Staff Leaders

Rob Landis, Outdoor Program Director

Rob 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 Director and Outdoor Leadership Academy 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 by working a variety of jobs, including 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 EMT, Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, CPR Instructor, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Level 3 Avalanche practitioner, AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, licensed USSA Nordic coach, licensed Ham radio operator, licensed Idaho Whitewater Guide, 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, daughters Kaitlyn and Annika, and Sunny the wonder dog.

Patrick Graham, Outdoor Program Assistant Director

Patrick Graham joined Community School last fall as Outdoor Program Assistant Director. His  efforts focus on the Elementary and Middle School Outdoor Program components while also assisting the Outdoor Leadership Academy crew. With a degree in Outdoor Education from Vermont’s Johnson State College, Patrick brought his talents to the valley in 2004, working 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.

Mike Schley, Outdoor Program Assistant

As the Outdoor Program Assistant, Mike not only leads trips, but also prepares the gear and food for all the other outdoor trips that go out at the same time. Upon return, gear is inventoried, repaired, cleaned, and made ready for the next adventure. As a resident of the valley for more than 34 years, he has a passion for the mountains, snow, and rivers that he explores with the students. Certifications include Wilderness First Responder, CPR/AED, AAI Level 2 Avalanche, ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue, and LNT trainer. He has also worked as a field instructor for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center for more than 15 years.

Erika Connelly ’03

Erika graduated from Community School in 2003 and returned to the school in 2008 as a member of the Middle School faculty. She has been a leader for both Middle and Upper School trips, and loves being able to work with students in both divisions. She recognizes how special it is to be able to experience all of the school’s outdoor trips as a student and a teacher. This past summer Erika was a river guide for White Otter Adventures, and likes to spend the majority of her summers in Stanley. In addition, she has completed her Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Avalanche One certifications. She is also an Outdoor Leadership Advisor.

Phil Huss

Phil Huss has taught at Community School for 17 years and has been teaching for 20. He has taught English classes each year and has coached tennis for 12 years, but has also served as English Department Head, Summer School Director, Upper School Head, and currently serves as the Upper School Teaching and Learning Coordinator. Phil has been with the Outdoor Leadership Academy for six years and just finished teaching fly-fishing as a class in the fall term curriculum.  Phil has completed a Drift Boat Guide Course and is offering a Learn to Drift Boat Course in the summer of 2015 for students. Phil currently leads the Fall Campout (with lots of fly rods going to the high mountain lakes), the ninth grade river outdoor trip, the tenth grade Backcountry Ski and Snow Cave outdoor trip, and the Junior Canyonlands and Solo trips. In addition, Phil has been an ACA Certified Whitewater Kayak Instructor and is certified in Level 2 Avalanche Safety and is a Wilderness First Responder. His motto: if there’s water, fish it.


Elliot Jacobs

Elliot has been teaching at Community School since 2009. He began in sixth grade and is currently teaching in the Upper School. He grew up in Washington and graduated from Bowdoin College. 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. As a part of the Outdoor Leadership Academy, Elliot is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Swiftwater Rescue Instructor, Whitewater Kayak Instructor and Avalanche Level II 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 Community School’s campus to his house in Hailey, where he lives with his wife, Kate, and cat, Monster.

Nancy Parsons-Brown

Nancy taught French at Community School in 1983 through 1985. She returned in 1993 and has been here ever since. She has taught in the Elementary, Middle, and Upper School. The bulk of her teaching is in the Middle School and she considers herself very fortunate to work with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. She has been going on Community School outdoor trips for more than twenty years. She has seen the Outdoor Program evolve as the school has grown. She loves sharing her outdoor experiences with students and feels that the Outdoor Program trips build tight bonds between students and teachers. She has completed her Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Swiftwater Rescue, and Avalanche One certifications. 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 adult children.

Tim Price

Tim grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but when he came west to attend the University of Denver, he knew he had found his new home in the mountains and surrounded by open space. After working on his master’s degree and beginning his doctorate studies at Denver University (both of which he has now completed), and while exploring the Rockies as a reborn skier and kayaker, Tim found himself teaching English in schools that valued both an academic and experiential education like the one his move west had provided him. This led Tim to Colorado Springs, Aspen, and five years ago, to Idaho. Here, and at Community School, Tim has had the privilege and opportunity to pursue the world of outdoor and experiential education, making his love for the outdoors more official through the school’s support. Over the last five years, he has had the chance to explore what it means to teach and learn in the outdoors, whether it be on the water, the coast, or in the interior of Idaho’s wilderness areas. It has also been through the school’s support that he has been able to work on multiple certifications relevant to outdoor education, such as Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Level 1, HAM radio operator’s license, Swift Water Rescue Level IV, and ACA Kayak Instructor Level 3 certification.

Hannes Thum ’03

Hannes graduated from Community School in 2003 and returned to the school in 2009 as a member of the science faculty. Besides being grateful to work with students to study the amazing biology and ecology right here in the Wood River Valley, Hannes is extremely passionate about our valley and all of the outdoor opportunities that it offers. Hannes is a year-round trip leader for Community School’s Outdoor Program, and is also an involved advisor with the Outdoor Leadership Academy. He holds certifications in Wilderness First Responder from NOLS, CPR, and AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Training and is also a certified FCC Ham Radio Technician. Hannes most of his time on his feet or on skis in the mountains, but is also known to unintentionally swim rivers next to a perfectly good kayak.

Travis Vandenburgh

Travis Vandenburgh joined the Community School faculty as a seventh grade teacher in 2008, and has twenty years of outdoor leadership experience in a variety of institutional settings from elementary to higher education. He serves as a trip leader for both Middle and Upper School programs and with the Outdoor Leadership Academy, operating in all seasons and disciplines. Travis’ passion lies in fostering a learning environment in the outdoors where students realize a potential they never saw in themselves before. Travis maintains the following certifications: Wilderness First Responder from NOLS Wilderness Medical Institute, Single Pitch Instructor from the American Mountain Guides Association, Level I Avalanche from AIARE, Advanced Swiftwater Rescue from the American Canoeing Association. Travis is also a licensed HAM radio operator with the FCC.

Hannah Young

Hannah’s love of the outdoors started young.  Growing up ski racing and climbing volcanoes in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Hannah’s passion for the outdoors eventually brought her to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she has lived for 14 years. In the winter, she continues to enjoy skiing, whether it is cross country, downhill or backcountry. In the summer, she enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Besides playing in the outdoors, Hannah is Community School’s first grade teacher as well 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 WFA-certified and holds her Level 1 Avalanche certification.