Board of Directors

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Below are our board of directors.[/vc_column_text]

Maria Gray, PhD


(508) 948-7417

Dr. Maria Gray has been training and working with canines for over 25 years. She obtained her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, CA in 1995, accompanied throughout her graduate work by her first Newfoundland dog, Quantum. Since then she has traveled and worked with dogs throughout the world and recently founded the American Academy of Canine Water Rescue, dedicated to eliminating death by drowning
Dr. Maria Gray is the founder and President of the AACWR, she has been training and working with dogs for over 25 years and has loved 6 Newfoundland dogs. She, and her current Newfie, Angel travel around the world educating others about water safety.

Artemis Tsagarakis


Ms. Tsagarkis attends the University of New Hampshire where she studies Zoology and Animal Science. She graduated from the Advanced Math and Science Academy in 2017. She has dedicated most of her life to all types animals. She has been a professional Handler for Confirmation dogs shows for almost 13 years. At present she works with water work, confirmation, obedience and draft work will all breeds. She currently owns and handles the top GSD OH Dog in the country and she also is the Record Holding Junior points for GSD Handler of all time. She has responsibly bred dogs for over 10 years. She has been training and doing husbandry for horses since the age of 6. She has been swimming with both dogs and horses multiple times. She is a champion swimmer, maintaining championship status of the 50m Butterfly stroke since the age of 12. She has been a CrossFit athlete for almost 9 years and has been top ranked in the region for the CrossFit Games. She has been training with Maria Gray, and learning SICS techniques for over 3 years, and she incorporates the knowledge she has gained quickly and efficiently such that she is able to train others as well.

Francis Holder

Land Obedience Director

Francis has an associate’s degree in Canine Studies from Mount Ida College (1999) and went on to become an assistant professor at Mount Ida. He has studied under Lance Woodley of Massachusetts, and is head trainer at the Compatible Canine Center in Brookline, MA. He also works as an adjunct trainer at The Pawsitive Dog in Boston, MA. Francis has been a volunteer trainer for the Boston Police K-9 Academy for the past 10 years and assists in patrol work along side the Boston PD’s K-9 trainer.

David Cashel


Dog trainer/Small Business owner. Currently owns and operates a pet care facility, has been training dogs for nearly 20 years. Has been client facing for over 10 years. Identifies shelter dogs as to rehabilitation potential and facilitates their training towards placement.

Brendan Mitchell

Water Safety Expert

Brendan Mitchell works in open water rescue. In 1998 he joined Virginia Beach Life Saving service, where he worked with other ocean life guards for 4 years. He has been a certified water safety instructor since 2017, he is self Employed at Brendan Mitchell HIC and Fish and Scales RE.

Nicole Bluefort, JD

Legal Advisor

Attorney Nicole Bluefort is known for her aggressive representation. She is an experienced trial attorney who leads a seven-person law firm with offices in Lynn and Boston. Attorney Bluefort focuses on family law, criminal defense, probate, and general litigation. She served as an Adjunct Professor at North Shore Community College’s ABA Approved Paralegal Program where she taught Civil Litigation, Legal Research, and Field Placement.

Her education is extensive and impressive: a graduate of Boston College with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Hispanic Studies, Northeastern University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, and Tufts University School of Medicine with a Master’s degree in Public Health. After graduating from law school, Nicole completed a two-year term as a judicial clerk for the first African American to be appointed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Judge Frederick Brown.