2021 American Sailing Outstanding Instructors

By: American Sailing Association, Instructors

ASA has selected the Outstanding Instructors of the Year for 2021. This Award honors the top 1% percent of all active status ASA Instructors as determined by Instructor Surveys that are submitted by their students. Of the 2332 Instructors in 2021 who had active status, 956 taught at least one ASA class and thereby became eligible for this ASA Award. The top 25 are listed below representing 24 cities across 10 states and 3 countries. The process by which the Outstanding Instructors were determined is algorithmic, derived by the number of surveys sent (one survey for each class taught), the number of surveys completed and submitted by students, and the Instructor Average Rating across all submitted surveys with 4.00 as the highest possible Average Rating. Here are the Outstanding top 1.1% of all ASA Instructors, active in 2021, who taught at least one ASA course for which at least one student survey was submitted:

2021 American Sailing Association Outstanding Instructors

Craig Beimgraben, Spring, TX, USA

Lance Botthof, San Diego, CA, USA

Paul Britton, Houston, TX, USA

Michael Brown, Newton, PA, USA

Alexis Christofi, Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus

Michael Clidas, Olympia, WA, USA

Jason Cox, Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

Richard Dahlin, Capistrano Beach, CA, USA

Riley Dunn, Charleston, SC, USA

Jeremy Elwell, Panama City, FL, USA

Brian Gwinnup, Niceville, FL, USA

Robert Hulett, Maple Falls, WA, USA

Frank Jaeger, Oak Park, IL, USA

Rick Johnson, Clearwater Beach, FL, USA

James King, Gulfport, MS, USA

Joe Laughlin, Kemah, TX, USA

Jennifer MacLean, Tavernier, FL, USA

Christopher May, Key West, FL, USA

Robert McAdams, Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

Andrew McCabe, Carrying Place, ON, Canada

Barnard Meyer, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA

Kyle Parrott, Charleston, SC, USA

Michael Rice, Tacoma, WA, USA

Laurel Seaborn, Sedgwick, ME, USA

Dan Spyhalski, Traverse City, MI, USA

ASA is proud of its Certified Instructors who are committed to provide excellence in sailing instruction. We extend our congratulations to those who have achieved an Outstanding commendation for 2021. Keep up the great work!

How to qualify as an ASA Outstanding Instructor is not readily apparent or easily describable. There is no single explicit cutoff to survive or threshold to cross. A Bayesian Method uses a statistical model to determine a probability that each Instructor’s next survey score will be a perfect 4.00. This model is the foundation of many applications that include movie rankings for Netflix and product review rankings at Amazon. The Bayesian Ranking of each Instructor updates over time as more students submit surveys, and it can also be influenced by the scores received by other Instructors as the rating distribution of the entire community of ASA Instructors changes. There are no rigid pairings of Ratings and student survey submittals, there are no cutoffs or thresholds pre-set by ASA, nor are any set internally within the Bayesian Inference program itself. Eligible Instructors are ranked by the probabilities that their next score will be 4.00 based upon their Average Rating and how many student survey submissions support that Rating.

Bayesian Ranking is the preferred method to determine this Award as it opens up the process to Instructors at ASA Affiliates of all sizes, for both full-time and part-time Instructors, by focussing on the quality of an Instructor’s Average Rating and less on the quantity of student survey submissions. Competition for ASA Outstanding Instructor of the Year commendation is fierce. Very fine margins separate the top 1% of Instructors from all others. Now that you understand the details of how this Award is determined, the best way to proceed might just be to put them out of your mind. To become an ASA Outstanding Instructor of the Year, focus foremost on being an outstanding sailing Instructor for every student in every class on every day that you teach, week in and week out. After your class ends, encourage your students to visit their ASA Membership Portal page. This is where they will find links to their surveys to complete and submit. Make sure your students understand that these surveys do not arrive by e-mail. ASA will not know how outstanding an Instructor you are until your students let us know, and know how to let us know!

Lastly, remind your students that they have just 90 days after completing their Certifications to find and submit their surveys. After 90 days, the surveys expire and disappear from your students’ ASA Membership Portal pages and cannot be re-created and re-sent. Survey scores are attached to the date that a student completes Certification, not the date when a survey is submitted. This helps Affiliates and their Instructors assess more keenly their performance for a given period of time.

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