AWLA Leadership

Senior Staff

Samuel Wolbert
President and CEO

Sam joined AWLA as the President & CEO in September 2017. Since then, AWLA has improved its lifesaving through more adoptions and increased transferred-in animals from under-resourced communities. Prior to his time with AWLA, Sam held roles as an Executive Director for a shelter in Kentucky, a District Leader with the Humane Society of the United States, and an animal rights legislative attorney. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Sam is an Arlington resident and shares his home with a senior pit-mix named Meemaw and two black cats, Leila and Wayne. A native Michigander, Sam loves the fall when it finally cools off and he can spend time outside without mosquitos or humidity.

Amy Schindler

Chief Operating Officer

Amy Schindler an affiliate member of the IAABC Shelter division and certified pet dog trainer (CPDT-KA) is an expert in animal behavior. Amy has evaluated animals for HSUS cruelty cases. She has completed numerous specialized trainings for both canines and felines. Amy has presented twice at HSUS expo, the largest national animal sheltering conference in the United States.  She has also trained and mentored various shelter staff, volunteers and pet owners on behavior, training and enrichment practices. Amy has written published articles for the IAABC Journal and as well as other publications. Previous to joining the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, she was the Operations Manager at the Jacksonville Humane Society where she oversaw the behavior, shelter medical and animalcare departments. During this time she also managed the animal behavior staff for Animal Care and Protective Services, the area’s municipal partner shelter as well as supervising a temporary shelter for dogs with behavior challenges. Over the course of her career. Amy has also taught group classes and private lessons using reward based training methods.  Amy lives with her husband Chris and their six adopted senior dogs.

Ronny Shafer

Director of Finance and Administration

Ronny has worked at the League for more than 20 years starting as an Animal Care Technician. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Business Management. Over the years, she has shared her home with dogs, cats, and a hamster. Currently, her home is ruled by a cat and a dog.

Jennifer Katac, CVA

Director of Community Programs

Jennifer provides humane education lessons to schools and community groups, summer kids’ month programs, and shelter tours. She manages several League programs, including the League’s volunteer, humane education, and community services programs. Jennifer is a 1998 graduate of West Virginia University, where she majored in Biology. She served as a Peace Corps Agriculture/Forestry volunteer in Panama from 1999-2001 and is fluent in Spanish. Jennifer has been with the League since 2003. She is a lifelong lover of all animals but is partial to dogs and birds. Jennifer passed the Certification for Volunteer Administration in April 2016 (exp 2021) and also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, serving as their Treasurer from 2016-2018 and currently serves as their volunteer coordinator.



Kat Williams

Director of Development

Kat started at AWLA in 2014 as a Front Desk and Special Events Volunteer and in 2015 joined the staff as Community Programs Specialist. She later moved to the Development Department where she managed the League’s annual giving program and special events. Kat comes to animal welfare by way of the arts with a BA in French from the College of William & Mary and an MA in the History of American Decorative Arts from Parsons School of Design. She lives in Arlington with two large cats and a small dog – all rescues.

Charnita Fox

Director of Animal Care & Facilities

While born in Georgia, Charnita has been a DC resident since the age of 5. She has always been surrounded by animals as she was raised by a family full of animal lovers. Naturally, she has a genuine concern for all creatures and can’t ever remember not being an advocate for animals. Following high school she had her mind set on becoming a Registered Nurse, but took a different path and became a Certified Veterinary Assistant and has been working in veterinary offices and animal welfare organizations (the Washington Humane Society and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington) ever since.  While employed with WHS now Washington Animal Rescue Alliance she started as an Animal Caretaker and then moved on to manage the Front Desk/Dispatch for DC Animal Control. Previously employed with AWLA she started as an Animal Care Technician, a short stay in the Adoptions department as an Adoption Counselor, and then returning to the kennels as the Manager of Animal Care. Though she has left the animal world a few times she always returns.

