Seventh and Eighth Grade Homeroom, Social Studies and Math 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.
Fifth and Sixth Homeroom, Language Arts Teacher
Jenny is one of five children and grew up in Louisiana. Her lifelong passion for animals and nature led her to Louisiana State University where she studied conservation biology and earned a Master’s degree in natural science. She moved to Asheville in 2012, taught Natural Resource Conservation at Western Carolina University (WCU) for three years, traveled the world, and in 2017, began leading international trips to Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands with Global Leadership Adventures before landing at Odyssey School!
An avid reader, Jenny is excited to share her appreciation of literature, her passion for social justice, and the wisdom of her travels with her students at Odyssey. Jenny’s language arts classroom develops critical, creative, and compassionate thinkers through units centered on the breadth and depth of the human experience. In 2019-20, students will read and write around thematic units including Immigration, Bullying and Bias, Race and Ethnicity, and Gender and Identity.