Dr. John Johnson, M.S., Th.D.

How must the education of our children transform if we are to expect them to be competent and personally fulfilled adults twenty-five years from now? Answering this question is critical to the work of Dr. John Johnson, whose vision of education assimilates the integral philosophy articulated by Ken Wilber, the emergent cosmology voiced by Thomas Berry, and our cultural possibilities according to Thomas Friedman.

“We have to teach today’s children how to learn, along with what to learn,” says Dr. Johnson. “We have to lead by example, invest in the self-knowing techniques of inquiry, honesty and authenticity. We have to present our students with an inclusive, integrative, and creative world.”

Dr. Johnson has been at the forefront of educational change in Asheville for over thirty years. In 1979 he sponsored a conference at the UNC-A Owen Conference Center titled “Holistic Perspectives in Education and Health.” He was a founder of Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in Asheville, in the late seventies. As the executive director, Dr. Johnson extended Rainbow Mountain to fifth grade in 1991, and subsequently created The Omega Program, a holistic alternative learning experience for the middle school student, in 1993.

In 2007, as a co-founder and Executive Director, he opened the doors to Odyssey Community School, welcoming a new generation of children and families into what he considers the next step in educational innovation – an integral learning community. Dr. Johnson aims not to create another “alternative educational center,” but to integrate outstanding academic reform with a deep commitment to cultivating self-knowledge.

Cory Adams
High School Coordinator

Cory Adams has lived in Asheville since 1997, is a graduate of Warren Wilson College, worked in Chinese medicine, and former business owner in the natural products industry.  She was originally drawn to Odyssey after her son started the preschool program. “I was looking for a school that would lay a supportive emotional foundation while teaching our son how to learn and think—and of course have fun. As he grows older, I keep him at Odyssey partly to prepare him for the technological and design world that is becoming part of every job—and because he loves it here. A few years back, I was so taken with Odyssey that I ‘envisioned’ a job here. Then it was a matter of pestering the Headmaster until something finally opened up.” Cory’s work evolved from bookkeeping, to administration, to “Please make (fill-in-the-blank) work for me, Cory!” Wherever Cory sees a gap, she goes beyond the call of duty to fill it in. As such, her job continues to grow and evolve.

Here’s what she does now:

Registrar: Cory is responsible for organizing and tracking all student records. She manages the school’s intra-web system and is available as IT support for both parents and teachers.

High School Coordinator: Cory creates the high school schedule, organizes the students’ Centering Time, works to develop the high school program, manages student transcripts and all records requests. Cory also works on several of the school’s committees, including the Fundraising Committee, and is a high school mentor.

In her spare time, she cares for her toddler, is finishing her first novel, and produces local movies with her production company, Gorilla with a Mustache Films.

 April Guse
Marketing and Communications Coordinator


April wears many hats at Odyssey.  While she is the marketing and communications coordinator, she also assists with the admissions process and our headmaster.  April’s duties include updating content on our website, handling our social media sites, acting as a point person for marketing, and sending out mass communications to keep our families updated throughout the school year. During the spring and summer months, she is the camp coordinator for Odyssey Summer Adventures Camp.

April has several years experience working and volunteering with non-profits much like Odyssey Community.  April brings a variety of experiences with her from her native Northeastern Pennsylvania.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis on writing from Keystone College, and has had experience as a publicist, social networking specialist, music promoter, and office manager.  She is proud to be a part of this community!

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 the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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