Staff & Board of Directors

ISEEN is governed by a Board of Directors and run by an Executive Director & Events Manager.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an ISEEN board member or volunteering in another capacity please fill out our application or contact us today! 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Shoshanna sumka-  silver spring, MD

Shoshanna Sumka is a leader in global learning, community engagement, and student leadership development. As the Executive Director (ED) of ISEEN, Shoshanna works to inspire and support experiential educators and connect lifelong learners through our inclusive network.
Shoshanna’s two decades of professional experience include support for travel and outdoor education throughout the world. Most recently she worked at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where she coordinated global programs and community engagement, including service learning. In the past, she served as assistant director of global learning and leadership at American University, resident director of the University of Idaho’s International Programs Abroad in Quito, Ecuador, and board chair of Break Away, an organization that supports the development of active citizens and student leadership on college campuses.
She is the author of numerous journal articles and two books: Working Side By Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change and Health and Safety for Secondary School Programs Abroad
Shoshanna lives in the Washington, DC area with her young daughter and partner. She has a B.A. and M.A. in anthropology and a background in global social justice. She loves world travel, practicing yoga, walks in the woods, and cooking hearty vegetarian meals. Her favorite places are Kenya, Haiti, Ecuador, the Shenandoah mountains, and the beaches of North Carolina.


Taras Ferencevych, a long-time ISEEN member, has a 25+ year career in experiential education based on an eclectic mix of experiences with a strong emphasis on programming. From his humble beginnings as a camp counselor, he understood the importance of thoughtful program design as a catalyst for meaningful and fulfilling student experiences. Taras' experiences working in higher education helped him discover social-justice work, community building, and high-impact learning practices. After leaving higher education, Taras ventured into the world of independent schools as a classroom teacher and Director of Experiential Learning at The Storm King School. Since the summer of 2003, Taras worked his way from Director of Outdoor Adventures to Summer Dean at the Phillips Academy summer session, which he’ll continue each July. One of his claims to fame is that he has planted trees on five continents (counting Fiji as Oceania). Taras is also an active volunteer and fundraiser in several organizations dedicated to society building in Ukraine.


Charlie Noyes began his teaching career in 1986 at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT, where he currently manages various aspects of the developing farm program and teaches visual art. He earned a B.A. in English from Middlebury College and an M.A. in art education from RISD. Past roles and responsibilities at Hotchkiss include art department chair and art gallery co-director. He also served as director of the Beginning Teachers Institute (BTI) for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools from 1990-2007. In 2008 he developed and implemented a two-season afternoon co-curricular program to support a very nascent Hotchkiss farming initiative. These days, in addition to strengthening this co-curricular farm program, he is working to develop substantive, experientially-driven farm based coursework in his half-time role as Farm Curriculum Coordinator. In addition to teaching, he is a painter and illustrator. He also pursues interests in music, carpentry and all things out of doors. He lives off campus with his wife Karin, also an artist. They have three grown children and four grandchildren (so far). Charlie joined the ISEEN board in 2014.

VICE CHAIR: Chai Reddy - Shanti Alliance, Honolulu, Hawaii

Chai Reddy is the Founder and Principal Consultant of the Shanti Alliance. In partnership with the Stevens World Peace Foundation, the Shanti Alliance is a collection of high school student and educator cohorts devoted to enhancing their knowledge of issues related to Diversity, Equity and INclusion (DEI) in order to create and carry out an action project to improve their school's efforts. Previously Chai worked at Punahou School (Honolulu, HI), starting in 2006, where he taught Social Studies, coached football and basketball, and oversaw the start and growth of a number of global education programs such as the Student Global Leadership Institute. As director of the  Wo International Center, he oversaw Punahou's diverse global education programming and expanded that role to include a greater focus on issues related to equity, inclusion, and social justice. Chai was born and raised in Oklahoma and earned his B.A. in History from Lake Forest College (IL). Chai spent a year as a Math & Science teaching intern at the Haverford School (PA) before moving to Hawken School (OH) where he taught History, Humanities, coached, served on a number of student and faculty committees, and earned his M.A. in Humanities from John Carroll University. Chai earned his Ed.D. from Creighton University in Leadership Studies in 2019, which made his wife and son (born in April 2018) very happy. Chai joined the ISEEN board in 2019.

TREASURER: BOOTA de BUTTS-  episcopal high SCHOOL, Alexandria, VA

Boota has been the CFO at Episcopal High School since July 2005 where he is responsible for the Business Office, Facilities, Security, Technology and Food Service. He also has taught Entrepreneurial Studies for the past four years. Other responsibilities include Advisor to freshmen boys and member of the School’s Leadership Team. Prior to joining Episcopal, Boota worked for several corporations, domestically and internationally in the for-profit sector for over 20 years. His work experience has ranged from sales and marketing to general management and CEO of a privately owned manufacturing company and a consumer product company. Boota served on the EHS board of Trustees from 2000 through 2005. He is a graduate of Episcopal High School. He received is A.B. in History from Princeton University and his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. He and his wife Shelley have three grown children. 


