The instructors at Guide Dogs for the Blind are truly leaders in their field. GDB's Guide Dog Mobility Instructors have gone through rigorous three-year apprenticeships under the guidance of senior instructors and supervisors. They study conditions that affect vision, learn cane travel, and, of course, become fully versed in Guide Dogs' own "Balanced Educational System for Training Guide Dogs" (BEST). They have passed written, oral and practical exams to be licensed by the State of California.
In addition to training dogs and teaching students, they assist Guide Dogs alumni throughout the U.S. and Canada as part of the school's extensive post-graduation services.
Meet some of GDB's Guide Dog Mobility Instructors.
Jenn Ceia, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Jennifer grew up in Pleasant Hill, California. She was a Guide Dog puppy raiser from 1986-1992. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology and animal behavior from U.C. Davis. She has worked as a veterinary clinic receptionist and as a pre-school teacher in Romania. She currently resides in Berkeley with her husband Cristian, daughter Julia, German Shepherd Starly, and cat Moon.
Molly Combs, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Molly grew up in Washington State and has always lived in the Pacific Northwest. After raising Guide Dog puppies for 12 years and completing two internships at GDB, Molly decided to become an instructor. She began working at Guide Dogs in 2001 and received her license in February of 2008. When not working, Molly enjoys camping, square dancing, spending time with her horses, reading, and watching old movies. Molly has an 8 year-old Airedale Terrier and two cats.
Heather Foster, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Originally from Bellingham, Washington, Heather now lives in San Rafael, California after moving to the area with her fiance Joel. She received a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Elementary Education from Western Washington University and has two Weimaraners: Farley and Clover-Belle; she also has numerous fish. She enjoys snowboarding, camping, gardening, and taking her dogs to Stinson Beach and Fort Funston.
Stacey Ellison, Training and Class Supervisor
Stacey has worked at the Guide Dogs for the Blind California campus since 1989. She graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley and recently chaired the Adult Learning Committee at Guide Dogs, which played a paramount role in the new class program initiatives now in place. Stacey lives in San Rafael with her husband and daughter, and she enjoys volunteering at her daughter's school, gardening, running, and doing agility with her Flat Coated Retriever Trilby.
Marc Gillard, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Marc is from Melbourne, Australia. He resides in Novato, California, with his wife Christy and two cats: Shasta and Stinson. He received a degree in forest science from the University of Melbourne. He has worked for several guide dog organizations including the Royal Guide Dogs Associations of Australia, the British Columbia Guide Dog Services and Guide Dogs Victoria. He received his postgraduate diploma in orientation and mobility at Latrobe University, and is currently dually qualified as a guide dog orientation and mobility instructor for Guide Dogs for the Blind. He is also an assessor for the International Guide Dog Federation. He enjoys playing trombone in the Santa Rosa Junior College jazz band and the 'People of Note' community big band in Novato, California.
Jeff Grey, Master Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Jeff grew up in Springfield, Virginia. He received a B.S. in Business Administration and played football at the University of North Carolina. He had a successful career in the computer industry and moved to California in the process. Jeff's passion for scuba diving led him to The Marine Mammal Center, where he volunteered his time assisting with the rehabilitation of sick/injured marine mammals; he was also a member of the water rescue team. When Jeff decided it was time for a new career challenge, he joined Guide Dogs in 1998 as an Instructor Assistant and obtained a California State License in 2003. Jeff resides in Novato with his career change Golden Retriever/Labrador cross named Trevino.