Pilar teaches Spanish III, IV, V, VI, and AP Spanish Literature and has been a mainstay of Community School’s World Languages department for 27 years. In reflecting on her time at the school, she remembers her first Fall Campout 27 years ago. “It was my first time hiking, and I could see the smoke from the Yellowstone Park fire from our campsite. I felt like I was on top of the world.” Pilar’s contributions to the school were recognized in 2008, when she was awarded the Milgard Chair for Leadership and Teaching Excellence. Outside of school, her passions include her family (her son Zach ’13, attends Westminster College,) yoga, travel, soccer, the Spanish mandolin, and any outdoor activity.
Tim joined the faculty in the fall of 2010, and teaches 10th grade English. Tim recently completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver (where he earned both his B.A. and M.A..) Before joining the school, Tim taught literature and composition courses, led outdoor trips and coached at Aspen High School and Cheyenne Mountain School. His two children, son Boden and daughter Dillen, are both students in the Elementary school.Tim is an avid outdoorsman and has a multitude of outdoor certifications, which he utilizes as a Outdoor Leadership Academy staff leader. Whether you are whitewater kayaking, or backcountry skiing, you want Tim by your side!
Hannes Thum ’03
Hannes is a 2003 Community School graduate, and re-joined the Community School family in 2009 to teach biology and algebra. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College. An accomplished cross-country skier, Hannes raced for the SVSEF while at Community School and for Dartmouth in college. Hannes’ experiences as a student-athlete makes him especially valuable teacher and advisor, having lived through and experienced many of the challenges that our skiers and snowboarders face as they balance their winter sport passions with their academics.In addition to teaching biology and nature writing (co-taught with Elliot Jacobs,) Hannes also contributes greatly to the school as an Outdoor Leadership Academy staff leader. Hannes is not afraid to reveal that, even though he’s a biology teacher, that he’s afraid of spiders and snakes — especially spiders.
Paul starts his 20th year at Community School in the fall of 2015. He teaches physics, astrophysics, geology, and planetary astronomy. Paul’s personal interests are diverse; he is a classical musician, having played the oboe since age 13. He built his own airplane, and also created a software package of naval aircraft and flight routines for Microsoft’s “Flight Simulator.” He holds a B.A. in geology from Western Washington University, a B.S. in audio engineering from the University of Washington, an M.S. in geology from UC-Davis, and a PhD in geological sciences from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC-San Diego.
A veteran teacher at Community School, Phil has taught English at all four grade levels, served as the English Department Chair, directed the Summer School program, coached the tennis team, led numerous Outdoor Program trips, and was Head of the Upper School. He attended Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, and holds a B.A. in English from Amherst College and an M.A. in American Literature from the Boston College Graduate School. Phil lives with his family in Hailey; his son and daughter are both students in the Middle and Elementary School. Phil is an avid outdoorsman, and being in the Idaho wilderness with his family is what makes him happiest. Phil has brought his love of the outdoors into the school, and for years, has led the fly fishing club in the Upper School, which was so popular that is was turned into a fall elective course.
Calysta holds a B.A. in from Harvard University and an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College. Born to a French mother, she is also a native French speaker. She teaches both French and Spanish and offers Zumba and Club Disco to students. In her free time, Calysta loves to dance, cook, and spend time with her husband and kids. Her two children are students in the Elementary School.
A language specialist, Chauncy teaches French. She has taught at the school since 2004. Chauncy holds a B.A. from Colgate University and an M.A. from New York University. An avid writer, Chauncy spent part of the summer of 2010 at a writer’s workshop in Provincetown, MA as part of the school’s faculty enrichment program. Chauncy’s daughter and son are students in the Middle and Elementary School. Chauncy is also works in our college counseling department, helping direct and guide our juniors and seniors as they get ready to take the next step in their academic lives.
Teaching math, economics and computer science, Mike is currently the longest-serving teacher at the School, joining us as a Cutthroat in 1983. He also directs the Summer School program, which the majority of our skiers and snowboarders participate in. During his tenure, Mike has served as both boys’ and girls’ basketball and tennis coach, technology director and as the school’s Director of Finance. He holds a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His sons, Connor and Kevin, are members of the Classes of 2005 and 2006, respectively. Mike’s son Connor joined the math department staff alongside Mike, after participating in our Teacher Training Academy.
