FBPixel

Board of Directors

Chrissie Monaghan

President

Base Camp: New York
Board Member since 2021
Faculty for Fall Semester, Southern Africa 2009
Faculty for Spring Semester, Central America 2011

Chrissie Monaghan was a teacher with TTS in Southern Africa in the fall of 2009 and Central America in the spring of 2011. She holds a doctorate in International Education from the University of Virginia. Previously, Chrissie taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the International Education Program at New York University. She also held positions as a researcher and advocate with multiple children’s rights organizations where her work focused on the impacts of attacks on education and healthcare on children. She is currently transitioning to a career in medicine and applying to medical school.

Chris Bacon

Board Vice President

Base Camp: New York
Board Member since 2020

Chris grew up in Western New York and spent summers on a lake in Muskoka, Canada where she learned it is possible to love a place almost as much as a person. Her first trip on an airplane wasn’t until she was 20 years old, when she flew from Buffalo to London to spend a semester studying abroad. Since then, she studied abroad again in Nice, France and has visited 19 countries. As the mother of three daughters (one a TTS alumna) she is deeply committed to empowering women and is a firm believer that travel fosters wisdom and compassion. She is currently the Director of Education and Development for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, a freelance legal author for Thomson Reuters, and a member of the Oakwood Cemetery Heritage Foundation board of directors. She holds a law degree from Rutgers University School of Law – Newark and a master’s degree from Niagara University.

Christine Hrenya

Board Treasurer

Base Camp: Montana
Board Member since 2021

Christine has been involved firsthand in education for as long as she can remember – first as a K-Ph.D. student for over two decades, and now as an engineering professor at the University of Colorado for over two decades.  She is a firm believer that travel beyond tourism – engaging meaningfully with locals in communities very different than our own – is essential to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.  Her own international travel began as an undergraduate in college, and it has been a constant in her life ever since – 25 countries and counting.  In her spare time, Christine enjoys beekeeping, biking, volunteering in her local community, and spending time with her husband and their schooled-and-well-traveled dog.

Kim Belvin

Board Secretary

Base Camp: Maryland
Board Member since 2021

Kim works for MITRE, a non-profit science and engineering company. Growing up in a Southern Californian beach town, she encountered beachgoers speaking many different languages. This piqued her curiosity, eventually resulting in her earning a Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCSD. In 1975 her family hosted a Vietnamese refugee family, while her best friend’s family were recent immigrants from Iran. Bouncing between the 3 households, she developed a deep appreciation for the complexity of identity and culture. Kim and her husband Robin have hosted several pairs of students for the Cyprus Friendship Project, which brings together Turkish and Greek Cypriot youths striving for peaceful reconciliation of their divided island. Daughter Lena traveled to South America with TTS23 where she rediscovered her love of science, which she is pursuing at USD with a double major in Physics and Engineering and a minor in Naval Science. Seeing the impact of TTS, Kim is committed to enabling more young women to have this opportunity.

Meredith Center

Base Camp: Montana
Board Member since 2021

Meredith has been traveling internationally since high school and has ended up in a career that puts living and working overseas front and center, currently serving as the Project Director for a malaria prevention project based in West Africa. Outside of the US, Meredith has lived in France, Italy, Zambia, and Cambodia, and is relocating to Cote d’Ivoire for her next job with Population Services International, a health NGO. Through her travels to 45 different countries (and counting!), Meredith has developed a deep appreciation for what traveling and experiencing different cultures can bring to someone’s life and she brings this excitement for travel and cross-cultural engagement and learning to her role on the Board.  Meredith has a BA in Sociology from Emory University and a MA in International Economics and Development from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  Besides traveling, Meredith loves to spend time with her husband and three kids hiking, biking, camping, swimming, or just generally enjoying nature.

Nicole Cooper

Base Camp: Washington
Board Member since 2020

Nicole has been a strong advocate and supporter of The Traveling School since her daughter’s semester to Southern Africa with TTS28. Nicole and her husband had the opportunity to spend a week with TTS in Namibia for friends and family week, and really appreciated watching the TTS teachers and students in action. That trip really cemented the passion and commitment that Nicole has for supporting TTS. Not having any opportunities to travel while growing up, Nicole is now a huge advocate for experiential and international education, and it is her dream that every young girl should have the opportunity to enhance their learning opportunities through travel. Nicole is a benefit compliance analyst for Weyerhaeuser and loves what she considers a “nerd” job. When she’s not working, Nicole can be found spending her spare time at her remote off-the-grid cabin in Western Montana.

