Meet Our Team

The APC Team

Katie Sinclair (RVT) - Head Veterinary Assistant Instructor


Katie Sinclair, RVT, is the head instructor for the APC’s veterinary assistant program. She has been a part of the veterinary industry for 9 years, 7 of which as a Registered Veterinary Technician in the St. Louis area. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Equine Science from Otterbein College (Westerville, OH) and earned her Associate’s in Veterinary Technology from Sanford-Brown College (Fenton, MO).

She is currently expected to complete her MBA in Leadership from Lindenwood University (St. Charles, MO) in 2020. Katie joined the Fear Free movement in 2017 and is proud to be a Fear Free Certified Professional. In her free time, Katie rides and competes in dressage with her National Show Horse, Jack. She also is the proud mother to two parrots, Arthur and Simon Says.

Katie Sinclair Vet Assisting Instructor

Suzanne Veltrop - Dog Training Instructor


Suzanne Veltrop is an instructor for the APC’s dog training academy.  She is a graduate of Animal Behavior College (ABC), earning a certificate as an ABC Certified Professional Dog Trainer.  In addition, she attended the Professional Dog Training course at The Academy of Pet Careers (APC) and has successfully completed the Pet Empowerment program at the Academy of Pet Careers.  She is also a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).  In 2019, she became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and continues to advocate for positive reinforcement and fear free training methods.

With a passion for teaching and a lifelong love of dogs, Suzanne opened a successful dog training business with the goal to improve the relationship between pet parents and their dogs in order to create loving, lasting relationships through positive reinforcement training.  However, upon realizing that there is great need for more positive reinforcement trainers in the world, she decided to return to APC as an instructor to train future dog trainers utilizing positive reinforcement and force free training techniques.

Suzanne Veltrop Training Instructor

Kaitlin Waite - Dog Training Instructor

Kaitlin began working under a professional dog trainer at the young age of 14 when 4-H first introduced her to the world of dogs. Kaitlin went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness in Animal Science/Pre-Vet at the University of Central Missouri. Kaitlin then started her own business where she trained a variety of dogs in various activities. She has trained dogs in Obedience, Tricks, Freestyle, Service Dogs, Agility, Disc, Dock Diving, Bikejoring, and Manners. Her favorite things to teach are Tricks!

Kaitlin’s personal dog has competed in a variety of sports and serves as her Demo Dog for her classes. Her dog, Radical Ruger, has been in multiple commercials and ads for companies like Purina, Bayer, Tropiclean, and many others. In her spare time, Kaitlin enjoys competing with her dog, going to pet events to perform trick shows, and showing off Ruger’s 107 tricks to whoever will watch! She loves showing how positive reinforcement can be used to teach your dog to anything—and love doing it!

Kaitlin Waite (Bockman) Training Instructor Headshot

Jackie Brumfield - Pet Grooming Instructor

Jackie began her grooming career in 2005. With over 10 years of experience as a groomer, she is a great addition to The APC instructor team. She is Fear Free certified and is a great leader in encouraging others to continue their education. Jackie is currently working towards her Master Certification through the International Professional Groomers.

Jackie is the first instructor that Grooming Students get to interact with and she is a warm welcome and the perfect fit to introduce new groomers to the industry!

Jackie Brumfield Grooming Instructor

Gabbie Lacoste - Pet Grooming Instructor

In 2016, Gabbie began her career working with animals at a veterinarian hospital based out of New Iberia, Louisiana. From there, she moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina and began working at a grooming salon in which she fell in love with. Since then, she has gained years of experience working in multiple grooming salon settings and has been a salon manager since 2020. She enjoyed educating and leading her grooming team towards success.

Gabbie is very passionate about the art of grooming and being able to transform pets into feeling and looking their very best. With her positive attitude, she is sure to create a warm and welcoming learning environment for each student. She considers her career in grooming to be most rewarding and is eager to share her experience with new students in a pet empowerment environment!

Gabbie Lacoste Grooming Instructor Headshot

Michelle Charboneau - Animal Behavior Instructor

Michelle Charboneau, CPDT-KA, has a BA in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri. She has been training dogs since 2009 when she volunteered at an animal shelter.

While working at the shelter she discovered that adorable puppies adopted today were often returned within a few months as unruly adult dogs. The bad behavior was typically due to a lack of appropriate training or lack of timely socialization. Often these "bad" dogs were euthanized.

In 2010, Michelle completed the Assistant Trainers course offered by the Greater St. Louis Training Club and learned the magic of positive reinforcement dog training. In 2013, Michelle completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Program, and in 2014, she earned her Animal Welfare Certificate through the St. Louis Community College. In 2017 she completed the Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification.

Michelle Charboneau Behavior Instructor

Jennifer Schifano - Director of Admissions and Student Services

Jennifer started working in the Pet Care Industry at Petropolis Pet Center, Chesterfield, as Customer Service Manager in 2015. When the role of Director of Admissions was available for the APC, she jumped at the opportunity to work with two passions of hers: people and pets. She focuses on creating a professional relationship with students before, during and after their schooling to help them succeed.

Jennifer helps students with the exit process and finding a job. While managing the Alumni Program and Seminars at the APC, Jennifer is involved in every stage of the student lifecycle. She is on the Board of Advisors for South County Technical High School and holds a membership with the MOCAC.

Jennifer Schifano Admissions Director

Karey Newton - Admissions Specialist and Event Coordinator

Karey Newton relocated to the Saint Louis area from Colorado over four years ago after studying education at the University of Northern Colorado. In her spare time, Karey loves to play recreational and competitive softball and go hiking and rock climbing! One of her favorite perks of the job is getting to bring along her pup, Daizy! Karey loves that she can help others pursue their love of animals and help them turn it into a ‘fur-ever’ career!

Karey Newton Admissions Specialist

Joseph Schifano - Owner/President

Joseph Schifano is the President of The Academy of Pet Careers. His experience in the pet care industry spans over a decade. As a third-generation owner of Petropolis Pet Resort, Joseph has experienced every aspect of managing a pet business, from doggy day care to marketing and sales.

Above all, his goal is to educate pet professionals on how to provide a more empowering experience for their pets and how to succeed in this ever-changing industry.

Joseph graduated with a business degree from Elon University and quickly moved into leadership at Petropolis. His focus on business strategy, combined with his love for animals, has allowed him to successfully run a pet service business that earns seven figures in revenue per year and has earned the following recognition:

  • “Best Large Pet Hotel in The Nation” – Groom and Board Magazine
  • “Future 50 Business Award” – St. Louis Small Business Monthly
  • “Best of St. Louis” – River Front Times
Joseph Schifano President

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