Charles Sachs, Head of School
Colgate University, BA
Middlebury College, MA
Quote: "The child is the Father of Man" William Wordsworth
After college graduation, Charlie Sachs began teaching English language as a Peace Corps volunteer. He returned to the United States to teach dyslexics and thereafter worked in several outstanding boarding and day schools around the country.
In his 37 years in education, Charlie has taught French, English, and history at the Middle and Upper School levels and coached lacrosse,alpine skiing, squash, rowing, and tennis. Over 17 years, he has served as head of three different independent schools.
Charlie’s family includes his wife Kim and four very active and fun young men aged 14 to 26. Whenever possible, Charlie takes full advantage of the recreational, social, and cultural opportunities of Park City. email >
Tess Miner-Farra, Associate Head of School
Wells College, BA
University of Utah, MA
Quote: "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." - James Thurber
Raised in Manhattan and then upstate New York in a family of writers,teachers and avid readers, Tess studied English and Philosophy at Wells College, then started her teaching career in the English department at Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts, where she coached soccer,xc-skiing and directed a freshman girls' dormitory.
In 1996 at the University of Utah, Tess completed a Masters degree that she started at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English, married husband John and moved back to NY to teach English and History at the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid. During the next six years, Tess taught every level of secondary English, SAT Prep, served as the Director of College Counseling, Faculty liaison to the Board, and Academic Dean.
After the birth of their first daughter, the family moved to Maine in support of John's work and Tess spent the next six years at home with Lina and Hanna, teaching College Composition and coordinating a college-readiness program at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The Farras returned to Utah in 2008 and in 2009, Tess brought her independent school experience to Park City Day School, along with her two daughters,who now enjoy the extraordinary benefits of a PCDS education.
Tess, John, Lina and Hanna take full advantage of the spectacular Utah weather, hiking, trail running, camping and otherwise "keeping up" with the newest member of the family, a border collie mix named "Roxy." email >
Chris Hawk, Assistant Head of School & Middle School Director
Connecticut College, BA
Kalamazoo College, Teaching Certificate
University of Denver, MSW
Quote: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will" George Bernard Shaw
Chris was born and raised in Michigan, graduated from Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire and completed his BA from Connecticut College in 1993, and as a member of the varsity hockey program. After a year playing in Europe, Chris moved back to Michigan to pursue his career in education through Kalamazoo College before joining the New Hampton School in 1995, where he taught social sciences, led their Experiential Education Program and coached Ice Hockey.
With a love for the outdoors and a childhood introduction to the mountains of the West, Chris moved to Park City to join the Oakley School in 1998, where he served as Director of Student/Residential Life, history teacher, and Wilderness Program Counselor. Since 2009, Chris Hawk has served as Assistant Head of School-Programs and Services at Wasatch Academy. In that capacity he developed and integrated project-based and challenged-based learning, helped develop the school’s “green initiative, and expanded their international school partnerships and service learning programs.
Mr. Hawk brings his extensive experience in co-curricular programming, student advisory and counseling and history to Park City Day School, and is excited to be back in Park City enjoying the mountain life with his partner, Tiffany, and their son, Liam. email >
Melanie Pickens, Academic Dean & LS Academic Director
Brigham Young University, BA
University of Tennessee, MS
Quote: ”When life hands you lemons, make orange juice and leave them wondering how you did it." --Anonymous
Melanie Pickens began teaching as a middle school history teacher in Texas. During her eleven years in the classroom, Melanie has taught in five states, in both public and private settings, to a wide range of students, including gifted and special needs students.
After completing her Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision, Melanie served as the Middle School Dean of Students at an independent school in Memphis and as the Director of Educational Technology, Summer Programs and After School Programs at Park City Academy.
Melanie enjoys spending time with her daughters.Whenever possible they love to take advantage of the recreational opportunities in the Park City area. email >
Elaine Minahan, Early Childhood Director
University of Kansas, BA
Quote: “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”—Maori Proverb
A native of Kansas, Elaine Minahan ventured West to explore the mountains of Utah “just for a ski season. Ten years later, she still enjoys the friendly community and outdoor lifestyle of Park City.
Elaine has a background in Montessori philosophy and eight years teaching experience in Early Childhood education. In her classroom,children will find a supportive environment that fosters creative learning and a sense of independence. A solid understanding of curriculum and early childhood philosophy, a joy for learning, and a passion for music are gifts Elaine shares with her students.
When she is not with young people in the classroom, you can find her singing on various stages in town with two local bands, The Detonator sand Lash LaRue. She also enjoys yoga, skiing, and hiking on the trails with her terrier mutt, Lucy. email >
Janice Brewster, Student Support Team Director
University of Utah, BS
Quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." —Henry David Thoreau
After graduating from the University of Utah, Janice Brewster began her teaching career in Jackson Hole, WY, working at a residential school for students with severely and profoundly handicapping conditions.After returning to Utah, she taught in a variety of settings, including the Jordan School District and parochial schools.
Over the past 25 years, Janice has taught reading, honors English and language arts, and has coached volleyball, basketball and cheerleading.She is passionate about children and loves to help each child discover his or her unique talents and gifts.
An avid gardener and novice decorator, Janice likes to spend time with her sisters, daughter and son-in-law. When she’s not working, she can be found walking, watching movies, and learning to play the guitar. email >
Joanne Staral, Faculty Mentoring Team Director
University of Wisconsin-Madison, BS
Quote: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”—Mahatma Gandhi
Encouraged to enter the world of education by an inspirational high school instructor, Joanne Staral began her teaching career at the middle school level in Madison, Wisconsin. She came to Park City with a strong background in child development and reading, and had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of students at the middle and elementary school level. Nearly three decades later, she now puts her teaching expertise to work for first graders at the Park City Day School, where she enjoys the challenge and creative freedom of the independent school setting.
Joanne’s teaching approach emphasizes engaging activities that bring learning to life and collaborative projects that teach children to work cooperatively in the classroom. She has a passion for educating her students about the earth and the significance of “treading lightly as we go about our daily lives. Joanne co-founded the greenhouse program at the Colby campus and looks forward to expanding the instructional reach of the gardening program in the future.
Away from the classroom, Joanne likes to ski, bike, fly fish and hike in the beautiful mountains surrounding Park City. email >