ricardo almonte
ricardo almontecollege and career coordinator

Ricardo was born and raised in the Bronx and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from Vassar College and his Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College. He has done college and career advisement work for over a decade, with professional experience at Youth and Adult Education Services, a high school equivalency program; Baruch College; and Harlem Children's Zone. A passionate advocate for social and racial justice, he also volunteers at local shelters and LGBTQ centers. Ricardo comes to Rocking the Boat committed to continue providing a safe, caring, and supportive environment for youth throughout the Bronx.
catherine banks baum
catherine banks baumsailing program manager

Catherine joins Rocking the Boat with a background in running experiential education programs on tall ships. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts she has always felt most at home on the water. Catherine graduated from Bard College in 2020 with a BA in Human Rights and History. Catherine’s sailing career began onboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater when she was 18 sailing between Albany and New York City. Most recently, Catherine spent 13 months living and working full time onboard the Schooner Roseway as an educator and deckhand sailing between Boston, MA and St. Croix, USVI. Catherine believes a sailboat is one of the most powerful educational tools and is thrilled to share her love for working on the water with the Rocking the Boat community.
jasmine benitez
jasmine benitezsail central park site director & alumni liaison

Jasmine was born and raised in the Bronx, and was first introduced to Rocking the Boat when her high school participated in an On-Water Classroom program in 2009. Jasmine participated in Rocking the Boat's On-Water Program until she graduated then went on to pursue her Bachelor's degree in Psychology (with a minor in Environmental Studies) at St. John's University. She returned to work at Rocking the Boat as a Program Assistant while attending college, during which she also served as an Assistant Instructor/Student Mentor with the National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC), participating in workshops as distant as New Mexico. After earning her degree, Jasmine began working as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Bronx River Alliance, and Rocking the Boat is now thrilled to have her back!
joe bly
joe blydeputy director of development

Joe comes to Rocking the Boat with a novel perspective from a 15-year career in documentary film and television. Since completing a double major in Film Studies and History from the University of Pittsburgh and teaching English abroad, Joe has worked as a Researcher, Producer and Writer on programs for networks such as PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, A&E, and AMC, as well as developing new series and filming independent projects including his own award-winning documentary. Covering subjects ranging from American history, religion, criminal justice, and science, to music and neighborhood food, Joe first became interested in youth education while working on a Ford Foundation documentary exploring solutions to the academic performance gap plaguing black males in school. In 2016 he began volunteering for Rocking the Boat, interviewing alumni and developing biographical profiles. As Deputy Director of Development, Joe brings his sense of narrative to grant writing and fundraising, telling the stories of theses remarkable young people to foundations and public funders.
rob buchanan
rob buchanandirector of public programs

Rob Buchanan has worked as a magazine writer and editor, an assistant professor of journalism and of environmental studies, and most recently as an educator and community engagement manager at the New York Harbor Foundation, now known as the Billion Oyster Project. He is a co-founder of the New York City Water Trail Association, where he oversaw the Citizens Water Quality Testing Program for more than ten years, and a board member of three community boathouses: the Village Community Boathouse in Hudson River Park, the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse on Newtown Creek, and the Sebago Canoe Club on Jamaica Bay. He has led student boatbuilding programs at The New School, the Village Community Boathouse, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the New York Harbor School, Industry City, and the Breukelen Houses in Canarsie.
joaquin cotten
joaquin cottencommunications director

Joaquin has been involved with Rocking the Boat since the early 2000s. In that time he has been a volunteer, boatbuilding student, On-Water Program Apprentice, and always a photographer. He became Rocking the Boat's first Photography Apprentice, and has now elevated to the first full time staff position ever held by a former student. Joaquin is responsible for all visual documentation and presentation of Rocking the Boat activities, including photography, graphic design, and web design.
basilous falconer
basilous falconerfacilities and boat maintenance assistant

Basilous, a student of Art History at Hunter College, has probably built or restored the most Rocking the Boat boats of any other member of the staff. Basilous’ progress from student to apprentice to Program Assistant and now full time staffer began in 2009, when he was a freshman at Bronx Guild High School. A versatile member of the team, he is equally comfortable working independently to repair a leaky Whitehall or teaching a class of first-semester students about shop safety, how to use power tools and the process of creating the backbone structure of the boat. Basilous has enjoyed meeting fellow craftsmen through Rocking the Boat trips to the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT and the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. If a tool isn’t in his hand, Basilous can be found biking or skateboarding in the Bronx.
angela fronda
angela frondastudent program social worker

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Angela comes from a family line of fishermen and carpenters. Summer visits with family in Italy always included lots of time in and on the water and fed a passion for protecting the environment. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from Brooklyn College and earned a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Angela learned about Rocking the boat as a volunteer with the Billion Oyster Project and comes to her position with years of experience supporting young adults across various academic and clinical contexts. Angela is excited to contribute to Rocking the Boat’s practice of cultivating a space where students not only feel confident, but also empowered to navigate the challenges of everyday life and uncertainties of the future.
marina ford
marina fordboatbuilding program manager

Marina was born in Rochester and earned a Bachelor's degree in English at the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in International Affairs at The New School. She worked in the restaurant industry in New York City as a cook, oyster shucker, and fishmonger for several years before turning to woodworking. Her formal introduction to boatbuilding was an apprenticeship at The Carpenter's Boatshop in Pemaquid, Maine where she lived and worked constructing traditional wooden Monhegan Skiffs, restoring and repairing various boats, learning the basics of seamanship, and engaging with the local community.
adam green
adam greenfounder and executive director

