Board of Trustees

The American College of Sofia (ACS) is operated and funded by Sofia American Schools, Inc. (SAS), a non-profit, educational corporation chartered in 1926 in the United States by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As such, SAS is exempt from income taxes in the United States and contributions to it are tax deductible in the United States.

SAS was created for the sole purpose of providing education for Bulgarian youth. When it became impossible in the late 1940s for an American institution to function in Bulgaria, SAS obtained permission from the courts to spend the income from its endowment on education in non-Communist countries near Bulgaria, primarily Greece and Turkey. It returned to Bulgaria when conditions permitted and its sole function now is operating the American College of Sofia.

SAS is composed of members and trustees (who are also members). Members meet annually to hear reports and to elect members to three-year terms and trustees to one-year terms. Under its bylaws, all operating powers rest with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees holds two regular meetings each year, one in the United States and one in Sofia, along with whatever special meetings are necessary. Its Executive Committee is empowered to act for the corporation between Board meetings.

Since the reopening of the College in 1992, the Board of Trustees has been chaired by Robert C. Hubbard, James E. Clayton, William J. Williams, Jr., Roger Whitaker, Jonathan B. Clayton and, currently, Theodora Konetsovska '97. Neither members of the corporation nor trustees receive any compensation for their services nor are they reimbursed for the costs of attending corporation or Board meetings. 

SAS has no office or employees in the United States. Its administrative work is contracted out to Educational Group Services, Inc., of Princeton, N. J., which does similar work for other American schools including Robert College and the American University in Beirut.

Meet the Trustees

Theodora Konetsovska '97

CHAIR OF THE BOARD (2020-PRESENT), Trustee since 2012
  • Bachelor of Arts, Williams College

Ms. Konetsovska’s professional experiences include investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York City, with a focus on interest rate derivatives and bond issuance for private universities and non-profit healthcare systems, as well as treasury management and strategic planning work in the office of the CFO at Harvard University.

Ms. Konetsovska resides in the Boston (MA) area with her husband and two sons.

Avis T. Bohlen

Trustee since 2002
  • Bachelor of Arts, Radcliffe College; Master of Arts, Columbia University

Ms. Bohlen is a former U.S. diplomat who served as the 32nd United States Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 to 1999. Previously, she was Assistant Secretary for Arms Control from 1999 to 2002.

Ms. Bohlen resides in Washington (DC) with her husband.

Ivelina Borisova '98

Trustee since 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts, Williams College; Master of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Doctor of Education, Harvard University

Ms. Borisova is a senior regional adviser at UNICEF supporting governments in Europe and Central Asia to develop and implement effective education reforms for young learners. She has worked extensively in low and middle-income countries on improving education opportunities for all children, with a focus on equity and quality.

Ms. Borisova resides in New York City (NY) with her husband and two sons.

Jonathan B. Clayton

Treasurer, FORMER CHAIR OF THE BOARD (2018-2020), Trustee since 2008
  • Bachelor of Arts, Princeton University; Master of Business Administration, University of Texas; Juris Doctor, University of Virginia

Mr. Clayton’s professional experience includes private law practice, management consulting with McKinsey & Company, and a technology startup, Arundo Analytics.

Mr. Clayton is a grand nephew of ACS's pre-WWII President Floyd Black, and his late father James Clayton served as a trustee of ACS for more than 20 years and as chair of the board from 1998-2004. Mr. Clayton resides in Houston (TX) with his family.

Karen Collias

Trustee since 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Minnesota; Doctor of Philosophy, Columbia University

Ms. Collias is an independent consultant and founder of Knowledge Without Borders, a fund dedicated to expanding socio-economic diversity in education by connecting creativity and philanthropy. Ms. Collias has a background in comparative politics and education with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia.

Ms. Collias resides with her husband in Yardley (PA), New York City (NY), and Shanghai (China).

Ann Ferren

Trustee since 2010
  • Bachelor of Arts, Radcliffe College; Master of Arts in Teaching, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Doctor of Education, Boston University

Ms. Ferren served as provost at the American University in Bulgaria from 2005 to 2010. With expertise in curriculum and instruction, Ms. Ferren spent 30 years as a faculty member and administrator at American University, Washington D.C. and Radford University in Virginia before coming to AUBG. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Ms. Ferren resides in Silver Springs (MD) with her husband.

Nellie Gencheva Gipson

Trustee since 2004
  • Bachelor of Arts, Hunter College New York; Master of Arts, New York University

Ms. Gipson is an arts management professional. Currently she devotes her time to art and education philanthropy in New York City and Cooperstown, NY.

Ms. Gipson resides in New York City (NY) with her husband.

Katherine Georgiev

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Davis; Master of Arts in Education Administration, Santa Clara University

Ms. Georgiev is a secondary school educator and currently serves as the principal of an all-girls independent, college preparatory secondary school in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her previous professional experience was in management consulting at Accenture and she also served as a policy intern within the National Economic Council of The White House.  

Ms. Georgiev resides in San Jose (CA) with her husband, an ACS alumnus, and three children.

