The vital link between nature and the classroom

Our Staff

Meet Our Full-Time Staff

Deborah Guinn

Executive Director

Deborah’s love for the outdoors began early in her childhood while growing up in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Arkansas, Deborah moved to Oregon, where she received her degree in Secondary Education from Western Oregon State College. In 1995, she accepted a position as the Equestrian Director and Retreat Coordinator for Baskin Family Camps, and when the owners expanded their facilities to create The Outdoor School in 1996 Deborah enthusiastically became a part of that team. Deborah’s love for the outdoors, her passion for teaching and her experience working with children make her the perfect choice for Executive Director of The Outdoor School!

Rob Letendre

Director, Leadership Program and Champions Retreat

Rob received his degree in Outdoor Education from Johnson State College in Vermont. After finding The Outdoor School he initially spent 7 seasons working as an instructor, and then a Program Coordinator.  After some time away working at other camps, Rob returned and ran our Camp For All location for 2.5 years. He is excited to now be back in Marble Falls running the Leadership Program, and Champions Retreat. In addition to his degree, Rob is also a certified American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor and holds a level 2 challenge course practitioner certification.

Personnel Director

Looking to work in the camping community, Mark obtained his B.S. in Kinesiology and Education from the University of Texas, as well as a M.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services from Texas State University. He has gained valuable experience directing various programs over 20 seasons of camp, including first-year campers, rock climbing, high ropes and teambuilding. Mark has a great appreciation for the process and results that experiential education can yield, as well as the incredible people who dedicate themselves to the experiential philosophy.

Darren Smith

Senior Director of Business Development

Darren joined our organization as the Director of Champions Day Camp in 2011 and became the Sales and Marketing Director in 2012 for The Outdoor School and Camp Champions Retreat. Now serving as the Senior Director of Business Development, Darren has dedicated his time to expanding the opportunities for schools and organizations to experience everything Camp Champions has to offer. Darren is responsible for serving all existing schools and organizations as well as finding and building relationships with new schools and organizations.  Darren has lead the efforts to create our new Leadership Program that helps us serve even more students. In addition, Darren is responsible for strategic planning at The Outdoor School and Champions Retreat, including ushering in new advances such as a new website, trip management database, marketing efforts, and community outreach.  A fifth generation Texan, Darren has made Austin his home since 2011 along with wife and three children.

Meet our Program Coordinators

Jewels O’Brien

Jewels grew up in Coastal Northern California where she began to develop her love for the outdoors. After receiving a degree in Environmental Studies from Skidmore College in 2015, she spent the following years working jobs around the world from New Zealand to Belgium to Texas. She looks forward to her second season at The Outdoor School.

Katie Chaffin

Katie’s love of the outdoors began when attending camp in Central Massachusetts, not too far from where she grew up. After receiving her BBA in Management from UMass Amherst, Katie completed a service year with Americorps in Austin. To bridge the gap between her love of working with kids and working outside, Katie began as an instructor at the Outdoor School in Fall of 2018. She is looking forward to her 3rd season at TOS.

Avari Tawater-Tiedemann

Avari has loved being in the outdoors and going to summer camp since she was in elementary school. After growing up and going to Georgia State University (Go Panthers!) to study Global History and International Studies, she decided to leave the museum education world behind for the outdoor education world. She is starting her third season at The Outdoor School and looks forward to awakening more potential and having more adventures in learning, with new faces and old friends.

Amy Koch

Amy grew up playing outside in the woods of Vermont where she fell in love with nature. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Earth and Environmental Science and a focus in Ecosystems. She has worked with youth in the outdoors since 2013 in both summer camp settings and educational programs across Vermont, Massachusetts, Ecuador, and right here at The Outdoor School. This will be her second season working at TOS.