Kristina Kirtley was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. After leaving Oklahoma for school at Stanford, she received her bachelor's in English Literature. She also studied for a year at Oxford as a part of the Stanford-in-Oxford program. After college, Kirtley worked for nearly three years in Haifa, Israel, at the Baha'i World Center. She then moved to The City College of New York to pursue her master's degree in Secondary English Education. She is currently working on a second masters in American Studies at Columbia University.
No stranger to helping others, Kirtley spent over ten years teaching in the Bronx in New York City. While teaching there, she received a Fund for Teachers grant. This allowed her to explore her love of film at the New York Film Academy. She has a small side business, the Young Scholars Network, that provides tutoring services to many in the city.
Kirtley has served as a project coordinator for an organization titled International Cinema Education. She currently holds the position of Project Manager within the organization. This allows her to combine her two loves, teaching and studying film. She may be removed from the Chickasaw Nation, living in New York City, but her heritage is something she will never forget. Kristina has two young children, her most important accomplishments, who will hopefully blossom into future Chickasaw leaders.