Staff
Team Work Gets It Done
Growing up on the south shore of Long Island NY, I gained a love for the outdoors at an early age exploring and working on the Great South Bay and Fire Island National Seashore. I graduated from the State University at Buffalo with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 1997. While at Buffalo I studied abroad at the School for Field Studies Center for Marine Resource Management in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I moved to Sarasota Florida in 1997 and worked as a research biologist for Mote Marine Laboratory Center for Tropical Marine Ecology. After my time at Mote, I relocated to Key Largo FL in 1999 and took a job as a Tropical Marine Ecology Instructor at Marine Resource Development Foundation teaching students from all over the country about coral reefs, sea grasses, mangroves and the Everglades. In 2000, I took a job with the Florida Fish And Wildlife Marine Research Institute in Marathon FL where I spent 2 more years as a coral and fisheries biologist studying the ecology within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In 2002, my wife and I decided to relocate back to the Sarasota area where I began my teaching career with the Sarasota County School District. In my 8 years with the district, I taught a wide variety of science courses at both the middle and high school levels including AP Environmental Science, Marine Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Ecology, Zoology, Astronomy, Biology and Physical Science. While teaching at Booker High School, I became the director of the schools Environmental Science Academy Magnet Program. Most recently I worked as the Education Director for a Non-Profit Environmental Education Company. I have extensive background and knowledge of Florida ecology and ecosystems and a genuine love and passion for the environment. I am an experienced SCUBA Diver and Kayaker. I hold a Florida State teaching certification in Earth and Space Science and Biology and I am a Red Cross First Aid and CPR instructor. I am also a Red Cross Certified lifeguard. I currently reside in Bradenton Florida with my wife Emily and our 8 year old daughter Natalie.
J.T. Maxwell, Founder

J.T. Maxwell, Founder

J.T. Maxwell practically invented student travel to National Parks. He has been Read More
John Raymond

John Raymond

Director of Sales and Marketing
John is in charge of the sales
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Jon Taffe

Jon Taffe

Jon has spent his entire ten-year career in student travel, and is Read More
Dave Henley

Dave Henley

Dave joined Grand Classroom in 2004 and hasn't looked back. He heads Read More
Steve Raymond

Steve Raymond

Director of Customer Service
Steve comes to Grand Classroom with fifteen years
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Eric Scholz

Eric Scholz

Eric has been working with student groups and travel for most of Read More
Donna Hargett

Donna Hargett

Donna, a native of central Virginia, has a diverse background in marketing Read More
Greg Mondello

Greg Mondello

Greg started working with Grand Classroom shortly after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth Read More
Billy Payne

Billy Payne

Growing up on the south shore of Long Island NY, I gained Read More
Naomi Beck

Naomi Beck

Born to a couple of free spirited hippies in California, Naomi was

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Jay Richardson

Jay Richardson

They say the Grand Canyon changes lives, and that’s what it did

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Laura Friedman

Laura Friedman

Laura has over 10 years experience in higher ed and has taught Read More
Helen Raymond

Helen Raymond

I was definitely a late bloomer to travel. It wasn't until I Read More
Jake Slade

Jake Slade

Since moving to Northern Arizona in 2006, Jake's love for the Grand Read More
Adrian Montenegro

Adrian Montenegro

Adrian Montenegro grew up on a banana plantation Costa Rica. As a Read More
Mary Ann Chapman

Mary Ann Chapman

Mary Ann graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2015 with a degree Read More
Michael Barger

Michael Barger

Michael Barger has shared the title “sons of nerds” with his brother Read More
Adrah Parafiniuk

Adrah Parafiniuk

Adrah was born the oldest of 8 children and knew he was Read More
Gregg Wachtelhausen

Gregg Wachtelhausen

Gregg Wachtelhausen is a teacher, traveler, outdoorsman, and self-admitted “geo-nerd.” He studied Read More
Eric Retterbush

Eric Retterbush

Eric currently resides on planet Earth and doesn't plan on moving from Read More
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