Eric Howard, MSW, Ed.D
Head of School
Dr. Eric Howard grew up in Europe and the Pacific and Southeastern United States as a child of a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. Eric moved to his wife Nycole’s hometown of Burnsville more than twenty years ago so that their two sons could have a small-town Western North Carolina childhood. The family enjoys hiking, fishing, arts and culture, and waking up each day with gratitude for each other, their friends and communities, and our beautiful mountains.
As Odyssey’s Head of School, Eric will help us continue and expand how we encourage all students to be citizens of conscience with an authentic sense of self. He is focused on ensuring we invest in our students and provide faculty with the resources they need so that Odyssey School, its students, families, faculty, and staff thrive.
Eric studied and practiced social work because he was drawn to its core competencies: engaging diversity and difference in practice and advancing human rights and social, environmental, and economic justice. He was already a seasoned social worker when he began applying his passion to the field of education.
Eric’s experience with pre-K-12 includes advanced social work practice and school administrative roles including serving as Director of Student Services for Asheville City Schools (ACS); Social Worker, Community Liaison, and Leadership Team for William Randolph School alternative school; and Site Administrator for ACS Preschool.
Eric is an advocate for equity and serves as an expert witness and consultant on bias, race equity, and inclusion. He enacted bias-reducing policies as statewide Director of Problem Solving Courts in Iowa and established Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court as a model during his time as its Coordinator. He consistently makes time for community service. His current and past board and commission service includes LEAF Global Arts, OpenDoors Asheville, Evergreen Community Charter School, and Our Voice.
Eric holds a Doctorate in Education, Leadership & Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City; a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia; a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, North Carolina; and an Associate of Science degree from Georgia Military College, Milledgeville.