Alpha 180 staff
- BOB FERGUSONFOUNDER
Prior to the launch of Alpha 180™, Bob Ferguson has served as founder and CEO of Jaywalker Lodge since 2004. Jaywalker Lodge is an extended care residential treatment and recovery community for men located in Carbondale, CO. Before that, Bob served for over 10 years in senior management positions at a number of the leading treatment providers in the addiction & recovery field including: Jaywalker Lodge, Promises Treatment Centers, Crossroads Antigua, and the Hazelden Foundation.
In addition, Bob has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) since 2011. He is currently beginning his second two-year term on the Executive Committee, serving as Secretary for the NAATP Board. Bob also serves as Chairman of the Board for A Way Out, an Aspen-based 501c3 providing crisis referrals and treatment scholarships for families and residents in Western Colorado.
Bob divides his time between Austin, TX and his home in Snowmass Village where he lives with his wife and two college-aged kids. When he’s not at Alpha 180, Bob stays busy as a grateful participant in his own recovery from addiction, which began – one day at a time – on Feb. 12, 1992.
- NICO DOORN, M.Ed.EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Beginning as a high school dropout, Nico’s personal journey traversing education and recovery led him to want to help others achieve their academic and personal goals. In the last decade, he has worked with young adults in settings ranging from residential treatment to aftercare and Collegiate Recovery Programs. His knowledge spans from clinical program formulation to national brand development. Across these experiences, Nico has sought to identify foundational elements of effective behavioral health organizations, such as transparency, integrity, and heart. He seeks to apply this knowledge at Alpha 180 by cultivating a healthy staff culture and providing a transformational healing experience to the families and clients of those they serve. Nico enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and two sons, Aedin and Bodhi.
- WES WARDDIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Wes’s experience in recovery began in October 2005. After going to a treatment program, he got involved with a recovery community and began to rebuild his life. He acquired his Bachelor degree from Schreiner University in Kerrville. Wes enjoyed college and the inspirational environment it provided. He moved to Austin to attend Texas State University and graduated with his Master of Business Administration. He has worked in the addiction treatment field in both direct care and operations roles, and has a passion for helping individuals in recovery improve their lives. Wes lives in Austin with his wife Veronica. He enjoys reading, hiking, and building things.
- WILL CROSSWELL, LCSW, LCDCCLINICAL DIRECTOR
Will received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from The University of Texas at San Antonio and his Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Will has worked as Men’s Program Director at a reputable residential facility in Austin, TX for the last three years. Additionally, he has worked with at-risk adolescents within the San Antonio high school system
Will is devoted to assisting young adults on their journey toward sobriety and believes that everyone can recover from the disease of addiction. Will utilizes Existential Theory to help clients discover meaning and passion in their lives while also emphasizing the importance of fun in early recovery.
In his free time, Will enjoys traveling around the country to see his favorite band Phish, fly-fishing, and spending time outdoors.
- AUSTIN HERRMANN, LMSW, LCDCCLINICAL PROGRAM MANAGER
Austin Herrmann moved to Austin in 2011. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree at St. Edward’s University, he began working in the aftercare/sober living setting as a Recovery Coach for recovering individuals transitioning out of inpatient treatment. Austin then transitioned into working in both the inpatient and outpatient treatment settings as a clinician, while working towards the LCDC licensure.
During this time, Austin discovered his passion for doing clinical work with individuals struggling with addictions and decided to return to school to pursue a clinical master’s degree. He graduated with his Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. Austin entered long-term recovery himself in 2010. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two children, traveling, movies, and live music.
- JC SHAKESPEARE, LPC-SPRIMARY THERAPIST
JC Shakespeare, LPC-S has worked for over a decade in schools, treatment centers, IOP programs and in private practice, delivering compassionate counseling through a trauma-informed lens. JC believes that the human emotional system holds the key to healing and recovery; learning to identify, connect with, and regulate emotions leads to resilience and clarity. Through modes of treatment like EMDR, somatic psychotherapy, and mindfulness JC helps clients unblock old emotional pain and enter into a more vibrant, connected sense of self. JC has lived in Austin for 25 years. He has three daughters, and enjoys writing, bad golf and good movies.
