Our Teen Adventure Camp Staff
"The overall strength of S.C. was in your staff!!! People make a program work well and navigating a bunch of teenagers who arrive as strangers and depart having made good friends is no easy task. Your staff provided our daughter opportunities for her confidence to soar!!! They really seemed to understand teens."
-Adria Biddle, parent of 15 yr old, Wakefield, RI
Our staff of skilled instructors, leaders and role models is the driving force behind Sail Caribbean's success.
Many are teachers during the school term who join us for the summer, year after year. Our sailing staff is second to none. Among them you'll find "blue-water" professionals, sailing Olympians, and America's Cup crewmates. Our scuba staff is comprised of full-time, year-round professional PADI dive instructors who boast teaching experience from all corners of the globe. Whether on land or at sea, they all share a passion for their work and a desire to instill that passion in the teens they mentor.
Meet some of our staff and learn what makes them special.
|Hannah Korus||Kyle Pierson||Sarah Morgan Lee||Daniel Klein||Kieran Sullivan|
Experienced and Skilled Leadership
Mike Liese, Northport, NY
Thirty-Second Year: Founder/Director
Mike Liese is a sailor – he grew up on the waters of Long Island Sound. He's also a father, grandfather, educator, and most of all a mentor. After obtaining his Masters in Education from Penn State University, Mike spent the next 17 years in education, first as a high school teacher and later as director of the Alternative School Program at Harborfields H.S. in New York. In 1979, he made a life-changing decision to combine his passion for teaching with his love of sailing – Sail Caribbean. More than thirty years later, Mike remains committed to his original vision of empowering young people to reach heights they might never have thought possible.
Sail Caribbean Divers - Directors
Melisande Rowe, East End, Tortola
Seventeenth Year : Sail Caribbean Divers Dive Director
This Texan chose scuba fins over cowboy boots as Sail Caribbean's dive director and master instructor. Melisande put her know-how into practice to develop Sail Caribbean's teen scuba camps. Melisande now concentrates her efforts on Sail Caribbean Divers, our year-round dive center in the British Virgin Islands.
Mike Rowe, East End, Tortola
Thirteenth Year : PADI Course Director
Mike makes the toughest tasks seem easy and his enthusiasm for the job is infectious. As a PADI-certified Course Director, Mike is "an instructor of instructors", having certified over 800 dive professionals. With more than 25 years in the dive industry, his expertise makes him a valuable resource for Sail Caribbean. His keen focus on customer service, combined with his unique sense of humor and charisma, keep our adult and teenage divers engaged and driven while they have fun.
Sail Caribbean Sailing Staff - Directors
Cliodhna Breathnach – Dublin, Ireland
Sixth Year: Sailing Director
I have been a Mate, Captain, & Program Director for the Bravo and Charlie programs. For the past two summers I have been the Sailing Director. In 2005 I earned a 4-year degree in Outdoor education at the Galway Mayo Institute of technology in Ireland after which I traveled and worked in the outdoors, becoming more involved in sailing and learning how to dive along the way. I am now studying for my masters and Dr. of Chiropractic in the University Of Glamorgan, Wales. I have worked with teens and children in a coaching and leadership capacity from the age of 17. While in College I worked as a part time freelance activity instructor before graduating in 2005. I then began working fulltime as a multi activity instructor in outdoor education and summer activity centres on the east and west coasts of Ireland where I taught lessons in kayaking, sailing, surfing, climbing, absailing, camp craft and hillwalking.
I joined Sail Caribbean in 2007 as a mate and have never looked back. To me Sail Caribbean is more than a job; it’s a second home and as a staff member returning for my 6th summer I’d have to say I also consider myself a family member, and that I am returning home for summer. Sail Caribbean and Mike Liese have a great way of making you instantly feel welcome. My first day on the job I knew immediately that this is no ordinary summer camp, and that this was the beginning of a great journey. The effort and care placed upon creating a worthwhile, educational, and fun filled experience does not apply just to our students but also to their staff. I come back each year because I love meeting our new staff and watching them begin that journey, I love watching our veteran staff return to take the ride again to see what they can learn this time. The main reason I come back however is because of the experiences I get to see and create for our students; to watch them grow and learn in the special way they do at Sail Caribbean makes me incredibly happy & proud. Something funny you should know about me… I sunburn real easy and get massive panda eyes from my sunglasses, so really should avoid 3 months in the Caribbean - but just can’t resist...
