Meet the Staff


Our staff is committed to transforming people’s lives through partnerships with service dogs.

Headshot of Russell Gittlen sitting with his arm around a German Shepherd dog.

Russell Gittlen

(818) 833-6427
Tony Blevins & Bailey

Tony Blevins

Assistant Director
Headshot of Yvette Sheehan sitting with a German Sheperd dog.

Yvette Sheehan

Executive Assistant/Event Manager
Headshot of Kris Wallace sitting next to a German Sheperd dog.

Kristine Wallace

Office Manager/HR
Headshot of Judy Reilly sitting on a bench with a Black Lab dog.

Judy Reilly

Tour & Speaker Coordinator
Headshot of Lisa Peterson sitting on a bench with a German Sheperd dog.

Lisa Peterson

Customer Service Support
Headshot of Belen Amaya-Morales sitting outside with her pet dog.

Belen Amaya-Morales

Volunteer Coordinator & Database Assistant
Headshot of Tracy Sampson sitting outside with their arm around a Black Lab puppy.

Tracy Sampson

Jr. Staff Accountant

Marketing and Development

Informs the public and media about Guide Dogs of America. Educates communities at hundreds of health fairs and through outreach programs and special events. 

Headshot of Zack Gittlen sitting outside with a German Sheperd dog.

Zack Gittlen

Director of Marketing & Development
Headshot of Rainie Williams sitting outside with her dog named Scout.

Rainie Williams

Development Associate
Headshot of Lorri Bernson sitting outside with her arm around a Yellow Lab dog.

Lorri Bernson

Media & Community Liaison
Rosa Malagon

Rosa Malagon

Marketing & Communications Associate

Information and Technology Department

Provides the infrastructure and experience necessary to keep us on the cutting-edge of technology.

Headshot of Scott West sitting outside on a bench with a Yellow Lab dog.

Scott West

Director of Information Technology
Headshot of Salvador Alob, Jr. sitting outside with a Golden Retriever dog.

Salvador Alob, Jr.

IT Support Tech

Admissions & Graduate Services

We strive to maintain the success of a team through longevity.

Greg & Guide Dog Sterling

Greg Steinmetz

Sr. Manager of Admissions & Graduate Services
Headshot of Hanna Belyea sitting next to a Yellow Lab dog.

Hanna Belyea

Manager of Admissions and Graduate Services

Facilities and Maintenance

Keeps our 7 ½ acre park-like campus running smoothly and attends to the needs of our staff as it relates to facilities and equipment.

Maintenance Superintendent

Breeding Department

We breed our own guide and service dogs to ensure the best quality of dog for our clients.

Headshot of Natalie A. Ergler holding a Yellow Lab puppy.

Natalie A. Ergler

Breeding Department Manager
Headshot of Diane Rodriguez sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Diane Rodriguez

Breeding Department Assistant
Headshot of Christine Claes holding a Yellow Lab puppy.

Christine Claes

Breeding Department Tech
Headshot of Natalie Hooper holding a Black Lab puppy.

Natalie Hooper

Breeding Department Tech
Jasmine Prado and Yellow Labrador Puppy

Jasmine Prado

Part-Time Breeding Department Tech


Affectionately known as Camp GDA, our Kennel provides boarding facilities and activities for our puppies and all working guides and service dogs while they are away from home.

Headshot of Tiffanie Tayrien sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Tiffanie Tayrien

Lead Kennel Tech
Headshot of Brooke Patterson sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Brooke Patterson

Kennel Tech
Headshot of Xochitl Sanchez sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Xochitl Sanchez

Kennel Tech
Headshot of Nataly Diaz sitting outside with a Boxer dog.

Nataly Diaz

Kennel Tech
Headshot of Tara Doroginsky sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Tara Doroginsky

Kennel Tech
Headshot of Michelle Bell sitting outside with a Golden Retriever dog.

Michelle Bell

Kennel Tech
Headshot of Charlee Potter and Golden Retriever / Labrador

Charlee Potter

Kennel Tech

Puppy Department

Places our puppies in loving foster-homes and assists the puppy raisers until the dogs are ready to come in for formal training.

Headshot of Mindy Romero sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Mindy Romero

Canine Development Manager
(818) 833 6445
Abigail Gertson-Garcia and golden retriever Bailey

Abigail Gertson-Garcia

Canine Development Assistant
Katherine R. Juhl

Katherine R. Juhl

Puppy Program Coordinator

Training Department

Our experienced instructors provide our guide and service dogs with the formal training they require in order to assist their partners.

Headshot of Jamie Hunt sitting outside with a German Sheperd dog.

Jamie Hunt

Director of Programs
Headshot of Cheryl Herman sitting outside on rocks with a German Sheperd dog.

Cheryl Herman

Assistant Director of Programs
Headshot of Sean Chiles sitting outside with a Yellow lab dog.

Sean Chiles

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Headshot of Nicole Maples sitting outside with two Pitbull dogs.

Nicole Maples

Manager of Service Dog Program
Headshot of Sydney Fujishige sitting on a bench with a German Sheperd dog.

Sydney Fujishige

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Headshot of Sonia Parisi sitting outside with a German Sheperd dog.

Sonia Parisi

Lead Service Dog Trainer
Headshot of Jasmine Versales sitting outside with two small dogs.

Jasmine Versales

Apprentice Trainer
Headshot of Analise Mendoza sitting outside with a small dog.

Analise Mendoza

Apprentice Trainer

Jessica Simpson

Service Dog Trainer
Sean Deeb

Sean Deeb

Service Dog Trainer

Veterinary Department

Our state-of-the-art clinic is committed to the care and health of our hundreds of puppies-in-training and our working guides and service dogs. Guide Dogs of America’s Veterinary Department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make a veterinary appointment, please call 818-833-6470. 24-hour assistance is available for canine emergencies: For after-hours emergencies only, call (818) 822-7703 to reach On-Call phone directly or (818) 362-5834 and press “0” to reach the on-call operator (note: do not press “1” to leave a message.) Our fax number is (818) 833-6470.

Headshot of Ceci Sanford sitting outside with a Yellow Lab dog.

Ceci Sanford

Manager of Animal Health
Headshot of Gary Uyeno sitting outside and holding a puppy.

Gary Uyeno

Headshot of Sandy Ralph sitting outside with his Black Lab dog.

Sandy Sanford