Don Vardell Returns to Aspen Education Group

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Vardell takes over as executive director of Excel Academy in Conroe, TX.

He is an extraordinary leader with a passion for improving the lives of families, and an exceptional ability to motivate the staff and students around him. He will be a great asset through Excel Academy's continued growth.

Aspen Education Group today announced that Don Vardell has rejoined the Aspen organization and will become the new executive director of Excel Academy in Conroe, Texas, effective August 6, 2007. Vardell served as the executive director of Aspen's Academy at Swift River in Cummington, Massachusetts for over two years from 2004 until earlier this year.

"We are delighted to have Don on our team," said Bo Turner, senior vice president for Aspen's residential schools and programs. "He is an extraordinary leader with a passion for improving the lives of families, and an exceptional ability to motivate the staff and students around him. He will be a great asset through Excel Academy's continued growth."

During his tenure at Academy at Swift River, Vardell built a team of professionals who worked diligently to enhance and integrate the counseling and academic components of this nationally recognized therapeutic boarding school. Prior to Academy at Swift River, Vardell served as administrator of a residential treatment center for adolescents in Tennessee, and was a senior marketing and business development officer for a tertiary care hospital in Northern Virginia.

As the new executive director of Excel Academy, Don will work with former executive director, JJ Risner, and staff to ensure that Excel continues to provide the quality services and care that it has been known for since its inception. Risner will continue working at Excel with a focus on improving students' transitions when they return home to their families and communities.

"I am thrilled to be back with Aspen and equally excited to be joining one of the most reputable academic and substance abuse recovery programs in the nation," said Vardell. "Excel has a highly effective treatment philosophy, an outstanding team of professionals and years of success. I look forward to building on these fundamentals to increase our ability to help struggling teens and their families."

Excel Academy, in operation since 1997, is a co-educational, recovery-focused college preparatory high school serving adolescents who have not had success in previous placements. Located one hour north of Houston, Texas, Excel Academy students typically stay for up to two years, living in a highly structured environment and participating in substance abuse counseling, rigorous academics, family counseling, competitive sports and a variety of healthy living and recreational activities.

Excel Academy is a proud member of Aspen Education Group, recognized nationwide as the 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 now 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 Excel Academy, visit http://www.excelacademy.com or call (800) 2609178.

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KRISTEN HAYES
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