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.

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.

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

Assistant Clinical Director-Residential

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.

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.

christina swift

Assistant Clinical Director-Residential

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.

Residential Therapist


Laura has her master’s degree from Regis University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  She is a License Addiction Counselor and a License Professional Counselor Candidate.   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.

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.

Outpatient Therapist

Outpatient Therapist

David Lock

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.

sean dodge

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.

Lead Residential Counselor

alix moore

Admissions 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.

Admissions Specialist

Karen Hubble is the newest addition to the admissions department. She has worked in various levels of treatment in substance use disorder field.  She understands and relates to addicts as she has battled her own addictions for half of her life.  Karen is an enrolled member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and is passionate about being a part of the recovery process and the NorthStar Team!

Sober Living Support and Alumni Coordinator

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.

Eugene Raykin

Residential Counselor

Eugene has a BA in Psychology from The University of Massachusetts -Amherst, and three years of experience working in residential, community mental-health settings. Eugene is passionate about supporting clients in the process of recovery from addiction and growing in the areas of individuation and self-awareness. In working with clients, Eugene draws on the principles of trauma-informed care and person-centered counseling to provide a safe and supportive environment in which clients may focus on moving towards greater autonomy, health, and well-being.


Residential Counselor

Melanie is currently pursuing a BS in Biology, minor in Chemistry. Melanie has over three years of experience working in Withdrawal Management and the community mental health setting and also has her Certified Addictions Counselor level I certification (CAC I). Melanie aims to understand the complexity of addiction from a biological and genetic perspective. With her education, personal experience and passion in person centered treatment: Melanie takes a holistic and evidenced based approach to help guide individuals to long term, sustainable sobriety.

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.