...a home is in the heart of every child.  


Peter Strople

Peter has functioned in several board and leadership roles for Refuge House and demonstrates a passion for helping children using his talents and connections. In the early stages of development, Peter was involved in getting the agency up and running and is excited to see how many young people have been helped by the work of the staff, foster parents and volunteers.

Considered one of the most connected people in North American Business Circles, many CEOs and boards have utilized his "Fireside Chat Style" to conduct "Accelerated Business" in an informal and relaxed way! His ability to pick up the phone and call “Business Leaders” has been called "Simply Amazing!"

Peter was a former Director of Dell Computer Corp. and Executive with Grid Systems Corporation the Inventor of the Laptop Computer.

Peter is the Managing Partner of a private venture firm called “Inside the Blueline” and resides in Austin, TX.


Matthew Cole


Jeannie Duarte
Secretary, Co-founder

Jeannie Duarte co-founded Refuge House with Michele Gorman in 2002. Since that time she has served in a variety of roles with both the Board and as a part-time and full-time employee of the Agency. She sees her role as primarily an operations resource, which is supported with her career experience and education, a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration.

Ms. Duarte is excited to see the areas in which Refuge House can grow and expand to find more ways to serve children and families in need. She expects to see Refuge House as an innovator in the industry providing quality care and services to each population the Agency serves.

Ms. Duarte is happily married to Erick Duarte, Jr. and enjoys every spare moment they can spend dreaming of places to go and adventures to experiences. Her favorite quote is "I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious." --Albert Einstein

Tom Meneley
Board Member

Thomas C. Meneley was born in San Antonio, Texas at Methodist Mission Home and was adopted by Joseph C. and Mary Mildred Meneley. Mr. Meneley grew up on the Greater Houston area. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin University, with a minor in Sociology. In 1966, he married Marilene Randall and together they adopted two childrent from Edna Gladney Home – Amy (Meneley) Eckels and Jonathan T. Meneley,

In his career, Mr. Meneley has served in a variety of capacities in the energy industry, including Sales Manager at Chemical Express Carries in Houston, Vice President and General Manager at McNair Energy Services Corp, Houston, President T.G.C. Operating, Inc., Houston, Director of Smith Production, Inc. Mr. Meneley is currently Chairman and President at Plantation Petroleum Holdings III, LLC in The Woodlands, Texas.

As well as his leadership roles in business, Mr. Meneley has served as an ordained deacon at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Spring, Texas and is currently a member and deacon of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

Mr. Meneley joined the Refuge House Board in 2005.

Mary Meneley
Board Member

Marilene Randall Meneley was born in Houston, TX to A.P. and Rosafay Randall. Mrs. Meneley was educated in Houston schools and graduated Stephen F. Austin University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. In 1966, she married Thomas C. Meneley. From 1968 through 1980 Mrs. Meneley served as an elementary school teacher in Houston, Spring Branch and Richardson, Texas.

Mrs. Meneley has always been an active volunteer in organizations to support her children’s activities, as well as other community and church organzations. Mrs. Meneley served as the Director of a 100 member girl’s mission organization at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston. Over the years, Mrs. Meneley has taught English as a Second Language to individuals through several organizations, including her current church Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX.

Mrs. Meneley joined Refuge House as a board member in 2005 and is pleased to celebrate her 40-year anniversary with her husband Tom this same year.

Michele L. Gorman, Ph.D
Founding Executive Director

A native of Seattle, Washington, Dr. Michele Gorman came to Texas in 1992. Dr. Gorman earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally, Dr. Gorman is certified in non-profit management by Center for Non-Profit Management and Brookhaven College.

Dr. Gorman has many years experience in the State of Texas in developing and operating Child Placing Agencies, in addition to advising representatives from other states in the area of foster care and adoption program development. She has been actively involved as a panel member for various State of Texas legislative boards in addition to serving on the board for other foster and adoptive care organizations.

Dr. Gorman is herself a foster parent for over 5 years and has in 2004 adopted a little boy from the foster care system. This truly lends greatly to her understanding and appreciation for the challenges foster families face, as well as a keen understanding of the dynamics of foster parenting. Additionally, she has a special compassion for the children who have entered the foster care and adoption system.

Dr. Gorman co-founded Refuge House in 2002 and has continuously served as Executive Director, but has worn many hats associated with the operation from its inception, including that of Case Manager and Program Director.


Kelly Strople
Board Member

Kelly Strople is a partner with her husband in Zero2 Holdings, which is a private holding company with interests in more than 50 companies. Their holdings span industries such as Biotech and Life sciences, Tech and Telecom, Media and Entertainment and the Hospitality Industry.

Kelly interprets occasionally for the deaf and is an active member of the Kairos Prison Ministry.

In her spare time she loves Golfing and Traveling with her husband.