High School Faculty


Dean Presson

Student Credit Recovery 

He / him

Dean joins Odyssey School to facilitate Credit Recovery for high school students to successfully complete a course of study if not completed during the regular term. 

Dean’s full career is in education with many years as a community college Adult Basic Education and GED instructor. Prior to moving to Asheville in 1988, Dean was a facilitator at the West Area Learning Center of Central Piedmont Community College, tasked with administering entrance exams; then, guiding adult students through college preparation in either reading, language arts or mathematics. After moving to Asheville, he taught for AB Tech as an ABE and GED instructor at the Craggy and Buncombe Correctional Center throughout the 1990s.

In the fall of 1999 until 2006, he worked for Asheville City Schools teaching at the Metro School Program which later became part of Randolph Learning Center. While there, he was honored with a Teacher of the Year award and earned tenure in NC Public Schools. Then, Dean taught for a new credit recovery and long-term suspension program in Asheville called the New Day School. He was the sole teacher in a program that accommodated tuition-free adjudicated, long-term suspended students and after school credit recovery students. Long-term suspended Middle Schools students were able to earn passing grades, and high school students earned credit recovery through the software program. During the summer, Dean ran credit recovery, for all core subjects, summer school sessions using the credit recovery software at the New Day Program.  

Dean was NC licensed and certified in middle and high school language arts, social studies and math. From 2008- 2021, he  taught mostly 11th  grade English and occasional math classes at Buncombe County School’s Community High School in Swannanoa. There, he retired from public schools with twenty years of service. Since then, he has been a part-time GED instructor at the Western Correctional Center for Women in Swannanoa, a program under AB Tech. He is grateful to join the Odyssey School community.


Melissa Knowles

High School Math Teacher (she / her)

Melissa Knowles joins Odyssey this year as High School Math teacher.  She has been teaching and tutoring high school and college math for the last nine years.  Melissa graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a B.A. in Biology and has been in the Asheville area for almost twenty years.  She prizes an ability to develop problem-solving skills in the math classroom so as to tackle “real world” applications. She believes that every math student can be successful with the right guidance and encouragement. Outside of the classroom you can find Melissa gardening, bird watching, nature journaling, and cooking.


Agustin Palomo Ramos

Music Teacher, Pre-K – 12th : Healing Through Drums & Music

Agustín is a national and international musical artist born in San Jose, Costa Rica. He earned a degree in Music & Social Behavioral Sciences from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and later attended Florida State University for Jazz Studies. He has been a Qualified Professional in North Carolina and has over 20 years of experience working with the IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) community.

As a drummer and percussionist he performs, tours, and is a recording artist with his bands.  Agustin is currently featured in the original rock band ExciterBox, who have a newly released album. He plays with Zabumba, a Brazilian drumline and dance troupe based in Asheville, NC. Some past ensembles include the 1995 Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps and Walt Disney World (3 ensembles). He has also played in several orchestras/symphonies, concert bands, percussion ensembles, steel drum bands, jazz bands, marching bands, percussion for theater productions and many pop/rock bands.

Since 2021, he has been the music teacher at the Odyssey School in Asheville NC for pre-kindergarten through high school students. He is a resident teaching artist at LEAF Global Arts (Schools & Streets program) in Asheville, NC. His music pedagogy work has included Winter Park and Trinity high schools in Florida, The Austin Waldorf School in Texas, and as a percussion master class clinician at festivals and conventions. He arranged and composed for Appalachian State University, UCF, Wake Forest, and high schools.

Agustín is also a live event producer and a sound mixing engineer whose Front of House/Monitor A1 work can be heard with XL Live Media USA, IATSE, local production companies and independently. Some of his past crews in Austin, TX include the Bass Concert Hall, Erwin Center, and numerous events (Broadway Across America with The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Mama Mia!, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, George Strait, John Meyer, Neil Young, George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic, SXSW, Austin City Limits, Santana, Willie Nelson, Blueman Group, Tom Petty, and Deadmau5). In New York City his credits include work at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR), Rocket Studios, and more (Fiona Apple, Beyonce, Trey Anastasio, LL Cool J, My Chemical Romance, Burning Spear and The Foo Fighters).