Valentin Georgiev

Trustee since 2011
  • Master of Laws, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski; Pew Economic Freedom Fellow Program, Georgetown University

Mr. Georgiev has over 15 years of experience in the private sector as an attorney at law, and in civil service as secretary general of the Bulgarian Parliament (1997-2001) and general secretary of Bulgaria’s Central Election Committee. He served as executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria for 14 years (2002-2016). He serves now as secretary general of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Mr. Georgiev is the proud parent of an ACS alumna, and resides in Sofia (Bulgaria).

Nedko Kyuchukov '03

Trustee since 2013
  • Bachelor of Arts, Dartmouth College; Master of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Mr. Kyuchukov is a public equity investor at Generation Investment Management. His previous professional experience was as a long/short equity investor at hedge fund Westray Capital Management, private equity and distressed debt investor at TPG Capital, and investment banker at J.P. Morgan and Lazard.

Mr. Kyuchukov resides in London (United Kingdom) with his wife.

Tom Marshall

Trustee since 2019
  • Bachelor of Arts, Hamilton College; Master of Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Master of International Affairs, Columbia University

Mr. Marshall is Executive Director of Teaching & Learning at Stamford American International School in Singapore. Mr. Marshall served as Faculty Development Coordinator at ACS from 2013 through 2016, and has worked as a teacher and administrator at schools in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

Mr. Marshall resides in Singapore.

Marcie Ries

Trustee since 2016
  • Bachelor of Arts, Oberlin College; Master of International Affairs, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Ms. Ries spent thirty-seven years as an American diplomat, including postings in Belgium, Turkey, the UK, Kosovo, Iraq, and Albania. From 2012 to 2015, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria.

Ms. Ries resides in Washington (DC).

Sam Seymour

Vice Chair of the Board; Trustee since 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts, Dartmouth College; Juris Doctor, Columbia Law School

Mr. Seymour retired as a partner of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in 2019, and continues to practice at the firm in the field of white collar criminal defense and investigations. Mr. Seymour has also served as an Assistant United States Attorney with the US Justice Department, and as President of the New York City Bar Association.

Mr. Seymour resides in Brooklyn (NY) with his wife.

Borislav Stefanov '97

Trustee since 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts, American University in Bulgaria; Master of International Management, Regent’s University London; Master of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Mr. Stefanov is a management consultant and founder of Hilltop 34 Boutique Advisory. Mr. Stefanov’s professional background includes positions in the automotive industry (Daimler AG), management consulting (BCG), and private equity, as well as a four-year period with InvestBulgaria, a government agency attracting and supporting multinational companies in Bulgaria.

Mr. Stefanov resides in Sofia (Bulgaria) with his wife.

Joel F. Studebaker

Trustee since 1980
  • Bachelor of Science, Stanford University; Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University

Mr. Studebaker is retired from a career in software development and biomedical research. He has published a number of papers on chemical analysis and blood processing, and he worked most recently in clinical data analysis at Johnson & Johnson.

Mr. Studebaker’s original connections to ACS came through his father-in-law, who taught English at ACS from 1938 to 1942, and through ACS President Floyd Black, whom he met in graduate school. Mr. Studebaker resides in Princeton (NJ).

Trayan Trayanov '01

Trustee since 2017
  • Bachelor of Arts, Harvard College; Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Mr. Trayanov is a program director at Teach for Bulgaria, a national non-profit organization, member of the global Teach For All network, which develops a community of educational leaders dedicated to improving access to quality education for every child in Bulgaria.

Mr. Trayanov resides in Sofia (Bulgaria) with his wife and two sons.

Roger Whitaker

Former Chair of the Board (2011-2018), Trustee since 1990
  • Bachelor of Arts, Heidelberg University; Master of Arts, Boston University; Doctor of Philosophy, Boston University

During his 1994-2017 tenure at The George Washington University, Dr. Whitaker served as a professor, dean, associate vice president, and founding dean of the school’s College of Professional Studies. In 1991-92, he spearheaded the reopening of the American College of Sofia, and became ACS’s first President from 1992 to 1994.

Mr. Whitaker lived in Bulgaria for ten months in 1975-76 when he conducted research for his Ph.D. dissertation. Mr. Whitaker lives in the Washington (DC) area with his wife.

William J. Williams, Jr.

Former Chair of the Board (2004-2011), Trustee since 1990
  • Bachelor of Arts, College of the Holy Cross; Bachelor of Laws, New York University School of Law

Mr. Williams has been an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP in New York City since 1962, including partner from 1969 to 2004 and Of Counsel since.

Mr. Williams resides in New York City (NY).

David Bliss Wilson

Secretary, Trustee since 2014
  • Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College; Juris Doctor, Northeastern University School of Law

Mr. Wilson is a founding partner at Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP in Boston, a law firm specializing in management side labor & employment law and litigation.

Mr. Wilson’s grandfather Howard H. Bliss taught English at ACS in the period 1938-42, and his mother attended ACS in first grade. Mr. Wilson resides in Acton (MA) with his family.