Before joining Class Afloat as President in 2011, David served 15 years as Director General of the World Youth, Student & Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation and ISTC, based in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Representing 550 student and youth travel companies in 120 countries, the membership provided international experiences to more than 10 million young independent travellers each year: study abroad, backpackers, volunteers, adventure travel, language education, cultural exchange, au pair, work abroad, student flights and the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), as well as hosted WYSTC, an annual conference for up to 1,000 specialist youth travel professionals.
He started his life-long career in student services when elected President of the student union at the University of Toronto. After graduation and a year spent travelling around the world, he became Executive Director of The Canadian Federation of Student – Services, operating student service programs including: Travel CUTS, a specialist student travel bureau that grew into a $100 million operation with 70 offices serving 500,000 young Canadian travellers each year; Canadian Programming Service – a national speakers bureau; The Student Work Abroad Programme; The National Student Health Plan.
David has held many positions on travel industry bodies, including:
- Vice President, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members Board
- Board member, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
- Chairperson, European Travel Action Group (ETAG)
- Member, the UNWTO Committee on Sustainable Development of Tourism
Head of School
Megan MacLeod, Head of School, oversees the delivery of our academic curriculum, port programming, community development and sail training aspects of the Class Afloat program.
Appointed in 2016, Megan brought her many years of prior Class Afloat experience and a deep understanding of the program potential from a faculty and ship life perspective to the position of Head of School. She taught sciences as a Class Afloat faculty member from 2010 – 2014 and was appointed Shipboard Director in her last year aboard. While teaching on land for two years she furthered her professional interests in leadership studies and curriculum development while continuing to serve as an Academic Advisor to Class Afloat. She brings a global perspective to the program from her teaching experiences in China and Australia.
Driven by a passion to engage young people in activities that allow them to develop their leadership skills and full potential as global citizens, Megan believes that sailing the world on a traditional tall ship will allow our students to gain the life skills required for success into the future.
When not pursuing her pedagogic passions, Megan has trained, coached and competed as a sprint kayak racing athlete. She has brought the same level of energy, focus and success to her role as Head of School.
David is a creative educator, writer, musician, and lover of all things outdoors and adventurous. His varied career has seen him teach in Bhutan, Kenya, England, Scotland and the DRC where he was a founding Principal of the British International School of Lubumbashi. A passionate advocate for progressive education, he believes that a radical evolution is necessary to better prepare the youth of today for the uncertain challenges of tomorrow. He’s released a few albums, written a few books and encourages everybody to dig deep into their creative side, get out into nature and become agents for positive change. David will also be working as Class Afloat Director of Curriculum Development, helping to design and deliver the experiential, place based curriculum. Along the way he hopes to learn with (and from) the Floaties about how education can best be used to inspire effective and impactful social change.
What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?
The Pacific Crest trail. I walked the Camino de Santiago in my twenties and have done a few other long distance hikes but the big one is always on my mind. Walking for that long through nature changes you. Also, sky-diving and learning to dance properly.
If you could have anyone as a dinner guest – living or deceased, who would you choose?
Is it too corny to say Alexander von Humbolt? What an inspiring legend. But he’d probably bore the pants off everybody because, bright and charismatic as he was, he never stopped talking. So maybe John Muir instead for the deceased and George Monbiot for the living.
What is one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned to date?
Everything’s in constant motion, always changing, never staying the same (also known as ‘You never step in the same river twice’ or ‘I’d rather be a river than a puddle’).
What book impacted you the most?
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It taught me three things:
1) You can make conscious decisions about how you perceive reality
2) Why just read and listen to music when you can write and play
3) Everything’s relative and very few things are ‘right’
Admissions & Administrative Lead
Jackie joined the Class Afloat team as Administrative Lead, and has now added Admissions to her role. She came to us with a background in independent school admissions, tall ship crewing, real estate, holistic nutrition and many years of helping people in customer service. Her desire to help is evident in all that she tackles, including the role of Mom to her three wonderful kids.
Jackie has a great love of travel, the sea, photography and being active in nature. Her experiences while travelling through Europe made her a firm believer in experiential learning and she wishes, very much, she knew of Class Afloat back in her high school days in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is forever learning and trying new things. She lives wholly with gratitude and the attitude that we must make the most of this life.
Jackie is here to help with any questions you might have about the Class Afloat experience. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Wellness Advisor
Dr. Beth Warsof, PhD (she/her) is a licensed developmental psychologist, professional certified coach, and international experiential educator. In her work, Beth co-creates brave, compassionate spaces that empower individuals in their gifts, cultivate connection and community, and bring greater justice and belonging to our world. Beth is honored to return to Class Afloat (Gulden Leeuw, 2017-18) in her role supporting student and community wellness. Beth will work in person during Student and Faculty Orientation as well as remotely throughout the year.
Social Media Management
Meet Mimi Tsirkin, the creative force behind Class Afloat’s captivating social media presence (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn). Joining the team back in 2021, Mimi brings a wealth of experience, having served as a former faculty member and having lived the unique experiences on board. Tasked with the exciting challenge of capturing moments both on and off the ship, Mimi’s passion lies in crafting compelling stories through the lens of visuals (photos and videos). From breathtaking seascapes to cherished moments shared among students, Mimi’s keen eye and storytelling prowess ensure that every floatie’s experiences are vividly portrayed for their friends and family to see.
To keep up with all things Class Afloat, follow us @classafloat on several social media platforms!