James Henslin, B.A., B.D., M.A., Ph.D.

Founder of Pearl of the Sea Retreat

James Henslin, the Founder of Pearl of the Sea Retreat, was born in a rented room in a little town on the bitterly cold Canadian border in Minnesota. His mother hadn’t completed high school, and his father hadn’t even made it beyond the seventh grade.

Jim has been a dedicated worker since childhood. One of his colder memories goes back to age 10 or 11, when he froze his nose while delivering newspapers in his little northern village. He was elated at age 16 when his parents packed up the car and moved to sunny Southern California. During the summer following high school graduation, while working as a laborer on construction projects, Jim took a correspondence course in Greek from the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating from college in Indiana, he was awarded scholarships at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned his master’s and doctorate in sociology.

After winning a competitive postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, Jim spent a year studying how people adjust to the suicide of a family member. Jim then joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Jim stopped teaching, but he never retired. He continues full-time sociological research and publishing.

Jim is immensely pleased that he was able to be instrumental in founding The Pearl. It is his hope that these efforts, moving from the academic theoretical to the practical, will transform lives by nurturing and restoring hope. He wants this to be an essential part of his legacy.

Brad Greenstein

The Pearl’s CEO

Brad Greenstein, The Pearl’s CEO, has over 20 years of leadership in behavioral healthcare. Brad began as The Pearl’s consultant, taking us from our initial ideas and desires, turning the dream into reality. He loved the concept, The Pearl’s basic premise, that of providing healing through dignity and respect within a setting of luxury and nature, combined with proven, evidence-based therapies. As our CEO, Brad continues to nurture and develop the original vision.

Brad’s extensive background in behavioral healthcare includes serving as the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Recovery Center, the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Spectrum Health Systems, and the New England Regional Director and CEO of the Boston Center for Addiction Treatment for Recovery Centers of America. He was also part of the management team that created RCA.

Brad’s many achievements and distinctions include serving on the boards of the Foundation for Recovery and PACT Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Communities. He was appointed by the governor of Nevada to serve on the State of Nevada Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council and the State of Nevada Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Advisory Board. He also was on the National Advisory Board of SelfRefind, a multistate opioid treatment (OBOT) provider.

Brad’s focus is behavioral healthcare, but it was not always this way. Brad’s undergraduate studies included extensive training at the New England Conservatory of Music in jazz theory and performance for the guitar. Today, his expertise in the guitar and piano is largely limited to the pleasures he receives from playing for himself and his family.

Brad says, “Pearl of the Sea Retreat offers a unique opportunity for our guests to heal in a luxury environment. Our evidence-based treatments provide the foundation necessary for our guests to find long-term and meaningful recovery.”

Anita Henslin

Associate CEO

Anita Henslin, The Pearl’s Associate CEO, has an amazing international background. She was born in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, while it was under Soviet control. There she learned Russian and became part of the resistance that led to Latvia becoming a free nation.

After Latvia broke its Soviet oppression, Anita, who had studied classical piano at the Darzina Muzikas Skola in Riga, studied international relations, political science, and leadership not just in Latvia but also in Austria, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Among her many accomplishments is working with the Latvian Parliament as it was being developed, running as a candidate for the Latvian Parliament, serving as the Director of Foreign Relations of a major Latvian organization, for which she flew to many countries and met with world leaders. She also directed the renovations and furnishings of The Pearl, transforming this magnificent Mediterranean style mansion from an abandoned structure into a 4 star professionally rated hotel and bed and breakfast. Anita then became The Pearl’s director, remaining until she and her husband decided to repurpose the property once again, transforming it into a healing retreat for people who have suffered from trauma and drug dependency.

Anita says, “I love the United States and The Pearl, and transforming our world class luxury bed and breakfast into a healing center is a dream come true. The Pearl’s tranquility—its welcoming palm trees and fountain in our courtyard, the smell of the ocean, the flying pelicans and playing dolphins, our majestic sunsets over the waters—they restore your soul and mind.”

Marcie Carter

Program Director and Director of Nursing

Marcie Carter, our Program Director and Director of Nursing, loves healthcare. She comes to the Pearl from a large local hospital, where she was the Director of Quality and specialized in Performance Improvement.  Marcie not only has over 30 years experience as a registered nurse, but she is also CPHQ certified and holds both a Bachelor’s and a Masters in Business Administration. She has extensive experience with regulatory compliance and Joint Commission Accreditation and Certification processes. Marcie is a volunteer registered nurse with the Medical Reserve Corps and serves on the Parent Advisory Board for Pedro Menendez High School. Her interests are so varied that early in her career she served St. Johns County as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic. Among the honors that Marcie has received are being a nominee for the Legacy Award with Healthsource Magazine and being named one of the Great 100 Nurses of Northeast Florida.

Marcie has a passion for animals and has several pets that have become family members. She also loves boating and kayaking. She is certified in SCUBA and enjoys diving in South Florida. Her most memorable experience with diving was meeting up with an 8-foot bull shark. Her bucket list includes diving with the Great Whites.

Marcie says, “It is an honor and a privilege to be at The Pearl.  The surroundings are magnificent, but the people are what make it so beautiful.”

Toni Cunningham

Director of Admissions and Business Development

Toni Cunningham, our Director of Admissions and Business Development, was born in Wisconsin and spent most of her adolescence and early adult life in upstate New York. She and her family have a strong attraction to Saint Augustine, vacationing here annually for 20 years. They relocated to beautiful Anastasia Island just a year ago. Toni enjoys spending her free time reading, cooking, and adventuring around Saint Augustine with family and friends. She has 28 years of experience in healthcare, including 8 years as Director of Admissions and Marketing for a skilled nursing facility. Toni possesses a strong desire to help others. She loves the human connection in healthcare, deriving deep satisfaction in helping people gain the services they need in vulnerable times.

Toni says, “I am elated to be part of the recovery team at The Pearl. I absolutely love the Pearl’s pathway down to the Intracoastal waters. The wildlife is incredible! It transports me to another world, with cares floating away as I view the wonders of nature.”