About Gateway Academy


As a parent, your child is your number one priority. You go through life wanting the best for your child and desiring for them to learn the skills to live successfully without your constant assistance. At Gateway, we understand that and have the same goals for your child. We have the staff, programs, and attention that provides children with a chance to have a normal self-sufficient life that is filled with joy, relationships, self-worth, independence, growth, and a sense of community.

In a world where resources are easily accessible and options are abundant, we cannot emphasize the Gateway difference enough. The positive changes that occur in our students go beyond the walls of our facilities, they are lifelong enhancements that result in happy, productive adults making their way in this world.



Board of Trustees

Reverend Arthur Murphy | Chair

Jack Bellinger | Past Chair

Ron Kahanek

Jennifer Albanese

Walker Peacock

Charles Stern

Genny Winter | Founding Member

Tedd Winter

Michele Joseph | Co-Founder, Ex-Officio

Scott Adams | Co-Founder, Ex-Officio

Our Misson and History

Gateway Academy serves students with social and academic challenges through innovative approaches to learning, physical fitness, and social awareness.  Our graduates encounter a changing world with self-advocacy, opening a path to personal significance in college, career, and community.

Since our founding in 2006, we have continued to cultivate and enhance our academic, social, and fitness programs as we support and encourage our students to become contributing citizens of our community. We are excited to share our growing program with you.

Every morning, the Gateway Academy community begins their day with the following pledge:

This is my day… I will do something good.
This is your day… You can make a difference.
Together… We can change the world.

This pledge embodies Gateway and our consistent focus on making a difference in the world.

Gateway Academy serves 6th—12th graders who have learning differences that impact social, academic, and critical thinking skills. We provide an environment that prepares students to enter the workplace and college settings with confidence, both socially and educationally.
Our population of learning differentiated students is encouraged to develop critical thinking, enhance personal appreciation and foster a vision of their future self.
Gateway Academy is a place where a student is met at their current academic level and given license to advance at their own maximum pace. It is important to understand our philosophy when it comes to teaching and changing the everyday lives of our students:

  • We provide a safe environment to develop as an adolescent.
  • We encourage an adolescent to reach their academic potential, whatever it might be.
  • We focus on the mastery of basic skills.
  • We utilize technology to facilitate and expand learning opportunities.
  • We implement the latest proven brain-based learning research to customize curriculums to meet student needs.
  • We prepare capable adolescents for a college experience.
  • We develop communication skills that prepare adolescents for success.
  • We instill community involvement as a life goal and means of personal growth.
  • We foster social understanding and one’s own place in the local and global community.

Letter from the Founding Head


Gateway Academy is a private school where caring, trust, respect, and fine teaching take 6th-12th-grade students to new levels of confidence, competence and opportunity. Our students typically have learning disorders such as Dyslexia, Language Delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities that impact some of the following areas:

  • Time management skills
  • Organizational difficulties
  • Visual-spatial weaknesses
  • Abstract conceptual reasoning
  • Social situations and transitions

Realizing that students have individual learning styles and needs, Gateway provides a highly structured and individualized program in a success-oriented environment where students learn and grow together. Gateway Academy believes that a balance of strong academics, good research-based teaching, physical activity, and a collaborative counseling approach make our middle and high school program unique to the Houston Area.

The cornerstone of our program is our strong academic program. We have taken a typical Middle and High School curriculum and transformed it to meet the needs of our student population. Our goal is to give our students the skills to graduate from Gateway Academy with a diploma in hand, ready to tackle college or vocational endeavors. Gateway teachers come to us ready to teach with an expertise in their field and a heart for our students.

In an effort to support each student through their academic life at Gateway we have developed several other programs. First, we support our students through our Counseling Department. We have a licensed Professional Counselor on staff who provides support in regards to anxiety, handling frustration and recognizing personal strengths. This program supports and encourages each child to challenge their future by tackling barriers that hinder their success. We use a collaborative counseling approach which elicits cooperation among the counselor, students, parents, faculty and outside services.

Second, we have designed a program that will equip each student with necessary self-regulation, executive functioning, and goal settings skills to develop independence in and out of the classroom. This program encourages our students to think about their future in a meaningful way: through organization/technology use, participation in community service activities, and building interest in a career or work affinity. This program enriches our students and teaches them to have a positive impact on our community.

