Senior Staff

Neil Trent


Neil has 30 years experience in promoting animal welfare. He began his career with the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in its Law Enforcement Division. He has also served as the Executive Director of Humane Society International and most recently has run shelters in California and Colorado. Most recently he was the recipient of the prestigious Humane Society International Outstanding Animal Protection Award. Neil is the proud guardian of two rescue dogs, Rosie and Evie, and Daisy a rescue cat.

Susan Sherman

Chief Operating Officer

Susan has been with the League since 1996 in a number of roles including newsletter editor, Webmaster, and database manager. Her previous experience was as an editor and as an urban planner. She graduated from Vanderbilt University and has a Masters in Planning from the University of Virginia. She has shared her home with cats, a guinea pig, and rabbits and dogs.

Ronny Shafer

Director of Finance and Administration

Ronny has worked at the League for over 18 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 Newman, 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 is also on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, currently serving as their Treasurer.




Kevin Simpson

Director of Behavior and Adoptions

Having shared his childhood with a large variety of companion animals, Kevin began training dogs as a hobby in the mid-1980s before making animal behavior and training his career in the 1990s. Kevin earned his CPDT in 2003 and, prior to joining the League, served as general manager for one of the East Coast’s premiere pet resorts, as the animal care manager and then behavior director for an inner-city animal shelter. Most recently, he helped design training modules for Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy program.

Kevin resides in Gaithersburg with his two adopted pets:  a Chihuahua/Cavalier mix named Dallas, a Pointer mix named Witten and a pup-in-program, Romy, whom he’s raising as a future guide dog.

danielleDanielle Altenburg

Director of Development

Danielle graduated from Champlain College in Vermont with a degree in Professional Writing and a job in Journalism. Five years later she accepted a job at Girl Scouts, and soon learned that non-profit work was the perfect match. Her love of animals was soon realized when she began working for the Washington Animal Rescue League as Associate Director of Development. She is excited to be a part of the team at the League and looking forward to making a difference in the lives of animals and the surrounding community. She and her husband live in Arlington with their two adopted dogs: Annabelle and Sadie, and their adopted cat: Gus.