Our People

Meet Our Community

Faculty & Staff

The Faculty and Staff of The Sage School come from various backgrounds with different educational histories, and diverse personal interests. Where they converge is in their dedication to adolescence, their collective sense of curiosity, and their desire to keep wonder alive in our students.

Harry Weekes

Head of School

Raised on the East Coast until the ripe age of three, Harry moved to Idaho in 1972. He studied Environmental Science, Biology and Studio Art at Middlebury College, and earned his graduate degree in Life Science from the University of Maryland in College Park. After 25 years of teaching and researching topics ranging from how the built environment enhances learning to brain development, he continues his work as an aspiring adolescent anthropologist. Harry founded The Sage School in an effort to fully explore the ideas, methods, and philosophies embodied by the school, and because he believes that including adolescents is essential in creating real and positive change. He is curious about and interested in many things: writing, sketching, Biology, Ecology, watercolor, and agriculture. Harry has a wonderful wife, three children, two dogs, and a smattering of chickens and houseplants.

Chris McAvoy

Assistant Head of School, Admissions, 12th Team - Human Ecology

Chris has been teaching for over 20 years in independent and charter schools. He worked to develop a brand-new charter school, a Montessori middle school, an Expeditionary Learning curriculum, and is most proud of his work co-founding The Sage School. Chris worked with Harry for 5 years before starting The Sage School. Long hours of conversations inspired the two to go further into developing an educational system for adolescents. Chris’s formal education took place at the University of Vermont, where he earned his undergraduate degree in psychology (with minors in sociology and political science) and at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned his master’s degree in education. His informal education took place throughout the years he spent leading kids in the backcountry or just rambling about in the woods as a kid. He owes a great deal of debt to a former teacher, Mrs. Zeller, who inspired him to think creatively and critically as a young tyke. He loves being outdoors with his family, when he isn’t cheering his two kids on in hockey or soccer or…

Maggie Blatz

12th Team - Human Ecology & Mathematics

Maggie, a Colorado native, grew up with a love for outdoor adventures and for all things science and math. After studying physics, French and math at the University of Colorado, she moved to Jackson, Wyoming and worked for two years as an optical engineer. Eager to be a student again, she attended Stanford University and earned a master’s in environmental earth system science. After graduating, she found her way to the Wood River Valley and The Sage School to share her love for math with students. When she’s not teaching math, Maggie can be found skiing, biking or climbing with her husband Nick.

Nathan Kolar

12th Team - Human Ecology, Spanish, and Writing

Nathan joined the Sage faculty in 2011 and is best known around campus as “Nazario,” a nickname he acquired from his host brother while living in Seville, Spain during the 2003-04 school year. His time in Spain was a crucial chapter in his Spanish language training, which has also included big chunks of time traveling in Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Prior to coming to the Sage School, Nathan earned a B.A. in English from Williams College, taught History at Hopkins School in New Haven, CT, and earned an M.A. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Nathan lives in old Hailey with his wife, Tenaya, and their two children, son Dash and daughter Sadie. When not at school, Nathan pursues his other interests: reading, gardening, cooking, making music, and being in the beautiful outdoors for swimming, hiking, biking, and camping.

Amy Morrison

10/11 Team - Human Ecology and Spanish

Native to the Southwest, Amy grew up exploring the mountains, deserts, and rivers of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. After earning a B.A. in Humanities at Fort Lewis College, she spent three years living and working in a small fishing village on the coast of Ecuador. Amy and her husband Brian then spent the next ten years living in Panama where they had their two sons, worked on a coastal conservation project, and were fortunate to have had extraordinary ocean and tropical experiences. Upon returning to the U.S, Amy has combined her love of language and culture with her desire to positively impact the lives of young people through teaching. She is passionate about authentic language acquisition and student-centered classrooms. She believes that strong student-teacher relationships are at the heart of a positive educational experience. Amy enjoys travel, cooking, hiking, dance, theater, wildflowers, and swimming holes. Her greatest joy is her family and her two boys who serve as a constant reminder to stay present and to live every day in gratitude.

