Alumni Profile

D. Shawn Salamida ’92

Franciscan Magazine Homepage > Autumn 2021 > D. Shawn Salamida ’92

Alumni Profile

D. Shawn Salamida ’92

Shawn Salamida has followed God’s promptings throughout his career in mental health and child protective services.

Autumn 2021 | Maura Roan McKeegan

In This Article

Class of 1992

“I go where God sends me, and he has never failed me,” Shawn Salamida ’92 told his colleagues a few years ago, when he felt called to take a job in Pensacola, Florida. That quote sums up Shawn’s approach to all his decisions throughout his career in mental health and child protective services.

“God has done a lot more with me than I ever dreamt,” says Shawn, who currently leads 650 employees as president of Behavioral Health Services at Lakeview Center in Pensacola.

As a student at Franciscan, he loved his major, mental health and human services, but wasn’t sure exactly what area he would focus on. Once he earned his degree, he spent a few years doing counseling, then moved to Florida, earned a master’s in counseling, and found his niche in executive leadership.

After serving at mental health agencies in both New York and Florida, Shawn felt called to take a leadership position at a child welfare agency. Having grown up in a tight, loving family with 10 siblings—7 of whom were adopted from foster care—he understood the dynamics of foster care in a way that especially equipped him for the position.

In such a large and unique family, he says, “You learn to appreciate each other’s differences and work together.”

With the skills he gained from this background, he developed relationships with people from many other foster care agencies and unified them to successfully advocate for legislative changes in Florida’s innovative child welfare system.

For 20 years, he led a series of child welfare agencies, receiving awards from such places as the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Coalition for Children, before returning in 2019 to mental health services in his current position. This past summer, Shawn was appointed to serve on the newly established state commission for mental health and substance abuse.

Shawn says that with each new opportunity, he discerns God’s will by talking with his wife, Kathy (Adriaansen ’93). They have seven children—three of whom are adopted—and four grandchildren. They love visiting grandchildren, attending NASCAR races, hitting the beach, and camping in their RV.

“My faith has led me to continuously try to fulfill God’s plan for me,” he says. “It’s 100 percent glory to God.”

Shawn Salamida recently received the Father Dan Egan Alumni Award in recognition of success in the area of health care and human services.


Maura Roan McKeegan is the author of Saved by the Lamb: Moses and Jesus and other Catholic children’s books.

Go to Top