Spokane Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) is a non-profit behavioral health agency that has been serving our community since 1980. We offer multiple services and levels of care to address the needs of our clients in every stage of their treatment. Our highly skilled substance use disorder and mental health professionals work together with the client to develop a unique and individualized service plan that treats the whole person using evidence-based practices.

Our Team

Kristen Sobkowiak LMHC, SUDP, MHP

Director of Mental Health Services

Kristen joined Spokane Treatment and Recovery Services in 2016. Kristen is a Gonzaga University alumna who grew up as a military dependent and traveled all over the USA before finally settling down in Spokane. She has dedicated the last 16 years of her professional life to serving Spokane’s vulnerable population and acting as a servant leader and mentor to behavioral health professionals entering the field.

Kristen is the mother of two grown children, four grown stepchildren, a fast-growing 12 year-old boy who loves to play football, and has six beautiful grand-daughters. She enjoys supporting her son’s football team, gardening, landscaping, camping, and hiking our beautiful Spokane area trails.

Eric Deno, SUDP

Director of SUD Services

Eric has been with STARS since 2014 and holds an AAS degree in Addiction Studies from SFCC. Eric has held nearly every position in the Withdrawal Management Program, which gives him a unique insight into the needs of his team and the patients they serve. Eric loves being proactive and working with the community to problem solve behavioral health needs for our most vulnerable and underserved populations.

In his free time, Eric enjoys watching sports, playing basketball and spending time with his family.

Joseph C Peloso III, SUDP

Hospital Diversion Program Manager

Joseph has been an employee of STARS since July 2005. He began as a Sobering Technician and has worn many hats over the years, such as Discharge Planner, Sobering Supervisor, and Case Manager prior to landing in his current position as Program Manager of Hospital Diversion Services. Joseph is currently working on finishing his degree in Addiction Studies and plans to continue his education at Whitworth University studying Public Service Administration.

Joseph enjoys hiking, biking, working out, rafting, water skiing, wave runners, self-care, and spending time with family and friends.

Ryan Kent

Operations Manager

Ryan joined the STARS team in 2014. He discovered his passion for helping individuals struggling with substance use disorders in 2009 while working as a Life Skills Coach at Fresh Start, a treatment facility located just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. While there, he became a Registered Addiction Specialist and held many positions from Withdrawal Specialist to Senior Director of Rehabilitation. Prior to moving into his current role as Operations Manager, Ryan  worked as the Sobering Services Supervisor. He has also spent time as Behavioral Health Technician and Hospital Diversion Case Manager for STARS.

When Ryan isn’t in the office or connecting with the healthcare community, it’s a safe bet you can find him on the river fly fishing, or up in the mountains snowboarding.

Chelsea Thulean

Human Resources Manager

Chelsea joined the STARS team in February 2022 and recently moved into the Human Resources Manager Role. In her new position, Chelsea gets the opportunity to serve the  employees of STARS who are serving the community, something she is very passionate about. She is currently finishing up her bachelor’s degree in Health Psychology at EWU with a minor in communication.

Chelsea enjoys floating the river, spending time with her dog, and anything that involves sunshine!

Joe St. John

Interim Executive Director

Joe St. John joined STARS in 2018, driving the Detox Van and serving patients in the Diversion Unit. From 2020 to 2022, Joe served as Safety and Facilities Manager. He is currently Interim Executive Director. Joe has a Masters of Education from University of Portland and an MBA from Western Governors University. His work history includes teaching intermediate grade students, elementary principal, and university administration. He volunteers in Spokane County Fire District 8 as a firefighter/EMT and teaches CPR and First Aid.


Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, Anne, kayaking local lakes and rivers, camping, and pottery.

Victoria Kinner MS, LMHCA, SUDP, MHP

Karen's House Program Manager/Co-Occurring Therapist


Victoria started her journey with STARS in 2016, when completing her practicum at Karen’s House. She received two undergraduate degrees from Eastern Washington University; including Spanish and Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Addiction. In 2021, Victoria earned her master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University.

Over the years, Victoria has provided SUD services in treatment centers all over Washington. Through her experience she has worked with adults struggling with homelessness and had the opportunity to work with adolescents in a psychiatric inpatient setting. Today, Victoria draws from this experience as the Program Manager and Co-Occurring Therapist at Karen’s House.

Victoria spends her free time loving on her fur babies and traveling every chance she gets.

Simon Lazar


Simon joined the STARS team in March 2023 in the Senior Accountant role. He enjoys serving the STARS business functions so the professionals can best serve the community, which he enjoys greatly. Simon currently holds a B.S. in Accounting and a minor in Finance from Central Washington University, while currently pursuing his CPA License and eventual Masters degree.

When Simon is not working, you can often find him playing guitar, reading, snowboarding, or enjoying the sunshine with friends and family.

Board of Directors

Mike Lopez


Integrated Health Services Manager

City of Spokane Fire Department

Jill Yashinsky-Wortman

Board Member

Owner and Lead Consultant/Coach

Momentum Coaching & Consulting LLC

Brandy Singer

Board Member

Clinical Pharmacist

Eastern State Hospital, DSHS, BHA

Erik Kukuk

Board Member


Paine Hamblen LLP

Judi Carl

Board Member


Spokane Police Department

Stacey Chay

Vice President and Treasurer

Program Director/Senior Lecturer

Eastern Washington University

Shad St. Paul


Behavioral Health Program Manager

Spokane Tribe of Indians

Jane Stencel

Board Member

Director of Human Resources

East Valley School District