Matt Leidecker

10/11 Team - Human Ecology & Mathematics; COVID Coordinator

Though not technically a native, Matt Leidecker grew up in the Wood River Valley exploring the nooks and crannies of the valley bottom and snowy slopes of Bald Mountain. His perspective of central Idaho expanded exponentially when he began guiding on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. From 1991 – 2003 Matt worked full-time (summers) on the Middle Fork. He filled off-seasons with a 4-year stint at Middlebury College to study Geology, Environment Science, Theater (work-study) and Rock Climbing in Adirondack State Park; Travels to Belize and Chile for kayaking and climbing adventures; Working as a backcountry ski guided for Sun Valley Heli Ski; and freelance photography and writing projects. As he transitioned away from full-time Middle Fork guiding, Matt created a unique niche that included nine years as the Academic Director with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) and researching, writing, and publishing guidebooks to the rivers and mountains of central Idaho. Matt’s award-winning guides provide a comprehensive perspective on the landscape, mixing trail descriptions with history, geology, and local wildflower information. Matt looks forward to sharing with and learning from the SAGE community. He is supported on this new adventure by his wife Christine and children Sarah and Max.

Lindi Davis

10/11 Team - Human Ecology & Mathematics

Lindi grew up on a small barrier island off the eastern coast of Florida loving numbers from a very early age. While attending the University of South Florida to earn a Bachelor and Master of Arts in pure mathematics, she caught the teaching bug and met her husband whose family is a ‘Century Family’ of Camas Prairie, Idaho. After graduating, they headed west to raise their family in the Wood River Valley. Lindi has had a long and diverse teaching career that provides more than just knowledge. It brings patience, courage, humility, and passion. She is happy to return full- time to the valley and continue her work in teaching and curriculum development at Sage. When not in the classroom sharing her passion for math, Lindi enjoys spending her time with her family as well as her two- and four- legged friends hiking and traveling the world.

Katherine Spilhaus

10/11 Team — Human Ecology & Writing

Kaly was born and raised on the East Coast but has found her way to the mountains after discovering a love of the outdoors during her undergraduate years at Saint Michael’s College, in Vermont. After graduating with dual degrees in English and Global Studies she began working in boarding schools in New England, hoping to integrate more interdisciplinary education into her English courses. During these years, she cultivated a passion for teaching before deciding to return to school to earn her Master’s in Education from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Kaly spent time studying how teachers can support deeper and more relevant learning for all adolescents. Kaly is thrilled to be joining The Sage School to put her learning to work. Outside of the classroom, Kaly is often climbing, skiing, reading, or coaching ice hockey.

Julie Zimmerman

8/9 Team - Human Ecology & Writing

A former documentary photographer and journalist, Julie began her career in independent school education when son number one entered two-day preschool. With both sons, Cyrus and Starke, now happily ensconced at her alma mater, the University of Richmond, Julie is transitioning from Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay region to central Idaho. She first fell in love with experiential education during her early years as a preschool teacher- where learning is joyful, creative, expressive, and a full engagement of the mind and body. Taking her love for collaboration, communication, and critical thinking to middle school, she’s taught writing, geography, and global relations for the past four years and has led service-learning trips to New Orleans, Savannah, and Stanley as well as yearly ecology trips to the Florida Bay estuary. Julie believes wholeheartedly that when learning is connected to life, students are capable of incredible creativity and achievement, and is delighted to join a school community with a philosophy so intentionally embedded in transformational experiences for its students. No stranger to central Idaho, Julie took six road trips over ten years to explore the west’s various ranges before purchasing an acre in Stanley, where she built a one-room cabin with backdoor access to the Sawtooth Wilderness in 2002. Her only regret in coming west is that she’s not sure where she’ll be able to practice her finely honed skills as a historic tall ship sailor.

Kylon Myers

8/9 Team - Human Ecology & Mathematics

Kylon grew up in South-Central Idaho exploring the mountains and rivers and enjoying all that the region has to offer. In 2011, Kylon moved to Missoula, Montana to follow his passion for science and human performance while studying at the University of Montana. During his studies, he completed an internship with the Biomechanics Department, applying mathematics and physics concepts to examine muscle fatigue in wildland firefighters. Through this project, Kylon quickly fell in love with the problem-solving aspect of mathematics, entirely changing his perspective on learning. Following graduation, Kylon moved to Jackson, Wyoming to pursue a career in healthcare, not realizing that he would soon be on the front lines of a global pandemic. This work inspired him to commit himself to helping others through education. Kylon moved back to Southern Idaho to share his passion for education with students in the same region of the state he grew up in. Beyond his love of math, Kylon is excited to share his excitement for conservation and the natural world with his students. When he is not in the classroom, Kylon enjoys fly fishing, running, and hiking with his dog, Ranger.

