Educators. Innovators. Dreamers.

We are Rocketeers of the 21st Century.


Sarah – Founder & Instructor

Sarah might look a little young to start her own company, but she was even younger when her Dad, an award-winning writer and producer was considering whether or not to teach young children leading film school techniques through new, affordable technology.  He wavered, and Sarah said “DO IT”!  And they did!  And that’s how Black Rocket began.  She named the company after her black Labrador, Rocket.  Today, New Jersey Business Magazine says this 17 year old may be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Shyam – Innovations 

Black Rocket always takes tomorrow’s technology to empower today’s kids — to aspire and achieve new heights through the coolest ideas.  What Black Rocket does for kids, Shyam does for Black Rocket.  Innovation, insight, implementation… If you want to know where we are going next, Shyam’s your next stop.

Mike J – Technology

What do you call the guy who believes in your young company when no one else does?  You can call him Mike.  We call him The Original Rocketeer!  “Mickey” makes our promise and our programs a reality.  As an honors grad from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Mike combines his belief in Black Rocket’s mission with academic pedigree. Whether he is working behind the scenes to program a new game engine or teaching students in our online institute, Mike is the ‘go to guy’ when we are ready to move from concept to creation.  Just as he believed in us throughout the first few years, we believe in him. More than an employee, Mike is like family.

Derek – Culture and Customers

All entrepreneurial companies have someone who serves as a compass to guide them and an anchor to steady.  At Black Rocket, Derek is both compass and anchor.  We pride ourselves on our community focus.  As someone who embraces serving all students, Derek ensures that Black Rocket provides programs to all from the wealthiest suburbs to the roughest, toughest areas, including a youth correctional facility.

Meghan – Instructor and Fashion Design

While every Black Rocket program is uniquely different, each one shares certain igniting concepts that spark self discovery powered by passion.  Today, there are hundreds of Rocketeers, from instructors, to parents, to kids, and to partners.  Few exude that power more than Meghan.

Kurt – Instructor and Designer

One of our newest Rocketeers, Kurt, is currently attending NYC School of Design. He never ceases to amaze with digital knowledge well beyond his years. Kurt started in 2009 at age 17 and was proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut, and many other programs.  Kurt is not the only family member who has a knack for graphic design.  His uncle won a Webby in 2005! Kurt’s grandfather, Walt Rauffer, has been in the film business since the 1960′s. He had worked for MGM, developing the world’s first remote TV camera truck called Leo.  Soon after, he became Sesame Street’s chief engineer.  He designed Big Bird’s custom camera harness, and chroma key studio for Sesame Street, all of the Electric Company’s special effects, along with designing and constructing a fully computerized post-production video facility for Movielab and Mediatech. What an inspiration! Kurt has a knack for learning whatever he doesn’t understand which makes him one of our strongest team members at Black Rocket.

Matt – Media
Matt was making films before he could drive and by the time he graduated high school, one of his projects had become a cult classic. One of Rich’s original students, Matt is now an associate professor of film studies at a college in addition to overseeing Black Rocket’s visual media. When not teaching or editing, Matt regularly runs film festivals in the area.

Michael D – Operations 
Michael works with the Black Rocket staff and partners to ensure that our programs are running smoothly and serving our most important clients- kids and parents!  Before joining the Black Rocket team, Michael taught students of all abilities from elementary school through high school in a public and private setting while earning his Master’s in Special Education at Rutgers University and a degree in Administration from The College of New Jersey.  As an educator who thrives off of student success, Michael is committed to providing high-quality programs that inspire students while allowing kids to do what they do best- innovate and have fun!

Rich – Education and Operations

“A little bit of help is all I need…one afternoon at the most.” That was Bill’s request to Rich over ten years ago. Rich had no idea at the time that a favor to his friend would be the start to Black Rocket’s quest to revolutionize education. Rich began his career teaching violence prevention to elementary and middle school students, before going on to become recognized as “Teacher of the Year” at the #1 ranked high school in the nation. After earning dual Master’s degrees in Political Science and Education Administration, Rich transitioned from the classroom to school administration in one of New Jersey’s largest K-8 school systems. In 2008, Rich left public education to bring his expertise in curriculum development, instruction, and management to Black Rocket full time. Although he continues to consult with school districts on a wide range of issues, Rich’s main focus is growing Black Rocket with Bill.

Bill – Co-Founder and Advisor

For Bill, founding Black Rocket with Sarah is a dream fulfilled. Sharing his “life filled with opportunity” spirit with his children, especially his daughter, finding a limitless outlet for his own creativity, and pursuing a passion for empowering hope and human spirit in each and every one of our students, partners, and peers. No longer involved in operations, Bill now serves simply on Black Rocket’s Advisory Board. Bill’s unquenchable curiosity, a devout belief in the power of divergent thinking and cognitive reasoning, a keen interest in what’s next and new in technology (and people!), are all complemented by an unmatched work ethic, relentless focus on measurable results, and a restless imagination that makes him the right fit as an engine of innovation applied at Black Rocket.