Emma Deegan - Wicklow, Ireland
Sixth Year: Sailing Director
I have worked on Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Tango and as Captain, Mate, Fleet Captain, Program Director and Sailing Director. I grew up in a land locked county in Ireland and none of my family sail. I studied for a degree in Outdoor Education on the West coast, which covered topics such as Developmental Psychology, Environmental Studies, Heritage and outdoor activities. It was during these outdoor sessions that I learned to sail. I couldn't get enough of it, I sailed every chance that I could get and volunteered my time in exchange for additional lessons. After graduation I worked for a sailing charity in Northern Ireland. The aim of this charity was to introduce young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to the sport of sailing and by doing so to help them grow.
While in this job I was awarded my Royal Yachting Association Day Skipper and competed in the Tall Ships Race. I loved this job and found my year with them extremely rewarding but I wanted to be sailing more and so I made the move to Sail Caribbean. Since then I have continued to seek further adventures in sailing, I have sailed to the Arctic and sailed across the Atlantic. With Sail Caribbean I have been lucky enough to sail all around the British Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands.
Sail Caribbean has lots of different factors that keep bringing me back each summer. I started off as a Captain, and during that first summer I received support from the entire team, from Mike, our director down to my fellow captains. I felt like I really was part of a team that cared. The company nurtures their staff, they provide opportunities for growth and they help their staff to grow and learn.
Sail Caribbean never remains static, they ask questions, they listen to the answers and they make changes when needed. To be part of a team such as this is exceptional, to feel that you are listened to and that the company is taking your ideas on board. The teams that I have worked with during my years here have been fantastic. They understand each other, they are connected in what they want to get from the program and they are great fun. Add to this the fact that we are working in one of the best sailing playgrounds in the world and you have the recipe for a great summer. I love to sail and be on or in the water. I love to swim. I have grown up surrounded by horses and horse riding is still a huge part of my life. I like to run, read, travel and explore new places. I love cooking and being from a large family there are always lots of people to practice on. Something funny you should know about me…As a child I got a kid's building block lodged in my mouth!!!
Erica Bartos - Charlottesville, VA
Fourth Year: Program Director
I started my Sail Caribbean adventures by heading Down Island as a Mate on Delta, then I came back up and joined the Foxtrot crew as a Captain. I have also been Fleet Captain for Foxtrot and co-led Echo – this year I am Foxtrot’s Program Director. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. But as it turns out, I'm also a closet Marine Bio geek. I grew up on the water and attending or counseling various summer camps. After a foray into the "real world", I stumbled upon a job teaching 5 middle school kids math and science on a boat in Boston. I discovered that I really like working with middle and high school kids. That is also when I decided to get my captain's license. Now, I teach ninth grade physics and pre-calculus when I'm not at Sail Caribbean. Besides my addiction to the ocean, it's really the shared adventures with amazing staff members and awesome kids that bring me back every summer. In the dark days of winter, I find myself daydreaming of that first really great sail with a new crew or watching the sun go down on the deck with a good friend. When I'm not playing on or in the water, I like to hike, play with my new puppy, and build or stain furniture. I love traveling and exploring new places. My newest interest is watching polo, and I'd like to learn how to play. Something funny you should know about me… I get anxious if I don't have some sort of trip planned in the near future.
