Leadership & Staff

Christopher Baity
Executive Director & Director of K9 Programs
Christopher Baity is an OEF/OIF veteran Marine Corps dog trainer and kennel master with three combat deployments, one civilian deployment and two additional overseas deployments with working dogs. He has over 16 years of dog training and handling experience. Currently a Certified Dog Trainer (CDT), evaluator and service dog instructor, Baity is proficient in animal behavior, obedience training, and kennel management.

Baity was awarded 'Top Dog Award' while attending Military Working Dog Handler's Course at Lackland AFB. He also studied in Israel under the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Oketz Dog Program with 3 other Marines and 5 SSDs, this was the only class to complete dog training and "Train the Trainer" course. This formal training, along with his combat deployments and civilian K9 career have prepared him for developing and implementing operations at Semper K9 Assistance Dogs. Baity specializes in mobility and psychiatric alert service dogs and enjoys being able to connect with veterans and help them regain confidence and independence.

Baity has recently been awarded Red Bandanna Hero of the Year by American Heroes Channel and a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine.
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Amanda Baity
Director of Operations
Amanda Causey Baity is currently publisher of American Service Dogs Magazine and Prince William Living‘s Director of Operations and Photo Editor. She recently took over the role of Media Director for Brides & Weddings of Northern Virginia. An Atlanta native, she has 8 years of print & online media experience. In her early work career, she was Controller for a multi-million dollar corporation in Atlanta as she attended college.

While finishing her degrees in Optometry and Astro-Biology she worked as a family service worker for the Department of Health & Human Services Head Start Program. She is currently an officer on the board of directors for the Northern Virginia Veterans Association and Vice President of Give Back Prince William.

Her family's rich military heritage along with being the spouse of an OEF/OIF Marine Combat Veteran make her a perfect advocate for veteran rights. Amanda is currently continuing her education with various classes on PTS, TBI and Family Counseling for Military Families. She plans to enroll at Adler University this fall to begin a Masters program in Psychology with specialization in Military Psychology.
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Jonathan Alexander, GySgt, USMC (ret)
Veteran Resource Coordinator
Alexander was born on 02 October 1982 in Stuttgart West Germany. He holds a bachelor of arts in Music from George Mason University. Gunnery Sergeant Alexander enlisted March 15, 2004. Upon completion of Recruit Training from MCRD San Diego, He reported to Marine Combat Training Battalion for Basic Infantry Training. Upon completion of MCT, Gunnery Sergeant Alexander reported for duty at Marine Barracks Washington, DC with the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. In 2013, Gunnery Sergeant Alexander attended Career Course at Quantico, VA where he was a Platoon Sergeant and graduated December 2013. He also completed the nonresident Senior Enlisted Joint PME. From 2006-2015, Gunnery Sergeant Alexander has been a featured soloist that has performed all over the world for many National and Foreign dignitaries, to include being a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic. In December 2014 Gunnery Sergeant Alexander was assigned as the Administrative Chief, Drum & Bugle Corps Company. Alexander retired from the Marine Corps 22 Sept 2017.

Gunnery Sergeant Alexander is married to Ashley Martin of Nampa, ID. They have four children, Jonathan, Lové, Terrence, and Leila. Alexander’s personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct medal with three bronze stars, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
Rebecca Barnes
Board of Directors
Rebecca Barnes has been a business owner for more than 20 years, starting and running several award winning companies in Prince William County. Rebecca served for 12 years on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and was its youngest female Chairman.(Regional) She was a founding task force member, first (co) Chairman and graduated from the first class of Leadership Prince William. Over the years, Rebecca has received numerous honors and awards while serving her community including the Seefeldt Arts Award, Business supporter of the year and three time award winner, Business of the year,Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
Rebecca serves on the Executive committee and Board of Regents for Leadership Prince William and is Chair of the Marketing Committee. She is also the Chair of the Valor awards Committee, for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Rebecca is the Publisher of Prince William Living and Brides & Weddings magazines.
Rebecca is also an active volunteer for the Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department as a board member and the Public Relations Specialist / Public Information Officer, where she serves as liaison to elected officials and acts as the PIO during major incidents. Rebecca studied at Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge Virginia. She continued her education at George Mason University, studying History and Secondary Education.
Kayla Calix-Hestick
Veteran Care Coordinator
Kayla Calix-Hestick is a Marine Corps Veteran and wife of an OIF Marine Corps combat veteran. Kayla is originally from Columbia, MD with a passion for giving back to service members thanks to her extensive military family lines. Her grandfathers served support of WWII and post WWII, one enlisted in the Coast Guard and the other was an officer in the Army and later became Commissioner of GSA. Her brother is retired Navy, her in-laws are Air Force veterans, and she has several cousins who serve(d) in the Air Force and Army.