Karen Guile

Base Camp: Kansas City
Board Member since 2022

Karen loves and has always been fascinated by the unique characteristics found in every culture and she loves to explore them via every person she meets.  She has been involved in philanthropy for over 25 years, and currently works at the Health Forward Foundation in Kansas City, whose mission is to “achieve health equity and secure a fair and just region through leadership, advocacy, and resources.”   Karen was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa in the early 2000s and that experience helped her recognize the power of submersing oneself in another culture and the personal growth one can achieve through the experience.  She believes her participation on the TTS Board is a perfect blending of her personal and professional experiences and she’s excited to serve the school in any way she can.  Karen has a bachelors in finance and economics with a minor in French.  She spends her free time with family and friends, coaching grade school basketball and enjoying exercise and the outdoors.

Kyle Holt Hopkins

Base Camp: New York
Board Member since 2022

Kyle’s sense of adventure was born in the backwoods of New England, where she roamed free with her brother and friends, imaginations running wild. Even while pursuing her first career as an actor and singer in Manhattan, she nourished her spirit with frequent trips into nature. In 2003, Kyle, her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters embarked on a seven-year circumnavigation on their small sailboat, Estrela. For over 30,000 nautical miles and in over 30 countries, the world was their homeschooling classroom. Top memories include backpacking in the Nam Ha forest in Laos, snorkeling in the uninhabited Chagos archipelago, and car camping for three months in Southern Africa. Their voyaging website is www.sailingestrela.com. The Hopkins dropped anchor in Buffalo in 2010 to join the faculty of Buffalo Seminary (SEM), an all-girls’ independent high school, where Kyle designed and taught a Health/Leadership program for freshmen through seniors. In 2021, Kyle retired from full-time teaching to launch Grow Gutsy Girls™, a workshop series based on her signature girl-empowerment curriculum.

Emily Mallory

Base Camp: Utah
Board Member since 2016
Faculty for Fall Semester, Southern Africa, 2008
Faculty for Spring Semester, Central America, 2009

Emily believes passionately in the powerful intersection of education and travel. In high school she participated in international education and exchange programs that laid the foundation for her commitment to the field of education. In the U.S. and overseas, Emily has designed and facilitated education and training programs for youth and adults. She has worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer, trained K-12 teachers to integrate digital media in the classroom, and explored social justice issues with middle school students.  One of her most rewarding professional experiences has been working with the Traveling School as a teacher and now as a board director.  Emily has a B.A. in International Affairs and Anthropology from University of Colorado and a M.A. in Global Education and Social Studies from The Ohio State University.  Fly fishing, hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, speaking Spanish, and being in wide open spaces fill Emily’s soul.

Paul Moniz

Base Camp: Virginia
Board Member since 2020

Paul’s introduction to TTS came by way of his daughter Sophie, an alumna of TTS31 South America. After witnessing the incredible talents of TTS faculty and leadership first-hand during the parents’ visit to Peru, and seeing the life-changing effects on Sophie, he desired to help make the TTS experience available to a broader range of young women. Paul has more than 30 years of non-profit and IT leadership experience, as well as a Masters in Technology Management from George Mason University. His volunteering experience includes Cub Scout Leader, high school STEM mentor, and student liaison for AFS-USA, one of the oldest and most respected international exchange student organizations. Paul and his wife Wendy have been hosts to 3 foreign exchange students, and enjoy traveling with Sophie and their son Beck to see their extended AFS families around the world. In his spare time, Paul enjoys tinkering with old BMWs and playing drums in a neighborhood dad band.

Natalie Trono

Base Camp: New York
Board Member since 2021
Alumna, Fall Semester, Southern Africa 2013

As a former student of The Traveling School, Natalie has benefited firsthand from the transformative educational experience of place-based education. She has been a member of the Alumnae Council since 2018 where she has supported alumnae outreach with a specific focus on expanding scholarship opportunities for young women through the alumnae network. Natalie studied Economics and Social History at Barnard College and has lived and worked in New York City since. Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Natalie enjoys hiking and running in her free time.

Flora Weeks

Base Camp: Washington
Board Member since 2021

Flora is a strong advocate for immersive, place-based education experiences. She has seen the life-changing positive results of this type of education both as a student and as an educator. Through her work at three different semester schools, she heard about The Traveling School and became intrigued by the potential of the TTS model. She has seen students challenged on outdoor expeditions, leaning into cultural interactions with homestay families, and feeling bolstered by a community of their peers. In each case, the growth of these students is immense. Knowing TTS provides this and more to each student, Flora is excited to be on the board to support and promote this program and all that it can offer teenage girls. She loves hiking, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends, often making and/or eating ice cream. 

Interested in joining The Traveling School board?
Email Executive Director Jennifer Royall directly.