Sultana Education Foundation Welcomes New Senior Staff


The Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) has announced the addition Madison Beres and Aaron Thal as new members of its senior staff.  Thal and Beres join SEF as the Foundation enters the final stages of its Vision 2020 initiative, a six-year effort to double the organization’s program capacity.

Madison Beres

A Kent County native, Madison Beres joins SEF as the Foundation’s new Development Associate. Introduced to SEF’s programs at a young age sailing aboard the schooner SULTANA with her elementary school classmates, Beres went on to graduate from St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, DE and Hamilton College in New York, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Geological and Environmental Sciences.  Beres was active in and outside of school, collecting numerous student-athlete and service awards including the Headmaster’s and Violet Richardson Award. Beres returned to Maryland in 2017 to pursue a path in conservation, serving as a Deckhand Educator onboard the SULTANA in 2018.

Aaron Thal

A former Chief Mate on the schooner SULTANA, Aaron Thal returns to SEF in 2019 as the organization’s first-ever Second Captain, sharing captaining duties with SEF’s Senior Captain, Michael Fiorentino.  Thal received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, and quickly jumped into the world of traditional sailing, working on multiple vessels including the schooners Quinnipiack, Sultana, Virginia, and Pride of Baltimore II.  Most recently, Thal worked for Echo Hill Outdoor School where he captained multiple vessels in Echo Hill’s fleet of historic Chesapeake Bay workboats.  Thal holds a United States Coast Guard Master License for Vessels up to 100 tons on Inland Waters, as well as Auxiliary Sail and Commercial Towing endorsements.

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