Meet Our Staff

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Meet the Staff of NorthStar

mike ferrell

Executive Director

Mike Ferrell has over a decade of experience in behavioral healthcare/substance use disorder treatment. Prior to opening NorthStar Transitions in 2012, Mike worked in direct care and managerial positions within several prominent substance abuse treatment facilities. Mike was inspired to pursue a career in behavioral healthcare through his own experience overcoming substance abuse and dependency issues. Having entered recovery at the age of 21, Mike now has almost two decades of sobriety. Mike is passionate about operating a treatment center that provides the opportunity for others to learn the skills they need to achieve long-term recovery and improve the quality of their lives. Mike earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and resides in Boulder, CO with his wife, two young sons and dog. In his free time, Mike enjoys working out, traveling and spending time with his family.
Office: 888.787.9377
Mobile: 720.234.0757

dr. charles shuman, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Charles Shuman, M.D. is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction and complex mental illness, and is board certified in general psychiatry and addiction. Dr. Shuman has worked in the past as medical director of the Denver Health Addiction Recovery Center and as a faculty member of the University of Colorado and Eastern Carolina University.
Dr. Shuman has published, instructed, and presented in areas of addiction psychiatry and general psychiatry. His philosophy is to treat clients with compassion, from a holistic perspective, to determine the best and most effective means of treating mental health and substance abuse concerns. The goal of is to return clients to a life of health, productivity, and personal enrichment. Additionally, Dr. Shuman is the President elect for the Colorado Society for Addiction Medicine.

Clinical Director Outpatient Program

Fatina guides the Outpatient Clinical Team at NorthStar Transitions to deliver evidenced based and somatosensory experiential learning approaches to addiction treatment. She is passionate about empowering people struggling with substance use and addiction based processes to integrate healthy skills and create a life in recovery. Fatina is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addiction Counselor, and holds a Master Addiction Counselor certification. Fatina received her Master of Arts from Naropa University in Somatic Counseling Psychology. Finding inspiration through hiking, new installations at the contemporary art museum, and yoga, Fatina is delighted to call Colorado home.

craig salerno

Clinical Director, Residential Program

Craig is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) in the state of Colorado. Graduating from Naropa University with a Master of Arts in Contemplative Psychotherapy, Craig strives to merge evidence-based practices with the art and discipline of mindfulness. Craig has worked extensively in the field of addiction counseling and is passionate about building a strong therapeutic alliance to support clients and their families.
Craig draws from education and training in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to assist clients in the development of insight, awareness, and skills necessary to move towards increased health and wellbeing. Craig believes in a holistic, creative, and dynamic approach to therapy.

keenan van de boogaard

Director of Admissions

Keenan began working in addiction rehabilitation after gaining his own sobriety in 2011. He has worked in the non-profit sector in career development and vocational training at Stout Street Foundation, as well as in the private sector where he worked in case management at Quiet River Transitional Recovery Community.
Through his professional background in client management and marketing, and his unique experience in the substance abuse field, Keenan has developed a pragmatic approach to recovery that is rooted in self-realization, mindfulness, professional development and community engagement. He endeavors to aid his clients in realizing and harnessing their potential, empowering them to lead confident and successful sober lives.
Office: 888.787.9377
Mobile: 720.498.3105

Bre Wolta

Director of Business Development

As a family member of someone in long-term recovery from substance abuse, and as someone in recovery of an eating disorder herself, Bre understands the personal and familial impacts of addiction. She has been passionately connecting people in the mental health and addiction community for over 5 years and is dedicated to continuing to educate people on the resources available that will aid them on their journey back to themselves.
Bre is a native to Colorado and has a background in psychology from CSU. She embraces strong self-care practices including fitness, yoga, hiking, meditation, journaling, self-discovery, and traveling the world.

