Meet Our Team

  • Danny Navarrete

    His interest in science and medicine combined with his passion for animals naturally drew Danny to the veterinary field. He grew up with pocket pets, but could often be found pet sitting for his neighbors. Danny started at Academy at the ripe old age of 16 and has never left! He has truly dedicated his life to making pets as comfortable and healthy as possible. Danny can be found assisting the doctor, making sure our systems are working properly, and engaging with clients.

    Growing up right here in Solana Beach, Danny first started his journey helping out and learning as much as he could. Through his time and experience, Danny became a veterinary assistant and eventually was able to achieve his RVT license. He currently lives with his girlfriend, Debbie, and their daughter, Lily (who shares her dad’s passion for animals.) Together they enjoy going to the beach and the San Diego Zoo. Their four legged family members include: 2 cats, Raziel (who will steal your food), and Ariel (who is constantly begging for food) and 1 dog named Louie (who has perfected the art of begging).

  • Kathy Connor
    Veterinary Nurse

    Kathy always knew she would have a career in animal care. Growing up with dogs, birds, hamsters, a horse, and having family in the veterinary field, it is no wonder that Kathy would follow suit. Her natural curiosity and love of learning, coupled with a strong desire to care for animals propelled Kathy into veterinary nursing. She joined our team in 2006 as a receptionist and has moved to nursing through training and experience.

    Originally from Arizona, Kathy moved to San Diego in 2003. She lives with her 3 cats (Azula, Purrsephony, and Rigby.) Kathy enjoys hiking; while the kitties prefer a more laid back life style lounging on the couch and enjoying a treat or two. Kathy enjoys exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures. Her travels have taken her to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Australia.

  • Katie Hood

    Katie’s huge love and compassion for animals has been the key for her entering the veterinary field. Ever since she was a small child, Katie has wanted to make a positive impact in every animal’s life that she encountered, no matter how big or small. After earning her license, she worked at other hospitals before finding her home at Academy in 2011. Her passion to make a difference makes her a huge asset to our Academy family.

    Originally from Northern California, Katie moved to San Diego in 2003 and attended the Animal Health Program at Mesa College, where she received her credentials as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She and her husband, Pete, met in San Diego and have 2 daughters, Lorelei and Madeleine. They share their home with an Akita mix named Bender, and 3 cats (Benjamin, Baloney, and Carlos Santana.) When not taking care of pets at Academy Katie loves being outdoors with her family (including Bender). They enjoy going to the beach, swimming, and horseback riding.

  • Laura Allen
    Veterinary Assistant

    As a child Laura was always bringing home stray animals, mainly cats and dogs, many of whom her family ended up keeping. This was her segway into the veterinary field. Laura came to Academy Animal Hospital in 2011. Although her first priority is making everyone who comes to Academy feel welcome at the front desk, Laura can be found helping our nurses and doctors where needed.

    Laura was born in San Diego, raised in Arizona, and attended Arizona State University where she received her degree in Kinesiology and met her husband, Justin. She and Justin moved back to San Diego in 2011. They have a little boy named Jackson who loves bubbles and Mickey Mouse. They share their home with a Black Lab, Jasmine, whose hobbies include sleeping and sharing Jackson’s food. During her off time, Laura enjoys yoga, cooking/baking, and reading. As a family, they enjoy exploring new places together (Jackson has already been to Europe!)

  • Misha Hanewinckel
    Hospital Manager

    Misha’s nurturing personality was present even as a child, always caring for younger kids and pets alike. Growing up she had 1 dog, a Briard named Anya, who was her best friend (she would often sneak her sugar cubes!). Originally she planned on becoming a teacher, but got side tracked when she was given an opportunity to learn dog training and behavior. From there Misha took it one step further and entered the veterinary field. She came to Academy in 2007 as a receptionist and has moved to Hospital Manager where she runs the in and outs of the hospital.

    Born in the Czech Republic, Misha moved to the San Diego with her parents when she was 5 years old. She met her husband, Bryan, in high school and they have 2 kids, Anicka and Seth. They share their home with their Golden Retriever, Topper, and their black cat, Jack. They enjoy spending as much time in the water as possible, whether it’s on the lake, at the river, or at the beach. They also love going tent camping with family and friends.

