Faculty & Staff

COMMUNITY VOICES: Why Idyllwild? By Sarah Klitzke


By Sarah Klitzke

Director of Health Services

I knew that Idyllwild Arts Academy was special from the first moment I arrived here in August of 2019. At the time, I was just a mom bringing one of my own aspiring artist children to campus to begin his journey as an Idyllwild Arts dancer. After parent meetings and unpacking a carload of belongings into his dorm room, I stopped at the Health Center out of mere curiosity. With 20 years of nursing experience, many of them with teens and in community and school health, I was curious about what the campus health center offered for students. I was welcomed and offered a brief tour, and I loved the warmth it offered students. Then I went back home to Texas, leaving my 15-year-old here to grow as a dancer and as a person without me by his side.

I could not get the school out of my mind. I wanted my son to have every opportunity as a boarding student here on his own, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like to work at Idyllwild Arts. By November, I had applied for a position. My daughter would also be attending the following year, and my husband and I wanted me to be closer to our kids in California. COVID hit and delayed my initial start date by several months, but by Arrival Day in the fall of 2020, I was here with both my children.

From that first Arrival Day, and every arrival day since, it stood out to me that students were so happy to return to this place after being away. It amazed and impressed me that any teenager was that excited to return to school after a vacation or break, but it was true. Students could not wait to get back to the mountain. The joy and energy with which they greeted each other (and the staff) was palpable and remains a testament to the uniqueness of this place for me.

This is now my fourth school year working in the Health Center at Idyllwild Arts and my daughter is getting ready to graduate, two years after her brother. As a parent, I can attest to the ongoing benefits for my children in attending the healthiest, most nurturing, and well-balanced dance program I have ever seen, combined with academics that challenged them to think differently and creatively. They flourished and grew while living in dorms, learning how to share space with roommates, do their laundry, advocate for themselves, manage their time, and develop diverse friendships with students from around the globe. They developed identities and friendships of their own choices and began learning who they are and what they stand for, an Idyllwild Arts motto.

I plan to continue my work here as Health Center Director after my daughter graduates in May. I love what I do, even on the hard days. The Health Center team is incredible, and I truly love my job. My colleagues, at every level, and in every department, are inspirational and the work we do here is important. Idyllwild Arts has the best students in the world. I am proud to be a part of their lives for even a short time during their journey. I hope they grow up to remember the Health Center here not only as a place to go when they are ill or injured but also as a place where they were radically loved and accepted.