Scott Adams, BA
Executive Director

Prior to founding the ADVANCE Houston, 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 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, In the journey to his current position, Scott has come to appreciate the innate intelligence and desire to be independent the resides in individuals with learning and social differences.

Brodie Simmon, LPC, LCDC
Clinical Director

Brodie is a Board Certified, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Houston and his Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Brodie was the Choices Counselor for The Gateway Academy and St. Thomas High School, where he provided ongoing prevention programming around 15 high-risk behaviors. This program was uniquely tailored to both schools and their student populations. In addition to developing programming, Brodie provided therapeutic interventions to students, faculty, and parents at these schools. Brodie has a private therapy practice and joined the Gateway Team as the Clinical Director. Brodie has presented at The Southwest Adolescent Treatment Providers Conference, Katy Autism Alliance, and is in demand as a presenter where he addresses parents, teachers and government officials. Brodie is a current member of the American Counseling Association and received his National Certified Counselor recognition from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Justin Adams, BS
Director of Skills Training

Justin has been an educator and administrator at several other private special schools in the greater Houston area. Over this period of time, he has worked with many students with all types of different diagnosis.  His years of teaching experience gave him lots of insight on many of the executive functioning skills many young adults are lacking.  While at Crossroads he was promoted to principal, and taught his students how to prioritize and organize, and used scaffolding techniques to teach them how to achieve success on projects.

Justin graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Psychology and a minor in English.  He is a certified special education teacher and has dedicated the majority of his life to helping students become prepared for adulthood.  He gets filled with inspiration when he reconnects with students he taught years ago and learns that they have become productive members of society.

Jessie Blakely, BS
Dean of Student and Family Support

Jessie has nearly ten years as a Professional Educator and Speech Language Pathologist Assistant serving individuals with neurological differences. She has worked with various diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, learning disabilities, Tourette Syndrome, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, traumatic brain injury, and seizure disorders. In a multi-disciplinary setting, she found it vital to communicate with each professional on a regular basis to create an individual plan for each learner. She is a team player and values collaboration with colleagues to brainstorm and to be inventive. Throughout her training and employment as a SLP-A she has consistently provided her clients with the highest possible quality of care and treatment, regardless of the situation. She has seen how therapy, community, and family can work together to support the growth and development of the individual. 

Jessie is earning her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is certified in DIR Floortime and also has years of experience in play therapy. Jessie feels it is vital to meet her learners where they are each day while providing support for maximum growth and achievement. The results are profound and exponential growth is apparent to everyone involved in the journey.

Raquel Pereira, MA, LMFT-A
Resident Advisor

Raquel is the Resident Advisor for ADVANCE Houston. She serves as a source of support to the young adults in the program as they learn from themselves, their experiences, and the challenges they face during their transition into independent adulthood. Raquel earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She previously served as a Clinical Counseling Intern for ADVANCE Houston, where she worked closely with the students to process and adjust to adult life challenges. Raquel is passionate about empowering individuals to explore their strengths and potential for growth. She takes pride in walking alongside young adults with social and learning differences as a source of compassionate accountability as they journey towards independence.

We are committed to empowering young adults to self-advocate and live independently as contributing members of the community. The purpose of our program is to build transferable skills in the areas of independent living, healthy relationships, and gainful employment – skills that will allow our young adults to not only grow within our program, but move into other neighborhoods or cities and duplicate their success with minimal support.


Reverend Arthur Murphy – Chair
St. James Lutheran Church – Lead Pastor

Tedd Winter – Vice Chair & Treasurer
Shell Oil – Trading & Supply (Retired)

Walker Peacock – Secretary
Tamow Center – Psychologist

Jennifer Albanese
Hilcorp – IT Business Relationship Manager

Jack Bellinger
eCORP International, LLC – General Counsel & Executive Vice President

Jeff Miller
Potentia – Founder & CEO

Jennifer Mohr
Gateway Alum Parent

Genny Winter – Founding Member & Chair
Shell Oil – IT Manager Trading & Supply (Retired)


Fondren Foundation
Murphy/Patrick Family
Bike to the Beach
William Stamps Farish Fund
O’Quinn Foundation
Texas Methodist Foundation
Chapelwood Community