Ark-Valley Humane Society Announces New Executive Director

Ark-Valley Humane Society Announces New Executive Director


Ark-Valley Humane Society has announced Amber van Leuken as its new executive director. Van Leuken will fill the vacancy of former executive director, Jonathan McDonell, after he accepted a position at a shelter in the Northeast.

“We are very pleased to announce this new appointment,” said Dr. John Ellis, Ark-Valley Humane Society Board Chair. “Amber’s experience and dedication to Ark-Valley Humane Society will make her a tremendous asset as our leader.”

“I am humbled and honored to step into this new role,” van Leuken remarks. “It’s an exciting time to be in animal welfare and I look forward to growing Ark-Valley Humane Society as a progressive and community-focused animal shelter.   I look forward to leading our efforts to improve the lives of companion animals and support the connection between people and pets.”

Van Leuken has been involved with Ark-Valley Humane Society since 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Cornell University, and a Master of Arts degree in Psychology with a Specialization in Nonprofit Management from the University of the Rockies. With significant experience in animal welfare and nonprofit management, van Leuken will advance Ark-Valley Humane Society’s current strategic plan and guide the organization’s mission of advocating for the welfare of all animals through compassion and care.

Previously, van Leuken served Ark-Valley Humane Society as Programs and Services Manager where she largely focused on operations management; grant writing, and spay/neuter programs. In addition to this experience, van Leuken has a passion for international spay/neuter and development efforts and is currently supporting projects in Nepal. She resides in Salida with her husband Anton, two daughters, and five shelter-rescued pets.