Kayla has over 10 years of administrative and customer service experience with plans to pursue a degree in Social Work.
Julia Furgurson
Grant Writer
Julia recently graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Public Policy and Administration, and a minor in Sociology. While at JMU, she volunteered her time with several different non-profits and soon realized this is where she hoped to build a career. The summer before her senior year she worked as an intern at Comfort Zone camp, where she helped to coordinate a bereavement camp for young children who had lost a parent in the line of duty. Since then, Julia hoped for another chance to work with and support veterans and their families.

A Richmond native currently residing in Staunton, Virginia, Julia works part-time with Blue Ridge Court services writing grants and assisting offenders in their transition back into the community. When she’s not working, she finds that she is happiest spending time with her family, throwing pottery, and hiking the Blue Ridge trails. Julia enjoys being creative both inside and outside of work and believes that her passion for animals, experience with non-profits, and dedication to the veteran community makes her a good match as Semper K9’s Fundraising Coordinator.
Joan Holyfield
Volunteer Coordinator
Joan has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember, and is thrilled to combine her love of dogs with the opportunity to work with a phenomenal organization. Joan has worked in Human Resources for the past 33 years and currently works on the TSA account. She has also held her real estate license for 16 years. Joan’s father, brother in law, brother and niece served in the military in the WWII, Vietnam and Iraq wars. She is honored to assist service members in need. In her spare time, Joan loves walks in the country, hiking and photography. She is a Penn State Alumni and former PSU Women’s Volleyball player. She is also an avid Steelers fan and a fan of any sport her boys are playing!
Eliza Jamison
K9 Care Coordinator
Eliza is a senior attending Hylton High School through their International Studies and Languages Program. She was inspired to study the French language after living in Belgium for 4 years. Living in Belgium she also grew a love for traveling, which included most of Europe.

Eliza has always loved helping people and fell in love with the idea of doing so through dogs. She has ambitions to continue training dogs as a future career. Semper K9 is a great way to prepare her for a rewarding career working with canines.
Kelley Kearns
Fundraising Coordinator
A proud Army brat and dog lover, Kelley Marie Kearns hails from Ozark, AL and has resided in Woodbridge since 2015. Currently, Kelley is employed as a full-time counselor at Prince William County Community Services as a substance abuse clinician and is passionate about bringing new and creative ways to connect with her clients. For Kelley, this includes integrating the powerful and healing force of canine therapy into her work.

Her professional specialties include working with seriously mentally ill clients and working with veterans. In her free time, Kelley enjoys spending time with her 13-year-old Siberian Husky, Diamond and her 11-month-old German Shepard Dixie. She also enjoys traveling and weekly horse jumping sessions and of course her volunteer work with SemperK9.
Shelby Lukes
K9 Coach Coordinator
Shelby Lukes is a high school student with a passion for animals and helping others. She aspires to be a horse trainer in the future and uses her time at Semper K9 training and assisting other K9 Coaches while helping manage the K9 Programs.
Stacy Magid
Events Coordinator
Stacy has been a K9 Coach with Semper K9 since the fall of 2015. What started out as a community service project for her daughter Sara’s Bat Mitzvah became a family affair and has turned into a true passion for service dog training. She has enjoyed working with both Kiernan and Lizzy and seeing them learn specialized psychological and mobility tasks. Stacy is honored to be a part of the Semper K9 family and looks forward to helping further it's mission. Stacy is also a REALTOR with Century 21 New Millennium.
Kim Murray
Board Member
Kim Murray provides admin support to Semper K9. She comes from a military (Marines and Navy) and first responder (police, fire and rescue) family. A Richmond native, she has lived in PWC for 30+ years. Kim is passionate about volunteer and community work, and is grateful to support Semper K9, especially as a local charity. She admires and respects Semper K9’s mission and purpose, and looks forward to working with the team on projects and activities.

Kim works for a local utility company and has been an admin professional for almost 40 years.
Tisa Newhouse
Board Member & Volunteer Coordinator
Tisa is a physical therapist assistant working in an assisted living facility and has also worked in acute care and outpatient orthopedics over the past 20 years. Along with her husband and son, Tisa has been a K9 Coach with Semper K9 since the fall of 2015. Her dad and father in law were both in the military and she loves dogs, so she is honored to be a part of the Semper K9 family and Board of Directors and looks forward to helping further it's mission.

