Administrative and Educational Support Staff
- Rachel Aanestad '94, Librarian
- Tana Dean, Accounts Payable Manager
- Chauncy Gardner, Co-Director of College Counseling
- Christy Giles, Associate Director of Admissions
- Ellen Gillespie, Development Specialist
- Mary Hall, Upper School Administrative Assistant
- Yvonne Inman, Middle School Administrative Assistant
- Liz Kantor, Events and Alumni Relations Manager
- Keith Keim, Facilities Manager
- Melanie Kragerud, Accounts Receivable Manager
- Rob Landis, Outdoor Program Assistant Director
- Royce Mussman, Co-Director of College Counseling
- Jill Perkins, Learning Specialist Program Director
- Gabby Rafford, Director of Educational Technology
- Robin Seitz, Elementary School Administrative Assistant
- Anneliese Turck, Communications Associate
- Clay Wawner, Director of Residential Life
- Richard Whitelaw, Director of Athletics
Rachel Aanestad ’94 joined Sun Valley Community School in 2013 as Assistant Director of Development and currently serves as the school librarian and also teaches Architecture in the Upper School.
Rachel holds a BA in architecture and a BA in theatre, both from University of Oregon.
Rachel’s decision to return to Community School as a faculty and staff member was a result of her love for the school community and the approach to education that guides learning here. “I appreciate the independent thought, genuine love of natural places, creativity, and uniqueness that are still foundations of this incredible place,” she says. In her teaching role, Rachel is inspired by her students’ love for learning and by her colleagues. “I am constantly amazed by the students capacity to create, absorb, and learn, and by the incredibly inspired and talented faculty with whom I work.”
When she’s not at school, Rachel loves to spend time with her two young daughters and enjoys hiking and doodling.
Tana Dean joined Sun Valley Community School in 2008 and currently serves as business office assistant/accounts payable manager.
Tana has held a variety of business management positions across the hospitality, health care, and construction industries. Currently, in addition to her role at the school, Tana and her husband own and operate Wood River Stables, a horse boarding facility.
Tana says, of her work at Community School, "my favorite part of working at the school is the people, whose commitment to and passion for their jobs is wonderful, and the relationships that I've developed with my colleagues over the years."
When Tana is not working at the school, she loves spending time with her my family, horse activities, and farming the ranch she and her husband own.
As a faculty member Chauncy appreciates the school's strong academic program and a culture that fosters independence and innovation and the school's many unique programs. Chauncy says she is inspired each day by her "wonderful colleagues, inspiring students, and many new professional opportunities. I learn something new everyday."
Chauncy holds a BA in French and English from Colgate University and a MA in French literature from New York University. She is mother of two Cutthroats, Lily ’21 and Colin ’23, and she loves to travel, hike, and spend time in the mountains.
Christy Giles joined the Admissions team 2017. Christy brings invaluable experience in admissions and recruiting to this role, having served as Assistant Director of Admissions at The Bush School in Seattle and as Director of Admissions and Recruiting for the University of Washington College of Education Seattle Teacher Residency (STR) Program. Prior to her work at Bush, Christy worked for five years as the Senior Trainer and Curriculum Developer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
As Associate Director of Admissions, Christy works with Sun Valley Ski Academy Program Director Jonna Mendes and Director of Admissions Katie Robins in a variety of capacities throughout the admissions season. Christy holds a BA from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University. Christy and her husband, Eric, are parents to Jackson ’21, Brady ’23, and Kenzie.
Ellen Gillespie joined Sun Valley Community School as a Development and Communications Specialist in February 2018. Ellen supports all operations in development, marketing, and communications. Ellen is a former parent (Tom ’16, Lily ’14, and Emily) and a former member of the school's Board of Directors.
A graduate of Duke University, Ellen initially pursued a career in marketing and communications with Time Life, which took her from New York to Washington, D.C. and then to London, before moving to the Sun Valley area with her family in 2003. Locally, Ellen managed public relations for the Chamber of Commerce for several years before founding an event-planning company, Sun Valley Events.
Mary Hall joined Sun Valley Community School in 2002 and currently serves as Upper School Administrative Assistant and Upper School Community Service Coordinator.
Mary holds a BA in art history and French language from University of Washington.
Prior to joining the school, Mary worked in sports marketing at Smith Optics, where she was Director of Mountain Bike, Surf, and Trade Shows.
Mary appreciates the opportunity her role offers to "engage with students each day and to learn from the school's incredible faculty." She has especially enjoyed her work with Upper School Students as Community Service Coordinator, specifically in the hours devoted to the Hunger Coalition.
When she's not behind her desk in the Upper School, Mary loves to spend time running, hiking, and mountain biking on local trails. Mary and her husband, Mat, an alum of the school, are parents to Joe '19.
Yvonne Inman joined Sun Valley Community School in 1999 and currently serves as administrative assistant in the Middle School and
CS SAT Supervisor, SSAT Assistant Administrator.
