SVSA Staff

Jonna Mendes – Program Director

In her sixth year as the director of the Sun Valley Ski Academy, Jonna has an impressive background as an athlete and coach. A two-time Olympian at the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Jonna was also a four-time National Champion (twice in downhill, twice in giant slalom) and earned a bronze medal in super-G at the 2003 Alpine World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Following her 2006 retirement from the U.S. Ski Team, Jonna brought her vast experience and honed her coaching skills as a U.S. Ski Team development coach from 2006-2010 working with athletes at national and regional projects and competitions.

When not on campus or at the dorm, Jonna coaches the U16s with Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Jonna’s unique perspective and experience as an elite athlete and coach is an asset to the development of our SVSA student athletes. In her free time, Jonna loves chasing her son Declan down the mountain, camping with Declan and her husband, Will, and joining the dorm crew for dinner.


Chris Martella – SVSA Academic Coordinator

Chris Martella joined the SVSA staff in the fall of 2016. He rowed for the Division 1 varsity heavyweight crew team and skied for the alpine club team while at Dartmouth College, where he earned a B.A. in neuroscience, which will serve him incredibly well as he helps support SVSA’s student-athletes with their academics. An avid outdoorsman, he also was a team member of a six-man canoe expedition that paddled for 58 days to the Arctic Ocean in 2013. Chris has worked with children of all ages in multiple settings, most notably the outdoors. He was an outdoor educator with Calleva Outdoor Education where he guided and supervised students in rafting, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, climbing, and environmental education. He most recently worked as a wilderness therapy field instructor with Second Nature Wilderness Programs in Utah.

In his free time Chris loves to play his bright green ukulele, shred sick lines on the slopes, and occasionally juggle.

David Brown, Nancy Parsons-Brown – Co-Directors of Residential Life

David and Nancy began their dorm parent life at LaSell Junior College in Newton, MA. Although it is a four year coed school now, it was an all girls, junior college at the time David and Nancy were dorm parents there. Nancy is a Middle School French teacher and Teacher Training Academy coordinator at Community School. David has worn a number of hats from carpenter, construction project coordinator, and attorney to Latin teacher at Community School in the 1980s. He is a graduate of Stonehill College in North Easton, MA and holds a juris doctorate from Boston College Law School. Nancy received her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her Masters in teaching from Graceland University. They have three children who are all graduates of Community School.  They are hockey players, alpine and Nordic skiers, and long distance runners, and they consider the Sun Valley area to be the most perfect place they have ever lived.   Their goal is to make the Residence Hall a safe and encouraging place that allows its students to feel at home here in paradise while so far from their families.

Karoline Droege ‘88 – SVSA Sports Medicine Coordinator

A Community School and SVSEF alumna, Karoline was a SVSEF athlete who raced alpine for NCAA Division 1 University of Utah from 1989-93, where she earned her exercise and sport science degree with a psychology minor. She has a master’s degree in physical therapy from Idaho State University and has been practicing physical therapy in the Wood River Valley for the past 16 years. In her role with SVSA, Karoline offers sports medicine education, physical therapy evaluation, and treatment to residential student-athletes in addition to periodic sports medicine-related seminars for all students.

Karoline and her husband, Chris, have five-year old twin boys, Finn and Axel. Together as a family, they love to take advantage of all the outdoor adventures that Idaho has to offer. When she is not working, or in full-time mom mode, Karoline is most likely training or competing on her mountain bike in cross-country mountain bike events across the Pacific Northwest, most notably the High Cascade 100 Endurance Mountain Bike Race at Bend, Oregon.

Karoline Droege

Tracey Caraluzzi – SVSA Residence Hall Chef

When you think of an institutional cafeteria, the image of processed food trays filled with non-descript, unhealthy foods jump to mind. Tracey Caraluzzi set out to change that stereotype at the Residence Hall. Tracey began her professional culinary career 30 years ago, joining the Community School Residence Hall three years ago, after many years as an involved Community School parent. She began with a vision of providing healthy, nutritious, sustainable meals to students, similar to the type of meals she provided in her own restaurants and for her own family of seven, eliminating processed and unnatural foods. She endeavors to limit food waste by utilizing all parts of an ingredient, and utilizing locally-sourced organic foods from small-scale sustainable farms, whenever possible. She works to expose students to new foods and healthy eating, believing they will then more likely continue healthy living and eating practices throughout the rest of their lives. Her mothering nature kicks-in with our residents the minute they arrive on campus, with many calling her their ‘other mom’.

Tracey believes that there is a unique and rewarding challenge to providing food with enough choices for a collective group, taking into account their cultural differences and tastes, while making them feel happy, well fed, supported, and cared for. She strives to rise to and meet that challenge, with joy and enthusiasm, every day.

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