web of life

The Six Strands

The geometry of Odyssey’s educational experience is based on the interweaving of the physical, emotional, mental, moral, aesthetic, and spiritual aspects of the individual.

Haviva Dror, Pre-K Lead Teacher

Haviva Dror

Friday, August 21st, 2020


Pre-k Director

she/her

Haviva Dror holds an AAS degree in Early Childhood Education and a certificate in Special Education. She has been an Early Childhood educator since 2003. As a teacher, Haviva believes in creating a nurturing, loving, and caring environment where each child is treated as an individual with respect and compassion.

Haviva truly believes that strong social/emotional skills are THE most important indicator for success, not only in school, but also in life. Mindfulness and meditation are two of the tools Haviva uses in her classrooms to help children with self-regulation, focus, and body awareness. She teaches children to listen to their bodies’ needs, and recognize the feelings they are experiencing.

While early childhood education is Haviva’s passion and the career path she has chosen, she also teaches Hebrew. Over the years this has given her the opportunity to continue her journey with some of her former preschool students. Haviva is happy to share her Hebrew knowledge with her Odyssey students as well.

In her spare time, Haviva practices yoga and meditation, enjoys spending time with friends and family, and continues to deepen her knowledge in a wide array of subjects. Haviva considers herself a lifelong learner and is excited to continue her journey here at Odyssey!

Administration

Monday, October 2nd, 2017


Integral Education is deeply rooted in a collaboration of multiple perspectives. Odyssey School aims to echo this value, using Dynamic Governance to organize responsive circles throughout the organization. Our administration is supported by program directors in each of the four arms of the school: PreK, Elementary, Middle, and High School. This circle works in tandem with the administrative circle to guide programming, faculty, and families in our unique learning adventure.

As of summer 2022 Odyssey School has enacted a national search for an Executive Director. Please visit our Employment Opportunities page for published information when released.

High School Spanish and College Readiness Teacher: Karina Byers

Karina Byers

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022


She/ her

High School Spanish & College Readiness Teacher

Karina is a native Spanish speaker from Santiago, Chile. She has been living in North Carolina since 2009 and became a US citizen in 2016. She studied at Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello in Chile and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Karina taught elementary and middle school for 8 years in Santiago before moving to the United States. In addition to teaching, Karina also was a private tutor for students with academic support needs and was also involved with many social and community outreach programs in her native Chile. 

Since coming to the United States, Karina has continued her passion for education by teaching the Spanish language and culture to students from ages 3 to 65 years old. She teaches private lessons and also taught in a middle school preparing students for advanced high school credits. Karina was responsible for leading student trips each year to a bilingual school in Heredia, Costa Rica, sharing information and ideas with local educational professionals.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband, two daughters, and dogs. Biking, hiking, exploring nature, dancing, cooking, and traveling are her favorite hobbies. 

“Fue el tiempo que pasaste con tu rosa lo que la hizo tan importante” El Principito.

Private School 7-8 Teacher Kalyan Volpe

Kalyan Volpe

Friday, November 4th, 2016


Founding Teacher, Middle Grades Math Teacher & Program Director

he/him

Kalyan is one of Odyssey’s founding teachers, and he first came to teaching after a series of adventures, including traveling and living in Japan and considering monkhood in Nicaragua. When he visited a Long Island alternative elementary school, he was so enraptured by their joy and excitement that his life goals shifted from the monkhood to working in alternative education. His passion is to help children discover and honor their inherent brilliant selves and use those gifts to add to a vibrant community.

Kalyan achieved a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. in Education from Goddard College in Vermont, where his master’s thesis focused on the design of holistic elementary schools. After working as a lead teacher in a school in Fukuoka, Japan, and head teacher as PSOLI in Merrick New York, Kalyan taught at Odyssey for six years before taking a hiatus to explore other career opportunities. He rejoined Odyssey Middle School in 2016.

In Kalyan’s classes students focus on going deeply into subjects and ideas. Critical and creative thinking is encouraged and developed. Students are given ample opportunity to shine in the areas where they are strong and to be supported and grow in those areas where they need help. Key components of Kalyan’s classes include mutual respect, fun, participation, and dialogue. He encourages students to follow through with their visions, develop their own voice, and encounter the diversity of humanity.

