Faculty & Staff Voices: Why I Love Working at HMI

I love working at HMI because I laugh as hard as I can and think as hard as I can every day. I never dread Monday or look forward to Friday! Leadville has been as amazing place to raise my children. They are thriving; happy and engaged in their community and the natural world around them.
Danny O'Brien
Head of School
High Mountain institute was my first “real-job” after college. I’m grateful that over the past five years I’ve been a part of this dynamic work environment and community: I’ve gotten to hit the ground running and learn so many valuable lessons. From a career-building perspective, there is no better place in the nonprofit or experiential education space to cut your teeth. No door is shut at HMI and if you take the initiative, you can shadow anyone in their work and learn about what excites you-from how to wield a chainsaw, the way budgeting and development works, how to cook for a crowd of 80, or how to analyze and teach the writing of Leslie Marmon Silko there is always something to learn.
Claire Sutton
Assistant Director of HMI Gap
HMI staff on a group run in the Sawatch Mountains
I love working at HMI because I get paid to teach kids how to telemark ski!
Tom Judge
Facilities Manager
I love working at HMI because every day when I walk into work I am surrounded by people that all genuinely want to be there and bring their best selves every day!
Louisa McBride
Advancement Associate
I love working with a community of individuals who inspire me to be more intellectually curious, culturally competent, and kind. The same could be said for our student population. I am compelled to be a better educator and instructor by the caliber of our students. They are a uniquely wonderful group of beautiful nerds.
Dave Clark-Barol
Director of Summer Programs
I love the young, outdoor and adventure oriented adult community I get to work with. I love being able to ski after work. I love that each semester feels different as the student community defines itself. I love that almost a third of my job is spent outside, in the backcountry. I love that I get to hear from past students about how impactful what we do is. I love that I live in a town that prioritizes things like Ski Joring, 100 mile races, and the taco truck.
Dylan Barnes
Spanish Faculty
An HMI math classroom
I love that on an early morning during the summer, the response to a proposed ten mile run in the mountains before students finish breakfast is always met with an astounding yes, sparkly clothes, and laughter that fills my day to the top! Faculty and staff are always ready to go on an adventure, that’s what makes HMI and Leadville feel so inviting, spontaneous, and fun every single day.
Gabi Saliamonas
Kitchen Manager
I have loved working at HMI because of the joy we all can share while working together to support students. This community is unique in the love, personal, and professional support the adult community provides for each other! Also, waking up to the mountains bathed in a winter sunrise isn’t too bad either.
Luke Bazemore
Academic & Wellness Support Fellow

Faculty & Staff Voices: Why I Love Living in Leadville

I’ve always wanted to live in a down-to-earth, community-focused mountain town and Leadville is all that and more! There is so much to explore here both in the natural world and local community, I can really see myself making a life in Leadville for quite some time.
Emily Wheeler
School Counselor
Our home: Leadville, Colorado
I love living in Leadville because of how easy it is to get involved with the community. There are so many volunteer opportunities, and it feels like one person can make a big impact on this little town. Currently, I serve as president of the board of a local nonprofit called Full Circle. I've been on the board for six years--where else but Leadville can a 27-year old get invited to join a nonprofit board?! It has been a very fulfilling experience for me. In the past I've served as a mentor for a local junior high student and helped organize public demonstrations around social justice issues.
Ray McGaughey
Director of Admissions
Sometimes my friends and I look at each other and ask how we ended up living together at 10,000 feet - the answers vary, the things we celebrate and enjoy change, but regret is never expressed. Whether it's the 3 pm texts asking me if I want to go on a post-work run, the spontaneous trips to Ski Cooper on a beautiful powder day, and even the invites to join a Turquoise Lake Polar Plunge in October, life in Leadville inspires me to say yes. The community I've developed in our (some might call "small") town naturally forms the perfect venn diagram of empathy, support, and adventure.
Jill Gardiner
Administrative Manager & Registrar
Leadville offers incredible access to a diversity of outdoor adventure while balancing a welcoming and lively community.
Izzy Zucker
Science Faculty

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