Meet the TROT Staff

Jeff Copfer
Executive Director

Email: jcopfer@trotarizona.org
(520) 749-2360 Ext. 601

Jeff has been married to his wife, Amy, for 29 years, and they have three children.

They live only five minutes from TROT with  their two horses: Ernie who is an Arabian/Saddlebred mix and Bert who is an Arabian.

 

Jeff was born and raised in West Berlin, Germany.  After completing High School in Germany, he joined the US Air Force and finished his nearly nine-year career as an Instructor at Vandenberg AFB in California and then transitioned into law enforcement.

For 26 years, he was a deputy sheriff with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department ascending to the rank of Captain. He ended his career  in law enforcement as the Administrative Division Commander responsible for strategic oversight and guidance of the 160-million-dollar department budget, recruiting, human resources for the over 1,400 employees of the department and the training section responsible for the police and corrections academies.  He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University, Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, U of A Southwest Leadership Program, FBI LEEDA Command and Executive Leadership Institutes, and the Arizona Leadership Program.

With over a decade of mid to executive level experience in budgeting, human resources, project management, strategic planning, and organizational leadership, TROT is the home he always yearned for. #StrongerTogether

Margaux DeConcini
Development Director

Email: mdeconcini@trotarizona.org

(520) 749-2360 Ext. 602

Margaux is a native Tucsonan and her belief in the power of TROT first stemmed from her volunteer experience at TROT when she was in high school. Margaux has always been involved with horses through 4-H and local shows. Margaux is an Apprentice Graduate of Al-Marah Arabian Horses, where she studied Equine Husbandry and Training. Margaux has always understood the healing properties of the human-horse connection leading her to complete a Master of Social Work degree through the University of Southern California. Margaux focused on social change and innovation with a specialty concentration in equine-assisted therapies. Her experience in grant writing, program evaluation and events will help to propel TROT’s legacy.

Laura Bissing
Volunteer Coordinator

Email: volunteer@trotarizona.org

(520) 749-2360 Ext: 612

Laura grew up in Tucson, AZ and after traveling across the country for her degrees, has returned to the desert. She holds a B.S. in Communications from NAU and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University. Throughout her life she has been very service minded with a wide breadth of volunteer experience ranging from animal rescue and therapeutic riding to pro bono services and youth recreation programs. She is always eager to learn new things and believes some of her best teachers have been the four legged and furry kind. She is excited to put her skills to good use as Volunteer Coordinator at TROT.

Carolyn Ohrel
Office Manager

Email: info@trotarizona.org

(520) 749-2360 Ext: 600

Growing up in Alabama, horses were the focal point of Carolyn’s life, including pony club and eventing. She migrated to Arizona for college and later worked as a sign language interpreter, paralegal, and fitness coach before finally finding her dream job at TROT where her passion truly lies.

Dora Kafkaridou Brown
Program Director

Email: dkafkaridou@trotarizona.org

(520) 749-2360 Ext: 608

Dora was born in Cyprus and has been a Tucson resident for the last 25 years. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and has dedicated her career to non-profits. Dora was involved in behavioral health for over ten years, working extensively with children in the foster care system providing behavioral management, de-escalation training, as well as grief and loss work.

Dora fell in love with horses as a toddler and began riding as a hunter-jumper at age seven. She continues to ride today and has had the pleasure of training as well as caring for horses, both her own and within program settings. Dora has held certification thru Eagala as an Equine Specialist and in 2017 she was the program director for Desert Dove Farm, a non-profit equine-assisted psycho-therapy program.

Dora began her involvement with TROT as a volunteer and in 2018 she became a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor thru PATH Intl. Her passion for her career and unique skills assists our participants in reaching both their riding and personal life goals, while ensuring that our TROT programs adhere to the highest PATH Intl. standards.

Melissa Radtke
Full Time PATH Certified Instructor and Program Assistant

Email: mradtke@trotarizona.org
(520) 749-2360 Ext: 610

Melissa grew up just outside of Tucson and has always been avid animal lover. She balanced caring for family pets and participating in local 4-H projects with her job teaching piano lessons.

After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in music performance, Melissa began volunteering at TROT. She started as a horse handler and side-walker and soon added the roles of team captain and schooling rider. The environment at TROT with the lovely horses, passionate volunteers, enthusiastic participants and exceptional staff influenced her decision to pursue certification as a therapeutic riding instructor.

Melissa is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl and enjoys teaching classes at
TROT. Her experience as a piano instructor gave her teaching skills that she uses every day, whether she is instructing participants or training volunteers. Her love of teaching and passion for animals are combined in her work as a therapeutic riding instructor.

