Board of Trustees

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.
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.
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.
Ruth Jaffe
RUTH JAFFE Ruth Jaffe lives in Caldwell, NJ and has served on Kroka¹s Board since 2017, currently as Finance Chair. Her 3 children all attended programs with the Montclair Cooperative School at Kroka and her daughter participated in a number of Kroka summer expeditions and has been on the staff as an apprentice and assistant instructor. Ruth serves or has
served on the Boards of Trustees of the Montclair Cooperative School, the Caldwell NJ Free Public Library and Child’s Way Jewish Montessori School and is an active alumna of Wesleyan University. Formerly Director of Subsidiary Rights at HarperCollins Children¹s books, she is a consultant with Bradbury Phillips Software and a Community Program Specialist at the Cope Center in Montclair, NJ.
Geoff Marshall
LISA MARSHALL is an Ecuador Semester alumni parent who joined the Kroka Board in 2017.
Lisa Marshall
LISA MARSHALL is an Ecuador Semester alumni parent who joined the Kroka Board in 2017.
Galina Zuckerman
Galina was born in Moscow, Russia, lived in Israel for 12 years, and currently resides in New Jersey, working as a project manager invarious industries. After growing up with annual kayaking trips with her parents and friends, and then backpacking and skiing expeditions as a youngadult, she is happy that her family is even more adventurous and outdoorsy than she is. Galina is a mom to three kids, – Roni, a participant of Kroka summer programs for the past 5 years, Tali, who enjoyed 2 Kroka expeditions and worked at Kroka last summer as an office intern, and Anna, who is currently finishing residency in pediatrics and, after visiting Kroka several times, is sorry we did not know about Kroka when she was growing up. Impressed by the amazing atmosphere and values of Kroka, Galina joined Kroka board in 2017. She and her husband Slava led the first short Kroka family backpacking trip this year, and looking forward to further help thisorganization grow, let more families discover not just love for outdoors, but also experience real Kroka lifestyle – with its simple ways, sincerity and true acceptance of human diversity.

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.
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
DR. MICHAEL ENNIS, MD is a family physician in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is currently licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts and is a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.