Our Board of Directors
The Hitchcock Center’s Board of Directors is a unique 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.
Rhea Banker has been involved with the design and production of educational materials for over 40 years as a book designer and project manager for a wide range of international educational publishers. Managing design and production teams in New York, London, Hong Kong, Warsaw, and Mexico City, she has focused her skills on creating learning systems in science, math, history, ESL, and reading. With the introduction of technology into education, Rhea worked with large hybrid teams of designers and technology experts to produce new online learning platforms that address customized support for both students and teachers.
In addition, Rhea is an artist focused on stories of the Earth’s changing face through deep time to the present. Working particularly in Northern climates, she has worked closely with communities in Greenland, Scotland, and Svalbard. Her goal is to highlight the nature of these special environments that are so vulnerable to the global warming of our planet.
She graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo, receiving a BFA in Design and a BA in Art History. In addition to serving on the Hitchcock Board for 6 years, she is also the Curator for the Art and Healing Program at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.
Gillian Andrews has been a public school educator for over 20 years and currently works as an instructional coach and literacy interventionist at Deerfield Elementary School in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. While teaching is her main passion, she is also a literacy consultant, trainer and presenter. She helps educators hone and develop the skills they need to lead effective reading and writing workshops to improve the quality of their literacy programs. Gillian has co-written curriculum units with an emphasis on renewable energy and engineering and design projects, consulted on several grants and provided professional development to educators across Western Massachusetts in conjunction with the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. She is an avid hiker, photographer, printer and close observer of all things found in the natural environment.
Tori is the Head of Internal Audit for PeoplesBank in Holyoke; one of the largest mutual banks in Massachusetts. She received her Master of Science in Accounting from UMass-Amherst in 2011. Tori loves all things nature and is happiest when exploring new places with her husband Devon and their three children.
Tom has a broad background in architecture, engineering, and construction management as well as budgeting and strategic planning associated with portfolios of building assets – diverse experience that supports his current role overseeing capital project design and construction at Amherst College. Tom’s role there also includes leadership of the college’s Climate Action Plan for carbon neutrality by 2030, energy procurement consulting, and energy efficiency enhancement. Over his 20 years at the college, energy efficiency has been a central aspect of his work, with many notable successes including the recent international COTE (Committee On The Environment) Award for an innovative science center design. Tom is a registered architect with degrees from Penn and MIT.
Jaana Cutson first became acquainted with the Hitchcock Center in the early 1990’s while doing an internship for her Master’s. Since then her relationship with Hitchcock has been long and varied. While an intern she became involved and remained the coordinator of the Amherst Spotted Salamander Tunnel Research project until 1999 and wrote the first Guide to the Norwottuck Rail Trail. She also authored A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Greater Amherst Area. In 2003 Jaana became a board member and ended up serving for a total of sixteen years with one year as Board Clerk and six years as Board President. When Jaana initially joined the board there were no term limits. Jaana was Board President during the entire new building process, from the very first feasibility study, to living building design and capital campaign decisions, to the building construction. In fact, Jaana sights the grand opening of the new Hitchcock Center as one her happiest, humbling and most gratifying days of being part of the Hitchcock community.
Since 1993 Jaana has worked in the not-for-profit world and for most of that time in the financial arena. Some of the organizations she has worked for include Hampshire County; Hudson River Sloop Clearwater; CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture); Dakin Humane Society, and the Amherst Business Improvement District. Jaana has a BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in Anthropology and Botany and a MS from Antioch University New England in Environmental Administration.
Sara is a climate action professional and outdoor enthusiast. As Sustainability Manager at Hampshire College, she helps the campus community connect to sustainability through courses, programs, and projects. Her current area of work is exploring the community and climate impacts of land use. The built environment is Sara's sweet spot. Previously the director of the R.W. Kern Center, she champions Living Buildings as models for positive environmental change. Sara has worked as a project coordinator and sustainability strategist at Bruner/Cott Architects, and has a Masters in Historic Building Conservation from the University of Bath in England.
She is an active member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and has presented on sustainable design and environmental engagement through both organizations. You will often find Sara out on the trails mountain biking, running, and hiking. Sara is currently Secretary of the Western Massachusetts chapter of the New England Mountain Biking Association; she leads several trail work days each year, and runs a weekly group ride at Earl's Trails in Hadley.
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.
Koby Gardner-Levine serves as Congressman Jim McGovern’s Regional Manager for Western Massachusetts. He runs the Congressman’s office in Northampton. Gardner-Levine is from Amherst, and received both his Bachelor of Arts in Global Environmental Studies and his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Clark University in Worcester. Gardner-Levine is a longtime supporter of New England-based sports teams. His favorites are the New England Revolution (MLS) and the New England Patriots (NFL). His commitment to sustainability draws him to the work of the Hitchcock Center.
