Our staff oversees award-winning and innovative programs including Adoptions, Foster Care, Spay/Neuter Clinic, and Pet Re-homing that help more than 15,000 community pets in South Jersey. Our dedicated team is headed up by the following senior staff.

Please direct inquires to appropriate contact person to expedite the response.

Maya Richmond, Executive Director.    director@awanj.org

AWA animal shelter directorMaya Richmond was Director of Operations and Program Development for the Maryland SPCA in Baltimore before coming to AWA. She enjoys designing innovative programs like high-volume spay/neuter clinics, earned income ventures, staff development, building new spaces, and helping shelters develop sustainable programs and fundraising so they can do more for the community’s needy pets. She shares her home with 2 cats, 2 dogs, an understanding husband, and their young daughter.



Maria Giorla, Director of Finance and Administration.    mariag@awanj.org

Maria Giorla comes to AWA with over 25 years of experience in the financial management experience which includes accounts payable, payroll, banking, financial reporting/forecasting and cash management. She also has experience managing and directing human resources activities.  


Stacie DaBolt, Director of Operations.    stacied@awanj.org

Stacie DaBolt has extensive management and animal welfare experience. She has been an animal shelter manager and has also worked at the Arizona Humane Society where she led their EAMT program. Her field team investigated and managed cruelty cases for over 6000 pets annually. Stacie's passion for operations, management and programs and ensures the efficiency of AWA's daily functions. Stacie's family includes her dogs Pelu, Maggie, and Abbie, and her cat Jessie. 

Maria Clarke, Director of Events, Business & Community Relations.    events@awanj.org

Maria Clarke brings 13 years of leadership, development and event planning to her position as the Director of Events, Business and Community Relations. Maria joined AWA in 2012 as the Events and Business Relations Manager and is responsible for AWA’s Signature Fundraising events, corporate engagement and business relations. Her role at AWA has recently expanded to include oversight of AWA’s Volunteer Engagement Program as well as Humane Education and Community Outreach Programs. Maria loves to find innovative ways to engage members of the community to help support AWA’s mission. She is very passionate about non-profit work and most of all her family which includes her husband, two adult kids, her dog Patrick and two cats. 

Donna Alfieri, DVM, Chief Veterinarian  

Dr. Alfieri graduated with honors from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. Prior to working at AWA, Dr. Alfieri owned and operated her own animal hospital in Morris County, NJ, which she sold in 2014. When not at AWA, you can find Dr. Alfieri on her farm in Hunterton County, cleaning and caring for her dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and a donkey named Dusty. In her spare time she tries hard to learn the art of dressage and yoga. Dr. Alfieri feels strongly about AWA's mission and is happy to be a part of it.


Andrea Cermele, DVM, Staff Veterinarian  

Dr. Cermele is a 2001 graduate of The University of Florida’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to private practice she completed a 1 year rotating internship in general medicine and surgery at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. She then moved to South Jersey to work in small animal general practice and shelter medicine until recently joining the AWA team in January of 2017. Her passions in veterinary medicine include internal medicine, surgery and shelter medicine. In her spare time she participates in triathalons, loves to read and loves to spend time with her small herd of rescue pets, family and friends. She is a tried and true UF GATOR fan! 

Lauren Simermeyer, DVM, Staff Veterinarian 

Dr. Simermeyer's professional interests include emergency and critial care, canine reproduction, and general veterinary medicine. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. She attended Muhlenberg College where she double majored in biology and psychology. She earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. In 2013 she received an award for excellence in Internal Medicine during clinical rotations. Dr. Simermeyer breeds and shows Cardigan Welsh Corgis and shares her home with twelve canine companions and two cats. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, reading, and working on home improvements.

Michael Lacivita, Clinic Manager. michaell@awanj.org

Michael Lacivita brings many years of experience in private veterinary practices to AWA. He is inspired by AWA's mission to provide high quality, low cost medical care to pets in our community.

anci Keklak, Shelter Services Manager.   nancik@awanj.org

Nanci Keklak manages the AWA shelter facility, pet intake, and pet adoptions. She brings 18 years of shelter management experience to AWA, including medical, behavior, adoptions and rescue/transport. Nanci lives with her pets Poppy (French bulldog), Peanut (chihuahua), Leo (Frenchie/shih tzu) & Bugs (cat). Leo and Bugs are AWA alumni!

Katie Ritter, Volunteer Coordinator.    volunteers@awanj.org

Katie Ritter comes to AWA with two years of human resources experience. She had many roles including filling job needs, conducting orientations, and training for staff. She also has 13 years of veterinary technician experience. Katie and her husband are AWA foster parents and is the proud mother of her foster failure "Flash", a beagle basset mix. She also has two other dogs and cats.


Elizabeth Stanley-Reicherter, Behavior Coordinator.    behavior@awanj.org

Liz has her certification from Animal Behavior College, has extensive hands-on volunteer experience with Ruff House Rescue and the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, and operates her own dog training company. In addition, she has over fifteen years of management experience and a bachelor’s degree from New York University. Liz believes strongly in building better relationships with animals using positive reinforcement. She applies the principals of "Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive" (LIMA) to all situations. Training is less of an exercise in obedience and more of a way to strengthen the bond between people and their companion animals. Liz comes to AWA with over five years of training and behavior experience.

Julieanne Lombardo, Education and Outreach Coordinator.    outreach@awanj.org

Julie comes to AWA with almost a decade of experience in the no-kill animal shelter world, both in volunteering and being staff at the Humane Society of Ocean City. A 2003 graduate of nearby Stockton University, she has a degree in both Teacher’s Education and Psychology. Before entering the world of homeless pet sheltering, she taught kindergarten for four years at a private school. Julieanne is the proud mother of her dog, Molly, a beagle/lab mix she adopted from the Humane Society of Ocean City. She also is the proud aunt to four nieces, and three nephews!

Animal Welfare Association

509 Centennial Blvd., Voorhees, NJ 08043
Phone: 856.424.2288 | Fax: 856.424.8318