Finally, we have developed a fitness program that focuses on supporting the relationship between physical activity and learning. We are teaching fitness rather than sports. Our students and staff begin each day in a fitness class doing simple stretches, exercises and running or walking. Our experience has shown that the therapeutic benefits of physical activity support their growth in the classroom. The underlying philosophy is that if fitness class can be used to instruct kids how to monitor and maintain their own health and fitness, then the lessons they learn will serve them for life.

Our highest priority from the very beginning has been to create a school community where every student feels safe, connected, understood, and supported. This positive environment reshapes attitudes about school, improves the prospects for success in the classroom, and allows the student to shine. Once here, transformations take place as one student after another begins to mature and become excited about their own personal potential and future prospects.
Please call us for a tour anytime!

Michele Bauman Joseph, M.Ed.
Head of School
The Gateway Academy


Michele Bauman Joseph, MEd
Founding Head of School

Michele serves as Founding Head of the Gateway Academy.  She found her passion for building programs in the education field almost immediately after beginning her professional career in education.  Each experience has been a building block toward realizing her strengths as a leader.  In 1990, she was charged with creating a program for elementary aged students with behavior and learning challenges. This amazingly successful experience gave Michele the drive to find more schools in need of new programming and improved systems.  She thrives when she is working with others to create support for children.

With 30 years of experience in special education including 15 years in private schools, Michele models principles in her leadership style that build an environment of trust and commitment. The Gateway Academy was built and continues to thrive through a collaborative effort that involves the board, the faculty and staff, the parents, and the student body. Michele’s strength is in knowing how to bring the right people together to find the best answers to a given issue. Her collaborative approach is evident throughout the organization.

The skills that Michele successfully applied when she was a classroom teacher to help individual students laid a foundation for her success as head of school. She believes in meeting each individual at their current level, developing relationships that provide attachment, and creating an expectation of accountability. The ability to utilize those skills as a servant leader has enabled her to successfully lead this organization through the ever-changing world of special education.

Stephen Tiemann, MDiv
Admission & Transition Director

Stephen made the transition from a successful career in ministry back to education over thirteen years ago.  He is one of the founding faculty members of the Gateway Academy.  His education includes studies in music, education, theology, and Spanish, earning a Bachelor of Music Education at Sam Houston State University and a Master of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. With his wide range of training and skills, Stephen seeks solutions to challenges from a variety of disciplines.

Gateway recognizes that the most difficult times for our students are during transitions.  As Director of Admission and Transition, Stephen collaborates with other team members to help students and families through their initial transition into the Gateway community, through the subsequent transitional events, up to graduation and beyond. Additionally, Stephen teaches Spanish and English and is eager to teach guitar to interested students.

Randy Kelley
Assistant Principal

Randy has been a member of Gateway since its inception. He graduated from the University of Houston, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution with a minor in business. Randy previously worked for JP Morgan managing collateralized debt accounts.  At the same time, Randy used his spare time to teach outdoor skills, kayaking, rock climbing, and Bible studies. Realizing that teaching gave him the ability to impact lives directly and on a daily basis, he pursued teaching as a profession.  His extensive background in math and technology prepared him to teach higher level mathematics at Gateway.

Randy installed Gateway’s wireless networking system, and he customizes an iPad for each student, giving them access to technological resources. He pioneered a vocational elective to teach our students hands-on skills.  He is also a key faculty member for morning fit club and afternoon team sports. His latest endeavor is to get his black belt in Taekwondo and design a martial arts program to improve motor skills for our students challenged with dyspraxia and strengthen the self-esteem of all students.

Randy is a native Houstonian with an extensive amount of travel under his belt to locales such as Costa Rica, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, England, and Mexico. Randy’s hobbies include outdoor adventure trips, woodworking, and biking.

Ashley Hypes, MEd
Dean of Faculty

Ashley serves as Dean of Faculty at the Gateway Academy. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Houston in 2010 and a Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership from Lamar University in 2016.  Ashley taught students for two years in Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District before coming to Gateway in 2012.  At Gateway, she has served as a Learning Specialist for Language Arts and History. Additionally, she has served as coordinator of the Middle School program.

Ashely has extensive experience working with students with learning disabilities including dyslexia,  AD/HD, and autism. She is an amazing organizer and she coordinates the ever-growing Gateway Garage Sale and Gateway Summer Camp. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Joey, and their three dogs, Lola, Luigi, and Ellie.