- Ross HauserFacilities Administrator
Ross is our facilities administrator and works tirelessly to ensure we have a safe and functional environment in which students can discover themselves. Ross has been with us for over two years now, and before that, he was in college, studying business theory and management. He recently re-enrolled in college to finish this degree, and hopes to be able to work while using what he has learned to connect people with the resources they need. Ross loves to spend time outdoors, doing anything from hiking to sports, and even yard work.
- Andrew WarrenOutreach & Admissions Coordinator
Andrew Warren is originally from the West Coast. Growing up in San Luis Obispo, CA and eventually living in Los Angeles he brings his West Coast flavor to a Texas Company.
Andrew is a student in long term recovery and his own personal sobriety is intertwined with academic excellence. He is currently a Junior at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Human Dimensions of Organizations and Minoring in Business. His treatment experience was first working in direct client care, but as he grew in his education he realized he was best suited to work with families and bring hope to students and professionals.
Andrew is an avid golfer and yogi, enjoys cooking for his friends and family, and loves stand-up comedy.
- Laura Bailey, MSSWAcademic Recovery Support Liaison
Laura Bailey moved to Austin in 2018 to pursue her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating from University of Richmond in Virginia with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Laura knew she wanted to pursue a career in the mental health and social justice field. Laura is passionate about her work guiding young adults through the challenges they encounter while transitioning back into school in early recovery.
- Brian WalkerResidential Director
Brian has nearly four years of experience working in the recovery industry. He is currently attending school at Austin Community College with a goal of applying to Texas State University. Brian has been with Alpha 180 since early 2019 and has a sincere passion for helping others recover from addiction.
Brian came to Alpha 180 because he was told we do things differently. When he arrived, he was amazed at the genuine desire for recovery he saw in the students. Over time, he has witnessed miracles happen, day in and day out. The amount of complete “180’s” he has seen take place within the Alpha circle truly inspire Brian to commit himself to this special program.
- Tanner AlstonResidential Supervisor
Tanner was born and raised here in Austin, TX. He has worked in recovery for over two years. He’s currently enrolled in Austin Community College and is studying to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. He has been with Alpha 180 since April of 2019.
Tanner’s passion for Alpha 180 has only grown after witnessing countless amazing moments within our community through the lens of his own recovery. He truly believes in the fellowship and power of this program. He is committed to finding the best way possible to help each client embrace a life of recovery and experience the miracles it offers.
- Jared DeanResidential Technician
Jared Dean grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He moved to Texas begin his own recovery journey and immediately became passionate about helping other young men recover. In his personal experience, he found the therapeutic value of people helping each other to be essential and decided he wanted to give back. Alpha 180 is Jared’s first experience working in the recovery industry and he says, “I give my all to do anything I can to help the community. Helping these gentlemen in any way I can brings joy to my heart”. In his free time, Jared enjoy reading comic books, and doing graphic design projects - bringing his own artistic twist to any challenges he faces.
- Morgan ShingleClinical Intern
Morgan Shingle, LMSW, has been working in the healing and well-being industry for six years. She began her own journey to healing through a consistent yoga and meditation practice which she incorporates into her therapeutic interventions by emphasizing mindfulness and self-compassion. She offers individualized, relational therapy through an attachment-based lens. Morgan believes that every person possesses an internal compass which can be brought to light through nonjudgmental, collaborative treatment. She has experience working with at-risk undergraduate students at the University of Texas where she discovered her passion for working with young adults. Morgan strives to ensure that all of her clients feel heard, seen, and supported through their unique challenges by utilizing modalities such as DBT and motivational interviewing. She has lived across the United States and uses a multiple worldviews perspective to keep principles such as cultural humility, equity, and social justice guiding her practice.
She recently graduated with her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys reading, painting, and anything that keeps her active and outside.
- Will HennesseyHouse Manager
Will was born and raised in NYC and moved to Texas in 2014 where he attended Texas Christian University. Will made the choice to attend Alpha 180 in March 2019 where he quickly fell in love with the program and staff. While at Alpha, Will enjoyed doing things such as cooking for his house mates, going to Black Swan Yoga, and finding the best pizza spots in Austin, TX.
