Our Team

Reb and Sterling

Rebecca Blitz

Executive Director

Rebecca and her family moved to Sarasota in 1995. She joined the SMART team in April 2020. Rebecca spent the last six years as the Director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and previously worked with numerous nonprofits in leadership roles and on their Board of Directors. Rebecca grew up with horses and loved SMART the first time she set foot on the farm! She has a strong passion for SMART’s mission and for what SMART provides to the community. Rebecca is thrilled to be part of the team and looks forward to meeting you and sharing with you the life-changing work that is accomplished at SMART.

Stacey with Magic (Resized to 300)

Stacey Volpe

Volunteer Coordinator

Stacey and her husband relocated to Florida from Maryland in March of 2019. She joined the SMART team in May of 2019. Stacey spent the past 15 years working as an Administrative Assistant for a private school where her children attended. While she has no previous experience being around horses, she instantly fell in love with the special horses at SMART. 


Melissa Spillenkothen

PATH Certification Coordinator

Melissa joined the SMART volunteer family in 2012 soon after she moved to Florida.  Melissa loves working with the SMART horses and is involved in many other SMART activities that include volunteering for lessons, programs, and fundraising. 


Terri Arnold

PATH Int'l Certified ESMHL/CTRI

Terri joined SMART in 2014.  During her time at SMART, she has volunteered in all areas of programming and has served as Volunteer Coordinator and a member of the Board of Directors.  Terri is a PATH International CTRI (Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor) and ESMHL (Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning).  “I love teaching horsemanship skills. Our participants show growth in focus and self-confidence through ear-to-ear smiles as they control their horse themselves, whether from the saddle or on the ground.  Horses are uniquely suited to partner with humans in building connection, trust, and communication.”

Terri retired from the corporate world to stay at home with her family and over the past 30+ years has held leadership roles in scouting, youth ministry and PTA. Her motivation has always been about vision, empowering others, and making the world a better place.  When not at SMART Terri enjoys spending time with her family (including two granddaughters), traveling with her husband, riding, cycling, and diving.

Ilee (2)

Ilee Finocchiaro

PATH Int'l Certified ESHML/CTRI
Ilee found Smart shortly after moving to Florida in 2014 with her husband, children and two furry family members. Her passion for animals and for helping people led her to volunteering. Since then, Ilee‘s love for SMART’S  mission led  her to pursue her certification as an Equine specialist in mental health and learning along with becoming a certified therapeutic riding instructor. In addition, Ilee is the proud owner of her own horse Snoopy, who is a SMART program horse.
Dalia L

Daila Lybarger

PATH Int'l Certified ESMHL/Mentor
Lisa M

Lisa Morningstar

Program Coordinator and PATH Int'l CTRI /Mentor
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