860.572.0711, ext. 5119
Ship to Shore: Overnight School Group Program
Meet the Educators
Hallie Payne, Supervisor of Overnight and Community Sailing Programs
At the urging of her grandfather, Hallie started her Mystic Seaport career at age 12 as a Joseph Conrad overnight camper and continued for another three years. She additionally spent a week sailing aboard Brilliant and was a sailing assistant in the Conrad program. Due to her love for the water and passion for sailing, Hallie went on to become a certified sailing instructor, then alternate director and now, director of all Community and Overnight Sailing Programs. Her duties also include overseeing the school and scout programs Ship to Shore and Anchor Watch.
Hallie is certified by US Sailing™ as a Level 1 small boat instructor, Level 2 race instructor and US Powerboating™ instructor. She is also a certified NASBLA/Connecticut safe boating instructor and is CPR/First aid certified. Hallie's education and experience with multiple-size vessels make her an integral part of the crew whenever the Charles W. Morgan, Joseph Conrad, L.A. Dunton or any of the Museum's other vessels need to be maneuvered between locations.
In addition to her work at Mystic Seaport, Hallie is a member of the Watch Hill Yacht Club, and has two years' experience as a former sailing coach at Westerly High School.
Hallie has been a foster parent for the state of Connecticut for 11 years. Her oldest son, a former Conrad camper, currently volunteers at the YTB. Her younger twin sons are eager to learn to sail at Mystic Seaport.
Brian Koehler, Assistant Manager of Overnight Programs
Originally from Long Island, New York, Brian joined the Mystic Seaport Staff in October 2010. During the academic year, Brian devotes his time at the Museum to the Ship to Shore program. During the summer, Brian works as Alternate Director for the Joseph Conrad Summer Sailing Camp.
Brian is a 2009 graduate of Saint Joseph's College, holding a Bachelor's degree in History and Secondary Education. As a result of his undergraduate work, he is certified by the State of New York to teach Social Studies to Middle and High School grades.
Brian also has more than 5 years of experience in the field of Parks & Recreation Management, and is an active Young Professional Member of the National Recreation and Parks Society. He is certified by the American Red Cross in Adult, Child, and Infant First Aid and CPR, as well as AED operation.
Brian's work at Mystic Seaport is the culmination of everything about which he is passionate: history, education, recreational programming, and of course, the sea!
Amanda Nicholas, Assistant Program Manager of Youth Overnights
A native of Nantucket Island, Amanda Nicholas fell in love with maritime history at a young age. Working in the museum field for over a decade, she has worked in every aspect of museum operations in her time at the Nantucket Historical Association and the Nantucket Shipwreck Museum.
Shortly before graduating from the University of Florida in 2008 with degrees in Japanese and Anthropology, Amanda studied abroad in Osaka, Japan and finished her collegiate career here in Mystic as a part of the Williams-Mystic Program.
Amanda has been a proud member of the Mystic Seaport staff for several years and is currently the Program Manager for the Youth Overnights. When not working with scout groups and 4-H clubs, she works with the school overnight programs, sailing classes, and summer camps. Outside of the Education Department she keeps busy by working in the blacksmith shop, being an 1876 role-player, furling sails with the demonstration squad and interpreting many of the Museum's other exhibits.
Jenna Alessandro, Educator Specialist
A native of Rhode Island, Jenna is thrilled to be a Mystic Seaport staff member. Jenna attended the University of New Hampshire, where she graduated in 2009 with a degree in United States History.
This is Jenna's third year as a coach of the Pawtucket Sharks Swim Team. She is a lifeguard and is certified in CPR and First Aid. She also swims for the Masters' team -The Whinging Sheilas - based in Warwick, Rhode Island. Jenna was also a Girl Scout, and has received her gold award. In her spare time, she likes to read and snowboard, and enjoys sewing and boating.
Dean Hantzopoulos, Educator Specialist
Born in Rhode Island, Dean is a certified Secondary Education History / Social Studies teacher who has a B.A. in History, with a Classical Civilizations minor from the University of Rhode Island, and a degree in Education from Rhode Island College.
This is Dean's second year of employment at Mystic Seaport, having begun his career at the Museum in the Curatorial Department, where he, along with a team, helped in the preservation and relocation of more than 20,000 artifacts. In his spare time, Dean is an active member of the St. James community in New London, Conn., and enjoys many hobbies including ancient coin collecting.
Mary Morrissey, Educator Specialist
This is Mary's third year working with Mystic Seaport and her second with the Ship-to-Shore program. After growing up on the East Coast in a Navy family, she attended the University of Tampa in Florida where she earned her B.A. in History and Sociology and Northeastern University where she earned her Master's in Public History.
When not working with the Museum's overnight school and scout programs, Mary also helps out with birthday parties at Mystic Seaport and coordinates the Summer Day Camp program. In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting, sewing, and reading.
Dayne Rugh, Educator Specialist
Raised in Groton, Conn., Dayne graduated in 2011 from the University of Connecticut at the Avery Point campus with a Bachelor's Degree in American Studies with a concentration in American history.
Dayne has been with Mystic Seaport over the past few years as a former exhibit interpreter, researcher, and more recently worked in the Curatorial Department, participating with a team that performed the largest artifact relocation effort in the past 40 years of the division resulting in the successful relocation and preservation of more than 20,000 artifacts.
As an avid pianist for almost 19 years, Dayne is a former music teacher and plays professionally for churches and other venues and enjoys reading, political discussions, historical trivia, and classical music. Dayne also aspires to become President of the United States one day.