Will is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at ACC and is interested in pursuing a career in the recovery field. Will credits Alpha 180 with much of his success in recovery and academics and joined the staff in Spring of 2020 as a way of giving back to the community he formed while here. Will is excited to participate in the powerful work that happens with young men in recovery at Alpha 180. He believes everyone can experience the transformation with a little willingness and honesty.
Alpha 180 works with experienced educational professionals to meet the unique needs of every student.
- LAUREN BAJWA M.ED.
Lauren is founder and owner of Boutique Educational Services. After getting her masters degree in special education from The University of Texas at Austin, Lauren taught Special Education in AISD, where she helped coordinate the work of teachers, paraprofessionals, and related personnel in order to meet the individual needs of Special Education students. During that time she designed and implemented Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and attended Academic Language Therapy training, a systematic dyslexia remediation program. In addition to teaching, Lauren has experience consulting with program directors in private and independent schools, helping them develop best practice methods when identifying and accommodating students.
Currently, Lauren specializes in helping families prioritize next steps when their child is struggling emotionally, academically, or behaviorally. Lauren's practice focuses on school avoidant children, particularly those struggling with debilitating anxiety and other related mental health challenges. Lauren is humbled by her own three vivacious daughters, and has a deep appreciation for the parenting experience. Lauren loves reading aloud to her girls, walking her dog, and cooking with her husband. She serves on the board at All Saints' Episcopal Day School and Generation SERVE and is a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. Lauren also represents children's best interests in family law cases as a Guardian Ad Litem in Travis County.
- CARY FYFE, M.S.ED.EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST
Cary earned her M.S.Ed. from UCLA in Bilingual Early Childhood and Elementary Education, but she maintains that the richest part of her learning sprang from the unique educational experiences of her two sons, as each navigated his way through public, private and home school environments. The learning continues as each son enters young adulthood, and her work with children is highly inspired by a combination of her years of teaching in Early Childhood, her work as a Child Life Specialist, and the educational journey of each of her sons. She is passionate about supporting and nurturing the unique abilities of each student she encounters, and she delights in the gems of wisdom that each child brings her way.
- STEVE HAMMAN
Steve’s passion is working with families of students to ensure an appropriate and meaningful education for their children. He is known for his collaborative spirit in working with families, principals, campus staff and community agencies and has over forty years of experience in the field of Special Education. He received his B.S. in Special Education from Texas State University, then taught in Austin ISD for twelve years, where he served students with various, significant challenges. Steve then earned both his Master’s degree in Special Education, and post-graduate certification in Mid-Management and Educational Leadership from the University of Texas.
Steve served as Assistant Principal and Principal of Rosedale School in Austin ISD. In that role, he helped develop the Family Support Cooperative, a collaborative designed to inform and support families of students with special needs. Later, as Assistant Director of Special Education for AISD, he led Special Education mediations, advocating that students with disabilities experience inclusion in meaningful educational and social environments. He also served as a member of the Children’s Partnership in Travis County, supporting parents and families of children with mental health challenges in securing quality intervention. After retiring from AISD, Steve became a Special Education Program Specialist and Consultant at Texas Education Agency. For ten years, he helped districts create more inclusive settings for students with disabilities, and hence improve student outcomes.
Steve and his wife Kathie have three adult children and four beautiful grandchildren. Gracie, their youngest grandchild was born prematurely, and her neo-natal experience and subsequent progress has inspired Steve to once again work directly with children and families.
- MIKE DEMERATHEDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST
Mike’s interest in working with students with learning differences and special needs began in high school when he volunteered at a school which served this population of students. After graduating with his B.A. in Psychology from Dickinson College in 2000, Mike moved to Boston and taught at a therapeutic school for students with special emotional, behavioral, and academic needs. After several years of teaching in Boston, Mike moved to Australia to expand his global experience and to appease his love for traveling at the same time. Upon returning to the States, Mike taught Language Arts to middle school students with special needs and learning differences, in St. Louis. While in this setting he also had the opportunity to coach boys’ and girls’ high school tennis. During these years, Mike earned his Masters of Special Education from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 2007. After Mike and his wife moved to Austin, he began working at a school for students with dyslexia. Over those 13 years, where he specialized in teaching World Cultures and History, he gained invaluable experience teaching students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing, executive functioning, and other learning challenges. Mike’s passions within education include helping students with a wide variety of learning differences reach their full potential, individualized writing instruction, and executive functioning coaching. Mike’s own journey as a parent of school-aged children has only further validated his passion for working collaboratively with parents to help students feel more confident and successful.
