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Meet Our Educators and Canine Certified Trainers

Education and Community Outreach Team

Inge Koopman-Leyva
Director of Education & Community Outreach

Inge Koopman-Leyva is recognized throughout the region as an innovative, creative and organized leader in Humane Education serving Tucson, Arizona for almost two decades in Humane Education. She is an active member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators and the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona. Inge moved to Tucson in 2003 from her birth state of New York where she lived in Brooklyn while working in New York City for many years as a Veterinary Technician and Membership Associate for the American Museum of Natural History. She has her B.A. in Anthropology, with a minor in Sustainable Development from Hunter College in NYC.

Amy Faulk
Outreach and Resource Manager

Amy has been with the organization since 2017 and currently holds the title of Outreach and Resource Manager. She organizes and conducts many of the education programs for children at HSSA, including the Hand in Paw Kids Club, Paws & Pages, Birthday PAW-ties, and Movie and Cuddle. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2013 with BA in Psychology. Prior to working at HSSA, she worked at the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault doing crisis intervention as a crisis advocate. When she is not working at HSSA, she enjoys snuggling with her two dogs, Oak and Thor, and dancing for the Leaps for Lives Dance Company and holds the position of Secretary for the company.

Monica Kothe
Humane Education Lead

Monica comes to HSSA with a love for teaching and a passion for animals. As the Humane Education Lead, she runs camp activities, manages in-school visits, hosts onsite field trips, and coordinates the Hand in Paw Youth Intern Program. Before Monica joined in 2022, she served with FoodCorps and AmeriCorps in their school outreach program at TUSD, teaching kids about healthy foods, nourishment, and how to plant and harvest their own crops at school. She graduated from the University of Arizona with double degrees in Political Science and Public Management and Policy. In her spare time, Monica can often be found spoiling and brokering peace between her two cats, Oz and Neptune.

Dylan Jones
Children's Programs Coordinator

Dylan is a new addition to HSSA, and a fresh transplant to Tucson. He comes to us from Colorado, where he recently completed his Masters in Zoo, Aquarium, and Animal Shelter Management. During his time at Colorado State, he taught undergraduate Biology labs and led a team of students in positive reinforcement training to help former laboratory animals find their forever homes. Prior to graduating, Dylan interned with Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida where he led summer camp programs and worked as a zookeeper. He received his B.A. in Anthropology from Indiana University, where he specialized in Primatology and Human Paleontology, and conducted field research on four species of monkeys in Costa Rica. Once terrified of public speaking, Dylan is a Certified Interpretive Guide and now enjoys any opportunity to share his passion for the natural world. Dylan has a love for action sports, especially longboard racing, and formerly competed in World Cup downhill races. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, hiking, or spending time with his goldendoodle Frankie.

Certified Canine Trainers Team

Veronica Zimmerman
Community Canine Programs Manager

Veronica has practiced her passion of helping people and animals through her work at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona for over 5 years. Veronica previously operated her own animal training business for over 8 years, providing certification for Trick Animals and Service Dogs. Veronica also conducted temperament assessments for service animals at Handi-Dogs Inc. for over 3 years. She currently trains, and evaluates therapy animal and crisis response dog team volunteers for animal assisted activities, animal assisted therapy, and crisis response program and organizes and instructs the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen classes. She is also the author of “Dog; A Diabetic’s Best Friend – Diabetic and Glycemic Alert Dog Training Guide”

Ana Mendoza
Community Canine Programs Coordinator

Ana Mendoza is a dedicated animal lover with a profound passion for canine education and behavior. From harboring a childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist driven by killer whale activism, Ana's journey took an unexpected turn into the world of dog training.

Having spent three years specializing in basic obedience and canine behavior, Ana has found her stride as a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator. Her commitment to positive training techniques and her recent achievement of the Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) certification showcase her dedication to humane and effective training practices.

Ana's venture into dog training was sparked by her own dog's transformation from reactivity to confidence through consistent training. This transformative experience ignited her mission to assist others in achieving positive changes with their canine companions.

In her free time, Ana enjoys drawing, playing videogames, hiking, and karaoke sessions with friends.