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Member Spotlight:  Stacey Zeitlin

We are so excited to feature one of our most longstanding and valued members, Stacey Zeitlin. Stacey began her career at San Diego Humane Society over twenty years ago as a camp counselor, and she immediately knew she had found her passion. She transitioned to an Educator where she played an integral role in developing and building the education program at SDHS. Over the next two decades, she grew her career and worked in various positions throughout the organization and is now Vice President of Community Impact where she oversees the Community Engagement, Volunteer Engagement and Resource Center departments. While her job description may have changed, her passion and dedication for humane education has always remained at the forefront of her work. She continues to be an advocate for humane education and understands the important role it plays in all areas of the animal welfare field. Stacey’s team describes her as a compassionate, supportive, open and involved leader, and Stacey brought these same traits to her work on the APHE Board of Directors where she served for 4 years as a Membership Secretary and 3 years as President. We are so fortunate that Stacey continues to share her expertise and experience with the Board as a Senior Advisor. She brings a unique historical perspective and a voice of reason to our meetings and always challenges us to think and discover new ways to support our membership. Thank you Stacey for being a mentor, a role model and an inspiration to all of us!

How did you get involved in Humane Education?

In the spring of 2002, my husband and I moved to San Diego. At the time I was an elementary school teacher and was looking for something to do that summer to keep busy, earn some extra cash and stay out of trouble! I saw a job listing in the San Diego newspaper for a camp counselor at a local animal shelter – yes, companies used to post jobs in real paper newspapers and people read them and then could apply. I had never known about Humane Education before but saw the posting to work with children and animals and thought they had created the role just for me! 

That summer, mornings were filled with fun animal interactions, activities, crafts, games and books with pre-k students and then afternoons were spent assisting with administrative duties connected to the camp working closely with their year-round staff. As the summer drew to a close, the organization was not hiring for their Humane Education department, but they knew that San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) was hiring a part-time educator so they made the recommendation, I applied for the position and I haven’t looked back!  

On September 30, I celebrated my 20-year work anniversary and was so honored that members of the APHE board of directors who were having a mid-year meeting at SDHS could join in the celebration! 

How did you become involved with APHE?

I attended my first APHE conference in 2003 in Indianapolis and was inspired by meeting so many people doing all kinds of Humane Education programs across the country! The conference is extremely valuable in providing learning and networking opportunities, and I am so glad for all of our members that it will be back in person this year. If you haven’t been to one, you must go!

I joined the board of directors soon after in 2004 and held various roles such as recording secretary, membership secretary, president and conference chair over my 12 years serving. I was honored at the 2018 conference in Orlando to be awarded a Life Membership, and I currently serve as an advisor providing input and historical information when needed. I learned so much professionally and made so many incredible connections while serving on the board that I highly encourage you all to consider running for board positions when they become available. It can be hard work, but well worth the effort knowing that that work is supporting Humane Educators and their efforts across the globe. 

What changes have you seen over the years in the field of Humane Education, and what do you think we can expect in the future?

When I started, our Humane Education programs, while fun and impactful for animals and children, were not really connected to the goals of the organization or the needs of the community. While our programs are still engaging, over the years we’ve worked to connect them more to the strategic initiatives of the organization leading to much more impactful interactions. This has included more collaboration with community members to learn about their needs, such as aligning school outreach lessons with standards and learning objectives, creating a Pet Essential class that our Humane Officers can refer community members to when they issue citations and hosting pet food distributions and vaccine clinics at schools where we regularly attend, strengthening our connection with local families.   

Continuing to evaluate program offerings and ensure they support the overall organization’s mission and community’s needs is critical. With more organizations focusing on supporting people and animals in the community before or instead of in the shelter itself, Humane Educators are in a unique position to effect change and make an impact since Humane Education programs actively build the relationships that can connect organizations with the people and animals they serve.

About APHE’s Member Spotlight: 

Each month, APHE seeks to spotlight members of the organization that has done one of the following: 

  1. Demonstrated leadership and commitment to the field of humane education
  2. Created a program or activities that have created accessibility and/or inclusion for others
  3. Expanded learning opportunities 
  4. Used creative approaches to education and learning
Have a member you would like to recommend?  Submit your recommendation to members@aphe.org.  
Past Member Spotlights
  1. Judith Liu, Pet Partners Evaluator & Therapy Dog Volunteer Team Certified Eagala Practitioner
  2. César Díaz, Animal Protection New Mexico
  3. Cay Maynard, Children's Center of Hamden
  4. Valerie Ingram and Alistair Schroff, Lakes Animal Friendship Society
  5. Kylie Wiest, Charleston Animal Society
  6. Nicole Green, Animal Learn
  7. Robin O'Brien, Wisconsin Humane Society
  8. Maddie Krasno, Farm Sanctuary
  9. Adora Negron, Humane Society of Puerto Rico
  10. Shawna Weaver, Walter Munk Foundation

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