Jen Stradling

Director of Finance

she/her
Originally from the mountains of South Carolina, Jen moved back to her Appalachian roots more than a decade ago when she and her husband enrolled their daughter at Odyssey and she began working in our office. She manages all aspects of the school’s business and operational needs and also recently served as Interim Executive Director.She works hard to take care of our faculty, enrolled families and students needs and does so with a smile. 

Prior to moving to Asheville, Jen was the office manager of the family funeral home business in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Other interests include travel, camping, music, herbalism, knitting and cooking.

Robin Skeen

Elementary School Program Director, First and Second Grade Teacher

she/her

In the summer of 2014, Robin and her family packed up all of their belongings and moved to North Carolina in search of a more natural life.

Robin received her undergraduate degree from the University of Akron in Early Childhood Education, which included Pre-K through 3rd grade age students. After teaching for a few years, she took time off to be with her two daughters, Ella and Julia. While Robin was home with her girls, she finished her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on reading. When both of her children entered school, Robin returned to the classroom as a founding teacher for a new charter school in Los Angeles. She also worked in an inner-city school in South Los Angeles before moving to Asheville.

In Robin’s class, students become authors, readers, inventors, and entrepreneurs! Her systems help create self-awareness and inner regulation and in keeping with the Essential Learning Skills and the Integral Process of Research and Reflection. She also leads centering to help students connect with their internal world.

For Robin, the most exciting part of teaching at Odyssey is the way that students integrate their subject studies within broader thematic investigations. Every year we learn about cultures, ecology and do amazing projects and IRPs! It is also wonderful to have the space to teach the whole child. We have class meetings to discuss topics that are important to students like understanding each other’s feelings and needs or simply how to share the swings at recess.

Gabe Johnson

High School Homeroom & English Teacher

he/him

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 School since 2012.

Shirley Rotolo

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

she/her

Shirley Rotolo has been teaching for over twenty-five years and has been part of the Odyssey community since 2012. Shirley has several degrees in early education and is a graduate of Western Carolina University. She has been involved in diversity programs such as Building Bridges and Cultural Competence Awareness, and has also taken the Young Hispanic Dual Language Learners Achievement class. Shirley is also an accomplished visual artist with a particular interest in Chinese painting.

Although originally raised in New York City, Shirley has an international background and speaks several languages. Shirley loves to share her experiences from living and traveling in France, Italy, Amsterdam, Montreal, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands in the classroom! In fact, she also teaches French to students from Pre-K through third grade in after school!

In her spare time Shirley loves to explore the different lakes and mountains of Western Carolina with her family. She is an avid reader and reads everything from the classics to fantasy, biographies to sci-fi.

Shirley loves working with kindergarten students and looks forward to sharing her rich, diverse background with them through a calm, effective environment that allows student to learn, explore, and develop.

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News and Events


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Odyssey Community School

Odyssey Community School

Enrolling now! Odyssey School, an independent school, focusing on creativity and critical thinking.

8 hours ago

Odyssey Community School
The Odyssey 5th and 6th grades practice compassion and empathy through spiritual warrior battles. Setting intentions, knowing and growing our inner strength and bringing truth to ourselves helps us live authentically. #theodysseyway #avltoday #bestofavl #privateschool ... See MoreSee Less
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4 days ago

Odyssey Community School
Our Odyssey Theater Kids Club production of Matilda Jr. is next Friday, Dec. 9th at 6:30 pm and Saturday, Dec. 10th at 1 pm! Tickets are $5. Come support our theater kids as they behave a little bit NAUGHTY! ... See MoreSee Less
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6 days ago

Odyssey Community School
We asked and you responded with generosity. Thank you! Thank you to all who have donated to our Giving Tuesday campaign. You are advancing equity and investing in our one-of-a-kind preK through 12 school. #Donate #annualfund #theodysseyway ... See MoreSee Less
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Life is busy. We get it. You missed Giving Tuesday. No big deal. You can still give today and help us meet our annual goal. Please donate at our website. Thank you! #Donate #theodysseyway ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Odyssey Community School
We're building a more equitable society through our curriculum and community, one student at a time. Invest in our shared future today on Giving Tuesday. Donate to our Facebook fundraiser or on our website. Thank you! #GivingTuesday #theodysseyway ... See MoreSee Less
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River Guerguerian

Administrative Advisor, Music Director, Teacher

he/they

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.

Megan McCarter Martell

Executive Director

Megan McCarter Martell has been involved in teaching in classrooms for many years, beginning as an apprentice teacher with the SummerBridge program, now called Breakthrough Miami: an educational outreach program designed to empower students to become dynamic and successful learners, leaders and teachers.  Her pathway from that first summer of teaching has meandered through a wide range of classrooms across the world, including preschool through adult education.  Megan has been teaching at Odyssey since 2011, and co-leading the school since 2014, and has centered her work, both in the classroom and as an administrator, on fostering community relationships, programming partnerships, and leadership in professional learning communities.

Megan studied Creative Writing and Child Development at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, as well as Literature and Language at UNC-Asheville; she holds several professional licenses in teaching.  Along with her love of art, mountains, and word play, a love of learning itself feeds her love of teaching; she is driven by her desire “to guide students and educators in their interaction with the satiating world of learning, to unlock their ultimate potential to discover through engaging research, reflection, and design, to understand, process, analyze, question, innovate, and communicate… In other words, to create brave and positive change in this vast and ever-growing world.”

Lydia Hearne

High School Ceramics Instructor

At Odyssey, Lydia is also a preschool team teacher. She attended Earlham College, in Indiana, where she received her BA in Fine Art, with a focus in Ceramics. She later completed Haywood Community College’s program in Professional Crafts. “It feels very natural for me to be here at Odyssey,” says Lydia, “and to be able to feed the two main passions in my life, having the opportunity to work with young children and also to work in clay, offering others the chance to explore such an amazing and captivating medium.”

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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Community Announcements

Read our 2021-22 Annual Report. Odyssey to host an Open House, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:30 PM. Rsvp with Kristin Harkey, kharkey@odysseycommunity.org. Be sure to include the grade you seek to learn about. Odyssey Welcomes New Head of School, Dr. Eric Howard. Read More.

Get In Touch

If you have questions about Odyssey’s mission, community, or programs, please give us a call! You can also contact us to schedule a tour, meet our teachers, our directors, and visit our learning spaces.          

Covid-19 Policies and Procedures

Odyssey School has had a strong start the year! As of late October, we've made an update to our Covid policies and procedures.

Newsletter

Odyssey's administration sends out a quarterly newsletter of upcoming events, community news, and notable opportunities. Keep your ear to the ground and subscribe!