Brodie Simmons, LPC, LCDC, NCC
Dean of Student Advancement

Brodie is a National Board Certified, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Houston.  He received his Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University in 2012.  Over the past 9 years, he has worked with adults, adolescents, and families with pervasive mental illnesses or addiction, providing individual therapy, parent coaching, and intensive psychotherapy.

For the past two years, he has been in private practice at The Woodlands Behavioral Health & Wellness Center.  Prior to joining the private sector, Brodie was the Choices Counselor for St. Thomas High School and The Gateway Academy.  In that role, he provided ongoing prevention programming, tailored uniquely to both school systems, which covered 15 particular high-risk behaviors.  In addition to developing programming for these schools, Brodie also provided therapeutic interventions to many students, faculty, or parents of these school systems.

Brodie has presented at The Southwest Adolescent Treatment Providers Conference, Katy Autism Alliance, as well as given many presentations to parents, faculty and government officials.  Brodie is a current member of the American Counseling Association, has received his National Certified Counselor recognition from the National Board for Certified Counselors, and is an Alumni Mentor for graduate students at Capella University.

Jackie Plesnicher, LCSW
Events & Volunteer Director

Jackie graduated from Trinity University in 1988 with Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, and in 1991 with a Master of Social Work from the University of Houston.   Jackie worked at a teaching hospital as a medical social worker/field instructor and later went to work at The University of Houston Law Center where she was the Director of Career Services.  Upon the adoption of her son, Jackie became a stay-at-home mom and avid volunteer, serving her faith community, promoting autism awareness and serving at several schools.  A substitute teacher and volunteer at Gateway, Jackie was thrilled to join the staff last year as the Events and Volunteer Coordinator. She is passionate about Gateway’s mission and students and is herself, a Gateway parent. Jackie has been married for 27 years to her husband Mike Najarian.  Along with their beloved son Avery, they share their home with three willful, striped cats.

John Sheahan
Business Manager

John spent thirteen years as an independent floor trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. This experience, along with management and market support in the food service research industries, prepared him for the diverse requirements of being a business manager for a small, growing, private school. He attended the University of Memphis and is currently studying to complete a degree in accounting at the University of Houston.

John is a native Chicagoan and a longstanding season ticket holder for the Chicago Cubs!

Stephanie Sherman, MS
Development Director

Stephanie is a certified Texas Special Educator with over five years of classroom experience. She has previously worked with student populations diagnosed with neurological differences and complex behavioral/emotional disorders in both the public and private school settings. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University-Global and is eager to apply her education and experiences in her role as Director of Development to support the Gateway community.

Stephanie was born and raised in the Houston area. She enjoys reading, running, and adventuring outdoors with her wife Crystal and their three dogs – Tahlie, Maggie, and Spike. Stephanie also has a passion for music and believes that creating music can be a beneficial outlet for all; she is eager to share her passion and talents with the students at Gateway.

 Administrative Support Team
Michelle Henderson
Executive Assistant

Michelle joined the Gateway Family in July of 2011. Michelle has always had a passion for working in a helping profession. Her strong organizational skills, courteous demeanor, and energetic work attitude are evident each and every day at Gateway. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Counseling. Before coming to Gateway she was employed for 16 years as an administrative assistant at a private church and school.  Michelle is a mother of three boys and enjoys swimming, music and making candles.

Sally Entrekin
Administrative Assistant

Sally has been supportive of Gateway since it’s inception.  As a parent of a Gateway graduate, class of 2010, she was instrumental in getting our program off the ground from the beginning!  Sally Joined the Gateway Academy as an employee in 2014. She comes to us with an eclectic array of experiences.  She attended the University of Southern Mississippi and has been married to her high school sweetheart for 33 years. Sally worked as a coordinator in the Children’s Ministry for 10 years and held many offices within the church and various organizations. She ran a home-based business and was very involved in the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America. She served the Joy School in Houston for 4 years as an administrative assistant.

She and her husband raised their 3 children, Tyler, Meghan, and Matthew, while Doug served as an International drilling manager. They are blessed to have two wonderful daughter-in-laws and two grandchildren. She and Doug are the proud parents of two Eagle Scouts and a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient.  She has traveled extensively and has lived internationally with the oil industry. Sally loves her work and feels it is a calling.