Secretary: Shelly Gibson-  Chewonki Foundation, Wiscasset, ME

Shelly currently works as the Director of Staff Development with the Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset, Maine. This position helps foster growth, collaboration, and inclusivity across all Chewonki programs including the Elementary School, Semester School, local schools initiative (Outdoor Classroom), and Summer Programs. Shelly grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from Penn State University in Psychology and Philosophy and received her post-graduate diploma in Outdoor Education at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Shelly shares her love of city life in Portland, ME with the beaches and mountains of New England; skiing, kayaking, backpacking, or playing with friends. Living in Maine truly is 'the way life should be'! Shelly joined the ISEEN board in 2016.

MEMBER AT LARGE: KALYAN BALAVEN - Athenian School, Danville, CA

Kalyan swerved from his legal training to begin a career in education over two decades ago. His first roles were in public schools, but soon thereafter became a charter school administrator, shortly before he discovered his passion for experiential learning in progressive schools. He is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at The Athenian School, and has been named to be the new Head of School for the Dunn School in Los Olivos, California to start July 1, 2021. Kalyan serves on the Board of Standards for the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and is a member of the Community Works West Board. He has written numerous articles on diversity, equity, and inclusion and continues to be a key voice in this realm for the National Association of Independent Schools. He founded and co-leads the Inclusion Dashboard Consortium. He enjoys running 10k’s and half-marathons, is an avid 49er and Warriors fan, loves devouring graphic novels, and finds great peace and tranquility when he is on his spiritual pilgrimages to the Middle East. He and his partner Fatemeh (also an educator) have two young children and live on The Athenian School campus.

MEMBER AT LARGE: MICHELLE EDWARDS - Live It, Learn It, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michelle Edwards is a native Chicagoan who found her way to Live It Learn It by serving as the principal of Orr Elementary, now Boone in Washington, DC, for almost a decade. Michelle had also served on the board of Live It Learn It for a number of years. She received a  B.S. in elementary education from Northern Illinois University, Master’s degrees from Loyola University Chicago and Trinity University, Washington, DC and earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Michelle participated in New Leaders, Inc. as a resident principal during its inaugural year (2003) in Washington, DC and 10 years later returned as a director to train emerging, aspiring, and practicing school leaders. Michelle serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Responsive Schools, An Open Book Foundation, and the Independent School Experiential Education Network (ISEEN).  Michelle is a strong advocate for social-emotional learning, racial justice and trauma-sensitive teaching practices.  She has received extensive training in each area.  Michelle loves her husband and children as well as her beagle, Beauty.

MEMBER AT LARGE: ERIN HAWK - World Leadership School, Alexandria, VA

Erin Hawk develops socially responsible collaborative partnerships for independent schools with communities around the globe. In her work, she oversees in-person and virtual educator professional development from design to facilitation. She has extensive experience designing and implementing marketing plans to provide consistent branding that promotes the organization's values and mission. Erin is a facilitator of personal growth experiences that encourages individuals to explore their identity and how it is linked to power and privilege as a way for them to build authentic relationships and see things from a new perspective. She lives in Alexandria, VA and enjoys running with her husband, stand-up paddle boarding with her daughter and camping with her son.

MEMBER AT LARGE: SHERYL MURRAY - Crescent School, Toronto, ON

Sheryl oversees service-learning and civic engagement for grades 3-12 at the Crescent School. She co-created the schools strategic plan and supports students, faculty, and parents in their own outreach endeavors. Sheryl designs and implements local and global trips and supports Outdoor Education programming. She is an innovator and passionate about experiential education, especially as it relates to unconventional learning. Sheryl also has extensive grant-writing experience with the Toronto Zoo.


Ray Wilson is Upper School Director of The Bush School. The Bush School is a Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade independent school in Seattle. Through his work he leads a student advisory group and guides 45 faculty members through curriculum mapping, master schedule re-designing, implementation of immersive course program, and developing strategies for creating inclusive classroom environments. Before Bush, Ray began his career in education at Drew School in San Francisco, CA teaching math and humanities courses after his first year and continues to teach upper division seminars, “The Sociology of Malcolm X” and “Japanese-American Experience during World War II.” Ray was raised in Inglewood, California, and earned a B.A. in Sociology, with an emphasis in inequality and social change, from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership from Holy Names University, and completed the E.E. Ford/NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads in 2004. Ray and his wife, Keisha, reside in Tacoma, WA and have raised three sons who have all attended independent schools and are pursuing their passions. Ray joined the board in 2019.