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Local Representatives

Our Academic Travel Advisors bring ACIS to you, and provide local support at meetings to help generate administrative support and excitement with students and parents. As current or former teachers, they understand the opportunities and challenges you face as you put together your ACIS tour—stepping in where needed to help you make it a success.

 

Meet a Few of Our Academic Travel Advisors

Bernie and Judy
BERNIE AND JUDY LEIF, Long Island, NY
bernieandjudy@aol.com

The family tree:

Both born in Brooklyn, NY (in the shadow of Ebbets Field), Judy and Bernie grew up there, moved to and lived in Commack, NY (the ‘burbs) for 37 years, and moved back to Queens (in the shadow of the Throgs Neck Bridge) in 2004. They are the proud parents of Elissa and son-in-law David, who live in Maryland, and of Steven and daughter-in-law Pelin, who live in Brooklyn. When not helping their teachers plan tours, they also play the doting role of grandma and grandpa to Jessa and Gabe.

The science part of travel:

Before “retirement,” Bernie was an English teacher and Asst. Principal in the New York City Public Schools, and Judy was an early childhood teacher and library/media specialist in the New York City Public Schools, private nursery schools, and a private Catholic Academy. They both teach courses on “Methods of Education and Literacy” at St. John’s University and Bernie also works with student teachers from Queens College.

Six out of seven isn’t bad!

Judy and Bernie’s passion for travel has taken them to 46 states in the US, to other countries in North America, to South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There is little doubt that they will someday get to Antarctica and complete their list of continents. 

All around the compass:

When asked about their favorite destinations, Judy and Bernie’s picks run the gamut from northern Norway to southern Australia, to the equator hovering Galapagos, and, of course, London.

Travel Tip: Keep your sense of humor and be ready to adapt to the culture of wherever you are—savor its uniqueness.

"As educators, we enjoy seeing the discoveries and connections that our teachers and students are able to make through their ACIS experiences. ACIS always views travel as a learning experience that provides a base for continued exploration and enrichment. For over thirty years, we have been delighted to work with teachers who are planning their trips and to hear the returning teachers and students talk about the impact that their ACIS trips have had on their lives." - Judy and Bernie Leif

 
Christopher
CHRISTOPHER LAYSON, Detroit, MI
ChrisLayson.ACIS@gmail.com

The beginning:

My first trip with ACIS was when I was 16 years old on a school trip to France. My parents pushed me to go and I am glad they did. I loved every minute of the adventure, the freedom, the food and lasting friendships. I even married a girl who was on that trip and now we have three boys! It was the most important experience of my formative years. After returning, I continued my studies in French and upon entering college I studied World History with a specialization in French History and culture.


There’s nothing like the real thing:

I would have to say that Egypt is my favorite destination. Most people would agree that the pyramids, Nile River, and The Sphinx are amongst the most recognizable features on Earth, yet it is a magical place whose scale and beauty cannot be accurately portrayed in pictures or film. I was in awe with every step. The people are amongst the most friendly I have ever encountered and I hope their land finds peace and stability soon.


The student becomes the teacher:

I work very hard to teach my travelers how to navigate the various subway systems before going abroad. Why? Because I am terribly colorblind and need their help once we get there!

Travel tip:

Purchase a large backpack that can carry the majority, if not all, of your gear. One missed connection or delay can separate you from your checked luggage for a good portion of your trip. It is better to be safe than sorry.

“One thing I have learned traveling with students is to watch their faces when they are approaching the major attractions. The amazement and joy when they see a wonder like Stonehenge or the Eiffel Tower is what keeps me traveling. There is truly nothing like it!”
- Christopher Layson
Linda
LINDA CARPENTER, Los Angeles, CA
LLCarpentr@aol.com

The educated traveler

An associate professor of English, Speech & the Humanities for Coastline College for the past 33 years, Linda recently retired from Edison High School where she taught Honors English, American Literature, & Art of Film and served as the Academic Coach for 36 years. She also created three study abroad classes and has served as the group leader for 44 student tours. She began traveling with students in 1986 and has introduced more than 1500 adolescent and adult travelers to the wonders of the world. She has led sojourns to 35 countries and to every continent except Antarctica.

