Our Team


Clinical Director

AARC was founded in Athens, Georgia. Our treatment center was born under the clinical direction of co-founder Karen Skinner, MED, GCADC III, who has over two decades of experience in the field of substance abuse recovery. Prior to channeling her passion for addiction care into the founding of AARC, Karen helped hundreds of hurting and hopeless addicts and their families find hope and recovery.  

Today, Karen’s vision and commitment is as strong as ever. She continues to extend her therapeutic talents and hand of hope to those seeking treatment and recovery. AARC is fulfilling her life-long dream of providing a continuum of care with a personal touch. 

Medical Director  

A member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Patt Brooks has served as the Medical Director of AARC since September 2016.

Dr. Brooks received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1976 from The University of Georgia. In 1980 he earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia.  Dr. Brooks completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Brooks has practiced at Athens Internal Medicine since 1983, where he is the founding partner.  An avid Georgia Bulldog alumnus, Dr. Brooks became the team physician for The University of Georgia football team in 1989 and served in that capacityfor a number of years.


Jay Veal has been a healthcare chief executive since 1998. Partnering with Karen Skinner, he co-founded AARC in 2015, specializing in Intensive Outpatient addiction treatment services. Mr. Veal holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from The University of Georgia, a nursing degree from Athens Area Technical College, and a Masters of Science degree from California University of Pennsylvania, with a specialty certification in nurse anesthesia from The Washington Hospital in Washington, PA. Mr. Veal first entered the field of addiction by founding and operating a sober living community in 2009.  Mr. Veal holds a designation as Certified Addictions Registered Nurse and has been a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor since 2018. Today, Mr. Veal has created the opportunity to expand the service offerings of the firm to include residential addiction treatment services, provided by Serenity Grove. Jay is the proud father of two boys, Max and Clark. Jay and his sons make their home in the heart of Athens.

Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Social Worker, & Master Addiction Counselor

Tommie L. (Larry) Walton, III has worked in behavioral healthcare, consultation, and training since 1973. He serves as the Clinical Supervisor for the Serenity Grove counseling staff and maintains his primary office at the Athens, GA treatment center.

During his tenure in the Behavioral Health Care field, Mr. Walton has created successful and innovative programs in both the public and private sectors. In addition to his involvement at Serenity Grove, he has a thriving private practice in psychotherapy and addiction treatment (www.recoverycafe.com) where he uses daily the methods he teaches. Serenity Grove and Recovery Café enjoy a collaborative affiliation, often working together to provide clients’ services and options unavailable at more traditional treatment programs. Larry is also a co-founder of The In House Group (www.in-house-group.com), a concierge practice taking recovery to people where they live and travel, a unique option in the field of dual-diagnosis addiction treatment and the ultimate in personalized care.

Larry alternates time between Georgia, Idaho and Wyoming and is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in those states. He has attained certification as a Master Addiction Counselor and Clinical Supervisor. As a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers he is trained as a trainer in Motivational Interviewing and as a Motivational Interviewing supervisor.

Larry breeds, trains and competes Catahoula Leopard Dogs (six national championships). As a National Outdoor Leadership School Graduate and Leave No Trace Trainer, he delights in being outdoors.

Licensed Professional Counselor


Certified Addiction Counselors

Amanda Perkins Coan, CAADC

Amanda Coan received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at Mississippi University for Women in 1992. In 1996, she completed her nurse anesthesia training at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, TN.  Amanda also holds a Master of Science in Nursing Healthcare Administration from Loyola University, graduating in 2011. Amanda spent most of her career until 2016 in the practice of nurse anesthesia, prior to pursuing a second career in counseling clients with substance use disorders.

Today, Amanda conducts a full-time practice as a member of our counseling team. In 2017, she earned the designation, Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC), from the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia. The CAADC certification process was developed in 1999 from the standards set forth by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

A life-long learner, Amanda currently is a dual master’s degree candidate at the University of the Cumberlands. In August 2018, Ms. Coan will be awarded two degrees, a Master in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a Master in Addiction Counseling.

Amanda specializes in complex disorders and she has specialized training in Clinical Hypnosis with Rapid Trauma Resolution (RTR).  Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) is an innovative therapeutic technique that painlessly and completely eliminates the negative influences of traumatic events. Using this integrative approach, developed by Dr. Jon Connelly, Amanda helps clients resolve the psychological and physiological effects of trauma. Problem areas that may benefit from RTR include: Fears and Phobias, Lack of Sexual Desire, Sexual Trauma, Childhood Abuse, Traumatic Grief, Anger Problems, Insomnia, PTSD, and Anxiety.

Amanda is a native of the Mississippi gulf coast and has expressed her love and affection for the area and it’s people by volunteering in relief efforts after numerous hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters since 1992. Amanda enjoys a diverse list of leisure pursuits, including beach activities, deep sea fishing, SEC football, travel, and cooking. But most of all, Amanda adores quality time spent with family, friends, and her miniature dachshund, Lulu.

Recovery Coach  

John Marr, with 35 years of personal sobriety, is no stranger to helping others both find a path to sobriety and learn to live useful and happy lives without a need for mood-altering chemicals. John has completed the education & training for Certified Addiction Counselor I, and also successfully completed trainings for Level I & and Level II of the evidence-based Prime Solutions recovery curriculum.