Mary Virginia Bunker
K-1 Lead Teacher
A born and bred storyteller, Mary Virginia fills the days of K-1 students with mythic lessons taken from folktale and legend. Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s work describing the cultural basis of the hero’s journey through myth and folklore, she believes it is through learning ancient stories that truths of personal power, justice, and interpersonal understanding are embodied.
Mary Virginia passionately enjoys teaching at Odyssey School, guiding her young students to see purpose and meaning in their academic lessons, celebrating their shifts in understanding, and helping them learn how to manage their energies, through imaginative play, social skills and the developmental tasks related to academics.
A graduate of Loyola College of Maryland (Bachelor of Elementary Education) with graduate-level work in special education, Mary Virginia has also earned a Masters of Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State and a Masters of Library and Information Science from UNCG. She has recently completed a post-master’s level CASE (Advanced Study in Education) degree from the Notre Dame of Maryland University (2011).
K-1 Lead Teacher
As a K-1 teacher at Odyssey School, Samata has the training, vision, and enthusiasm that are hallmarks of the school’s spirit. She believe that childhood is a time of creativity and joy, and also a time to learn self-discipline and empowerment. Samata infuses the K-1 day with these elements through song and kirtan, yoga, centering, and goal-setting, and takes care that the children practice speaking from the heart center of power.
As a professional musician and co-founder of Sangita Devi Kirtan, a kirtan group that meets weekly to share in devotional sacred music, Samata has a deep understanding of the power of heart-centered communication. She brings the magic of childhood alive, and is thrilled to have found resonance at Odyssey School.
After receiving a BA in Elementary Education from Warren Wilson College, Samata studied education in India, with the plan of opening a mind-body-spirit oriented school for children. Later, she returned to work as a first grade teacher’s assistant at Hall Fletcher Elementary School and initially came to Odyssey School as a pre-school and after-school program instructor.
K-1 Assistant Teacher
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 worked as an Odyssey Pre-kindergarten Afterschool Teacher as 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.
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.