Advisory Council


Our Advisory Council provides expert review of our primary source and standard’s-based STEAM and social studies curriculum. This team of exceptional educators form a diverse group, representing a variety of subject areas and grade bands, that provides feedback and suggestions to benefit the program. Many council members also help in writing lessons for STEAMing Into The Future.

We are looking for qualified educators to join our advisory council. Interested in joining our crew? Learn more here.

Advisory Council Members

Darshell Silva of Warwick, Rhode Island, is the Library and Media Specialist for the North Kingstown School District, per course faculty member at the University of Rhode Island, and Education Technology Consultant for various organizations. She holds a Master of Library and Information Studies degree, a School Library Media Specialist Certification, both from the University of Rhode Island, and a Blended Learning Certificate from Roger Williams University. Darshell teaches information literacy, technology instruction, coding, and maker education, among other duties. She has served on many educational organization boards as well as won numerous awards for her excellence in education. She comes from a long line of Cape Verdean stevedores and has worked with SSHSA to incorporate ship history project based learning lessons in her classroom.

CAPT James Zatwarnicki of Hoboken, New Jersey, graduated from SUNY Maritime College in June, 2002 with a degree in Marine Transportation Management and later earned a Master of Science in International Transportation Management. He holds a license as Master Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans and Master of Towing Vessels. Capt. Zatwarnicki actively sailed on his license from June of 2002 until he began working at the US Merchant Marine Academy in April 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Nautical Science. He has sailed on several types of vessels throughout his career including survey vessels, container ships, tugboats, military supply ships, and served as master of the USNS Gordon and USNS Shughart. He is very active with the Sea Scouting program, Boy Scouts of America, and has been affiliated with Ship 228, the Sea Dart II, in Rahway, NJ for 27 years.

Dr. Andrew O. Coggins Jr. is an internationally known cruise industry analyst based in New York. Dr. Coggins is a retired U.S. Navy Commander with over twenty-three years of service on seven ships. He has spoken at numerous conferences, and given interviews on issues and trends in the cruise and travel industries. He is also an active member of SKAL International and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), as well as international travel and tourism marketing and networking organizations. He currently teaches courses in cruise industry management at Pace University.


Barbara Mullen is a licensed secondary educator. She teaches Visual Arts at Durfee High in Fall River, Massachusetts and is finishing her Master’s of Teaching degree in Humanities at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth. Her father’s love of tall ships impacted her love of incorporating maritime subjects into her classroom. Ms. Mullen wrote the ceramics lesson on Fall River Line interiors and uses it with her students every year.

Dr. Nicholas Cox finished his college and graduate work at the University of Houston. In between college and his doctoral program, Dr. Cox co-founded the Bronx Academy of Letters in New York City, a college preparatory micro-academy. Dr. Cox then returned to Houston and completed a PhD in the history of the nineteenth-century United States South. Dr. Cox joined the history faculty at Houston Community College in 2014 and also teaches at the College of Liberal Arts, Bauer College of Business, and Honors College at the University of Houston as well as in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Houston-Victoria. At HCC, Dr. Cox has served as the History Program Coordinator since 2015 providing leadership and performing assessment of the history program’s instruction toward meeting the college’s and state’s learning objectives. Beyond teaching and service to the College, Dr. Cox reviews and edits submissions to the Journal of South Texas and also volunteers as a member of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, speaking regularly for the local public library, and volunteers at history related events in the local public schools.

Chris Koutros has taught Chemistry for 16 years and is the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT) Southern Division Chair. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, an M.S. in Chemistry from UMass Boston, and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Bridgewater State University. He has extensive experience with POGIL, integrating technology in a BYOD environment, and giving students strong lab experiences. Chris teaches Chemistry at Oliver Ames High School and wrote the Boiler Operator Lab Practical lesson as well as co-presented at the most recent NEACT conference on using historic primary sources in remote chemistry lessons with Education Director Aimee Bachari. Chris is usually in his element: his wedding ring is tungsten, he enjoys skiing on carbon-titanium skis, sailing with a carbon fiber mast, and taking walks with his black lab, Beaker.


Brigit Baumgartner, New Jersey, specializes in early childhood education and special education, pre-K teacher at Applecore Learning Center.