Outdoor Program Staff
- Patrick Graham, Outdoor Program Co-Director
- Celeste Holland, Outdoor Program Associate
- Rob Landis, Outdoor Program
- Travis Vandenburgh, Outdoor Program Co-Director
Patrick Graham joined Sun Valley 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 the Cutthroat faculty, 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.
Celeste Holland, a graduate of St. Lawrence University with a BA in Environmental Studies and Philosophy, serves as Outdoor Program Associate. She served as an intern for the 2020-2021 school year.
Celeste is an avid outdoorswoman who has led trips throughout the West for Wilderness Adventures and spent a semester living “off-the-grid” in yurts. Celeste participated in the Teacher Training Academy program for the 2019-20 school year and worked with a variety of students across grade levels. This included the Upper School English Department as well as the fourth grade class. She thoroughly enjoyed her time with students of all ages. She is excited to continue to work with a variety of age groups and explore the outdoors with students.
Her favorite part about being a part of Sun Valley Community School are the countless opportunities to step outside of the classroom in order to learn or appreciate where we live!
Rob Landis joined the Sun Valley Community School faculty in 1999 and has served as a Learning Specialist, 8th Grade Team Teacher and most recently as the Outdoor Program Director and Outdoor Leadership Academy Director. Currently, Rob assists in the Outdoor Program.
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 by working as a chef, river guide, NOLS instructor, Director of Ski Operations at Galena Lodge, and as a Nordic coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.
Rob is a Wilderness First Responder, and Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, CPR Instructor, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Level 3 Avalanche practitioner, AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, licensed USSA Nordic Coach, Ham Radio Operator, licensed Idaho Whitewater Guide, Certified American Canoe Association Kayak Instructor, and a member of the National Ski Patrol. 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, and has two daughters.
Travis Vandenburgh was appointed Outdoor Program Co-Director in 2019. He joined Sun Valley Community School in 2008 and taught math and science as a member of the Eighth Grade Team before transitioning to Outdoor Program Co-Director. He also served as Middle School soccer coach and as an Outdoor Leadership Academy Advisor.
Travis has twenty years of outdoor leadership experience in a variety of institutional settings from elementary to higher education. His passion lies in fostering a learning environment in the outdoors where students can realize a potential they have not before recognized. Travis is a Wilderness First Responder, is certified as a Single Pitch Instructor from the American Mountain Guides Association, is an AIARE Professional Level 2 Avalanche practitioner, and is trained in Advanced Swiftwater Rescue. Travis is also a licensed HAM radio operator with the FCC.
Travis holds a BS in biological sciences and a MSSE (Masters of Science in Science Education) from Montana State University. Prior to joining Community School, Travis taught middle school math and science at Jackson Hole Middle School in Jackson, Wyoming and the Barstow School in Kansas City, Missouri, and was the Middle Years Program Director at Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho.
When he's not leading Outdoor Program trips, Travis likes to spend time running local trails and digging in his garden. He and his wife, Cortney, are parents to two Cutthroats: Anika '23 and Torin '27. At the school, Travis appreciates "the freedom that all community members have to express and act on their philosophies and goals surrounding their personal and professional lives."
- Erika Daly '03
- Naomi Goldberg
- Phil Huss
- Elliot Jacobs
- Lauren Marziliano
- Nancy Parsons-Brown
- Calysta Phillips
- Hannes Thum '03
- Drennan Wesley
- Hannah Young
Erika Connelly graduated from Sun Valley Community School in 2003 and returned to the school in 2008 as a member of the Middle School faculty. She taught Middle School P.E. until 2021, when she transitioned to the Upper School Learning Specialist team. She continues to teach Middle School Enhancement and serves as Upper School girls' soccer coach, and as an Outdoor Leadership Academy advisor. She has been a leader for both Middle and Upper School trips and is also an Outdoor Leadership Academy advisor.
Erika loves working with students in both divisions and recognizes how special it is to be able to experience all of the school’s outdoor trips as a student and a teacher. Erika likes to spend summers in Stanley, where she has worked as a river guide for White Otter Adventures. She has completed Wilderness First Responder, CPR, and Swiftwater Rescue certification courses and is an AIARE Level 2 Avalanche practitioner.
