Intermediate School Faculty


Intermediate School Homeroom


Kalyan Volpe

Seventh and Eighth Grade Homeroom, Social Studies and Math Teacher

Kalyan is one of Odyssey’s founding teachers, and he first came to teaching after a series of adventures, including traveling and living in Japan and considering monkhood in Nicaragua. When he visited a Long Island alternative elementary school, he was so enraptured(?) by their joy and excitement that his life goals shifted from the monkhood to working in alternative education. His passion is to help children discover and honor their inherent brilliant selves and use those gifts to add to a vibrant community.

Kalyan achieved a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. in Education from Goddard College in Vermont, where his master’s thesis focused on the design of holistic elementary schools. After working as a lead teacher in a school in Fukuoka, Japan, and head teacher as PSOLI in Merrick New York, Kalyan taught at Odyssey for six years before taking a hiatus to explore other career opportunities. He rejoined Odyssey Middle School in 2016.

In Kalyan’s classes students focus on going deeply into subjects and ideas. Critical and creative thinking is encouraged and developed. Students are given ample opportunity to shine in the areas where they are strong and to be supported and grow in those areas where they need help. Key components of Kalyan’s classes include mutual respect, fun, participation, and dialogue. He encourages students to follow through with their visions, develop their own voice, and encounter the diversity of humanity.


Alex Crooks

Seventh and Eighth Grade Homeroom, Fifth-Eighth Grade Science Teacher

Alex grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and discovered her passion for science while on the Chesapeake Bay in the 7th grade. Alex decided then and there that she never wanted to have a regular desk job, so she dove into environmental education working with an outdoor school until she graduated with a B.S. from Virginia Tech in Natural Resource Conservation & Environmental Education K-12. Realizing her passion for teaching, Alex decided that she wanted more time with her students and chose to take this drive into the classrooms of Washington, D.C. where she earned a general science teaching certificate through D.C. Teaching Fellows. Alex has explored her enthusiasm for teaching in a variety of different places (including Italy, Oklahoma and most recently, North Carolina) and her zeal for science in many different fields (farming, activism, hydroponics, and guiding). She is delighted to be in the classroom and a member of such a close knit, curious and supportive community!

Alex believes a classroom should be a safe, fun, creative and caring place for all students and teachers to continually explore the world. Finding that healthy homeostasis is essential to cells and people alike. When Alex isn’t planning bad jokes, experiments, and adventures, you can find her in her garden, walking her two Siberian huskies, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains and camping in local wilderness areas.


Ta’rin’ii Isner

Fifth and Sixth Grade Homeroom Teacher, Social Studies and Math Teacher

Tarinii feels grateful for the opportunity to join and teach in the Odyssey community. With a background in global studies, sustenance gardening and yogic lifestyle, supporting and inspiring the youth is both a joy and a calling for her. She believes that a child’s strength and potential as a human being is encased within their own uniqueness. Tarinii aims to create a classroom environment where this uniqueness can be nurtured through the practice and cultivation of self-awareness, self-discipline and self-esteem. She also maintains a day to day flow that is full of laughter, curiosity, sincerity, genuine heart-felt care and reminders that we are all in this together. 

It was her love of traditional and indigenous cultures that inspired her to pursue and complete a M.S. in International Studies. Her thesis for this degree focused on the women-centric sustenance gardening techniques of the Mossi people in Burkina Faso and their relevance to future sustainability initiatives around the globe. She is excited anytime she is able to draw on some of these experiences to further enrich classroom curriculum.

Tarinii is currently working on a Middle and Secondary Teaching Certificate from Appalachian State University. She also has professional training in compassionate communication, racial equity & mindfulness. When she is not in the classroom, she can be found practicing yoga/meditation, making herbal remedies in her apothecary, seeking refreshing waterfalls and forest trails, journaling & traveling with her husband and daughter. 


Preparing students, families, and educators to lead the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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