Prior to founding the ADVANCE Immersive Transition Program, Scott was the principal of the Gateway Academy for 12 years. While at Gateway he instituted programs for student physical fitness and senior transition curriculum. He is a certified presenter in Brain-Based Education, and has an avid interest in all things related to social differences in young adults.
Scott graduated from Baylor University with degrees in English Literature and Communication Studies as well as a teaching certificate. He worked in the financial services and banking industry for fifteen years before coming home to his first love, education.
Akili Atkinson, MBA
Director of Skills Training
Akili holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. She received her Master of Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University. Akili has served the needs of adults with various disabilities for over 20 years with an emphasis on employability and self-sufficiency. Currently she is the Director of Training at ADVANCE Houston, a comprehensive training organization focused on training and supporting young adults with social and learning differences. Previously Akili worked for the oldest and largest Training Center in Oklahoma as an Employment Training Supervisor. During her tenure, focus remained on gainful employment. She worked in partnership with several programs including Project Search to reach employment goals. Akili also uses her time in Toastmasters International to strengthen both her leadership and speaking skills. As a top competitive speaker, she has traveled throughout the south helping businesses train their employees about working with individuals with disabilities. What started as advocacy for her now adult son turned into a passion for the many she would come to serve. Akili believes when you find what you love, it’s no longer work.
Akili is co-parenting two wonderful adult children, who continue to provide a constant source of inspiration.
Brandon Wheeler, LMFT
Director of Counseling
Brandon M. Wheeler is the Director of Counseling & Family Support for the ADVANCE Houston. In this role, Brandon helps students elevate their skills and strategies for navigating complex & difficult experiences. Brandon is a licensed marriage & family therapist (LMFT) and has been a leader in the mental health community for many years. He has served as Executive Director of the Texas Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, a mental health advocacy organization, and as President of its Houston chapter.
Brandon’s dedication to emotional and relational health includes research and teaching in academia, as he has worked as a professor of Family Psychology. Brandon is also the owner of Wheelhouse Counseling, a private practice clinic that has been formally recognized for its unique success. Prior to his private practice, advocacy, and professorship positions, Brandon helped launch United Way’s THRIVE initiative, a synthesized collaboration of dozens of nonprofit agencies addressing family financial stability. His work within THRIVE was awarded by several leadership organizations and highlighted in multiple television news pieces.
Brandon has a deep, abiding passion for evidence-based methods for growing health & happiness. And this passion is likewise shared by his wife Krystol, with whom he parents their son Owen.
Renee Attaway Storer, MS, CCC-SLP
Social Learning Coordinator
Reneé Attaway-Storer is a speech-language pathologist with twenty years of experience. At ADVANCE, Reneé serves as the Social Learning Coordinator. Her seminars focus on teaching students awareness of the social world around them, strategies to share space better with others at work, leisure and community settings, and problem solving in social and emotional situations. After watching so many of her clients grow up and face adulthood without enough services to support them in this transition, Reneé began searching for ways to help. She joined ADVANCE to serve students who are capable of independence but need immersive, concrete teaching to achieve it.
Reneé speaks throughout North America for Social Thinking® as a member of the Social Thinking® Training and Speaker’s Collaborative. During the rest of her work hours, Reneé runs a private practice, Social Concepts, which serves a diverse caseload ranging from preschool to adult ages in individual and group social learning therapy. At The Parish School, she works as a consultant and as Director of two overnight social learning camps (Camp Social Superheroes and Camp Connect).
After receiving a Bachelor of Sciences from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science from Baylor University in Communication Sciences & Disorders, Reneé began her career teaching preschool children with language and learning differences at The Parish School. She discovered Social Thinking® in 2004 and began implementing the methodology in her classroom and in social groups. She then founded Social Learning at Parish to integrate the Social Thinking methodology across the curriculum and to provide social cognitive therapy to the wider Houston area. Reneé enjoys program development and has founded Cougar Communication groups at the University of Houston, directed Camp Acorn at The Parish School, and served as Speech and Language Coordinator, also at Parish. In addition, she has worked as a consult and therapist for a gifted and talented school.
Reneé lives in Houston in a blended family with her husband and their children. She enjoys traveling, her dogs, reading, painting, yoga, and running (occasionally).
Caroline Serrett, MS, CCC-SLP
Caroline is an ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist with 20 years of experience in pragmatic language disorders, executive functioning disorders, developmental language disorders, written language disorders, and working with children and young adults on the Autism Spectrum. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in Communication Disorders degree from The University of Texas at Dallas. She has experience working as a speech-language pathologist in HISD, Cy Fair ISD, private practice, and private school settings. She is the founder and original owner of The Speech and Language Connection, which is a successful private practice in the Tanglewood area in Houston. Caroline’s passion is working with individuals with social and learning challenges, which makes her a natural fit for the Advance Program.
In her free time, Caroline enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, and their two sons, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Rachel Profit, BS
Rachael Profit is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Program at the University of St. Thomas. Rachael has joined the ADVANCE Houston as a Residential Advisor to provide support to individuals that are transitioning into adulthood. Rachael’s compassionate demeanor has helped with providing therapeutic treatment to clients that struggle with mental health disorders or that are in need of support due to life circumstances. Rachael’s background includes experience in providing treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, other anxiety related disorders, and addiction. Rachael is eager to further her career as a Licensed Professional Counselor and to make an impact through mission work.