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! 

Shoshanna Sumka, Executive DirectorEXECUTIVE 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
Fanwood, NJ

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
Hotchiss School, Lakeville, CT

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.

Chai Reddy
Beaver Country Day School, Chestnut Hill, MA

Chai Reddy is the Director of Upper School at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, MA. He is also the Founder and Principal Consultant of the Shanti Alliance. 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). 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. He 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 going to the Cleveland area where he taught History, Humanities, and coached at Hawken School (OH), while completing his M.A. in Humanities from John Carroll University. Chai earned his Ed.D. from Creighton University in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies and joined the ISEEN board in 2019. He and his wife, Maile, have a son (3), daughter on the way, and two dogs.

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. 


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.

Kalyan Balaven
Dunn School, Los Olivos, 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 Head of School at the Dunn School in Los Olivos, California. Kalyan serves on the Board of Standards for the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). He has written numerous articles on whole student education, diversity, equity, and inclusion and continues to be a key voice in these areas 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 have two young children and live on the Dunn School campus.

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.

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.

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
The Northwest School, Seattle, WA

Ray Wilson is Head of School at The Northwest School. Northwest is a Sixth through Twelfth Grade independent day/boarding school in Seattle. Ray is an experienced leader who brings 28 years of teaching and leadership experience in independent schools. As a progressive educator, he believes in the primacy of academics and the value of experiential learning that is relevant to student’s lives. Throughout his career, Ray has led student advisory groups, guided faculty members through curriculum mapping, master schedule re-design, implementation of immersive course programs, and developing strategies for creating inclusive classroom environments. His teaching experience includes math and humanities courses -- “The Sociology of Malcolm X” and “The Japanese-American Experience during World War II”-- on the middle school and high school levels.  He holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California, 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. Prior to Northwest, Ray served as the Upper School Director at The Bush School for the past eight years. Over his time as an educator, Ray has worked in day and boarding schools across the country, including the Park Day and Redwood Day Schools in Oakland, California, (PreK-8); Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California (9-12); St. Andrew’s School, Savannah, Georgia (K-12); and Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, Virginia (K-12).  Beyond the campus, Ray is on the Steering Committee of the Pacific Northwest chapter of People of Color in Independent Schools. He is also actively engaged as a leader and speaker in the Northwest Association of Independent Schools’ professional development programs. He has also spearheaded diversity workshops on curriculum development, student support, and building inclusive school culture. Ray joined the ISEEN Board in 2019.

Garth Nichols
Havergal College, Toronto, ON

Garth Nichols (he / his / him) is the Vice Principal of Strategic Innovation & Design at Havergal College, Toronto, Ontario. He is excited to bring his expertise, enthusiasm and knowledge building on experiential learning and digital transformation to the ISEEN board and members and member schools. His passion is developing the skills and mindsets of future-readiness in schools, educators and students through experiential learning. Building connections and community is paramount for his work, and he is excited to serve the ISEEN community. Garth is the Co-Founder and Lead Facilitator of Cohort 21, and the CAIS Project 2051and CAISStrategic Change Accelerator. Garth is experienced in academic programming, professional development, school-wide innovation, including digital transformation, and administrative leadership.

Elizabeth Pillsbury
Riverdale Country School, Bronx, NY

Elizabeth (Beth) Pillsbury, PhD is a historian, a teacher and the Director of Experiential Education at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, NY. At Riverdale, she oversees and facilitates experiential education initiatives and is dedicated to building strong academic rigor and content into those programs. She believes that through an interdisciplinary approach to experiential learning, students have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of their academic studies as well as to develop new passions, interests, and capacities. She is a committed environmental justice advocate, who works to challenge students to engage deeply in topics ranging from food access to air pollution and climate change. In 2019, Beth served as the convener for the Winter Institute and has led homeroom groups and the Directors of Experiential Education affinity group.