Staff

Dana Simons, Executive Director - MSW, LSW

Dana spent over 20 years in the software industry before becoming a co-founder of Next Step in 2011. She is from California and is a recent graduate of Indiana State University with a Masters in Social Work, with an emphasis in Mental Health and Addiction. Dana manages the operations and administration of the Next Step programs and also teaches many of the classes and facilitates many group meetings. She also provides individual mental health counseling.

Leslie Sanders, Program Director - CRS/CHW

Leslie brings an extensive background in managing group homes and several years of personal recovery experience to her role as Program Director. As a graduate of the Next Step program, she is uniquely qualified to act as a peer mentor and to guide others in their own path to recovery. Leslie is responsible for evaluating all program applications, conducting interviews and intakes and creating individual recovery plans for all Next Step clients.

Emily Gaston, House Manager and Case Manager

Emily is a graduate of the Next Step program and is responsible for overseeing one of our Women’s homes in addition to providing case management for our clients that are in need of services to assist them in their journey toward self-sufficiency.

Christy Crowder, LPN, Mentor Coordinator

Christy is a graduate of the Next Step program and is our mentor coordinator for the Mentoring Young Mothers grant through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In that capacity, she meets with young mothers in jail and matches them with mentors she has recruited throughout the community. She also provides nursing assessments and health and wellness coaching for our clients.

Ron Simons, Assistant Director and Bookkeeper

Ron is a co-founder of Next Step and brings his many years of experience in the manufacturing and technology industries to his role as the assistant director. Ron oversees the facilities management of all the Next Step properties and is responsible for all bookkeeping and purchasing activities. With several years in recovery, Ron is also able to provide his experience strength and hope to those who are embarking on a life of recovery.

Jason Wallace, Mentor and Transportation Manager

Jason has been mentoring others in recovery for many years and brings his gift of prayer and intercession to the Next Step family. Jason provides spiritual mentoring to the residents and manages the Next Step 15 passenger van so that our clients can have a way to get to their appointments and better manage their lives.

Rusty Tipton, Facilities Manager

Rusty is a graduate of the Next Step program and is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of all the Next Step properties. He brings his handyman skills, his construction background and his passion for recovery to this important role to assure that all our clients have a safe and comfortable home environment while they are at Next Step.