Laurel Douglas

8/9 Team - Human Ecology & Spanish

Laurel Douglas is a northern Idaho native, born in Coeur d’Alene. After living in Idaho for the first seven years of her life, Laurel moved around with her family to Nevada, Eastern Canada, and eventually Honduras. She is lucky to be bilingual after her years of living in Honduras, and understands the value of organically acquiring a language. Laurel earned a B.A. in English from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, where she developed her love of trail running, mountain biking and climbing. After college, she ski-bummed around Montana, Idaho and Wyoming before attending the University of Montana and earning a Master’s degrees in Political Science and English teaching. Laurel has been teaching for 9 years all around the Mountain West, and for two years in Nicaragua. Laurel loves cold mountain rivers, shady trails, and her dog, Finn.

Maria Maguire

6/7 Team - Human Ecology & Spanish

Maria was born and raised in the greater Seattle area. She has worn many hats since then from Natural History Tour Guide in Denali National Park to Wellness Center Coordinator for the San Francisco Unified School District. She double majored in Spanish and Anthropology at Western Washington University and played on the Women’s Lacrosse team. After some exploratory years in Alaska and Crested Butte, CO, Maria set off to earn a master’s degree in Women’s and Children’s Health from Boston University. Maria believes that the many benefits of learning a second language are clear and has adopted the OWL (Organic World Language) method. She has taken her classes beyond the textbooks and worksheets to an atmosphere where each student is authentically engaged in language acquisition through hands-on, interactive activities. Maria enjoys many of the amazing outdoor activities that a mountain lifestyle provides as well as gardening, reading, playing the fiddle, yoga, dancing, and her greatest love is her family. Her husband is a creative Architectural Designer and they have two curious, fun-loving kids who are constantly teaching them important life lessons.

Lena Roebuck

6/7 Team - Human Ecology & Writing

As a local potato, Lena was raised in the Wood River Valley and graduated from The Sage School. After graduating, she spent six months in India, lived in Central California for almost two years, and then moved to Prescott, AZ, to pursue her master’s and bachelor’s degree at Prescott College. As an undergrad, she majored in Cultural and Regional Studies and minored in Outdoor Education. Her master’s degree is in Social Justice and Community Organizing. In this program she had the opportunity to work with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, raising awareness around educational disparities and the housing crisis in the Los Angeles area. She later worked with Sonoran Prevention Works, researching impacts of the opioid crisis in and around Prescott. She had the opportunity to work with multiple organizations on the United States-Mexico border as well as co-created and was the logistics coordinator for Praxis Youth Organizing Conference in Tucson, AZ. Her thesis focused on global philanthropy and the effects of capitalism and colonialism on geography. She is passionate about community engagement, youth organizing, justice for marginalized groups, and imagining and co-creating a world we want to live in. Lena is happy to be invited back to The Sage School and eager to share with students and colleagues what she has learned about racism, wealth and income inequalities, the relationship between the global north and the global south, the impacts of our current global economic system, and much, much more.

Kaleb Greenwood

6/7 Team - Human Ecology & Mathematics

Originally from Colorado, Kaleb’s wandering foot and passion for chasing rivers brought him to central Idaho where he now guides on the Main and Middle Fork of the Salmon River. His passion for water and sense of adventure has led him to many places. After earning a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado he travelled to Laos with Engineers Without Borders. Kaleb has spent the last 6 summers guiding rivers in Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and now Idaho. He is always excited to share his knowledge of the natural world with students, and has flourished in an array of non-traditional outdoor classrooms. His curiosity is endless and contagious. Developing genuine unique relationships with each student is at the core of his teaching philosophy. He is excited to continue setting roots down in the Wood River Valley and join the Sage School community.

Kristal Georgiades

Office Manager and Front Desk Wrangler

Bio coming soon!

Board of Trustees

The Sage School is governed by a Board of Trustees, charged with the strategic oversight of the school. Below are our current Board members. Anyone interested in learning more about the Board, its committee structure, or how to get involved is encouraged to contact Erik or Harry.

Erik Vorm

Board Chair

Erik grew on the East coast and Europe. He passed the French baccalaureate program and attended the Sorbonne, University of Paris and ASU studying politics, economics and philosophy. 30 years ago he had the great fortune of discovering the Wood River Valley and has called the area home ever since. He has enjoyed many different career paths while acquiring a variety of skill sets. His family started the Cornerstone restaurant ten years ago. The business had a basic tenet of giving to the community. He and his wife, Meg, have raised money for Higher Ground, Camp Rainbow Gold, the WR Animal Shelter, Bald Mountain Rescue and many others. Erik joined the Board after having served on the Campus Organizational Group and the Development group. His two daughters, Elena and Chloe, are enrolled in The Sage School. The opportunity they have had to connect and grow with themselves and the world around them through the Sage experience will not only enhance their appetite for knowledge and exploration but also create pathways to enjoy all life has to offer.

