Our Board of Directors
The Hitchcock Center’s Board of Directors is a diverse body of individuals carefully chosen for their varying backgrounds and skills to the work of the Board. They provide sound oversight and governance of the Hitchcock Center through strategic planning, policy development, oversight and management, budgeting and fundraising. We are grateful for their dedicated and committed service as volunteers to our organization and community.
Cynthia Brubaker, President—read more
Cynthia Brubaker, an Amherst resident since 2001, has been Co-President of the Amherst League of Women Voters, on the Board of the Amherst Survival Center and currently is on the Board of the Amherst Town Committee for International Students and Round the World Women. She is a member of The Amherst Club and is also a teacher in an ESL Conversation group at the Jones Library. She has also been on the Board of Amherst Media, and was an adjunct instructor in Sociology and Psychology at Greenfield Community College for 10 years.
Prior to moving to Amherst, Cynthia was Financial Development Director at a Regional Medical Center in Central Florida. She taught at Brevard Community College in a program for women returning to college and the work force. She was the coordinator of a Parent Education program. She has been a consultant to nonprofits in organizational development and the Coordinator for Training at a Regional Medical Center. Over a period of 30 years in Florida, she was active on Boards including United Way of Brevard, Leadership Brevard, American Association of Women, League of Women Voters, Central Florida Commission on the Status of Women, President of the Board for the Florida Center for Children and Youth as well as other social and human services organizations. Cynthia has a BA degree in Criminal Justice from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and an MA in Human Relations for the University of Oklahoma.
She and her husband Jerry lived in Luxembourg for 5 years (1988-1993) where she organized an international women’s network which is still going strong after 25 years. Cynthia is now retired and has a daughter (and her family) in Amherst and a son (and his family) in Florida.
Chris Hoch, Vice-President—read more
Chris Hoch is the son of a Swiss-born father, who raised the family in Denver, CO and imbued his 4 children with a love of nature and respect for the environment. Chris is a graduate of the US Naval Academy (after which he served aboard a nuclear submarine) and Harvard Business School. He spent 16 years running companies and divisions for Nestle in the US, Europe, Africa, and Latin America, and he was President of Hartmann Luggage for 4 years. He was the owner of National Fiber from 1997 to 2014, during which time he established cellulose as the only local, green, affordable, high performance insulation in the Northeast. National Fiber partnered with most of the Northeastern states to provide education in energy conservation and in-depth training to hundreds of installers. Chris is a past board member of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA), the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) and the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA), including past President.
Joe Vreedenburgh, Treasurer—read more
Joe is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), working with Meyers Brothers Kalicka (MBK), the Pioneer Valley’s largest independent public accounting firm. Joe received his BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington. After working in purchasing and accounting roles in private industry, he moved into public accounting. He received his Master of Science in Accounting from UMass-Amherst in 2015, and is currently licensed as a CPA in Massachusetts and Washington state. Joe lives in Amherst with his partner Katie, their two dogs, and two cats. He enjoys hiking, traveling, and reading during his free time.
Jaime Davila, Clerk—read more
Jaime Dávila is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Hampshire College, where he has worked since 1999. He obtained his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in that same year. His main research interest is in the area of genetic optimization of neural networks for human-like tasks, mainly for cooperative, team-based games. He is currently studying ways in which the coding of evolved parameters affect the performance of artificial multi-agent systems under environments with changing conditions. He is also interested in issues of technology and society, such as access to STEM education for underrepresented students, privacy and data collection on the Internet, and the effect of new media and new technology on the economy. His papers have been presented at conferences such as the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, the Congress on Evolutionary Computation, and the International Conference on Neural Information Processing.
Gillian Andrews—read more
Gillian is a Northampton resident and a fourth grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary located in South Deerfield, MA. She has been teaching grades K-6 for fourteen years. While teaching in the classroom is her main passion she has also worked as a literacy consultant for districts across Western Massachusetts. She is a past board member of the Northampton Survival Center serving on both the events committee and governance committee. Gillian is currently one of three educators working in partnership with Hitchcock educators to develop curriculum around sustainability and the new building, and last summer she participated in the Hitchcock presentation at the Union 38 Teachers Summer Institute.
Clay Ballantine—read more
Clay Ballantine is Chief Advancement Officer, Hampshire College. Clay oversees the Office of Institutional Advancement for Hampshire College that includes: Alumni and Family Relations, Leadership Giving, Annual Giving, Advancement Services, and Foundation and Grant Opportunities. He is a member of the:
- President’s Cabinet and senior administration
- Trustee Development Committee
- Nominating and Governance Committee member
As Chief Advancement Officer, Clay maintains a 150 person leadership gifts portfolio; facilitates fundraising strategies for President and board of trustees; represents institutional advancement with on and off campus constituencies; and authors Hampshire’s quarterly advancement newsletter.
