In 2014, the Founder and Executive Director of Emerald School of Excellence, Mary Ferreri, began to notice a startling gap in care for adolescents with Substance Use Disorder between treatment and returning to school. In her twelve years as an educator, Mary saw the impact substance use had on her students firsthand. Fueled by the impact that substance use has had on her family, students, and friends, Mary set out to find an effective and sustainable solution to meet the needs of underserved youth in North and South Carolina.
Mary’s genuine passion for helping students thrive and become lifelong learners led her down this path to help students in recovery from Substance Use Disorders. She personally had a tough time in high school; even though she was a strong soccer player, she faced a battle with Anorexia. She ruled out college for herself and barely made it through her senior year. The solution Mary discovered was a Recovery High School, a learning institution that provides individualized education in an environment that supports recovery. In 2017, Emerald School of Excellence was officially recognized as a nonprofit. After two years, Mary’s vision to open the first Recovery High School in the Carolinas was actualized. On September 3rd, 2019, Emerald School of Excellence opened its doors for its inaugural academic year.
Mary believes in strong core values and providing students with the necessary tools to face the inevitable challenges that life brings. We get to do this at Emerald School of Excellence through Faith, Fitness, and Fellowship. She has an amazing team supporting and driving the vision to ensure that the students we teach are well-equipped for a healthy and bright future and are a part of our Emerald family forever!