I received my Bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1992 and my Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in 2003, with additional coursework in Addiction Studies and High-Risk Youth completed in Denver. Most of my career has been in school settings, working with pregnant and parenting teen girls, juvenile justice, high-risk girls, expelled students, conducting substance abuse and wellness education with college students, and currently as the Middle School Counselor at Evergreen Charter School in Asheville NC since 2008. I've conducted private therapy with adolescents and provided drug and alcohol education to dozens of schools across NC. I have earned the reputation for being a "Teen Whisperer," for my ability to understand and "speak teen," including what they are often communicating through their more challenging behaviors.
As a young pre-teen, I began my own challenging journey that led me through multiple addictions and self-destructive behaviors and into recovery at 19 years old. This experience naturally gravitated me towards work as a substance abuse counselor in outpatient and residential treatment with teens and young adults, as a drug and alcohol educator to youth, and led to my getting licenses and letters after my name as an Addictions Clinician and Prevention Specialist. I blend this personal "street certified" history with my clinical expertise to bring knowledge, authenticity and relatability to my classes, workshops, consultation and coaching.
Expressive and visual arts, and an Outward Bound adventure, were literally life-saving to me as a teenager, and continue to inspire me to naturally blend creativity, interaction, and challenge into my group facilitation, curriculum design, and coaching relationships.
Since my early teens, I have been lucky to be submerged in social worlds and experiences that have exposed me to human diversity in all its forms, including a year staying in people’s homes across the globe with the “Up With People” program, and involvement in organizations working for racial and LGBTQ social justice. This has naturally given me a personal and professional commitment to promoting intercultural understanding and equity in all I do.
My own parenting adventures have been some of my greatest training ground, raising a resilient “twice exceptional” bi-racial son as a 100% single working mom in challenging conditions. The lessons continue with my “grown and flown” young adult and my latest chapter as a step-mom to 2 step-teens in a beautiful multiracial family.
Clearly, this work has chosen me, and not the other way around! It’s my joy to share it with you!
Drug & alcohol education
Substance abuse prevention & intervention
Diversity, equity & inclusion
Communication & conflict resolution
Understanding & supporting adolescents
NCC = Nationally Certified Counselor
LCMHC = Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
LCAS = Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist
CPS = Certified Prevention Specialist
What all those letters mean...