Samuel Schwall

Sam is a parent of one of former EAL students at SPIRIT, and one Riding Instructor. Life and professional experience in business management and non profit management makes him an important leader in SPIRIT. Sam has been recognizing the value of SPIRIT Mission, supporting the program generously with financial contributions as well as advocacy.

Cynda Zurfluh

Vice President
Cynda is the mom of one of our EAL students. She started as a volunteer in our Therapeutic Riding program and her knowledge and experience in PR and marketing make Cynda a tremendous asset to our organization.

Vesma Montvillo

Vesma started as a volunteer in our Therapeutic Riding program and engaged as a member of the Executive Committee. She is active in all aspects of SPIRIT, including the SPIRIT Academy, and her knowledge and experience in accounting is crucial and very much appreciated. Vesma is the first certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor at SPIRIT Academy and currently serves as Treasurer with her knowledge and skills in financial business area.

Davorka Suvak

Founder, Secretary, Director
Davorka (Dada) was the founder and Executive Director of the Spirit Open Equestrian Program (2006-2020), she implements her vision of urban horsemanship – creating a way to improve the quality of life in society. At the end of October 2020, Dada retired herself as ED of SPIRIT and moved back to Croatia. Currently, she is a Director of SPIRIT and runs an educational program IBOLDA in Croatia, dedicated to education and training in non profit and Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies management and standards. A professional manager in the equine industry. A dedicated educator, life coach, trainer, riding and therapeutic riding instructor and Para Equestrian trainer (National Coach and Selector of Croatian Para Dressage Team 1999-2005). She has decades of experience as a coach and educator of equine assisted activities; in addition, she has since 1993 involved in starting one of first Therapeutic Riding program in Easter Europe (MOGU – Croatia) Davorka has extended experience in non profit management in EU and USA.

Lauren Wong

Director of SPIRIT Academy
Lauren has been involved with individuals with special needs via extracurricular activities like Special Olympics’ events and classroom work with students on the autism spectrum. To further serve children and their families, in a unique way, she joined SPIRIT as a volunteer in April 2015. She is former Chairmen of SPIRIT, an extraordinary instructor and her commitment to continuing training and education made her a Director of SPIRIT Academy program.

Leslie Vernon

Her endless energy, amazing social skills and compassion, together with dedication to the SPIRIT mission, makes her an important source of energy and ideas as a Director of the Board and as a member of the Fundraising Committee. Leslie manages the financial area of the office in the role of bookkeeper and is a member of the Financial Committee.

Robert Mennell

After the first day of volunteering with SPIRIT’s therapeutic riding program, Rob decided to join the Board of Directors, in order to continue serving. As the President of the BOD, he brings great exposure through his professional, personal and veteran networks.

Patricia Sullivan

Everything important to Patty is embodied in the SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program. She has served as the Chairperson of SPIRIT’s Board of Directors in 2015 and is currently is the consultant for programs SPIRIT provides for local government. Patty’s commitment, to SPIRIT is all the way from time and energy to the generous support which saved SPIRIT while it was growing into organization it is now.

Louise Peterson

Louise has been with SPIRIT from the early beginnings in 2026, supporting our organization in different ways, from professional advocacy, fundraising to social connections in the Horsemans world of NOVA area. Louise is a horse enthusiast from an early age. Currently, she is the mother of a horse-crazy daughter; she has also been involved in the breeding and raising of sport horses, for the disciplines of dressage, eventing and hunter/jumpers, for the past twenty three years.

Diane Pires

Diane has worked with SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program since 2013. She has vast experience with the Program as a participant, a program activities volunteer and a valuable project manager for different public relations and fundraising. Diane’s dedication, professional and personal skills, play an important role in PR, and fundraising management of out Team.

Douglas Gaibler

Doug and his family have been members of the SPIRIT community for years. Doug’s daughter participates in one of our programs. Organizing fundraising events and supporting our Sully Farm Project are areas that Doug is committed to serve. Beside being a supporter and an advocate, Doug is volunteering in AM Barn management operations several days a week.

More about Doug (coming soon)


Jennifer Cibula

Jennifer is a strong ADA advocate, mom of SPIRIT two students, and experienced in non profit activities and management. Her kind and wise presence at our Board brings special energy and inspiration to the whole Team.

More about Jennifer (coming soon)


Chuck Gumas

Chuck has been active in Fundraising and other committees for years since his daughter was a student in our EAL Program. He is a committed supporter and advocate for SPIRIT’s Mission. Chuck’s wisdom and kindness are special gift to our Board

Claire Hosker

Claire is committed to SPIRIT’s Mission through personal experience of how our program makes changes in the lives of young people. She is active in outreach work spreading the word about SPIRIT in our community and is the leader of collaboration with public and private schools in the area.

More about Claire (coming soon)


Rachel Schwall


More about Rachel (coming soon)