Happy Swimmer Management Bios

Laís James

Central Office Manager

Hi there! My name is Laís and I am the Central Office Manager of Happy Swimmers. I started here in 2019 as the Customer Service Representative. My educational background includes a degree in Human Resources, a field I am passionate about due to my love for working with people.

I graduated in 2009 and have worked in HR both in Brazil and in the United States. In addition to this, I pursued studies in Marketing and Business, which have equipped me with a well-rounded skill set to excel in diverse aspects of my role. Happy Swimmers philosophy fascinates me and I love being part of this incredible team. In my free time I like to be with my family and train jiu-jitsu.

Debbie Nate

Lifeguard Booking Manager (SoCal, NV, AZ, CO) and CPR Instructor

Debbie is a graduate of CSUN with a background in teaching Physical Education and Special Education for students with Specific Learning Disabilities. She had worked for LAUSD as a teacher for 37.5 years. She has also been a Professional Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard Training Instructor with the American Red Cross and LAUSD. She has taught First Aid and CPR for over 30 years and feels that it is important to give back to the community. She has a strong background in working with the community in planning and scheduling events for the Civic Center Division for LAUSD.  Debbie is excited to be a part of the Instructor Team for JTA CPR and looks forward to being part of the expanding Management Team of Happy Swimmers. In her free time, Debbie loves to hike, ski where ever there is snow, swim and travel.

Stephanie Hayes

Lifeguard Booking Manager (NY, PA, D.C., TX, TN)

My background is in the legal profession working as a legal secretary for many years. I stopped working to raise two children who are now young adults. My daughter is a teacher in the Portland school district, and my son is an artist who lives on the East coast. For the last twenty-four years, I worked as a Special Education Assistant in the Los Angeles Unified School District. For twenty of those years I worked with at-risk students and students with special needs at the secondary level. These students resided in a residential facility, and I worked closely not only with the entire school staff but with the social workers and staff at the residential placement. I am excited to be part of the Management Team of Happy Swimmers and look forward to working with you.


Lifeguard Booking Manager (NorCal and FL), LG Instructor and CPR Instructor

My background is working in healthcare and research and have worked in aquatics and emergency medicine for 10 years. I have been with Happy Swimmers since 2015 and since then have gone on to lifeguard events, teach CPR/First Aid and Lifeguarding Courses, and teach swimming lessons. Before joining Happy Swimmers, I was an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic working on ambulances and emergency services. In my free time, I enjoy mountain biking and grilling on the barbecue!

Blake Smallwood

Lifeguard Hiring Manager

Hey My name is Blake I am the lifeguard hiring manager for Happy Swimmers!  I grew up in Northern Kentucky & moved to southern florida 3 years ago to pursue my dream of being an Ocean Rescue lifeguard. I grew up as a competitive swimmer on 3 teams year round. I started lifeguarding when I was 16 & fell in love with it!  lifeguarding at one of the Largest pools in the country. I also grew up snow skiing- traversing some of the biggest mountains in the country. Currently I’ve traded my ski’s out for surfing. When I’m not guarding- I’m out in the water catching waves & living my life in the sun. Fun fact about me- I’ve been to 4 Continents so far! 

Rachelle Fugitt

Swim Lessons Manager

Rachelle has over 20 years of aquatics experience spanning from City and Federal programming to private industry. She is passionate about water safety and loves to lead training in swimming, CPR and lifeguard skills. Rachelle joined Happy Swimmers as a lifeguard instructor in 2021 and is excited to support the programs swim instructors starting in 2024.