Directors, Faculty, and Staff

American Veterans Service Dog Academy

AVSDA contracts with Peggy Moran's School for Dogs, LLC
in Manteno, Illinois for our specialized training program.


Benjamin "Drew" Sanders: President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Drew is a 20 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He is a practicing mental health counselor who specializes in treating trauma. Drew has seven cats but also loves dogs.


Nancy L. Schimmel: Nancy is a banking and finance partner (member) at the law firm of Clark Hill PLC. Prior to joining the Board, Nancy served as primary outside counsel to AVSDA. The love of her life is her Belgian Malinois, Bella.

Director, Veterinary Consultant

Lynn Sebek DVM: Lynn serves as a Director on the Board and is a practicing Doctor of veterinary medicine. Lynn has four dogs. a cat and a horse who keep her busy when she's not helping other animals.

Director, Veteran Liaison

Robert Perez: Robbie served in the US Army's 25th Infantry Division and is an Afghanistan Veteran. "Robbie" graduated with his service dog, Bale Son of Thor, from the AVSDA program in June of 2018. He is the Veteran Liaison on the Board of Directors, and also is assistant kennel manager at Peggy Moran's School for Dogs, LLC.

Treasurer, Program Director

Eric Carlson: Eric is Treasurer on the Board of Directors as well as Program Director and Training Coordinator. Eric is a U.S. Army Veteran of the 3rd Ranger Bn. and has been with AVSDA since 2013. His "red dog", Jolene, has him well-trained.

Volunteer Assistant

Dawn Mattson: Dawn graduated from AVSDA with her service dog, Jake, and now she helps with an assortment of tasks including filing, sorting, editing, organizing office materials, and also with student record keeping.

Training Director

Peggy Moran: Peggy has been training dogs professionally since she was 15 years old. She uses humane, relationship-based methods to provide dog education for people. Peggy developed the curriculum for the AVSDA online and in-person programs. She has been a behavioral consultant and guest lecturer to many organizations, animal shelters, and universities, and is an award winning dog writer. Peggy lives with her husband, Dave, and many companion animals on their five acre property.

Training Manager

Monica Moran-Pachl: Monica is the training manager at Peggy Moran's School for Dogs, LLC and assistant trainer with AVSDA. Her area of specialization is human/pet animal relationships, and her thesis during undergraduate studies in Anthropology at the University of Chicago was about pet dog acquisition. Monica is Peggy Moran's daughter and grew up surrounded by animals. She lives with her service dog, Arya, her cat, Thomasina, and her parrot, Zuri.

Volunteer Assistant

Susan Zableckis: Susan assists both the veterans and dogs in our program in a variety of ways. She has fostered dogs in her home for veterans needing medical treatment, and also helps raise the puppies we place with local students.