Choosing a school for our son was not a job.  It was a deeply personal quest.  So to say that Christie exceeded our expectations, which is true, does not do justice to our experience.

Christie joined us on our quest, making it her own.  She was, and still is, our navigator, our guide, our consultant, our hand-holder and cheerleader.  Christie shared our commitment and led us through our uncertainty and anxiety with expertise, confidence and the compassion that comes through true listening.

Through personally meeting our son, extensively reviewing his history and speaking with those who know him, she “got him.”  And that felt good.  She got us (parents) too – she understood who we are, where we were coming from, what we want, and our fears.

About our fears – Christie validated them and yet challenged us to let some of them go – perhaps they were old stories that were more about us (parents) than our son?  With the trust built in our relationship, we could hear her as an advocate for our son, and discuss things openly.

Christie knows her schools, and they know her. All 6 schools we visited, unsolicited, told us how much they respected, trusted and loved working with her.  In our experience, that is very unusual.  She frequently visits each of the schools she recommends, and also has a network of people to help keep her up-to-date.

Still, how she puts all this together – matching our son with a list of schools – well, there is all of the above, intuition and some magic dust. Knowing that there is no one “right” or “best” place for our son makes this journey all the more difficult and Christie all the more valuable.

We had never heard of any of the schools on her list and could never have imagined being able to find them on our own.  Christie discussed each school on the list, less with pros and cons, but more in terms of the fit for our son and our family, and in terms of higher and lower “risk,” (risk meaning more or less of a stretch for him and us; for example, higher risk could be less structure, more independence, or a larger as opposed to smaller school, one in a town as opposed to one with a separate campus/more controlled environment).  Christie also had the courage to prioritize the list, not as best-to-worst or a first-to-last, just her choices for the optimal fit.

Prior to visiting the schools, we were not quite as in-sync or in agreement with this prioritization.  However, after visiting them, things matched up perfectly.  It was uncanny.  Our first choice was definitely hers, and that is where our son is currently attending high school.  And we are happy to report, he is doing well.

That said, this is not the first school choice we have made.  Things change.  It may not be the last. But we have Christie.  Her job could have been completed after she delivered her list to us.  But as we said, this is not a job to her.  She has never failed to reply to any of our questions or concerns and routinely follows-up with our son at his school.

So, it’s time for the official rating….on a scale of 1-10, we give her an 11, and would highly recommend Christie, without hesitation.Parent


In a million years, I will never find the way to thank you for what you have done for our son and family.

Having a remarkable son who struggles with anxiety and all the social challenges that go with that, has been heartbreaking.  And yet because of what you have recommended and what my husband and I have had the courage to execute, our family is in a place that is now described as peaceful, joyful, flexible, respectful, and self-aware.  It used to be described as chaotic, stressful, despairing, and blaming.

The wilderness program our son attended for 3 months was life-transforming and was the start of a journey that has required endurance, perseverance, faith, and every ounce of emotional courage the 3 of us had.  Every moment of our son’s wilderness experience was useful and healing; the therapeutic, educational, clinical, and program staff there was extraordinary and we stay in touch with them because they will forever be a part of our family.  Now that our son is continuing his journey at residential treatment, we have been able to take the life-transforming experience wilderness afforded our family and leverage that to deepen the roots of healing.  What our son is learning about himself is the quintessential gift of a lifetime.  He is grounded, motivated, quietly confident, connected to himself, insightful, humble, socially happy, bonded with his peers, learning how to be a leader, insightful, disciplined, and grateful.  He is learning that the most wonderful motivator is inside of himself. He is living what he is embracing: that there is no outside solution to an inside problem.

The program he is in now and which he is working diligently with maximum effort and motivation, is world-class.  Never have I seen the likes of the therapeutic talent. The devotion to the boys, the no-nonsense loving approach, the clarity of perspective is miraculous. Who are these people who spend their lives rescuing other people’s sons and doing so in such empowering, collaborative, respectful ways? They are the people to whom you introduced us even when you knew my grief was overwhelming.

And of course, my husband and I are doing our work, too.  We knew this was not a “fix our kid” scenario. We knew we had to dig deep, go where the few go, and heal our dysfunctional behaviors that contributed to and exacerbated our son’s struggles.  You were clear about this … we took the invitation. There are no words for our appreciation.

So …  there have definitely been “dark nights of the soul”. Times that were so heartbreaking I was not sure I would have the resolve to continue with the decisions and the letting go. What kind of mother leaves her son thousands of miles away from home with literal strangers in the wilderness? And then again in the mountains of Utah? A mother who knows that it is only in the letting go that there will be a coming together. A mother who knows that she is fighting for her son’s life. A mother who had to take the counsel of experts like you because there was nothing left to do.  The moments of doubt passed relatively quickly each time they occurred because over and over again we knew, in our hearts, that we were doing the right thing by our son for whom we would literally “sell our skin”.

God has His angels on earth and you, Christie, are literally a healing agent.  We have already received the most wonderful Christmas gift: a son who feels comfortable in his own skin, who is strong and healthy, and whose courage is a shining example of what the human spirit is capable of. A family that is united and devoted.

Merry Christmas, dear Christie.  We send our loving thoughts and endless gratitude.Parent

I am writing to you on my child’s birthday as a way to honor him.  As my son turns 15, I thank you for your guidance, for your clarity, for your support and understanding.  As he is pissed for not being home on his birthday, he is pissed in a healthy, balanced way (me too!).  Because of your trail-blazing, wilderness program recommendation, and boarding school recommendation, he thrives!  He knows it.

