Anna Bruno - Literature and Budget Director
Anna first fell in love with kayaking during a trip to the Ottawa River in 2005. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Colby College in 2007 with a degree in French Language and International Relations, Anna watched her friends head off to cubicles in various east coast cities before boarding a plane to the White Nile with her kayak for a 10 week trip.
Anna left Uganda one year later, having fallen in love with the Nile River, the luxury of kayaking everyday, and the surprises of working from an unconventional office. Since that initial trip, Anna has spent two additional seasons on the Nile as the Operations Manager for Kayakthenile.com, two summers working on the Ottawa River as the head of Wilderness Tours’ infamous Keener Program, and a year teaching Literature and Government for New River Academy. All of these have only further cemented her passion for teaching, kayaking, travel and the outdoors.
The time she spent on the Nile has continued to shape her life in surprising ways. It was in Uganda, in 2007 where Anna first encountered World Class Academy, and again in the fall of 2009. Five years later, Anna is excited to join the World Class family, and to continue to learn, teach, laugh and grow with them. When not in the classroom or her boat, Anna can be found reading in her hammock, behind a camera, hoola hooping, or on her yoga mat.
Tom Simenc (Spring) - Math and Science
Northern California native Tom Simenc began kayaking with family at the age of eight and has since paddled rivers in the Pacific Northwest, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Alaska.
In May 2012 Tom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boise State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics. While attaining his undergraduate degree, Tom worked as faculty for the College of Idaho and for Boise State University teaching rock climbing. An outdoor enthusiast, he also worked at the BSU Outdoor Program as a student manager and guide on a variety of rafting, climbing, and other outdoor adventure trips.
Tom was first exposed to a kayak high school when in 2004 his dad worked as a science and math teacher for New River Academy. Tom attended NRA as a student during a semester in Costa Rica.
Other hobbies that Tom enjoys are backcountry skiing, reading, and cooking. Tom looks forward to sharing his love of teaching, whitewater, travel and science with the next generation of kayakers.
Kile Wetlaufer (Fall) - Math and Science
Kile Wetlaufer is from Southwestern Colorado. He grew up running rivers all around the Southwestern US and started kayaking at age eleven. He has watched the sport grow and change for the last 17 years, and continues to be a part of its development both as a paddler and a member of the community.
After high school he moved his paddling and educational endeavors from Colorado to the Pacific Northwest where he continued to kayak progressively difficult whitewater as he pursued and obtained a degree in physics at Lewis and Clark College. Kile has devoted his life since then to travel, education and exploration of the outdoors in different parts of the world.
Having spent the last several years living and working in various countries in various hemispheres he is now rejoining World Class Academy in the PNW to share his knowledge and experiences as our math and physics teachehopes to continue exploring the world and enriching both his perspective and that of those around him.
Michael "Miguel" Shields (Spring) - Head Coach, American, History, Video
Originally hailing from Maryland, I grew up paddling on the Youghiogheny River at Riversport School of Paddling. When I was old enough to drive they hired me as a 'kitchen slave'- working for room and board but living on the river and paddling every day. That first summer cemented the lifestyle in me and throughout high school and college I returned every summer to teach kayaking at Riversport. I graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech in 2007, with a degree in Spanish, International Studies and Latin American Studies. Kayaking was just as important as classes however, and living there meant close proximity to the New and Gauley drainages and other great runs of the Appalachians. My junior year was spent abroad, living and studying in Ecuador- an invaluable experience that sparked my obsession with international travel. Since then I have toured multiple Latin American countries, BC and New Zealand, usually with river-running as the primary mission.
Since 2007, and in between trips to the southern hemisphere, I have called the Columbia Gorge in WA home. Here I work as a raft guide and substitute teacher while being able to explore rivers up and down the Cascades, Siskiyous and Sierras. While kayaking remains a central passion in my life, I also enjoy skiing, backpacking, reading, history, woodworking and photography. I am also a huge ice hockey fan.