Lynn Klimas Petr
Lynn is STAR's founder and serves as full-time Executive Director. She holds a BS degree in Special Education, and a MS in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Tennessee. She is an Advanced Level PATH Intl. Instructor and mentor and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). Lynn is also very involved with PATH Intl. and currently sits on their Board of Trustees.
Lisa serves as STAR's Volunteer Coordinator. She has a lifetime of experience riding and working with horses in various disciplines but currently spends her weekends at barrel races and rodeos. Lisa enjoys working with people and horses, and is thrilled to combine both of those passions here at STAR!
Chandler Rhea Blankenship, C.N.P.
Chandler serves as STAR's Operations Support. She has a BA in English Literature from Maryville College along with a certification in Non-Profit Management through the Non-Profit Leadership Alliance (NLA). Chandler's hobbies include reading, writing, and spending her free time with horses. She has been volunteering with STAR since 2010 and is excited to join the STAR Staff Team!
Abby serves as STAR's Barn Manager. She has trained in various disciplines but her favorite is show jumping. Abby has a passion for horses and is happy to work with all the various horses we have at STAR! She currently owns an off the track thoroughbred that she has partnered with for many years.
Brittany serves as STAR's Program Director and is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) and a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). She holds a BS degree in Exercise Science from TN Wesleyan College and a MS degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of Tennessee. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) and has experience working with children with Autism. She has a lifetime of experience riding and working with horses.
Samantha "Sam" Holyfield
Sam serves as STAR’s Program Support. Sam is a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). Sam graduated from St. Andrews University with a B.A. in Therapeutic Horsemanship and minor in Psychology. She has been working with horses for 10 years and has ridden almost every discipline.
Kara serves as STAR's Program Coordinator. She is in charge of our Minis in Motion, Reflections, and Field Trip programs. Kara is a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) and is working on becoming a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl. Kara graduated from the University of TN with a bachelors in Social Work. Kara grew up riding and working with horses.
Kristen serves as STAR's Director of Operations. She is an Advanced Level PATH Intl. Instructor and mentor. She has a BS in Marketing and a MBA degree from Tennessee Technological University. Kristen has been working in nonprofit administration for most of her career. She is also very involved with PATH Intl.
Shawn serves as STAR's Development Director. He holds a Bachelors degree from Western Carolina University. Shawn came to STAR after 16 years with the Boys and Girls Club where he was the Executive Director of the Loudon County Club for 3 years. Shawn didn't grow up around horses, but he is excited to learn more and help STAR continue in its mission of Healing Through Horses.
Stephanie serves as STAR’s Equine Manager. She holds an Associates degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences from Pellissippi State Community College. She has always been involved in the equine world and currently owns a horse, pony, donkey, and two goats. Stephanie is a certified Chris Irwin Trainer with a silver level standing in both groundwork and riding.
Chelsea serves as STAR’s Director of Services. She manages specialty programs like Heroes and Horses, Changing STRIDES, and Stable Friends. Chelsea is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through PATH Intl. and holds a BS from Florida State University in Art Education with an emphasis in Art Therapy. Chelsea came to STAR with 3 years of experience as a PATH Intl instructor in Northern Michigan specializing in therapeutic horsemanship programs for at risk youth. Additionally she has 13 years of experience working with children and adults with special needs in a variety of social service settings. Horses have always had a special healing capacity for Chelsea personally and she enjoys using her creativity and her passions in life to spread the joy of horses to others through therapeutic riding and equine assisted learning.
Hailey Rose Viars
Hailey Rose serves as STAR’s Communications Manager. She holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in Agricultural Communications and a Masters degree from Oklahoma State University in International Agriculture. Her love for horses was fostered at a young age as she grew up riding horses and competing in rodeo. With a passion for communicating, creating, and storytelling, Hailey Rose is excited to contribute to telling STAR's story of #HealingThroughHorses.