Connor Wade ’05
A native to the Wood River Valley, Upper School math and psychology teacher Connor Wade ’05 was practically born and raised on Community School’s campus. Son of legendary CS faculty member, Mike Wade, Connor attended CS from kindergarten through his senior year, graduating in 2005. Connor has a B.A. in psychology from Boston College. Connor returned to the valley in 2012 as a teaching intern and residential advisor for Community School’s inaugural year of the Teacher Training Academy, assistant teaching in the history department under Chad Carlson and coaching high school basketball. Connor was hired full-time for the 2013-14 school year to teach algebra, geometry, and psychology, as well as to coach middle school basketball. In his free time, Connor performs with the local folk sensation Sheep Bridge Jumpers, and enjoys hiking and backpacking with his dog, Moxie.
Elliot has been teaching at Community School since 2009, first in sixth-grade and now in the Upper School. He grew up in Washington State and graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine. Elliot 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. He lives with his wife Kate, daughter Cecily, and his cat Monster. When not in the classroom, Elliot’s teaching extends into the outdoors, as one of the staff members for our Outdoor Leadership Academy. Elliot is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue Instructor, Whitewater Kayak Instructor and Avalanche Level II Practitioner. In addition to all of his academic and outdoor knowledge, Elliot has incredible and awe inspiring rollerblading skills that are unparalleled in the Wood River Valley.
Anne joined the faculty at Community School in 2008, first part-time, then full-time in 2013. As the Upper School art teacher, she teaches ceramics, studio art, black and white photography, and digital photography. She holds a B.A. in International Relations/Political Science from Wesleyan University, and a B.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. In her free time, Anne is an endurance horseback rider with three Arabian horses. She and her husband moved to the Valley in 2007 from the Bay Area.
Upper School history teacher and residential advisor George Heinrichs joined Community School in 2015. He most recently taught history at Phillips Andover Academy and served as a residential advisor. He teaches history 9 a class in modern Middle East politics, serves as a full-time faculty member in the Residential Program, and coordinates the Model UN program. A graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in religion, George is also a former competitive Nordic skier and avid cross-country runner.
Drennan joined Community School as an Upper School history teacher in 2015. He teaches history 10, government, and debate, and also serves as an advisor and Outdoor Program Leader. Drennan not only brings eight years of teaching experience at Oregon’s Neil Armstrong School, but he also has extensive background and certifications in outdoor education and is an avid cross-country runner. Drennan and his wife, Heather, have two daughters, Mikayla and Amarah. Drennan enjoys putting on shows, having dance parties and playing kitchen with his two daughters. Drennan is at home when he is in mountains with his family. He enjoys running and is always excited for snow and is grateful for any turns he can find. Drennan most identifies with the Sesame Street character, Grover, because of Grover’s spelling skills, flying skills, and large biceps.
Gary’s approach to teaching history is to emphasize the connections between historical events and current international affairs. This strategy developed from Gary’s previous experience. Prior to joining the Community School faculty in 2009 as the Senior Advisor on a USAid project, Gary was director of global human resource development for NGO’s. He also served as the academic dean of an international college in Singapore. While teaching world history, American history, international relations and psychology, he continues to be involved as a consultant on international education projects. On school breaks, he travels to evaluate projects and develop proposals. Gary holds a B.A. in American History and Religion from Union College. He received an M.A. in European History and a doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver.
After teaching eighth grade math and science at Community School since 1994, Upper School chemistry teacher Scott Runkel joined the Upper School faculty in 2015. Scott also teaches an additional science elective, and continues to serve as the Science Department Chair, leading the Green Team, and serving as the school’s Sustainability Coordinator. Scott is a master teacher in both science and math, having previously been awarded the school’s prestigious Great Day Teaching Chair for teaching excellence and leadership. Scott and his wife, Naomi, have two children who are both graduates of Community School.
Upper School math teacher Meghan Gunn joined the Community School in 2015. Prior to joining the Cutthroat community, she was the Special Education Paraprofessional at Wood River High School and also worked as a math tutor providing fourth through pre-calculus level math. Meghan graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of San Diego with a B.A. in computer science. Meghan and her husband, Justin moved to Sun Valley in 2013 to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the area has to offer. You can find them shredding on Baldy or hiking, biking, and kayaking in the off season and playing for Ketchum’s Coed Soccer League. Additionally, Meghan is passionate about lacrosse, cooking, traveling and great music.