Assistant Training Director
Gina comes to us as Business Development and Assistant Training Director, with over 20 years of non-profit work experience and a passion for animals. Gina helps us to serve our veteran community with the power of service dogs. Experienced in all aspects of business operations, her talents include impressive fundraising and event planning from conception to execution. She is the mother of three boys; her youngest currently attends the United States Naval Academy.
Trainer/Residential Assistant Director
Taylor brings a remarkable range of experience to Next Step, following her career as a dolphin trainer for the Navy and later as an educator and trainer of exotic animals at San Diego Zoo. Touched deeply by the needs of wounded warriors and the huge joy of seeing service dogs help them, Taylor loves training our service dogs for and with our veterans, and works closely with the Navy treatment program for severe PTSD military.
Senior Trainer - Veteran
With over eight years of training service dogs, Ellen brings much joy and compassion to each dog and client. As a California state court employee, Ellen has brought service dogs to work for years. She allows the dogs to have a great start as a service dog through the encounters in downtown San Diego.
Jeff Tesoro has established himself as a superb professional canine trainer. He has over 20 years experience evaluating rescued dogs and providing private and group classes for obedience, distance work, and therapy work. Jeff is a wonderful addition to our staff of volunteer trainers, and offers Next Step service dog training in Orange County to help veterans north of San Diego.
Trainer - Veteran
John Tipton joined NSSD in March 2016. He retired after 22 years with the US Marine Corps in the mid-1990s, and highlights of his service include 3 Combat Actions, a Navy Commendation Medal for his Inspector Instructor duties, and a Navy Achievement Medal for Actions in Beirut, Lebanon. After his service, he acted in a number of security positions, before joining the NSSD team. John brings more than 22 years of management and leadership experience in training and coordination in the United States Marine Corps. His skills include motivating others toward high achievements, the ability to multi-task in high pressure situations, and the quick evaluation of processes to develop effective issue resolution.