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.

BOARD CHAIR: KALYAN BALAVEN - Athenian School, Danville, CA

Kalyan has extensive DEI experience and expertise as the- former Dean of Equity & Inclusion (Athenian). He created the Inclusion Dashboard Consortium (about 90 schools), to measure inclusion in schools, a network of best practices and integrated the Kolb cycle into inclusion work. He is a Humanities/History teacher (B.A. in History, Juris Doctorate), has served as a non-profit board member, including the Board of Standards for the California Assoc. of Independent Schools. He has extensive marketing, fundraising & program development experience and Kalyan is active in consulting around DEI, cultural competency and Ex Ed curriculum design.

BOARD CHAIR: MICHELLE EDWARDS - Live It, Learn It, Washington, D.C.

Michelle Edwards has served on multiple boards and worked in schools and educational non-profit organizations. She created and facilitated DEI programming as well as systemic DEI changes and redrafted organizations’ by-laws and board responsibilities. She has extensive experience with how nonprofits can supplement schools’ DEI programming. She has strengths with relationship building and leadership development.

BOARD CHAIR: ERIN HAWK - World Leadership School, Boulder, CO

Erin Hawk leads administrative and programmatic hiring searches for independent schools and other educational organizations. She 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.

BOARD CHAIR: SHERYL MURRAY - Crescent School, Toronto, ON

Sheryl Murray 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.


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.

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 Team Development Coordinator 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: Simon Hart-  Where There Be Dragons, Boulder, CO

As the Director of School Partnerships for Where There Be Dragons, Simon works with independent schools and colleges throughout the U.S. and Canada to provide professional development training, consulting, and collaborative student programming in intercultural experiential education. Having grown up in a subsistence farming lifestyle on the South Shore of Lake Superior, Simon spent his high school years in Puebla, Mexico, and Taipei, Taiwan, where he graduated from the Taipei American School. At Carleton College, he received grants to conduct field-work in remote forest societies of Cameroon and Guatemala focusing on human-nature relationships that led to work in Costa Rica establishing farm-based experiential education programs focused on cultural ecology. Simon is a bass player, urban homesteader, an avid cyclist who has spent the past ten years developing experiential international programming, professional trainings, and innovative curriculum that engages participants in intimate relationships with the unknown. Simon joined the ISEEN board in 2015.

MEMBER AT LARGE: Chai Reddy - Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii

Chai Reddy is the Director of Punahou School's Wo International School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He 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 moved to Punahou School in 2006 where he has 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 the Wo International Center Director, he oversees Punahou's diverse global education programming and has expanded that role to include a greater focus on issues related to equity, inclusion, and social justice. Emphasizing a local understanding, sense of place, and identity, before one moves out to the broader world, is a major focus of the Wo International Center's programs. Chai will finish his Ed.D. from Creighton University in Leadership Studies in early 2019, which will make his wife and son (born in April 2018) very happy. Chai joined the ISEEN board in 2019.


Anne Stavney is the Head of School at The Blake School – an independent PK-12 coed day school with a national reputation for academic excellence located on three campuses in the Minneapolis area. Anne began her position as Blake’s Head of School in July 2012. Under Anne’s leadership and guidance, Blake has revisioned its global education emphasis, its global immersion programs and its local and global service learning opportunities. Additionally, professional development among the faculty and administrators has focused intensely on learning and teaching about intercultural and global competence. After graduating from Lakeside School in Seattle, Anne attended Smith College where she received her B.A. in government. She received her second B.A. as well as her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. Anne taught in the fields of American literature, African American literature, and gender studies at the University of Washington and the University of Tulsa. Prior to coming to Blake, Anne taught English at Lakeside School and served as Upper School English Department Chair, Assistant Head of School and Middle School Director. Anne, her husband Dan Gunter and their 10-year old daughter, Grace, live in Minneapolis. The family enjoys sailing, kayaking and exploring the 10,000 lakes and rivers of Minnesota. 

vickiMember at Large:  Vicki Weeks-  Global Weeks, Seattle, WA

A native of Seattle, Washington, Vicki has a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed in International Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Building on over 30 years of experience in teaching, leadership, advising, service learning and program design, as well as community connections in more than 30 countries, Vicki Weeks helps schools and organizations expand their thinking, programs, and practice through her company Global Weeks. Her experience at Lakeside School, where she created and developed one of the most comprehensive global service-learning programs in the country, reinforced her commitment to teamwork, collaboration, and big-picture thinking as well as the practical applications of that process: leading to actual programs for real people in specific places. Her programs and practices are designed to develop global leaders and to align with new and existing curriculum. Vicki maintains both broad and deep connections in the educational world through the board and advisory roles in the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network, Global Education Benchmark Group, Kuska School, and Awamaki. Vicki was a member of the ISEEN board from 2010-2013 and then rejoined the board in 2015.


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.