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NYSAVT Leadership consists of our Executive Officers, Local District Representatives and our Student Chapter Representatives.

Together we work to further the profession through continuing education and advocacy.

To learn more about what we do, you can look over our ByLaws and Standing Rules.


Executive Officers



Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT

Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT, is the Manager of Academic a nd Professional Affairs for Zoetis, Inc. where she is responsible for corporate engagement with the 34 colleges of veterinary medicine in the UnitedStates and Caribbean, and outreach to the veterinary profession through digital platforms. Prior to joining Zoetis, Garnetta was the Veterinary Technician Strategy Lead for Hill’s Pet Nutrition for nine years, and before that, an adjunct faculty member in the veterinary technology program at SUNY Ulster.
A 2003 graduate of the veterinary technology program at SUNY Delhi, Garnetta has worked as an LVT in small and mixed-animal practice and shelter medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Syracuse University); a Master of Arts degree in International Relations (Rutgers University); and the Professional Certificate in Online Education Instructional Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently completing the Certificate Program for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine through Purdue University. She has special interests in feline medicine, forensic medicine, veterinary wellness and diversity, and women’s leadership in veterinary medicine. She was elected President of the New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians in June 2017.


Vice President

Sara Fabrizio, LVT

“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” -Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

I remember thinking I wanted to work with animals and maybe I could go to school to become a Veterinarian. All that changed one day when I shadowed in a clinic and followed a Veterinary Technician around. It only took a short time to realize this is what I want to do. There are so many opportunities for Veterinary Technicians that I never realized.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work another year on the NYSAVT board. One of my personal goals is to make technicians aware of their opportunities and act as a voice within our state organization.





Denise Lenhart, LVT

Denise is an Internal Medicine and Oncology technician, as well as the LVT Supervisor,  for a large mixed general / specialty practice in the Hudson Valley.  I am also an adjunct professor at SUNY Ulster currently on leave to serve my constituency at NYSAVT and prepare my portfolio to announce my candidacy for the LVT SAIM credential.  While currently enjoying the world of CT and Ultrasound scans, chemotherapy, and people management, my past interests in the veterinary community include behavioral and exotic medicine. In my former life I spent copious amounts of time caring for high-level equine competitors in the 3-Day and Hunter/Jumper worlds.  When I do have spare time, I hike with my extremely energetic young GSD, knit, and keep up with a busy family.




Thomas Heckel, LVT

Thomas Heckel is a Licensed Veterinary Technician from College Point, New York. He is currently the Surgery Team Leader at The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. He graduated from Suffolk County Community College in 2013 with an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Saint Francis College in 2009.

In addition to his daily work, Tom takes great pride in being an active member in community organizations. With a strong interest in education he works with closely with students, and lectures on a variety of topics, including his personal experience in the field of Veterinary Medicine, in hopes of providing guidance and mentorship to current LVT students. Tom has a growing interest in anesthesia, analgesia, and pain management, and is currently working towards a VTS in anesthesia, and plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Biomedical Science.  In recognition of his enthusiasm, leadership, and contributions to his profession and NYSAVT, Tom was awarded the Aspiring Leader Award in April of 2016.

Outside of work Tom is an avid hockey fan. He currently lives in Manhattan with the love of his life, their three hairless cats as well as one with fur, Macaroni - a greyhound, Shelby - a golden retriever, and Boss - a border collie.   




Donna Meier, LVT

I knew that I wanted a career in Veterinary Medicine from the time I was about 7 years old.  Although I   wanted to be a Veterinarian, my life took me on a different path.  Still in veterinary medicine, but not a as Veterinarian.

Click here to read more about Donna

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