Meet the Charm School Team

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Melanie Wagner, PhD, CPDT-KA
Executive Director, "Dean of Students"

Melanie joined the Kitty Bungalow team in 2018 as the Executive Director. She moved to L.A. in 2004 from Buffalo, NY and became the Director of Humane Education at spcaLA, as well as owned/operated a small dog training business. Her love of animals & people has been lifelong and she has spent decades working in rescue. She has four cats, including two KB grads Steve & Gouda, and two rescue dogs at home. In her free time she loves to hike, ride horses, train with her dogs, and travel internationally. She loves any new adventure or food that comes her way! 

When asked what she loves most about being on the KB team, she said: "I love what KB represents. Woven through the fabric of our organization are a team, a family, of  creative and compassionate people who stick together and stand by our mission: feline lifesaving. I am honored and proud to be part of an innovative and progressive team.    

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Alma Vera
Senior Director of Programs, "Superintendent of Students"

Alma has been working in the field of animal welfare since 2005, when she started with the spcaLA as a Humane Educator.  As a Los Angeles native - born and raised in a Spanish-speaking home in East Los Angeles - her love of her community and of animals inspired her work to increase the awareness of animal welfare issues that exist in low-income communities. Alma enjoys spending time with her family, camping, hiking and traveling.  She is the co-parent of 3 dogs and one tarantula.  
 
When asked what she loves about Kitty Bungalow she said, "What I love most about Kitty Bungalow is that we help empower the community.  We are a small group of people but our reach is expanded with each new person that learns how to TNR. The only way to really make a difference is if everyone gets involved!  TNR is easy and we make the experience easy for everyone!"

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Brittany Roman
Director of Lifesaving, "School Principal"

Brittany is a lifelong animal lover & passionate kitten rescuer. Before joining KB in 2019, she spent 6 years working in a Los Angeles based animal shelter and has spent more than 14 years working professionally with a variety of animals both large and small. Brittany and her husband have a large family of 4 legged kids which include cats, horses, goats, and one extremely spoiled dog. In her free time she loves gardening, watching movies (especially Harry Potter and Star Wars), photography, getting tattoos, and exploring nature.
 
When asked what she loves most about being on the KB team, she said: "I absolutely love the amazing people I work with, both within the Kitty Bungalow family and out in the cat rescue community. It is truly awe inspiring to see so many people from different walks of life come together to rescue cats and kittens, do TNR, and generally improve the lives of community cats. I also love with all my heart the opportunity I have at Kitty Bungalow to help save and improve the lives of special needs and injured cats and kittens."

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Gloria Perez
Community Cat Program Coordinator, "Night School Professor"
 

Gloria joined Kitty Bungalow in 2020 as the Community Cat Coordinator. She has a dog, cat, tarantula, and 20 house plants. In her free time she likes to explore the city, try new foods, and paint.
 
When asked what she loves most about being on the KB team, she said: "Growing up I had always wanted to do meaningful work whether it was working with animals or making an impact in my community. Kitty Bungalow has given me the opportunity to do both and the organization as a whole from volunteers to staff makes you feel like family!" 

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Aileen Hernandez
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator, "Yearbook Advisor"

Aileen joined the Kitty Bungalow team in 2019 as a work-study student on the yearbook committee but has now culminated to the role of social media and marketing coordinator. Basically, she updates the public on what is going on at the Bungalow through social media channels. She lives with two dogs but enjoys the challenge that is earning the trust of cats. When she’s not hanging out with the cats at the bungalow, she enjoys binge watching TV series, being outdoors, and traveling. 

 

When asked what she loves most about KB she said, "watching cats go from #hisstohome and ultimately just having a role in the amazing work that is being done at Kitty Bungalow!" 

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Josie Callen
Assistant Manager of Programs, "Adult School Professor"

Josie originally joined Kitty Bungalow as a work-study student from USC in 2019. She had to return to her hometown in Oklahoma due to COVID-19, but in 2021 she came back as our Assistant Manager of Programs! Josie is part of our Community Cat Department and helps manage our TNR Program, Working Cat Program, and our Volunteer Program. She has one cat and is currently studying Classical Literature and Languages at USC. 
 
When asked what she loves about KB, she explains, “I love that Kitty Bungalow has given me an opportunity to directly save the lives of innocent cats. For example, I’ve seen feral cats that would have been euthanized in a matter of hours had we not picked them up to be part of our Working Cat Program. It’s an amazing feeling when you get to save a kitty’s life!” 

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Danielia Donohue Reidy
Development Specialist, "Bake Sale Coordinator"

Danielia, or Dee as she's known around here, comes to Kitty Bungalow from the tough streets of New York City. But don't let that, or her collection of vintage jumpsuits, scare you! Dee specializes in fundraising, events, grants, partnerships, local government advocacy, and anything else that helps Kitty Bungalow grow and thrive. When she's not working, she's asking her two cats, Jeff and Chebby, if they're good boys all day every day, baking, doing improv, applying sunscreen, and getting to know LA with her husband, Sean.  

 

When asked what she loves most about Kitty Bungalow, she said, "I love the direct line to helping animals have a better life, and seeing cats and kittens get the love and care they deserve. I also love seeing happy people at work who know they're making a difference, and now I'm a part of that, too!"

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Megan Cliburn
Adoptions and Outcomes Specialist, "Guidance Counselor"

Megan has been in animal welfare since about 2017 and is in it for the long haul. She started as a volunteer then worked her way up at Michelson Found Animals, which was an organization that pulled at-risk cats and dogs from LA county and city shelters. From there she made her way to Kitty Bungalow as our Adoptions and Outcome Specialist. In her free time, she loves to be outside - exploring all of LA's amazing gardens, tending to her many houseplants, thrifting or trying the newest restaurant in town. She grew up with multiple dogs but is now the mama to one feisty + chunky kitty who runs the show. 

 

When asked what she loves most about Kitty Bungalow she said "I love that Kitty Bungalow is a grassroots organization that has their boots on the ground trying to tackle the problem at it's source, unfixed community cats! We take a chance on the most vulnerable population, undersocialized cats and kittens or community cats. I also love that it is a small team of very diverse and amazing women! So glad to be a part of something special and I am excited for what the future of Kitty Bungalow holds." 

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Linda Okimoto
Cat Care Coordinator, "School Nurse"

Linda is an animal welfare advocate and rescue photographer. Over the last nine years, she has fostered over 400 cats/kittens and has enjoyed and learned from every one of them. Linda first joined Kitty Bungalow as a foster parent at the beginning of Covid. Since then, she has been fostering and volunteering in many capacities, especially photographing cats and kittens to show their essence and spirit! While assisting and learning from our own Director of Lifesaving, Linda developed a passion for the medical care and support of our feline students. When not hanging out with kittens, you will find Linda enjoying hiking in nature and photographing mother nature’s artistry usually followed by two very happy fluffy dogs.

 

Kitty Bungalow’s Mission of Hiss to Home is one of the many things she admires about Charm School.  The opportunity to care for the most vulnerable population is an honor and a lifetime goal.