Our Leadership - EXPLO

Our Leadership

Learning is a lifelong journey — EXPLO leaders are lighting the path for students and educators alike.

The Magic Starts at the Top

Like the rest of our diverse community, the leadership team at EXPLO is comprised of interesting individuals, each with unique passions, pursuits, and stories to share. What unites our leaders is their commitment to educating the whole child and to learning as a lifelong journey — one that is not confined by classroom walls.

Among our leaders is a singing-dancing lawyer, a fire-juggling math whiz, a professional photographer with the wisdom of Gandalf, a Jane-of-all-trades, a passionate educator, and a master teacher. They are true scholars and educators, all.

Please refer to these pages for additional information regarding our Board of Trustees, our Curriculum Advisory and College Counselors and Professional Advisory committees, and our Partnerships.

Moira Kelly

Executive Director and President
A highly regarded educator, Moira was appointed EXPLO’s president in 2007. Over the past 10 years, she has been instrumental in building EXPLO and its headquarters, the Exploration Center, into an acclaimed educational R & D lab at the forefront of teaching and learning and creative curricular design. Moira has been in the EXPLO trenches since 1985 and is a familiar face at all the programs. She still lives on campus during the summer with her family.

Moira’s career spans from being a dean and a senior member of the admission department at the Northfield Mount Hermon School (NMH), to teaching high school English, to working in college residential life.  An honors graduate of Bowdoin College, Moira earned her J.D. at Boston University School of Law, and first class honors in law at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In addition, she was a Rotary Foundation Fellow at the University of Nottingham, England, and a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow.

Moira serves on the National Advisory Board for Bowdoin College Admissions, the advisory council for the Arts and Sciences at Bentley University, and as a mentor for girls and young women in STEM through Boston’s Museum of Science. She also served on the Board of Directors and was a member of the executive committee for the Association of Independent Schools in New England.

Every four years, Moira serves as Associate Producer for the Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization that produces all of the general election U.S. presidential and vice-presidential debates. She has led the Commission’s educational outreach efforts and runs workshops and speaks on promoting civil discourse and building cognitive empathy in a polarized society.

David Torcoletti

Head of Programs, EXPLO at Wheaton
A wise and compassionate mentor to legions of students and educators, David is a beloved teacher and educational leader. He began his education career at Northfield Mount Hermon School (NMH), where he taught photography, lived in a dormitory, and coached. He went on to become a House Director, Campus Dean, and eventually, School Dean. While there, he was twice honored with the faculty residential life award. David then moved to Milton Academy where he was a teacher and Dean of Students. In addition to leading EXPLO at Wheaton, David consults with and advises independent schools, and presents at professional conferences on student life issues. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University and earned his M.F.A. at Bard College as a Milton Avery Scholar. A man of many talents, David is also a nationally recognized fine arts photographer with numerous museum and gallery shows to his credit.

David has worked at EXPLO since 1998, and each summer moves to campus, bringing with him his family, including Rosie, a rescue dog who is part border collie and not so clear what else.

Elliot Targum

Head of Programs, EXPLO at Wellesley
Elliot is known as an “idea factory” and has been developing ideas for EXPLO since 1997. Prior to becoming the Head of Programs at EXPLO at Wellesley, Elliot held many positions within the organization, including Residence Director, Programming Director, and Dean of Day Students. Outside of EXPLO, Elliot was a founding teacher at a Boston charter school and taught math and science in the Cambridge, Massachusetts public school system. One public school teaching colleague described him as “the most progressive teacher in the district.” Elliot’s interests and talents are broad. He was a math correlation specialist at Riverdeep, Inc., working on interactive mathematics software, and worked with Games-To-Teach, a partnership between MIT and Microsoft’s iCampus. In addition, he is the founder of EB Tutoring. In the summer, you will see him juggling flaming torches on campus. Elliot is a graduate of Haverford College, and earned his Masters in Education with a concentration in technology and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He moves to the Wellesley campus each summer with his family, and his dog Trixie, a very cute Labradoodle.

Sarah Ruter

Head of Programs, EXPLO at Yale
Sarah Ruter is a singing-dancing-English teacher who detoured into practicing law before returning to her first love: education. Sarah started her education career at EXPLO in 1996, where she has held numerous positions including teacher, residential advisor, admissions officer, residence director, and Dean of Students. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she was a Robert C. Byrd Scholar. For years, she taught high school writing, public speaking, and literature at a public school in Massachusetts. She also headed the school’s Theater Society, where she directed three plays per year for the 100-member drama organization. Sarah attended the University of Minnesota Law School, where she earned her J.D. cum laude. She practiced general, commercial, and employment law with regular appearances in state and federal court. Minnesota Law and Politics called her a “Rising Star” and Minnesota Lawyer named her to their list of “Up and Coming Attorneys.” Sarah lives on the Yale campus during the summer and has been known to make cameo appearances in EXPLO student films and to put on her robes as a judge for EXPLO moot court competitions.

Andy Smith

Assistant Head, EXPLO at Yale
Andy began his EXPLO career in 2007 and has worked as a senior administrator, including Director of Programming at EXPLO at St. Mark’s and Director of Curriculum and Instruction at EXPLO at Yale. For five years, Andy worked during the academic year in curriculum development at the Exploration Center. While working in curriculum, you might have found Andy writing essential questions for a germ biology course, coaching a teacher on instructional techniques, or in EXPLO’s woodshop, experimenting with crafting a new putting green and hole for a physics through mini golf course. He was a varsity swimmer in college and has coached several swim teams. Prior to joining EXPLO year round, Andy taught English in various New York state public schools. He was a teacher in West Ghana and a literacy head teacher in Naivasha, Kenya. Andy earned his B.A. in English and education at the State University of New York, Geneseo, and continues his studies in the Critical and Creative Thinking graduate program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Barbara Trainor

Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Barb is a highly accomplished educational leader who is committed to cultivating classrooms committed to inquiry, creativity, and exploration so that learning is more engaging and joyful. She heads one of the most innovative teacher professional development programs in the world, and oversees a staff of 13 year round curriculum developers and coaches. She and her team work hard to stay abreast of the latest developments in learning and teaching. With many years of teaching experience for a variety of age groups, Barb brings a passion for hands-on, creative, and interactive learning to her work at EXPLO. During her tenure at public schools in New Hampshire, Barb developed and implemented multi-disciplinary curricula, created a district-wide staff mentor program, and started a student peer tutor program. Through Illinois State University, Barb piloted new math and science curricula with a focus on integrating technology into the classroom. She has taught teacher workshops and was a staff development instructor at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference, New England College, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Barb earned her B.S. in Biology at Cornell University and her Master of Arts in Education, with a concentration in mathematics, at New England College.

Dave Hamilton

Creative Director and Director, EXPLO Studio
People will tell you that Dave is a creative machine. He began his college life studying Engineering, Physics, and Art at the University of Maine (Orono), with a particular interest in the moments where these worlds overlap. He continued this investigation at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned his B.F.A. Dave joined EXPLO as a photography and sculpture teacher in 1997 before taking on the role of Director of Publications. As Creative Director, he has designed and built EXPLO’s collection of hovercrafts, street luges, wind tunnels, rocket launchers, and many more custom tools and whirligigs we use to inspire curiosity and exploration in our students. Today, Dave heads up EXPLO Studio, where he and his team continue to tinker and design innovative STEAM courses and workshops that are already inspiring students and educators across the U.S. and around the world.

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