The Board of Directors (BOD) is a volunteer group of people who are located worldwide and who are responsible for the overall organizational and fiscal health of BEST. They include BEST’s co-founders, as well as other motivated and energetic young professionals who play an active role in increasing BEST’s impact. To become a BOD member, one must be nominated and selected by current BEST BOD members.
2017-2018 Board of Directors:
Juliana McMillan-Wilhoit – Co-Founder, Chair
Juliana Wilhoit is a native of the Chicago area, and a lover of shopska salata, banitsa, and the Black Sea. She has been involved in speech and debate in a variety of forms since she was in seventh grade. She credits much of her success in life to finding an avenue in which she could succeed.
During the 2012-2013 school year she was an English Teacher at the Fifth Language School in Varna. Juliana holds a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently works for a research institution conducting urban security research.
Anna Fuselier, Vice-Chair
Anna Fuselier is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Anna began her time in Bulgaria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Montana in 2014, where she founded and coached a BEST team. After seeing the impact of BEST first hand, Anna moved to Sofia and went on to serve as Managing Director the following year, eventually joining the Board of Directors in 2017 out of a desire to continue to facilitate BEST’s growth. Anna has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs with a specialization in International Development from George Washington University and presently works for an education consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
Alex Kieselstein was a two-year Fulbright ETA and BEST Coach at Second English Language School in Sofia. He is currently a second-year law student at the University of Chicago.
Athena Lao – Co-Founder
Athena Lao helps manage the Fulbright Program for South and Central Asia at the Institute of International Education. She holds an A.B. in Classics from Harvard University and an M.S.Ed. in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Athena served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for 3 years at Ezikova Gimnazia “Akademik Lyudmil Stoyanov” in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. During that time, she co-founded BEST with five other Fulbright ETAs and started her school’s award-winning English language speech and debate team. She served as the first Chair of the BEST Board of Directors from 2015-2017. Athena loves the enthusiasm of BESTies, speech and debate, Bulgarian cuisine, and a good horo.
Reid Furubayashi graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Guided by his interest in education, he touched down in Montana, Bulgaria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and Speech and Debate coach for the 2015-16 academic year. His love for the country kept him in Bulgaria for a second year, this time as Assistant Director for the BEST Foundation. As a former Speech and Debate competitor himself, Reid wholeheartedly believes in the creativity and confidence that BEST inspires in Bulgarian youth and is excited for the opportunity to contribute to the future of the organization.