About Us

Staff Leaders

All of our staff Leaders are certified teachers with years of experience! We have many who have ambulance experience, lifeguard training, first aid, and EMT certification.  (Left-Right)   Emily Cullen, John Garzon, Todd Smith, Tim Anagnostis, and Dana Spagnuola

John Garzon and Tim Anagnostis

 

John has been teaching as a college professor, middle school teacher, coach, and tutor for more than twenty years! He is in his 16th year at Renaissance as a teacher of Language Arts, Drama, and Film Appreciation.  He has been a recipient of both the Governor's Teacher of the Year and Weston awards.  He loves working and traveling with his students.  He has been to locations all over Europe, Africa, South America, and the United States to explore and study. After graduation at NJIT as an architect, he decided to teach at William Paterson College, Somerville Middle, and in Montclair. He put together a team participating in Destination Imagination, developed a Drama Writer's Club, wrote and directed many school plays in two towns, created an annual Poetry Café performed at both the library and Trumpets for pre-teens.  
     He is so excited to continue Surf and Turf as he was the founder back in 2005! 

     His joy is to see kids pull themselves away from their rooms and have fun in nature and the city! He has always wanted to teach kids that life itself is full of great adventure, not only derived from structured activities and video games. 



     Tim is in his 20th year at Renaissance as a teacher of both Spanish and Drama.  He has been a recipient of both the Governor's Teacher of the Year and Weston awards.  He loves working and traveling with his students.  He has led ten student trips to locations such as Barcelona, Madrid, the Costa del Sol and Morocco.  This year he is starting an international exchange program with students from Sevilla and Granada.
     He is so excited to be working in his 14th year at Surf and Turf!  Over the years, he has enjoyed watching soccer in Barcelona, white-water rafting in West Virginia, and exploring the grand Canyon and the Blue Ridge Mountains with the campers.  He cannot wait for the next adventures and is sure this coming summer will be the best year yet!


Emily Cullen

In house EMT on overnights. She has been at Renaissance Middle School for 16 years! She has lots of training in first aid and is seen on the Livingston ambulances. She also serves as our secretary and planner for trips. 

Todd Smith

Todd is an official captain of his own boat which can tour passengers as he has in the past. We have been around the statue of liberty and Manhattan a few times! Know as "the most interesting man in the world" by many, and to others, a teaching and coaching icon winning many awards including the Weston. A speaker of Mandarin Chinese, he has traveled much of the world, coached sports, brought victory to the Robotics team, while teaching Science for over 15 years in Montclair! He is also a trusted, experienced outdoorsman like no other in our camp- when he's around, there is never a worry.  He has won many awards teaching.

     Stefan, his son, is our lifeguard and overall safety net. He is respected as one of our best counselors by leading many buses throughout the tri-state area. He is prepared for any obstacle and is a lot of fun with youthful energy. 

Dana Spagnuola

      Dana is in her ninth year as the music teacher at Renaissance Middle School in Montclair.  She started teaching in the Bronx and finished her Masters Degree at Teachers College in NYC. She is a Weston Award winner and student favorite.  She has been a children’s entertainer for 12 years. She is a singer songwriter in her spare time. This will be her sixth year at Surf and Turf.  She loves the opportunity to travel to new and interesting places and the chance to spend time outdoors. She loves to see kids adventure through the summer and explore new places. Her favorite trip was the white water rafting trip and witnessing the magic of the kids being free and spending time within nature!  She believes old fashion fun is something our kids miss out on, but fortunately Surf and Turf provides them the opportunities necessary to grow into healthy well rounded individuals. 

Maria-Elena Dyer

MariaElena is the Reading Specialist at Renaissance Middle School in Montclair. She schooled, lived and worked in many parts of Europe and Africa.  As a former diplomat and UNICEF Children’s Organization employee in Zanzibar, she has many stories to share with campers.  She often shares her experiences from her past careers by way of anecdotes students and campers can learn from to help remedy anything from conflicts with each other to the fear of trying something new! After three years,  favorite overnight trips included Virginia Beach Camping and exploring Amish Country in Pennsylvania because the kids viewed these places with awe, as if they were in far away countries! She welcomes the opportunity to spend more summers outdoors with the campers, discovering new places, sharing stories, and making good memories.   

Hope Gulledge

      Hope has been working In Education for over 25 years and presently at Renaissance Middle School.  Throughout this time, she has worked with children who have disabilities and special needs. She is always happy to work with all students she meets. Throughout her career, she has worked various camps, and is in her third year with Surf and Turf.  She grew up in Montclair, went to many of the schools, and is currently a resident. She is happy to be working with Surf and Turf Camp as well continuing to meet students from all over. 

Soli is a graduate of MHS and has been a part of Surf and Turf since she was very young. She loves t

Soli Garzon

 Soli is a graduate of MHS and has been a part of Surf and Turf since she was very young. She loves the outdoors and has been a group leader for four years. She has helped chaperone and entertain kids on our overnights, such as West Virginia and The Grand Canyon.  She is presently going to school at Skidmore College. 

Manny Sargent

 

A very popular Lacrosse Coach in town, Manny has been a part of the Renaissance experience almost since its start. He is an athletic component to the camp to go along with being a great model for campers. He has helped manage buses for Surf and Turf for a number of years. He has experience with Special Needs children as well as aiding classrooms for years. 

Cali Garzon

She is a senior at MHS. She has led groups in NYC, West Virginia, Grand canyon, Niagara Falls, and many overnights for three years. She loves hiking in isolated areas and has a knack for the arts.

Nick Schobert

 ​​​​Nick Schobert attended Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall. Nick has lived his entire life in Montclair. He started attending Surf and Turf in the 5th grade and has many happy memories from these times. This will be Nick's third year as a counselor for Surf and Turf. He is lifeguard certified and loves adventuring.