Our Team

Anthony Payne


Born to Rita and Joseph Payne, Cpt. Anthony Payne is a native Baton Rouge resident. While attending LSU, Cpt. Payne found a passion in helping others and found his calling as a police officer. He began at the Baton Rouge Police Department as a cadet in August of 1990 and continued to gain rank, achieving Captain in 2018. Currently serving as Traffic Division Commander, Cpt. Payne has loyally served his city as a BRPD officer for over twenty-seven years.

Cpt. Payne continued to see a growing need in his beloved city. He felt compelled to do more, reach farther. He searched for a way that he could continue to give back to his community and continue to serve those in need.

On September 6, 2016, Vertical Outreach opened its doors and hearts to Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. Since opening, Vertical Outreach has provided behavioral and mental health services to over 200 community members, adults and children alike. It is Mr. Payne’s vision to provide his community and those in need with dependable, quality services.

Dr. Lynn Simon


Dr. Simon graduated from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine with honors in 1972 and has been practicing medicine for 46 years. He specializes in Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Simon has worked with Vertical Outreach since it opened in 2016.

Tara Schoinas

Director of Operations

Tara J. Schoinas is the Director of Operations/Quality Assurance at Vertical Outreach. She was born and raised in West Caldwell, New Jersey. After graduating from LCCC in Orefield, Pennsylvania, she began her career at Vertical Outreach as a mental health specialist when it opened in 2016. When she is not spending time with her family, she enjoys helping the members of Vertical Outreach.

“I believe that by touching just one life, you have already made a difference. I believe that by reaching out to those in need, with compassion and empathy, you can restore faith in human kind. I believe that everyone has the power to make this world the wonderful place it is meant to be.”

Talmadge Gray​

Clinical Director

Talmadge F. Gray was born and raised in Port Allen, LA. He earned his undergraduate degree and master’s degree for Mental Health Counseling from Southern University and A&M College in 2003 and 2009 respectively. Talmadge is a licensed professional counselor and currently serves as a clinical supervisor at Vertical Outreach. Before entering the mental health field full time in January of 2013, I taught Social Studies for nine years at Broadmoor Middle School in Baton Rouge. I have always had a spirit to help others in need of help and to teach/counsel young people who did not have the same opportunities and resources that I was blessed with growing up. “The youth of today are tomorrow’s leaders, so it is up to all of us to train them up in the right way and teach them the skills they desperately need in order to cope with the various stressors in their lives so that they can grow into productive and responsible adults.”

Lu Thibodeaux​

Billing Specialist

Single mother of 2 daughters. First time grandmother. My oldest daughter is a Type 1 diabetic diagnosed at age 4. My youngest daughter also suffers with a compromised immune system. Their health issues and taking care of my daughters sparked my interest in the medical field. When my children were a bit older, in high school, I put myself through Medical Assistant School at Delta College. Graduated Magna Cum Laude of my class. Went to work as a Certified Medical Assistant. Worked my way up to Lead Medical Assistant, Medical Office Manager and Rural Health Coordinator. My passion and calling is to take care of people. To help people that have needs. My personal life revolves around my family. I am on a serve team at my church.

Quote I live by: “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.  Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service. The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” – Mother Teresa

Reva Boatner​


Reva Boatner is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University and has been working in the mental health field and with children for over five years. Reva is a mother of three and enjoys working as a Mental Health Specialist as it allows her to make a positive impact on the community and gives her a flexible schedule for her family.

Victoria Wagner​

Mental Health Specialist

Victoria is from Denham Springs, Louisiana and is a recent graduate from Louisiana College with a degree in Psychology.  She hopes to help people see the possibilities in themselves and achieve the goals they set for themselves. Seeing people overcome adversity and fight a personal battle is what brought Victoria to the mental health field and Vertical Outreach has given her that chance. “Your mental health is a priority. Your happiness is an essential. Your self-care is a necessity.”  

Ashley Dunlap

Mental Health Specialist

Ashley Dunlap was born in Louisiana and grew up in Columbus, Georgia. She returned to Louisiana for school and graduated from Southern University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. She is currently continuing her education and studying at Grand Canyon University to get her Master of Psychology degree.