Harry Weekes

Head of School

Raised on the East Coast until the ripe age of three, Harry moved to Idaho in 1972. He studied Environmental Science, Biology and Studio Art at Middlebury College, and earned his graduate degree in Life Science from the University of Maryland in College Park. After 25 years of teaching and researching topics ranging from how the built environment enhances learning to brain development, he continues his work as an aspiring adolescent anthropologist. Harry founded The Sage School in an effort to fully explore the ideas, methods, and philosophies embodied by the school, and because he believes that including adolescents is essential in creating real and positive change. He is curious about and interested in many things: writing, sketching, Biology, Ecology, watercolor, and agriculture. Harry has a wonderful wife, three children, two dogs, and a smattering of chickens and houseplants.

Adam Angel

Secretary

Adam likes to take the path less traveled. With a B.S. in Geology, Adam began as a field instructor for outdoor science schools before deciding to apply his skills as an engineering geologist in the corporate world. It didn’t take him long to need a lifestyle change and he became a lead climbing guide on Mount Rainier and around the world. Ultimately his travels and activities drove him from the analytical to the creative, and he became a photographer and gallery owner.

“Photography and climbing are the two most defining experiences in my professional adult life. I’ve worked extensively in the Washington Cascades, Alaska, Mexico, Ecuador, Russia, Peru, Mongolia, Argentina, Tanzania, Nepal and Tibet. My work as a photographer, climbing guide, and gallerist has gathered a loyal following.”

In September of 2016 his family hit the reset button by leaving Mount Rainier. They moved to Hailey so their daughter Asia could answer the strong call of The Sage School and the Sun Valley Ski Team. As time allows he continues to guide for one of the most respected guiding companies in the world and make great pictures along the way. His family enjoys skiing, cycling until it hurts (followed by good food and wine), and encouraging canine antics around the house!

“In my broad experiences around the world, I’ve taken note of what makes people, cultures, and societies tick. The answer doesn’t fit in a box, and The Sage School reflects that. It is authentic and worldly education with a truly contemporary perspective. Students at The Sage School can trust their imagination and originality, and know that it will be supported and guided. The result is happiness. Happiness is deepest when it includes a loving community, extensive human and ecological connection, meaningful relationships, and relevant service that improves the lives of others. This is intrinsic to the Sage philosophy/community and foremost in my mind when guiding decisions. People who are fundamentally happy make the most positive changes in the world, create more fairness, better health, and happiness in others. I am lucky to be able to contribute to this brilliant school.”

Art Daves

Treasurer

Art is originally from North Carolina and grew up mostly in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Richmond. He moved to the Wood River Valley with his family after a six-year stint in Atlanta working for the Olympics and Turner Broadcasting. For the past 25+ years, Art has worked in Special Event and Sports Production on a myriad of projects. In 2015 he started his own Event Production consultancy and currently owns and operates the Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival.

Art was extremely fortunate to marry Heather Flood, who grew up ski racing in Sun Valley. It was her deep ties to the Wood River Valley that led them to settle here in 2003. They have three children, all of them having attended the Sage School through the years, including his daughter Laura who is a current student. Art also served on the Pioneer Montessori School board for nine years.

Stephanie Carlson

Born and raised in the Wood River Valley, Stephanie feels lucky to call Ketchum home. She attended Princeton University and graduated with a BA in Anthropology. She returned to Ketchum after college and spent eight (pre-children) years at Smith Optics working in marketing and communications. The following ten (young-children) years were spent volunteering at Pioneer Montessori School, organizing fundraisers and events. She then combined her background in marketing with her event management skills for three (older-children) years at the Sun Valley Film Festival. Stephanie relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 2015. Currently, she volunteers at the Catlin Gabel School, where her daughter Eva and son Lucas are spending their high school years. She also mentors juniors and seniors through the college application process. Stephanie is acutely interested in educational philosophy and believes in purposeful learning that leads to responsible action and is excited to support and promote The Sage School’s mission. Eventually, she also hopes to figure out how to use that Anthropology degree.

