Gateway Philosophy

We create intentional interactions. From therapy to academics, outdoor adventures to social encounters, every interaction is designed to contribute to a boy’s healing and growth.


At Gateway, every experience – his therapy, his academic experience, the rhythm of his day and the interactions he has with teachers, mentors, and fellow students – is designed to support him.

Therapy is individualized. Each young man receives weekly individual and family therapy, daily group therapy and on-site psychiatric services. In addition, opportunities for healthy development are intentionally woven throughout every moment of the day. In the classroom, for example, a boy might discover newfound confidence as he solves a challenge for the first time. Finding the next handhold on a rock climb helps him extend that confidence to another context. With purpose and intent, each of our five integrated programs test and reinforce clinical gains at every turn, allowing him to grow emotionally, intellectually and physically.

From the beginning

When the owners started Gateway in 2002, it was with one singular intention: to focus on the unique needs of the individual boy while providing the most state-of-the-art, evidence-based, treatment and academic program in the industry. The Gateway's owners remain committed to this intention by being actively involved in day-to-day operations and ongoing incorporation of current clinical and academic research. 

owner operated

Gateway's four owners play an essential role in leadership, program operations, management and training. 

Karen Flynn, JD  
C.E.O. and Co-Owner

Karen's passion for working with youth began in 1995 when she became an attorney advocate for abused, neglected and dependent children. At Gateway, Karen's extensive knowledge and experience in child welfare helps direct, guide, and create the optimal environment for struggling youth and their familes. Click here for more

Julie Barbero, LCSW 
Clinical Director and Co-Owner

For Julie, and adolescent and family therapist since 1993, creating emotional security is the first essential step in helping a boy overcome his trauma, anxiety, depression, and the difficult obstacles in his life. In addition, the intentional use of relational interactions are key.  Click here for more

M. Michelle Gourley, MFT, LCSW, JD
Director of Clinical and Program Development and Co-Owner

Michelle has been working with youth and their families since 1982. With a background in clinical social work, marriage and family therapy and family/juvenile law, Michelle is a well-regarded presenter at state and national conferences speaking on her passion for the brain and adolescent development.  Click here for more

Melissa Hickman, LCSW
MARKETING Director and Co-Owner

As a therapist for at-risk youth since 1991, Melissa knows there no single therapeutic approach that addresses all issues. As our Marketing Director, she carefully evaluates each boy, and plays at active role in determining his treatment. Click here for more

 “As a Gateway owner, I am extremely proud of the professional depth, breadth and investment of every member of our team. Together with each family, we can truly make a remarkable, life-changing difference in the lives of our students."

–Karen Flynn, J.D., Executive Director


  • Focused on intentional interactions
  • Grounded in relationships and brain-based strategies
  • Individualized
  • Support at every step