- TANIA PRIZIOEDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST
Tania Prizio graduated from American University with a BA in Journalism and Literature. After graduation she explored various paths, such as helping to open a coffee shop, and freelance writing. Tania was inspired to pursue a teaching degree after a trip to Nepal, where she volunteered at Namaste Children's House, which serves orphaned children. Upon moving to New York City, she became an AmeriCorp New York City Teaching Fellow, and pursued her MSEd in Special Education from Brooklyn College. She then began her work as a Special Education math teacher in a specialized district of New York City that serves incarcerated students. It was here that Tania’s passion for working with at-risk youth was ignited, and continued this work at Talent Unlimited High School in New York City, where she taught Study Skills, Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II. At TUHS, Tania also served as a Special Education liaison, as well as 504 and Transition Coordinator: all roles which nurtured her knowledge about and experience with the IEP and 504 process, and strengthened her skill in advocating for services for students. Tania continued with her education at Hunter College, where she received her MSEd in Literacy Education; she has worked with students with learning disabilities ranging from dyslexia, speech and language impairments and autism. For Tania, the most important aspect of being an educator is having the opportunity to be a constant learner. With this mindset as her beacon, she strives to meet the needs of students in all aspects of learning. As a math teacher with a passion for literacy, Tania infuses these skills into her math instruction to support students with word problems, planning and executing multi-step problems, and globalizing inference and analytical skills. She holds a Special Education License in both New York and Texas, as well as a Reading Specialist license in New York.
- TREVOR BROWNEDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST
Trevor graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with a B.A. in Communications Studies and Public Relations. He later completed the Alternative Certification of Texas-Austin program, with a specific focus on reading, instructional strategies and foundations for effective teaching. During high school, Trevor participated in the Capstone Project, where he helped children with reading difficulties integrate into the classroom. This unique experience sparked his interest in teaching, so he went on to become a STEM After-School Instructor for J.J. Pickle Elementary in Austin. After receiving his certification, he worked as a substitute teacher in AISD, and tutored students in math, science and reading comprehension. Trevor's classroom teaching experience has been further enriched by his skills in outdoor leadership and education. He served as Director of the Counselor-in-Training Program at Echo Hill Ranch, where he trained adolescents in the development and implementation of leadership skills in an outdoor environment. Aside but not apart from his work with children and adolescents, Trevor is a guitar and music theory instructor, and he recognizes the value of supporting students through music in their educational journeys. Trevor's strong and varied background in teaching, outdoor skills and music, coupled with his passion for supporting students in the discovery of their authentic gifts, richly colors his work with each individual student.
- SAMANTHA BLOOM FRIEDMANEDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST
Samantha is a passionate, certified educator. After completing her MAT in Chicago, Samantha taught in high-need communities and schools. Her students continue
to inspire her every day. She has taught in both General and Special Education settings, as well as adult learners. Samantha has worked with students with a wide range of behavioral/learning needs and styles. She excels at building relationships and creating
a classroom community of caring, engaged, and globally-conscious citizens. Samantha strives for educational equity among student populations. She has also worked with clients in the mental health court, as well as with clients with substance abuse history
and cooccurring mental illness through Austin's Mental Health authority and Integral Care. Samantha loves working with students to build their confidence, and she enjoys finding ways to make material fun and meaningful for each individual. Having experienced the challenge of her own learning disability growing up, Samantha possesses an innate ability to connect with struggling learners. She delights in leading students towards growth in confidence and intrinsic motivation, and towards setting and following through with personal and academic goals. She strives to instill a love of learning for a lifetime! In her free time, Samantha works with Generation Serve, leading volunteer activities for families, and spending time outside with her family. Her hobbies include training her (very energetic) puppy, hanging out at the library, hiking on the Greenbelt, visiting her family, and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen.