Don Vardell, M.S.

Executive Director

A seasoned healthcare administrator and operational leader with experience at the helms of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools and non-profit service organizations, Don appreciates and embraces the responsibility of the Executive Director role. His management philosophy centers around ensuring the delivery of promises made to referral sources and families by prioritizing and supporting a culture of safety, professionalism, quality and transparency.

After holding two Assistant Campus Recreation Directorships for Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee, Don and his family spent seven years living in the DC Metro area, working as a Division Director at the National Headquarters of the American Red Cross. Don’s career path changed and he entered the private behavioral healthcare arena in 2002 when he took over as Administrator of Peninsula Village. Peninsula Village, then a fledgling, non-profit, long-term residential treatment center in Knoxville, TN serving adolescent boys and girls with significant co-occurring disorders, was one of the few true Positive Peer Culture modeled programs in the country. In late 2004, Don left Peninsula Village to lead the highly visible cultural, programmatic and financial turn-around of the Academy at Swift River, an Aspen Education Group therapeutic boarding school in Western Massachusetts. After that incredibly successful experience, Don transferred to Southeast Texas to attempt to right the Excel Academy of Texas at the same time Aspen was purchased by CRC Health. The Great Recession and Hurricane Ike prompted the closure of Excel Academy in 2008. Don then went on to take over the helm of Island View RTC in Syracuse, Utah leading the navigation of Island View’s next chapter of brand positioning and solidifying its place in the evolving private pay RTC arena. In 2010 Don was recruited by the Founder of Shortridge Academy in Milton, New Hampshire, to serve as Executive Director and lead the significant programmatic re-development effort to create a new, and controversial, therapeutic boarding school model. Shortridge Academy gained national industry attention by challenging the paradigm of what at TBS should be by incorporating a true authoritative, partnership-based program structure as identified in the evidence based Positive Youth Development research. With the transition at Shortridge completed, Don joined Becket Family of Services in 2013 and took over the leadership of their private pay programs arm. Don is currently the Executive Director of Mountain Valley Treatment Center, a private, non-profit, short-term RTC serving adolescents and emerging adults with debilitating OCD and anxiety disorders located in Pike, New Hampshire.

Don is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where he attended on an Army R.O.T.C scholarship, and an eight-year veteran of the Army Reserves serving as a Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Officer. Don holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science degree through the College of Education in Recreation. Don is active in veteran service and reintegration efforts and was a regional leadership volunteer with Team Rubicon USA from 2012 – 2015. A military “brat” who has lived in various parts of the world, Don enjoys spending time with his wife, Becky, their two children, Carson and Eva Mae, and dog, Penny. In his rare free time, he likes to hike, sea kayak, cook and watch his kids’ sports endeavors.

Don can be reached at, on his cell at 413-320-7425, or in his office at 603-989-3500, extension 7116.