Wood Panel

Our Staff

The staff of Courageous Connections not only share their valuable knowledge and expertise, but their passion in supporting others through horses and nature. They expand the reach of our program by bringing their own unique background and education for the benefit of our mission.

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Jessica Connolly (she/her)
Instructor

Jessica grew up loving horses and now owns two Thoroughbred geldings named Soldier and Remy. Jessica has trained in natural horsemanship methods and is a PATH Intl certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Professionally, Jessica has served in the United States Marines Corps, worked as an IT Project Manager, co-founded a miniature horse and donkey rescue, and started her own business doing executive and team coaching with horses. She is a lifelong learner and is currently working on a life coaching certification and continuing her study of natural horsemanship methods.

Favorite Quote:

 “The path to my heart is paved with hoof prints.”  

Liz Vital-Gragnani (she/her)
(MA, LMHCA, SUDPT, RDT)

Liz is a drama therapist and mental health counselor, as well as an actor, a mother, and a lover of animals. She first came across Equestrian Therapy 18 years ago when she and her mother, who has since passed away, volunteered with a group called Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding Center. She sought out similar volunteer work in the Washington area in order to integrate the work with her current counseling career, and also to commune with the spirit of her mother through working with horses again. She feels that meeting Kathy, Lisa and Sue (all family members!) are serendipitous and she cannot wait to connect and carry out this beautiful therapeutic method alongside them and their dedicated team. 

Favorite Quote:

“You look at me and cry; everything hurts. I hold you and whisper: but everything can heal.”

― Rupi Kaur

Margaret Frey  (she/her)
Educator

Margaret lives in Long Lane, Missouri, but was born and raised in Western Washington. She has a BA in English, a teaching certificate with elementary, English, and special education endorsements, and a Master's degree in Special Education. She has taught for 22 years, from 1st to 12th grade - special education, general education, math, and science. She has also worked with special education law and adjudicated youth, and juvenile drug court, at risk youth, and JSO. Margaret is a state-level trainer and curriculum developer in the area of Inclusion: Behavior/SEL, Significant Disabilities, and Equity. She is a Character Education Fellow with WGU, and in the process of earning a Master’s degree in Character Education from the University of Birmingham in the UK. When not teaching, Margaret enjoys reading and hiking through the woods on our property and kayaking on her lake.

Quote from Margaret:

"My goal is to spark an interest in trauma informed care."

Interested in joining our team?
Check out our Recruitment Page!