Sea School Staff

Heather Kelday
Executive Director

Heather is approaching her 11 th year with Sea School and is deeply committed to reducing barriers so that all Nova Scotian youth can access Sea School programs. Heather advocates for outdoor recreation and leadership through her work as a board member with Recreation Nova Scotia, the chair of the Nova
Scotia Outdoor Network and has supported the implementation of national initiatives including the‘Parks for All’ strategy and the ‘Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium’. Heather has a Bachelor of Education from Trent University, an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, as well as a Bachelor of Natural Science from Lakehead University. Her past professional experience includes being an educator in schools, an environmental educator with Sierra Club Atlantic, a summer camp program director in Ontario, a wilderness and backcountry guide in Northern Ontario and Nova Scotia as well as numerous personal adventures in parks and protected areas from Newfoundland to the Yukon and beyond.

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Richard Leckenby
Captain and Head Wilderness Instructor 

As a child Richard always wanted to sail but opportunities were limited or non existent. As a teenager Richard immersed himself in river and mountain travel. When studying to become a teacher he explored ways of connecting school subjects to the natural world of land and oceans. He believes that high on a mountain peak or walking along a beach are unique places to explore the world around us and the impact humans have had on this ocean planet.

Eventually in the middle of the mountains in Northern England Richard crewed on a dinghy in a snow storm and he was hooked! Richard has instructed sailing, canoeing, mountaineering and wilderness skills in the UK and Canada, and became a Sea School instructor after the school's first instructor training course in 1995.

The impact of being with teenagers on a small open boat off Nova Scotia, or the winter wilderness, woods should not be underestimated. Richard feels privileged to see inner understanding; compassion and joy develop in the faces and eyes of his fellow crew and travelers whenever he does a Sea School trip. He believes in the Sea School because as an organization, we have worked hard to achieve our mission and provide opportunities to teenagers and adults from the full economic, social and cultural backgrounds represented in Nova Scotia and the word beyond.

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Crane Stookey
Founder and Captain

Crane grew up by the water in New York and Massachusetts, sailing and rowing small wooden boats. Being near water always makes him happy. He discovered as an adult that being around teenagers makes him happy too. So in 1994 he combined these joys with the aspiration to do something useful and founded the Nova Scotia Sea School.

Crane has a Masters of Architecture degree from Harvard University and practiced architecture in Boston for 8 years. In 1990 he took time off to pursue his interest in the study and practice of meditation.

However after this Crane returned, not to his architectural practice, but to his childhood love of wooden boats and sailing. He served as deck officer and seamanship instructor on tall ships in the US and Canada, including HMS ROSE, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, CORWITH CRAMER and others, and earned his US Master¹s license as captain of sailing vessels up to 200 gross tons.

In 1994 he settled in Halifax, the best move of his life. He says that Nova Scotia is a sane and decent place, and that his life has really blossomed since moving here, and that the Sea School is the fruit of it.

In 2003 Crane was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for the Sea School's contribution to the Canadian community.

Crane is now taking what he has learned at the Sea School into the business world, with his recent book, “Keep Your People in the Boat – Workforce Engagement Lessons from the Sea,” which is filled with Sea School stories.

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David MacCulloch

David MacCulloch is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia and he grew up sailing in the Northwest Arm. He has been sailing for as long as he can remember as his mom and dad have always sailed. He joined the sea school as a student at the age of 15, doing boat building and summer sailing programs and he has been on trips with the Sea School nearly every summer since.  He has sailed all around the Maritime provinces, south to Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. He worked his way up from a participant, to Leading Crew to Assistant Instructor, then in 2007, David graduated to a Sea School Captain and began leading trips.  He loves living on and around boats, teaching people how to sail and exploring the coast of Nova Scotia. 

Philippe Inacio-Goetsch
Assistant Instructor
Keegan Kerslake
Assistant Instructor

Keegan first came on a program with the Sea School in 2004 as a participant. He completed 4 sailing expeditions, both as a participant and as Leading Crew, as well as 3 wilderness trips with the Sea School and began working as an assistant instructor with the Sea School in the summer of 2009. He began working with youth through the Canadian Cadet Movement teaching music at summer camps and since then has become a Bosun in the Canadian Reserves. Keegan started sailing with the Cadet Movement, became hooked, and began taking Dinghy lessons at Dartmouth Yacht Club. Keegan is currently a music and history student at Dalhousie University. He maintains his boat skills through various courses with the Canadian Power Squadron, the Reserves, sailing with family and the Sea School.

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Geoff Beck
Assistant Instructor

Geoff grew up sailing in the Halifax area. He started racing at the age of 13 and competed locally and nationally. Despite an impressive resume of sailing victories which include a gold medal in 2005 Canada Games for the Laser Radial sailing class and a countless list of other medals and placements in laser sailing competitions all over North America, the Nova Scotia Male Sailor of the Year Award and the Nova Scotia Yachting Association Legacy Award, Geoff is an incredibly down-to earth guy and excellent instructor. Geoff will graduate this spring with a mechanical engineering degree from Dalhousie University and is Canada’s representative on the Sail Training International Youth Council. Geoff loves giving youth the opportunity 
to experience something unique with the Sea School; helping youth become 
more self confident and more aware of their potential through sailing with the Sea School is an experience unlike any other!

