Administration

Odyssey’s education is deeply rooted in a collaboration of multiple perspectives. Odyssey School aims to echo this value, using Dynamic Governance to organize responsive circles throughout the organization. Our administration is supported by program directors in each of the four arms of the school: PreK, Elementary, Middle, and High School. This circle works in tandem with the administrative circle to guide programming, faculty, and families in our unique learning adventure.

Our Administrators

Dr. Eric Howard, Odyssey Head of School

Eric Howard, MSW, Ed.D

Head of School
(he/him)

Read Eric’s Full Bio

Dr. Eric Howard grew up in Europe and the Pacific and Southeastern United States as a child of a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. Eric moved to his wife Nycole’s hometown of Burnsville more than twenty years ago so that their two sons could have a small-town Western North Carolina childhood. The family enjoys hiking, fishing, arts and culture, and waking up each day with gratitude for each other, their friends and communities, and our beautiful mountains.

As Odyssey’s Head of School, Eric will help us continue and expand how we encourage all students to be citizens of conscience with an authentic sense of self. He is focused on ensuring we invest in our students and provide faculty with the resources they need so that Odyssey School, its students, families, faculty, and staff thrive.

Eric studied and practiced social work because he was drawn to its core competencies: engaging diversity and difference in practice and advancing human rights and social, environmental, and economic justice. He was already a seasoned social worker when he began applying his passion to the field of education.

Eric’s experience with pre-K-12 includes advanced social work practice and school administrative roles including serving as Director of Student Services for Asheville City Schools (ACS); Social Worker, Community Liaison, and Leadership Team for William Randolph School alternative school; and Site Administrator for ACS Preschool.

Eric is an advocate for equity and serves as an expert witness and consultant on bias, race equity, and inclusion. He enacted bias-reducing policies as statewide Director of Problem Solving Courts in Iowa and established Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court as a model during his time as its Coordinator. He consistently makes time for community service. His current and past board and commission service includes LEAF Global Arts, OpenDoors Asheville, Evergreen Community Charter School, and Our Voice.

Eric holds a Doctorate in Education, Leadership & Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City; a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia; a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, North Carolina; and an Associate of Science degree from Georgia Military College, Milledgeville.

Private School Teacher

River Guerguerian

Administrative Advisor, Music Teacher (he/they)

Read River’s Full Bio

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, and 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 Himalayan 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.

Photo of Kristin Harkey, our Admissions Director at Odyssey School in Asheville

Kristin Harkey

Admissions & Development Director (she/her)

Read Kristin’s full bio

An accomplished development, admissions, marketing and fundraising professional, Kristin has more than fifteen years of nonprofit experience in raising private dollars from individuals, corporations, foundations and philanthropic organizations. She has effectively led board committees in public relations and fund development. As a parent tour guide for admissions, Kristin showcases on a daily basis the commitment among Odyssey teachers to guide and support students in learning deeply about themselves and the world around them and she loves meeting new families.

After earning two undergraduate degrees from College of Charleston, one in English Literature and the other Sociology, Kristin went to the University of South Carolina for graduate school. While there, she helped to land nationally acclaimed educational exhibits with the Columbia Museum of Art and then later worked for the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street. In 2008, she and her husband moved to Fairview where, during recession years, she doubled membership, surpassed revenue goals, and secured legacy gifts for Conserving Carolina in Hendersonville. She has additional certification in fundraising and professional writing. When not at Odyssey, Kristin can be found on her porch, with her nose in a paperback of short stories, surrounded by her daughter, two dogs, and husband. She collects vinyl, fancies herself a birder and secretly memorizes poetry. Just test her.

Clayton Hufford

Building & Grounds Manager, Fabrication Teacher
(he/him)

Read Clay’s Full Bio

Clayton Hufford completed a B.F.A in Graphic Design from Bowling Green State University and an M.F.A. in Glass Sculpture from Rochester Institute of Technology. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Clayton taught glassblowing at a summer camp for high schoolers in Williamsburg, MA, and then moved to take classes and teach at Penland School of Crafts before finishing his masters.

In his work at Odyssey, Clayton marries his training in art, design, and sculpture with his on-the-ground experience as a woodworker and renovator.

Elizabeth Lesley

Operations Manager
(she/her)

Read Liz’s Full Bio

A native of Marshall, NC, Liz lives on the farm that has been in her family for four generations. After a childhood immersed in nature, Liz developed administrative and office management skills while in high school as a national delegate for Future Farmers of America, a premier youth organization committed to supporting students for careers in science, agriculture, and technology.

Selected from sixteen counties from across western North Carolina counties, Liz worked on leadership and legislative topics as a member of the Regional Officer Team. She studied Environmental Science at Haywood Community College, and in November of 2021, she joined Odyssey’s faculty as an aftercare instructor. She worked in the main office during Odyssey’s eight weeks of summer camp and began as office manager this fall.

When not with little kids, Liz pursues interests in the fields of sustainable agriculture and food production. She also loves to spend time snuggling with her cat and being out in the rain! 