Physician Assistant

A New Hampshire native, Hillary Smyth, PA-C, MPAS, is a certified physician assistant in the state of Colorado and the state of Massachusetts. Hillary studied neuroscience and received her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in Maine. She then earned her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New Hampshire. Upon graduation, she found herself drawn to the field of addiction medicine and spent her first year as a provider managing opioid and alcohol dependence in an outpatient clinic in Massachusetts, specializing in Vivitrol treatment. As a physician assistant at NorthStar, Hillary is ready to guide more individuals towards sobriety through truly individualized care based on each client’s unique preferences and needs.

Medical Technician

Amanda supervises the medication administration and UA analysis at NorthStar’s Outpatient office. Amanda graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Psychology and a concentration in Addiction Counseling. Prior to working at NorthStar, Amanda was a counselor at a youth residential treatment center in Colorado. She has been working in the addiction field since 2016 and finds meaning in supporting individuals as they begin their recovery journey. She is currently pursuing a Certified Addiction Counselor Credential.

Residential Clinical Therapist

Michael began working in the Recovery and Wilderness Therapy world in 2006. As a wilderness therapy guide, life skills counselor, and therapist, he has substantial experience working with Rites of Passage, grief, substance over-use, disordered eating, family dynamics, trauma, conflict, depression, anxiety, identity exploration, conflict resolution, spiritual crisis, and other mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. He works in depth with adults and their families using a relational approach. He is committed to authenticity, empowerment, trust, vulnerability, and connection. He is a student of Indigenous wisdom, yoga, meditation, and Nature. Michael continues his training at the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies.

Neeka Zarei

Residential Clinical Therapist

Neeka is currently completing her Masters degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Neeka is passionate about her work and believes that each individual has the power to change their life by examining while remaining mindful of the underlying emotions behind their behavior.
Neeka is determined to to work alongside NorthStar’s clients and shine the light on their inherent map to find the path to their healing and recovery. Neeka believes that a supportive community and evidence based therapeutic practices can be the key that unlocks each person’s potential and shift of allegiance towards sobriety.

Lead Residential Counselor

Through his personal experience in recovery, Sean developed a passion for working with those in sobriety to help them establish their goals and focus their potential into a productive lifestyle.Sean employs an action based approach to his work with clients – operating on the belief that having fun and maintaining an active lifestyle are instrumental to success in recovery.
Sean has extensive experience in various industries. Prior to NorthStar he was working in the legal realm as an office manager, but left to follow his passion for helping others in recovery. He is in the process of furthering his education and becoming a certified addiction counselor.

Brian Bauer

Lead Residential Counselor

Brian began working in addiction treatment and recovery in 2014, after gaining his own sobriety in 2012.  He has worked for Pacific Hills/Covenant Hills in San Clemente, CA and is working towards his CAC II certification after recently completing his CAC I.
Brian is one of the Leaders/Founders of the Restore Ministry, a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery ministry in Fort Collins.  Brian has been a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist since 2015. Brian’s personal experience has fueled his desire to pass on the gift of sobriety to others, by helping them build a new life around a healthy, active community, with a strong spiritual foundation.

Lead Residential Counselor

Susan earned her B.S. in Family and Child Development from Texas State University. Over the last four years, Susan has had the opportunity to specialize in mental health, addiction, adventure therapy and wilderness education.
Susan joined NorthStar Transitions to continue her passion to help others with an emphasis on assisting individuals struggling with addiction. Susan enjoys providing the clients with daily lessons on how to maintain recovery and enhance positive behaviors in order to become the “best version of you”. Susan combines her knowledge on DBT, CBT, mindfulness, conflict resolution, crisis intervention and other therapeutic practices to provide the best possible experience for the clients. Susan understands that sobriety can be an upward battle and her goal is to support individuals as they create their path within recovery.

Residential Program Manager

David began working in the addiction counseling field in 2014 and has two years of experience working in a withdrawal management unit assisting clients through the withdrawal process and focusing on fostering motivation for change. He also has one year of experience in middle management within withdrawal management for the same organization before starting with NorthStar, with a total of 4 years experience in the addiction recovery field.  His professional background lies primarily in working with people who are in the beginning stages of change.
Through his training in motivational interviewing, personal experience with recovery, emotional intelligence, meditation, and yoga; David aims to help individuals gain insight into their development and identify a strong desire to change.