Prior to joining the school, Yvonne's professional experience included working as a Legal Secretary, A/R & AP clerk, real estate appraisal assistant, and State of Idaho health and welfare self-reliance specialist.
In her work in the Middle School, Yvonne is inspired by the mission of the school and "the sense that we are all here to inspire, guide, and teach our students to not only survive in the world today, but also to excel at their passions and make a positive difference in and outside of our community." She enjoys all the various ways she can support the school, students, and families: "I am always willing to help out when needed, so whether it is a school BBQ for Engl Cup, driving students to Sagewillow for P.E., covering a period in a class for a teacher, or assisting with the 20/20 Lunch Program, I know that people feel that they can ask me for help knowing that I am willing and reliable. I enjoy helping others!"
When Yvonne is not at school, she loves to spend time outdoors hiking in the Valley and around the West.
Liz Kantor joined Sun Valley Community School in 2017 and serves as Events and Alumni Relations Manager. In her role, Liz manages all school events and oversees alumni relations.
A Wood River Valley native, Liz previously spent ten years in marketing, public relations, branding, and event management across a variety of industries. She most recently was the Marketing Director at Zenergy Health Club & Spa in Ketchum.
Liz holds a BA in communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is an active community member, serving on the board of The Advocates, where she chairs the Resource and Development committee. Liz and her husband, Josh, a 2002 graduate of the school, have two children.
Keith Keim joined Sun Valley Community School in March 2007 and serves as Facilities Manager. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance and construction management of the Trail Creek, Dumke Family Sagewillow, and Ketchum Campuses. This includes over 100,000-square-feet ft buildings and over 40 acres of grounds.
Prior to joining the Cutthroat team, Keith spent 21 years in construction and construction management in the Seattle area.
Melanie Kragerud joined Community School in 2007 and currently serves as the school's accounts receivable manager.
Melanie came to Community School with 25 years of accounting experience and previously worked for the state of Idaho, US Bank, and several other private companies in Boise and Southern California. In her work at the school, Melanie appreciates "the opportunity to get to know the exceptional students and families that are part of our community. I enjoy helping people and working in customer service."
When Melanie isn't at school, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and photography.
Rob Landis joined the Community School faculty in 1998 and has served as a learning specialist and eighth grade team teacher. He presently serves as the Outdoor Program Assistant Director. Rob first attended the University of Colorado, took a short twenty-year break, and then completed his degree in earth science education at Boise State University. During his short break, Rob facilitated his addiction to wilderness adventures through jobs that included chef, river guide, NOLS instructor, director of ski operations at Galena Lodge, and Nordic coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Rob is a Wilderness EMT, Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, CPR Instructor, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Level 3 Avalanche practitioner and an American Avalanche Association professional, AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, licensed USSA Nordic coach, licensed Ham radio operator, and a licensed Idaho ACA Kayak Instructor. Rob is passionate about wild places, his family, and introducing students to the amazing world of wilderness travel. He lives in Hailey with his wife Amy; daughter Annika graduated from Community School in 2016.
Royce Mussman joined Community School in July 2018. Currently he serves as Co-Director of College Counseling with Chauncy Gardner.
Prior to joining Community School, Royce served as Associate Director of Admission at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Additionally, he was an Assistant Dean of Admission at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Royce has also served as a high school counselor/college counselor at two international schools in Asia - Taipei American School and Jakarta Intercultural School. Due to Royce’s significant international work he is familiar with many university admission processes outside of the US, including but not limited to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Royce holds a BA in Asian Studies from Bowdoin College and a MEd in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University. Royce is excited to move to Idaho and join his family - parents who live in the McCall area and a sister and three nephews who live in Boise. When not working you might find Royce traveling, reading, cooking, or pursuing photography.
Jill Perkins joined Community School in 1989 and currently serves as Learning Specialist Department Director.
Jill holds a BS in education from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
Prior to her current position at Community School, Jill taught in schools in Wisconsin for five years.
At Community School, Jill finds inspiration in the students and in her colleagues. "The students inspire me every day with their perseverance through a challenging curriculum, their spontaneity, and their joy," she says, "and my colleagues inspire me to seek continued growth as an educator—and make me laugh when a laugh is needed."
For Jill, time away from school is dedicated to her family. "My biggest passion is to love life with my husband, Don, and my daughter, Hope. They are my world beyond school, and time with them means everything to me," she says. She also enjoys listening to audio books, hiking local trails with her husband and her shelter dog, Cosmos, and spending time in her garden.
Jill and Don's daughter, Hope, is a 2016 graduate of Community School.
Gabby Rafford joined Community School in 2008 as a fifth grade teacher and currently serves as Director of Educational Technology.
She holds a BS in Business Administration and a MEd, both from University of New Hampshire.
Prior to joining Community School, Gabby worked in nonprofit and government contracting positions in Washington D.C. and taught elementary grades at schools in Colorado, Vermont, and Maine. She also served as Director of the Eighth Grade Winter Term and taught math at Gould Academy.