Nausica Rotolo

High School Art Teacher
She / her

Nausica is a painter from Asheville, NC. She studied studio art at Warren Wilson College and then moved to Italy in order to study the classics of art with a concentration in creative writing and painting at the American University of Rome. Her work is primarily in oil and watercolor in a figurative surrealism form of expression. As a teacher, she longs to provide students with the fundamental tools of painting, drawing and sculpture and the technical skills of perspective, form, color and design in order that they express and develop each of their unique and original creations.


Karina Byers

HS Spanish & College Readiness, She / Her 

Karina is a native Spanish speaker from Santiago, Chile. She has been living in North Carolina since 2009 and became a US citizen in 2016. She studied at Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello in Chile and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Karina taught elementary and middle school for 8 years in Santiago before moving to the United States. In addition to teaching, Karina also was a private tutor for students with academic support needs and was also involved with many social and community outreach programs in her native Chile. 

Since coming to the United States, Karina has continued her passion for Education by teaching the Spanish language and culture to students from ages 3 to 65 years old. She teaches private lessons and also taught in a middle school preparing students for advanced High School credits. Karina was also responsible for leading student trips each year to a bilingual school in Heredia, Costa Rica, sharing information and ideas with educational professionals from there.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband, two daughters, and dogs. Biking, hiking, exploring nature, dancing, cooking, and traveling are her favorite hobbies. 

“Fue el tiempo que pasaste con tu rosa lo que la hizo tan importante” El Principito.


Gabe Johnson

Private School Teacher

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.


Andrew Rabin

Summer Camp Counselor Andrew Rabin

High School Homeroom & Science Teacher

he/him

Andrew Rabin has lived in Asheville since 2014, and he has been a high school science teacher since 2001. In previous career incarnations, he was a wildlife biologist studying owls in the desert southwest, an assistant director of an environmental education camp for NY city public school kids, and the head chef of a French restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. Andrew attended Earlham College for an undergraduate degree in Biology, Prescott College in Arizona for his teaching licence, and has a Masters of Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University in Massachusetts. He is a lifelong learner and is passionate about science as a means of understanding the world around us. While teaching in Boston, Andrew created a democratic science classroom as part of an action research project for his Masters degree.

Andrew’s two kids also attend Odyssey’s elementary and middle school. His interests include, bird watching, cycling, playing the banjo, gardening, Magic the Gathering and playing Ultimate Frisbee. He is the proud owner of a pair of eighteen year old Ball Pythons. Andrew has visited and/or lived in 45 different states, but is very happy to call Asheville and Odyssey home.


Hadley Cluxton

Private School High School Teacher Hadley Cluxton

High School Homeroom & Social Studies Teacher

(they / them)

Hadley’s intellectual passions lie in the rich borderlands of history, science and society.  They earned two Bachelor’s degrees (simultaneously) from The Ohio State University: one in the Comparative Studies of Science and Technology (basically the history, philosophy and sociology of science and technology) and the other in Spanish, with a focus on Latin American Literature and Language.  They went on to earn a Master’s degree in History from Appalachian State University, where their thesis was a deep dive into the history of science in Latin America. Hadley’s work on the history of science in Latin America has been published in the peer-reviewed academic journal The History Teacher.  Hadley strives towards decolonizing the history classroom by highlighting diverse and often overlooked histories, as well as by engaging students in challenging and valuable discussions. In addition to being an historian and a perpetual learner, Hadley is also a mother, maker, nerd, heathen, hedgewitch, and a passionate, grateful being.


River Guerguerian

Private School Teacher

Administrative Advisor, Music 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.


Clayton Hufford

Building & Grounds Manager, Fabrication Teacher

he/him

Clayton Hufford completed a B.F.A in Graphic Design from Bowling Green State University and an M.F.A. in Glass Sculpture from Rochester Institute of Technology. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Clayton taught glassblowing at a summer camp for high schoolers in Williamsburg, MA, and then moved to take classes and teach at Penland School of Crafts before finishing his masters. In his work at Odyssey, Clayton marries his training in art, design, and sculpture with his on-the-ground experience as a woodworker and renovator.