Our Team - Stop Drowning Now

Our Team

Stop Drowning Now is comprised of eight volunteer members on the board of directors as well as an Executive Director and Membership Services Manager. Each person who serves SDN is passionate about water safety and each share the same goal: Educate to Eliminate Drowning.

Board of Directors

Jim Spiers

President (New York, NY)

Stop Drowning Now is proud to have Jim Spiers as its president. Jim is a consummate professional in all facets of instruction and teaching methods within the realm of swim and water safety. In collaboration with two-time Olympic Gold medalist Catherine Fox, he established the Underwater Schoolhouse for Swimming Programs and Teaching Methods. Jim is credited with the formation and development of multiple swim programs throughout the state of Texas, including the prestigious Phil Hansel Swim Academy in Houston.

A renowned and highly prized water safety expert, Jim welcomed the opportunity to repeat the successes of his Texas swim schools, and moved to New York in 1990. There, he embarked on a new challenge; operate a growing swim school program while introducing a children’s theater program. This initiative gave birth to SwimJim, Inc. in 1998. Soon, the notoriety and success of the SwimJim program resulted in feature articles in the New York Times, as well as requests for TV and radio appearances/interviews (NPR and Martha Stewart Radio and numerous children’s magazines).

Jim has traveled around the globe on behalf of the Stop Drowning Now, presenting the Safer 3 program in Brazil and Ireland. In fall 2013, the United States Swim School Association presented Jim with the Humanitarian Award for his water safety efforts. Most recently, Jim was recognized in an elite group of aquatics professionals. In March 2015, Jim was recognized as an outstanding industry leader in Aquatics International The Power Issue: Aquatics Advocates. Jim was recognized for his commitment to water safety throughout the United States and internationally as well.

Additionally, Jim is an active member of numerous boards and organizations, including:World Aquatic Baby Congress
United States Swim School Association
National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Dan Berzansky

VIce PResident (Laguna Niguel, CA)

Dan has been a lifelong swimmer since the age of seven. After competing throughout his young life, he swam on scholarship for Division I Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY. After college, Dan worked for Jewish Community Center where he opened the aquatics program at the JCC of Orange County in Irvine, CA and then the JCC Association on the JCC Maccabi Games. After receiving his MBA from Pepperdine University in 2011, Dan started his own business, Premier Aquatic Services. Dan has over 15 years of coaching experience as well as over 12 years of experience in the recreation field with a focus on project management. In addition, Dan also has over 13 years of experience as an instructor for the American Red Cross where he teaches classes ranging from CPR, to lifeguarding and first aid.

Joe Oehme

Director (Chatham, NJ)

Joe Oehme was born and raised in the New Jersey Shore area where he grew an affinity to aquatics. Growing up “down the shore” provided Joe with the opportunity to engage in many activities. Swimming, boating, surfing, & fishing became second nature and he embraced the “waterman” lifestyle.

At age 15 Joe was certified by the American Red Cross as a lifeguard and worked on an ocean rescue squad for 3 seasons. This gave him a true appreciation and respect for water. At 18 he was certified as a Water Safety Instructor and began teaching swimming lessons at one of the East Coast’s premier centers for health education and recreation.

Joe got involved in coaching age-group swimming and was one of four coaches for children ages 6-18 yrs. The following season Joe was given the position of Head Swim Team Coordinator where he enjoyed three successful swim seasons and introduced “Stroke Technique” courses for swimmers to enhance their skills and build endurance.

During this time, Joe was introduced to Pierre Gruneberg of France, whose innovative swim breathe training and fear-reducing techniques provided a new approach for adult swim instruction. Joe incorporated “Le Methode Gruneberg” into his own teaching style and developed a systematic desensitization technique to reduce fear and anxiety as it related to swimming. This soon became his passion, and his studies continued formally at the Richard Stockton College New Jersey, where Joe received his BA in Psychology.

Upon graduating college, Joe’s new “learn to float” philosophy took him to Encinitas in Southern California where he taught and coached swimming. Here he introduced his innovative instructional techniques and fear-reducing methods. Joe was able to share these methods with adults while consistently assisting his students to overcome their fear of water and attain personal liberation.

In 2001 Joe developed New Jersey Swim Schools, Inc. and opened his first private swim school for children and adults in West Orange, NJ. He soon moved the program to Brooklake Country Club in 2002 where it is still operational today. In 2010, Joe opened Njswim Sparta and in 2011 Njswim Warren. In 2014 Joe and his team built Njswim Lakeside in the Landing section of Roxbury Township. And in September 2015, Njswim added its Manasquan, NJ location.

Joe is also an active member of the United States Swim School Association and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. Joe and his beautiful wife Katie have 3 children Emma, Eli Joe, and Luke and reside in Brielle, NJ. Joe enjoys sharing his methods with others while enjoying his time in and around the water with his family.

