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 has been teaching as a college professor, middle school teacher, coach, and tutor for more than twenty years! He is in his 19th 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 22nd 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!
In house EMT on overnights. She has been at Renaissance Middle School for 19 years! She has lots of training in first aid and is seen on the Livingston ambulances. She has helped bring the exchange students to Spain. She answers all your calls all summer and is a planner for trips.
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! Known 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 17 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.
Dana is in her eleventh 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 15 years. She is a singer songwriter in her spare time. This will be her tenth 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 has seven years experience at camp and 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! Her favorite overnight trips were Niagara Falls and New England. She welcomes the opportunity to spend more summers outdoors with the campers, discovering new places, sharing stories, and making good memories.
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.
Derek has been working with Surf and Turf for a few years now. He has been our lifeguard for some time and can definitely be seen in the water! We always need someone who can keep up athletically with the kids, and he is the one! Derek knows how to quarterback, do a lay-up, play catch, and score a goal. These are the things the adult members either forgot, can't do anymore, or never could do! We welcome him back. Derek always has a smile and gets along with all the kids.
This her first year as a counselor and lifeguard, but she has already been training for awhile. At 18 years old, she will be off to the University of Vermont Honors College in the fall. She plans on studying biology and going on [snowy] adventures everyday, just like we do here at Surf and Turf! She is very responsible, caring, adventurous, and determined to make the campers’ experience here at camp a fun and memorable one, much like hers was when she was a camper. She can’t wait to meet everyone!
Jake has been with us for awhile now. He has been a student of many of our senior counsellors, a camper, and a lifeguard. It is now his turn to lead the lifeguards in the water. He is someone who always puts in 100% of his time out in the ocean watching and safekeeping kids when they swim. We are proud to have him with our staff!
Oliver Sage is lifeguard, CPR, and AED certified. He is currently a senior at Montclair High School and is a year-round track and field athlete.