Sophia Hopkins
Program Recruitment and Logistics Coordinator

Sophia Hopkins is the Program Recruitment and Logistics Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Sea School. Hired on as a “mature” Summer Student for three summers and eventually moving back to Halifax, after seven years in Holland, to join the Sea School full time and pursue her passion for outdoor education, experiential learning, and working with youth. Sophia has a BSc in Psychology from Dalhousie and an International Bachelor or Social Work from College of Amsterdam.

When studying to become a social worker, Sophia worked in Youth Crisis Intervention in Amsterdam and dreamed of connecting youth to the natural world of land and oceans. She believes in the Sea School because as an organization, we have worked hard to achieve our mission and provide opportunities to teenagers and adults from the full economic, social and cultural backgrounds represented in Nova Scotia and the world beyond.

Sophia comes from a background of playing competitive soccer; she played for the Dalhousie Tigers Women’s team from 2001-2006 and was the Captain of the team from 2004-2006. She credits her leadership style to the experience as highly competitive top athlete, working hard as a team to accomplish a common goal and encouraging the best in your teammates while being honest and trustworthy.

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Phoebe Mannell
Assistant Instructor
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Zoë Nudell

It is with deep sadness that we let you all know our dearest friend Zoë Nudell lost her life in a serious car accident on the eve of October 30th 2013, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Zoë is regarded as the heart of the Sea School; she was a friend to so many of us and to so many young people. She had been a part of the Sea School since the very beginning as a founding builder of our first boat 'Dorothea'. She quickly became an instructor and then Captain and has impacted hundreds of youth on expeditions over the past 18 years. Our hearts go out to David Nudell (Zoë's father) and Ben Gallagher (Zoë's partner) and to all the friends and family who have known and loved Zoë.

Eight years after Zoë sailed as a student on Dorothea's maiden voyage out of Halifax, she guided the second expedition boat - Elizabeth Hall - through her maiden voyage, this time as an assistant instructor. This past summer was Zoë's sixth season as expedition captain. A lifetime of working with young people and the sea instilled in Zoë confidence, enthusiasm, respect and admiration for other people and the elements. The most valuable learning - the one she most wanted to share - was an awareness of one's own abilities, interests, and the satisfaction of being engaged.

Zoë's passion for leading sailing expeditions was matched by a love of art and encouraging creativity in others. She was most recently excited about working with the Sea School to explore the transformative power of creativity with community groups, and was working with our partnership program, The Spot.

Zoë, we love you and will miss you endlessly.

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Michael Orr

As a biologist and captain, Dr. Michael Orr is motivated by a massive amount of inquisitiveness and the kinds of experiences that often result in wind-chapped hands and sunburn from long hours on the water or in the field. He believes every eager student, oceanic mass, threatened species, mountain range, pristine land track, whipping sail, developing eco-system, and unexplored route on the tip of the map deserves a champion…actually, a slew of them. That is why he has dedicated his life and career to the subject matter that serves as his muse in the natural world – science and exploration. With over 40,000 nautical miles under his keel, Captain Orr has commanded vessels across oceans including a 2-year Pacific crossing and transiting the Andaman Sea, Straits of Malacca, South China sea and the Java Sea aboard small ships and tall ships. While on land, Dr. Orr shares his scientific musings, intercontinental meanderings and aquatic chronicles with his University and Sea School students alike.

Edward Sturgeon
Assistant Instructor

Born in a raging december storm on darkest South Mountain, the wind imprinted his very soul, and his heart could not but follow.

Charlie Wilson

Charlie left home in England bound for Northern Canada in 2000 and, many adventures later, has made the South Shore of Nova Scotia her home. Though she learned to sail dinghies as a teenager, it was not until she was in her early thirties that she finally made a voyage of her own and sailed around Southeast Alaska then down the coast to Vancouver. Her passion for boats and the sea led her to the Sea School where she thrills to see young people come alive to their own capabilities while on a voyage of their own. Her other big passions are playing the wooden Irish flute and practising the Japanese martial art of aikido.

Anna Millar
Assistant Instructor
Ryan Fisk
Assistant Instructor in Training
Jake Wentzel
Head Wilderness Instructor
Lyse Boyce
Head Instructor Wilderness

Lyse became a wilderness instructor for the Sea School after getting to know many of the instructors when they took wilderness first aid courses - she really liked what she heard and observed from them about the Sea School's programs and values. Lyse coordinates the Halifax Take it Outside program and has enjoyed being a part of the March break trips, West Ironbound island trips and other programs. She facilitates experiential outdoor education programs for a variety of organizations and is the training coordinator for Halifax Search and Rescue and the Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue Association.

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Adrien Rawley
Assistant Instructor Wilderness
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Glenn Coltman
Head Instructor
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Mady Frellick
Provisions Officer

Mady is a highschool student in Lunenburg County, and grew up on the beautiful South Shore of Nova Scotia while exploring it with family and friends. After a class presentation at the Boathouse in Lunenburg, she decided to join her first Nova Scotia Sea School trip in late August of 2014, as a way to salute a great summer. After a week of nothing but ocean, teamwork, patience, and wind, the unique philosophy and leadership offered by the non-profit organization quickly intrigued her, and showed her all the ocean has to offer. Mady continues to do both wilderness and sailing expeditions with the NSSS as Leading Crew, and has recently become staff through the role of provisioning.

Now 17 years old, Mady is exploring the nautical world and all the wonderful, kind people in it....but knows that it all started with the Sea School.