Shawn Farrell, MEd. – Executive Director
In April of 2008, I was offered the opportunity to assume the Executive Director position at SUWS of the Carolinas. Since its creation in 2000, SUWS of the Carolinas has established itself as a strong leader in the Outdoor Behavioral Health industry, with a reputation for producing excellent work with families and students. My transition back to SUWS of the Carolinas has allowed me to continue developing and implementing innovative programming for both parents and students.
In 1996, after several years working as a climbing guide and canyoneering specialist in southern Utah, I found my way to the Aspen Achievement Academy. There I launched into a career of working in outdoor therapy programs. Since those days as a field instructor, I have traveled the country learning from and working for a variety of therapeutic wilderness programs. In the intervening years I have worked in a number of positions including Field Director, Operations Director, Program Director, and Academic Director. Most recently, I spent three years as the Director of Operations for the Outdoor Division of Aspen Education Group, assisting in the oversight of their ten wilderness programs.
My professional experience has been complemented by an academic career attending Sterling College in northern Vermont. There I was immersed in an experiential educational curriculum, where classroom study was tested with real world application. My time there ultimately resulted in an Associates of Arts degree in Resource Management, but more profoundly taught me the importance of engaging students in multiple learning styles and the power of “experience” in education. I later continued my studies completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Masters in Education from the University of Kentucky. The Masters program allowed me to further explore the theoretical foundations of education, school system reforms, and the necessity of reaching students on a variety of academic, intellectual, and emotional levels.
Through my professional and academic career I have been a constant student of adolescent development and wilderness programming. I have maintained leadership positions within the industry and the Aspen Education Group including: Membership on the Outdoor Best Practices and Academic Best Practices committees, and Chairman of the Ethics committee for the Outdoor Behavioral Health Industry Council. I continue to look forward to the future of SUWS of the Carolinas and building upon our history of excellence. We will continue to cement the company’s leadership position in the wilderness therapy industry, and positively impact our student’s and families’ lives.
AEG Outdoor Division – Operations Director
SUWS of the Carolinas – Program Supervisor, Academic Director, Senior Field Instructor
Passages to Recovery – Interim Executive Director
Lone Star Expeditions – Interim Executive Director
Explorations Wilderness Program – Program Director
Aspen Achievement Academy – Senior Instructor, Logistics Coordinator
On Track – Field Instructor
Special Project Experience:
Project Manager opening Four Circles Recovery Center
Family Brat Camp UK – Program Director
Television Documentary: “Britain’s Youngest Boozers” – Program Manager