Our Team



Cindy has vast experience working with skilled nursing operators and clinical operations. Cindy loves teaching and has always had a training mentality even while she was a Licensed Nurse and Director of Nursing. During her career, some of her charge nurses have moved on into administrative, directors of nursing, consultants, and NP roles. She has provided DSD Certification, Admin Preceptor training, and other industry-related training topics for CAHF.

Cindy wholeheartedly believes that caring for the population we serve and working with the staff who provide this care is an honor. She’s volunteered in nursing homes playing music for them since she was 6, and at 13 became a candy striper and worked as a Nursing Assistant before completing nursing school.

And when it comes to staff, Cindy stated “I am awed every day by the staff who work in our facilities. I have seen so many heroes working among us. How they unselfishly volunteered to work in covid units, to volunteering to come in and cover an open shift, to running out to buy a request for a resident, rearranging their own lunch schedule to accommodate a resident’s request for a shower, being yelled at, bitten, or hit by a confused resident and still tenderly assist that same resident with their bathing or dressing. These are just a few of the examples that I see. I hope someday to put all their amazing examples of humanness into a book to honor their work.”

When Cindy isn’t working, teaching, training, volunteering, or all the other compassionate things she does, she loves spending time with her 21-year-old daughter and cat Meow Meow. She also enjoys sports and the gym and tries to participate as much as she can when she can.



Tammy Pirhekayati has devoted her professional life to helping nursing facilities become the providers of choice and employers of choice in their communities. As Chief Clinical Officer for several large operators during the past twenty years, Tammy has led dramatic, sustained improvements in clinical quality measures; daily and supplemental revenues; employee satisfaction; census development; and staff competencies for care at higher levels of acuity.  She has overseen the planning and implementation of multiple electronic health record systems. She has collaborated with hospitals and physician groups to develop disease-specific programs to reduce rehospitalizations. She has developed standardized programs for new facility leader orientations and for training nurses to become DONs. Tammy’s focus is Continuous Quality Improvement, and her leadership style is integrity, collaboration, and trust. Tammy is a classically trained musician. She speaks fluent English and Farsi, and conversational Spanish. She loves physical exercise and dark chocolate.



I started my nursing life as a CNA. I felt blessed and loved what I did, but I knew I could do more for the residents. I became an LVN. After that, I became an RN and got my BSN and PHN. I knew there was still more I could do for those giving care, so I got my DSD certification and became a CPR instructor and a clinical educator. I knew I’d found my niche when I became a CNA instructor. I taught first at the city college level, then after some time working as a DON, I was fortunate to be offered a position at CliniTrack as a CNA instructor. I love teaching. It is my calling. At present, I am in the process of the MSN program with a Master’s in Education. When I am not teaching, I am hiking, doing art (acrylics), or trying out some new restaurant.



Melanie began her medical career when she enlisted in the US Army at 18 years old, training as a Combat Medic and serving at White Sands Missile Range, NM. She became an EMT and a CPR Instructor for her post. She was honorably discharged from the military and got a job with Del Monte as their “plant nurse”. From 1993-1995, Melanie attended Utah State University where she studied social science and went on to further her studies at home in California, becoming an LVN in 2009. It was also at this time that Melanie felt compelled to reenlist in the military and so she served 6 more years as a Combat Medic for the Army National Guard

Melanie has worked within various specialties throughout her career, including pediatrics, podiatry, internal medicine, home health, orthopedics, geriatrics, long-term care, and general surgery. She has also worked as a school nurse for Tracy Unified School District while also teaching competitive gymnastics and high school cheerleading. Teaching had become a common theme in her career and so in 2018, Melanie accepted an offer to assist a friend in teaching CNA school. Finding so much pleasure in teaching, Melanie felt she had finally found her place in the medical field. In 2019, another teaching opportunity came along and this time, it was teaching Vocational Nursing classes. This was a source of great happiness and satisfaction for Melanie, and she proudly graduated her first nursing class in 2021.

COVID took its toll on many vocational schools, so Melanie accepted an offer to teach CNA school again at Vintage Faire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she also became the facility’s Director of Staff Development. However, the desire to teach was still strong so when Covenant Care prepared to start a CNA program in Modesto, Melanie took the position feeling blessed and honored to take part in such an invaluable service to the community, and to be among so many amazing people in the process!

Melanie believes that by teaching CNAs she is doing her part to change the negative stigma that is placed on skilled nursing facilities by teaching CNA candidates the correct way to treat and care for their residents. By doing this, Melanie states, “We can care for the elderly the way they deserve to be cared for and thereby vastly improving their quality of life in their later years.”



Rusty migrated to the United States from the Philippines and has lived in San Jose California since 1999, growing up in a family that loves to help people in need. Rusty started a career in nursing in his early 20s. He completed his Medical Assistant Program at Byrman College in 2002 and worked at Kaiser Permanente. Rusty completed his Nursing Assistant Program in 2005 and become a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2007. For over 18 years, Rusty has worked in various skilled nursing facility roles including Certified Nursing Assistant. Licensed Nurse, Director of Staff Development, Case Manager, Admissions and Wound Treatment Nurse.

As an educator, Rusty provides the right skills and training for nursing assistant students and helps them prepare for the state competency exams given by the California Department of Public Health to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Due to the increasing need for caregivers in the healthcare industry, Rusty is advocating with other healthcare professionals for additional training and education for all those who have a responsibility to care for a loved one to be able to provide quality care.



Theresa Lopez Vega began her career in healthcare as a CNA working in skilled nursing facilities. She shares that her “compassion for ‘taking care’ of people started as a young girl growing up in the ‘Windy City’, back before cell phones and computers were invented.” In 1988 she became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and worked as a charge nurse and eventually a rehab nurse in the suburbs of Chicago. Theresa pursued her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) and her dream became reality in 1992. Shortly after, she relocated to California and worked as RN supervisor for a facility in the San Fernando Valley. It was there that she was presented with an opportunity that would change the course of her career. Dava Stuart (now Dava Ashley) President of Covenant, offered to send Theresa to school to become a certified Director of Staff Development (DSD).

From 1993-2014, Theresa worked for several skilled nursing facilities across California and eventually was hired in 2014 as DSD for Los Altos Subacute and Rehabilitation Center. She has enjoyed training and educating people across all departments. In 2018 Covenant Care started a Nurse Assistant Training Program at Los Altos Sub Acute and Rehabilitation Center where she became the RN program director.

In 2020, Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center started a NATP class. Theresa said, “As a nurse assistant instructor, it’s a great honor to know that we can make a difference in our student’s life by educating them and giving them their knowledge and skills for providing the best care possible for our residents and their families.”