Meet the Staff
Staff members may be contacted by writing:
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
10 Ocean Science Circle
Savannah GA 31411
calling (912) 598-2345 or faxing (912) 598-2367.
Staff direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses are included below:
Gray's Reef Superintendent
Sarah Fangman is the Superintendent for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She has been with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 1998, first as Science Coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and then as Program Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn, Sarah moved to Vermont to complete her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology at Middlebury College. She completed her Master of Science in Marine Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. During the completion of her Masters, Sarah had an internship with NOAA and then was awarded a place in NOAA's Presidential Management Fellowship Program. She has worked with NOAA ever since. She is also a NOAA Advanced Working Diver and Divemaster, and has been a certified diver since college.
LTJG Jared Halonen is the new Vessel Operations Coordinator at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary He was previously stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI aboard NOAA Ship HI`IALAKAI.
Jared was born and raised in Battle Creek, MI. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences and Oceanography in 2008. Jared continued his academic pursuits at the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment where he completed his Masters of Science in Oceanography in the spring of 2011. His research focused on the effects of historical morphological change on sediment accumulation in Newark Bay, New Jersey.
Part-Time Partnership Development Coordinator
Chris Hines is the Partnership Development Coordinator at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. In this part-time role, he implements activities and programs to increase local support and foster an appreciation for the sanctuary and its resources. A NOAA Diver and nonprofit generalist, Chris has 10 years of diverse experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This includes four years internationally in Tanzania, a State Department fellowship, and four years in the corporate sector. Originally hailing from California, Chris received his B.S. in Business from Purdue University and M.S. in International Public Service from DePaul University.
Financial & IT Coordinator / Webmaster
Debbie Meeks serves as Financial and IT Coordinator and Webmaster for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She joined the staff in June 2005. As Financial Coordinator, she is responsible for providing operations support for all financial operations of the organization, along with procurement, and monitoring of sub-awards. As IT Coordinator, Debbie is responsible for the maintenance and security of the work stations, server and network infrastructure in the Gray's Reef offices. As the Gray's Reef Webmaster, she is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the organization's website. Debbie's prior information technology experience locally includes 15 years with Union Camp Corporation as a Systems Analyst and Project Manager and two years with H.O. Systems as a software developer for wireless communications. She holds a BBA in Finance and Banking / Accounting from Valdosta State University, a Microcomputer Specialist Degree, and has completed work towards a MS in Computer Science. She also has experience as an entrepreneur, having co-owned and managed The Monogram Place, a custom embroidery and monogram business and retail shop. Debbie, a Georgia native, moved to Savannah in 1984, and became a certified diver the following year.
Acting Deputy Superintendent
Justyna Nicinska joined Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary on a rotation, acting as the Deputy Superintendent, as part of NOAA's Leadership Competencies Development Program (LCDP). While at Gray's Reef Justyna will engage in a number of efforts including annual strategic planning and program implementation. Justyna comes from the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office, where she provides program management for a variety of scientific research initiatives and special projects.
Prior to coming to Gray's Reef, as part of the LCDP program, Justyna acted as the Deputy Director of the NOAA NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation and prior to that acted as the Deputy CFO for NOAA OAR. In a previous LCDP assignment with the NOAA/PPI Office of the Chief Economist, she led the Natural Capital Business Team, fostering public-private partnerships for more innovative, resilient and sustainable business practices.
Justyna was a Knauss Fellow in 2005 in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy and first came to NOAA in 2006, working in OAR's International Affairs Office. Justyna's academic background is in the area of marine biology and global environmental politics. She completed her PhD in Global Affairs at Rutgers University in 2013.
Events & Volunteer Coordinator
Jody Patterson is the Events and Volunteer Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and has supported the site since 2009 through administrative operations, public outreach, volunteer engagement and education initiatives.
She pursues an interest in wilderness conservation and habitat protection through science interpretation, promoting sustainable practices, encouraging environmental stewardship and exploration of our ocean planet. She is a certified PADI Rescue Diver, NAI Interpretive Guide, and a marine technology instructor. Her prior professional experiences include almost two decades of accounting and fund administration for private industry resulting in a strong business background and work ethic. A native of Greenville, South Carolina, she enjoys living in the low-country these days on a salt marsh barrier island in Georgia where she practices permaculture gardening with her husband, two children, dogs, cats, chickens and honeybees.
Captain Todd Recicar,
Marine Operations Coordinator
Todd Recicar is the Vessel Captain for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. He started full time with Gray's Reef in June of 2007. After receiving a BS in Biology at Florida State University, he completed two Marine Education Internships; one at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in Big Pine Key, Florida and the second at the University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah. After the completion of these internships, he worked as a research technician at the University of Georgia's Shellfish Research Laboratory in 1999. Prior to becoming a Gray's Reef employee he worked for 5 1/2 years as second mate on the 92 foot Research Vessel Savannah which is operated by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Todd is a NOAA Working Diver and carries a 100GT USCG license.
Communications and Public Outreach Coordinator
Michelle Riley joined Gray's Reef in 2015 and serves as the communications and public outreach coordinator. She worked in the international
humanitarian sector for almost 20 years, serving as external affairs director for the Lifeline Energy Foundation and as a communications officer for former U.S. President
Jimmy Carter at The Carter Center. A native of Galveston County, Texas, Michelle graduated from Pepperdine University in California and has lived in Savannah, GA for 12
years. She moved to Savannah to be near the ocean and thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and The Dolphin Project.
Part-Time Research Program Specialist
After graduating from Emory University in May 2014, Alison Scott began working at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She is working
on the acoustic telemetry project and is particularly interested in the detections of visiting species from all along the East coast. She is also helping topside
of the R/V Sam Gray and R/V Joe Ferguson. Alison is a rescue diver and is preparing for her NOAA diver certification.
Her interest in Marine Biology and environmental management stems from numerous education and work experiences including; researching iron acquisition and carbon
metabolism in Vibrio fisheri at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and researching the biogeography of corals, sponges and algae in Discovery Bay, Jamaica
with Stony Brook University. While at Emory University her experience included preparing labs and holding review sessions as a teacher's assistant for a
Freshwater Ecology Course at Emory and developing educational material for a newly constructed Hydroponic Water Reclamation Facility.
Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region,
Sanctuary Science Coordinator
George Sedberry is Sanctuary Science Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region of the Office of Marine Sanctuaries. His interests and experience are in the biology, conservation and management of marine fishes, as well as deep-sea biology and coral-reef ecology. Most of his research has concentrated on reefs of subtropical and temperate waters off the southeastern U.S., but he has conducted research on Marine Protected Areas in Belize and Madeira, and on population biology of fishes from the North and South Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and the western South Pacific. He was a member of the US National Committee for the recently-completed International Census of Marine Life, and he currently serves on the Scientific and Statistical Committee, the Marine Protected Areas Expert Workgroup and the Habitat and Environmental Protection Advisory Panel of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. He is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Charleston and the University of Georgia's Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and has authored over 100 publications on marine fishes and ecosystems.
Resource Protection Coordinator
Becky Shortland serves as the Resource Protection Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary overseeing the Sanctuary Advisory Council, marine resource protection actions and other management plan related activities. Becky joined the sanctuary in 1998. Prior to Gray's Reef Becky was Vice President for Coastal Programs with The Georgia Conservancy. She grew up in Swarthmore, PA, but has lived in Savannah, Georgia for the past 32 years learning about and enjoying the coastal and marine environment.