Jennifer Toussaint

Chief of Animal Control

Jennifer Toussaint is the Chief of Animal Control in Arlington County, Virginia at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Jennifer joined the Animal Control team in early 2012 as a Deputy and worked her way up to the Chief position in 2016. Since becoming Chief, Jennifer has implemented a local ordinance in relation to exotic animal care and ownership. She has also expanded the Animal Control Departments outreach efforts in providing additional support to pet owners to enable high owner pet retention in the community. She specializes nationally in Humane Urban Wildlife Management practices and has been published multiple times on the topic and presented at the 2017 Humane Society of the United States Expo as well as the National Animal Control Association Conference. Jennifer is the 2017 recipient of the Virginia Animal Control Association Dr. Kent Roberts Animal Control Officer of the Year and received a commendation from the VA General Assembly.  She is a graduate of Moravian College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Spanish. Jennifer shares her home with two dogs- an AWLA alum American Staffordshire terrier mix named Tank and a Boston terrier named Rheagan.

Board of Directors

Gary Sturm


Gary Sturm retired after 34 years of work at the Smithsonian Institution. He is also the founding President of the Capitol Skating Fund, a charitable public foundation that nurtures figure skating in the metropolitan DC region. Gary began as an AWLA volunteer in 2010 and joined the Board in 2013. He enjoys outdoor sports, especially downhill skiing, and is a regular on the jogging trails in Northern Virginia.  Gary lives in Alexandria with his wife, Carlene, and two Great Danes, Danny and Ripley.

Allen Herzbergherzberg


Allen is in his first term with the Board. He also volunteers regularly at AWLA, helping with dog play groups. Allen runs a corporate and individual tax practice in McLean, serving his clients as a CPA for the past 23 years. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in McLean with their two high school age children, Grant and Lauren, and their dog Kenny, a very active yellow Labrador Retriever.

Jen-FullSizeRender (1)Jennifer Case


Jennifer Case is a CPA and has an MBA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She spent eight years in public accounting and has over 10 years of experience in industry accounting working primarily with non-profit organizations. Jennifer is the Controller of the Archdiocese of Washington and is a member of the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women. She previously volunteered for the Washington Humane Society and has a passion for helping animals. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland.

BethHutchBeth Burrous

Beth Burrous is a first term Board member who has been volunteering at AWLA since 2007. She was the AWLA Volunteer of the Year in 2013. Beth also volunteers as a docent and instructor at the United States Botanic Garden. Originally trained as a biochemist, Beth retired in 2008 after a 20 year career in patent law. Beth lives in Arlington with her husband and their beloved dogs Niko and Scout, both adopted from AWLA.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning is the Vice President of Business Development and an Officer of the Company for Synectics for Management Decisions (SMDI). He has also led business development at STG Group (OTCQB:STGG) and held various executive positions within L-3 Communications. Tim is a graduate of Leadership Arlington’s Signature Program, was named in 2016 as a DMV 40 Under 40 by the Leadership Center for Excellence, serves as Chair of the Arlington Community Development Advisory Committee, and is a Commissioner of Economic Development for Arlington. Tim and his dog Hugo are a Pet Therapy team visiting GWU Hospital and Arlington County libraries and is also on the Board of Arlington Street People Assistance Network (ASPAN). In addition, he actively volunteers with the Humane Rescue Alliance Volunteer Leadership Council, Offender Aid Restoration, Business Development Assistance Group of Fairfax, the Arlington Economic Development Group, the Federal Baseball League, and Rebuilding Together of Arlington/Fairfax.

Alice Barrett Feeley

Alice is the Senior Vice President with Paradigm Management Company, located in in Arlington, where she has been employed since 1991. Alice’s support of the AWLA began with the adoption of her family’s cat, Max, in 1999. She and her family later adopted a shelter dog, Molly, through a prison dog training program, located in central Virginia. Alice lives in Arlington with her husband, Brendan and son, Matt. Alice was previously a board member with Doorways for Women and Families.

