Our Team

Will Dean, Executive Director / Director of Equine Development and Facility Management

Will brings more skills than we could list in this brief bio, but suffice it to say he is an incredibly accomplished rider (ask about his rodeo days!), horse trainer, instructor, builder, mechanic, manager, business developer and all-around great cowboy. Will works with Jen on programming and is working on strategic planning with the Board as we look to the future of Bright Star.


Jen McCormick, Director of Riding Programs

Jen is PATH® International Certified Riding Instructor, and loves working with children with disabilities and riders of all ages and abilities. Fun fact: Jen is the proud owner of Cruise, a barn favorite, and Cruise is now helping her young kids to become accomplished horsewomen too! Jen loves to push riders out of their comfort zones and focus on abilities rather than disabilities.


Kim Rebbe, Riding Instructor

Kim began as a Volunteer at Bright Star, but her love for children with disabilities and talent with horses compelled her to become part of the instructor team in 2015. Kim's creativity in lesson plans is pretty legendary around here, and she has also volunteered her time as a Board Member including a term as Board President.


Dee Dee Duffy, Volunteer Coordinator

Dee Dee is a Volunteer's Volunteer! Starting out helping as a side walker, then adding paddock duty and horse feeding to her work, she is now the coordinator for recruiting and retaining volunteers for Bright Star. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our nonprofit, providing countless hours to help make our riding programs happen. Dee Dee's 'other' job is as a long-time District 186 educator, and wishes for the day she can have a horse of her own!



Julie Ponder, LCSW, CADC, MMATP, EAGALA®-certified Mental Health Professional, President of Psychiatric Associates of Central Illinois

Kim Grotts, Licensed Speech & Language Pathologist coordinating Functional Futures Therapy program at Bright Star

Kimberly Magowan, Art Therapist and Instructor working with children and seniors

Board of Directors


Erin Gutzman


Bob Yuill

Vice President

William Ryan


Jill Kinnett


Executive Board Members

  • Diane Newell
  • Kim Rebbe
  • Vince Shaw
  • Jen Wessing
  • Emilie Redding
  • Jen McCormick

Advisory Board Members

  • Dana Ingle
  • Marty Yuill