SAS Summer Camp Staff

SAS Summer Camp Staff

SAS Summer Camp participants have the opportunity to craft their own personal weekly schedules as they select from a variety of instructor-lead sessions alongside traditional summer camp activities.  We have grown tremendously from from our first year with a small staff of four counselors to our current robust 10-member staff plus instructors.  This year we welcome our second camper turned counselor-in-training!  

2024 Staff

Gift Certificate


Bentley Cook


Bentley received his BS in computer science and Russia from Sewanee: The University of the South and is currently a software engineer and product manager with Tubetube.  He lives in Sewanee with his wife and young daughter.


Ben Ayers

Ben is a 2011 graduate of SAS and is a founding member of the folk band The Yellow Dandies.  He currently teaches K-8 Music in our tri-country region in addition to continuing to create and perform. Since 2011, Ben has played guitar, mandolin, electric and upright bass, and Irish bouzouki and tenor banjo in everything from Jazz Big Bands to Rock Trios, but his main focus has consistently been Old-Time and Bluegrass.


Michael has taught Karate and Iaido (Japanese sword) for 26 years at two dojos, and started martial arts programs at three secondary schools.  He recently retired from a 25-year teaching career and works in security systems as he continues to pursue writing poetry, composing and recording music, and, of course, martial arts.

Fhae Long 
Pottery / Flow Arts

Fhae is the current ceramics instructor at SAS and a member of  the Visual Arts and Residential faculty.  She received her BA in Ceramics and Marketing from Austin Peay State University and an associates degree in Early Childhood Education, Nashville State Community College.  We are excited to offer flow arts as a new session and thrilled Fhae will be with us this summer.

Ben Paty

From Nashville, Ben specializes in beautiful bowls and was recently recognized as a merit award winner for a wooden free-form vase  during American Craft Week by the Tennessee Arts Commission. He is an alumnus of SMA, a parent school of SAS.

Speed Baranco 
Mountain Biking

A lifelong biking fanatic, Speed is a graduate of The University of the South and head coach of the SAS Mountain Biking Team alongside owning his own real estate marketing firm. A parent of two SAS alumni, Speed also serves on the residential staff and is founding board advisory president of the Tennessee Interscholastic Cycling League.

Ben Tarhan

Ben is a mid-level full stack software engineer with experience building and iterating modern applications within cloud infrastructure. He has a masters of engineering from the University of Maryland College Park and graduated from State University of New York Buffalo with a BS in computer engineering. He lives in Sewanee. and is thrilled to join our summer team this year.

Pippa Browne
Art / Painting

The mother of a recent SAS graduate, Pippa obtained a bachelor’s degree in fine art and psychology and a post-graduate diploma in education from the University of Natal, South Africa. She worked as a children's book illustrator for the publisher Barefoot Books of Bath, UK. Between 1996 and 2000 her illustrations were selected for a number of international traveling exhibitions. Since moving to the Pippa has moved away from illustrating and back to a more expressive style of art and painting

Elizabeth Duncan
Camp Director

Lizzie has been with SAS since 2002. She served as Director of Alumni & Special Events for 17 years and is now Director of Auxiliary Programs & Special Events where she serves as Summer Camp Director, senior year coordinator, and manager of the school store and McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts.  She has a BS degree in special and elementary education from Peabody of Vanderbilt University.  She studied acting at the Studio Theater Conservatory in DC and with various coaches in Los Angeles, including Michael Shurtleff and Randy Kirby.

Michael Short
Outdoor Adventure

Michael serves as SAS Outdoor Education Coordinator along with lead faculty member for the 6th grade humanities program. He and his wife Molly, who is our SAS Chaplain, live on campus with their two sons.

Emily Wallace
Culinary Arts

Emily is a Certified Chef as a graduate of Washburne Culinary Institute in Chicago, and was our inaugural culinary chef in 2021. An executive chef the past 20 years, she previously owned two local catering businesses and is now SAS Director of Dining Services with Flik.

William Cunningham
Swimming / Lifeguard

William is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South and is currently working with the Vista program and Housing Sewanee and the University Farm in their work to address housing access and hunger relief by promoting food security through education and direct service.  This is his third year as a member of our  team and is loved by all campers.

Ryan Ostrowski
Lead Counselor

Ryan is 2023 graduate of St. Andrew's-Sewanee and attends Whittenberg University where is is a member of the soccer team.  He excelled in sports, was a proctor at SAS and received the Head of School's Cup for his overall leadership talents.

Lexi Phares
 Lead Counselor

Lexi is 2023 graduate of St. Andrew's-Sewanee and attends University of Oklahoma - Tulsa.  Lexi has years of camp experience and is a born leader.  We are thrilled to have her return for her second year at It's Better Than Camp.

Audrey Ward
 Lead Counselor

Audrey is 2023 graduate of St. Andrew's-Sewanee and attends Wofford College.  She grew up working with her mother in camps in Mississippi and is a talented counselor. She excels at tennis, cooking, and arts and crafts.

Robbie Hamilton

Robbie is a graduate of McCallie in Chattanooga and in his second year on our counseling staff - he is our first It's Better Than Camp! camper to transition to our staff counselor team!

Luke Bostleman

 An SAS senior, Luke is an SAS Proctor and member of student theater team.  He was previously a counselor-in-training in Maine and is excited to be joining It's Better Than Camp! this year.

Sarah Maleak
 Junior Counselor

Sarah is a  senior at SAS and in her second year on our counseling staff.  She has been nominated as an SAS Proctor in addition to her status as an amazing student and athlete.  

Charley Buckner

Charley is a rising senior at SAS.  She has been nominated as an SAS Proctor in addition to her status as a high honor student and gifted athlete. 

Kaitlin Spangler

From Greenville, SC, Kaitlin is a rising junior and our second IBTC! camper to ascend to our counseling staff.  She has come to camp since our first year and will be an awesome addition to the team.