Board of Directors

Scott Shaw, Board Chair 

Alexandria Restaurant Partners

Serge Sarandinaki, Secretary

Guidehouse Consulting

Frank M. “Rusty” Conner III

Covington & Burling

Walter “Trip” Howell IV

Formerly with Jones Lang LaSalle

Clair S. Sassin

Tall Ship Providence Foundation

Tom Church, Treasurer

USN, Retired

Patrick W. Burchette

Prince Street Ventures

Henry Fonville


Valerie Ianieri

The Old Town Shop

Kirk Casey

Founder and Former Co-CEO of Metro Systems



Clair S. Sassin, President & CEO

Our commander in chief. Clair is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in strategic marketing, communications, development and operations. Prior to joining Providence, Clair served as executive director of the Naval Historical Foundation; and before that, she was the director of communications & corporate relations for the Association of the United States Navy. She headed her own consulting practice for more than 15 years. Earlier in her career, Clair worked at The Greater Washington Board of Trade, Potomac KnowledgeWay Project/Morino Institute, and KPMG.



Captain Jonathan Fay, Manager of Marine Operations

Our master & commander. Captain Jonathan has spent the last 20 years serving on and maintaining ships and boats. Some of the ships Jonathan has sailed with include H.M.S. Rose, Lady Washington (featured as the Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean, Curse of the Black Pearl), Resolute and Hjordis. He also served as a sailing instructor and boat maintenance manager for the Duluth Sailing Association and as an able seaman aboard R/V Blue Heron, a 197-ton Lakes Observatory research vessel on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Jonathan has served as captain for many chartered boats and, prior to commanding Providence, served as a volunteer and deckhand.


Kathleen Seifert, VP Development & Marketing

Kathy is our Chief Development and Advancement Officer. She brings years of experience in development and marketing on both the corporate and non-profit side. She is a long-time resident of Alexandria and has strong ties to the local community. Prior to joining Tall Ship Providence, Kathy served as the executive director of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.

Kathy’s ties to Providence started at a young age as she was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. She spent her summers on the water and has a deep passion for boats, sailing and all the joys that living by the water provides. Kathy has a BA from Connecticut College and an MA from Georgetown University. She has three grown sons, four grandchildren and lives in Old Town.


Will Downing, Manager of Operations

Our jack of all trades. An actor-turned-sailor, Will has served as our senior historical interpreter, our lead Captain John Paul Jones character interpreter, and as a deckhand. Will is our boots on the ground, overseeing TSPF’s daily operations. In addition to his other roles, Will also manages Providence’s social media.

Christy Adams, Manager of Education Programs

Christy is our lead educator-in-chief. She is responsible for developing our HII 4th Grade Education and coordinating school field trips. Christy is a former teacher in Fairfax County and former business owner. She holds degrees in Kinesiology and K-12 Education with an endorsement in Special Education. She believes in experiential education and is passionate about getting kids out of their seats and into real-life learning. Christy is a mom to 2 school aged kids and is often found on a baseball or football field on the weekends. She loves a good rollercoaster, toes in the sand and live music.


Dillon Coppersmith, Bosun

Our chief sail wrangler. Dillon has served as a yacht skipper in Tortola BVI and head sailing instructor and deckhand at Marine Corps Base Quantico Marina. He has significant experience as a maritimer including supervising crews, coastal navigation, rigging inspection and maintenance.