Private School Teacher

Robin Skeen

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


Elementary School Program Director, First and Second Grade Teacher

she/her

In the summer of 2014, Robin and her family packed up all of their belongings and moved to North Carolina in search of a more natural life.

Robin received her undergraduate degree from the University of Akron in Early Childhood Education, which included Pre-K through 3rd grade age students. After teaching for a few years, she took time off to be with her two daughters, Ella and Julia. While Robin was home with her girls, she finished her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on reading. When both of her children entered school, Robin returned to the classroom as a founding teacher for a new charter school in Los Angeles. She also worked in an inner-city school in South Los Angeles before moving to Asheville.

In Robin’s class, students become authors, readers, inventors, and entrepreneurs! Her systems help create self-awareness and inner regulation and in keeping with the Essential Learning Skills and the Integral Process of Research and Reflection. She also leads centering to help students connect with their internal world.

For Robin, the most exciting part of teaching at Odyssey is the way that students integrate their subject studies within broader thematic investigations. Every year we learn about cultures, ecology and do amazing projects and IRPs! It is also wonderful to have the space to teach the whole child. We have class meetings to discuss topics that are important to students like understanding each other’s feelings and needs or simply how to share the swings at recess.

Board Chair Jessica "JP" Potter Bowers with parakeet

Board Chair

Friday, August 19th, 2022


Jessica “JP” Potter-Bowers

Jessica “JP” Potter-Bowers has served on the Odyssey Board of Trustees for 4 years and feels honored to be the current Board Chair. She has a Masters in Education, works as the Behavior Specialist at a local charter school, and has a background in both mental health work and environmental education. JP’s work in supporting struggling students and experience with non-profit organizations contributes to her perspective when guiding Odyssey toward the future.

JP’s daughter is in 4th grade at Odyssey and has been a student here since Pre-K. Their family fell in love with the “Odyssey way” because of the school’s commitment to social-emotional learning, focus on student-led conflict resolution and practices centered on whole child development. Most importantly, the care and compassion shown by Odyssey teachers has made their experience unforgettable.

Covid-19 Update 6/9/2022

Thursday, August 26th, 2021


Odyssey’s five and half acre campus is currently a “mask-optional” environment, meaning that we encourage the use of facial coverings but do not currently require them (as of June 2022).

In the summer of 2022, here’s what we are doing to mitigate risk of Covid-19 transmission:

  • Optional Masking in School
  • Eating Outdoors
  • Sending Symptomatic Kids Home
  • Open Windows / HVAC Filters
  • Maintain Strong Community Communication

We are continuing to utilize a layered approach to COVID safety to mitigate risk on Odyssey’s campus. Below is a summary of definitions that more fully detail our responsibilities and we ask that you review this page or call our main office for up to date guidelines:

  • Optional masking in building: individuals may make a choice to be unmasked or masked.
  • Required masking in the building: regardless of vaccination status, all students and staff on site at school are required to be masked at all times while inside the building. 
  • Eating outdoors whenever possible and spacing out in a larger physical space, such as the gym, when weather conditions are too dangerous outside.
  • Physical distancing indoors: masked students are to be distanced by 3’ whenever possible while indoors in accordance with NC Safe Schools and CDC guidelines
  • Sending symptomatic children home: children showing any symptoms of illness will be quickly isolated and caregivers called to bring them home and pursue testing or quarantine. 
  • Contact tracing and required testing: in conjunction with the Buncombe County Health Department and the NC Strong Schools public health program, any students or staff with positive COVID test results are to quarantine in line with current recommendations. As a school, we reserve the right to screen and require testing to monitor for the presence of COVID.
  • Keeping windows open in classrooms to allow for greater fresh air exchange in compliance with guidelines to reduce the concentration of any potential viral particles in the classroom.
  • Installing appropriate filters on the air handling equipment in accordance with recommendations. 
  • Policy adjustments as needed: Odyssey reserves the ability to make adjustments to classroom spaces, student groupings, building use, or any other measures to lower risk or improve instruction, and to clearly communicate these changes to the Odyssey community as we adapt to new information, research, and changing conditions.  

With sincere gratitude and appreciation for your partnership, consideration, and compassion,

 The COVID Committee of the Board of Trustees of Odyssey School

General Covid Update 9/10/2021

Thursday, September 16th, 2021


Dear Odyssey families,
 
We have another student who has tested positive for Covid in the 5-6 classroom of IS. To our knowledge, the two positive cases are not related, i.e. they were not close contacts. And we have a third student home sick today in this classroom. 
 
