Meet Our Staff

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Meet the Staff of NorthStar

mike ferrell


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.

keenan van de boogaard

Executive Director

Keenan began working in substance abuse treatment after gaining his own sobriety in 2011. Keenan’s experience began in the non-profit sector working in vocational training and account management at Stout Street Foundation, where he continues to stay connected as Chairman of the Board. He then segued into the private sector in case management and accounting for Quiet River Transitional Recovery Community, before he started at NorthStar in 2015.
Operating as NorthStar’s Director of Admissions over the last three years has empowered him to step into the Executive Director position, where he currently uses his compassionate leadership style to lead NorthStar’s team. He believes in NorthStar’s cutting edge clinical programming and pragmatic approach to recovery, and strives to grow and sustain one of Colorado’s leading treatment programs.

Chief Clinical Officer

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.

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.

Deputy Medical Director

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.

Director of Admissions

Alix is a Certified Addiction Counselor level II who has found purpose through working with individuals in recovery. As someone who has walked along side both family members and friends who struggle with addiction, Alix has a dedication for supporting those in recovery to make positive, sustainable and long term life changes.
Alix is a Boulder native who believes strongly in investing in both physical and mental health through fitness, nutrition, music, and building a strong and supportive community.

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.

Assistant Clinical Director, Residential Program

Sara is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). She received her master’s degree in forensic psychology from University of Denver in 2016.
Sara’s approach to recovery is advocacy based for the client within system. Her main goal is to approach each client’s care with curiosity and compassion in order to walk along side the client to achieve their goals within recovery.

Physicians Assistant

Bryan got his undergraduate degree from CU Boulder in International Relations and Latin American Politics in 1992. After graduating, Bryan began working on an ambulance in Denver and found his passion for emergency medicine. Paramedic school followed, and after twenty years (and still passionate about medicine) PA school seemed like the best direction to grow his medical knowledge and expand his scope of practice.
Bryan attended Loma Linda University’s Physician Assistant program.  At NorthStar Transitions, Bryan is grateful to be able to practice medicine in a setting where he can build a relationship with patients over more than just a brief encounter, and to support them through the process of recovery.

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.

Residential Clinical Therapist

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.

Residential 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.

Residential 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

Steven brings a broad range of clinical and life experience to Northstar Transitions that includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & Philosophy from Elizabethtown College, a Master’s Degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University, and almost 10 years of experience with the American Psychological Association.  Steven provides insightful clinical observations and models self-regulation skills with a steady, grounded nervous system.  Steven combines a variety of evidence-based practices such as; Dialectical Behavior Therapy & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients reach their personal and clinical goals.  Also utilizing Motivational Interviewing & Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, he aims to bring out the “fire” in every client while inspiring trust and confidence.

Outpatient Clinical Therapist

Kimberly received her Master of Arts degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and Clinical Counseling from Columbia College Chicago. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and currently pursuing her credential as a Licensed Addiction Counselor. Kimberly has been in the field of mental health and substance abuse for over 10 years, utilizing a psychodynamic framework based in somatic practices, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFST).  Kimberly’s approach is client centered and trauma informed, utilizing attunement, compassion and empathy to build trust and rapport with each client.  

Residential Program Manager

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 Operations 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.

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.

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.

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.

Admissions Coordinator

Hannah is a Boulder native who earned her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University. After college, she spent a year backpacking across the world visiting over twenty-eight different countries, learning about other cultures through various work opportunities before moving to a small village in Thailand where she taught English for a year. Hannah is currently attending Metropolitan State University of Denver in pursuit of her Master’s degree in Social Work to become a LCSW. She also serves as the youngest board member of the International Enneagram Association Colorado Chapter. Using the Enneagram, a unique and powerful tool for communication and self-discovery, Hannah promotes self growth and understanding, and hopes to aid in promoting the importance of these values.

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.

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.

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.