Mary Lynn Grimes
Administrative Assistant

Mary Lynn has been with Gateway since it’s inception.  Eager to add beauty and organization to her environment, she founded Gateway’s Art department.  For ten years Mary Lynn served as the Art Specialist at Gateway, encouraging and supporting our students as they expand their creative gifts.  Gateway has been blessed to have Mary Lynn leading and guiding our community as we create beautiful works of art.  In 2016 she turned her brushes and paint over to her son and is partnering with our administrative team, providing some additional structure to Gateway.

Mary Lynn received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas in 1983 and her teaching certificate from the University of Houston in 1988.  She has taught at the Presbyterian School and the Glassell School of Art.  She loves her Gateway family as she brightens our community.

Samantha Prentice
Events Support

Samantha is a proud graduate of the Gateway Academy (go Gryphon’s!) as a part of the class of 2011. Taking the high school education she received from Gateway, she attended San Jacinto Community College. From there, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management at the Art Institute. Samantha has had a mixture of experience working in the field of catering and event coordination. Now she has returned to join the Gateway faculty to advance her experience in hospitality and to help produce superb events for the school.

Teaching Team
Sadie Blount, MEd
Dyslexia & Learning Specialist

Sadie is a native of Georgia but quickly made Houston her home after learning about amazing opportunities at Gateway. Sadie graduated from The University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) with her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has also earned her Master of Education in Reading and Writing at Southern Methodist University and a certification in Dyslexia Therapy at Neuhaus Education Center. Sadie has experience working with students with various cognitive and learning disabilities. She enjoys studying the latest research in neuroscience and implementing evidence-based practices in the classroom. “Gateway is a community like no other. Our students truly thrive in a smaller learning environment with direct instruction. I love watching our students become motivated learners and confident citizens in our local community!”

Susan Crouch, MA
Learning Specialist

Susan graduated from Trinity University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and in 1994 with a Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Special Education. Upon graduation, she began teaching 6th grade Language Arts at Pershing Middle School in Houston Independent School District.  While at Pershing, she developed Cluster Interdisciplinary Units, established grade level Portfolio Assessment Systems, as well as serving as a Middle School Committee Co-Chair and a New Teacher Mentor.  She also completed extensive training at the Neuhaus Education Center and H.I.S.D. Gifted and Talented training. Upon her son’s entry into the Gateway Academy in 2013, Susan served as a Gateway substitute teacher and active volunteer, and in the 2016-17 school year, she joined the staff first as a resource teacher, then as a middle school teacher.

Susan, her husband Brady, and their three teenaged children spend their non-Marvel Universe related free time fly fishing and photographing coastal scenes, which Susan uses as a source for drawing and oil painting inspirations.

Jose Cabrera
STEM Learning Specialist

Jose is joining the Gateway Academy faculty this year and is excited about sharing his passions for the STEM field with his students. Jose graduated from Texas Southern University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Chemistry. Since then Jose has taught and successfully accommodated students with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and OCD for the past 3 years.

Jose enjoys watching sports, especially soccer and football, and is a frequent member of many basketball leagues throughout Houston. He enjoys reading science fiction novels and playing a variety of video games in his spare time. Additionally, Jose and his wife Ana, are proud parents of a 4-year-old daughter, Alessandra, and enjoy spending quality time together, going to the zoo or going fishing. They are proud owners of 4 dogs, 2 geckos, and a red tail boa.

Hannah De La Garza
Learning Specialist

Hannah graduated from the University of Houston with Bachelor of Education in Special Education in 2014.  While attending college, she spent her summers volunteering at The Joy School Summer School program.  Additionally, she has been a summer camp teacher at Gateway Academy for two years and was a part of Gateway’s internship program.  Hannah has worked extensively in the areas of Learning Disabilities, Epilepsy, and Anxiety.  She is currently becoming a registered behavior technician.

She grew up in the West University area and is a graduate of St. Agnes Academy. Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

Andrew Grimes
Art & Digital Media Specialist

Andrew graduated from the University of North Texas receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts and has been teaching art in both Austin and Houston since 2009.  While in Austin, he worked with the Arc of the Capital Area to help create an identity for The Arc of the Arts, an art studio that provides an artistic bridge between people with developmental disabilities and the community.  In this role, he developed the fine arts program to include film, digital art, and stop-motion animation as well a focus on the fundamentals of traditional art through mediums such as paint and charcoal.  He has brought his love of teaching and continued learning of art techniques to Houston and is thrilled to continue his work at Gateway.

