Board of Trustees

Rick Hemond, Board President
RICK HEMOND is the father of Rachel who has been a five year Kroka camper, a Vermont Semester alum, a summer intern, and is now a summer staff member. Rick joined the Board in 2015. He lives in Massachusetts but has strong ties to the Maine coast having spent part of each of the last 30 summers at the summer cabin of his wife's family on the ocean near Machais. In Maine, the family enjoys spending time sea kayaking, rock climbing, and taking long walks on the beaches. Rick received his undergraduate degree from Colby College and his doctorate in chemistry from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Rick has traveled extensively for work: all across Asia and Europe as a business and marketing leader in the semiconductor industry. He enjoys exercise, completed three marathons in his younger years, and loves to be active and engaged with nature. Rick has seen the extremely positive life-changing influence of Kroka firsthand and is excited to provide his time and energy to the Board and the organization.
Addie Hall
ADDIE HALL is a Vermont Semester alumni parent and joined the Kroka Board in July of 2012. Currently a stay at home parent of college age children, she is “dorm mother” to a three-generation household of five, not including pets and, occasionally, chickens. Before “retiring” in 2012, Addie worked at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School initially in the Development Office and then eleven years as the Front Office Administrator. Prior to that, she was in new product Marketing and Research for General Mills in Minneapolis. Addie is trained in consensus model facilitation, a serious knitter and sewer, a sometimes sailor, and aspiring hobby farmer and woodswoman. She, husband Harry, and the other two generations live in Williston, VT.
Stephanie Cox Suarez
STEPHANIE COX SUAREZ is the mother of Sam - a long-time Kroka camper, and an associate professor in special education at Wheelock College in Boston. Stephanie has a Ph.D. in special education from Boston College and enjoys working with new and experienced teachers to develop skills working with all kinds of children in inclusive classrooms. Stephanie is happiest when she is outdoors. She loves to ride her road bike, walk, and cross-country ski. She was once a white water kayaker and enjoyed paddling the Grand Canyon 25 years ago for her honeymoon. Stephanie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kathmandu, Nepal with her husband, Del, where they had several wonderful treks around the Himalayas. Stephanie has enjoyed raising her family to love the outdoors and hopes to help others do the same by deepening her engagement with Kroka.
Marina Belenky
MARINA BELENKY was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. She inherited a love for the outdoors from her father and passed it on to her children. Her family emigrated from Russia in 1991 and settled in Newton, MA. With her husband and three children, Marina paddled numerous rivers in New England, Quebec, and Alaska. She also loves hiking and sea kayaking. Marina has PhD in chemistry and works at Brandeis University conducting research and teaching. For a number of years she has taught “Topics of Environmental Science” to the New Hampshire-Ecuador Semester at Kroka.
David Mannai
DAVID MANNAI was born and raised in the South Shore of Massachusetts. He has lived most of his post-college life in Northern New England- living in the states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire for over 24 years. David’s love of the outdoors really came alive in Northern New England. Backpacking, skiing and sea kayaking are his biggest outdoor interests. David’s children, Samuel and Hannah, both raised in Northern New England, are veterans of Kroka’ s programs, spanning numerous years with a real focus on white water paddling. David graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a B.S. in Marine Engineering and is currently the Senior Manager of Nuclear Safety and Licensing for the Entergy Nuclear Fleet.
Randall Carmel
Since graduating from the Alfred University then the New England School of Law, RANDALL CARMEL has dedicated the majority of his legal career to advocating for children and families in New York City. Since 2000, Randy has divided his time between New York City and Keene, New Hampshire. Randy has always worked closely with his father in the family’s real estate business and currently provides legal services to developers interested in preserving farmland in New York State. Randy’s client, Northeast Farm Access LLC, has recently completed two major projects which have saved hundreds of acres of farmland while at the same time making farmland affordable to organic farmers. Having a strong commitment to community service, Randy has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Antioch University New England and as President of the Board of Directors of Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, a non-profit early childhood teaching center in Keene, New Hampshire, from 2001-2003.
Kevin Bittenbender
Kevin is the father of a couple of Kroka students. Beatriz is a Vermont Semester alum, and Georgie has done a paddling camp along with volunteering with the Kroka staff. Kevin grew up in central/western Massachusetts. After attending Middlebury College, and spending a few years skiing and working on his MBA (Masters in Big Air) in Breckenridge CO, he settled in Alstead, NH, just a few miles from the Kroka campus to pursue a career in building with Benson Woodworking. In addition to managing and participating in building/woodworking projects during the work week, he is in the process of renovating a 250 year old cape from the foundation up to finish carpentry. Additionally, he coordinates construction projects for the Magic Mountain ski area which (when there is good snow) is his favored ski mountain in Southern VT. He enjoys being outdoors for any activity, but skiing (water or snow) is always his preference. Kevin has helped Kroka with teaching an Independent Student Project program and with occasional trailer towing and he looks forward to participating on the Board, especially for this exciting time developing the Kroka campus.