God’s Grace shines through you.  With loving thoughts and overflowing gratitude.Parent

Having known Christie for many years I really did not have any doubts that my grandson would be in good hands in his family’s search for a prep school.  But I was amazed at how much detail and effort she put into the search.  She arranged visits at numerous schools that offered many different benefits.  We made a few visits and all of them were top notch – from upper East Coast to the far West.  Her guidance was gentle but always there.  Eventually he found the perfect place.  Perfect in every area:  academics. great location, great friends and students,  and incredible attention from faculty and staff.   This would not have been possible had it not been for Christie.

What is probably most important is the respect the schools have for Christie.  This note is prompted by our just learning his ACT scores which were phenomenal.  We knew our grandson was doing well but I can say we owe Christie.Grandparent

We are so deeply thankful for your wisdom, compassion, thoughtfulness and careful discernment with us in helping our son find happiness, himself, and his future at boarding school.  This is only the beginning of our expression of thanks to you.  We are forever indebted to you for your loving care and wisdom.  With all grace, peace and good.Parent

Thank you for coming to our rescue once again.  We truly appreciate your wisdom, knowledge and compassion.  You are the bomb!Student

I hope all is well!  I wanted to let you know that I am graduating on June 10th.  I has been quite a journey, but I’m finally finishing and getting my diploma.  I am very excited.

Thank you so much for everything that you have done for my family and me.  We would have never found this school without your expertise and dedication to us.  It means a lot.  You really have a special talent for this because this place has really been the perfect fit for me.  We would not have been able to do this without you.  I am very grateful that we found you because if we didn’t things would have ended up a lot different, a probably not in a good way.  You are the best!Student

Once again we would like to thank you so much not only for the expert help and guidance you gave us, but the calm, patient and understanding way in which you dealt with us. You have a unique style, which made a big difference during this difficult time. And you showed a genuine level of care and concern for our child that goes way beyond a normal business relationship. So thanks a bunch, and you will hear from us at some point in the future I’m sure.Parent

Christie Woodfin has been a pleasure to work with during our search for an Academic Boarding School for our daughter. From the first interview, it was clear that she is not only knows the schools well, but she was also took the time to get to know us as a family and was able to quickly understand our situation, and our daughter’s needs. She recommended schools which were not originally on our radar, and spoke from first hand experience about the schools right down to the details of the dorm rooms! With Christie’s guidance, my daughter was very successful in the application process and in the end had many fine schools from which to choose. We would recommend Woodfin and Associates to anyone embarking on the journey to find a the right fit for their child.Parent

I know that [my husband] had emailed you to thank you for all your help with placing [our daughter]. I would like to personally thank you for your endless passion in placing not only her but other troubled kids as well! You seem to invest your life and soul into this seemingly impossible task! We cannot thank you enough for doing this. You are truly a remarkable person.Mother

As you can imagine, we are so proud. [He has graduated from college, pursued his passion and embarked on a successful career.] Our son has come so far. Thank you again for helping us through a difficult timeParent

At the time my son met Christie Woodfin, he had battled clinical depression and anxiety since the tenth grade. He’d been to good therapists, had been on several prescription medicines, had earned his GED and had enrolled in a few college classes. With limited success, however, and a lack of momentum, he suffered from low self esteem and felt despair about his future.Christie started the process of finding an appropriate placement for my son by getting to know him. She gained his trust right away, asking him straightforward questions and showing compassion for what he’d experienced. After talking with us both, she summarized her impressions and described briefly the type of program she felt would be most appropriate for him. Her remarkable insight into my son—his struggles, needs, and his gifts–was both a comfort and a source of hope.At our follow up meeting Christie recommended three programs and urged us to visit them. Of all the possible placements in the country, she maintains an intimate and current knowledge of those with the most successful outcomes. Of the three she suggested, my son and I chose the one we felt was the best fit and that he was most excited about.After three weeks in that program, he said to me, “I didn’t know I could be this happy.” Not only did Christie get my son’s life back on track but she put joy and courage back into mine. Since that time he has made substantial progress, building a belief in himself and his future.Parent

I want to thank you again for connecting me with my new school. The school filled my junior year with opportunities and experiences that I could never have imagined. I became friends with people unlike myself and discovered new interests.Academically, I found the perfect amount of challenge and was able to receive an A+ in nearly all of my classes. In theater, I acted as the leading man in the musical production, and in chorus, I had a solo at the end of the year. I recently applied for the position of prefect, and the dean somehow thought I should be head prefect despite my lack of time at the school. Then, to wrap up the year, I was given an award at graduation, making me the only junior recognized at the ceremony. I owe all of these wonderful opportunities to your hard work – your expert advice. Student

For twenty five years it has been my honor and pleasure to work with families seeking wise educational or therapeutic options for their children. I sought to provide a service that was compassionate, clinically sophisticated, and current in its knowledge of schools and programs. It has been gratifying work and my respect for “my families” is boundless.
I have now retired and commend potential clients to the fine consultants who are members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and the Therapeutic Consultants Association. Atlanta has a particularly strong cohort of these professionals, and they will serve you well.
For my clients, I wish you well as you and your children continue on life’s journey. Thank you for entrusting me with being a fellow-traveler along part of this road.
Warm regards,