Dennis McGonigal

Dennis was born in Hailey, Idaho, and graduated both high school and also college from Idaho schools. He is employed at an amazing Idaho company. He is a proud trustee of The Sage School. He enjoys fishing, whitewater, hiking, hunting, and camping with my family. His son, Ayden McGonigal, Sage School Class of 2020, has attended Sage since 7th grade.

Dennis’s great grandfather Michael Brown settled in the Wood River Valley with a land grant in 1881. As he entered the Wood River Valley, he met John Timmerman and they became lifelong friends and neighbors. Michael Brown decided this was the place where he wanted to stay. He built a ranch which is still partly in Dennis’s family 6 generations later. Dennis’s grandfather David Inchausti, came from the Basque Country of Northern Spain as a sheep foreman to run operations in Mackay, Idaho. Around 1930 he traveled back to Spain to marry Dennis’s grandmother, Epi, and they returned to Idaho. They loved the Wood River Valley and settled here as well, on River Street in Hailey. Papa David opened the Gem Bar and Grandma Epi created a boarding house reminding them both of the old country. It became a resting place for Basque compatriots, as well as local people and even celebrities from Sun valley, that would grace Dennis’s grandmother’s table, to compliment her Basque cooking and warm hospitality.

The history of Dennis’s family in this valley was never presented more real and more engaging than when Ayden was given the task in Human Ecology to retrace his heritage and his own history. That is when Dennis truly realized Sage was special. It gave Ayden and and Ayden’s family another really solid, really important view of our sense of place. At the same time they heard stories of other families, their stories added so much more understanding of other people, their stories, their sense of place. That is what Sage school does. It does not matter where you are from, your story will be told here. That is why Dennis is very proud and fortunate to be a part of this evolving, amazing story, the story of The Sage school, and why he invites you to explore the possibilities for your child, for your family, for your story. It will be nothing less than amazing.

Michael Praggastis

Bio coming soon!

Bobbi Filbert

Bobbi has always been called to the ocean and to the environment. As a teenager she became a certified scuba diver so she could further explore this unseen world. She was born and raised in California and attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a BA in Zoology and then attended University of California, Santa Cruz to complete a MS in Marine Sciences. While in college she discovered skiing and her love of the mountains and a new path was set.

For the last twenty years she has been living in the Wood River Valley, raising her two, lovely daughters, Raine and Camas, and working on the Sawtooth National Forest as a wildlife biologist and engaging with and leading teams to address complex natural resource problems. Bobbi has always been passionate about education and she is a firm believer in the Sage School journey.

A perfect day begins with a mysteriously calm and quiet paddle board across Pettit Lake in the early morning, time for reflection and admiration of the beautiful wildlands that surround us here in Idaho.

Mike Pfau

Mike was raised in the Wood River valley, cutting his teeth on the ski slopes of Dollar Mountain, fortunate to have his father as the manager of Snow Creek condominiums at the base.

He attended Hemingway Elementary, Wood River Middle School, and Wood River High school. His love for the Wood River Valley began at an early age, knowing wherever his journeys took him, this was home.

Forty some odd years later, Mike is raising his three children here. Illiah 23, a graduate of WRHS, Amelia 13, a member of the Sage School 8-9 band, and Charlie Mac at Hailey Elementary for now and will most likely join the sage family.

Mike is a strong proponent of the Sage philosophy that embraces adolescence as one of the most formative periods in life. He believes this approach has the power to create a better path for all of the children at Sage, including his own.

Mike has been in construction most of his professional life, although his journey has included time as a backcountry guide in the Intermountain West and beyond, including Alaska, Washington, and Utah. He has spent multiple years assisting and guiding for the Sun Valley Community School outdoor programs.

Currently, he is a project manager for Lee Gilman Builders and has been for eight years, bringing his love for construction coupled with community-minded development along with him.

Things that bring joy and a grin across Mike’s face:
• Life
• His children
• Paragliding
• Walking up, through, and around the mountains.
• Skiing powder, fast groomers, or even conditions others may find uncomfortable!
• Mountain biking.
• Enjoying this place he is lucky to call home.

Chris Root

In Memoriam

Chris passed away earlier this year. Chris’s constant refrain was “What will this do for the kids?” Chris’s unflappable cheer, his sweet tooth turned into treats during meetings, and his ability to bring any group back to the core purpose of the school and do what was best for the students, are just some of the many things that will be deeply missed. Chris was a father, a husband, a friend, and an advocate- a champion for the school, for his family, and particularly his son, Wyatt, who was always a motivating factor for Chris in being involved in creating something unique and as exciting as Sage. Chris’s presence was appreciated, and his spirit will live on.