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Nica Rabinowitz

K-8th Art Teacher

She / her

Nica has been teaching art and helping people of all ages access their inherent creativity for more than 10 years. After receiving a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2023, Nica joined the Odyssey community ready to develop an integrated art curriculum for elementary and middle school learners to connect, cultivate, and create in kinship with the natural world.

A native-New Yorker, Nica graduated with a degree in Fashion Design with a focus on community-supported textiles from Parsons School of Design, and quickly discovered a love for art education. Nica brings with her many years of experience creating liberating learning environments and teaching children art in classrooms, museums, community gardens, farms, makerspaces, galleries, parks, and anywhere else creativity can flow. 

When she is not teaching, you can find Nica in the weeds, collaborating with plants, mushrooms, microbes, and fiber animals at the Fiberhouse Collective in Marshall, NC.


Carly Penny

Carly
Middle School Program Co-Director & 5 / 6 Math & Science Teacher
she/her

A life-long North Carolinian, Carly grew up in Raleigh, surrounded by artists, inventors, craftspeople, and naturalists. She and her husband made Asheville their home in 2004. Carly is a true generalist, being involved in an array of experiences such as travel (Italy, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Canada, and much of the United States), clothing design, illustration, and flute performance. She sees everything as being connected, believing that an integral education is imperative for teaching the whole child and making meaning that lasts. She brings this foundational perspective to her work with Odyssey’s teachers, weaving together big ideas in education, curriculum, and life, as we teach our students how to think and how to grow into their authentic selves. As an administrator, Carly strives to help Odyssey families have experiences that allow them to feel connected across the community and to know that we are here in support of their children’s journey.

Being an educator from 2000 to 2021, Carly further developed her experience as a gifted specialist for elementary and middle grades. In 2021 she accepted a position as Odyssey’s Curriculum and Programming Director. She has experience teaching Pre-K through twelfth grades with extended time as a fourth-grade and third-grade classroom teacher. Additionally, Carly has taught reading skills, child development, clothing design, and music.

Carly holds her post-baccalaureate undergraduate degree in elementary education, retaining a concentration in design and a music minor. She earned her gifted education licensure on the master’s level and she continues to be an avid learner from thought leaders on issues, new developments, and best practices in education.

When she is not working with teachers and families or listening to education podcasts, Carly spends time with her daughter, Emaline, and her husband, Grant. You can find them laughing, hiking, reading, and creating works of art.


Celestial Soiree

Celestial Soiree 2019

Join Odyssey School parents and many others from the greater Asheville community as we celebrate spring together in a fundraiser and silent auction that is Out of this World! Heavy hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, live entertainment, and more rounds out this galactic party.

Special thanks to The Collider for providing a beautiful, downtown sunset view!


Junior Mints Journey Week

Camping Tent by The River in Asheville

Journey Week in Junior High is all about connection, reflection and fun!

Starting the school year with invigorating team building activities and challenging personal experiences and reflections helps to create a safe space for our students, new and old, to thrive with the ever changing dynamics of our class. We finish Journey Week with an overnight camping trip in our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains which helps tie together our overarching theme of Courageous Learning.


Positively Stardust Party

Positively Stardust Party in Asheville

Give peace a chance, grab anything with fringe on it and join us for a groovy cocktail! This year’s Positively Odyssey party has time traveled to the stardust age of the 1970’s! Gals, leave the macrame at home. Get down with blue eye shadow, bells, leather or chiffon flutter. Guys, break out the silk butterfly collars and sunglasses–just because.

We will have a best dressed awards ceremony and DJ’ed music from art waves — Studio 54, CBGB’s all the way to Graceland. Come in high-heeled disco glam, hippie, soul, or punk– as party-goer, you bring the funk and charitable support to Odyssey.

Purchase your tickets for $15 until November 15th by clicking here!

$20 at the door.


MS Malaprops Reading!

Sci-Fi Fantasy Reading at a Holistic School
Our middle school students will have the exciting opportunity to read from their original short stories for an audience of classmates, friends, and family at Malaprops on Wednesday, May 9 at 6 pm!
WhereMalaprops Bookstore/Cafe, 55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801
WhenWednesday, May 9, 6-7 pm
Who and What: Odyssey middle school students will read excerpts from original fantasy and science fiction stories they have written in language arts class this semester. Each student will read for 2-3 minutes, so the entire event should take around an hour.
Why: Every year, students’ creative writing culminates in a public reading. Last year, students read their work for Arts Fest at UNCA, and we are excited to be at Malaprops this year!

