AIFS Foundation Board of Trustees


As a not-for-profit, independent, public charity, the AIFS Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of educators, organization leaders and professionals who share a common interest in fostering international understanding and cooperation.

Chairman Benjamin Davenport and Executive Director Melanie French preside over the AIFS Foundation Board of Trustees, Mr. Davenport and Ms. French have over 70 years of combined experience in the field.

The Board of Trustees meets regularly to review the effectiveness and quality of AIFS Foundation programs and to consider grant requests from institutions and individuals.


Benjamin Davenport

Chairman, AIFS Foundation Educational Consultant

46 years as a national and international educational administrator; retired principal of a recognized School of Excellence, School Evaluator for the U.S. Office of Education, and principal of AIFS international summer schools


Gail Hochhauser

Vice Chairman, AIFS Foundation Senior Director, Organizational Advancement, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Over 30 years of experience initiating, managing, and maintaining international education programs, publications, corporate partnerships, and other development activities focusing on individuals and associations


Melanie French

Executive Director, AIFS Foundation

Over 30 years of experience in the field of international education and cultural exchange, Director of the Academic Year in America program, experienced in high level conflict resolution, former host parent and exchange student


John A Burg

Senior Vice President, CFO American Institute For Foreign Study

10 years of experience in the field of international education and cultural exchange, 20 years of accounting/finance experience, former host parent


T.C (Ted) Curran

Foreign Service Officer (C.M. - Ret.)

Career Foreign Service Officer with assignments in Germany and the Middle East, former President of the Foreign Policy Association in New York, Coordinator for Youth Exchange Programs in North Michigan


Kimberly Fleming Balkun

Vice President, Marketing, American Institute For Foreign Study

10 years of experience in the field of international education and cultural exchange, 21 years of experience in marketing and creative direction.


William Gertz

President and CEO, American Institute For Foreign Study

35 years of experience in the field of international education and cultural exchange, Vice Chairman of AIFS Inc, board member of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented, Chair of the Alliance For International Education


Rose Marie Hurrell, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, The College of New Rochelle

Her thirty five year tenure as faculty at The College of New Rochelle includes five years as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences


Peter Jones

American Council for International Studies

30 years of experience in international educational and cultural exchange, expertise in program development and marketing and brand initiatives


Kathryn Kaufman

Vice President,U.S.-Japan High-Speed Rail

Former teacher, with experience on Capitol Hill, in the White House, at the Department of Defense in the Office of the Secretary overseeing U.S.-Defense Policy, and active partner in College Bound in Washington, D.C.


Thomas Kiechle

Senior Vice President, International Division American Institute For Foreign Study

Over 20 years of experience in youth travel and cultural exchange, lived and worked abroad in the U.S. and South Africa, former high school exchange student in Arizona


Karen LeFever, Ed.D.

EVP and Chief Development Officer ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education

Over 30 years experience as an established industry expert, thought leader, and educator. Leads the development of partnerships and initiatives that connect public school/district achievement concerns with innovative service and program solutions between public education, governmental bodies, and the private sector. Also a proud host parent for high school exchange students.


Peter Machen

Director Public Relations, Retired

15 years experience with AIFS in development and administration of programs in Europe and Asia including responsibility for Academic Year and AIFS Study Abroad. Advancement administrator in independent schools in Connecticut. Currently involved in Friendship Family program for international students at the local college


James Mahoney, CPA

Treasurer, AIFS Foundation

Over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, board member and supporter of Children’s Help Net Foundation


Judith H. Parker, Ph.D.

Education Program Director, Carmel Hill Fund

35 years of experience as an administrator and teacher in Virginia, 12 years coordinating the Carmel Hill Fund’s education projects in the U.S. and abroad


Sir Cyril Taylor, GBE

Chairman, American Institute For Foreign Study

Founder and Chairman of AIFS, leader in education reform in the UK, Founder and former Chairman of Specialist Schools and Academies Trust in the UK, Advisor to 10 successive UK secretaries of state for education, founder, former Chair of Trustees and currently Chancellor of Richmond, The American International University in London, international author


Russel R. Taylor

Faculty Emeritus, College of New Rochelle

Trustee of Richmond, the American International University in London and founder of The Taylor Foundation, which supports low income students in pursuit of foreign studies


Peter A. Tcherepnine

President, Loeb Partners Management, Inc.

Board member of AIFS, Inc. Experience in international money management and international business


Dr. George Urch

Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts

30 years of experience in higher education specializing in international development and Global Education, Visiting Professor at Kenyatta University in Kenya and at the University of Malawi


Ben Wallerstein

Co-Founder, Whiteboard Advisors

Over 15 years advising leading education organizations, specializing in the intersection of public policy and innovation. Active education investor and frequent commentator on the challenge sand opportunities faced by entrepreneurs


Paul Watson

Senior Vice President, AIFS Study Abroad, American Institute For Foreign Study

Over 35 years of experience in higher education and study abroad administration. As a student, lived and studied in Japan. Board member of AIFS, Inc.

Trustees Emeritus


George A. Kahdy

Educational Advisor

Principal of elementary, middle and high schools in Raleigh, NC, Assistant Superintendent Raleigh schools, State Director of Special Education, Assistant State Superintendent in NC, Education Advisor for two NC Governors, Executive Director of the NC Business Committee for Education, Principal of first AIFS high school group in France, 1964.


David Quattrone, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools, Bronxville, New York

Over 40 years of experience in the field of education, as a superintendent and head master in Connecticut and Ohio

“The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how well we communicate the values of our society to others than by our military or diplomatic superiority.”

—Senator J. William Fulbright, 1964