Board of Directors
Jo Bighouse, Founder & President is the chief volunteer officer of Serenity Farm Virginia and ensures the supervision and administration of the animal sanctuary’s business and affairs. In conjunction with the rest of the Board, Jo creates, communicates, and implements Serenity Farm Virginia’s vision, mission, and direction while evaluating the overall success of the organization. Jo is the owner of Professional Bookkeeping, LLC. She has 23 years’ experience as the administrator of Paxton Child Development Center in Leesburg, Virginia where she created an on-site rescued animal petting farm for the children. She is the former owner of Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets, a store specializing in natural and holistic products for pets and people. During her 20-year tenure as a volunteer for Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training, Jo was a board member, merchandise coordinator and foster home. Professional memberships include The National Association for the Education of Young Children and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.
Donna Olive Kropotkin, Vice President works with the rest of the board, to plan, develop and enforce policies and objectives for the animal sanctuary to ensure it maintains its values and meets established goals. Donna is responsible for recommending operational strategies and creating a systemic organizational structure that incorporates an internal system of checks and balances and enables the organization to expand its operations. Donna designs and conducts on-going systems analysis and oversees the complete operation of Serenity Farm in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans. A retired Executive Assistant for Lockheed Martin Corporation and a lifelong animal lover and Master Naturalist, she has worked with various shelters in the area doing pet care and training, as well as volunteers for the Loudoun Therapeutic Riding program at Morven Park in Leesburg. Donna is also an established beekeeper and owner of Hound Haven Apiary in Berryville.
Tony Reynolds, Secretary is responsible for the proper management and utilization of important records including meeting minutes and the organization’s by-laws. Tony retired from a from a senior level sales and marketing career and now works as a part-time editor for a small independent publishing house. Prior to moving to downtown Berryville, Virginia, Tony cared for numerous animals, including horses, ponies, goats, and dogs on his small farm.
Lisa Phillips, Treasurer is the lead director for oversight of the financial condition and affairs of Serenity Farm including audit or financial review results. In conjunction with other directors, Lisa oversees budget preparation, monitors the spending of the organization, and ensures that appropriate financial reports, including an account of major transactions and the financial condition of the corporation, are made available to the Board of Directors on a timely basis or as may be required by the Board of Directors. Lisa was born and raised on a farm in Loudoun County and has been a volunteer for several therapeutic riding programs. She was a preschool teacher at Paxton Child Development Center for six years and is currently employed by Loudoun County Public Schools in the Special Education Department.
Julie Baniowski, Member at Large is the regional coordinator for National Great Pyrenees Rescue and volunteers with a national equine network that pulls slaughter-bound horses. She fosters and works with dogs in need of socialization and rehabilitation of failed livestock guardians. Julie has chaired a task force for battered women and is actively involved in the protection of women and children in abusive life situations.
Jonathan Reiss, DVM, Member at Large graduated from Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. After working in New York at an animal shelter, he moved to Northern Virginia in 2009 and practiced in Ashburn and Purcellville. His professional interests include preventative medicine, hospice care, and shelter medicine. He lives in Round Hill, Virginia with his wife, son, daughter, dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, sheep, chickens, and beehives. He volunteers with local animal rescue groups, shelters, and spay/neuter organizations as well as international street dog and feral cat spay/neuter programs.
Gwen Tugman, Member at Large Gwen has volunteered with shelters all of her adult life. She worked through high school and college at veterinary hospitals. She has spent many hours walking dogs at local shelters and working with shelter staff to enrich the lives of the animals. Her particular interests are in humane education, animal behavior and improving the lives of animals in shelters through enrichment activities.
Dara Bailey, Member at Large Dara is a former art director with the U.S. Eventing Association in Leesburg, Virginia. She operates her own graphic design business and does freelance work for organizations and nonprofits in Loudoun and Clarke counties. She has been an animal lover and caretaker of many dogs and horses since childhood.
Holistic Healing Advisory Committee
The committee is comprised of veterinarians and healers with the knowledge, compassion, and experience to help us provide the best possible environment at the sanctuary. Thank you to each of these members for furthering our mission of creating a natural, healthy, and peaceful sanctuary for animals and people:
Jenn Taylor, Willow Ridge Reiki and Healing Arts
Keith Taylor, DVM, Animal Medical Centers of Loudoun
Eka Kapiotis, The Dream Weaving Way
Pam Grasso, DVM, Animal Medical Centers of Loudoun
Mary Pat Corrigan, Blue Moon Wellness
Administrative Advisory Committee
Claudia Greves, Esq, The Hawk Law Firm and Eagle Mediation
Director of Marketing -Volunteer: Kendra Rubinfeld, KRPR PR and Marketing Firm
Director of Fundraising – Volunteer: Kate Seserman
Farm Manager – Volunteer: Open
Children’s Activity Director – Volunteer: Sheri Cooper
Permaculture Consultant – Volunteer: Open
Grant Writer – Volunteer: Open