Arete' Solutions Group Founder and CEO


Valerie E. Dixon, Ph.D., CRC, LMHC, NCC, PVE received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation-Administration from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, her Ed. S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from The Florida State University and her MA in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from University of South Florida.    

Dr. Russell is an Assistant Professor at Florida International University and currently serves as the Rehabilitation Counseling Program Coordinator. Since being in her role, the program has obtained national accreditation, been awarded over $900,000.00 in federal funding from the Department of Education and the number of student enrollment has tripled. Additionally, Dr. Russell serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) and Project Director on the grant project, Clinical Coordinator and Standardized Exit Exam Coordinator for the Counselor Education Program. 

She is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a qualified supervisor in the state of Florida, a licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Illinois, a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor, a nationally certified counselor and a professional vocational evaluator. Her research interests include underrepresented populations (persons w/disabilities, multicultural populations, offenders), counseling supervision and staff development/training.  Dr. Russell's research has focused on effective interventions when working with offenders with disabilities and multicultural populations. These efforts have resulted in the publication of several peer-reviewed journal articles and 2 textbook chapters. In addition, Dr. Russell has been an author or co-author on over 25 peer-reviewed national or regional conference presentations. 

Prior to her current position, she worked over 18 years in the human service/rehabilitation counseling field in several capacities such as counselor, counseling supervisor, program director and a vocational specialist consultant. Also, she developed region-wide staff development/training for state vocational rehabilitation counselors, facilitated county-wide training for healthcare professionals, and statewide staff training initiatives for correctional probation officer training academies. 

Dr. Russell is an active member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE), National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) where she holds a nationally elected position as Director, Organization, Administration and Management Council.   Overall, Dr. Russell's agenda highlights her interest in ensuring that counselors (mental health and rehabilitation) receive quality training and continuous professional development so they can provide effective service delivery and interventions to all their clients especially the underrepresented populations.