Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Leadership Team

Ben Pettit, Head of School

Ben Pettit was appointed Head of School in 2015 and has more than 20 years' experience in education as a teacher, advisor, coach, counselor, and administrator. He joined Community School in 2009 as Middle School Head, and, prior to assuming his current role, also served as Assistant Head of School and Upper School Head.

In his role as Head of School, Ben is continually inspired by the way Community School’s faculty, staff, Board of Directors, students, and parents deliver on the school’s mission. “I am deeply impressed by the passion and dedication displayed by everyone—past, present, and future—who has worked and continues to work to deliver on the promise of the school. I wholeheartedly believe in our philosophy, which combines a vigorous and experiential educational model, with abundant opportunities in the outdoors, arts, athletics, and service learning,” he says. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be of service to our community and to help inspire our students to be their best, authentic selves.”

Prior to joining Community School, Ben spent 11 years at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver, Colorado, where he served as a middle school math teacher, Math Department Chair, and as a soccer coach.

Before transitioning from teaching into leadership roles, Ben worked at McClelland School in Pueblo, Colorado and held counseling positions at Littleton High School, where he was also Varsity Boys’ Head Soccer Coach, and at East Elementary School in Denver, Colorado.

Ben holds a BA in English, with a minor in psychology, from University of Denver and a MA in Applied Psychology and Counselor Education (Cum Laude) from the School of Counseling at University of Northern Colorado.

Matt Barnes, Upper School Head

Matt Barnes joined Community School as Upper School Head in 2015.

Prior to joining Community School, Matt served as principal of El Dorado High School in Placerville, California. During his 13 years at the school, he also worked as an English teacher and as Assistant Principal. Matt began his career as an English teacher at East Anchorage High School in Alaska.

In addition to his extensive classroom and administrative experience, Matt arrived at Community School with a strong appreciation for outdoor education and athletics: he guided and taught kayaking trips and classes in both Alaska and California and served as an alpine ski and snowboard coach for El Dorado High School.

Matt holds a BA in history from University of California, Berkeley, a MAT from Lewis & Clark College with secondary endorsements in language arts and social studies, and a MEd in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska.

When Matt, an avid distance runner and cyclist, leaves campus for the day, you might catch him running or biking on local trails and spending time with his three kids: Jackson '22, Molly '25, and Elliot '28.

Patrick Graham, Outdoor Program Director

Patrick Graham joined Community School in 2015 as Outdoor Program Assistant Director and was appointed Outdoor Program Director in 2017. Patrick holds a degree in outdoor education from Vermont’s Johnson State College and, prior to joining Community School, worked as a ski guide for Sun Valley Trekking and later as a Lead Guide and Licensed (Level II) Backcountry Ski Guide. He also trained with the American Mountain Guides Association in both climbing and skiing.

Becca Hemingway, Director of Development

Becca Hemingway joined Community School in 2012 as Development Director. Prior to assuming her role at Community School, Becca worked in finance and public relations at Mirage Resorts, Inc., assisted with various freelance writing and analysis projects, and served on the Boards of several Wood River Valley nonprofits. Her favorite volunteer fundraising effort as a Board member was Battle of the Blades, an event she created and co-chaired that paired local "celebrities" with professional figure skaters in a Dancing-with-the-Stars-style skate-off.

A graduate of Yale University, Becca earned a BA in history. She has two daughters, Emma '17, a recent Community School graduate, and Alex '19, a rising Community School junior. When she's not in the Development Office, Becca can be found hiking her favorite mountain trails, using the power of the Internet to learn how to repair things that need fixing, and traveling with her family.

Sam Herrick, Middle School Head

Sam Herrick joined Community School after spending a dozen years working at schools in California. He was Dean of Student Life at the Live Oak School in San Francisco and served on the Board of Trustees for the East Bay School for Boys, helping to usher the school from its inception to a thriving and unique middle school dedicated to boys’ learning.

Prior to his work at Live Oak, Sam was Middle School Admission Director and Dean of Students at Prospect Sierra School, located in El Cerrito, California. During his four years there, Sam increased the enrollment of mission-supportive students, including the expansion of students through the collaboration with a local enrichment program. Sam also chaired the diversity committee, coached volleyball, and started an annual bike-to-school event. Sam spent his first years in California teaching Life Sciences and environmental stewardship at an experiential education program just outside Yosemite National Park.

Sam holds a BA from Syracuse University and a MA from Columbia University.

Sam believes in middle school students. He finds them capable, thoughtful, creative, energetic, and funny. He moved to the Wood River Valley with his wife Elizabeth, son, August, and daughter, Grayson. He loves to hike, bike, and ski with his heels free.

Katie Robins, Admissions Director

Katie Robins joined Community School in 2000 and has served as Director of Admissions since 2005. Katie loves touring the campus with prospective families and learning their stories. "There is nothing more satisfying than watching that aha-moment a family has when they see this campus in action and begin to envision their own children as members of this incredibly engaging and nurturing environment," she says. "I love guiding families through this process and helping future Cutthroats find their new home."

Katie holds a BA in Communications from University of California, Berkeley. She and her husband, Guy, are parents to two Cutthroats: Sam '30 and Sophie '32. In her spare time, Katie loves to cook for friends and family, rock climb, and is an avid reader of fiction.

Janet Salvoni, Elementary School Head

Janet Salvoni joined Community School in 2005 and was appointed Elementary School Head in 2011. Janet has extensive experience in the classroom, having taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; she has also served as a Learning Specialist and as Early Childhood Coordinator. Currently, in addition to her role as Elementary School Head, she serves as Teacher Training Academy (TTA) Coordinator and Diversity and Inclusivity Committee Co-Chair.

Janet holds a BA in elementary education from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MA in education from Cambridge College.

In her daily work with students, parents, and colleagues at Community School, Janet is continually inspired by the passion of the school's faculty. "They believe 100 percent in the work they are doing, both with students and behind the scenes," she says.

Janet and her husband, Frank, are parents of two Cutthroats: Tyler '23 and Cooper '27. When she's not at school or spending time with her family, Janet spends time on the ice pursuing her passion for ice hockey.

Julie Siegel, Chief Financial Officer/Business Office Manager

Julie Siegel joined Community School in 2016 as Chief Financial Officer and Business Office Manger. Prior to assuming her role at Community School, Julie served as CFO for Boston-based Geologic Resource Partners; she has also held accounting and human resource positions and was a Certified Public Accountant for Lallman, Feltman, and Perterson CPAs.

A graduate of University of Virginia, Julie holds a BS in commerce-accounting. She and her husband, Neil, are parents to Emily '16 and Riley '23. When she's not in the Business Office, Julie can be found trail running on local trails and teaching indoor cycling classes.

There is a joy in both teaching and learning here that is really our intangible. Teachers come to school excited to teach and kids actually come to school excited to learn.

Calysta Phillips, Upper School Language Faculty