OCDC Performance of “Somebody / Nobody”

Odyssey Creative Drama Collective

The Odyssey Creative Drama Collective are hard at work rehearsing the upcoming comedic play, Somebody/Nobody by Jane Martin. Come see the final product on Friday, April 27 at 7:30, Saturday, April 28 at 1:30 and 7:30 and also Sunday, April 29 at 2:30!

An intimate play setting has been created in Odyssey’s lower level, so seating is limited. Reservations are highly suggested. Please contact Melanie Wester for reservations!

This show is recommended for middle school ages and up.

Tickets are $12.00 for ages 22 and over, and $10.00 for ages 21 and under.


Civic Engagement: Student Protests

Students Protesting Gun Violence in Asheville

Student organizers, Bella Wells-Fried, 10th, and Kaiya Nilsson, 9th, led Odyssey 4th-12th grade students and area schools Hangar Hall and French Broad Academy, in a march from campus to Pack Square on Friday, April 20th. There they met with students from Asheville High, Asheville Middle, and Carolina Day School to gather in a peaceful protest for gun law reform.

When presented with the request to participate in this nationwide walk out, faculty and administration guided students through this learning experience in civic engagement. Students learned how to acquire permits for protest, wrote and distributed press releases, researched legislation, researched and brainstormed messaging for protest signs, and prepared for public speaking. They also sent a representative to our faculty meeting to receive feedback about how younger students, parents, and teachers will experience this day – incorporating empathy into the design-thinking process. One student’s Independent Research Project on the history of protest music this past fall prepared him well for his contribution that day.

Odyssey’s administration and faculty also spent class and meeting time preparing students to explore their viewpoints from multiple perspectives and aimed to create a safe space for differences in values and beliefs. Students who chose not to protest worked on studying legislation that inspired them and other strategies of civic engagement in democracy.

News Coverage of Asheville’s Student Protest

Asheville Citizen-Times

Mountain Xpress

WLOS

Asheville Student Walk Out


Virtual Design at Odyssey

Better Than Unicorns Virtual Reality Logo

We are excited to welcome local virtual reality firm Better Than Unicorns to our campus this month!

4th-12th Grade students will get an introduction to virtual design tools like Tilt Brush, a program that allows students to paint with fire, snow, smoke, and other incredible materials. Another program, developed for architectural design, will allow students to build and construct. This first demonstration aims to prepare students to engage real creativity and solutions in virtual spaces.

As virtual reality technology advances so does its potential application. In education, having a virtual reality resource means there are practically limitless methods for instruction. Better Than Unicorns, a firm which specializes in such immersive experiences, is offering students at Odyssey School a chance to explore art and design beyond any physical limitations.


Elders Day

Elders Day at Holistic School

We are excited to welcome and celebrate Odyssey elders on October 27th! This Fall Festival is a coming together of generations as we invite grandparents, or another special elder in our students’ lives, to join us in celebrating the coming autumn. Together, we find the beauty in changing leaves, cooler weather, longer nights, and the wisdom that follows a full spring and summer.

Elders will get to experience Integral Education, visit classrooms, enjoy a picnic lunch, and celebrate the changing of the seasons with us!


Garden Party

You are invited to join us on Saturday, September 30th, from 12:00-5:00! This party is brought to you by Odyssey’s Garden Committee, led by Chelsea Potter and Carrie Chisholm, and is sure to be a great time had by all.


Learn about Odyssey’s 4th-12th Grade Sex Education Program

Sex Education Teacher at Holistic School

On the evening of Wednesday, September 13th, Dr. Kelley Johnson will be offering an education night for parents who are interested in learning more about her 4th-12th grade curriculum for Sex Education at Odyssey.

We look forward to introducing you to Dr. Johnson to educate families, invite families into partnership in educating our students, and to answer any questions you might have! Dr. Johnson is offering this free evening event tonight at 6:30 for all interested Odyssey families.

We encourage you to attend to get more informed about the topics covered, strategies used, and professional approach Dr. Johnson takes in educating our students.