Meet The Staff Of The Education Department

Haylee B – Associate Director of Education

Haylee graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Animal Science and Management. She originally was trying to become a large mammal veterinarian specializing in chiropractic, but her passion for animals and desire to share that with others led her to a career in humane education. Haylee joined the Education department in 2011 and enjoys connecting people with animals and teaching compassion for all species! She has 2 cats but has grown up and worked with a lot of different animals. She has a special fondness for the animals that are the “unhuggables”, like sharks, snakes, and cockroaches. Haylee has been in San Diego most of her life and loves the great hiking trails and natural beauty here. She creates digital art in her spare time and enjoys reading and playing video games!

Omari M 2024

Omari M – Education Manager

Omari’s lifelong passion for animals and art led him on a journey to pursue his love for creatures great and small. Graduating with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation & Management, with a minor in Landscape Design, he honed his expertise through diverse experiences in animal hospitals, nature centers, zoos, and animal research. Despite his dedication to wildlife, Omari’s artistic flame continued to burn bright, leading him to obtain an MFA in Media Design from Full Sail University. Originally from the East Coast, Omari made the leap to California. Beyond his animal advocacy, Omari finds joy in sports, painting, video games, and hiking with his three Jack Russels named Daniel, Zubee, and Josie.

Kelly R 2024

Kelly R – Animal Care Assistant Manager

Kelly, a native of Valley Center in California, recently graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Film, Television, and New Media Production, along with a minor in Theatre. Despite her strong passion for the arts, Kelly’s love for animals led her to a career in humane education. With experience in caring for various animals, including dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks, and more, Kelly is also an accomplished horseback rider and carriage driver, participating in shows and parades across California. She spends her free time writing, drawing, hiking, and enjoying moments with her family.

Christina W – Education Supervisor

Christina, originally from Southern California, developed her love for animals by visiting local zoos with her family. Her passion for working with animals began early, evolving from dreams of becoming a vet to aspiring to be a zookeeper. She earned her BS in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from UCSD in 2016, sparking a desire to share her knowledge. After graduating, Christina started as a seasonal camp instructor and has since been an integral part of the Education Department in various roles. Beyond her work with animal ambassadors, she spends time with her Pomeranian and pet rats, some of which have participated in our Howl-O-Ween Harvest programs, offering unique interactions to those fortunate enough to meet them.


Samantha M – Camp Lead

Samantha has an Associate’s degree in Communication and has been in the animal field for just over 4 years. She has one dog at home, a rescue that originally came from the Humane Society. In her spare time she likes to read, hang out with her dog, and go to concerts. A fun fact about Samantha is that she swam with whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium.

Caitlin C 2024

Caitlin C– Instructor

Caitlin, a San Diego native, has a longstanding connection with Helen Woodward Animal Center, having volunteered here as a teenager. She pursued her BA at Wellesley College in Boston Massachusetts, where she studied Environmental Studies and Media Arts and Sciences. Her aim was to facilitate and create educational content promoting humane and sustainable living. Now back at Helen Woodward Animal Center, Caitlin is grateful to work with the wonderful animal ambassadors and alongside the dedicated team. Recently, she adopted a new cat named Beast Boy and enjoys spending her free time hiking, rock climbing, or watching movies.

Ellie K 2024

Eliana K – Instructor

Ellie pursued her studies in Biomedical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Since graduating, she has immersed herself in education, serving in diverse roles, including that of a children’s ski instructor. Her lifelong passion for animals, particularly dogs and cows, has been a constant throughout her journey.

Joining the education department at Helen Woodward seamlessly blends Ellie’s love for working with children and animals. A highlight of her role is the opportunity to share her profound affection for animals with children who may be encountering them for the first time. Outside of her work commitments, Ellie enjoys bouldering, hiking, and indulging in her love for line dancing.

Charlie B 2024

Charles B – Instructor

Charles holds a culinary arts degree from the French Culinary Institute in San Jose, CA. Since 2009 he has been dedicated to teaching outdoor education programs, focusing on wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, herbalism, and backpacking. His specialization extends to fostering a love for the natural world among children. Beyond his professional pursuits, Charles maintains a deep-rooted passion for animals. His connection with nature is evident through his enjoyment of hiking and animal tracking. Additionally, he finds joy in quieter moments, whether immersed in a good book, exploring culinary creativity in the kitchen, or strumming tunes on his guitar.