In her free time, Tisa enjoys watching Penn State football, Flyers hockey and her son AJ on the lacrosse and baseball fields or the basketball court.
Amy Parrish
Grants Coordinator
Amy Parrish has been a resident of Prince William County for over 30 years. She has been supporting Government contracts as a Technical Writer for the last 15+ years. Amy’s father served 20 years as an MP in the Army and was deployed to Operation Desert Storm. Both of her grandfathers served in military, serving in WWII, the Korean Conflict, and Vietnam. Amy has been looking for a way to give back and was very excited to find Semper K9; where she can combine her love of dogs with assisting veterans. In her free time, she likes spending time with both of her daughters, reading, kayaking, making dog toys and playing with her two rescue dogs (Milo – a mix and Peanut – a Beagle).


AJ is a 7th grader who enjoys lacrosse, baseball, basketball and Xbox. Growing up with labs, AJ has always loved big dogs. Both of his Grandfathers served in the military, so Semper K9 Assistance Dogs was a great fit for him. Thanks to the encouragement of fellow K9 coach and friend Sara, AJ started working with Buster in the fall of 2015 and immediately fell in love. He has enjoyed working with the dogs, learning to train them and experiencing the entire process.

Along with his parents and 2 "brothers", Zeke and Chase, they have been working with Buster at home since early 2016 and look forward to the day he graduates and is able to support a disabled veteran. He looks forward to working with other dogs and veterans in the future.
Avery Family
Wayne is a retired DoD Acquisition Specialist and holds degrees from West Virginia Institute of Technology and George Washington University. After a highly successful Government career, he worked as Consultant supporting other Government Agencies.

Linda is a retired Prince William County Schools bookkeeper. Linda’s father serviced in the Air Force during the Korean War and her step-father is a retired Navy veteran who served in Vietnam. They have been married more than 40 years and have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Having always had pet dogs and after the passing of their 11-year-old Siberian Husky, Semper K-9 was the perfect fit to continue their service to the community.
Clara & Pamela
Clara is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and a student at Forest Park High School. Her interests include dance, drama, music and animals. Clara's father and uncle are USMC Vietnam Veterans and her brother is a Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served two tours in Iraq.

Clara first became aware of Semper K9's mission through the Dog Days of Summer event at the Museum in Quantico, where Mr. Baity and his son Beau were raising public awareness about the organization. Her desire to volunteer to benefit both veterans and animals has drawn her and her parents into the Semper K9 family. Clara is currently working as a K9 Coach for Kiernan.

Pamela Bird is spouse of a USMC Vietnam Veteran, mother to 3 including a Marine Corps OIF Combat Veteran and a retired teacher. She works with her daughter Clara to support Semper K9 as a K9 coach in honor of her son's experience.
Holyfield Family
Our family has always looked for ways to ‘give back’ for all the blessings God has given us. Our friend Tisa told us about Semper K9 and introduced us to the program. Combining our family’s love of shelter and rescue dogs with an opportunity to give back to the defenders of our great Nation has been a perfect fit! Austin and Hunter are students at Marsteller Middle School and play baseball, basketball, and practice Parkour. They are also avid animal lovers. We have always rescued adult dogs, and the boys were interested in having a puppy. We joined Semper K9 in the spring of 2016 and have had the privilege of working with future service dog, Marti, since she was 13 weeks old. She has been a joy to train. We are honored to work with such a dedicated, caring, and hard working group and hope to continue this work for many years to come.
Kate and Grace James
K9 Coaches
Kate and Grace James began volunteering with Semper K9 in the Spring of 2017. They both have a passion for dogs and have always been fascinated by the versatility of service dogs. After learning about Semper K9, they realized that it was a great fit and an even more worthwhile cause. With beloved family members having served in the military, they love the fact they are helping Veterans. Kate, a Baltimore native, is an IT recruiter for a small defense company in Northern Virginia and has been in the HR field for over 15 years. She has lived in Northern VA for almost 20 years. Grace is currently attending Brenstville District High School and is enrolled in the Cambridge Program. She is involved in numerous activities including swim, crew, robotics and student government. Currently, Kate and Grace are helping the Magid family coach Morti and love every minute of it!
Sara Magid
Youth Advisor
Sara is a student at Colgan High School. She enjoys field hockey, tennis, getting together with friends and most of all working with Semper K9. Sara got involved with Semper K9 as a community service project for her Bat Mitzvah, and decided to continue training different dogs. Sara is now working with her third dog, Morti and is looking forward to the experiences to come.
Sophia is a sophomore and is currently enrolled in online school. She grew up a Military Brat and has lived in Europe and the US. She loves the opportunity to help veterans and their families. When she isn’t training dogs, she enjoys horse riding, and spending time with her friends. Sophia looks forward to becoming a full time K9 Coach soon.