Siblings of these students are being kept home and quarantined (because they are not vaccinated or able to be vaccinated) in order to keep other classrooms safe. 
 
When our community transmission rates rise into the high level, (today we are still at 9.5% positivity rate in Buncombe County and the counties around us are even higher) we begin to see exposure and positive cases more consistently. So please, if you are able to be vaccinated or if your student is able to be vaccinated, please vaccinate. And please partner with the school in following our protocols as best as you are able. 
 
I hope everyone is able to rest and take good care this weekend. As always, reach out with further concerns or questions.
 
with gratitude,
Cory

First and Second Grade Homeroom Teacher Rebekah Walker

Rebekah Walker

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022


First and Second Grade Teacher

she/her

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Central Methodist College in 1997, Rebekah moved to these glorious Blue Ridge Mountains to be closer to her dad. At CMC, she won The Elizabeth Stephenton Award in Art Education for making a four foot Babar hand puppet and discovered the amazing world of children’s literature. Rebekah found ArtSpace Charter School in 2001 and fell in love with art integration. Art is all around us, whether it’s in us or our environment. Looking at the world through the arts allows everything to be seen through a lens of love, creativity and acceptance. Rebekah has witnessed how this benefits children when learning new things and she has seen how it has helped herself and her two daughters. Rebekah has also witnessed the benefits of yoga in herself and in her students. In 2018, Rebekah became a RYT-200 Purna Yoga instructor and brought Sri Aurobindo’s “All life is yoga” concept into her teaching. Art is magnificent, yoga is delightful and Odyssey School, where all humans are valued for their whole self, is the best place to be. Rebekah has found her Ithaca and couldn’t be happier. When not in the classroom you will find Rebekah reading children’s books outside under a tree, creating fiber art in her art room, in the kitchen baking deliciousness, wandering around with her dog, Molly, meditating/doing asana on her mat, or laughing with her friends and daughters.

Elijah

Elijah Allred

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021


Seventh and Eighth Grade English Language Arts teacher

he/him

Elijah Allred grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where he regularly attended summer camp in the mountains. After four years of film school and one gap year of hitchhiking in Alaska, he received a B.S. in radio, television & film from University of Texas, graduating in 2015. During that time he developed unprofitable interests in cooperative living, social justice, and sad poetry.  After several years of living in co-ops and working in food service, Elijah moved out to west Texas to write sad poems and work behind a motel desk. Elijah returned to Austin in 2016 to sign an NDA and work for a very large social media company with a blue logo doing content moderation and account memorialization.  During that time he published several very sad poems, developed an interest in continuing his education, and quitting his job as quickly as possible. 

In 2018, he began working part time as a substitute teacher in a special education classroom. By 2019, he received his teaching certification from Austin Community College and worked for two years at Austin Discovery School, a small public charter specializing in eco-wellness and project-based learning. Elijah moved to Asheville in the summer of 2021 to work for Odyssey, be closer to his family, and, eventually, send his newborn son to summer camp. 

Outside of school, Elijah spends his free time reading about western esotericism, writing less-sad poetry, changing diapers, and collecting antique typewriters.

Lydia Hearne

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021


PreK Lead teacher

she/her

Lydia Hearne has worked in early childhood education for years, many of which have been here at Odyssey. She especially values the connections made with the children and loves to foster that personal bond, building trust and friendship. With the kids, Lydia loves to read good stories, explore nature, navigate emotional landscapes, and try new forms of artistic expression.  Lydia also has a background in art and enjoys teaching pottery to people of all ages.

Private School Teacher

Gabe Johnson

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014


High School Homeroom & English Teacher

he/him

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 School since 2012.

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© 2012 The Odyssey Community School. All Rights Reserved

90 Zillicoa Street, Asheville NC 28801 | Phone (828) 259-3653

Odyssey School is an independent, non-profit school with a focus on whole child, emotionally intelligent, personalized curriculum for students in PreK-12.

Our mission is to prepare students, families, and educators to lead the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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Odyssey to host "Positively Glows: An Online Auction and Night Out", October 8th at Lexington Glassworks. Get your tickets here. 

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Covid-19 Policies and Procedures

Odyssey School is excited to welcome our students back to campus for the 2022/23 school year. Please read our regularly updated policies and procedures.

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