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Jennifer Royall

Executive Director & Head of School

Base Camp: Montana
Fall Semester, South-West Africa 2003
Spring Semester, South America 2004

Jennifer Royall is a lifelong educator whose Traveling School history began in 2003. Successfully running semesters in southern Africa and South America, Jennifer fell in love with the power of The Traveling School’s mission, believing students learn best when the material is relevant and accessible and that the power of engaging in another culture can broaden personal points of view, enrich global understanding and transform lives. In 2008, Jennifer joined the administrative staff and later transitioned to the Head of School, becoming Executive Director in 2016.

Prior to The Traveling School, Jennifer spent nearly 20 years in the classroom. With a M.Ed. from Lesley College and a BA in Political Science from Duke University, she first learned the importance of incorporating outdoor education, community engagement and rigorous academics at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, CA. Later, as a middle school teacher, she endeavored to broaden the traditional classroom by infusing Montana’s natural wonders and its people. Jennifer earned National Board Certification in 1999 and received recognition for her teaching efforts with a Milken National Educator Award In 2001.

Additionally, Jennifer’s professional experience in the outdoors includes two decades of leading biking, hiking and river trips with teens and adults throughout the Rocky Mountain West and internationally in wild settings of New Zealand, Europe, Mongolia and Tahiti. Whenever possible, Jennifer and her husband have traveled extensively searching for suitably exciting whitewater for kayaking, the perfect waves to surf in Mexico and Central America, great ski spots all over the West, and remote waters for sea kayaking in Alaska.

Aunge Thomas

Academic Dean & Program Director

Base Camp: Montana
Fall Semester, South-East Africa, 2011, 2013
Fall Semester, South-West Africa 2012
Spring Semester, South America 2010

Aunge Thomas graduated from Montana State University in 2004 with a B.S Degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Bio-resources engineering. Throughout college she worked with MSU Expeditions, a freshman outdoor orientation program, helped develop Wild MSU, a club for outdoor enthusiasts, and helped establish Engineers Without Borders-MSU. Upon finishing college, Aunge was a raft guide in the summer and a ski instructor at Big Sky Resort in the winter. Aunge taught at High Mountain Institute in Colorado, in addition to teaching with The Traveling School in South America and Southeast Africa. In her free time Aunge loves to explore the Gallatin Valley on her road bike, skis, kayak, or on her porch with a book and a good cup of coffee. Aunge believes in the power of teaching students to think outside the box to understand interconnectedness of the world today. The Traveling School imparts passion among students to seek knowledge about the aspects of the global community through unique and experiential educational settings.

Laura Brin

Development Director

Base Camp: Montana

Laura Brin, a native of Colorado, holds a B.A. in Sociology from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges. While at Pitzer, she spent two semesters abroad – one in Northern India, and the other as a student on the NOLS Patagonia semester – bringing a personal passion for travel and abroad education to The Traveling School. Laura has dedicated her professional career to nonprofit work, with a particular interest in education as a way to empower girls, individuals, and communities. Prior to joining The Traveling School team, Laura worked in development for Central Asia Institute, another Bozeman-based nonprofit, and most recently worked as an administrator at Montana State University. She currently serves on the board of directors for BridgerCare, Bozeman’s reproductive healthcare clinic. In addition to her professional pursuits, Laura enjoys skiing, running, fishing, and playing in Montana’s mountains and rivers with her husband, friends, and her dog.

Dalton McCurdy

Admissions Manager

Base Camp: Montana

Over the past 15 years, Dalton McCurdy has worked at schools in Connecticut, Vermont, Colorado, and Montana in various roles including teacher, advisor, curriculum coordinator, and department chair. She has an M.S. in Science Education from Montana State University and a B.A. in Environmental Science from Middlebury College. She has also spent time as a consultant and a coach, supporting teachers, students and institutions in designing personal learning experiences and reimagining what education can look like in various settings. She serves on the board of directors for Gallatin Valley Farm to School and works on the TEDx Bozeman speaker team. As a mother of three young girls, she is both personally and professionally invested in the future of education and promoting the development of the next generation of strong, independent, and curious young women through a global lens. Dalton values the balance of work and play and continues her pursuit of this equilibrium by running, floating, and road-tripping with her family and anyone else who’s up for an adventure as often as possible.

Kaitlin Bear

Program Assistant

Base Camp: Montana

Kaitlin Bear grew up exploring the rivers and mountains surrounding Bozeman, Montana. Her enthusiasm for experiential learning began during those unique childhood moments spent alone in nature. These early experiences instilled a sense of curiosity and independence that paved the way for future adventures, including horseback pack trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, 9-months of volunteer work with AmeriCorps in rural New Hampshire, and sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii on a tall ship research vessel. Kaitlin holds an MES in Environmental Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Studio Art from Hamilton College. Prior to working at The Traveling School Kaitlin was a middle school science teacher. She started her teaching career with the Montana Outdoor Science School before moving into a more traditional classroom role. Throughout her 10 years of teaching Kaitlin loved sharing her passion for critical thinking and the natural world with her students. As a mother of two young girls, Kaitlin passionately supports The Traveling School’s mission to nurture confident, self-aware young women through place-based experiences.

Trace Klein

Office Manager

Base Camp: Montana

Trace Klein discovered her love of traveling while living in Australia for a year as an exchange student in high school. This experience gave her the courage to leave her small town in Minnesota for the mountains of Arizona and Colorado to attend university. She graduated from Northern Arizona University a few year later after much exploration. From here, she left for solo travel to Australia and New Zealand and eventually to the Big Island of Hawaii where she settled for years working with people with disabilities. Seattle was her next stop, where she met up with her friend from the past, and future husband. They decided to move to Bozeman to raise a family near the mountains, forests and the activities they loved. Aspen and Everest arrived on the same day, a year later. The boys have now left for college in Hawaii and Idaho. Trace recently joined the TTS office to share her love of improving processes, organization and supporting others. TTS’s mission is what inspired Trace to join our team; the women she works with motivate her in countless positive ways.

Maddie Johnson

Marketing & Recruiting Coordinator

Base Camp: Wyoming
Spring Semester, South America, 2019
Fall Semester, Southern Africa 2019

Maddie graduated from Colby College with a BA in Environmental Policy and Human Development. During her time at Colby, Maddie worked for a rooftop beekeeping company in Boston, studied natural resource management in Zanzibar, Tanzania, led high school backpacking trips in Iceland and worked in three local schools as a student mentor and teacher’s assistant. After graduating, Maddie headed west to serve as an AmeriCorps member in Wyoming where she was first introduced to place-based education at the Teton Science Schools. When her service term came to an end, Maddie continued on to teach science there for nearly three years. Before coming to teach for two semesters with the Traveling School, Maddie spent time between India, Nepal and Southeast Asia where she cultivated her appreciation for long-term, culturally immersive travel. Maddie is thrilled to be working for a school that simultaneously encourages curiosity, independence and a deep sense of community amongst its students. You can find Maddie working remotely for us in Jackson where she coaches high school lacrosse, teaches yoga, attempts to write children’s books and skis as often as she can in the Wyoming backcountry. 

Nox

The Office Dog

Base Camp: Montana