In addition to Clay’s development experience, he is a nature enthusiast and has served on past Boards to advance conservation and environmental purposes.
Danielle Barshak—read more
Danielle Barshak came to Amherst in 1978 to attend Amherst College, and with the exception of several years spent in bicycle travel and attendance at law school, she has resided in the valley ever since. Danielle practiced law for 24 years, including at the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, and most recently at the law firm of Stobierski & Stobierski. Danielle has taken a sabbatical from law to indulge her long-held desire to become a small-scale chicken farmer and spend more time exploring the great outdoors.
Merle Bruno—read more
Merle Bruno is Professor Emerita of Biology at Hampshire College. She holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. She has a strong interest in science education reform at all levels. Merle currently works as a Senior Real Estate Specialist as part of a realtor team at Sawicki Real Estate in Amherst.
Sara Crawley—read more
Sara worked for the last 8 years as a Campaign Analyst at Blackbaud, a national company that connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. Prior to her work with Blackbaud, Sara was an Associate Director of Annual Giving for WGBY Public Television and Major Gifts Officer for Hampshire College. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts for many years and is an active Board member of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western MassachusettsWorks as a fundraiser.
Jaana Cutson—read more
Jaana first became acquainted with the Hitchcock Center twenty years ago while doing an internship for her MS degree in Environmental Administration from Antioch University New England. As a Hitchcock intern she become involved and remained the coordinator of the Amherst Spotted Salamander Tunnel Research project until 1999. She also wrote the Guide to the Norwottuck Rail Trail as part of her intern duties. Since 1993, Jaana has worked in the not-for-profit world and for eleven of those years specifically in the environmental arena. Some of the organizations she has worked for include Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) and the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. Jaana has a BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in Anthropology and Botany. Being a part of the Hitchcock Center again and especially being board president for three years has been the highlight of her environmental endeavors.
Janice Gifford—read more
Janice came to the valley in 1974 and began a doctoral program in the School of Education at UMASS. She received my doctoral degree in Educational Research and Measurement in 1983, and joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, at Mount Holyoke College. She has been in and out of the administration, serving as Associate Dean of Faculty, Director of Institutional Research, and Department chair. From 1995 through 2009, Janice was a member of the Hitchcock Center board, serving as Treasurer, Vice President, and President. In her free time, she enjoys being outside looking for birds.
Fabio Pari-Di-Monriva—read more
Fabio Pari-Di-Monriva was promoted to General Manager for The Lord Jeffery Inn in August 2016. As General Manager, Fabio is responsible for all of the Inn’s operations, including sales and administration.
Fabio joined The Lord Jeffery team from his most recent position as Director of Operations at the Hilton Hartford, also managed by Waterford Hotel Group. He joined the Waterford team in August of 2013 as Task Force Operations Manager and was promoted to the Hilton position in November of 2015. Prior to Waterford, Fabio held the position of General Manager at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in West Warwick, RI, Residence Inn by Marriott in Treasure Island, FL and the NYLO Hotel in Warwick, RI. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA and received his MBA in 2012.
Anne Perkins—read more
Anne was the director of a home ownership program primarily in Franklin County, Massachusetts, until her retirement in 2010. She was a carpenter and contractor/developer specializing in solar and energy efficient construction for over thirty-five years, primarily focusing on affordable homes. Her program received a number of national “green” awards as she brought the homes built by the nonprofit organization to ever higher energy efficiency standards. Her final project was a twenty-home Zero Net Energy Solar Village in Greenfield, a condominium project that included mixed ability and mixed income buyers. These homes achieved LEED Platinum certification. Anne has lived in Amherst since 2004, is active in the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and the Raging Grannies. She is very pleased to be involved with the Hitchcock Center’s Living Building, which takes the “green” building concept to a whole new level.
Dan Ziomek—read more
Dan is a lifelong resident of Amherst with a love for plants and a passion for birding. As the Nursery Manager at the Hadley Garden Center for 25 years he enjoys teaching people about plants. His interest in birding was nurtured through Hitchcock Center classes with Steve Stanne and he currently hosts a daily radio segment dedicated to teaching the public about the birds in our backyards. Now with two children of his own he appreciates all the programs and classes offered for families. Serving as a member of the Hitchcock Center Board of Directors he feels he is doing his part to support an organization that helped to foster his love for the environment and which will help future generations appreciate the special world we live in.