PreK Director and Team Teacher
Courtney Fincher is the director of the Odyssey Pre-Kindergarten program. She values the opportunity to nurture children through the rapid growth of early childhood and she believes it is never too early to instill the concepts of self-knowing, communication, compassion, and community.
Courtney strives to support the children in developing self-confidence in balance with interdependence. It is her goal that children leaving her class will have a core understanding of themselves and the skills that will serve them in every aspect of life. Courtney values working in a school where children can experience the developmental spectrum from early childhood through high school.
Courtney holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of West Virginia and has extended her coursework in the field of Early Education. She carries her love of service, psychology, and healing arts into her relationships with the children.
She is particularly interested in Interpersonal Neurobiology (the study of how relationships shape our brains) and what creates resiliency. She trained in Circle of Security in 2017 and now offers classes to parents on creating secure attachments. She attended the Interpersonal Neurobiology conference lead by Dr. Dan Siegel in April of 2019. She is finishing her third year of Somatic Experiencing training to deepen her understanding of the nervous system and regulation.
In harmony with the Odyssey vision, she sees a bright future for the children she teaches today, and looks forward to seeing what will happen as our special school community grows.
Courtney is engaged in our local early education professional community in a variety of ways. She has served on The AB Tech advisory committee for their Early Education program, was a NEXT Emerging Leader participant, and is a graduate of the Early Childcare Directors Institute. In 2015 she was awarded National Recognition for Childcare Excellence.
PreK Team Teacher
T.K. holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in early-childhood education. She has been a teacher for the past 5 years and feels very fortunate to be able to facilitate so much learning and developing with children. She is looking forward to a great year ahead!
When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking and going on adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was born and raised in Asheville, but feels like there’s always a new trail or waterfall to explore! She also enjoys doing yoga to add some calmness and peace to her busy days.
PreK Team Teacher
Janell Cooper has over 15 years of experience working with children. In fact, her mother ran an in-home childcare center in California where she grew up! Janell holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, a minor in religious studies, and a certificate in early childhood education. She believes teaching provides her with the opportunity to further her learning and understanding of the human experience. She hopes to help facilitate a safe space for young children to explore their environment, develop an understanding of their emotions and learn how to navigate social situations. These vital skills and practices lay the foundation for future academic learning as well as simply being a grounded, secure, global citizen.
In her free time, Janell loves to hike, read, take pictures, practice yoga and travel! She feels particularly connected to the Yucatan region of Mexico and has spent a considerable amount of time there. In fact, she is the Chair of the Valladolid, Asheville Sister City, which is an amazing relationship between Asheville and Valladolid, Mexico.
Janell Cooper has over 15 years of experience working with children. In fact, her mother ran an in-home childcare center in California where she grew up! Janell holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, a minor in religious studies, and a certificate in early childhood education. Janell also recently completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teaching Certification. She believes teaching provides her with the opportunity to further her learning and understanding of the human experience. She hopes to help facilitate a safe space for young children to explore their environment, develop an understanding of their emotions and learn how to navigate social situations. These vital skills and practices lay the foundation for future academic learning as well as simply being grounded, secure, global citizens.
In her free time, Janell loves to practice and teach yoga, hike, read, take pictures and travel! She feels particularly connected to the Yucatan region of Mexico and has spent a considerable amount of time there. In fact, she is the Chair of the Valladolid, Asheville Sister City, which is an amazing relationship between Asheville and Valladolid, Mexico.
PreK Team Teacher & After School Ceramics Instructor
Lydia Hearne teaches in the pre-kindergarten class at Odyssey and also offers middle and high school ceramics classes. She grew up in the mountains outside of Asheville, where she spent much of her childhood exploring nature, expressing her love of nature through art, and being with her family. She brings her passions for the natural world, for family, and for the beauty and creativity of childhood, to her work at Odyssey Community School. She says of her experience, “I loved my childhood, and I believe that every child deserves a happy, safe environment to explore their own sense of self, of creativity, and space to figure out how to interact with others in this life.”
Lydia 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.
PreK Team Teacher
Sam is excited to continue to grow her childcare experience and knowledge, having joined our Pre-K team in August 2019. She grew up in upstate New York in the Adirondack Mountains and moved to the Asheville area in 2017 where she began working with children. She immediately fell in love with working in the child care field!
Sam enjoys building relationships with children through play and discussion. She believes learning through play, the children can deeply understand likes and dislikes. “Through play, children can develop a sense of self, along with growing their social and emotional skills,” she says.
Outside of school, Sam enjoys exploring nature, traveling and spending time with her dog, Brewer. She looks forward to experiencing and learning new things every day.
PreK Team Teacher
Meghan “Faeth” Mulqueen moved to Asheville from California in 2020 and is thrilled to join the Odyssey School community this spring! Faeth has been working with children for the past 20 years in a variety of capacities. Most recently, Faeth founded, directed, owned, and served as Lead Teacher of Acorn Community School, a nature-based preschool for children ages 3-6, in Ojai Valley, CA.
Faeth has a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica, a California Master Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Education, certification in teaching yoga for kids and certification in permaculture.
In her free time, Faeth enjoys dancing, yoga, reading, writing, hiking and spending lots of time in nature.