Meet Our Staff

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Meet the Staff of NorthStar

mike ferrell

Executive Director

Mike Ferrell is the founder and Executive Director of NorthStar Transitions. Mike founded NorthStar Transitions in 2012 after recognizing a need for highly individualized substance abuse treatment services – a service that wasn’t being met by most treatment centers. When clients left treatment, they had no job, were not set up to enroll in school, and knew no one in the recovery community outside of their peers in treatment. In effect, clients were getting sober in a vacuum, and when they left treatment, they left every support system they had behind.
Recognizing these deficiencies in the “traditional” treatment center, Mike developed a program that focused on both the clinical issues facing clients with substance use disorders as well as the practical life skills clients need to be successful not only in recovery but in life. By pairing group, individual and family therapy with up to 6 hours of one-on-one case management per week, Mike developed a program that addresses the complete needs of the client. One of the top priorities of NorthStar is to introduce clients to the community supports they will need to continue utilizing post-treatment while they are still in treatment.
Mike was also inspired to start NorthStar as a result of his personal experience overcoming a substance use disorder. By the age of 16, Mike had dropped out of high school and was fully immersed in his addiction. After several treatment episodes, Mike entered long-term recovery at the age of 21. After entering recovery, Mike obtained his GED, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and attended the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College.
Now over a decade in recovery, Mike is happily married, has a handsome young son and black lab named Scarlet. In his spare time, Mike enjoys exercise, good food and traveling.
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.

parker smith

Director of Operations

Parker is a graduate of Regis University in Denver and has been part of the NorthStar team since June of 2014. He has clinical experience and education, holding a CAC II and a background in sports as a collegiate athlete. Parker is passionate about meeting people where they are at in the process of recovery and utilizes motivational interviewing as a platform to build therapeutic relationships on.

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

fatina cannon

Clinical Director, Outpatient Program

Fatina came to the addiction field by way of trauma research and a desire to empower others who were self-harming through substance and addiction based processes. Fatina is a Licensed Professional Counselor, holds a Master Addiction Counselor and Certified Addiction Counselor II certifications, and is a Registered Dance Movement Therapist with the American Dance Therapy Association.
Fatina is committed to guiding the therapeutic team at NorthStar Transitions to deliver cutting edge and client centered addiction treatment. She is active in the capoeria and samba community.

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.

kate ferrell

Utilization Review

A native of Philadelphia, PA, Kate graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelors degree in History and from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Social Work Degree with a concentration in clinical social work. Kate is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) in the state of Colorado.
Kate’s approach to psychotherapy is dynamic and solution-focused. Kate draws on her background in evidence-based treatment modalities such as Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy while using a psychodynamic approach. Each client has individual needs and Kate strives to take the most effective approach for each individual. Kate’s primary practice area is substance abuse treatment.

robin kleisler


Robin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Addiction Counselor, and is nationally certified as a Masters Addiction Counselor. She received a Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. Robin began her career in the field of wilderness therapy and has worked with young adults in community mental health, public schools and private residential programs for the past decade.
She specializes in developing program specific addiction curriculums and adventure therapy experiences. Robin also practices EMDR, an advanced therapeutic method for the treatment of trauma and drug and alcohol cravings. She works with clients to challenge negative beliefs, discover their passions, and build a solid foundation for a long and healthy life.

christina swift


Christina is a graduate of Naropa University and holds a Master of Arts in Contemplative Psychotherapy and is currently pursuing her Certified Addictions Counselor II certification.
Christina’s approach to the recovery relationship incorporates evidence based practices such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, empathy, and an understanding that intrinsic healthiness exists within all. She works with clients to increase self-worth, identify patterns and behaviors that prevent lasting sobriety, and practice skills to achieve effective change. Christina captain a ultimate frisbee team in Boulder.

sean dodge

Case Manager

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.

josh hamlin

Case Manager

Josh began working in addiction treatment to help others find the peace and freedom he has found. Sober since 2008, Josh is able to use his personal experience to walk with clients though own their path to recovery from addiction. He has a colorful professional history that includes: professional surfing, ocean guiding, and most recently, work in the non-profit sector with Phoenix Multi-sport, helping to organize community recovery efforts on a small and large scale.
Josh loves imparting his passion for the ocean and the outdoors on clients, and is working towards furthering his education to become a Certified Addiction Counselor. Now living in Colorado, he enjoys fly fishing and spending time with his wife and two beautiful daughters.

jake waddelow

Case 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.

alix emming

Clinical Support and Intake Coordinator

Alix is a Boulder native who has been working in administrative and office management roles for several years. She provides support to the clinical team and works with the Admissions Department to aid in new client intakes. She is passionate about being involved in a company that assists those on the road to recovery.

eli mueller

Case Manager

Eli is driven to give those in recovery the support and resources he received when getting sober in 2010. Utilizing his own experience in recovery along with meditation, community building and physical health, Eli has been helping others in recovery since his first job at a treatment facility in 2011. He uses a balanced approach to recovery encouraging spiritual, emotional and physical health. Eli has a passion for music and the arts being a drummer, producer and performer himself. He loves getting to share the joy of creativity in sobriety with others in recovery.

ashley sakker

Case Manager

Ashley Sakker came into the addiction field after finding recovery herself.  Ashley has her Masters in Counseling and is a certified Recovery Coach through CCAR and Life Coach through Coach Training Alliance.  For several years, Ashley has coached in various environments as a Career Coach, Life Coach and TED speaker Coach.  Ashley thrives on watching clients come into their own authentic self.  Ashley embraces the mind, body and spirit connection as integral part of recovery.  Ashley is grateful and honored to be a part of the Northstar team.