The LEAPNOW Team
Executive & Academic Director & Co-Founder
With creati vity as the leading force in her life, Cassie began her journey into adulthood as a dancer and a baker. Both became lifelong passions
and the cornerstones of everything else she has done. After earning a BFA from Wichita State University, Cassie had a full career as a professional
dancer, choreographer, and teacher in Colorado and New York. Discovering that more was happening in her dance classes than just learning to dance,
Cassie went on to earn a Masters in Somatic Psychology in 1988 and worked in psychiatric hospitals, bringing her love of movement and creativity
to the mentally ill.
As a therapeutic activities program director in a psychiatric hospital in New York, she developed a horticulture program, a dance/yoga program, and a cooking program for adolescent and adult addicts as well as leading movement therapy groups for all the residents at the psychiatric hospital. During this time Cassie received her ADTR (Advanced Registry, Dance Therapist) and Certification in Authentic Movement. She subsequently directed the Somatic Psychology Department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado - training dance therapists and body-centered psychotherapists. She is most juiced about the intersection of movement, passion and creativity and her current creative passion is in creating works of fabric art. Cassie is an affiliate faculty member of our accrediting university. Cassie also created and leads a training in Authentic Movement facilitation called Body Visible/Body Invisible (BVBI).
Rebecca began a lifelong adventure of learning and service at the University of San Francisco where she majored in International Studies with an emphasis on Politics of Latin America. While studying abroad in El Salvador, Rebecca worked in a cooperative where she learned to repair bus seats, sew anything, make dentures and roast coffee. She was greatly inspired by her experience accompanying those struggling for justice and liberation.
After graduating from college, she backpacked, biked, and ate her way through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, honing her travel skills and perfecting her Spanish. She returned to California inspired by the value of experiential learning through intentional travel. Before LEAPNOW, Rebecca spent five years working in San Francisco’s Mission District creating pathways to higher education for underserved youth in the community. She is an aspiring baker, juggler and muralist.
Director of Outreach & Co-founder
Born in a leap year, Sam founded and has directed LEAPNOW since 1994. After earning a degree in geology from Princeton U. in 1982, he made a
decision not to use the word "career" until he was at least 30, choosing instead to follow the "golden thread" of whatever he most wanted to do.
This resulted in 9 years of exploration in the U.S., Asia, Central America and Europe. Some of the highlights were: Extensive study in Hindu and
Carmelite(Catholic) monasteries in India and the U.S.; work as a carpenter, waiter, computer consultant, folk music restaurant manager, lobster
fisherman, and trail crew leader in California and Alaska. Continuing to follow the golden thread after 30, he coordinated a program for the
homeless in Seattle, directed a job-training program for youth-at-risk (the New Hampshire Conservation Corps), and was the Career Services Director
and International Student Advisor at a college in Colorado for 3 years. He is a senior fellow of the Hendricks Institute, and is certified in
Conscious Relationship Transformation and Body-Centered Transformation through the Institute. Sam is an affiliate faculty member of our
Hear Sam speak about LEAPYEAR in a 9-minute video.
Ian "Big" Hue, M.A
Director of Design and Sustainability
Ian heads up all construction and landscaping work on the Maacama campus. A California-based architect, Ian has an MA in Ecological Architecture, building on a BA in Architecture and Design from the University of Colorado. For 16 years prior to working with LEAPNOW, he owned his own outdoor equipment manufacturing company. He has built six houses and restored many others. Beyond his innovative work on the LEAPNOW campus, he has created and cares for a prolific organic garden. An avid biker and athlete, his team won an Ultimate Frisbee Masters Division national championship. Ian is an affiliate faculty member at our accrediting university.
Student Journey Coordinator
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Iris is an artist of imagination, learning and adventure. After completing her LEAPYEAR in 2007, she embarked on a decade-long journey of service, contemplative practice and wilderness exploration all around the world. During this journey, she worked for transformative non-profits including Big City Mountaineers, The Mountain Fund, Democracy Unlimited, Upaya Zen Center, and City Year while volunteering with NGO’s in Nepal, Nicaragua, India, Argentina and Chile. She has been a backpacker, bikepacker, rock climber, musician, writer, entrepreneur, dancer, gardener and artisan of cultural transformation. Iris “lives the questions” of life (Rilke) with passion, depth and joy. She deeply believes in the power of experiential learning and its ability to reveal the unique and hidden gifts we each carry for the world. She strives to be as resourceful, courageous, and imaginative as the children she served in Nepal during her LEAPYEAR internship. She brings her diverse work and life experience to the process of helping students to find their bliss through their LEAPYEAR internships.
Raised in Sonoma County and a long-time Waldorf student, Camille has a passion for working with youth and young adults. While earning her her degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, she explored contemplative practices, mindfulness and yoga. Camille has worked in residential treatment with foster youth, and been a residential advisor and learning facilitator for university students and her love of exploration has taken her traveling all over Asia and Europe. A lifelong learner, Camille has a passion for creating art that extends to drawing, painting, jewelry-making, crafting and lithography printmaking. Like all LEAPNOW staff and faculty, Camille is deeply committed to helping emerging adults achieve their fullest potential.
Administrative & Marketing Intern
Born in Chicago to a family with roots in Africa, Central America, India and the Caribbean, Zerah grew up around a variety of cultures and traditions. In her diverse community she was able to experience music, food, art, languages, dance and spiritual traditions from many different cultures, and this inspired her passion to travel, learn and connect with people from all over the world. Zerah began her journey with LEAPNOW in 2014 as a student in the LEAPYEAR VIVA group, traveling to south India during her group travel and completing her solo internship at an experimental permaculture farm in Nicaragua. After completing her LEAPYEAR, she embarked on yet another year of self-directed learning and travel in the U.S. and abroad. She immersed herself in the Spanish language by caring for children in Belize, working at a hostel and cafe in Guatemala, and selling handmade crochet clothing with other artisans in Guatemala and Mexico.
India In-Country Coordinator
A native of India and resident of Varanasi, Sanghamitra has guided Westerners to live and study and volunteer in India since 2002. A fluent English speaker and member of the LEAPNOW staff for many years, she hosts our groups that travel in central India, sets up homestays and internships, provides vital orientation to the culture and smoothes the way for our students and group leaders. In addition to working with LEAPNOW students, Sanghamitra hosts individual travelers in India throughout the year. Sanghamitra has degrees in Indian History and Travel and Tour Management, and with her strong love of travel, culture, and meeting new people, she is a great point-person for Westerners entering the country and liaison between Indian and Western culture. Sanghamitra also works with individual travelers to provide them with a gentle and culturally rich landing and entry into India.