Fifth and Sixth Grade Homeroom, Social Studies and Math Teacher, Virtual Camp Teacher
Kalyan is one of Odyssey’s founding teachers, and he first came to teaching after a series of adventures, including traveling and living in Japan and considering monkhood in Nicaragua. When he visited a Long Island alternative elementary school, he was so enraptured(?) by their joy and excitement that his life goals shifted from the monkhood to working in alternative education. His passion is to help children discover and honor their inherent brilliant selves and use those gifts to add to a vibrant community.
Kalyan achieved a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. in Education from Goddard College in Vermont, where his master’s thesis focused on the design of holistic elementary schools. After working as a lead teacher in a school in Fukuoka, Japan, and head teacher as PSOLI in Merrick New York, Kalyan taught at Odyssey for six years before taking a hiatus to explore other career opportunities. He rejoined Odyssey Middle School in 2016.
In Kalyan’s classes students focus on going deeply into subjects and ideas. Critical and creative thinking is encouraged and developed. Students are given ample opportunity to shine in the areas where they are strong and to be supported and grow in those areas where they need help. Key components of Kalyan’s classes include mutual respect, fun, participation, and dialogue. He encourages students to follow through with their visions, develop their own voice, and encounter the diversity of humanity.
Seventh and Eighth Grade Homeroom, Fifth-Eighth Grade Science Teacher
Growing up in Annapolis, Maryland was the perfect spot for Alex to develop her passion for nature and science. Remembering the exact moment on an excursion with her 7th grade class, baiting crab pots to catch dinner on the Chesapeake Bay, when she decided then and there that she would never work a typical desk job. Ever since, Alex has explored the intricate world of environmental education, conservation and adventure. Alex worked on farms in Italy, grew hydroponics in Oklahoma, provided logistics for Outward Bound, and paddled 500 miles around the DelMarVa Peninsula collecting water quality data for local classrooms. Alex is a proud graduate from the college of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech and received her General Science Teaching Certification through the Washington, D.C. Teaching Fellows. Having taught in a variety of classrooms since 2010, from outdoor ed on work boats, to public schools in the inner city, Alex is continuing to learn and develop engaging, hands-on science curriculum for her students. Alex believes in providing a safe, creative, and encouraging space for each and every person who enters her classroom.
Outside of school, you can find Alex in her garden, exploring trails and waterfalls with her husband and two huskies (and maybe soon their new kitten!), painting, playing beach volleyball, or just daydreaming of where she will explore next.
Intermediate Social Studies teacher
Growing up in East Texas, Chris spent his days trying to catch horny toads, setting traps, and dreaming of being the next Indiana Jones. As he grew older, his passion for exploration and discovery grew stronger as he moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the age of 8, and then to London, England for his last two years of highschool. Chris’s diverse experiences spurred a life-long love of history and politics, which lead him to earn a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Virginia. After graduating from UVA, Chris spent time in Texas and Northern Arizona working on organic vegetable farms and writing and performing music.
After nearly a decade of farming and performing, Chris and his wife, Meg, had the first of their two sons, and moved to Asheville. Through the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s distance learning program Chris worked toward his teaching license while keeping up his “at-home” teaching program with his sons. Chris has worked in private and public middle school classrooms across Western North Carolina. He joined Odyssey Community School in 2021 as the 5th grade social studies teacher.
Chris spends his “free-time” camping with his family, exploring new places, building Legos at the crack of dawn, writing and performing music, and creating a mini-farm in his front yard.
Intermediate English Language Arts teacher
Elijah Allred grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where he regularly attended summer camp in the mountains. After four years of film school and one gap year of hitchhiking in Alaska, he received a B.S. in radio, television & film from University of Texas, graduating in 2015. During that time he developed unprofitable interests in cooperative living, social justice, and sad poetry. After several years of living in co-ops and working in food service, Elijah moved out to west Texas to write sad poems and work behind a motel desk. Elijah returned to Austin in 2016 to sign an NDA and work for a very large social media company with a blue logo doing content moderation and account memorialization. During that time he published several very sad poems, developed an interest in continuing his education, and quitting his job as quickly as possible.
In 2018, he began working part time as a substitute teacher in a special education classroom. By 2019, he received his teaching certification from Austin Community College and worked for two years at Austin Discovery School, a small public charter specializing in eco-wellness and project-based learning. Elijah moved to Asheville in the summer of 2021 to work for Odyssey, be closer to his family, and, eventually, send his newborn son to summer camp.
Outside of school, Elijah spends his free time reading about western esotericism, writing less-sad poetry, changing diapers, and collecting antique typewriters.
Interim 7-8 Science Teacher
Christa Flores is a scientist, writer, and educator. She brings twenty years of teaching experience in science education, as well as interdisciplinary units called problem-based science. Call it STEM, STEAM, or just authentic learning, Christa is passionate about how to create learning environments that inspire inquiry and invention. She earned her Masters in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and has written and spoken extensively on the subject of Constructivism, the pedagogical merger of STEM education with the creation of artifacts to expose deep learning. She is excited to work with the Odyssey 7th and 8th graders this fall, building mindsets and skills for making the world a better place.
Outside of the classroom, Christa is a freelance curriculum designer, writer, and volunteer at several organizations around Asheville. Most of the time, she is running the trails of the national forests that surround us or gratefully paddle boarding the mountain waterways.