Sollie C 2024

Sollie C – Instructor

Sollie graduated with a B.S. in psychobiology from UCLA and is currently pursuing an MA in Biology at Miami University. Since childhood, her dream was to become a vet, leading her to work at an animal hospital and aspire to become an exotic vet or work with marine life in the future. Her career is driven by her deep love for animals and passion for conserving exotic and marine species. Beyond her professional pursuits, Sollie enjoys dancing, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, and snowboarding. She cherishes her cat named Opai and kingsnake named Alaska. Notably, she is a dedicated advocate for shark conservation and is regarded as the go-to person for anything on sharks at the Center.


David A – Animal Caregiver

David spent two summers as an intern at the San Diego Zoo. He has a small terrier mix named Remus that is a ball of energy. He also recently graduated with his master’s degree in general biology.

Julia M 2024

Julia M – Animal Caregiver

Julie recently finished her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability from San Diego State University. She’s very excited to be a part of the team at Helen Woodward, where she works as an Education Animal Care Giver looking after all the animal ambassadors. Before joining the center, Julia worked in education and cared for exotic birds at a local sanctuary, where he love for animals flourished. When she’s not at work, Julia loves snorkeling, hiking, playing Dungeons and Dragons with her buddies, or just enjoying a stroll in the park with her 11-year old dachshund mix.

Andrew 2024

Andrew P – Animal Caregiver

Andrew is currently in his third year at Miramar and Mesa College, undecided on a major but actively participating in the automotive and American Sign Language programs. With a background of three years at Petco and a stint running a mobile detailing business for a year and a half, Andrew sought new opportunities and found Helen Woodward to be an amazing fit. Beyond work, his passion lies in cars, and he’s currently building a racecar Nissan 350z. He also finds joy in art and drawing, as it allows him to be creative and find unique ways to express himself. Outside of these pursuits, he absolutely loves spending time with his dog, Chicken, and his tarantula, Rumsplikit.


Taylor C – On Call Instructor

Taylor is studying at San Diego State University, majoring in Elementary Education. Through her college education, she has had the opportunity to observe and teach lessons on the core subjects in elementary school classrooms throughout San Diego County, and take courses related to classroom management and child development. She has been involved with the Center for six years now, beginning as a volunteer in the Adoptions department and eventually transitioning to Critter Camp, where she has worked over the past year. As a Critter Camp counselor, she has combined her love for education and wildlife, while also gaining knowledge and experience working with children and various exotic animals.  A fun fact about Taylor is that she was named after a president!


Cali M – On Call Instructor

Cali is originally from Ventura, California. She attended college at UC Berkeley and has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has always had a passion for working with children and animals. For many years she worked as a behavioral therapist working with children with special needs. She loves being part of the education department because she gets to meet so many new kiddos and teach them about the wonderful animal ambassadors at Helen Woodward Animal Center. When she is not at work, you can find Cali camping, making art, or exploring her neighborhood of North Park.


Mikayla L- On-Call Instructor

Mikayla is attending the University of Arizona, studying veterinary science, as she hopes to one day be a vet. She has always loved animals and she used to work at a preschool for a little over a year, so working with animals and kids is the best of both worlds for her! When she’s not working at the Center, she is a server at Olive Garden. Mikayla likes to go to the beach with her dogs or spend time with family and friends. A fun fact about Mikayla is that she is allergic to most animals, but she’s too passionate about their well-being to work in any other industry!

Ava B.

Ava B – On Call Instructor

Ava enjoy riding horses, reading, and hanging out with her family. She plans on pursuing veterinary medicine in the future and one fun fact about her is that she has 14 pets!


Kaitlyn I – On Call Instructor

Kaitlyn is a passionate educator who has lived in San Diego since she was very young. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a teaching credential from National University. She has always loved animals and enjoys sharing this passion while teaching the importance of compassion toward all living beings. Kaitlyn believes strongly in being a lifelong learner and takes every opportunity she can to learn something new. When she is not at work, she is watching movies and playing video games with her partner or spending time with her bearded dragon named Gene.

Due to Hurricane Hilary, all  departments will be closing at 3pm today.  Stay safe!