Learning Never Ends is proud to field a diverse and dedicated team
to help create a safe, creative, and fun environment for each
individual we have the honor to serve.
Melissa GOURLEY, MSW, LSW
CEO & Co-Founder / Owner
While completing her Bachelors of Arts degree at Ohio Dominican College, Melissa began her journey working with individuals with disabilities by providing direct care services for a supported living agency. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree, she returned to college to receive her Master’s degree.
During Melissa’s second year in the Master’s of Social Work program at The Ohio State University, she was offered a fellowship at the OSU Nisonger Center. During the fellowship, Melissa helped to develop programs which benefit individuals with disabilities, provided counseling, facilitated groups, and taught a graduate level course at OSU.
Melissa received her Master’s degree in Social Work in June 2003. In August 2003, Melissa co-founded UPREACH LLC, and in 2006, co-founded Learning Never Ends LLC.
Co-Founder / Owner
Beth attended the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in Psychology. Beth started her career working in a group home in 1989. Beth relocated to Columbus in 1994 and began a career as a Support Specialist.
Beth continued to advance within the agency as she was promoted to Support Specialist Coordinator and Program Director. As a Program Director, Beth was responsible for hiring, scheduling and training support staff, coordinating medical services, overseeing and managing finances, and maintaining quality living conditions.
Beth was also a part of a Quality Assurance Team which traveled to other states to monitor the quality of services provided to individuals with disabilities. In August 2003, Beth co-founded UPREACH LLC, and in 2006, co-founded Learning Never Ends LLC.
Kiearra has spent most of her career finding joy in serving others. Kiearra started out in 2011 working for the YMCA of Central Ohio as a lead teacher in the after school program. In 2014 Kiearra reluctantly left the YMCA to become an Activities Coordinator at an Acute Care and Rehabilitation Center. During her time at the center, Kiearra got the privilege to focus on enhancing the quality of life for individuals with mental disabilities. Kiearra loved her role and the meaningful relationships that were built and became eager to learn more and work closer to those in the field. Kiearra started her journey with Learning Never Ends in 2015 as a Direct Care Staff. Kiearra quickly fell in love with the individuals and the company and in a short time knew that working with people who have developmental disabilities was her passion. With serious dedication and hard work, Kiearra quickly began to grow within the company. Kiearra has occupied every position and established a wealth of knowledge over the years to become the leader she is today. In her free time, Kiearra enjoys hanging out with family, traveling, recreational sports and adventures with friends.
Director or Human Resources
Michael has significant experience working in the disability field, both on the provider side and at the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. He earned B.S. and Master’s degrees from Grace College and Seminary in northern Indiana. Michael enjoys helping people get issues resolved so that they can focus on caring for the individuals we serve. When not at work, he loves spending time with his wife exploring Columbus--and most anywhere.
Associate Site Director
Taryn began assisting individuals with disabilities during High School and quickly realized she wanted to pursue a career in the field of Developmental Disabilities. Taryn began working in the field in 2005 and worked for three local agencies serving children with Developmental Disabilities between 2005 and 2014. Taryn joined the Learning Never Ends team in August 2014 as Associate Site Director at the Central Location, then became the Case Coordination and Intake Manager for Learning Never Ends Central, South and West locations from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, she became the Program Services Manager/ Associate Site Director at Learning Never Ends in Fairfield County where she remained until 2018.
In 2018, Taryn and her five children (now aged 16, 11, 9, 6 and 4) moved to Hawaii where they lived for two years. Taryn returned to Ohio and Learning Never Ends in June 2020, returning to her previous position as Associate Site Director at the Fairfield County location. In February of 2020, Taryn transferred to LNE Central to in the role of Associate Site Director.
Taryn loves working for Learning Never Ends and strives to implement the company's purpose; providing life-long learning, wellness, community inclusion and employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Taryn has a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in General Psychology.
Community Engagement/Employment Service Coord.
Sharese began working with the DD and elderly population in 1994 while in Tacoma, WA. In 2011 Sharese joined Upreach, the sister company to LNE. Later, in 2014 she began working with LNE as an Employment Specialist and later was promoted to Community Engagement Specialist, then Employment Coordinator, then again to Employment Supervisor, and finally to her current role as Community Engagement/Employment Service Coordinator.
Through her work experiences she has witnessed, time and time again, individuals defy all expectations and limitations and excel to their fullest potential. She loves each and every one of the consumers and staff as though they were family. Sharese is ever thankful for the chance to serve the DD community and to have their light shine on her.
Employment Services Manager
David Smith is a born and raised die-hard Buckeye. David has worked in corrections, juvenile facilities,high end security and also adult day programs and group homes. David started with Learning Never Ends in January of 2015 and has worked his way up to employment manager. David is also a professional stand up comedian since 2016. Learning Never Ends is more than a job it's family.
Fallon VAN DYKE
Associate Site Director
LNE West and Madison
Fallon began working with individuals with disabilities during her college education at Ohio University while pursuing her degree in Recreation Administration. This included her Inclusive Recreation courses, internship with Expanding YOUR Horizons, and job at the Athens Community Center. Fallon started working at Learning Never Ends Central in January, 2019. She is now the Associate Site Direction for our West location and a new branch in Madison county. She truly enjoys spending her days helping our individuals learn, grow, and laugh - just like they help her.
Community Engagement Program Coordinator
Sonny began his professional career with AmeriCorps: City Year Columbus where he served 9th and 10th grade students at a diverse, at-risk school. During his 18 months serving students, Sonny experienced first-hand the importance of collaboration, adaptability, gratitude and being solution-oriented. Most importantly, he realized that his purpose in life is to serve others. These lessons have since become foundational values for Sonny's professional life, and service became his mission.
