High School Faculty
High School Director, Homeroom & English Teacher
Gabriel Johnson completed a B.F.A in Literature at UNC-A in 2001. As a young man, Gabe pursued his love of literature in the form of songwriting, by founding and performing in several bands and musical projects here in the US, and also in Dublin, Ireland where he lived after college. As a teacher, Gabe believes that learning control of language is essential for navigating the modern world. He also believes that learning to appreciate literature is one of the most rewarding endeavors a person can pursue.
When he’s not reading, Gabe loves playing card and board games, hiking, playing guitar, biking, and gardening. He is especially excited to be a part of the Odyssey community, connecting with the students, staff and parents of this exceptional institution, and has been teaching at Odyssey since 2012.
High School Homeroom & Science Teacher
Andrew Rabin has lived in Asheville since 2014, and he has been a high school science teacher since 2001. In previous career incarnations, he was a wildlife biologist studying owls in the desert southwest, an assistant director of an environmental education camp for NY city public school kids, and the head chef of a French restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. Andrew attended Earlham College for an undergraduate degree in Biology, Prescott College in Arizona for his teaching licence, and has a Masters of Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University in Massachusetts. He is a lifelong learner and is passionate about science as a means of understanding the world around us. While teaching in Boston, Andrew created a democratic science classroom as part of an action research project for his Masters degree.
Andrew’s two kids also attend Odyssey’s elementary and middle school. His interests include, bird watching, cycling, playing the banjo, gardening, Magic the Gathering and playing Ultimate Frisbee. He is the proud owner of a pair of eighteen year old Ball Pythons. Andrew has visited and/or lived in 45 different states, but is very happy to call Asheville and Odyssey home.
High School Homeroom & Mathematics Teacher
Growing up in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, Grant Yost has always had an affinity for being outside. He attended college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, where he graduated from the Honors College with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a focus in STEM Education. While at UTC, Grant did research in the field of Fractional Calculus with the Mathematics department and has two papers published in his name on the topic of Fractional Differential Equations. Grant has spent the past two years since graduating from UTC teaching mathematics in Nashville, TN.
Because of his experiences with Mathematics, Grant has a deep appreciation for logic, puzzles, and the thought processes that people use to solve problems. As a teacher, he believes that every student should be well equipped to tackle any problem that he or she is faced with in life. He teaches using many tasks, puzzles, and scenarios that require students to collaborate, think logically about the situation, and discover a solution. Grant believes it is the teacher’s duty to be actively guiding and facilitating student learning while supporting independent discovery. His classroom is a supportive environment where everybody is engaged in asking questions, exploring solution methods, and enjoying the challenge of Mathematics.
Outside of the classroom, Grant spends his time playing music, dancing, hiking, playing video games, and playing board games. While living in Nashville, Grant was actively involved in the contra, swing, and blues dancing communities as a musician, teacher, and dancer. Asheville has one of the best dance communities in the south, and Grant is grateful for the opportunity to be involved.
High School Homeroom, & Social Studies Teacher
Hadley’s intellectual passions lie in the rich borderlands of history, science and society. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees (simultaneously) from The Ohio State University: one in the Comparative Studies of Science and Technology (basically the history, philosophy and sociology of science and technology) and the other in Spanish, with a focus on Latin American Literature and Language. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in History from Appalachian State University, where her thesis was a deep dive into the history of science in Latin America. Hadley’s work on the history of science in Latin America has been published in the peer-reviewed academic journal The History Teacher. Hadley strives towards decolonizing the history classroom by highlighting diverse and often overlooked histories, as well as by engaging students in challenging and valuable discussions. In addition to being an historian and a perpetual learner, hadley is also a mother, maker, motorcyclist, metalhead, gardener and nerd.
High School Spanish and College Readiness Teacher
Melissa has been teaching Spanish for over ten years at the college and high school level. While she has happily made Asheville her home since 2011, she originally hails from Ohio, where she earned her BA in Spanish and her MA in Latin American Studies from Ohio University in Athens. She also holds a graduate certificate in Spanish from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Melissa loves to bring a rich, cultural element into her Spanish classroom, inspired by her time studying and traveling abroad in Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Melissa is also our College Readiness instructor, preparing students for the SAT, ACT, and college essay writing.
