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Meet Dr. Toby A. Travis Houghton Academy's  Head of School

The Board of Trustees announced that Dr. Toby A. Travis accepted their invitation to serve as the next Head of School for Houghton Academy, effective July 1, 2023. Dr. Travis began transitioning into his new role in January 2023, working remotely with periodic visits to campus during the second semester before moving with his family to Houghton in June.

Dr. Travis is a well-respected, highly credentialed, and experienced Christian school leader. He holds a Doctor of Education in Christian School Administration from Louisiana Baptist University. Dr. Travis is active in the Christian School movement, having developed and taught worldview, leadership development, and school improvement seminars for numerous Christian Education organizations worldwide, including the Association of Christian Schools International. In addition, he is a prolific writer, public speaker, sought-after school consultant, and executive coach. His book, TrustedED®: The Bridge to School Improvement, and his numerous published articles on education and leadership development are widely recognized as significant contributions within the broad educational and business world (e.g., ForbeseSchoolNewsThe Knowledge Review). Additionally, his work is regularly featured on education, business, and leadership podcasts. Dr. Travis is also an Adjunct Professor for the State University of New York’s International Graduate Program for Educators.

Early in his career, Dr. Travis served in youth ministries, including Youth For Christ/Campus Life. Before moving into Christian School leadership in recent decades, he served as Vice President of International Development with Faith Studies International and then as President of Ministry Arts for Global Impact. In addition, Dr. Travis has been an active consultant with two well-respected school consulting groups over the past decade: PAIDEIA, Inc. and the Global School Consulting Group, dedicating much of his time to supporting Christian school leaders serving in developing and distressed communities around the world (e.g., Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Vietnam).

Dr. Travis’ school leadership experience includes Alliance Academy International in Quito, Ecuador, where he served as a teacher, principal, and Academic Director. Head of School at Colegio Menor Samborondón, one of Ecuador’s premier international bi-lingual private schools. Dr. Travis served as Headmaster of Desert Christian Schools in Tucson, Arizona, and as Superintendent of the Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Toby is married to Tannia, a career missionary with a broad range of experience in international missions. Dr. and Mrs. Travis and their daughter Emma have enjoyed hosting international students within their previous schools’ boarding programs. Emma is in the 6th grade at the Academy. Dr. Travis is familiar with the rural northeast, having grown up in Montrose, PA, just south of Binghamton, NY, in a small town church where he recalls his confession of faith and call to missions as a boy.

One of the reasons the Board of Trustees believes that Dr. Travis is a match for the Academy is the alignment between his philosophies, passions, and priorities and the school’s current and future needs. Following are some themes and priorities that are emerging under Dr. Travis’ leadership:


  1. Authentic Christian faith / Christian Worldview integration and discipleship emphasis

  2. Relational development between teachers and students within a student-centered environment

  3. The care and development of teachers/teacher training

  4. Developing a high level of trust within leaders and throughout the whole school community

  5. Meeting the needs of all students, even those with special needs

  6. Research-based best practices leading to continual school improvement

  7. Professional Development: Data-driven, 360 assessments, Portfolio-based systems

  8. Authentic Literacy and Assessment, Professional Learning Communities, and Differentiated Learning

  9. Effective school communication (parent emphasis) and public relations, including the use of social media

  10. Strategic planning using SWOT analysis, Key Performance Indicators, SMART Goals

Founded in 1883, Houghton Academy, as an international boarding and day school, continues to pursue its mission to offer young people a college preparatory education within the framework of a Christian worldview. Houghton Academy models and communicates a Christian community that reflects core values crucial to preparing students to live authentically, learn deeply, lead globally, and love boldly for the glory of God. For nearly 140 years, the Academy’s mission and vision have impacted the lives of students representing over 60 countries.

The Board of Trustees believes the Academy is now poised with a solid, Christian administrative leadership team. Its leader, Dr. Travis, brings a strong understanding of and deep commitment to authentic Christian education with a global impact that has left a significant pattern of school improvement everywhere he has been throughout his ministry career. His record of academic excellence, developing teachers, team building, and creating trust are unique skill sets we believe will guide our future well.

Dr. Travis is leading us in a manner that values our long history yet challenges us with a passion for what God has in store for our future. Additionally, we believe that blending complementary leadership talents should produce extraordinary results.


  • Mr. Jon Keith, as CFO / Boarding Director, adds financial and marketing acumen, International Boarding Program best practices, and expertise in recruiting Living Curriculum Educators.

  • Headmaster Emeritus, Mr. Phil Stockin, continuing involvement in an advisory role and working with alumni, offers valuable support and a historic perspective.

  • An energized Board of Trustees provides guidance, encouragement, accountability, and wisdom.

  • A faculty and staff who are mission-focused and ministry-driven.

The result is one of the most synergistically productive and collaborative teams within Christian education today, all for the good of Houghton Academy and Soli Deo Gloria. Please remember Dr. Toby A. Travis regularly in prayer, and continue to pray for God’s ongoing blessings on Houghton Academy. Thank you. 

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