With City Year, Sonny learned what it means to be a servant leader: leaders exist to serve the people, to prioritize their peers' needs, and to foster growth in those they are leading. With this idea at the center, Sonny led a team of 7 AmeriCorps Members who saw marked improvements both academically and socially in their students.
In March of 2019, Sonny joined Upreach and began his journey in the field of Developmental Disabilities (DD). As the Training Coordinator, Sonny learned about the policies and requirements side of serving individuals with DD. Sonny's work with Upreach includes design and implementing new training systems for the company as well as spearheading Upreach's annual all-staff meeting where he orchestrated programming for 150+ Upreach employees.
While at Upreach, Sonny built many meaningful and impactful relationships with both consumers and employees. These relationships eventually led him to Learning Never Ends where he is finding immense joy in serving consumers directly. He started as Lead Community Engagement Specialist in July of 2020 and quickly transitioned Program Coordinator after two months. In this role, he works closely with his Site Director to manage Learning Never Ends West.
Sonny feels at home with Learning Never Ends where he not only has the opportunity to serve consumers closely, but also the privilege of working with genuine leaders who share his belief in servant leadership. He finds fulfillment daily in his work and is excited for what's to come :).
Assistant Director of Community Engagement
Carrie joined Learning Never Ends in February of 2017 as a Community Engagement Specialist and quickly learned that this was what she has been wanting to do. Having a heart for serving individuals with Developmental Disabilities has always been a passion and Learning Never Ends provided the opportunity. She quickly moved up from CES to a Lead CES by October of 2017, then in 2018 moved to a Program Assistant in March of 2018. In March of 2019 she moved up to a Program Coordinator and by September of 2019 she became the Assistant Director of the Learning Never Ends in Fairfield. Prior to working at Learning Never Ends she worked for Central Ohio Home Help Agency in the field in 2014 and helped take care of older individuals and some who had developmental disabilities and fell in love with doing it. They quickly moved her in the office as an HR/Office Manager for their Lancaster branch. While there she went for her CPR Instructor license which she has had since 2015. She was there until she left in 2017 to join Learning Never Ends to what she considers her home away from home.
Associate Site Director
Before I started working at learning never ends I pretty much hopped from job to job since I graduated high school. I started at Learning Never Ends in 2016 having no idea what I was getting myself into. After the first few weeks I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was never interested in getting one of them fancy learning degrees I was content with staying a direct care staff. In 2018 I moved up to a contract specialist. I assisted with helping the individuals complete whatever contract it was that we were working on and helping teach them the proper skills they needed for community employment. In 2019 I moved up to Lead Contract Specialist, and that same year I moved up again into the Community Engagement and Employment Services Coordinator. I also advocate for individuals showing interest in vocational habilitation and help secure new community employment opportunities for those individuals to learn the skills they need to be independent and able to work in a community setting. Today, I am the Associate Director at LNE Fairfield. Throughout the years I have strived to help our individuals in becoming as independent as possible not knowing that they have also taught me things as well. I never have the urge to go home because I am already there.
Associate Site Director
Tamara Johnson holds an Associate’s Degree in Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities from Columbus State Community College. Tamara began her career providing adoption and foster care to children with mental health diagnoses and developmental disabilities in her home, a service that she provided for over fifteen years.
Tamara also held the position of Independent Provider and Home Health Aide for over five years. After several years of in-home care experience, Tamara embarked on a new venture within the field when she accepted the position of Activity Leader with The Association for the Developmentally Disabled where she was responsible to facilitate community engagement and employment building activities for more than 100 individuals with developmental disabilities.
Tamara was later promoted to the position of Program Supervisor within her final role at the agency. Tamara later joined Learning Never Ends, LLC in August 2012 as a Day Habilitation Specialist and was quickly promoted to the position of Program Coordinator in November 2012. With the expansion of services and opening of the new Learning Never Ends program location in Southeast Ohio in September 2013, the opportunity was provided to Tamara to serve in the position of Assistant Director.
Community Engagement/Employment Service Coord.
Hello I’m Antoine Peterson. I grew up in Columbus, OH and graduated from Brookhaven High school. I started my journey about 11 years ago working with individual disabled, I possess the comprehensive skill set and hands-on understanding necessary to affect positive, overreaching outcomes in my role as program and transportation coordinator for Learning Never Ends.
In addition to my formal training and certifications in CPR, First Aid, CPI, and delegation certification , I possess a caring and sensitive personality, as well as a genuine interest in helping others to become more independent. I am comfortable working one-on-one with people of all ages and varying levels of ability, and I apply my varied life experience and a non-judgmental approach to identifying and analyzing training needs of the individuals I support.
Adrienne has provided services for those in the developmentally “Able” community for over 15 years. She believes their disability is just an ability to find a new and creative way of accomplishing their goals. Adrienne worked with another direct care service provider for several years before joining the Upreach family in 2005. She started as a Support Specialist and was promoted to a Senior Support Specialist. Adrienne is now part of our Administrative Team as the HR Assistant. While working as a Senior Support Specialist, Adrienne earned her B.S. in Business Studies Industrial Organizational Psychology. She is currently working towards her master’s degree. Adrienne is also, a wife and a mother of 2 beautiful children.
Paige attended Ohio University, where she majored in Human Resources Management and sharpened her interpersonal skills. She joined the Upreach HR team in July 2020 and has quickly helped the team with Certification compliance and developing more efficient training practices. Prior to Upreach, Paige worked at Huntington National Bank in the Human Resources Department and learned that she genuinely loved helping others! She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude! Paige has lived in Columbus for her entire life but enjoys traveling with her fiancé Justin. In her free-time, she enjoys playing fetch with her cats and volunteering at the animal shelters.