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Vito Guarnaccia, Ph.D.

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Vito, as he is called by the Auldern students, comes with many years of clinical experience in both schools and private practice. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical School Psychology from Hofstra University.  He received his Master of Science in Clinical School Psychology from City University of New York. He is a Licensed Psychologist in both North Carolina and New York and holds several other certifications. He has worked with adolescents and families in private practice as well as served as a Consulting Psychologist with several schools for many years.

Dr. Vito recently relocated to Raleigh with his wife, Elizabeth who is a Clinical Social Worker. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two grown children, and his dog, Baxter. He is an avid tennis player, has taken numerous acting classes and is often seen working out in the gym. He is passionate about helping young people learn and grow.




Shannon Draper, M.A., LPC

Clinical Director

Shannon is new to North Carolina having moved from Boston in early 2017. She has been working with children, adolescents and families for over fifteen years and received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in trauma in children and adolescents from Lesley University. She has a multitude of experience providing outpatient therapy, in home services and community outreach. Her most recent clinical position as lead clinician on the Trauma Recovery Team of an integrated behavioral health department enabled her to work with the Boston Public Health Commission to support survivors of trauma, crime and loss.

Although she has enjoyed all of her clinical positions, her true passion has always been in residential settings. She has worked as a family advocate with young mothers in a homeless teen living program and as a clinician with adjudicated young men in incarceration. Through these settings she has learned that the best clinical work can be done in the moment and appropriate healthy coping skills can begin to replace destructive thoughts and behaviors immediately. She has been trained in TF-CBT, ARC, DBT, play therapy, triple P and somatic/expressive therapy. The therapeutic approach that she finds most beneficial is a strength-based, person centered approach and believes that the language we use with each other and ourselves is a critical component to positive results. She is excited to join the Auldern team.

In her free time she has been enjoying taking day trips around North Carolina; loves the outdoors, staying active and spending time with her new husband.


Karen Storm, LPC

Clinical Therapist

Karen received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1995 and has been practicing as a licensed therapist for over 17 years. She joined the Auldern team as Clinical Therapist in 2011, but has always had a passion for working with teenage girls and their families.

Prior to receiving her Master’s, Karen taught high school math at an alternative high school, worked as an assistant aquatic director at a YMCA and spent over 2 years as a group counselor at a wilderness program for adjudicated youth. Before Auldern, Karen worked as a licensed therapist in a variety of intense settings, including in a domestic violence agency and in a maximum security women’s prison. She also worked as part of a community mental health crisis team.

Karen believes that a trusting and therapeutic relationship can be healing in itself, and she excels at building strong, genuine and trusting therapeutic relationships with each girl she works with. She uses this connection to challenge and empower girls to work through their issues and encourages them to strive to be a better version of themselves each day.  Karen uses a strength-based approach and a variety of psychological theories and therapeutic approaches, including Reality Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Karen’s interests are broad, and she especially enjoys helping teen girls tackle trauma, body image, disordered eating, attachment issues, behavioral issues and anxiety. She also has an assistant, Mr. Magoo, a 13-year-old beagle, who steps into the therapeutic role as needed. He usually helps with grounding techniques, anxiety reduction, mood stabilization, laughter therapy, and he does a great job teaching the girls how to relax and enjoy the moment.

Outside of work her interests include volunteering at the local animal shelter, her church and her son’s school.  She also enjoys yoga, hiking, running, and reading. At home she spends time enjoying her three rescue hound dogs and caring for the neighborhood feral cats. Her favorite hobby is spending time with her son Luke and attending his various sporting events including baseball, soccer and basketball.

Ariel Harris

Clinical Therapist

Ariel is the newest therapist to our team, Ariel is a New York native and North Carolina transplant since spring of 2017. Ariel received her Master’s in Social Work from University at Buffalo in 2016 and has been practicing clinically for over 3 years.

Prior to receiving her Masters, Ariel worked in Service Coordination for individuals with Developmental Disabilities, and has years of experience working in foster care and adoption. Once, receiving her Graduate degree Ariel, has worked as a licensed therapist at a children’s acute psychiatric hospital and an eating disorder treatment hospital. Ariel identifies herself as having a direct yet empathetic therapeutic style. Ariel values promotion of empowerment in her students and the families she serves.

Ariel uses an array of therapeutic modalities to support her students and values an individualized, strength based approach including; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Based Treatment and Solution Focused Therapy.

Ariel’s clinical interests are broad and include; self-empowerment, body positivity/ body image concerns, self –esteem, family discord, adoption racial identity, disordered eating, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attachment, identified learning problems, Autism and other developmental disabilities, distress tolerance, gender/ sexuality, trauma, peer relationships and self-harm.

In Ariel’s free time she enjoys yoga, reading, musicals, aromatherapy and of course Netflix!

Taylor Phagan

Clinical Therapist

Taylor is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate who obtained her Master in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s joint program with North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.

Taylor has various experience in inpatient psychiatric hospital settings, social work in medical hospitals, as well as working in outpatient community based mental health. While working as a therapist, Taylor has enjoyed working with adolescents individually while also incorporating the family unit.

Taylor is known to be empathetic and caring while also holding boundaries and accountability for clients. She believes in building a healthy therapeutic relationship with clients and families which leads to success in developing a better quality and enjoyment of life. Taylor has experience in conducting biopsychosocial assessments, diagnosing, and treating mental health issues and enjoys facilitating individual, family, and group therapy. Taylor enjoys approaching treatment from a strength-based perspective while utilizing evidenced based interventions derived from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused, and DBT. Throughout treatment, she enjoys assisting clients in challenging unhelpful thoughts to develop a healthier thinking pattern as well as developing a more positive self-esteem. 

In her spare time, Taylor enjoys spending time with her two young children while going on family outings to the lake or beach during the summer.

Auldern Academy
990 Glovers Grove Church Road
Siler City, NC 27344
Phone: (919) 837-2336