Oregon's New Leaf Academy and North Star Center Make Leadership Announcements

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Roberta O'Kelley of North Star Center to Become Executive Director at New Leaf as Industry Veterans Craig and Christy Christiansen Retire; Sean Fievet Promoted to Executive Director at North Star Center

Knowing that we are leaving the program in such capable hands and that Robbi has great plans to build on the New Leaf foundation is both comforting and exciting for us. Christy and I are very much looking forward to spending our retirement time with our grandchildren and traveling.

Aspen Education Group and New Leaf Academy, the nation's first private therapeutic boarding school for middle school girls, today announced the retirement of its founders, Craig and Christy Christiansen, and the appointment of Roberta (Robbi) O'Kelley, MSW as its new executive director effective June 1. O'Kelley spent the last seven years at Aspen's North Star Center, a leading young adult transitional living program, and was the program's executive director for the past three years. Sean Fievet, current program director of North Star, has been promoted to executive director of the program, effective May 1.

Craig and Christy Christiansen will retire after over 36 years in the therapeutic education industry, including the last ten at New Leaf Academy. Craig has been instrumental in developing a wide range of programs and services in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He began his career in 1971, and has served on numerous national, state and local boards advocating for children. He and Christy founded New Leaf Academy in 1997.

"We are very proud of New Leaf and the young girls we have had the privilege of working with," said Craig Christiansen. "Knowing that we are leaving the program in such capable hands and that Robbi has great plans to build on the New Leaf foundation is both comforting and exciting for us. Christy and I are very much looking forward to spending our retirement time with our grandchildren and traveling."

O'Kelley earned her master's in social work from the University of Kansas, and has over 20 years of experience in behavioral healthcare and education including serving as student assistance counselor for the Laramie County School District and as a family therapist in her own private practice. It was through both of those roles that she gained tremendous insight for working with young girls dealing with physical development, social-emotional immaturity, family instability and academic challenges.

"We're pleased to announce that Robbi will be the new executive director at New Leaf Academy and believe she possesses a great talent for helping young people overcome learning and behavioral challenges," said Mark Dorenfeld, senior vice president of residential schools and programs, western division for Aspen Education Group. "The Christiansens have established a remarkable program for helping young girls and their families and we are grateful for their years of service. We wish them a very happy retirement."

North Star Center's new executive director, Sean Fievet, has been with the program for five years, first as case manager and more recently as program director. He has worked with adolescents and young adults in wilderness and residential settings for over 11 years.
"Sean is a great asset to North Star and we are delighted to promote him to this next level," said Dorenfeld. "His prior experience with the program and the at-risk youth it serves will ensure that North Star continues helping students become responsible young adults and achieve their life goals."

New Leaf Academy and North Star Center are proud members of Aspen Education Group, the nation's largest and most comprehensive network of therapeutic schools and programs. Aspen Education Group offers professionals and families the opportunity to choose from a variety of therapeutic settings in order to best meet a student's unique academic and emotional needs. Aspen Education Group has been profiled by major news and television organizations around the world, including U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and People magazine, as well as on CNN, ABC's 20/20 and Good Morning America, NBC's The Today Show and Dateline NBC, National Public Radio and the syndicated television show Dr. Phil. Aspen is a division of CRC Health Group, the nation's largest chemical dependency and related behavioral health organization. For more information about Aspen Education Group, visit http://www.aspeneducation.com or call (888) 972-7736. For more information about New Leaf Academy, visit http://www.newleafacademy.com or call (541) 318-1676. For more information about North Star Center, visit http://www.northstarcenter.com or call (866) 313-7580.

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