Adam started the volunteer project that would become Rocking the Boat in 1995 during a semester off from Vassar College. Influenced by his experience teaching kids about the Hudson River aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, he developed a program that used the process of building and using wooden boats as a way to educate and empower young people from underserved communities. He has received numerous awards and accolades for Rocking the Boat, including an Echoing Green Fellowship, a Union Square Award for grassroots organizing, a Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Award, and in 2014 was named one of 25 international CNN Heroes.
matt hatcher
matt hatcherchief program officer

Matt joins the team at Rocking the Boat following 15 years of leadership within non-profit youth development organizations. The majority of his work has been in the summer camp arena, creating impactful programming in the great outdoors. Most recently, Matt worked to provide free residential summer camp experiences to thousands of disadvantaged youth from the New York City area. Passionate about empowering young minds, Matt is committed to fostering resilience, leadership, and a sense of community among youth. Matt originates from England and graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Birmingham City University.
alicia miranda
alicia mirandasenior director of youth development

Alicia Miranda joins Rocking the Boat with a 10+ year history working in New York City government, where she gained experience in program development, management, and evaluation, and addressed a host of intersectional social justice issues involving access to resources, equity, and identity. A proud graduate of the City University of New York, she received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from John Jay College and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College with a concentration in Community Organizing, Planning and Development and a specialization in Child Welfare. A Queer Nuyorican, Alicia promotes an inclusive, supportive environment and is dedicated to ensuring that all Rocking the Boat participants feel seen and supported, and develop the tools to nurture their talents and skills.
lily mleczko
lily mleczkodirector of environmental science and justice

Lily joins Rocking the Boat with fourteen years of experience in youth education and research in conservation biology and urban ecology. She graduated with a BA in biology from Western University of Colorado before continuing on to get a MA in biology from Miami University of Ohio and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation Biology from Fordham University. Lily began her path in education at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk leading classes on research vessels on Long Island Sound. She then led birds of prey education programs and rangled pythons as a naturalist in Florida before returning to New York where she spent nearly a decade leading youth education programs for WCS—many of them focused on urban ecology research. Lily loves looking for birds, cooking and exploring wild places. She currently lives in Spuyten Duyvil with her dogs Willow and Lola, her cat Magpie and turtle Franky.
michael falconer odland
michael falconer odlanddirector of boatbuilding operations

Michael has worked with interdisciplinary crafts for many years; from artisan woodworking to high tech fabrication and laser etching to teaching electronics to novices in a maker space. Originally from the Hudson River Valley, he graduated from The Evergreen State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and won a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Computer Science, Math and Physics. While living on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, he helped launch the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, a community artisan craft center.

A lifelong sailor, Michael learned to sail on the Hudson River and carried that interest to the Pacific Northwest. A highlight was exploring the Cascadia National Marine Trails on the Puget Sound on a kayak-trimaran. Michael is excited to bring together his passions for experiential learning, giving people tools and showing them what they can create, and sharing appreciation for our water world.
jaye pockriss
jaye pockrisschief operating officer

A graduate of Vassar College, Jaye has worked in development for more than 20 years including for a historic preservation organization, a music festival, and a residential social service agency. She also raised funds in her free time as a past President of the Brooklyn Heights Music Society. Jaye learned about Rocking the Boat during the summer that 20 students came to build a boat at Philipsburg Manor, a living history museum operated by Historic Hudson Valley, where her husband Peter is Senior Vice President.
edmanuel roman
edmanuel romanfacilities and equipment manager

Manny grew up living three floors above Rocking the Boat's shop back when it was located on 174th Street and Walton Avenue. As soon as he was eligible, 14-year-old Manny signed onto the Boatbuilding Program and worked to build Aurora—the first of 14 vessels he would help to construct. Over the years, Manny has held various roles at Rocking the Boat including Boatbuilding Assistant, Interim Boatbuilding Job Skills Program Director, and Restoration Manager.
kisha romero
kisha romerooffice manager

Kisha Romero was raised in the Bronx and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. She came to Rocking the Boat with considerable experience in office administration and human resources, including nearly 10 years at Manhattan Beer Distributers. Thrilled to join an organization that is changing the lives of children in her neighborhood, Kisha enrolled her own son in Rocking the Boat’s Middle School Program, which he loves and which Kisha calls, "the best choice I've ever made."
alex severino
alex severinopublic programs manager

Alex was raised in the Bronx and introduced to Rocking the Boat by a high-school classmate when she was 15 years old and continued to be involved as a seasonal Program Assistant while earning her Associate’s degree at Borough of Manhattan Community College. After college, an internship with the Student Conservation Association, a position with the National Park Service’s River Trials Association, and roles with the Bronx River Alliance furthered Alex’s interest in environmental education. Beyond the Bronx, Alex has sailed the Caribbean with The Beautiful Nation Project studying plastic debris in the ocean and, in collaboration with Cornell University, traveled to China to speak on the behalf of Rocking the Boat about oyster restoration on the Shanghai River. For the past five years, Alex worked for the New York City Department of Education, supporting special education students in her old elementary/middle school and is thrilled to return to the outdoor classroom of Rocking the Boat.
juan pablo sarmiento torres
juan pablo sarmiento torresdirector of sailing

Juan Pablo comes to Rocking the Boat as an experienced sailing instructor with an emphasis in advanced cruising and keelboat education. Originally from Colombia, Juan Pablo holds a bachelor's degree in Film and Anthropology from Denison University. He is an ASA and US Sailing certified sailing instructor with offshore emergency medicine expertise. His love of sailing started at a young age when he lived at an international boarding school in British Columbia, Canada and now he looks forward to passing down his sailing knowledge to a new generation, and to continue bringing diversity to the sailing world.

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799

Rocking the Boat is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Download Form 990.