Nicoletta Grundtisch, MEd, BCBA
Behavior Specialist

Nicoletta serves the students of Gateway by offering the structure and support needed to improve their social, academic, and behavioral skill sets. She graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education and History. Upon graduation, she began working in schools in Buffalo, New York for students with special needs. Two years later she found herself in Houston and soon became a part of the Gateway Academy family. Immediately she knew it was a perfect fit and feels blessed to serve Gateway as a Learning and Behavior Specialist, track coach, and mentor. Gateway inspired Nicoletta to pursue and earn her Master of Education from the University of St. Thomas, and in 2017 she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

In her spare time, Nicoletta can be found lounging by the pool, reading, trying out a new recipe, or jogging along Buffalo Bayou with her dog Tex.

Catriona Mairi Hoster
Theatre Arts Director

Catriona was born in England to Scottish parents and was fortunate to grow up living around the world. It must be said, that once the opportunity arose, she got to Texas as fast as she could and quickly became a Texas A&M Aggie! After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, she dabbled in the world of TV and Advertising before discovering her calling as a theatre teacher.  At Gateway, she has founded and fostered a growing theatre tradition. You can find her directing the annual school play. Student productions include The Wizard of Oz,  Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, and Sherlock Holmes. She also enjoys working with the students to prepare for their amazing talent show.

Outside of work she lives a life of travel with her husband David, and son Rory. Catriona and David have another baby on the way as well. She also enjoys spending time with friends and her pet Molly (woof). Catriona believes that a day without fun is not a day lived right!

Susan Hoyer, MA
Internship & Job Skills Learning Specialist

Sue is pleased to bring the skills she developed over many years of teaching students with special needs in Oak Park, Illinois to the Gateway Academy. She comes to Gateway with a passion for teaching young adults practical-life and social skills as well as an intense interest in assistive technology.

Sue earned her Bachelor of Arts in special education teaching from Illinois State University and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Phoenix. For 15 years, Sue taught 6-8th graders in a public elementary school district, focusing on life skills education.  An avid supporter of socialization and friendship building, Sue facilitated the school’s Best Buddies Illinois chapter for 15 years; during that time, the chapter won middle school chapter of the year twice, and she won advisor-of-the-year once.  Sue also established the Special Olympics program for the district.  Additionally, she had the privilege of being an adjunct professor at Concordia University Chicago for 8 years.

Sue is moving to Texas with her husband and a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix that rules the household.  She is an avid reader, baker, and crafter and is excited about the new possibilities that Gateway presents!

Woody Latham, MA
Learning Specialist & Student Council Advisor

Woody joined Gateway just one year into its inception, and has over thirty years of classroom teaching experience at both the secondary and college levels, providing him unique insight into serving students with special needs and how best to prepare those who pursue higher education. Beginning his career as a college instructor of freshmen/sophomore Political Science, he discovered his true calling while tutoring at-risk children. He has taught and worked extensively with students with learning disabilities, autism, emotional disturbances, and a wide range of learning styles. Woody’s educational background includes degrees from Arkansas State University, post-graduate work at Rice University and the University of St. Thomas, plus training in phonics, dyslexia intervention, and crisis prevention. He currently teaches history, government, and economics at Gateway, while also coaching basketball and serving as the Student Council Adviser.

Woody is an avid reader of history and traveler to historic destinations, Woody enjoys sharing his love of history with his students and the Gateway community.

Bonnie Jones, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Bonnie graduated Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and worked for several years in the legal field. In 2008, Bonnie returned to school to pursue a degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She graduated with her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Woman’s University in 2011.  Bonnie worked at The Parish School during her graduate studies, and then continued on following graduation working as both a lead teacher in a preschool class, and then later in elementary providing language and social support to multiple classes. Her background in Social Thinking®, and working with students with learning and social challenges has made her a natural fit at Gateway. She is excited to join the team!  When not at work, Bonnie enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and their three teenage children.  She and her husband also enjoy volunteering as adult leaders in the student ministry at their church and forcing their personal children to unplug and enjoy nature whether via hiking, kayaking, camping or some other outdoor activity.

Martha Pietsch, MEd
Internship & Job Skills Program Director

Martha Pietsch is a proud Chicagoan who moved down south in 2013. Martha’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in physical therapy. She has always loved working and volunteering with students who have academic, social, and learning challenges which led her to a change in career paths. Martha earned a Master of Special Education at Northeastern Illinois University and later continued school with a degree from National Louis University in ESL. She enjoys an active lifestyle and instantly fell in love with the Gateway Academy’s mission to not only serve students’ academic needs but also their growth in physical fitness and social awareness.  Additionally, she is passionate about supporting students’ transition toward success in college, a career, and their community. She began our Vocational Education and Internship Program which continues to grow each year.