Naomi Goldberg joined Sun Valley Community School in 2006 and currently teaches eighth grade humanities, serves as Middle School Humanities Department Head, is faculty advisor to the Middle School yearbook.
Naomi holds a BA from Duke University in psychology and English and is pursuing a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Scranton.
With prior experience as an outdoor trip leader, Naomi was initially attracted to Sun Valley Community School by the Outdoor Program. "I knew that any school that believed in the value of taking students into the backcountry three or four times a year would be in line with my philosophical beliefs about teaching and learning," she says. Since joining the school as a faculty member, she has consistently seen the value of outdoor experiences in building meaningful relationships that enhance learning and has also come to appreciate the team/theme model of teaching in the Middle School. The team approach, she notes, "allows us to integrate all subject areas the way that students will encounter them in the 'real world."
When she's not teaching, Naomi can be found skate skiing in the winter, mountain biking in the summer, or camping with friends and family. "I also love to read and share books with students, colleagues, and friends," she says.
Phil Huss joined Sun Valley Community School in 2000. He currently teaches Upper School English courses, serves as Upper School Teaching and Learning Coordinator, and coaches tennis. He has also served as English Department Head, Summer School Director, and Upper School Head.
Phil currently leads Fall Campout (with lots of fly rods going to the high mountain lakes), the ninth grade Salmon River Trip, the tenth grade Backcountry Ski and Snow Cave trip, and the Junior Canyonlands and Solo trips. As a member of the Outdoor Leadership Academy staff, Phil teaches a fly-fishing class in the fall term OLA curriculum.
He has been an ACA Certified Whitewater Kayak Instructor and is currently an AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Safety practitioner, a Wilderness First Responder, and has completed a Drift Boat Guide Course. His motto: “if there’s water, fish it.”
Elliot Jacobs joined Sun Valley Community School in 2009 as a member of the 6th grade team and is currently teaching Upper School English.
He grew up in Washington state, graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine, and completed his master’s degree in English at the University of Montana. In his spare time, Elliot enjoys whitewater kayaking, running, listening to music, reading books, and sliding on Idaho’s mountains and dance floors.
As member of the Outdoor Leadership Academy team, Elliot is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Swiftwater Rescue Instructor, and Whitewater Kayak Instructor and is an AIARE Level 2 Avalanche practitioner. His favorite places to paddle in Idaho are the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and our local Malad River. He has completed the first-known Tandem Kayak Descent from the school's campus to his house in Hailey, where he lives with his wife, Kate, daughter Cecily, and cat, Monster.
Lauren Marziliano serves as a Learning Specialist in the Upper School, Director of Summer Operations, Teaching / Learning Co-coordinator, and DEI Co-coordinator. She has extensive experience with outdoor programming in schools. "I can't even imagine working at a school where an Outdoor Program doesn't exist. Our connections to the outdoors build our connections internally, socially, academically, globally, and environmentally," Lauren says.
Trained as a Wilderness First Responder and Rites of Passage Guide, Lauren has guided trips across the West in backpacking, solos, sea kayaking, and canoeing, and had a short stint as a raft guide in northeastern Georgia. Prior to joining Community School, she designed and taught a course in Outdoor Recreation Leadership that focused largely on the group process and facilitation skills for high school students who were leading and mentoring fourth through sixth graders.
When not mountain biking as often as possible, Lauren can be found hiking, camping, snowshoeing, or just exploring the wild spaces that exist both within and around us.
Nancy Parsons-Brown originally joined Sun Valley Community School as a French teacher in 1983, and taught at the school for two years; she returned to the school in 1993, and she has taught in the Elementary, Middle, and Upper Schools since her return. Currently, she teaches Middle School French and formerly served with her husband, David Brown, as Co-director of Residential Life for Community School’s boarding program.
Nancy has been going on Sun Valley Community School outdoor trips for more than twenty years and has seen the Outdoor Program evolve as the school has grown. She loves sharing her outdoor experiences with students and feels that Outdoor Program trips build tight bonds between students and teachers. She has completed her Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Swiftwater Rescue training and is an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche practitioner. She is also an Outdoor Leadership Academy advisor.