Graham Benton - Springcity, PA
Fourth Year: Program Director
I have been Mate, Captain, Fleet Captain, Medical Office, Provisions Manager, Office Manager, Operations and Program Director. I have worked Foxtrot, Sierra and Bravo and this summer will be the Program Director for Sierra. I received an Undergraduate Degree in Environmental Science and Adventure Education from Prescott College. I have achieved my Instructor level Scuba certification from PADI. I worked in a couple of courses working with youths in Prescott AZ. I took the Sail Caribbean ECHO Internship as my first sailing experience. I have worked for Sail Caribbean from the time that I was in college and two years after I graduated. I really like the people. Working here with the friendly staff and the wonderful students makes it so rewarding to be working as an educator. In my spare time I love mountain biking, skiing, riding a motorcycle, baking bread and eating scones. Something funny you should know about me… I have been kissed by the tallest land mammal!
Shannon Keenon - Chico, CA
Third Year: Program Director
I was a Mate on the Foxtrot program my first year and last summer was the Program Director of that Fleet. These days I also help out with the Sail Caribbean Blog and preparing for the summer. In 2007 I graduated from Texas A&M University (Galveston) with my B.Sc in Marine Biology. During that time I participated in many exciting research and outreach projects, working closely with dolphins, sea turtles, coral and the public. I have been accumulating scuba certifications since 2005, and in 2009 I became a NAUI Divemaster. Catalina Island Marine Institute in California was my home for 3 years. I initially worked as a Marine Science Instructor and Aquarist, and later became the Assistant Program Director of the camp. When I am not working or in the water, I spend my time helping my garden grow, cooking, taking photos, hiking, and learning as much as possible. I thrive on using my love for the ocean and science to inspire interest, self-discovery and passion in others. That’s what makes me tick! It's amazing and exciting to watch as another person experiences a shift in perspective. Each year I return to Sail Caribbean because each program brings new challenges, personal growth, and adventure for the staff as well as the teens. Something funny about me… drop me in the ocean any day, but lakes/rives/ponds and the things that live there make me very nervous.
Claire Marian - Winchester, MA
Third Year: Echo Program Director
My first summer I was a mate for Early Bravo, then a Captain for Charlie & Bravo for the rest of the summer. My second summer I was the Program Director or Echo 1, Staff Training B, and the Bravo & Charlie Programs. This summer I'll be returning to be the program director of Echo. I graduated from Saint Mary's College of Maryland in 2010 with a degree in Psychology and Education. While at Saint Mary's I also raced for their off shore sailing team. I have been teaching sailing in one form or another since I was 16. Prior to Sail Caribbean I worked at day and residential summer camps. Currently I spend my fall and spring working for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), primarily as a sailing instructor in Baja Mexico. I come back to Sail Caribbean year after year to continue to share my love of sailing, experiential education, and the ocean environment. When I'm not working and sharing my love of the outdoors, I enjoy traveling and enjoying it by myself. I just got back from a month in Guatemala climbing volcanoes and improving my Spanish. Something funny you should know about me…. my favorite classes to teach often involve jazzercise costumes.
Kieran Sullivan - Santa Fe, NM
Third Year: Program Director
I was a captain on both the Foxtrot and Delta programs as well as a Program Director for the Delta program. For my undergraduate degree I completed a double major in Field Biology as well as Photography. I am currently an Ornithology Field Technician in New Mexico. I am an open water diver, and I love nothing more than sailing a perfectly balanced boat! I spent extensive time in college at a marine biology field station in Mexico, and love exploring natural history and am fascinated with marine ecology. In addition, my skills as a photographer come in handy at Sail Caribbean.My skills as a sailor are mostly thanks to Sail Caribbean. I am a graduate from Sail Caribbean's ECHO program and have loved working with them for the past three years! I love being out on the clear blue waters with the perfect trade winds to send us on our way. I also love the challenge of trying to pass on something that I love as deeply as sailing to teenagers! In my spare time I play violin, go rock-climbing, kayaking, and love to pay attention to the natural world. Something funny yourshould know about me… I like to rock hats called Sullivans!
