What Our Instructors Do Outside of AT

Josh Goldbach06 Feb, 2015

After the summer ends, our students go back to their normal lives. School begins, and before long everyone is swept back into the bustling routine of homework, sports practices, and even college prep. Have you ever wondered what happens to Adventure Treks instructors after the summer ends? What is their “normal routine”?

The answer is a bit complicated. Normal can look like anything from finishing a doctoral thesis to teaching preschool. While AT instructors have many things in common, like their passion for working with youth and enjoying outdoor activities, they all come from different backgrounds with diverse experiences. That’s part of what makes AT instructors so effective, and part of what makes up the magic of a six-person instructor team.

As the Associate Director, I get to keep in touch with our staff throughout the year, as well as spearhead our hiring process for new staff. One of the best parts of my job is getting to hear about all the different things our staff are up to in the off-season. While I don’t have the space to update you on what all of our staff are doing, I’m happy to share what some of the AT instructors are doing in the off-season.

You may associate AT instructors with the rugged wild, but this AT legend is currently residing in New York City. Chrissie Monaghan is finishing her dissertation for her Ph.D. in international and comparative education, and is also working on a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University. She still manages to get her outdoor time in; currently, she’s training for her next marathon.

Other AT Instructors working on higher education:

  • Cody Bauman is finishing her master’s degree in outdoor education at Ohio University.
  • Erica Van Steenis is working on her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Julia Schleifman is finishing her master’s in school counseling at Lewis and Clark University.
  • Craig McGowan is working on his master’s in biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Talley Kayser takes a different approach to her off-season. Although Talley used to put her master’s degree in literature to work teaching at a university, she’s spent the better part of her winter rock climbing in Mexico. Her life isn’t all play, though; she’s soon returning to lead outdoor education trips in Southern California for the Boojum Institute.


Other AT instructors adventuring in their time off:

  • Our Director DMAC went winter backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Nicole Cronin traveled around Central America.
  • Janie Welsh is traveling around Australia and New Zealand.
  • Brett Smith, Bess Crandall, and Brian Erickson are rafting the Grand Canyon.
  • Kenny Goff and Emma Bucke are ice climbing in Montana.

While some of our instructors spend their off-seasons away from managing groups of kids, Brandon Tyrrell loves nothing more than having fun with kids, which is why he’s teaching preschool in Bend, Oregon. When he isn’t chasing the little ones around the classroom, he’s mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing.


Other AT instructors working as teachers:

  • Liddell Shannon is teaching at a charter school in North Carolina.
  • Lauren Moran is teaching history at a private high school in Georgia.
  • Stephen Gardiner is teaching middle school science in Portland, Oregon.
  • Emily Spognardi is teaching at the Woolman Semester School in California.
  • Amanda Bogan is teaching English in Taiwan.
  • Jackie Fleming is the Assistant Director at the Pioneer Project, a semester school in North Carolina.

Many AT instructors spend their winters as a ski instructor. But there’s nothing typical about Allison O’Brien, who’s teaching skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Allison has been teaching skiing for three winters, and is a PSIA Level 2 ski instructor.


Other AT instructors working at ski mountains (say hi if you see them!):

  • Joe Sisti and Liz Doby are also working at Steamboat Springs.
  • Brenna Meagher and Nicole Cronin are working at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon.
  • Rachael Mallon is working at Stevens Pass Ski Area in Washington.
  • Colin McLeod is working at Grand Targhee in Idaho.
  • Stacey Wren is working at Crested Butte in Colorado.

As you can see, Adventure Treks instructors have similar interests, but they don’t fit into any particular mold. Our six-instructor model allows our instructors to combine their diverse experiences, skills, and personalities to create a cohesive, effective and well-rounded team.  It helps maintain the consistency of our programs by enabling better decision making and creating the opportunity for every student to connect with several great role models. I’ll be updating you with more on our instructors in our “Instructor Spotlights.”

Until next time,

Josh Goldbach
Associate Director


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