When not with students or teaching, Nancy is most likely running, skiing, hiking, backpacking, playing hockey, or playing outdoors with her husband and her three adult children, all of whom graduated from Sun Valley Community School.
Calysta Phillips grew up canoeing and backpacking during her elementary and middle school summers on the lakes of Ontario, Canada, where she discovered her passion for the outdoors early. After backpacking around the Mont Blanc, climbing Mount Kenya and kayaking the the San Juan river in high school, she knew the outdoors would be part of her life forever.
As an undergrad at Harvard University, she was a First Year Outdoor Program leader, and, prior to joining Sun Valley Community School, she developed an experiential leadership curriculum at Kent Denver School in Denver, Colorado. These days you're likely to see her skate skiing, rollerblading or mountain biking the trails of Sun Valley or swimming in an icy mountain lake.
Calysta currently teaches Middle School Spanish at Community School, serves as faculty sponsor of Spirit Club and Freestyle Fellowship Rap Club, is a Zumba instructor, and serves as the school’s Service Learning and Community Connections Coordinator.
Calysta holds a BA from Harvard University and an MA in Spanish from Middlebury College.
Hannes Thum graduated from Sun Valley Community School in 2003 and returned to the school in 2009 as a member of the Upper School science faculty. He transitioned to the Elementary School as a science teacher in 2019. Besides being grateful to work with students to study the amazing local biology and ecology, Hannes is very passionate about all of the outdoor opportunities the Wood River Valley offers. He is a year-round trip leader for the school’s Outdoor Program and is also an involved advisor with the Outdoor Leadership Academy. Hannes is a Wilderness EMT and is certified in CPR and as a FCC Ham Radio Technician, and is an AIARE Level 2 Avalanche practitioner. Hannes spends most of his time on his feet or on skis in the mountains, but he is also known to unintentionally swim rivers next to a perfectly good kayak.
J. Drennan Wesley joined Sun Valley Community School in 2015 and currently teaches Upper School World History, American Government, and History of the Holocaust, among others. Drennan also co-coaches the Upper School track and field teams, is active in the Outdoor Program, and serves on the Outdoor Leadership Academy staff.
Drennan holds a BA in history from University of Michigan and a MA in the art of teaching from Pacific University.
Prior to his position at the school, Drennan spent nine years teaching and coaching at Neil Armstrong Middle School in Forest Grove, Oregon and was an adjunct professor in Pacific University's Outdoor Leadership program.
Drennan says he feels most successful in the classroom when students bring themselves to question their own understanding of themes and events of the past that then allow them to develop more insight in to the world they live in today. "This motivates them to be more mindful, kind, and thoughtful world citizens," he says.
Sun Valley Community School's commitment to student-teacher relationships through small class sizes and the Outdoor Program were powerful inspirations for Drennan to find a home at Sun Valley Community School. He values and admires "the school's commitment to utilizing the outdoors to encourage students to push beyond comfort zones, find confidence in leading and working with others, and strive to be stewards of wild places," he says. "The transference of soft skills, relationships, and confidently facing challenges from the outdoors to the classroom is impressive."
When not in the classroom, Drennan's passions are his family and the outdoors. He and his wife, Heather, have two children. The family loves to "explore wild places, strive to serve others, and aspire to learn about the world around them," he says. "We feel more than blessed to be a part of the Sun Valley Community School family and love calling the Wood River Valley our home."
Hannah Young's love of the outdoors started at a young age. She grew up ski racing and climbing volcanoes in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and her passion for the outdoors eventually brought her here to Sun Valley, where she has lived for 14 years. In the winter, she enjoys cross country, downhill, and backcountry skiing. In the summer, she enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
Besides playing in the outdoors, Hannah teaches first grade at Sun Valley Community School and serves as the Elementary School Outdoor Liaison. In her role as the Outdoor Liaison, she has led many first grade outdoor trips, as well as attended other grade level trips. Hannah is certified in Wilderness First Aid and is an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche practitioner.
The Outdoor Program is what initially attracted me to Sun Valley Community School. I knew that any school that believed in the value of taking students into the backcountry three or four times a year would be in line with my philosophical beliefs about teaching and learning.
Naomi Goldberg, Eighth Grade Team Faculty