Upper School Faculty
Middle School Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher
High School English Teacher
Gabriel Johnson completed a B.F.A in Literature at UNC-A in 2001. As a young man, Gabriel 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, Gabriel 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, Gabriel loves exploring the natural world, hiking, playing guitar, biking and gardening. He is especially excited to be a part of the Odyssey community and loves connecting with the students, staff and parents of this exceptional institution.
Middle School Homeroom, Mathematics and Science Teacher
Caroline’s teaching philosophy has evolved from her work with Outward Bound at Voyageur Outward Bound School in Ely, Minnesota. She has facilitated numerous experiential education courses with a wide variety of students. She believes deeply that schools should seek to educate the whole person: that success is often contingent on a student’s curiosity, grit, and perseverance.
Through Outward Bound, Caroline has developed personal values that influence her teaching style. She believes in compassionate, non-judgmental communication; each Outward Bound course teaches students to use assertive communication to address issues that arise in the expeditionary team. Caroline also believes in excellence; she seeks to inspire her students to take pride in the work that they do and to constantly strive for personal growth.
Caroline is especially passionate about teaching science, as it is a subject that naturally experiential. In her classroom, she allows students to explore science topics in which they have interest and design experiments to solve complex questions about the natural world. These projects are collaborative and student driven. Caroline works hard to inspire students to explore a topic to a greater depth than what can be covered in the classroom; providing the guidance and tools for students to develop a lifelong curiosity and understanding of their surroundings.
High School Homeroom and Social Studies Teacher
Ann is passionate about humans, and always eager to learn and share their experiences. This fascination with people and their stories led Ann to pursue a B.A. in World History and an M.A. in European History at the University of Montana in her home state. Outside of her formal education, Ann has also gravitated toward people-oriented work in her professional life. Ann‘s first years of experience with educational leadership were as a camp counselor, hiking guide and outdoor educator in Montana, Maine, and France. She loves nothing more than to educate herself about the people of the world, an effort that has included far-flung travel and several sessions of living and working abroad. Hoping to be both a life long student AND a life long educator, Ann completed a teacher education program at North Carolina State University, earning her NC professional teacher’s license in Social Studies in 2013.
Ann’s experience working with children and adults in traditional and natural classrooms has convinced her that people learn best by doing, and that in the end, students truly educate themselves. She feels priveleged, however, to be able to offer the insightful guidance, logistical coordination, and supportive learning community that will aid and nurture students in their intellectual growth. Her overarching goals for the classroom are for students to become more globally aware as well as more meaningfully oriented within their own national culture. She hopes for students to understand how and why our current American demographics, culture, landscape, government, and economy came to be, and to imagine how these things might have evolved differently under other circumstances. She also hopes that her students will develop a wide and varied knowledge of other cultures’ alternative approaches to things like government, economic regulation, education, religion, and community. In her history lessons, she is particularly committed to using primary source accounts that help students develop a crucial sense of empathy and compassion as well as a discerning eye for bias. All of her classes will also include a strong dose of geography, which, while fading in the public school curriculum, is essential for a deeper understanding of cultural development and diffusion, violent conflict, economic development, and personalidentity. This, she believes, is a strong foundation for young people in developing solutions to the problems of the 21rst century, which are increasingly global in nature.
Ann‘s interests include architecture, story telling, vintage fashion, geology, flowers, and fancy cheeses, but her biggest passions in life remain history and mountains. She believes that cooperative education is not unlike the basic ethos of mountain climbing : we work, onward and upward, sometimes with ease and sometimes with struggle, so that we can be rewarded with the beauty and satisfaction of a broad perspective.
High School Homeroom and Mathematics Teacher
“The people that make up the Odyssey community are some of the most genuine, reflective and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”
Prior to pursuing his love of teaching, Dan held, and retired from, a 20 year career as an engineer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Dan holds degrees in Aerospace and Electrical Engineering and brings his two decades of professional experience into the classroom to provide a practiced perspective on math and design. Over his engineering career, Dan had the opportunity to participate in environmental and atmospheric, airborne research projects across the globe. Working side by side with scientists from a wide variety of universities and government agencies worldwide, he came to understand the cooperation, ingenuity, dedication and practice required to conduct experimental research vital to answering fundamental scientific questions. Ideals he believes bring value to any academic endeavor.
In 2007, after retiring from his government position, Dan and his family moved to WNC, from Florida, and Dan immediately began teaching high school math at a small, private, and alternative school in Weaverville. It was during this time that Dan practiced teaching math in a non-traditional way. He developed an understanding that the traditional approach to teaching math, by rote memorization of algorithms, provided by the instructor, repeated by the student, is not a very effective way for the student to understand the art of solving problems, or learning to find solutions to questions. An alternative approach to teaching math to which Dan subscribes, provides students the opportunity to think about and develop original methods of solving problems prior to being shown the traditional approaches that have already been developed. The students are given the opportunity to collaborate on solution development, be it for theoretical questions and/or hands on projects. The students benefit from a deeper understanding of all the solution methods and become accustom to looking for solutions versus trying to remember the appropriate method the teacher demonstrated.
After a couple of years, when Dan’s two sons transferred into Odyssey, Dan had the opportunity to join Odyssey as an adjunct instructor, teaching ‘Intro to Programming’ and ‘Intro to Engineering Design’ electives. During this time, Dan benefitted from the unique environment and Integral teaching philosophy that help define Odyssey Community School. Returning this year to the Odyssey classroom, Dan hopes to dispel the anxiety many students feel when taking high school math courses. It is his intent to enrich courses he teaches with meaningful connections to the students’ lives, regardless of the course being taught. “I hope to be able to grow as an instructor and to take on more areas of instruction as Odyssey Community School expands in the years ahead. It is a unique delight to witness and be a part of a student’s learning and understanding of the world and their connection to it.” Outside of the classroom, Dan enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the wonders of Western North Carolina, reading fiction and non-fiction alike, travelling, eating, drinking and general frivolity.
High School Science, Middle School Design Teacher
Amanda is a “life-long learner” and teaching has always been part of her life’s work. She believes that everyone can enjoy learning when new material relates to something they already understand because “everything can be interesting and learning should never stop!” Over her large breadth of teaching experiences, her goal in the Odyssey classroom is to “empower the learner, encourage peer-to-peer education, and break-down difficult information into easy to understand concepts from everyday life.”
Her academic training includes a BA in Chemistry from UNC-Asheville and an MD from UNC-Chapel Hill. After a residency in Family Medicine, Amanda decided to redirect her career focusing on her passion for teaching. Other life and work experience includes migrant agricultural work in the US, teaching about HIV/AIDS and the Environment in secondary level schools in Malawi, Africa, Chemistry at UNCA’s Super Saturday, and River and Forest Ecology at Jones Gap State Park, SC, river guiding, co-founding Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) a volunteer group that provided HIV, Hypertension, Cholesterol and Diabetes screening as well as epidemiological research in Mexico and NC, traveling in Central and South America, and remodeling a 1904 Craftsmen-style home in Asheville. Her hobbies include road biking, carpentry, gardening, making “yard art,” and fine woodworking.