Our Team

Rebecca and Gallagher 040120

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.

Samantha Toomey

Samantha Toomey

Lead PATH Int'l Riding Instructor and PATH Int'l Driving Level I Instructor

Sam joined the volunteer team in 2002.  Her dedication to the riders and horses at SMART was so great that she became a SMART instructor in 2003 and SMART’s full-time Barn Manager in 2005. The daily care of the SMART horses has been in her capable hands ever since.

Stacey with Magic (Resized to 300)

Stacey Volpe

Administrative 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. All of us are THRILLED that Stacey has joined the SMART family!


Melissa Spillenkothen

Volunteer Coordinator (Volunteer)

Melissa joined the SMART volunteer family in 2012 soon after she moved to Florida. When Diana Staab, the former Volunteer Coordinator moved away, Melissa stepped into that role. And are we glad she did!! Melissa loves working with the SMART horses and is involved in many other SMART activities that include volunteering for lessons, programs, and fundraising. Melissa is also a member of SMART's Board of Directors.

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

Kennedy Hawkins

Equine Manager
Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

Zane O'Brien

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

Terri Arnold

Volunteer Coordinator (Volunteer)
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