Our Team

Will Dean, Executive Director / Director of Equine Development and Facility Management


Will brings more skills than we could list in this brief bio, but suffice it to say he is an incredibly accomplished rider, horse trainer, instructor, builder, mechanic, manager, business developer and all-around great leader. Will works with Jen McCormick on programming and is working on strategic planning with the Board as we look to the future of Sanctuary Hill. He was certified by EAGALA as an Equine Specialist for equine-assisted psychotherapy in 2019.


Jen McCormick, Director of Riding Programs


Jen is a PATH® International Certified Riding Instructor, and loves working with children with disabilities and riders of all ages and abilities. Fun fact: Jen is the proud owner of Cruise, a barn favorite, and Cruise is now helping her young kids to become accomplished horsewomen too! Jen loves to push riders out of their comfort zones and focus on abilities rather than disabilities.


Kim Rebbe, Riding Instructor


Kim began as a Volunteer at Bright Star, but her love for children with disabilities and talent with horses compelled her to become part of the instructor team in 2015. Kim's creativity in lesson plans is pretty legendary around here, and she has also volunteered her time as a Board Member including a term as Board President.


Other Key Team Members


Julie Ponder, LCSW, CADC, MMATP, EAGALA®-certified Mental Health Professional, President of Psychiatric Associates of Central Illinois


Ashti Dawson, EAGALA®-certified Equine Specialist, Veteran, Mental Health / Substance Abuse graduate program at UIS


Dianne Irwin, Co-Volunteer Coordinator


Jamelle O'Brien, Co-Volunteer Coordinator


Board of Directors



Jen Wessing


Jen McCormick

Executive Board Members

  • Carrie Harrison
  • Joanne O'Brien
  • Emilie Redding
  • Kim Rebbe

Interested in Becoming a Board Member?

Call Will Dean at 217-741-3086 to let us know