Sail Sand Point Staff

SSP Staff are essential to all that goes on at Sail Sand Point. We are responsible for day-to-day operations and implementing long-term goals, and we strive to live up to your highest expectations, both on and off the water. Please let us know if we can do anything differently to help us achieve this goal!

Year-round staff create and oversee Sail Sand Point’s programs, are responsible for day-to-day operations, maintain the facilities and fleets, and interact with our community on a daily basis. Our small year-round staff works under the guidance of the Board of Directors.

Sail Sand Point relies on its stellar team of seasonal staff to run our programs, such as sail camps/classes, Open Boating, and coaching. Sail Sand Point is fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and dedicated group of instructors, coaches, and dockmasters! If you are interested in a seasonal position at SSP, you can find more information here.

Executive Director: Mary Anne Ward

Mary Anne has been the Executive Director of SSP since 2015. Prior to coming to SSP, Mary Anne worked in Chicago, where she was the Event Director at Chicago Match Race Center, an organization that hosts and supports world-class race events. Previously, she was the Regatta Chairman at the Lake Eustis Sailing Club, a nonprofit community sailing center in Florida. An experienced entrepreneur, Mary Anne also successfully founded two education companies prior to working in the sailing world.

Mary Anne had a successful career as a professional racer, as the skipper and owner of the M&M Racing Team, and is the only female skipper to win a Bacardi Race Week. She is a respected role model for women in the sailing community, a motivating mentor for racers, and an empowering public speaker for youth. Her enthusiasm for teaching others how to sail and encouraging people to take on challenges make her an inspiring fit for Sail Sand Point. She supports and fosters the community spirit that makes Sail Sand Point unique from other sailing programs in Seattle.

Director of Youth Programs and Operations: Nino Johnson

Nino Johnson headshot

Nino is a Seattle native and SSP “lifer” having been introduced to Sail Sand Point in 2002, when he took his first sail camp! After enjoying summer camps and SPYS for a few summers, Nino became a volunteer and later an instructor in 2006. He spent his next four years at the University of Washington, teaching camps at SSP in the summers and sailing on the UW team in the fall and spring. Since graduating in 2010, Nino has been a consistent coaching presence for the youth racing teams, drastically increasing opportunities, resources, and most importantly, participation.

After years of learning the ins and outs of SSP, becoming involved on a management level was an easy transition. Nino’s leadership and interpersonal skills (cultivated as a student and instructor) are a textbook example of the power of SSP to develop future leaders. Besides a deep devotion to building and strengthening the SSP community, Nino is a staunch proponent for growing community sailing in the NW (and beyond), especially through youth racing and instructor development. He is a US Sailing Level 3 Coach and Level 1 Instructor Trainer.

Outside of being around SSP, Nino enjoys racing with the Seattle Thistle Fleet throughout the spring and summer at Leschi. His other interests include anything outdoors; most notably rock climbing, backpacking, and other activities that allows for continued exploration of the American West’s expansive natural beauty.

Administrative Director: Ashley Berglund 

Ashley was born in Olympia and has been boating around Puget Sound her entire life. She started by going on trips in her family’s trawler, then taking sailing classes during her childhood and finally teaching sailing through high school, college, and beyond. After a stint working for the state chamber of commerce, she is excited to once again be working in the sailing world. Ashley has a degree from Western Washington University and has previously taught sailing in Olympia and Gig Harbor.

Aside from working at Sand Point, Ashley enjoys cooking, exploring Seattle with her husband, and reading.


Adult Program Director: Bryan Rust

Bryan suffers from an obvious addiction to the water. It began his freshman year of college when he joined the Western Washington University Sailing team despite having no experience. Inspired by his grandfather, who grew up racing scows in the Midwest and later sailed his whole family through the South Pacific aboard a 65’ Schooner, Bryan took to everything involving wind and water.

During his time at WWU Bryan earned a BS in Environmental Science, but more importantly he began teaching Sailing and Windsurfing and became a Varsity Skipper and the Captain of the Sailing team. After graduating he moved to Puerto Rico for a few years to teach watersports to the rich and famous. On the warm tropical island he learned how to speak Spanish, kiteboard, surf and scuba dive.

After leaving the island with some friends on a catamaran to explore the rest of the Caribbean for a few months, Bryan made his way back to the great PNW. He now lives aboard a 34’ wooden boat and spends his time off-the-water riding mountain bikes, skiing, or playing the trumpet. He also has worked in Hawaii, Canada and Mexico in the aquaculture industry and is very passionate about marine ecology. Bryan is very excited to be able to share his experience and enthusiasm for the water with the SSP community. You’ll find him coaching SPYS, fixing stuff, or teaching our adult programs, unless it’s really windy…. then hopefully he’ll be kiteboarding.