Our Faculty

Assisting our students to pursue their goals is our passion.

All our faculty bring a global perspective to the courses they teach and look for opportunities to integrate experiential education with class work wherever possible. Class Afloat exclusively hires teachers who are driven by a passion to engage young people in activities that allow them to develop their leadership skills and full potential as global citizens. Our teachers lead small classes that are tailored to meet the learning needs of each student.

Learn more about current faculty members by clicking on an image below.


Meet Samantha Frisk

Samantha Frisk

Shipboard Director

Samantha is a Yinzer at heart who calls the coast of Maine home. For the past 8 years, she has supported universities in their pursuit of intentional community engagement and faculty in designing courses which link academic content and purposeful action. Her teaching in both mathematics and Honors focuses on empowering students to examine structures of institutions and their own learning. “Community Service: Destructive or Empowering?” and an interdisciplinary collaboration entitled “History and Memory: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration” are among her favorite courses. She is an Engaged Scholar, holds a B.S. in Mathematics and International Service, and an M.S.Ed. with a focus on Culturally Responsive Practices in Education and Human Development, but undoubtedly continues to learn most from students, community partners, activists, sailors, and educators who have been so generous with their knowledge.

Meet David Green

David Green

Faculty and Director of Curriculum Development

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, most recently, in 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 sides, 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 shape place based curriculum.

Meet Mimi Tsirkin

Mimi Tsirkin

Mimi will be your go-to resource for all things math and science this year! But it doesn’t stop there! She’s happy to connect over travelling, biking, camping, working out, and…eating (she is a huge foodie!). Prior to Class Afloat, Mimi completed her Masters of Educational Leadership at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and was working, well, in a classroom setting that doesn’t rock back and forth on the regular! Mimi chose to pursue a career in education right after high school, attending the Queen’s University Concurrent Education program in Kingston, Ontario. Mimi describes herself as fortunate to know that teaching was exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, but is always looking for ways to elevate the learning experience for herself and students.

“I can’t wait to meet everyone, and push our comfort limits for an experience of a lifetime”!

Meet Rafael Martinez Osuma

Rafael Martinez Osuma

Rafael is truly a world traveller. He grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, attended his undergraduate studies in New York at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and later immigrated to Canada where he obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from York University in Toronto. Rafael started his teaching career with Class Afloat in 2013-14 where he sailed aboard the SS Sorlandet, teaching Biology, Chemistry, and Marine Biology and completed three Atlantic crossings. The call of the sea and strong sense of community fostered with Class Afloat have “called him back home” after having spent the last seven years as a landlubber teaching for the Edmonton Catholic School District. There he was instrumental in the development of a Spanish bilingual Mathematics curriculum.

Rafael brings his passion for dancing and community involvement projects wherever he goes.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Rafael worked as a Fitness Instructor, Dancer and Performer, and Show Manager for the non-profit Performing Arts organization, Up with People. He is also currently undertaking his Master’s of Hispanic Language and Cultural Teaching for primary and secondary teachers at the University of Alcalá, in Madrid, Spain.

Meet Gareth Manning

Gareth Manning

Gareth is a long-time global educator and explorer. For more than fifteen years he has been ‘living the dream,’ combining passions for teaching and travel into a fun and fulfilling career. Prior to joining Class Afloat Gareth taught social sciences in eleven countries on five continents, including three years in Japan, five years in Taiwan, and three years with THINK Global School. He also holds degrees from the University of Toronto, including two in education, and has earned a number of education awards. Gareth is a critical examiner of the dominant model of schooling and is most interested in rethinking systems to help all students flourish as whole humans. To that end, he started a podcast to explore educational transformation, called the World Teacher Podcast.

Gareth is extremely excited to be joining the Class Afloat community and supporting experiential and academic learning while sailing across the Atlantic!

“I have a deep love for the Ocean and cannot wait to connect and learn more. I dream of befriending a whale, a dolphin, and an octopus — you never know! I’m looking forward to life onboard just as much as the incredible locations we will get to visit. I intend to use my free time to explore my creativity as a writer and a digital content creator. Life is short. I believe in embracing it; living fully in the face of challenge and fear. I hope to grow a lot this year and am grateful for the opportunity”.

Meet Paul Stemmler

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Paul calls Barrie, Ontario home, but is a Maritimer at heart.  He resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he completed a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education at Dalhousie University and Mount Saint Vincent University respectively. Paul’s pedagogy is grounded by social-emotional learning; he is passionate about teaching the “whole” student.  Paul’s parents are former educators, and he is extremely grateful to have had a passion for education instilled in him throughout his life – he always knew he wanted to, “join the family business”.  When Paul is not in a classroom, he spends his time bouldering, telling stories, exploring coffee shops, sailing, and dreaming up future adventures.

1.What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?

I have dreamed of surfing. There are many surfing locations in Nova Scotia, but the frigid North Atlantic has kept my dream at bay.

  1. What makes you most excited about teaching/working with Class Afloat?

I am most excited to watch the students’ growth over the school year.  From my perspective, the combination of school, travel, and living aboard a tall ship will catalyze every student’s academic, emotional, and social development.

  1. What is your best advice for having a great adventure?

“Plan less, put technology away, be spontaneous, and thrive in the moment”

  1. What is one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned to date?

A friend of mine encouraged me to journal everyday. My journal is a collection of my highs and lows, my random thoughts and ideas, and the little events that make one smile, but could easily be forgotten.  This has proven to be invaluable as memories slowly erode over time.

Meet Pascale Dumond-Blais

Pascale Dumond Blais

Pascale Dumond-Blais hails from Ottawa, Ontario and is thrilled to be returning as a member of the Class Afloat faculty after having worked and sailed aboard the Gulden Leeuw during the 2019-20 school year. In addition to her teaching assignment, Pascale will also be taking on a new role as Student Wellness Advisor.

Pascale obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Anthropology and her Bachelor of Education, both from the University of Ottawa.

When not teaching at sea, Pascale works for a French public school board in Ottawa. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she has served as a guide and interpreter for the Royal Canadian Mint, the National Capital Commission (Mackenzie King Estate), and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Beyond teaching, she enjoys travelling, reading, drawing, and painting, the occasional binge tv series…ok, and a few Tik Toks here and there!

Pascale is looking forward to the new school year with great expectation for her students, the new vessel, and opportunity for creativity and growth in outdoor and experiential education. Most of all, she is excited about the community to be created together and the forward motion that comes with life at sea, not to mention those sunsets and starry night skies.

What Students Say

Student on Bowsprit
Meeting so many different people on the ship has opened my eyes up to so many new possibilities. People say nothing is impossible and this program has shown me that. The people here are super inspiring. They do things that are so different from what I’ve seen at home. They inspire me to go do something different with my life and make a change in the world.
Caroline Anber, Class Afloat Alumni(1/3)
Student on tall ship
When I spent time with the kids and asked them what it was about, they said “acceptance”. There’s no judgement, they all accept each other, and I think that’s such a beautiful lesson to get at such a young age. Those kids have had to work hard and to learn grit. I heard her say how much she loved the challenge. If your kid wants to go, make it happen!
Elana Rosenfield, Class Afloat Parent(2/3)
Port program
The biggest take away from Class Afloat was learning how to work with and lead people in almost any situation. Furling sails in a storm, 2-4am watches and full days in the galley, working with the same people day in and day out you learn a lot about those people - and yourself.
Student Survey, 2017-2018(3/3)