Leslie Daland


Leslie Daland  is the owner of the Daland Swim School in Thousand Oaks, CA. Daland Swim School was established in 1987 and continues to teach over 30,000 lessons per year with a swim team of over 175 swimmers. Leslie also serves on the Board of Directors for Stop Drowning Now, an organization dedicated to saving lives through drowning prevention and water safety education. Prior to working at the swim school, Leslie worked in athletic administration as the Director of Compliance at USC for 11 years. She was an All-America swimmer for USC, National Champion in the 1500 meter freestyle and ranked #1 in the world in 1986 in that event. Leslie’s mother, Ingrid Daland, founded the Daland Swim School and her father, Peter Daland, was a world-renowned coach.

Nicole O. Bourgeois, PA-C

(Mathews, LA)

Nicole and her husband Darby, are proud parents of three boys, two here on earth, Jake(5) and Cam(1), and their Angel Riley(2) in heaven.  Last summer, while at a neighborhood gathering, Riley slipped away for a few minutes.  He was found in the neighbor’s swimming pool. The pool had a four sided fence but one of the gates were left open.  While all efforts were performed to save Riley’s life, he gained his eternal angel wings 2 days later on July 2, 2018,  just six days shy of his 2nd birthday.  Since Riley’s accident, Nicole and Darby, have started the Blue Boot Foundation to bring awareness to their local community on drowning and water safety.   They will host the Inaugural Blue Boot Rodeo, a fishing rodeo, to help educate the public on how common drowning is, ways to prevent drowning and how to be safer around all bodies of water.  They are working with their politician’s as well to bring the Safer 3 curriculum into the education system locally as well as on a state level.  They don’t want their story to be another family’s story and are working hard to educate everyone on the preventable tragedy of drowning.

Jessica Barnes

Director (Citrus Springs, FL)

Jessica Barnes is a wife, mother to 3 children; one an angel and 2 boys here on Earth, as well as an educator. Jessica and her husband Sean are the founders of Cayla’s Coats, Inc a 501©3 located in Citrus County Florida with a focus on providing water safety education, scholarships for swim lessons, life
jacket loaner stations and coats for kids in need within Citrus County. Jessica’s love of education leads her to be an important addition to the Stop Drowning Now team. She implements the Safer 3 curriculum into her first grade classroom as well as throughout her school. Her connections within her community will help to spread water safety education through the Safer 3 curriculum.

David Gorman

Director (New York, NY)

David has been with Stop Drowning Now since 2009. His vast knowledge and experience in not only drowning prevention, but government, finance and business makes David an integral part of our team.  

Sara Biskie

Executive Director (Elgin, IL)

Sara Biskie the owner-operator of PRO Swim Academy in Elk Grove Village, IL. Sara began teaching swim lessons when she was just 15 years old and fell in love with the swim school industry from day one, so much so she made it her life long career. She is passionate about teaching children to swim as well as educating her community about water safety. She is an active member of the United States Swim School Association where she serves as a member of the Membership Connections Committee. With over 21 years of experience in the swim industry she brings a level of expertise that benefits all of SDN’s members, donors and educators. 

Cindy Johnson

Ambassador (Tustin, CA)

Cindy brings her cum laude degree in accounting and finance along with over 40 years of corporate experience and serves as treasurer of Stop Drowning Now. Always concerned with water safety, Cindy and her husband Johnny founded the Swim for Life Foundation (now known as Stop Drowning Now) in 2004 and created the Safer 3 Drowning Prevention Program (Curriculum).  She graciously served as Stop Drowning Now’s Treasurer from 2004-2019.

Johnny Johnson

Ambassador(Tustin, CA)

Johnny brings over 48 years of teaching experience at Blue Buoy. He has also coached high school water polo and swimming, synchronized swimming, and taught scuba. Many of Johnny’s students have achieved elite status in competitive swimming and water polo, including seven who have competed in the Olympics or set World Records. Johnny is a charter member and past president of the US Swim School Association and co-author of its Infant Toddler course that has been taken by thousands of instructors world-wide. Johnny is a past president of NDPA and past president of the Stop Drowning Now. In 2013 Aquatics International magazine selected Johnny as one of the 25 most influential people in aquatics over the past 25 years.

 Johnny and his wife Cindy have forged a wonderful relationship during 47 years of marriage and as business partners. As co-owners of Blue Buoy Swim School, they each bring unique talents and experience to the partnership. They have raised two sons and are actively involved with their six grandchildren. Their oldest granddaughter is now teaching at Blue Buoy making it 3 generations in the pool. They have found the secret to balancing their professional and personal lives.

In 2010 Johnny and Cindy were presented with the USSSA Humanitarian Award for their efforts in drowning prevention. Johnny was awarded the Association’s Guiding Light Award in 1996 and honored with induction the Hall of Fame in 2004.  

Johnny lead the Stop Drowning Now team from the very beginning as he served as Chairman of the Board from 2004-2019.