Youth Sailing Foundation Staff
A list of our current staff
Stu Keiller joined Youth Sailing Foundation April 1, 2016, bringing with him a strong background in sailing, business and leadership. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth, Stu was a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp scholarship recipient and served in the Navy on destroyers deployed worldwide. Billets included navigator, nuclear weapons officer, senior watch officer and acting Executive Officer. He continued serving in the Navy Reserve for twenty-two years, retiring as Captain after commanding a unit with fifty-five officers that deployed worldwide in support of the Military Sealift Command.
Stu spent forty years in the ski and tennis apparel business. He was President of AMF Head Sports Wear before co-founding Kaelin Sports Wear. As CEO he grew the company to a national brand, selling to over one thousand specialty and chain retail stores nationwide. After the sale of the company Stu consulted to the ski industry, pioneering the use of data mapping to analyze market share and unmask opportunities for growth. Stu served as Chairman of the Board of SnowSports Industries America, the trade organization representing the manufactures of ski equipment and apparel.
After moving to Maryland in 1976, sailing became the Keiller family’s passion. With a succession of cruising sailboats culminating in the acquisition of STAR, a Bristol 47.7, the Keillers cruised the East Coast from Nantucket to Vero Beach. After spending two winters at Loggerhead Marina in Grand Harbor, and several more ashore, Diane and Stu relocated to Vero Beach in early 2016.
Recent activities have included chairing a committee of Dartmouth alumni to raise funds and build a bunkhouse at Dartmouth’s White Mountain camp, and serving as President of the Eastern Shore Council of the Navy League of the United States in Easton Maryland.
As Executive Director, Stu oversees all operations at YSF, including day-to-day management of the sailing programs, management of the fund raising efforts, and liaison with community groups and businesses that support YSF. Stu reports to the Chairman and Board of Directors of YSF.
You can reach Stu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Nieto-Gonzalez joined the staff of Youth Sailing Foundation in June 2020 as the Executive Assistant. Jessica was born and raised in Vero Beach and attended Vero Beach High School, where she participated in the swim team and lacrosse team. In 2013 she graduated from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degree in marketing with a background in accounting. Jessica has obtained office administration and bookkeeping skills through previous jobs held in Vero Beach.
Growing up so close to the ocean and river, Jessica loves to spend free time at the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing with her husband. She also has three German Shorthaired Pointers, Utah, Porter and Albert, that keep her quite busy. They love to go on long hikes and swim where ever there is water.
Also volunteering at her church St. Helens, specifically the annual Harvest Festival, has been a part of Jessica’s life since she was a young child. There she helps set up the booths and assists her family with the fried dough booth during the festival.
You can reach Jessica at email@example.com
A Florida native, and life-long boater, sailor, and watersports enthusiast, Clark grew up exploring the Indian River Lagoon and beaches on the Treasure Coast. When he was 12, his father took the family on a week-long learn to sail course at Annapolis Sailing School, bought a Watkins 27, and thus a passion was born. Sailing with his father every weekend, Clark learned to sail keel-boats and sailed Hobies and Sunfish at every opportunity. He would later become a camp counselor at Camp Laurel in Maine, teaching kids to sail and waterski.
Trading the ocean for mountains, Clark moved to Durango, Colorado to study at Fort Lewis College. After graduating with a bachelor’s, he then went to Japan where he taught English for 3 years. Upon returning to the States he obtained a Master of Arts in Education from Dominican University, and began teaching at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce and became Program Coordinator for their Adult Education Program.
After 10 years at the college, Clark made a pivot in his career to get more time out on the water, and now teaches our Opti, Siebel, and Beginner 420 sailors. He also assists Jabbo with the Community Sailing Program, and will be director of this year’s summer camp. Working with both children and adults, he’s a friendly guy, so if you see him, be sure to stop and say “hi!!”
You can reach Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Adult Sailing
Eileen is new to Vero Beach from northern Florida, prior to a very successful career in Virginia for 18 years as one of our top Equestrian Professionals in the U.S. She also has an experienced background as an Entrepreneur, Actor, Manufacturer & Business Owner while previously living around the U.S. and Canada.
After raising her daughter on her own and becoming a new “empty nester”, Eileen is thrilled to finally get back on the water and fulfill her other lifetime passion: SAILING of course!
Having recently obtained her ASA 105 certification, Eileen hopes to further her own experience and help develop the YSF Adult Program into a widely recognized learning environment for adults far and wide!
You can reach Eileen Kenney at Eileen.Kenney@ysfirc.org
Assistant Adult Sailing Director
John B. “Jabbo” Gordon was in born in San Diego, California, but moved to Dunedin, Florida, at an early age. He graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida. Gordon is retired from the U.S. Navy where he spent most of his career aboard submarines in the navigational field. He has been a US Sailing certified sailing instructor since 1995 and an instructor trainer since 1999.
Jabbo is a resident of Vero Beach and has a daughter, Jeannie, who lives in Redding, California. He has three grandchildren, two of whom are in the Navy.
Jabbo currently provides private lessons and sailing courses to youth and adult sailors. He also manages the YSF Public Sailing membership program.
You can reach Jabbo at email@example.com
Herminio "Luke" Agront
Herminio Luke Agront grew up in Navarre Beach, Florida, and spent his teenage years in Gulf Breeze Florida. He graduated from Gulf Breeze High school and moved south to attend Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He joined the school’s varsity sailing program and would become the team captain for his final years. He has competed in Regattas throughout the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (SAISA) and has joined YSF as an instructor to share his knowledge and love of sailing with others.
You can reach Herminio at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Mark Gaponiuk
JohnMark grew up in central Pennsylvania before moving to Vero Beach, where he learned to sail 420s with YSF. He sailed with the varsity team throughout high school, traveling to SAISA events and other 420 regattas. He also spent a lot of time sailing on keelboats, sailing a Capri 25 from Vero Beach to Saint Petersburg, FL over the course of a few weeks. He studied Creative Writing at the University of South Florida, and has now come back to YSF as a full-time instructor.
You can reach John Mark at email@example.com