Martha loves to travel with her husband Eric and enjoys being a mother to her son Jonah. She feels blessed to be a part of the Gateway Academy team!

Stacey Rice
Learning Specialist

Stacey joined the Gateway Academy as a learning specialist in 2007; she spent five fabulous years teaching Language Arts and Reading.  After a few years at home caring for her children, Belynne and Culwell, she is thrilled to be back at Gateway.  Stacey graduated from Stephen F.  Austin State University earning a Bachelor of Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She also has teaching certifications in Special Education and English as a Second Language.  Prior to coming to Gateway, she spent 17 years teaching in the Spring Branch,  Alief, and Katy school districts.

Stacey and her husband, Jon, live in Memorial and are the proud parents of two teenagers at Stratford High School.  In her free time, Stacey enjoys gardening, refinishing and painting old furniture, and reading.  She cherishes time spent with family, friends and her two dogs Taylor and Tilly.

Stephanie Silva
Learning Specialist & Yearbook Advisor

Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in literature in 2009. She worked as a special education teacher’s assistant in the Alvin Independent School District for two years before deciding to pursue a teaching certificate. She finished her certificate in high school English Language Arts and Reading in 2015. She has been teaching at Gateway since 2012. Stephanie has been able to teach many different subjects at Gateway, from Pre-Algebra to Language Arts. Her entire experience working with students has been spent working with small groups and one-on-one with students with autism, dyslexia, AD/HD, and other special needs. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys reading, longboarding, working out, and creating art. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, her family, and pets.

Carol TenBrook
STEM Specialist & Communications Coordinator

Carol joined Gateway Academy as a learning specialist in 2008, where she has taught a variety of subjects in the fields of math, science, and art.   Carol graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, with teaching certifications in Mathematics, Gifted and Talented, English as a Second Language, and Early Childhood.  Prior to coming to Gateway, she taught eight years in Fort Bend Independent School District where she was awarded a grant that allowed students a choice of integrated projects while learning about famous artists.

Carol loves to learn. She has taken several online courses in art, marine biology and human anatomy. She enjoys the challenge of new opportunities and is looking forward to her role as Communications Coordinator in addition to teaching Biology and Human Anatomy.

Carol and her husband, Kevin, live in Sugar Land where they have raised their two sons and two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her grandsons, Hayden, Riley, and James. Carol’s hobbies include drawing and watercolor painting, studying languages and traveling, during which she has created several travel sketchbooks. Kevin and Carol just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

For Parents

Serving Our Kids | Serving Our School | Supporting Families
Parent Education

Gateway believes in collaboration! We want to partner with our parents to ensure consistency and growth of their child as they travel between school, home, and the community. Our parent community is essential in the continued strength of our program.

Gateway offers parent education opportunities through three programs:

  • Parent Organization – GAP
  • Educational Outreach Workshops – locally and nationally recognized speakers present information to the Gateway and local community
  • Parent Education Dinner Series – working-parent friendly; meetings include an informal dinner gathering followed by a two-hour presentation; 3 events per year
  • Transition Support
Parent Organization – GAP
Gateway Academy Parents

Gateway Academy Parents or (GAP) is the parent organization of The Gateway Academy. GAP serves the school and its students and creates a network of resources and support for Gateway families. GAP offers parents many ways to engage with the school and to actively participate in our parent community.

GAP meetings provide opportunities for parents to interface with the Head of School and administrative staff and to receive information about campus life. These quarterly meetings provide an overview of upcoming programming, volunteer and social opportunities, initiatives within the school and curriculum and the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas.

GAP expands social opportunities for students through monthly socials that are parent chaperoned. Socials include off-campus activities such as roller skating, go-carts, putt-putt, laser tag, bowling, rock climbing and a nature center tour. Students enjoy lunch, an activity and engage with friends. All students are invited to attend.

GAP promotes volunteerism and supports school work days, monthly teacher appreciation lunches, event mailings, student socials, athletic and team events, fundraising and educational events and prom. We love our parent volunteers!