Carol Freysinger

For the last 20 years, Carol has served as an association manager, working with nonprofits organizations to help them formulate and realize their strategic goals and manage their daily operations. She is delighted to be serving on “the other side of the table” as part of the AWLA’s Board. Carol and her husband, Reid Goldstein, live in Arlington’s Douglas Park neighborhood with their senior pupper, Pepper.

greenlee2Diane Greenlee

Diane has adopted several dogs from AWLA over the years, all of whom have been beloved members of her family. She and her husband, Allen, live in Arlington with their current dogs Lulu, who was adopted through Homeward Trails, and Missy, a Lost Dog alumna.  Diane has three grown daughters, including Ariel, who is an Arlington teacher; Emily, who lives in San Francisco; and Dana, who lives in Philadelphia.  She also has two grandchildren and three granddogs.   Diane is a retired attorney who represented a tax credit syndicator in low-income housing tax credit transactions. Her other community activities include participating in the Arlington Women’s Civic Alliance,  tutoring elementary school children,  and working in the gift shop at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church.

KaplanSally Kaplan

Sally retired in 2010 from ABC News after 33 years.  Since then she has volunteered at the AWLA, working in the dog kennel, dog walking and helping to supervise doggy play groups.  She and her late Golden Riley loved participating in dog assisted therapy with the group at Manor Care for 5 years.  She and her partner Larry live in Arlington with recently adopted Emmi, a lab mix puppy.

Ed Kussy

Ed Kussy

Ed is a partner with Nossaman LLP in Washington, DC. His legal practice focuses on the construction of large transportation projects, public private partnerships, and environmental law. Prior to joining Nossaman in 2008, Ed worked for 34 years in the Chief Counsel’s office of the Federal Highway Administration. He was the Deputy Chief Counsel for the last 18 years of his federal service. Ed’s affection for AWLA comes from his dog Nicki, who his late wife, Erika, and he adopted from the League in 1996. She was part of their family for 17 years and was 21 when she died. Ed lives in Alexandria.

Diva Nagula, D.O.

Diva is a physician who recently moved back to the DC area. He was previously in Florida and had his own practice in the field of interventional pain management. He is a first term board member. In his free time, Diva enjoys playing golf and tennis and trying new restaurants in the area.

Jeffrey NewmanJeffrey Newman, DVM

Jeff Newman has volunteered with the AWLA for the last 13 years. A graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in 1992, he has practiced veterinary medicine in Georgia, Nevada, and in Virginia. He is a co-owner of Caring Hands Animal Hospitals, a group of eight hospitals in Virginia and Maryland. Additionally, he is President of CHASE (Caring Hands Animal Support and Education), a non-profit that promotes veterinary engagement in shelters and provides low-cost surgery for community cats, and is also the immediate past president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.

Sheila Raebel

Sheila has spent the majority of her career providing integrated payment solutions for state and local government agencies. Also, as the owner of a local pet store, Dogma Dog Bakery, Sheila has been a long-time supporter of the League, as well as many local and national animal rescue organizations. Her understanding of the complexities of local governments and the budgetary challenges they face made her realize that there should be a better way to support open access shelters than just limited funding through tax dollars. So, she works with local rescues and small pet and feed stores in rural areas to help support their local shelters. She lives in Arlington with her husband and 16-year-old former shelter dog, Bailey.

Chris Sundlof

Chris Sundlof is a native of the Washington DC metro area and has lived in various parts of Maryland, Virginia, and The District since 1994. Chris began working in the credit union industry in 2005 and has held several key positions leading up to his current role as Vice President of Member Experience at Arlington Community Federal Credit Union as the. Today Chris oversees all strategic and operational aspects of the credit union’s branches, contact center, and marketing and community development efforts. Chris received his bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing at Frostburg State University in 2002, an MBA from the University of Maryland University College in 2008, and is also a graduate of the Leadership Arlington Signature class of 2016. He was a 2017 award recipient of the Arlington Sun Gazette 40 Under 40. Chris is a lifelong animal lover, and in his spare time enjoys exercising and building guitars.