Gabby was drawn to Community School's commitment to supporting students' interests, as well as to the Outdoor Program, the school's beautiful mountain setting, and the faculty and staff.
"The students keep me smiling and challenge me to think outside the box every day," Gabby says. "They are a very cool group of kids with diverse interests and a passion to learn something new constantly. They are definitely why I am here and why I enjoy working here so much."
When she's not on campus, Gabby loves to ski, hike, camp, and mountain bike. In the summer, she likes to indulge her love for reading: "I am an avid reader—in the summer I can read three books in one week!" Gabby and her husband, Kyle, are parents to two Cutthroats: Addison '19 and Toby '21.
Robin Seitz joined Community School in 2005 and serves as the Elementary School Administrative Assistant.
Robin holds a BA in Psychology from Edinboro University and a MA in Counseling from Idaho State University.
Prior to joining Community School, Robin held several different counseling positions at College of Southern Idaho and for the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare.
Robin loves the variety each day offers at Community School and is continually inspired by her colleagues.
When she's not at school, Robin can be found running local trails, reading, making art, and spending time with her family. Robin and her husband, Reid, are parents to Quentin and Norah '21.
Anneliese Turck joined Sun Valley Community School in 2015 and serves as Communications Associate. She assists the Director of Communications with internal and external communications for the school, including the school's magazine, website, newsletters, social media, advertising, public relations, and photography.
Prior to joining the school, Anneliese spent 18 years in New York where she served in editorial roles for American Express Publishing's Travel & Leisure Golf, and numerous freelance and volunteer positions in the field of journalism for organizations such as CNN, Pelham Art Center, PACT, Prospect Hill Elementary School, and Junior League of Pelham. She is a Bay Area native, having grown up in Los Altos Hills, California.
Anneliese holds a BA in Rhetoric from University of California, Berkeley and a MS in Journalism from Columbia University. She and her husband, Matt, are parents to two Cutthroats: Parker '23 and Easton '25. When she isn't taking photos or writing, Anneliese can be found behind the wheel of her car driving her kids to soccer, baseball, equestrian events, and ski competitions. When she isn't driving, she enjoys spending time with her family!
Clay Wawner joined Sun Valley Community School from Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Virginia, where, since 2013, he served as Dean of Students, history teacher, Community Service Coordinator, Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach, Residential Duty Team Chief, Student Advisor, and Senior Administrative Team member. In addition to his extensive academic, residential, and coaching experience, Clay has over ten years’ experience as an outdoor education instructor, having led wilderness experiences around the U.S. and globally, including two summers employed as a fishing and river guide for The River Company in Stanley. Clay is a graduate of Denison University, where he captained the men’s lacrosse team for two years and graduated with a degree in history.
Richard Whitelaw initially joined Sun Valley Community School in 1991 as boys' varsity soccer coach and currently serves as Director of Athletics, boys' varsity soccer coach, and Middle School P.E. assistant.
Richard is grateful for the opportunity to pass along his love for sport to students, and he comes to work each day inspired the Cutthroat family. "Being surrounded by young, talented, intelligent students, and empowering, caring, positive faculty is a gift," he says. "I have the greatest job in the world."
In his many years coaching boys' varsity soccer, Richard has been committed to sharing a love for the game and a spirit of sportsmanship among his players. "I strive to instill in these young men that it's not about the wins or championships, it's about making the most of your short high school career, experiencing all the emotions associated with a successful team, playing to the best of your ability, and exuding good sportsmanship every step of the way."
Richard's love for the game of soccer doesn't end when he steps off the field. His favorite way to spend his time away from school: "Watching soccer, reading about soccer, writing about soccer, thinking about soccer . . . soccer never sleeps."
Mayra Garcia joined Sun Valley Community School in 2015 and oversees cleaning in the Elementary School and the Middle School kitchen. Mayra says she loves spending time on our beautiful Trail Creek campus and appreciates the community of people she works with at school.
Mayra grew up in the state of Michoacan in Mexico and moved to the Valley in 2014. On the weekends, Mayra enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, David, and their three children, Jessica, Mayra Lizeth, and Fernanda Yareli.
Jose Guerecaechevarria joined Sun Valley Community School in 2002 and oversees maintenance in the Upper School and the Science Building; he also maintains the Dumke Family Sagewillow soccer fields.
Jose moved to the Valley from the Basque region in Spain in 1972. When not at school, he and his wife, Peggy, enjoy running their farm in Hagerman, where they grow a wide variety of produce.
Maria Juarez De Ruiz joined Sun Valley Community School in 2016 and is responsible for cleaning the Rufus M. Brown Residence Hall.
The community of people at the school are a highlight of her work, Maria says.
Maria moved to the Valley in 2002 from Coeneo, Mexico, where she ran her own restaurant. She and her husband, Arturo, have five children and nine grandchildren. When she's not at school, Maria enjoys spending time with her extended family.