Director of Student Life: Ann Tomlanovich

Anne Tomlanovich

Director of Student Life
(she/her)

Read Anne’s full bio

Anne Tomlanovich grew up in Michigan, earned a BS in Sociology from the University of Michigan, then moved to Oregon. An intended short stint there turned into 20 years, during which time Anne earned her Masters in School Counseling, and worked as a middle school counselor. Anne believes that love and belonging are the bedrock of learning, and that students, staff and families do their best work together when they feel a sense of safety and community. She centers student strengths and helps students access those strengths to work through hard times. Anne is skilled in supporting students as they grow in their ability to regulate their emotions, relate to their peers, and gain independence in their academic lives. As she begins her new role at Odyssey School, Anne’s greatest hope is to become an advocate for and an ally to all of her students, their families, and her colleagues. 

In her spare time, Anne is a voracious reader, a music nerd, an avid vintage clothing shopper and loves hanging out with her family. 

 

Rebecca Jordison

Director of Finance
(she/her)

Read Rebecca’s Full Bio

Rebecca Jordison comes to Odyssey as an experienced manager with more than 20 years in finance combined with over 11 years of HR. After growing up in Western New York, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and gained her management experience in varied retail environments, as well as in the legal sector and telecommunications industries.

She has served as the principal financial and administrative advisor to the Director at the CI Department of Environment, where she was responsible for the budgetary and financial reporting requirements as well as the administrative, office management, human resource and records management functions. She easily integrates her knowledge successfully into a variety of teams and projects, and she is well equipped to handle uncertain and circumstantial events and issues with confidence and certainty.

Rebecca is lucky to have been raised to value the Arts and creativity, and loves to write, sew quilts, and crochet in her spare time. She has a creative, close knit family full of artists and scientists, and loves to hike and walk in these beautiful mountains!

Natalie Silva

Director of Academic Programming (she/her)

Read Natalie’s full bio

Natalie arrives at Odyssey as an experienced educator, a curriculum designer, and logistics master; she loves the direct connection to community that the Education space enables, and thrives on being able to support and empower others to do their best work. Since graduating from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, she has served diverse communities across Brooklyn, NY as a teacher, developed educators as an Instructional Leader in a Blue Ribbon school, earned a M.A. in Teaching and Learning at Relay Graduate School in New York City, served as a curriculum designer for a NY-based non-profit, and most recently in a growing charter school in Charlotte, NC. Although she has always felt at home in the classroom, it is in positions of teacher and operational support that Natalie feels most fulfilled in her life’s work. 

As the Director of Programming for Odyssey, Natalie is provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers on a daily basis, while also driving logistical support that further enables the development of Odyssey’s academic programs for its students. Trained and committed to the continuous learning of centering her work in equity, inclusion, and diversity, Natalie enjoys staying current on research in the Education field, on topics of instructional methods and curriculum design. She firmly believes that every student and educator deserves a safe, supportive, and thought-provoking environment; Natalie will continuously seek to join Odyssey’s educators and families in advocating for, and contributing to the ever-evolving creation of this space. 

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys working on home-related projects with her husband in Burnsville, spending time outside with her 2 rescue dogs, and exploring the world and its various cultures through travel and cuisine. 

Kitty Russell

Registrar & Assistant in Admissions (she/her)

Read Kitty’s Full Bio

Kitty grew up in Washington, DC, went to college and graduate school at University of South Carolina – Columbia in International Studies with a geographic focus of Africa. She possesses a Master’s degree in International Studies with concentrations in Comparative Politics and Gender and Development. She performed dissertation research on rural African women’s political participation. She has had many jobs from pizza delivery to baker to bookseller to working for a non-profit on Gender Equity issues to Technical Support Manager to Montessori teacher. At Odyssey, Kitty brings it all together as the Registrar and in support of the Admissions program.

Kitty loves to travel and explore historic and natural locales. She has at least set foot in 49 states. Alaska is the last hold out! Kitty lived in northern California for 20 years. She’s also lived in Oregon, New York City, Canterbury, England, and Pinyin, a small village in NW Province of Cameroon. When it was time to leave the west coast in 2018, Kitty and her son moved to Black Mountain where she has family roots in the Asheville area. Her father was born on Flint Street in downtown Asheville and she still has extended family in the area. Kitty loves western NC for its exquisite natural beauty, friendly people, and the pervasiveness of live music.

Kitty likes to stay active so she can keep up with her son who is now an Odyssey 6th grader. In the winter, she dreams about skiing in the West. Other times, you will find her in her basement pedaling her Peloton bike to nowhere, hiking, kayaking, biking, shooting baskets with her son, and trying to find her balance on a One Wheel. In her downtime, she enjoys fiber arts, cooking, following the news, watching British crime dramas and Jeopardy, poking around in her yard, and tending to her many cats. She really wants a goat or a burro.  


Odyssey School is an independent, non-profit school with a focus on whole child, emotionally intelligent, personalized curriculum for students in PreK-12. Our mission is to prepare students, families, and educators to lead lives of intention and purpose with an authentic sense of self.

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