Risk Management Committee

Jed Williamson
Jed Williamson is the Immediate Past President of Sterling College in Vermont. For many years, he has been a practitioner and consultant in education and outdoor pursuits, including over 100 safety and quality reviews and accident investigations. He co-authored the Association for Experiential Education’s Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programs, has had several articles published, and produced three educational videos on experiential and adventure topics.From 1987 through 1992, he was Executive Director of the United States Biathlon Association. He was a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire from 1973 to 1982 – where he designed and directed an experiential teacher education graduate program called “Live, Learn, and Teach.” He has also worked as an instructor, program director, and school director for several U.S. Outward Bound schools. Jed has served on the Boards of the American Alpine Club, National Outdoor Leadership School, Association for Experiential Education, and the Student Conservation Association. He has been the Chair of the Safety Committee and the editor of the American Alpine Club’s annual report Accidents in North American Mountaineering since 1974. In addition to his B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of New Hampshire, Jed has done graduate work in anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Kevin Slater
An active guide for over 35 years, KEVIN SLATER has traveled extensively in the north by canoe and dog team with Natives. This has provided him with a deep respect and understanding for the people and their culture. Kevin has done numerous canoe expeditions in Maine, Quebec, Labrador and a pioneer descent of the Grand Canyon. He is an excellent teacher and a certified instructor-trainer for the American Canoe Association. Kevin has been a registered Maine Master Guide since 1976. He is a former Program Director for Outward Bound and taught at the University of Maine where he received a Masters of Education degree in 1984. Kevin is a true craftsman who takes great pride in what he produces from his workshop. In his rare moments of free time, he enjoys listening to Celtic music and writing occasionally for Mushing magazine. Kevin and his wife Polly founded and run Mahoosuc Guide Service in Newry, ME.
Randy Knaggs
RANDY KNAGGS has been running incredible outdoor programs with Marlboro College since before the beginning of Kroka. He graciously supported Kroka's first programs by sharing rafts and other gear necessary for taking kids into the wilderness safely. We are grateful to be able to share programs and gear with Randy and his students thanks to our years of support from him.
Bruce Lessels
Before starting Zoar Outdoor, BRUCE LESSELS was a member of the U.S. Whitewater Team and won the bronze medal in C-1 at the 1987 World Whitewater Championships in France. He and his wife, Karen both served as board members of the Deerfield River Watershed Association, the US Canoe & Kayak Team and New England FLOW. Bruce is past chair of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce board of directors as well as being an ACA certified canoe and kayak instructor. He has written several whitewater books for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) including The Whitewater Handbook, an excellent source of whitewater technique information for all levels of canoe and kayak paddlers and Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide, a comprehensive guide to the best whitewater runs in the northeast region for novices to experts. Bruce and Karen co-authored a book in 2002 for the AMC entitled Paddling With Kids. At Zoar Outdoor, Bruce is in charge of overall operations, marketing, finance, and business development.
Brian Kunz
BRIAN KUNZ is the Deputy Director of Dartmouth College's Outdoor Programs. Brian supervises program and facility staff, advises clubs within the Dartmouth Outing Club, works closely with the director, and oversees outdoor educational and recreational programs.
Dr. Michael Ennis, Medical Advisor