  • Tracy De La Vega
    Veterinary Nurse

    Tracy had the joy of growing up with an assortment of pets. From dogs and cats, to turtles and chickens, she wanted to make sure each pet lived a long and comfortable life. She came to Academy in 2007 to pursue her passion of taking care of pets. As a veterinary nurse, she can make a difference in a pet’s life through kindness and a gentle touch.

    Born and raised in El Centro, Ca, Tracy attended Pima Medical institute and got her certification as a Veterinary Assistant. She lives with her boyfriend, Hector, and their son, Christian. Tracy has 2 cats, Vasily and Suki, both of whom are rescues, and Coco, a cockatiel. She is passionate about her favorite sports team, the San Diego Padres, and loves watching and attending sports events. She has played the clarinet, bass, sax, and guitarron in various bands of different genre over the years including jazz, rock, and mariachi.

  • MaryJane Morrow
    Client Services

    MaryJane came to Academy Animal Hospital after 5 years in the pet retail business. She found her passion lies in connecting with owners, their pets, and client education. Her main focus is making sure your visit is positive for both you and your pet. Whether in person or over the phone, her smile is radiant!

    Born and raised in Southern California, MaryJane earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Willamette University with a music scholarship. She has played the flute for 23 years, including playing in the San Diego Youth Symphony. She lives with her 2 dogs, Marley and Georgie, and kitty, Zaika. Marley is a 6lb Chihuahua princess who enjoys a warm lap to lie on and Georgie, a Corgi-Jack Russell Terrier mix, loves nothing more than a good game of fetch with her favorite tennis ball. During her time off, MaryJane can be found volunteering at a Zebra Rescue in Ramona!

  • Maya Rich

    Maya has loved animals since she was a child. Although she wasn’t able to get a dog until she was 10, her first word was “dog.” Her passion for animals drove her to her first job at Petsmart, where she eventually became a Pet Care manager while earning her degree in Biology from University of Delaware. She went on to work for a veterinary clinic and eventually earned her license as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She uses those skills every day to provide the best possible care for our patients.

    She moved to San Diego in 2010 and shares her home with her little Terrier Mix, Artemis, and 2 cats, Percius and Achilles. (Someone likes Greek mythology.) When Maya isn’t working, she enjoys long-distance ocean swimming, cooking, and baking. She loves taking Artemis to doggie play-dates and other outdoor adventures.

  • Michelle Chambers
    Client Services

    Michelle has always loved animals. She grew up with a cat as her best friend and feels a close connection to felines. After receiving her associate's degree, she became an animal care liaison, working for the foster program at a local rescue in San Diego. From there, she realized she wanted to gain more hands on experience in the veterinary field. She joined the Academy family in December 2016. You can find her interacting with clients and pets alike at our front desk. She always makes sure pets and owners feel welcome and cared for.

    She grew up in Rancho Bernardo and attended Palomar College for liberal arts. Currently living with her boyfriend, David, they share their home with their rambunctious Husky, Stella, and Polly, a polydactyl kitty. (Polydactyl means she has several extra toes, which Michelle absolutely adores!) When not working, you can find Michelle camping, hiking, snowboarding, and going to the beach. She is very creative and enjoys crafts and baking!

  • Shea Halle
    Veterinary Nurse

    Shea always knew she wanted to work with animals. She grew up in a household full of rescue animals, from cats and dogs to pocket pets and turtles. After gaining experience and working at a rescue organization, Shea joined our team in 2017. She is able to use her nursing skills assisting the doctors, whether in surgery or in an exam room, and making sure each pet in her care is treated like one of her own.

    Born and raised in San Diego, Shea attended UCSD where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. She and her husband, Blake, and their son, Finley share their home with their 2 rescue dogs, Blueberry (a 7 year old Terrier mix) and Thor (a 3 year old Chihuahua mix). During her free time, she enjoys painting, hiking, and watching movies with her husband, son, and dogs.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Our Regular Schedule

Our Regular Schedule

Solana Beach


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-4:30 pm




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