Our Team

BRINGING LOVE, HEALING, AND FAMILY TO KIDS IN CRISIS

j's house board members

Adam Pieknik

CHAIR OF THE BOARD
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Adam Pieknik

Adam Pieknik, J’s House President and Chair of the Board, has felt a deepening call to serve youth, particularly in fostering and adoption. He was inspired to start the journey with J’s House after mentoring young men at a local residential treatment center and recognizing the great need for truly child-centered care. Adam has a business background. He received his MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and executes major capital projects in the oil and gas industry.

MARLA WORTMAN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Marla Wortman

Marla Wortman is Executive Director for J’s House. Marla brings 25 years of corporate leadership and a heart for serving children in foster care. Marla started this journey as the founder of One Love Collaborative, a local nonprofit dedicated to loving and supporting children in foster care. In 2019, Marla and One Love teamed up with Kingwood United Methodist Church’s Oasis ministry to introduce critical development programs at a local residential treatment center, leading to astounding results. In 2021, One Love and Oasis again joined forces to combat another child welfare system crisis – children without placement (CWOP). The CWOP shelter quickly became a leading example for housing specialized youth in care. 

QUANA SMITH

BOARD MEMBER
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Quana Smith

Quana Smith brings expertise and over 10 years’ experience in providing long-term, favorable outcomes for at-risk youth. Quana has a passion to serve our most vulnerable population of youth to ensure that cycles are broken, and their quality of life improves. Quana currently works as an Associate for Youth Programs at Coalition for the Homeless Houston. She previously worked as a Community Engagement Senior Manager at Upbring Krause Children’s Center and as a child advocate. Quana earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northwestern University.

Nanette lynch

board member
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Nanette Lynch

Nanette Lynch serves as a Board Member for J’s House. She has a deep desire to give every child a listening ear and the assurance they have value. Nanette started this journey as a child advocate. She later launched Oasis – a foster care/adoption ministry at Kingwood United Methodist Church (KUMC). In 2019, Nanette and KUMC’s Oasis ministry teamed up with One Love Collaborative for a mentoring program at a local residential treatment center immediately impacting its youth. In 2021, Nanette and Oasis again joined forces with One Love to combat another child welfare system crisis – children without placement (CWOP). The CWOP shelter has successfully served many children and quickly became a leading example in caring for youth in crisis.

nancy cozad

board member
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Nancy Cozad

Nancy Cozad is Associate Principal at New Caney High School.  She also worked in education in Humble ISD including 9 years as Assistant Principal at Kingwood High School.  She is passionate about supporting youth as they prepare for “what’s next” and creating a culture that offers every student access to the best educational experience possible. Nancy earned her master's degree from the University of Houston and her Principal Certification from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Ashley smalls

board member
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Ashley Smalls

Ashley Smalls brings over 12 years’ experience providing services to children and families. Ashley has a strong passion for advocating for the most vulnerable populations to make a positive impact in their lives. Ashley is a licensed mental health professional and currently works as a school social worker. She previously worked as the Faith Based & Community Engagement Specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Harris County. Ashley earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Houston. 

kathy gray

board member
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Kathy Gray

Kathy Gray has 30 years in the field of occupational therapy helping children improve their physical, mental, and emotional limitations. Kathy is a licensed professional counselor and a marriage and family therapist in private practice. She has worked with youth in foster homes, anti-trafficking facilities as well in Texas Children’s Hospital. Kathy received her master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Counseling. She is a certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and Imago therapist and an EMDRIA-approved consultant and trainer.

chandler james

board member
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Chandler James

Chandler James has experience on staff with local churches as a Student & Next Gen Pastor and is passionate about mobilizing the church to meet needs within their community. He currently works at The Riverside Project in Houston as a Church Mobilization Specialist. Chandler earned his bachelor’s degree in Religion from East Texas Baptist University and a master’s in Theological Studies from Houston Christian University. He and his wife, Caitlin, are licensed foster parents. Together, they enjoy a good vacation, trying new foods, and spending time with family. 

april kiker

board secretary
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April Kiker

April Kiker joined the Board of Directors at J’s House as Secretary.  April has been an educator with Humble ISD for over 15 years.  Her passion for working with foster youth first began when she volunteered at her church.  From there, April volunteered with Oasis, BRIDGE Housing, and the HAY Center. These experiences have deepened April’s desire to help teens and young adults in foster care navigate next steps as they move into their adult futures. April is a native Texan/Houston. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Texas State University.

steve brown

board TREASURER
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Steve Brown

Steve Brown serves on the Board of Directors at J’s House and is also the Treasurer. He has a passion for helping others and is excited to be part of the mission of J’s House. Steve spent 38 years in public accounting and retired as a partner with an international firm. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition to J’s House, Steve serves on other nonprofit boards including currently serving as Board Chair for the Greater Houston Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Le'Otis Boswell Johnson

ADVISORY BOARD
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LeOtis Johnson

Le'Otis Boswell Johnson joined J’s House as an advisory board member. Le’Otis's passion for advocating for overlooked youth led him to work in education, juvenile justice, and community involvement. With a degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Le’Otis serves as an attorney ad litem representing children in Texas foster care. Le’Otis wants to create a space that allows all kids, despite their circumstances, to have a fighting chance to discover and fulfill their full potential.

j's house ambassadors

Joe greene

ambassador
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Joe Greene

Joe Greene, a Temple, Texas native, has joined the J's House team as an ambassador. Joe is a four-time Super Bowl Champ, NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFL 1979 Man of the Year. His leadership qualities and advocacy for kids make him a great asset for our board.

Kenny houston

ambassador
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Kenny Houston

Kenny Houston, a Lufkin, Texas native, has joined the J's House team as an ambassador. Kenny is a first ballot NFL Hall of Famer, twelve-time Pro Bowler, NFL 100th Anniversary Team, Inaugural Texas Bowl Gridiron Legend Class, 1980 NFL Byron Whizzer White Award for Humanitarian Service. Kenny served many years in Houston ISD as a counselor and advocate for at risk kids. His compassion for vulnerable youth matches the heart of J's House.

Sebastian

youth ambassador
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Sebastian

Sebastian is excited to bring his lived experience, knowledge, hope, and encouragement to J’s House as a Youth Ambassador. Sebastian entered foster care at age 5 and moved through six different placements by age 10, when he was placed in a group home that cared for more than 30 boys. There, he met a mentor family. In 2021, on his 12th birthday, they adopted Sebastian and became his forever family. He is a great example to children in foster care - proving that their circumstances do not define their future. Sebastian now attends high school and is involved in cross country, track, and basketball as an A/B Honor roll student... most semesters - hinging on his ability to remember to turn in his assignments! 😊