High School Faculty
High School Director, Homeroom & English Teacher
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 since 2012.
High School Homeroom & Science Teacher
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.
High School Homeroom & Mathematics Teacher
Growing up in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, Grant Yost has always had an affinity for being outside. He attended college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, where he graduated from the Honors College with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a focus in STEM Education. While at UTC, Grant did research in the field of Fractional Calculus with the Mathematics department and has two papers published in his name on the topic of Fractional Differential Equations. Grant has spent the past two years since graduating from UTC teaching mathematics in Nashville, TN.
Because of his experiences with Mathematics, Grant has a deep appreciation for logic, puzzles, and the thought processes that people use to solve problems. As a teacher, he believes that every student should be well equipped to tackle any problem that he or she is faced with in life. He teaches using many tasks, puzzles, and scenarios that require students to collaborate, think logically about the situation, and discover a solution. Grant believes it is the teacher’s duty to be actively guiding and facilitating student learning while supporting independent discovery. His classroom is a supportive environment where everybody is engaged in asking questions, exploring solution methods, and enjoying the challenge of Mathematics.
Outside of the classroom, Grant spends his time playing music, dancing, hiking, playing video games, and playing board games. While living in Nashville, Grant was actively involved in the contra, swing, and blues dancing communities as a musician, teacher, and dancer. Asheville has one of the best dance communities in the south, and Grant is grateful for the opportunity to be involved.
High School Homeroom, & Social Studies Teacher
Hadley’s intellectual passions lie in the rich borderlands of history, science and society. She 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. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in History from Appalachian State University, where her 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, motorcyclist, metalhead, gardener and nerd.
Research Writing, English, and Spanish Instructor
Annie Livingston (they/she) grew up all over Michigan, where there are no mountains zigzagging across the skyline. They completed their B.F.As in English Literature, and Writing at Grand Valley State University in 2018. After graduating, Annie moved to Burnsville, NC where they worked at the Arthur Morgan School, and had many incredible experiences backpacking, road-tripping, and singing at the top of their lungs with middle schoolers. Annie believes teaching, especially teaching writing, is an act of empowerment. They strive to use their role as an educator to empower others to tell their own story, a life-changing skill. Outside of teaching, Annie loves writing poetry and genre-bending work. When they’re not reading or writing, Annie enjoys gardening, cooking, and swimming. They do not consider dandelions to be weeds.
High School Spanish and College Readiness Teacher
Melissa has been teaching Spanish for over twelve years at the college and high school level. While she has happily made Asheville her home since 2011, she originally hails from Ohio, where she earned her BA in Spanish and her MA in Latin American Studies from Ohio University in Athens. She also holds a graduate certificate in Spanish from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Melissa loves to bring a rich, cultural element into her Spanish classroom, inspired by her time studying and traveling abroad in Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela, and connecting to the rich local heritage of Spanish speakers in the U.S..
Melissa is also our College Readiness instructor, preparing students for the SAT, ACT, and college applications and essay writing.
Melissa used to run her own music booking agency, but since she doesn’t expect large gatherings and live music to return for a little while, she enjoys spending her time outside of school hiking and canoeing around Appalachia, and working on home improvement projects.
Administrative Advisor, Music Director, Teacher
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.
Building & Grounds Manager, Fabrication Teacher
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.