High School Faculty
Upper Level Math Teacher
As Odyssey’s upper level math teacher, Teshale Byan encourages students to delve fully into the subject. He infuses research, reading, independent studies, and projects into his curriculum, creating a relevant and layered mathematics curriculum. Those of his students coming from public school backgrounds appreciate the freedom they gain in addition to the high expectations Teshale sets. Independent studies are central to the Odyssey experience, and Teshale sees them as vital opportunities for the students to learn and gain independence, following their own interests beyond fulfilling the requirements.
Born in Ethiopia, Teshale attended Addis Ababa University, where he studied civil engineering for four years. In 2006 he left Ethiopia to attend Warren Wilson College as an international student and graduated from there with a B.A. in Mathematics. Teshale finds the size and makeup of the OCS school community to be an enriching environment for the students and the teachers and sees people working together as they learn.
High School Science Teacher
As an international seeker, Mark Meiri traveled to Egypt and Turkey and lived in Israel for two years, working on a kibbutz in the mountains of Jerusalem with people from over ten countries around the world. Mark’s insatiable curiosity extends into his classes, where he inspires students to explore the beauty and intricacies of the world through science and connect these experiences to all areas of their lives.
With a B.S. in Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a B.S. in Zoology from the same, Mark has been an educator for over fifteen years. Among other schools, he has taught at the Solomon Schechter High School in Long Island, Franklin High School of Reistertown, Maryland, and the Shoshana S. Cardin Community School in Baltimore, Maryland.
High School English/Literature
Gabriel Johnson completed a B.F.A in Literature at UNC-A in 2001. As a young man, Gabriel 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, Gabriel 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, Gabriel loves exploring the natural world, hiking, playing guitar, biking and gardening. He is especially excited to be a part of the Odyssey community and getting to know the students, staff and parents of this exceptional institution.
Matt cultivates his curiosity for the world, and feels the duty of any teacher is to guide his students to do the same. Through inquiry and discovery in history, he guides his students to create new perspectives on the present.
Matt brings resonant “real world” experience to the classroom, and uses current technology to engage students in active learning. He graduated with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arkansas and holds a NC professional teacher’s license in Social Studies from UNCA. In 2006, he was hired as a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist for the education department of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Matt has taught English to Haitian children via Skype, worked with special needs children in after school enrichment programs, and taught documentary film making during Upward Bound’s summer program. In addition, he volunteered for a year with AmeriCorps in high needs schools in the Asheville area and student taught at the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville (SILSA). He has worked with a diverse group of young people and finds inspiration and hope in this work.
When Matt isn’t teaching, he is outdoors raft guiding on two different rivers in the south east, planning his next adventure with his wife and small son, and operating a small urban organic farm in West Asheville. An avid whitewater kayaker, scrappy mountain biker, and a fun-loving musician, Matt and his family are happy to be a part of the Odyssey family and contributing to the success of the community.