Outpatient Clinical Therapist

Laura is a Licensed Addiction Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She received a Master of Arts from Regis University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  Laura was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and attended University of Colorado for her undergraduate degree in Sociology.
Laura has experience working in the forensic and community mental health field before coming to NorthStar. Laura believes that much of addiction centers around internal narratives and coping skills.  She incorporates a narrative, eclectic approach, as well as, evidence based approaches such as; Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, client-centered, and connecting the mind and body together.

Outpatient Therapist

Abi graduated from Naropa University with a Masters of Arts in Somatic Counseling Psychology with Dance/Movement Therapy concentrations. Prior to work with NorthStar Transitions Abigail worked as emergency clinician in hospitals, jails, detox and walk-in clinics.  She was also previously trained with trauma informed treatment modalities to work with developmental, early childhood trauma and family systems. Abigail has worked with international populations using trauma informed therapy, including mindfulness-based and body-centered interventions to cultivate radical acceptance and compassion in the recovery and healing process from trauma, eating disorders, personality disorders and addiction.

Outpatient Clinical Therapist

Kirsten received a Master of Arts in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate and is pursuing a Licensed Addictions Counselor credential.
Kirsten has a strong orientation towards mindfulness-based and body-centered interventions, informed by her training in the Hakomi Method, and brings a somatic and trauma-informed mental health background to her work with addiction. She approaches the therapeutic relationship from a place of deep empathy, compassion, and a belief in every client’s intrinsic health. Using evidenced-based interventions, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Kirsten takes a client-centered approach so that clients can identify and transform patterns and behaviors that no longer serve them.

Outpatient Clinical Therapist

William received a Master of Arts in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University and a Bachelor’s degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College. William’s work combines evidence based modalities, CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing as well as psychodynamic psychotherapy to help clients connect with their own innate and inherent strengths.He is currently pusueing a License
He is currently pursuing a Professional Counselor License and Certified Addiction Counselor Credential. William emphasises social engagement and interpersonal connections to support the recovery process. Additionally, his theoretical approach addresses developmental traumas that may be still creating obstacles to mental health and recovery.  William guides clients to gain new insight and integrate new skills to support their recovery.

Outpatient Clinical Therapist

Outpatient Program Manager

Danielle supervises the clinical support team and oversees day to day operations at our Outpatient office. She finds purpose in supporting individuals in early recovery. Danielle believes that given the right support and tools, long term recovery can be achieved. Danielle graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She calls Boulder home with her husband, Sam, and they enjoy hiking and yoga.

jake waddelow

Sober Living House Manager

Jake discovered a passion for working with those in recovery after battling through his own addiction and achieving long-term sobriety. He is pursuing his Certified Addictions Counselor level II certification and uses his personal experiences in addiction and recovery in his work with clients.
Jake takes an active approach to recovery through physical fitness, snowboarding, and hiking, and spends his free time with family and friends.

Admissions Coordinator

Charlotte graduated from Naropa University with a Masters of Arts in Somatic Psychotherapy, with a concentration in Body Psychotherapy.  This mind-body style of therapy utilizes the body to access stored trauma and emotions to facilitate healing.  Charlotte is currently a Registered Psychotherapist in the process of pursuing her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Addictions Counselor credentials. Through her extensive professional background, Charlotte brings her passion for helping others to her role in admissions. Charlotte offers compassion, empathy and support to those seeking to recover their lives.

Clinical Intake Specialist

Ashley is pursuing her LPC, after graduating with a Master’s of Science in Counseling in 2007.She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications as well as a certified Recovery Coach with CCAR.  When Ashley found recovery herself, it was very clear that she must help others do the same.   Ashley strives to provide safety and hope for clients when they first come to treatment.  Ashley brings a sense of humor, deep compassion, empathy and a belief that everyone deserves a chance to heal.