About BrainAbouts

Empowering Positive Choices & Developing Healthy Brains

The best time to educate young people about high-risk behaviors, like alcohol and drug use, is before they are ever faced with the choice to engage in activities. Backed by neuroscience and powered by the John Fontaine, Jr. Charity, BrainAbouts helps students, caregivers, and school faculty learn about and openly address these difficult topics as a team.

Reach out to learn more about bringing BrainAbouts to your school!

The BrainAbouts Model


Meet the BrainAbouts Team

John T. (Jack) and Nancy C. Fontaine
John T. (Jack) and Nancy C. Fontaine
President & Founder, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
No one knew John, Jr. better than his parents. For 16 years, Jack and Nancy Fontaine watched their firstborn child become a smart, funny, and ambitious young man. His sudden passing was an overwhelming shock that turned their world upside down. To make sure other parents never have to experience the same nightmare, they created a way to honor John’s legacy and help others

Jack and Nancy founded the John Fontaine, Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education at the University of Georgia in 2006. Ten years later, they created the John Fontaine, Jr. Charity to develop and support early prevention and intervention programs for secondary school students.

Jack and Nancy met and married in 1981. They’ve brought three beautiful children into this world: John, Harris, and Elizabeth. Their passion for supporting healthy decision-making stems from a life that’s been affected by substance misuse and a commitment to ensure that far fewer families ever experience a tragic midnight phone call.

René Zamore
Executive Director, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
Before joining JFJC, Rene spent over 15 years as an executive director in the non-profit sector. All of her professional experiences offer one important commonality: empowering people through awareness and education

During her time with the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, René worked to promote the local restaurant industry, provide educational programs for high school students, shepherd public awareness campaigns, and lead grassroots government affairs initiatives and advocacy. While at HITS Theater, she managed business development and provided educational, cultural, and civic-minded theatrical experiences and performances. In 2017, René created a non-profit organization for the exclusive purpose of leading Harvard Elementary School’s largest capital campaign effort to date, supporting the design, management, and reconstruction of the school’s 12,000-sq-ft garden, playground, and outdoor classroom space.

René holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of St. Thomas. When out of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three boys, gardening, friends, and watching baseball.

Teandra Gordon, PhD, LMFT-S
Senior Director of Program
Teandra Gordon, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with extensive experience in behavioral health and education, most recently serving as the Vice President of School Based Health at the largest federally qualified health center in Texas. As a former elementary school teacher, she also brings a wealth of knowledge about education and school systems. Dr. Gordon has been invited to deliver testimony to the Texas Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security and to the Texas House Committee on Public Health. She has also authored several academic articles and a book on parenting.

Dr. Gordon is the mother of five children and enjoys using both professional training and practical experiences in dynamic presentations to help educators, parents, and students live healthy, purpose-filled lives.

Zachary Katz
Senior Director of Technology & Operations
Born and raised in Houston, Zach graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with dual concentrations in Psychology and Business. He has a deep passion to help people live consciously healthy lives. Zach serves to ensure BrainAbouts technology is providing users with quality, easy-to-use experiences which allow for optimal implementation of BrainAbouts programming. He also serves to ensure BrainAbouts operations function smoothly, managing the technical aspects of implementing the program.

Zach is pursuing a master’s degree in cognitive sciences, focusing his research on the role of the prefrontal cortex on impulsive behavior. In his free time, he enjoys laughing, thinking, conversing with others, and living spontaneously.

Xavyance Handfield
Director of Program Expansion
Xav Handfield is a nationally recognized speaker, personal development coach, educator and entrepreneur. His mission is to use his gifts and his voice to inspire and evoke change in the world. He is a native of Miami, Florida, and has been in Houston since September 2012, and is the CEO of the Handfield Group, LLC.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and advertising from the great Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and a Master of Business with a concentration in entertainment from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. From his formal educational background combined with his faith and the strong influence of his family and community, he saw a need. Wanting to meet that need, his first job was teaching the inner-city youth of Miami, Florida. In 2015, he started his speaking career and has been blessed to encourage and speak to thousands of individuals across the country for corporate events, churches, and community organizations. In 2017, he created Plant Based Brotha, which helps people transition to a plant-based lifestyle and exposes inner city communities to healthier food options and to think of health and wellness as a holistic experience. He aims to aspire to inspire before he expires.

Kemonta Jackson
Director of Program Implementation
Kemonta Jackson is from Nashville, TN and joins BrainAbouts as a transplant to Houston, TX. Kemonta (or sometimes called “Keke”, his childhood nickname) earned his Master of Art in Education from Tennessee State University (TSU) and Bachelor of Science from Lane College (LC) and Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC). Kemonta’s studies include research in health education and sport science.

He also served as a graduate assistant and teaching/research assistant during his tenure at TSU. He also lettered in Football and Basketball while in undergraduate studies.

Kemonta Jackson’s professional experience includes corporate wellness, public schools, community support, and non-profit. His most recent work involves serving as a Program Director for the Call Me MiSTER®  program with the University of Houston-Downtown.  In his personal time, Kemonta enjoys community involvement as a development coach and mentor. He invests time in partnering with independent small groups that’s focus on minority inclusion and solutions to minority barriers in modern society. Some of his favorite things to do in his free time is exercise, playing basketball, and traveling.

Natalie Ramirez
Operations Manager
Natalie Ramirez was born in Houston, Texas. She holds a bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems from C.T Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.

She understands the importance in promoting healthy brain development. She believes BrainAbouts gives value to younger generation. She strives to assist BrainAbouts to reach its full potential by empowering youth, families, educators and staff in making healthy choices.

You might catch Natalie painting on a canvas, capturing memorable moment on her camera, and enjoying life with her family and friends.

Yvonne Nocetti
Executive Assistant, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
Yvonne has been an experienced executive assistant office manager for 20 years with a demonstrated history of working in corporate and diverse industries.

 She is proud to call herself a Houstonian after relocating from New York where she provided high level executive support management.

Yvonne provides support in the operations of the John Fontaine Jr. Charity and is very proud to be part of this organization. In her free time, she enjoys being an active participant in social events in her community and spending time with her family and pets. 

The JFJC Journey:
Reducing Tragic Phone Calls

In 2000, the Fontaine Family received the phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Their oldest son, John, had been in a fatal, alcohol-related car accident. John was just 16. In search of healing, the family made a promise to him. They committed to doing anything in their power to prevent high-risk behaviors so that far fewer families ever have to experience a tragic phone call.

Today, the John Fontaine Jr. Charity’s mission is to help children and young adults make safer decisions and avoid preventable tragedies. Today, BrainAbouts, the JFJC’s signature program, is reaching thousands of students across the nation.

And thanks to generous donors, the JFJC is able to underwrite the cost of BrainAbouts, so that all schools have access to high-quality, research-based, and consistent prevention programming.