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 and 8/9 Human Ecology

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, Lead Teacher 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 & 8/9 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.

Lindi Davis

12th Team & 6/7, 10/11 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.

Emma Drucker

10/11 Team - Human Ecology and Writing

Emma grew up a bookworm in Chicago. She spent most weekends at a farm in rural Illinois where an interest in ecology first manifested as building forts in fields of goldenrod and rows of corn. She went on to earn a degree in American Literature and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. She decided on her major very emotionally: literature and nature were the only two things that consistently allowed her to feel a deep sense of connection with the world. Her studies included birthing sheep, mapping habitat with GIS, modeling surface and groundwater interactions, reading authors ranging from Ovid to DeLillo, and writing about how fiction helps us understand environmental crises. She integrated her study of the Environment and American Literature with the hope that understanding our natural world as well as the stories we tell about it would better equip our society to deal with the current environmental crises. After graduating, Emma taught English at Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. Though she took her first teaching job as an excuse to read books professionally, Emma quickly became curious about the efficacy of educational systems and the evolution of adolescence. These curiosities led her to The Sage School. As a Writing and Literacy and Human Ecology teacher for 10th and 11th graders, she loves the opportunity to read, write, and help her students find relevance and meaning in what they are learning. Emma likes having her nose in a novel, her feet on a trail, and her mind working over some difficult new questions.

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 & 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.

Julie Zimmerman

8/9 Team - Lead Teacher, 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.

Nathan Kolar

8/9 Team - Human Ecology & Spanish, College Counselor

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.

Maria Maguire

6/7 Team - Lead Teacher, 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.

Heather Livingston

6/7 Team - Writing & Human Ecology, 12th Spanish

Although an East Coast native, Heather has spent most of her adult life touring new terrain. After graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Spanish from Dickinson College, she moved to northern California to work for the Woolman Semester School. While living in a tiny cabin in the woods at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Heather rediscovered her affinity to mountains, rivers, and everything wild. Shortly after her internship in California ended, she moved to Costa Rica to teach 5th through 8th grade English and Social Studies at the Monteverde Friends School. After living in the Cloud Forest for two years, Heather felt the itch to return to the U.S. to be closer to friends and family, but life has a funny way of unravelling. Instead of returning to Cape Cod, MA where most of her family lives, she was called west with a teaching opportunity in Hailey, Idaho with the Syringa Mountain School. When the opportunity to teach Spanish and Human Ecology at Sage arrived, Heather couldn’t help but jump at the amazing alignment of her passions and interests.

Lena Roebuck

6/7 & 8/9 Team - Human Ecology (And Sage Graduate)

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.

Nathan Twichell

6/7 Human Ecology,
Director of Development and Leader of Institutional Advancement

Nate is an east coast transplant to the intermountain west. He grew up on Cape Cod exploring all the ocean has to offer. He went on to earn a BS in Biology from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. After college, Nate spent several years sailing and teaching oceanography for a program called the Sea Education Association (SEA), which is based out of Woods Hole, MA. While working for SEA, Nate was introduced to the west during several stints in Jackson, WY. His experiences teaching and his time spent out west pointed him back towards a graduate program at the Teton Science Schools in Kelly, WY. The program concentrated in field science education and place-based education. Nate enjoys translating these skills to The Sage School. When not at school Nate can be found fly fishing, hiking, or skiing with his wife, daughter, and yellow lab, Tulsi.

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 and 8/9 Human Ecology

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.

Brenda Sanders Lyon

Secretary

Brenda moved to the Wood River Valley in 2007 with her husband Jeff and her children Anika and Zane. Prior to moving to Idaho, she spent 20 plus years in the cities of Denver and Philadelphia where she worked in the technology arena focusing on network systems and design, email systems and technology project and process management. She attended Cedar Crest College, a women’s liberal arts school in Allentown, PA where she was initially exposed to the benefits of experiencing your education in a small personal environment. After graduating with a B.S. in Business Information Systems, she chose to move to Philadelphia to work for companies such as The Pep Boys and SmithKline Beecham. Feeling the need to expand her horizons, both professionally and personally, Brenda and Jeff decided to head west. During her time in Colorado, Brenda worked for companies such as Kaiser Permanente, Qwest and Galileo International as well as partnering in a start-up technology company called TechSol, which she still owns today. While in Denver, Brenda served as the Chairman of the Board for the Washington Park Early Learning Center, a cooperative preschool that has been providing play-based learning to Denver preschoolers for over 35 years. Serving in this role added to Brenda’s appreciation and understanding that education is much more than memorization, letters and numbers.

Both of Brenda’s children attend The Sage School. Anika is a 10th grader and Zane a 7th grader. The Lyon family enjoys many outdoor activities that our amazing valley provides as well as enjoying the incredible Idaho lifestyle. Brenda is very active with her family and many of the non-profits in our valley including the Sawtooth Botanic Gardens, Girls on the Run, The Wood River Ski Team and The Mountain School.

Clark Furlow

Treasurer

Clark is a lawyer, a professor, and a former rock ‘n roll musician. Clark practiced corporate law in Wilmington, Delaware, and taught corporate law at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2015, he retired from teaching and returned to Ketchum where he has lived on and off since 1995. Clark earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his law degree from Emory University College of Law in Atlanta Georgia. Before going to college, Clark was a rock ‘n roll musician touring with various bands in the southeastern United States. That ended when Clark was drafted into the Army. Clark served three years and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. Clark is the father of Blake Furlow and he is married to Cathy Furlow with whom he shares responsibility for walking their dog, Maggie.

Adam Angel

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

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.

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.