Denise McKahn has been a resident of Northampton since 2008 and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Engineering at Smith College. She recently held the position of Faculty Director at the Smith Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability. She is a cross-disciplinary engineer who has studied environmental, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering through both research and formal coursework. She is dedicated to a global transition toward renewably derived energy sources that minimize the impact on natural resources and ecosystems. Her work has spanned studies of fuel cell electrical generation, electrolytic hydrogen production, biomass processing, geothermal heating and cooling and thermal storage in district energy systems.
She currently serves on the Board of Advisors to the Environmental Resources Engineering program as they transition to become the newly approved California Polytechnic University as well as serving on the Board of Advisors to the Schatz Energy Research Center. McKahn graduated with her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Prior to her work there with the Fuel Cell Control Laboratory, she worked on fuel cell design and optimization as a research engineer at the Schatz Energy Research Center, a group dedicated to the advancement of clean and renewably produced technologies. Mckahn firmly believes that a holistic education, in harmony with a students’ social emotional development, can propel students to play critical roles in search of unique solutions to the unprecedented challenges our society will face in the years to come.
As a Black woman, scholar, and advocate, Storm Lewis produces research with practical implications for communities disproportionately impacted by food insecurity. She also uses a systems thinking approach to address climate mitigation in countries such as the United States, Malawi, Morocco, Ecuador, and Portugal. She previously served as a delegate for the West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). At COP27, she co-created youth programming for the first-ever Climate Justice Pavilion. She recently finished a two-year fellowship with Yale's Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Sustainability Initiative. Within this fellowship, she applied a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) lens to her research on green infrastructure and food-insecure communities across the U.S.
Storm began her career at Smith College, earning a Bachelor's in Environmental Science and Policy and Studio Art in 2021. Beyond Smith, she engaged in food sovereignty-based initiatives within her community, such as the Corbin Hill Food Project (CHFP). She co-created the organization's first virtual webinar series featuring pathways to success for Black farmers in New York. Storm now holds a Master of Environmental Science degree from the Yale School of the Environment. She is also a Posse Scholar, a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and an Environmental Fellow at Yale.
Ezra Markowitz is Professor of Environmental Decision-Making in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research, teaching and outreach focus on the intersection of decision-making, persuasive communication, public engagement with science, and environmental sustainability, with a long-running interest in issues of intergenerational environmental stewardship and justice. He is particularly interested in the practical application of behavioral science to support individuals’ and communities’ environmental decision-making; he also has deep expertise in the field of climate change communication and public engagement. He is the author of over five dozen peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters, and reports, including the 2015 Connecting on Climate guide to climate change communication.
Markowitz has worked closely with non-profit organizations, professional associations, governmental agencies and various cross-sector entities to synthesize and translate knowledge from across the social and environmental sciences to promote more effective and inclusive on-the-ground efforts on pressing issues, from climate change to fisheries and habitat conservation to misinformation about science. Among other roles, he currently serves as an author on the Social Systems and Justice chapter of the USGCRP’s 5th National Climate Assessment, a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Misinformation about Science consensus study committee and as an advisor to the climate non-profit DearTomorrow. He is a Fellow with the FrameWorks Institute and a former President of the Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies & Policy and an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, as well as a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College.
Bob Saul is a returning Hitchcock Board Member and former member of the Building Committee. He graduated from Amherst College in 1981 with a degree in Maple Sugaring and holds an MBA from Harvard University. He has served on the Town of Amherst’s Finance Committee and was a Board Member for Northern Woodlands Magazine. Bob is an avid tree farmer and subsidized his tree farming habit by investing in land based assets for an affiliate of Mass Mutual, Wood Creek Capital Management, LLC, where he served as Managing Director. He spent fifteen years as Partner and Director of Northern Hemisphere Investments at GMO Renewable Resources in Boston. At GMO RR, Bob invested more than $2 billion in forestry and agricultural properties in 21 States and several Latin America countries. In 2017, Bob joined Montreal-based Fiera Comox as a partner providing innovative investment solutions through agriculture and private equity. He lives in Amherst with his much better half, Katie.
David brings 35 years of entrepreneurship and brand leadership experience to his service on the board. He is currently the co-founder and managing partner of Berkshire Natural, LLC. From 1993-2006, he lead as Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and Executive Producer for Curious Pictures, LLC. He has served on the Boards of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, GREEN Northampton, Massachusetts Vending Association, Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School, Sunnyside Childcare Center and 104-106 Bedford Street.
Susan Ware teaches philosophy and religion at UMass Amherst. Her interest in capital markets led her to work as a financial planner for five years. She co-founded StakeHolders Capital on Main Street. She is drawn to both the mission and the people at the Hitchcock Center.