Preschool 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. She believes it is never too early to instill the concepts of self knowing, communication, compassion, and community.
She strives to support the children in her care 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 Courtney carries her love of service, psychology, and healing arts into her relationships with the children. 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 this special community grows. In addition to her work at Odyssey, Courtney is also a massage therapist and herbalist.
Preschool Team Teacher
Lydia Hearne teaches in the pre-kindergarten class at Odyssey. 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.”
At Odyssey, Lydia is also the High School Ceramics instructor. She 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.”
Pre-K Team Teacher and After School
Raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, Josh Finkler is honored to be so warmly welcomed in the Odyssey community, and he looks forward to teaching and learning with your children. He has previously worked as an Odyssey K-1 Teaching Assistant,well as as a Kindergarten Assistant at Jones Elementary. Prior to teaching, Josh worked for several years in mental health a CooperRiis and volunteered with AmeriCorps. Josh is also one of our after school teachers.
His education includes a B.A. In psychology from Warren Wilson College and a degree in music education from Appalachian State. Josh enjoys singing, mountain biking, learning new things, and communing with friends.
Mae Shanley was born in a small Mississippi town surrounded by rolling hills and deep, wondrous forests. A girl scout since the age of six; she was able to explore and learn the importance of a positive community that values and reveres nature as something to be lived in harmony with.
Mae went to the University of Mississippi, where she studied Park & Recreation Science and Art. At school she began to understand the deep rooted connection to nature, creativity, and one’s self. She values working with children above all else, and has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She has been a Girl Scout camp counselor where she taught canoeing, yoga, and archery.
She loves to experience all the different ways children can learn, whether expressing oneself through interpretive dance, painting a messy masterpiece, or playing make-believe. “It’s truly magical when I can see clearly into the beautiful world that children’s imagination can foster and watch them grow into their sense of self.”
Shirley Rotolo grew up in New York City with parents of French and Haitian background. Growing up in New York, she was exposed to many different cultures and was able to experience them . Shirley also lived in Colorado and spent time in Italy and Amsterdam.
Shirley has her degrees in Early Education and Birth to Kindergarten, and has years of experience working with children. When she’s not at Odyssey, she loves gardening, painting, reading, and writing poetry. “As part of the Odyssey family, I’m very excited by all the creativity and family-oriented environment.” She believes that children should be nurtured, and have every opportunity to explore, create, and self express.