“I love working for Vertical Outreach because it gives me opportunities to help others find joy in themselves and out of life!” -Ashley Dunlap

Jessina Fells

Mental Health Specialist

Jessina Fells was born on October 6, 1990 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Mississippi when she was two years old and remained there until she was 27. She graduated Jefferson County High School in 2009. She attended Alcorn State University thereafter and received her bachelor’s degree in Biology. Unsure of whether she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, she returned to school in 2014 to work on her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and graduated in 2017 with high honors. She relocated to Baton Rouge after graduation and began working at Vertical Outreach where she provides mental health services to children and adults. 

Ebony M. Jackson

Mental Health Specialist

Ebony is a Louisiana native and obtained an Associates in Business Information Systems in 2005 at Remington College-Baton Rouge Campus. She is currently a pending graduate, scheduled to finish in October 2018 with a Bachelor in Applied Behavioral Science at Ashford University Online, based out of San Diego, California. Ebony chose the mental health field because of the professional relationships that empowers diverse individuals, groups, or families to achieve mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

“I enjoy both the challenges and joys of working with members facing difficult times.”

Jennifer McMorris

Mental Health Specialist

Jennifer McMorris was born and raised in the Baton Rouge Capital city area. As a Mental Health Specialist at Vertical Outreach, she specializes in serving the community through creating an impact on those who have been broken due to unfortunate mental health challenges throughout life.

“I love working for Vertical Outreach because we treat our members as our own. One of our top goals is to help our members lead happier, healthier lives through reaching out.”

Sean Stanford

Mental Health Specialist

Sean Stanford was born on July 15, 1982 in Columbus, Ga. He served a term in the United States Navy as an Aviation’s Boatsmen Mate. Sean has an Associates in Fine Arts and a Bachelor’s in Business Science from University of Phoenix. He also holds a Certification of Customer Service from Thomas Nelson Community College, and a Certification in Small Business and Entrepreneurship from University of Phoenix. Sean is currently finishing his Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Southern University A&M College. 

Brittany Anderson

Mental Health Specialist

My name is Brittany Anderson, I’m from Shreveport, LA. I graduated high school from Captain Shreve High School. I have a bachelors in Psychology and a masters in Health Care Administration. In 2014 I moved to Baton Rouge and began working at an investment bank and part time as a mental health counselor. I gained a passion for working with families and children independently to obtain goals set for them to excel in life. Over the years I’ve learned the past can’t be changed but the future is yet in your power.

Antawniea Robinson​

Mental Health Specialist

A proud graduate of Louisiana Tech University,  who obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Information Systems. He prides himself in being a mentor to the youth,  but more importantly, a person who builds a therapeutic and genuine relationship with their families and kin. A key component in his approach is to develop an authentic, collaborative, compassionate, and comfortable relationship with his members.  He loves to serve the community and feels humbled and proud to assist individuals that are willing to take a risk of talking and being vulnerable about their difficulties or struggles. He is energized in helping you identify your own strengths, but also creating and maximizing your personal goals.

-Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give others.  And when we blend this unique talent to service others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. 
~Kallam Anji Reddy

Konner Frederic

Mental Health Specialist

Konner Frederic was born on December 17, 1993 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in St. Amant, Louisiana, Konner attended St. Amant High School before getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Louisiana State University. As a native of southern Louisiana, Konner aims to do what he can to help members of various communities in the area thrive.

“I think lots of people are more intelligent, more capable, and more valuable than they are aware of. I will always be up to the challenge of helping them find a path so that they can achieve their full potential.”

Derrick Amar

Mental Health Specialist

I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and graduated from Southern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. I have been serving in ministry for over twenty​ years working with people in many ways such as teaching, coaching, and mentoring. I​ enjoy serving on my church elder board and helping with outreach and other serve​ programs. Working as a Mental Health Specialist allows me to utilize my calling to serve​ and help people grow and become better individuals.