Teachers and Staff

Meet Our Dedicated
Teachers and Staff

Our Semester and Summer Term faculty are committed in every way to their students’ success.


Brian Baker

Teacher, Marine Ecology

Brian Baker

Brian Baker grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts and first came to the Island School as a Semester student in 2014. He quickly fell in love with the incredible ocean environment, the people, and ethos that make this place so unique. After his semester, Brian brought his love for the ocean to the New England Aquarium where he worked in visitor education. His love for the ocean continued at the University of Miami, where he studied Marine Affairs and Ecosystem Science & Policy. As an undergraduate, Brian worked on climate change policy at the state government level and returned to The Island School as a Summer Term teacher. He loves spending time outdoors in nature diving, skiing, or in any way he can!

Adam Bernstein

Teacher, Literature

Adam Bernstein

Adam grew up in Baltimore, MD and was a student at McDonogh School and the University of Virginia. While at UVA, he studied anthropology and global sustainability, and joined us on Eleuthera as a CEIS intern in 2015. He has spent time studying and working on environmental issues in Hawai’i, New Zealand, the wider South Pacific, the Spanish Basque Country, and, of course, the Caribbean. Most recently, he worked for a global forestry consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., before rejoining the Island School community in June 2019 to work for the Educational Programs department. Adam is currently the Beach House Dorm Head, Literature and Writing teacher, and Head of the Exercise Program. In his free time he enjoys surfing, freediving, trying to improve his Spanish, and playing music. He is also a certified meditation teacher.

Jessie Coates

Teacher, Mathematics

Jessie Coates

Originally from Maine, Jessie earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine in the study of Classical Humanities and Criminology. Since then, he has continued his studies in the world of medicine and outdoor education. Jessie is a nationally certified W-EMT and is currently working to complete his pre-medical prerequisites to enroll in medical school. He joined the Semester faculty in 2021 as a Mathematics teacher and a certified kayak expedition leader. In his free time, Jessie enjoys SCUBA diving or snorkeling, playing music, and story-building using the interactive media of Dungeons & Dragons.

Elsa Davis

Teacher, Histories

Elsa Davis

Elsa is originally from Norwich, Vermont, where she first became enamored with the outdoors while growing up in the mountains. She studied Political Science and Environmental Studies at Elon University, and is passionate about art, action, and intersectionality in the climate crisis. She is experienced in outdoor education in forest classrooms as well as summer camps in Vermont. Having first joined the CEIS community as a semester student in Fall 2013, Elsa has now led Down Island expeditions, courses, and assisted with research with CEI Educational Programs and Island School semester since early 2020.

Colleen Dougherty

Teacher, Literature

Colleen Dougherty

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Colleen has enjoyed working with young people her entire adult life. She has a BA in Spanish Language & Literature, a BS in Wildlife & Conservation Biology and a Master’s degree in Social Work. Colleen began her formal teaching career through Teach for America in Arkansas and continued teaching as an international educator in South Korea, Colombia, and most recently leading experiential education trips through Latin America and the US. Outside of the classroom Colleen loves hiking, salsa dancing, scuba diving, rock climbing, reading personal development books, writing poetry, painting, and visiting family in the US.

Lauren Gould

Assistant Dean of Students

Lauren Gould

Lauren is originally from Baltimore, MD, and first joined The Island School community as a Semester student. She always knew she wanted to return as a teacher one day and that dream first came true in 2017 when Lauren worked for the Summer Term. Since then, Lauren has taught the Histories class and led Down Island Trips for the Semester and Summer Term. Lauren is currently the Treehouse Dorm Head, Histories teacher, and Assistant Dean of Students.

Natalie Hodges

Teacher, Marine Ecology

Natalie Hodges

Natalie was born in The Bahamas, and is happy to have returned home to become a part of The Island School family. Natalie studied at Imperial College London, where she graduated with a BSc in Zoology and a Master’s in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation. During her time in London Natalie gained field research experience volunteering with the Zoological Society of London, and she has since worked as a Research Assistant on marine mammal projects in The Bahamas, the Irish Sea and Ningaloo Reef, Australia. Natalie completed her PGCE at Bath Spa University and taught Secondary Science at Oldfield School in England. She is a reflective and empathetic educator, experienced in curriculum design to encourage inquiry based learning. When she isn’t working Natalie tries to spend as much time as possible in or on the water sailing, surfing, SCUBA diving, and paddle-boarding with her dog.

Samuel Kosoff

Semester Director

Samuel Kosoff

Sam has been an educator for 26 years and served in a variety of roles at diverse places. He returned to his alma mater, The Lawrenceville School, immediately after earning his B.A. in English at Hamilton College. During that time, Sam and Chris Maxey, Island School founder, became friends, often collaborating on experiential education opportunities at Lawrenceville. After earning an MALS at St. John’s College and spending a year at Link Community School in Newark, NJ he helped Chris launch The Island School in 1999. After four foundational years at The Island School, Sam became Upper School Admission Director, English teacher, and Coach at McDonogh School before returning to Lawrenceville as their first Sustainability Director. Ready for a change, in 2020 Sam returned to Eleuthera as the Master Teacher for the Spring Semester and has stayed on to serve as Semester Director. Sam is the proud parent of two Semester alumni (S17 and F19). His wife, Emilie, is Dean of Faculty at Lawrenceville School.

Sophie Kreutz

Semester Faculty

Sophie Kreutz

Sophie began her life as a city kid in Chicago, but quickly realized she had a deep interest in travel and exploration. She earned a degree in Marine Biology with minors in Spanish, Chemistry and Art in Charleston, SC before moving to México to teach through Fulbright. Sophie has taught various subjects for the past six years, in traditional and non-traditional classrooms. Most recently, she taught biology and ecology on the water as a kayak instructor and educator! As a self-proclaimed ‘forever student’, Sophie is constantly learning and loves the mixing and melding of different academic subjects. Outside of the classroom, you can probably find Sophie doodling, people-watching, rock climbing, or singing with the enthusiasm of an off-Broadway understudy.

Cameron Raguse

Research Coordinator

Cameron Raguse

Cameron hails from Ada, Michigan and first joined the CEIS community in Summer 2014 as an intern with the Shark Research and Conservation program. After graduating from Eckerd College with a degree in Marine Biology in 2015, Cameron rejoined the CEIS community as a research technician at CEI. Since then, he has taken on more education focused roles and is now combining his passions of field research and education as the Applied Scientific Research Head. Aside from this role, he enjoys freediving, fishing, running, and exploring the island.

Natalia Santamaria Gomez

Dean of Students

Natalia Santamaria Gomez

Originally from Bogotá Colombia, Natalia Sanz de Santamaria went to Arcadia University for a B.A. in biology and conservation. Shortly after she realised her passion was education, which she believes is key to conservation, so Natalia pursued a M.A. in Environmental Conservation Education from NYU. She has been an educator ever since, both in the classroom and outdoors. When she is not teaching, Natalia enjoys traveling, nature, illustration, and learning new things. She joined us on Eleuthera with her two sons Martin and Pedro.

Gustav Wellin

Teacher, Mathematics

Gustav Wellin

Güs is originally from Falmouth, Maine and first joined The Island School community as a student in Fall 2008. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Atmospheric Science and Renewable Energy. He spent several years in the solar industry working on utility scale solar projects before returning to outdoor education in California and Colorado. Güs is passionate about connecting education to the real world and working with students to nurture leadership skills and independence. In his free time, he can be found reading, skiing, jumping into bodies of water, and writing out elaborate Dungeons and Dragons storylines.