at Cambridge College in Atlanta, before moving to Jacksonville to work with Safe Harbor. Education has always been a passion for her, and most importantly the education of our young men. She taught English at an elite boy’s boarding school in Atlanta for a few years, before moving into the college arena. She has three children, one daughter 26, graduate of UGA, living in Tampa with two teenagers, (1 boy/1 girl) still at home. She is a die-hard college football fan, and will defend her DAWGS to anyone who dares to oppose them. GO DAWGS! Along with football, she loves to watch most all sports, especially Soccer, cook for her children and friends, and volunteer her time working with our young men and women in recovery. If you spend even a minute with Laura, you will know that she has a special place in her heart for animals, and is the proud Mom of a newly rescued Poodle named Louis.



John, Certified Teacher

John holds a dual major in accounting and history. “Mr. John” worked nearly four decades in the retail automobile business, most recently serving 20 years as Chief Financial Officer for a local dealership before taking an early retirement to pursue his first love: teaching. As a licensed and certified teacher of math and social studies, he brings great enthusiasm for advanced mathematics and he can be found teaching the various subjects one-on-one to our students. John loves to serve the community as a certified high school basketball referee, and enjoys spending free time with family: Kathy, his wife of 44 years, his 3 daughters, and 5 grandchildren.


House Parent / Mentor

Spenser, House Parent / Mentor

Spenser Jones is a 25-year-old house parent at Safe Harbor Boys Home, with a passion for the younger generation of all backgrounds. He began working for Safe Harbor in early March of 2015, and has been living on campus since June. Spenser currently attends Trinity Baptist College on the Westside of Jacksonville as a Pastoral Theology major. At the age of 16 he began working with kids in summer camps, and since then he has continued working with youth as a tutor during the school year, and a teacher during the summer. Although still involved in the world of education, helping mentor and watch over the boys at Safe Harbor is Spenser’s main focus. Displaying the love of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ toward the boys is what motivates Spenser daily. His prayer and goal is that they may come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Spenser enjoys reading the Bible playing and watching soccer, drawing abstract art, and Sci-Fi movies.



Russel, Mentor

Russell Wnek is 26 years old and was born and raised in Satellite Beach, Florida where he enjoyed surfing, fishing, and sailing in the local waterways. At the age of 19, Russell enlisted in the U.S. Marines as a heavy equipment operator. While in the Marines, Russell spent several years conducting humanitarian missions in underdeveloped countries and eventually deploying to Afghanistan. His experience with mentoring began in the Marines when he was part of the Marine Corps Mentorship program and helped guide fellow Marines through difficult times using the Marine Corps core values.

Currently, Russell is enrolled as a junior in the University of North Florida’s Exercise Physiology program. Russell’s future plans include attending medical school and becoming a neurologist. Russell truly enjoys working with the boys and is proud to be able to make a positive, lasting impression on the boys of Safe Harbor.


Marine Life Educator, Film & Print Media Instructor

Joe, Marine Life Educator, Film & Print Media Instructor

Joe has many gifts and talents that he shares with the Safe Harbor students. Joe is an excellent underwater diver, he is an outstanding photographer, he encourages others to volunteer at Safe Harbor and his knowledge and personal experience of deep water and shallow water reefs brings an excitement to his work. Joe has a love for the environment that he shares with all the students. Joe founded a nonprofit organization known as TISIRI (Think It, Sink It, Reef It). This organization collaborates with city, state and federal agencies to create offshore and inshore reefs that create aquatic environments using materials that would ordinarily go into landfills. All these skills are brought together teaching the students at Safe Harbor.

Administrative Assistant

Maren, Administrative Assistant

Maren is originally from the Tallahassee area, and has lived in Jacksonville for over 8 years. With her Dominican and Cuban culture she brings spice, love, and compassion to Safe Harbor. When she is not answering the phones she is happily helping around campus with a warm smile and positive attitude. She enjoys martial arts, living a healthy active lifestyle, and playing with her daughters. Maren is spiritually sound and believes anyone can change in God’s name. 

therapeutic boys home

Should you need help finding Christian boarding schools, therapeutic academies, private boarding schools or affordable schools for troubled teens, please let us know. Safe Harbor is among the top therapeutic schools, our therapeutic boarding schools for boys; one of few residential treatment centers and residential schools for teens that is affordable. As a home for troubled boys it serves at-risk boys, we help boys in Florida, Georgia, in Kentucky, in Tennessee, in Missouri, in Louisiana, in Arkansas, and in Texas. Plus, in the Midwest in Michigan, in Ohio, in Indiana and in Illinois. Mostly, troubled teens from homes along the east coast including in Virginia, in North Carolina, in South Carolina, in Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, in Massachusetts and in New York are provided counseling and therapy.

Safe Harbor Staff

Staff of Safe Harbor Academy, the Christian therapeutic boarding school depicted in the Hallmark movie, Safe Harbor.