Idyllwild Arts: Something Special

Published : Friday, November 3, 2017 | 1:20 PM

Harry Trantham did his senior year of high school near Hamburg. Later, as a major in German Literature and International Studies at the University of Oregon, he spent one year studying abroad in Tübingen. And after earning his B.A., he taught German to Bosnian refugees while in Austria on a Fulbright Scholarship. So it’s a shame that Idyllwild Arts Academy does not offer German.

But Harry has been more than satisfied during his first two years at the Academy. He teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) to the Academy’s large international student population.

“During my interview, I got what is special about Idyllwild as soon as I started talking to people.”

Of course, the people are only one of the attractions.

“Idyllwild is also intoxicatingly beautiful.”

Harry grew up in South Carolina, but as an adult he has spent only three years there. Those were the last three before his move to Idyllwild, during which he taught at an independent school and took care of his parents, whom he finally succeeded in moving into a retirement community. Culturally, he is less at home in the South than on the West Coast or in New York City.

“After getting my B.A., I went there to do Teach For America and ended up staying for twelve years. I earned my Master’s in Linguistics and ESL Methodologies from City College of New York.”

He spent only half of his time in New York teaching.

“I worked in information technology and publishing for six years. But I missed the students. I missed having young people challenge what I think.”

Are the Academy students challenging him?

“Definitely. When I flew out here to interview, I felt something special about them even in the dining hall. I still feel it!”


Idyllwild Arts, 52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038, (951) 659-2171 or visit






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