Tara Leingang
Part Time PATH Certified Instructor
Your Content Goes Here
Rachael Radtke
Part Time PATH Certified Instructor

Rachael grew up in the Tucson area and first discovered TROT while in high school. After taking a break to complete a degree in Piano Performance at the University of Arizona and to focus on her career as a piano teacher, she returned to TROT. Rachael began volunteering in August of 2020, allowing her to hone her skills as a horse handler. Then in June 2022, she was able to fulfill her dream of becoming a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys a variety of activities including: gardening, spending time with family, and taking hunter/jumper lessons.

Coco Hames
Part Time PATH Certified Instructor

A native of central Florida, Coco Hames grew up around horses, learning to ride in both English and Western disciplines. After more than a decade touring the world as a musician, she rediscovered her passion for horsemanship volunteering at Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in the Memphis, Tennessee area. 

Upon relocating to Arizona, Coco began her involvement with TROT as a volunteer in 2021 and became a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl. in 2022.

A graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Coco has a Montessori teaching certification and has previously worked developing programming for The Children’s Museum of Memphis. She also founded the Nashville-based 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue, Tennessee Hollow.

Coco lives in Oro Valley with her husband and her Bichon Frise, Jojo, and keeps her registered APHA gelding, Tuco, nearby.

Sierra Ohrel
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
PATH Advanced Instructor
Equine Specialist

Email: sierra@trotarizona.org
(520) 749-2360 Ext: 605

Sierra has been in the presence of horses all of her life and has witnessed their healing powers. She holds an advanced therapeutic riding certification from PATH and views horses as barometers that provide feedback to allow humans to explore the mind, body, spirit and emotion. Sierra is also an iRest Yoga Nidra and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Her office is the beauty that is all around, and the horses are her co-therapists. Horses live in the present moment and teach non-verbal communication, life skills, new behaviors, teamwork, empathy, and so much more. It is through their partnership that she is able to guide people on their journey.

Danielle Gimblett
Barn Manager

Born in Canada and raised in Tucson, Danielle fell in love with horses at a very young age. She started riding at five and continued well into her teenage years. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and spent the next five years working in New York City and abroad for non-governmental organizations focused on refugee aid and conflict prevention. Danielle worked in a number of capacities including grants management, program development and private sector fundraising. She returned home to Tucson to pursue nursing and graduated with a Master of Science in 2015 from the University of Arizona College of Nursing. Once she became a registered nurse, Danielle spent eight years working in operating rooms in Tucson, Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix. 

After finding her way back to horses in late 2021 as a TROT volunteer, Danielle recognized the extraordinary and positive impact horses can have on all those who interact with them. Now she takes great pride in caring for the TROT herd full-time. Daniele is currently pursuing certification as a Masterson Method Practitioner and hopes to use this light-touch equine bodywork modality to benefit the hard-working TROT herd, as well as other horses in the Tucson community. 

Kim Kime
Part Time Barn & Property Manager

In early 2108, Kim became involved with TROT as a volunteer and soon thereafter, part-time barn staff. She grew up in the Phoenix area and holds a B.S. degree in Zoology from Northern Arizona University. After relocating to Tucson with her husband in 2017, Kim wanted to fill her time by volunteering at another equine rescue. “I was looking to connect somewhere and share my recent passion in caring for horses. TROT came up on my search, and I have no idea what therapeutic riding was all about but thought I would give it a try. I was hooked!”

Having already raised a family of four children and worked in her career field as a small animal vet tech and wildlife biologist for the Arizona Game & Fish Department, Kim now gets to do something for fun that she absolutely loves! Between volunteering and working, Kim spends three to four days on the TROT property. “We all have a role to play in the TROT mission, and mine is caring for these wonderful therapeutic riding horses so that they are at their best when working and connecting with the riders.”

Ellen Coleman
EAL Facilitator in Training

Coming Soon!
Scott Harris
Property Assistant

Coming Soon!

Candace Crain
Barn Assistant

Coming Soon!

TROT continues to be a leader in innovative and therapeutic therapies by maintaining a distinguished title of a Premier Accredited Center by PATH, International.

What does this mean? It means:
– TROT is held to the highest standards. Every year, TROT reviews over 300 industry standards to verify we are exceeding all criteria needed to maintain our status. These standards include safety, equine management, mental health training, adaptability and inclusion for those living with disabilities, and that all programs are using current evidence-based models.

– The entire operation (programs, property and administration) undergoes a thorough audit every 5 years to ensure that all of the required standards are met.

– TROT’s instructors are professionally trained and certified through PATH, Intl and are required to complete continuing education hours annually on a variety of topics including but not limited to: disability and mental health education, equine welfare, and advanced horsemanship training.

TROT is proud to be the only premier accredited center providing life-changing services for children and adults with special needs in the Greater Tucson area.

Interested in joining our team? TROT offers a CTRI Mentorship Program and would love to talk to you! Email TROT’s Program Director Dora at dkafkaridou@trotarizona.org.