Striving to provide an atmosphere of personal growth through safe, affordable, meaningful and fun travel experiences.
Call us: 1.800.523.4293

About Us

Company History

Academic Travel Services was born in 1995 as a dream of former educators who wanted to promote affordable, educational, and fun tours for school groups. After almost 24 years, 8,000 trips, over 300,000 participants, and millions of lasting memories, Academic Travel Services is recognized as a leader in the student travel industry both in experience and integrity.

Meet our Employees

Greg ShipleyGreg Shipley, CEO and co-owner
Greg has over 35 years’ experience working with young people. For the first ten years he was a high school classroom teacher, coach, and class sponsor and for last 26 years he has worked as a group travel planner working primarily with student groups of all types. Greg is recognized as a leader in the travel industry having served for six years in leadership positions both as a Board of Director and as President of the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the prestigious American Bus Association (ABA). He holds professional certifications of CTP from the National Tour Association (NTA), CSTP from SYTA, and CTIS from ABA.

Lesley ShipleyLesley Shipley, President and co-owner
Lesley has over 25 years’ experience working with young people as a high school teacher and coach and then in the group travel industry. Lesley is currently co-owner of Academic Travel Services and is involved in the day-to-day operations of the company as the CFO. Everything crosses her desk at some point for scrutiny and approval.

Tim BransonTim Branson, Senior Consultant
After working as a successful restaurant manager and sales manager (and going to night school to get a degree in business), Tim joined Academic Travel Services on the ground level when the company began almost 24 years ago. Tim has planned and executed nearly 1,500 trips in that time and has consistently gained only the highest praise from his clients. Tim specializes in trips to New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and Montreal. He holds professional certifications of Certified Student Travel Planner (CSTP) form the Student Youth Travel Association.

James WeaverJames Weaver, Senior Consultant
James joined Academic Travel Services in 1998 after a successful career in industry as sales manager for a large temp agency. Since joining the company, James has planned and executed nearly 1,200 successful and rewarding trips. James currently specializes in trips to Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans, Charleston, Chattanooga, Savannah, Tampa and other destinations in the Southeast United States as well as student cruises. James has been honored by the Walt Disney Company as a top producer for the past 15 years.

Kenneth WootenKenneth Wooten, Senior Consultant
Kenneth is the “young whipper snapper” of the sales team since he’s “only” been with Academic Travel Services for 16 years and nearly 1,000 trips. Kenneth was a classroom teacher for ten years and served on several church staffs as an associate pastor involved with the youth before joining our sales team. Kenneth is responsible for trips to Washington, DC, Williamsburg, Philadelphia, Branson, Saint Louis, and destinations in Tennessee, and Texas. He holds professional certifications of Certified Student Travel Planner (CSTP) form the Student Youth Travel Association.

Customer Testimonials

“Eddie, our tour guide was amazing, knowledgeable, yet down with kids interests.”

– La Plata High School, Stephanie Gioia-Ely

“This is the third time that Mr. Willis has been with us on our trip to Florida. We took the largest group ever with over 200 kids and chaperones. The moment I knew that Larry was with us, I relaxed. I knew that everything was well in hand. One of the greatest gifts he brings to the industry is taking the time to listen. He makes our group feel wanted and important, not just another group he has to deal with and shuffle along. He truly puts the customer first.”

– Kaukauna High School, John B. Stangel, Director of Bands

“Everything was wonderful!. Will definitely request Diego next time. He was great. The trip was perfect.”

– JH Rose High School, Russell Knight, Director of Bands

“Our students had a terrific experience! The Hughes Brothers show was awesome.”

– LaPorte High School, Geoff Carlton

“This was our first trip our program had ever taken. ATS & Ken Wooten were wonderful!. They took all the stress out of traveling.”

– East Hall High School, Whitney Rylee

“ATS provided my students with an enriching experience and lifelong memories.”

– Maritime Academy, Mercedes Walton Mason

“Our guide in Philadelphia was amazing!. She was from Centipede Tours, her name is Amy!”

– Great Oaks Academy, Karen Gregg

“Ed Hansen is amazing! He makes the trip engaged in the history around. Ken was also great to work with. Will definitely be using ATS again.”

– Westside Christian Academy, Allison McMickell

“This was our 4th trip to Disney. James & ATS have always been awesome & made everything run so smoothly (Larry was great, too!). I highly recommend ATS to everyone.”

– Denise’s Dance Academy, Denise Hawkins

“ATS was great to work with and made all of our requests for the trip to NYC happen. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot! It was a wonderful experience!”

– North Wilkes High School, Michelle Sullivan, Director

“Ken worked hard to meet all my requests!”

– Bath County High School, Melinda Hooker

“Tim was awesome! The whole trip was incomparable! I have already recommended Tim & ATS!”

– South Girard High School, Patti Landreau

“James was a great representative/tour guide and it was great to meet him and Greg.”

– Truman High School, Kim Williams

“Eddie Burke is the best! Bus driver was amazing. The bus even had outlets for phone charging! ATS handled all details beautifully! Thank you!”

– Allegheny Clarion Valley High School, Bev Kirby

“ATS was wonderful. We’ve used them twice, having used other companies before, I plan to do all future travel with ATS”

– Weyauwega-Fremont High School, Carrie Gruman-Trinkner

“Will be in touch for our next trip in 2 years. You have been wonderful to work with. Always impressed with Ed Hansen and both our bus drivers, Ted & Mike were awesome.”

– Cal Community Schools, Jane Gorder Halladay

“Our tour director was very knowledgeable and flexible to meet the needs of our group.”

– Southside Middle School, Tifani Merritt

“Another excellent trip! Thanks Ken for all your hard work. Mariann was her usual wonderful self, and our bus driver was great also. I received many nice compliments from our parents. ATS is our only choice!”

– St. Joseph Catholic School, Susan Horn

“Tim Branson is an excellent travel agent and went over and beyond to cater to our needs.”

– William Floyd High School, Barbara D’Orio, Director

“Thank you so much for our wonderful trip! James, thanks for all of your help with everything.”

– Barbara’s Studio of Dance, Barbara Yates

“Love everything! ATS is wonderful. I love working with this company.”

– Maconaquah Middle School, Jennifer Smith

“James Weaver is professional, competent, encouraging and reliable.”

– Independence Middle School, Vanessa Baird

Academic Travel Services is proud to be a member of these Travel Organizations