Island Dolphin Care Staff Members

They say it takes a village to raise a child. At Island Dolphin Care, it takes an amazing collection of donors, supporters, volunteers, community partners, doctors, hospitals, staff and friends to create a place that generates smiles rivaling the Florida sun intensity.

Deena Hoagland, L.C.S.W., C.H.T.
Executive Director, IDC Instructor

Deena received her Master’s Degree in clinical social work from the University of Denver, and Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education. She is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in Colorado and Florida.

Deena oversees all aspects of Island Dolphin Care. In addition, Deena continues to work in the water and classroom with children and families as an Instructor.

Deena’s personal experience as a parent of a child with special needs allows her to provide great insight to families.


Joe Hoagland
Chief Officer of Inspiration

As the “Chief Officer of Inspiration” at Island Dolphin Care, Joe helps out around the facility by answering phones, working in the garden, assisting with Dolphin Talks and Dolphin Camps and offering the best tour of the facility.

Gretchen Thomasson, BS Sp. Ed.
Assistant Director, IDC Instructor, Internship Coordinator

Gretchen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Maryland at College Park. She was a special education teacher in Maryland for six years prior to joining the Island Dolphin Care staff in July 2005.

At Island Dolphin Care, Gretchen coordinates and oversees Dolphin Talks, the Community Swim Program, Dolphin Camps, and the Internship Program. In addition, Gretchen works in the water and classroom with the children as an Instructor.

Eli Smith, BS Sp. Ed.
IDC Instructor

Eli holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Ball State University in Indiana. Prior to joining the IDC team in 2006, Eli gained teaching experience working with students with emotional and learning disabilities in a self contained room at the middle school level.

At Island Dolphin Care, Eli helps in overseeing Dolphin Talks, and Dolphin Camps. In addition, Eli works in the water and classroom with the children as an Instructor. Eli also offers assistive technology workshops to IDC families as well as individuals from the community.

Kim Severance, MS, CTRS
Marine Science Education Coordinator, IDC Instructor, Veteran Program Coordinator

Kimberly Severance moved to the Florida Keys in 2006, after receiving her Masters in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Connecticut State University. She was a volunteer at Island Dolphin Care for 3 years and joined the Island Dolphin Care staff in 2009.

At Island Dolphin Care, Kim coordinates and oversees the Veteran program and the Marine Education program. In addition, Kim works in the water and classroom with the children as an Instructor.

If you have any questions about marine education trips at our facility, or regarding our portable touch tank program, please contact Kim at

Pete Hoagland, MA IS
Program Manager

Peter holds his Masters Degree in Art and Interdisciplinary Studies from Oregon State University. Along with being one of the founders of Island Dolphin Care, he is also the General Manager.

Peter works closely with several Wish Organizations to provide experiences to their families. Peter also serves as the Vice President of the Florida Keys Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and on the Board of Directors of the Marine Mammal Conservancy.

Kathy Jones
Program Assistant

Kathy holds an Associates Degree in Business. She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting. At Island Dolphin Care, Kathy assists families with making reservations and is a book keeper. Kathy is an 18 year resident of the Florida Keys.


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