When she is not teaching, Melissa runs her own music booking agency.
Visual Design Teacher
Mallory Nuckols grew up in Central Virginia and moved to Asheville, NC in 2009 where she attended Warren Wilson College, receiving her BA in Fine Art with a concentration in Painting and Drawing. Mallory spent five years teaching children and adult painting classes at a local art studio after college. In this setting, she found that working alongside young adults was especially fulfilling, and fell in love with the dynamic nature and fresh perspective of her teenage students.
Mallory is fueled by the beauty in the people around her which drives her to specialize in figure-painting. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions in the Asheville area, and she has donated her time and art to local non profits including Genesis Alliance. She also sells her work to individual collectors and is often commissioned for special projects.
Mallory was drawn to Odyssey due to its diverse learning community and the vision of connecting consciousness with creativity which is an integral part of any creative process. She strives to provide students with a strong foundation for the technical aspects of design while being attentive to each student’s individual talents, interests and unique forms of expression. Her passion lies in encouraging students to value the work they create, as she is a firm believer that when one creates as a form of catharsis, it allows one to flourish on an emotional, spiritual and intellectual level, resulting in a strong, well rounded individual.
When Mallory is not teaching at Odyssey, she is working on developing her own artistic practices, working in local art galleries and spending time with friends and family.
High School Environmental Justice Teacher
JP’s wandering career path has included work in a Latino youth mentoring program, parenting education classes, group homes, environmental education centers, farm schools, and recovery residences. She believes strongly that kids grow better outside and enjoys teaching in nature’s classrooms. JP studied Spanish and Public Relations for her undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill, and both Environmental Education and Restoration Ecology while earning her Masters in Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. JP brings her honest, laid-back communication style with her to the classroom, and strives to always make learning joyful.
JP is originally from Cary, NC and has lived in Sevilla, Spain and Seattle, WA. She is the proud and playful mother of two young children and the well-fed wife of a chef. JP is honored to serve as the Scoutmaster for a high-adventure girls troop in Scouts BSA. JP loves to read (mostly historical fiction), garden, swim, and go on adventures. Her claim to fame, especially with children, is that her grandfather’s name was Harry Potter.
Administrative Advisor, Music Director, Teacher
River brings to Odyssey his rich and extensive experience as a multi-percussionist, composer, and educator. Born in Montreal, Canada to Armenian-Egyptian parents, he received his Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory in 1989. For over 25 years, River has been performing internationally with such groups as the BBC Concert Orchestra, New Music Consort, Grammy and Oscar winning composer Tan Dun, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, Talujon Percussion Quartet, Chuck Berry, and Ziggy Marley/Gipsy Kings project. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by chamber ensembles, universities, modern dance companies, and new music festivals throughout the U.S.
River has performed in concert halls in New York, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, Rome, Sydney, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, London, and has recorded on over 150 albums and film soundtracks. In 1994, River sold all possessions, left civilization, and lived in a wildlife sanctuary in the Himalaya Mountains. This immersion in nature initiated intense research and experimentation into the physiological effect of sound on brainwave states.
In addition to working with Odyssey students in small, advanced classes and with older students on recording and album production, River also runs Asheville Rhythm and conducts rhythm and sound exploration workshops throughout the country. Visit him at www.ShareTheDrum.com.
High School Gender Studies Teacher
Amanda Wray has taught Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as writing and rhetoric courses at UNC Asheville since 2011. She earned a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English from University of Arizona and a MA in Women and Gender Studies from University of Kentucky. Her research stretches across many areas including oral history, rhetorics of inclusion and equity, visual rhetoric, professional writing, gender and sexuality studies, and creative nonfiction. Currently, she is partnering with Blue Ridge Pride and YMCA of WNC to collect oral histories and research artifacts from LGBTQ+ communities of Western North Carolina.