Eric von Aschwege - Swannanoa, NC
Second Year: Program Director
I started as a Mate during Early Bravo and was Captain on the Delta Program for the remainder of the season. I started sailing when I was 5 years old with my dad and the local sailing program, and enjoyed annual cruises to Maine on our 39 ft sloop. I've enjoyed being in the outdoors since I was little, and now share my passion for sailing and the outdoors with others. I have a BA in Outdoor Leadership (ODL) from Warren Wilson College and also studied psychology while there. In training with the ODL department, I learned about group dynamics, leadership in a wilderness setting, and took particular interest in risk management and developing new programming. I got my Scuba certification during my sophomore year of school, but much prefer snorkeling. I'm currently trying to develop a sailing program that works with active service members and veterans. I worked with several youth programs throughout my training in Outdoor Leadership, facilitated programming for local school groups, and led outdoor trips for college peers. I grew up on an island just north of Boston, and have always enjoyed studying the natural history and marine biology of the New England area. Working with the students is a great opportunity - not only am able to become a more competent sailor and educator, but it is incredibly rewarding to watch the students take charge and sail the boat on their own. There's nothing like taking a step back and having the students read the weather and take down sail anticipating a coming squall without my needing to say a word. As a captain I enjoyed the responsibility of running a vessel and being a role model for my students. They teach me as many lessons as I teach them. Lastly, nowhere else am I able to work with and learn from staff members of such high caliber. I've been Mountain Biking about as long as I've been sailing. I also enjoy maritime and colonial history, as well as woodworking and even building and restoring flintlock rifles on the side. Something funny you should know about me…I enjoy listening to and making puns, as well as Accent jokes... Do they have trees in Canada? Yessir, between da twos and da fours.nce.
BVI Operations Staff
Lorraine Toner, Office Manager
This will be my second summer with Sail Caribbean. I first came to Sail Caribbean in 2008 and was Captain on the Bravo Program. I graduated from National College of Ireland, Dublin In 2005 with a degree in Accounting and Human Resource Management. In 2011 I was awarded a diploma in Volunteer Management. I am RYA Yachtmaster qualified. The sailing world has been part of my life for 12 years. I have worked as skipper, crew and sailing instructor with teenagers and adults on various vessels including Tall Ships, Catamarans, Monohulls and Dinghys. I have been lucky enough to sail in many beautiful and challenging locations including New Zealand, Tonga, Australia, The Arctic Circle, Europe and the Caribbean. I have crossed three oceans and logged over 20,000 nautical miles. I have also enjoyed working in many busy offices in boarding schools, charter companies and sailing charities around the world. Sail Caribbean has all the ingredients of a truly exceptional experience. For me it’s the mix of young people, the stunning location, experienced and motivated staff both in the BVI and in New York, all this combined with safe and reliable equipment makes Sail Caribbean the place I want to work. I am passionate about traveling, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. Whenever possible I like to spend my time outdoors; sailing and walking. Something funny you should know about me…I am afraid of cauliflower!
Justin Perry, Operations Manager
This will be my third summer working for Sail Caribbean, and my second summer as OPS Director. I was a land-lubber for the longest, and had never been diving or sailing before I joined Sail Caribbean. I grew up in East Texas in a small town and never imagined one day that I'd find myself working and playing in the middle of the ocean. I went to school for Arts and Technology, working primarily with design oriented, art, and computer animation classes. I grew up a “Jack of all trades” and have the work ethic to do anything I put my mind to. Ops provided me the perfect opportunity to use the variety of skills I have accumulated and apply them to a professional career. I am able to hone my mechanical abilities and enjoy interacting with our campers. In short, I come back for the Job. Being in the Caribbean is just a Perk to me. It's all about the people and the dynamic work relationship that Sail Caribbean provides. We all become close friends while providing our younger counterparts with ways to grow and learn in a fun environment. I feel that everyone (younger or older than me) has something to teach me. All I have to do is listen. Sail Caribbean gives me a whole new pool of people to learn from. I love working with my hands: arts and crafts, drawing, painting and video games. Something funny you should know about me… I'm quite perceptive of everything that goes on around me, but from time-to-time I have what I call my "What Dog?" moments and I miss the funny thing that someone has said or done right in front of me. It started when I was 3.
OUR DEDICATED NY OFFICE CREW:
Jackie Musco, Vicky Hochhauser, Carol Schwier, Janice Jay and Liz Burns