Our Team


Chris Stakich
Chief Executive Officer

An expert on travel and service-based education, Chris leads Rustic Pathways with an eye for innovation and excellence. Since graduating from Harvard in 2001, Chris has worked in virtually all areas of our organization, from running programs in Costa Rica to managing our global team. He works diligently with our team to develop future leaders who embody a broad perspective and compassion for the world. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife and three young sons.

Oscar Hackett
Chief Financial Officer

A former Rustic Pathways student, Oscar “Oz” returns to us as our chief financial officer. With extensive experience in finance, business, and law, Oz applies his expertise to streamline and grow Rustic Pathways’ business operations. Oz earned his bachelor’s degree in science, technology, and international affairs from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. In his free time, Oz enjoys sharing his passion for adventure and travel with his wife and young son.

Brent Watkins
Vice President of Program Operations

Brent holds a master’s in teaching from Johns Hopkins University where he is also on the adjunct faculty at the Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining Rustic Pathways, Brent managed the training and preparation of new classroom teachers for Teach For America – Baltimore. With extensive experience in learning development and teacher training, Brent ensures the highest level of quality across our programming.

Ryan Gibbons
Vice President of Business Operations

With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Ryan brings his talent in marketing, photography, and design to Rustic Pathways. Originally a Costa Rica program leader, Ryan spent four years building our creative team before taking over Business Operations. Ryan now focuses on creating a world-class client experience for each and every family at Rustic. Prior to joining Rustic, Ryan worked for NPR in Washington D.C.

Anna Beckerman
Vice President of Sales

Anna is an alumna of School Year Abroad and has a dual degree in geoscience and Mandarin from Dartmouth. Anna’s passion for experiential education and travel was sparked in high school and furthered in college. She now applies this passion at Rustic Pathways, providing opportunities for teachers and students to immerse themselves in new surroundings and engage powerfully with other cultures. Anna was previously director of our China operations and now resides in San Francisco.

Kevin Porter
Global Program Operations Director

Kevin has been  directing our global program operations since 2014, after serving as Ghana Country Director for three years. Now based in Boston, he manages our team of diverse country directors and ensures the quality of the programs we deliver on the ground. Prior to joining us, Kevin worked with development organizations in East Africa, completed research for the United Nations in South Korea, and oversaw wilderness leadership programs while attending Harvard University.

Dave Dennis
Safety and Risk Management Director

Dave has a master’s degree in risk management and more than 20 years of experience in the adventure and student travel industry. Prior to joining us, he owned a consulting firm that specialized in implementing risk management and emergency response programs for both domestic and global tour operators. He works with our operations team and local country leadership to ensure the quality and consistency of all Rustic Pathways’ programs worldwide. Dave lives in Colorado with his wife and children.

Erin Murphy
Student Impact Director

Erin is passionate about Rustic Pathways’ vision of a world where travel is an essential part of every student’s education. After graduating from Notre Dame, Erin spent three years in northeastern Thailand teaching business English at Khon Kaen University through a Princeton in Asia Fellowship. Erin earned her master’s in education at Harvard and brings great energy to our team of educators. Though Erin bounces from country to country quite a lot, there is still no place like home in Virginia.

Brielle Friedman
Marketing Director

A Rustic Pathways alum, Brielle returned to us after earning a degree in international relations and creative writing from Brown University. She now channels her passion for travel, writing, and design as brand manager and works with the creative team to spread the word about Rustic. Brielle founded a dance-cardio company in Providence, Rhode Island and took first place for her business plan. Her love of travel led her to a small town in Guatemala’s highlands where she discovered salsa dancing. She now competes and and performs across the United States.


Casey Atchley
Gap Year Admissions Coordinator

Casey received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Indianapolis in Spanish and Philosophy. Between years of undergrad, he took a gap year to volunteer as a volcano tour guide and English teacher in Nicaragua. Before returning to studies, Casey spent four months hiking the Appalachian Trail. With exceptional bilingual communication and leadership, he has managed Summer programs in Costa Rica and Rustic Pathways outreach in Europe. As a member of the Gap Year team, he now works with students planning their own gap years. Casey is happiest when he is on his bicycle!

Carly Caldrone
Gap Year Travel Advisor

With a gift for organization and a calm, compassionate personality, Carly has supported students traveling with our growing Gap Year division since 2012. After earning her degree in international studies from Miami University of Ohio, she spent several years in New York City before returning to the Cleveland area. From her own adventures in Europe, Morocco, and Costa Rica, Carly knows firsthand how powerful and life-changing world travel can be, and she loves helping to provide similar opportunities to young people on the threshold of adulthood. She also enjoys working on home improvement projects, reading novels, and taking nature walks with her young daughter.

Erik Schoon
Gap Year Operations Manager

Staying true to his viking blood, Erik has visited more than 60 countries and lived in numerous locations across the globe. With eight years under his belt with the company and several years as our global Gap Year guide, he now helps ensure that our Gap operations run smoothly. Erik is an avid skydiver, scuba diver and fisherman, and is known to be a fearless connoisseur of wild foods. He also recently completed a 3500 km road trip through east and central Africa!