The New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy Team

New Hope Leadership Board

Sharla Kershen

Sharla, the founder, is a Certified PATH riding instructor.  Previously, she spent 25 years in Information Technology and IT management. She discovered her love of horses at a young age and animals have always brought her joy. Her faith helped her find her passion to give back to others, and her business background gives her the necessary skills to guide a business. What she loves most about New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy is the interaction with riders and their families, helping them find their joy and hope through connecting with their horse. She is also committed to improving her own riding, training, and teaching skills, and to helping New Hope horses succeed.  

Founder & Program Director

Dave Kershen

Dave is a 33 year IT professional currently employed as a Senior Product Manager by Oracle Corporation. He is an avid outdoorsman, and has the heart of a teacher. Dave coached all three of his children over a 14 year period in different sports, and spent eight years as a board member and tournament director for the Colleyville Girls Softball Association. Dave's ability to troubleshoot problems and provide cost effective solutions is critical to New Hope operations. He enjoys getting to know the New Hope volunteers and getting his hands dirty while he takes care of the New Hope facilities and infrastructure. 

Director of Operations

Jeremy Kokenes

​Jeremy Kokenes is a highly successful executive leader, operations manager and recognized team builder. As a retired special operations military officer, he has experience directing large, diverse, dynamic organizations and precision, mission-focused teams. He has led multiple, sensitive, ‘no-fail’ missions.

Jeremy currently serves as the Executive Director of EWLawyers: Eberstein Witherite, LLP. He directly supports the Managing Partner in leading the business with strategic planning, organizational efficiencies and long-term business development and growth.  On the Board of New Hope, he is serving as an advisor on business and legal matters.

Board Member at Large

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If you love finance, QuikBooks, etc, this position is open. Please contact New Hope if you are interested in serving in this role on our board. 

Finance Chairman

Kim Hilt

Kim has always had a heart for the special needs population. He began his contributions of time and resources early in the 80’s through his church, Special Olympics, public schools and now at New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy. Kim is a corporate trainer for Walsh Construction, the 12th largest general contractor in the US. He manages a national field supervisor training program. He is most excited to see the tremendous impact in the lives of New Hope’s clients and family members.


Kathleen Beisly

Kathleen is retired from IBM where she was the North America Digital Marketing Team Leader.  She is drawn to help those with special needs because of her family connections as well as her experience volunteering for years with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  She lends her business expertise to assist with web site management, communications and digital promotions. In her spare time, Kathleen enjoys gardening and light hiking with her husband.

Marketing Chair

Darrell Thompson

Darrell is a retired Professional Engineer, specializing in major transportation programs, such as the latest Terminal Development at DFW (Terminal D) and major roadway programs: Chisholm Trail Parkway and the North Tarrant Express (I-820, SH 183/121, I-35W). As a retiree, he loves to spend time with his grandkids (6), play golf with his family and his wife Brenda, travel and volunteer at Compass Christian Church and New Hope. Darrell loves working with the kids at New Hope and his greatest reward are those smiles on the kids faces as they ride horses.

Board Member At Large

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New Hope Staff Members

McKinzie Kershen

McKinzie has loved horses as far back as she can remember. She would always ask Santa for a horse, and yet would always get a stuffed animal in return. Finally, her parents appeased her with horseback riding lessons, and she fell in love with the sport. She moved to Argyle in order to attend Texas Woman’s University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies at TWU in 2018 and is currently working on her Master’s of Occupational Therapy degree at TWU. She is dedicated to enriching her student’s lives by combining her unique knowledge of human development and horseback riding, and loves working with children of all abilities. Her hobbies include horseback riding, cooking, Netflix, and making people laugh.

Susan Altshuler

Susan met her first horse before she could walk and has been obsessed ever since. She grew up “riding”....her bike, the swing, the sofa arm, the dog. Virtually anything that could be sat astride became her horse! When the real world beckoned she put her horse dreams aside and became a teacher. She has taught diving, swimming, gymnastics, piano, preschool, 1st, 2nd and 5th grade. Susan found her way back to horses when her 3rd child took up riding, kindling her obsession. She is now a competitive show jumper with her very own real horse and best friend, Keegan. New Hope allows her to pair her love for teaching with her love for horses and riding, and she is grateful to have found her purpose.

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Mathew Magee

Matthew is a newcomer to the world of philanthropy, originally preparing to attend law school when he discovered his passion for grant writing and donor relations. Matthew found purpose in life bringing other people together in service to good causes like New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy. As a champion speech and debate competitor from the University of Texas at El Paso, Matthew looks forward to bringing his writing and speaking talents to New Hope to bring in more grants, donors, and smiles on the faces of those happy riders.  

Development Director

Deb Wohlitz

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Deb and her family moved to Dallas in the summer of 2018. 

After a spending the last decade working in the Arts and Entertainment industry, she decided to fulfill her time working with horses and people.  She has had a passion for horses since childhood and has been riding and competing since the age of 7.  She is extremely passionate about Equine Therapy.  When Deb is not riding she can be found enjoying CrossFit, training with her two Golden Retrievers and at any hockey rink in the North Dallas area watching her youngest son play.

Volunteer Coordinator

Lorien Kokenes

Lorien has always been a lover of animals having worked at the Baltimore City and Abilene Zoos in the animal education and training department, She also has a gift with kids having served in and led children and youth organizations in her church. A little secret, at least one or two of her children are helping or working at New Hope every day.

Before she and her husband of 24 years moved back to Texas, Lorien spent the prior 22 years as a military spouse, raising three children in Japan, England and several locations in the US.  During this time she also completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. She has now settled in Argyle and loves taking care of the horses at New Hope, meeting new people and helping in whatever capacity needed.

Lorien and her husband, Jeremy, joined the board in September 2019

Animal Care and Maintenance Coordinator, Board Member at Large

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New Hope is a
PATH Int'l Equine Therapy Center
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New Hope is insured by Markel Insurance.

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