About Us

Sierra Sage Academy

Sierra Sage Academy serves young women who have been sexually exploited or who are displaying at-risk and delinquent behaviors, and referred by child welfare agencies, juvenile courts and private sources.  Sierra Sage Academy is an Academic Model™ program which offers students a normalized high school experience that promotes diverse social and educational interactions on an open campus.

Sierra Sage Academy is operated by Rite of Passage, a leading National provider of evidence-based therapeutic and educational programs for youth. Rite of Passage provides a diverse continuum of care with evidence-based programs in education, youth shelter programs, family and community aftercare and intensive treatment for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

For over 30 years, Rite of Passage has been improving the lives of youth. Through its work at Sierra Sage Academy and other academy programs, Rite of Passage has developed the Academic Model™ framework to articulate its program philosophy, methodology, and specific evidence-based practices.


The Academic Model™ is the framework for Sierra Sage Academy’s programming and services. Beginning with a foundation of safety, accomplished through caring relationships, qualified and trained staff, fosters a culture where students can learn.

Staff model pro-social skills, utilize the appropriate amount of empathy and provide youth with problem resolution skills. Assessments identify individual student needs and strengths and develop their intrinsic motivation for change.

Evidence-based cognitive behavioral interventions help students develop skills to overcome aggression, disruptive behavior, and heal from traumatic events in their lives. Since many of the students will return home, family involvement and treatment are provided at an appropriate intensity.

The normalized environment enables each student to develop and practice skills in the therapeutic, academic, vocational, health/wellness, family and community activities. Through these experiences, the student gains competencies and skills to attain Treatment Plan goals; then, new goals are established and the process of positive change is moved forward, creating a new vision and hope for the youth.

Meet Our Qualified Team

As the Program Director, Rebekah Graham oversees all aspects of programming offered at Sierra Sage Academy. She received an M.A. in Criminal Justice with distinction from California State University at Stanislaus before joining the San Joaquin County Probation Department as a Probation Officer where she worked for 13 years. She specializes in residential treatment programs for victims of trauma and is also a Motivational Interviewing instructor.

Rebekah Graham
Program Director

Alexa Waldmann is a highly experienced Dialectal Behavior Therapist, a counselor and clinical worker. She holds a Master of Social Work, awarded by the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008. She brings her expertise in emotional regulation, mindfulness, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness to the young women of Sierra Sage Academy.

Alexa Waldmann
Clinical Director

Jessie Wade holds a degree in Criminology and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico. She specializes in female-responsive programs and has over 10 years of experience working with the Department of Corrections where she implemented and oversaw trauma-informed, gender-specific programs in both probation and parole. At Sierra Sage Academy, Ms. Wade ensures that all program components meet and exceed requirements.

Jessie Wade
Deputy Program Manager

As the Principal of Rite of Passage Charter School, John Fry develops effective academic environments, trains staff in instructional delivery strategies, and facilitates academic and vocational curriculum design. He strives to create a Positive Organizational Culture that is centered on a shared vision of improving the lives of youth through effective program strategies.

John Fry