GAP encourages parents to participate in monthly Parent Support meetings. These meetings are a parent favorite and are not your typical support group! Facilitated by Brodie Simmons, Dean of Student Advancement, these meetings are for Gateway parents only and have an engaging, informal atmosphere. Parents share important resource information, celebrate victories and empathize over challenges. From reducing homework struggles to finding the right drivers education program…these meetings are a place to hear from others who have “walked in the same shoes”. Ideas, laughter, an understanding ear and friendship are all ways that the parent community engages to support one another.

GAP welcomes all parents of new students through individual outreach and new parent orientation. New parents are encouraged to ask questions and connect with new and current parents for coffee at the beginning of each semester. The Gateway parent group is welcoming and possesses a wealth of information and resources.

Transition Support

Growth and Transition:
“Begin with the end in mind” Stephen Covey

Whether a student is in 6th grade or in high school, our program begins by acknowledging that we are educating a future adult. Gateway’s core value of self-determination and the skill of self-advocacy are taught and emphasized across the curriculum. Students are educated about autism, ADHD and learning differences to gain an understanding of their own strengths and challenges. Throughout their years at Gateway, students learn which strategies and accommodations are most helpful as they grow academic and social skills. Parents are equipped for this process of growth and transition beginning in middle school where they receive educational programming and resource information. Parents foster greater autonomy in their children, helping them to generalize skills.

Functionally based teacher conferences provide information about the level of independence students demonstrate across their academic and behavioral goals. Parents evaluate how their life and self- advocacy skills are used beyond the classroom.

Gateway’s culture of collaboration with parents is even more evident in 10th-12th grade. The Magic Curtain is an all-day program to help students and their parents prepare for the transition to adulthood. Beginning in 10th grade, parents meet annually with the Head of School and the Transition Director to discuss their student’s individual transition planning and goals. During the Junior and Senior years, parents participate in a Gateway program that takes students to visit colleges, adult independent living programs, and vocational programs. Ongoing communication and an open-door policy ensure that parents are adequately heard and supported in the transition planning process.

The Gateway Academy Transition Symposium is held biennially, on alternate years to the Gateway Transition Fair. Symposium speakers are researchers and professionals with practical, skill-based knowledge and a relevant message. They are experts in subject areas where social and learning differences intersect with young adulthood. Past topics have included: employment skills (seeking, landing a keeping a job), the transition to post-secondary education, appropriate legal supports, resilience and social connectedness post-high school and self-determination. Symposium attendees learn how to support the growth of pivotal skills and competencies that are critical to adult functioning. Speakers provide actionable steps to support a healthy growth trajectory during the transition to adulthood and adult independence. The Gateway Transition Symposium is relevant to those for whom college, adult independent living and/or vocational careers are attainable with the proper structure and support. High school students or young adults with ADHD, autism or learning differences, parents, educators, mental health professionals, physicians, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and college support service specialists benefit from this unique educational program. Our next Transition Symposium will occur in January 2019.

Portrait of a Graduate

We are thrilled when our students reach graduation! Their progress and growth are so evident in the way they hold their diploma, walk with confidence, and share their story with those around them. They have a keen sense of understanding when it comes to Trust, Stability, and Relationships.

Portrait of a Gateway Graduate

A Gateway Graduate is an evolving person in a constant process of becoming through relational engagement and attachment to self, community and their world.

  • A Gateway Graduate is Aware…
    • Considers alternate views and solutions
    • Relies on community for resources
    • Serves the community as a resource
    • Delivers and receives Grace
  • A Gateway Graduate Learns…
    • Accepts personal unique, innate intelligence
    • Embraces learning
    • Enjoys learned confidence
    • Invites the next challenge
  • A Gateway Graduate is an Advocate…
    • Personifies resilience and recovers well
    • Perseveres
    • Defines personal intentions and chooses actions accordingly
What’s next?

Our Advance program (link to more information) was created to help students make the transition from graduation to living independently in the working world. Advance is a program designed to give young adults with learning and social differences the tools and daily habits that provide a successful transition to an independent life. Our program is customized for each participant’s success, including college support, job coaching, social relationship development, and independent living support to fully facilitate the transition into adulthood.

Learn more about the Advance program: www.advancehouston.org

“Gateway changed my life forever. The people and the teachers are awesome and I don’t know what my life would be like if I never found Gateway. What I do know is that I am happy I got to attend Gateway because they made me the young woman I am today. I am not perfect but I do my best and Gateway Academy gave me the opportunity to learn and grow and even become class president, Prom Queen, and Graduate. Thank you, Gateway Academy!”
– Tajiahrae, Class of 2014