Beyond the classroom

She has found that the instructive value these educational odysseys offer goes far beyond any form of classroom academia, for these travelers have had their lives enriched forever. They return from their journeys with a heightened sense of cultural awareness and a profound appreciation of what they have always taken for granted. They not only become better Americans but rather emerge as free-thinking citizens of the globe.

From London, with love

Having visited a plethora of geographical, architectural and historical marvels, Linda finds it difficult to select a favorite. While the physical beauty of Machu Picchu, The Swiss Alps, Milford Sound and Victoria Falls are nearly without equal, she is partial to London, a megalopolis she has visited 24 times and one that offers something for everyone. With London as the backdrop, mysterious monuments, impregnable castles, theatrical masterpieces, mind boggling museums and 1,000 years of British history all await your discovery.

Travel tip

Express a willingness to try new and different things, make an attempt to understand other languages and appreciate other cultures, and remember that a well planned educational expedition significantly enriches the actual adventure.

"Because of my extensive and diverse travel experiences (I traveled with every other student company out there before I discovered ACIS and was actually stranded in Africa with 15 students by one of them), I thoroughly enjoy introducing new teachers and students to the myriad benefits of ACIS. I know first hand that ACIS is indeed #1 in security, safety and educational value. Boasting outstanding tour managers, superior accommodations and restaurants, flexible and memorable itineraries, and the industries’ best support staff, ACIS turns students into life-long learners. I look forward to helping you create your own adventure of a lifetime while you and your students discover the very best in educational travel." -Linda Carpenter


Nicolette
NICOLETTE MILLER, Cleveland, OH
npmiller9@gmail.com
Paris, je t’aime:

Nicolette fell in love with France and Europe while studying abroad in Montpellier, France in college. As a French teacher, she has taken students abroad, traveling with ACIS since 1991.

Stepping outside the classroom:


Showing her students all the wonders of France and other countries of Europe and experiencing their joy and wonder as the world opens up to them, is an exhilarating experience! Hearing them use their language skills in an authentic setting is truly rewarding. As one student once said on a trip after asking directions in French to a Parisian and understanding the answer, "This language thing really works!"
 
Oh the places you’ll go:

She believes in the ACIS motto that "Travel Changes Lives" as many of her former students who traveled with her are currently studying and working abroad in various locations all over the globe, including a student currently studying in Montpellier, France. She is grateful to ACIS for this legacy of learning.

I have always felt that ACIS feels like a family and if anything goes wrong on a trip, ACIS is there behind you. The coordinators in the main office are very friendly and I have been met by the president, Peter Jones several times during my trips. The ACIS chosen hotels are excellent and the food is wonderful!” -Nicolette Miller

Randy
RANDY WHITE, San Antonio, TX
Three decades of travel:

As a teacher and then as an administrator, Randy has accompanied students to Europe on 18 different occasions since 1983. Throughout his years of travel abroad, Randy has experience traveling with both small and large groups.

Each and every one of Randy’s trips represented an incredible growth experience for all of the young people who participated (and for himself, as well!).

A new horizon:


Since his retirement in 2010, Randy has missed the opportunity to impact student and teacher lives by facilitating travel for them. By joining the ACIS Team, he is now able to re-involve himself in a venture that is educational, stimulating and exciting for all of those who participate. 

Randy looks forward to working with the ACIS Team and feels that a whole new horizon has opened up. He’s ready to move toward it to see what this next new chapter has in store.

How We Help

We’re your mentors, your cheerleaders and your assistants. Here are some of the ways Academic Travel Advisors help you lead your tour:

In short, we can be as involved as you’d like. Read more when Nicolette describes what the Eiffel Tower and ACIS Academic Travel Advisors have in common.

Contact Us to Find a Local Representative Near You!