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 the nonprofit 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 speaks across the region as a subject matter expert in marketing, media relations and caring for veteran & military families.

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Rebecca Barnes
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
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.
Deborah Dunham
Director of Donor Relations
Deborah's experience and talent in marketing and communications are at the heart of everything she has done in her career including founding two successful nonprofit organizations, launching and running a thriving writing and consulting business and creating a fun side-hustle of photographing dogs, travel, surfing, and life's most important moments.
Deborah's nonprofit experience includes being the Founder of Girls on the Run of NE Florida, a nonprofit organization that has taught thousands of girls over the course of the last 15 years how to live healthy lifestyles filled with self-esteem and positive choices. She then founded a second nonprofit -- Marathon High. This is also a regional program in NE Florida that serves at-risk high school students and trains them to complete a challenging 13.1-mile half-marathon while also learning important life lessons. With both organizations, Deborah excelled at fundraising, sponsorship development, marketing, and public relations.
On the for-profit side of things, Deborah has worked with local, regional, and national clients on writing, marketing, and consulting. Her journalism has included work with AOL, Huffington Post, and numerous other online media outlets. Deborah's corporate writing and marketing has included work with Fortune 500 to small start-ups on website development, sales and PR campaigns, and social media development.
On a personal note, Deborah has been a competitive runner for 20 years, completed 14 marathons (including qualifying for and completing the Boston Marathon) and numerous triathlons. She has been married to her husband for 26 years and they have two amazing sons -- one is a successful entrepreneur and the other is a proud United States Marine.
Angela Graham
Executive Assisant
Angela Graham is a Marine Corps wife of a Cobra pilot veteran. Her father served in the Marine Corps for 24 years as well as her Grandfather who fought in WW11. She has been surrounded by veterans her entire life. She holds a bachelors degree in Animal Health Technology from Murray State University. She is a registered Veterinary Technologist and loves working with any type of animal. She has had 17 years of experience working for many veterinarians at different duty stations as well as volunteering at a wild animal rehabilitation center. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her husband and two children, a three-year-old and five-year-old. She loves hiking with her family and dog and doing crafts.
Eliza Jamison
Eliza has been a volunteer with Semper K9 since 2015. She recently graduated high school and was promoted to Assistant K9 Training Manager. She has trained numerous dogs under Semper K9 as a K9 Coach. Previously, the K9 Care Coordinator, Eliza was named a Prince William Living 2019 Extraordinary Teen for her volunteer work with Semper K9 along with her academic efforts. She plans to continue her passion for working with animals for her career.
Stacy Magid
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.
Mary Peyton Miller
Raised in Va Beach, VA, Mary Peyton (she likes to be called by both names) earned a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Va Tech and worked as a Utility Engineer for several years before taking on her toughest job: a stay-at-home mom to her son Isaac, now a 15-year-old high school freshman. During her son's toddler years, Mary Peyton found herself teaching EMT classes in Hanover County, as well as riding ambulances and fire trucks as a firefighter/paramedic. When her husband John was transferred to Houston, Tx, for work, Mary Peyton continued to volunteer as a firefighter/paramedic in Cypress, Tx as a Station Lt. In addition, Mary Peyton volunteered to hide for the station's canine search and rescue team where she met Bretagne, the last surviving search dog from 9-11, and her handler, Denise Corliss. Mary Peyton realized that dogs had so much more potential and loved seeing how the search dogs were trained.

After returning to Virginia, Mary Peyton was looking for a way to give back to the community and saw Mike Rowe's "Returning the Favor" about Semper K9 and knew that's what she wanted to do. The Millers currently have 2 rescued mix-breed dogs, Kona and Harley, and have been coaching Semper K9's Salty since November 2018. Mary Peyton is enjoying learning about dog training and evaluation and thankful for all the new friends she's made since joining Semper K9! It's an exciting time to see the Semper K9 family growing!
Kim Murray
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.
Nicole Myers
Volunteer Coordinator
Tisa Newhouse
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
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).
Denise Yingling
Board Member & Facility Coordinator
Denise Yingling is a military spouse to a Marine Corps combat veteran. She and Mark, her husband, are local business owners, creating MP Copiers, Inc twenty-five years ago. She has two children, Marina and Landon as well as two dogs. Denise loves dogs and veterans and is passionate about helping disabled veterans improve their quality of life.


AJ is a 9th 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. His family has since trained 3 dogs for Semper K9 and is currently working on their 4th. 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.
Kate and Grace James
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!
Katie Kazor
K9 Coach
"Being a military family, finding ways to give back to veterans is a high priority. Combine that with a love of dogs and Semper K9 was a perfect fit! It’s so rewarding watching these puppies grow and go on to do wonderful things, enriching the lives of their veterans. "
Sara Magid
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.
Kristina Troxel
Both my husband and I are Army veterans and as such, I am always drawn to organizations that like to help out fellow veterans. I saw the Soldier Dogs episode from Mike Rowe's Returning the Favor and knew I had to get involved. I immediately signed up to become a volunteer and learn more about how I could help. I love supporting Semper K9 at as many events as possible. It truly is a great organization with a wonderful mission. It's an honor to be a volunteer for them!
Sophia is a senior in high 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.