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


Odyssey’s 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.

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023


Three Ways to Give to Odyssey School:

Direct Online Gift

Please visit our Giving Page here and make a donation using the secure Paypal link.

Monthly Contribution

Consider making a recurring monthly donation. Even a little bit on a regular basis can go a long way to promote Odyssey’s mission. Click the Paypal button to find monthly donation options.

Check

Send to: Odyssey School, 90 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

*Be in touch! Odyssey accepts gifts that are employer matched, from a family trust or endowment, and gifts of stock. Contact Kristin Harkey for more information: kharkey@odysseycommunity.org.

THANK YOU!


Kim Prue

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023


she / her 

Pre-k Teacher

Kim has been integrated in the lives of our Asheville children for almost a decade. During her time in previous classroom environments, Kim enjoyed fostering relationships through nature-based play and encouraged social emotional development through child-led artistic discovery. Currently, Kim is on a Pathway to becoming a Social Worker and hopes to use her gifts of compassion, action behind sentiment, and innovation to ensure all our neighbors’ needs are met with respect and dignity.

The greatest joy in Kim’s life is the peace and wellness of her two children. You can find the
three of them hiking and hunting waterfalls, playing with their dog, Buster and their kitty,
Pickles, or cooking together. Kim loves a good prank, believes it’s never too late to do the right thing (even if it means starting all over again), and is very excited to contribute to the enrichment of the lives of the Odyssey family.

Dean Presson

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023


Student Credit Recovery 

He / him

Dean joins Odyssey School to facilitate Credit Recovery for high school students to successfully complete a course of study if not completed during the regular term. 

Dean’s full career is in education with many years as a community college Adult Basic Education and GED instructor. Prior to moving to Asheville in 1988, Dean was a facilitator at the West Area Learning Center of Central Piedmont Community College, tasked with administering entrance exams; then, guiding adult students through college preparation in either reading, language arts or mathematics. After moving to Asheville, he taught for AB Tech as an ABE and GED instructor at the Craggy and Buncombe Correctional Center throughout the 1990s.

In the fall of 1999 until 2006, he worked for Asheville City Schools teaching at the Metro School Program which later became part of Randolph Learning Center. While there, he was honored with a Teacher of the Year award and earned tenure in NC Public Schools. Then, Dean taught for a new credit recovery and long-term suspension program in Asheville called the New Day School. He was the sole teacher in a program that accommodated tuition-free adjudicated, long-term suspended students and after school credit recovery students. Long-term suspended Middle Schools students were able to earn passing grades, and high school students earned credit recovery through the software program. During the summer, Dean ran credit recovery, for all core subjects, summer school sessions using the credit recovery software at the New Day Program.  

Dean was NC licensed and certified in middle and high school language arts, social studies and math. From 2008- 2021, he  taught mostly 11th  grade English and occasional math classes at Buncombe County School’s Community High School in Swannanoa. There, he retired from public schools with twenty years of service. Since then, he has been a part-time GED instructor at the Western Correctional Center for Women in Swannanoa, a program under AB Tech. He is grateful to join the Odyssey School community.

Kitty Russell

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023


Registrar & Assistant in Admissions

She / her

Kitty grew up in Washington, DC, went to college and graduate school at University of South Carolina – Columbia in International Studies with a geographic focus of Africa. She possesses a Master’s degree in International Studies with concentrations in Comparative Politics and Gender and Development. She performed dissertation research on rural African women’s political participation. She has had many jobs from pizza delivery to baker to bookseller to working for a non-profit on Gender Equity issues to Technical Support Manager to Montessori teacher. At Odyssey, Kitty brings it all together as the Registrar and in support of the Admissions program.

Kitty loves to travel and explore historic and natural locales. She has at least set foot in 49 states. Alaska is the last hold out! Kitty lived in northern California for 20 years. She’s also lived in Oregon, New York City, Canterbury, England, and Pinyin, a small village in NW Province of Cameroon. When it was time to leave the west coast in 2018, Kitty and her son moved to Black Mountain where she has family roots in the Asheville area. Her father was born on Flint Street in downtown Asheville and she still has extended family in the area. Kitty loves western NC for its exquisite natural beauty, friendly people, and the pervasiveness of live music.

Kitty likes to stay active so she can keep up with her son who is now an Odyssey 6th grader. In the winter, she dreams about skiing in the West. Other times, you will find her in her basement pedaling her Peloton bike to nowhere, hiking, kayaking, biking, shooting baskets with her son, and trying to find her balance on a One Wheel. In her downtime, she enjoys fiber arts, cooking, following the news, watching British crime dramas and Jeopardy, poking around in her yard, and tending to her many cats. She really wants a goat or a burro.  

 

Roz Sweeney

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023


Before Care Coordinator & 1 / 2 Assistant

She / her

After bouncing around from place to place for a while, Roz settled in Asheville to complete her education and be close to family. In her free time she enjoys painting, rock climbing, and reading in a cozy corner.

Roz is currently in her senior year at the University of North Carolina Asheville working towards a Bachelors degree in art history and on track to graduate this spring! She hopes to receive a Masters in Education with the intention of becoming a full-time teacher.

With her background in outdoor education, she has a deep appreciation for hands on and naturalistic learning, not afraid to make messes and have fun! As an artist, it’s important to inspire students to be creative, imaginative, and expressive in everything they do.

Katie Vlasoff

Monday, August 14th, 2023


7th & 8th Math & Science Teacher (They / Them)

Katie has five years of engaging the public in science and math in different settings. They have worked as an educational park ranger with the National Park Service, created lessons for museums and science centers, and worked directly with school districts. In the classroom, they are excited to embark on a long-term educational journey with the Odyssey community. Katie has a B.S. in Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, where they focused on bridging scientific understanding with cultural and historic learning.

Katie believes that holistic learning within science and mathematics creates a stronger, more capable, and more interconnected society. When not teaching, Katie enjoys playing baseball, rock climbing, researching a bug they just saw, and planning for Halloween year-round. Katie has been charged by a moose, bear, and bison… but not at the same time.

Melissa Knowles

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023


High School Math Teacher (she / her)

Melissa Knowles joins Odyssey this year as High School Math teacher.  She has been teaching and tutoring high school and college math for the last nine years.  Melissa graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a B.A. in Biology and has been in the Asheville area for almost twenty years.  She prizes an ability to develop problem-solving skills in the math classroom so as to tackle “real world” applications. She believes that every math student can be successful with the right guidance and encouragement. Outside of the classroom you can find Melissa gardening, bird watching, nature journaling, and cooking.

Maggie Braswell

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023


3rd & 4th Grade Homeroom (she / her) 
 
Maggie is excited to join the Odyssey community in 2023! She is passionate about education and knew she wanted to be a teacher in high school. After graduating from University of North Carolina- Wilmington with a Bachelor’s in English Literature, she earned her Master’s in Educating Non-Native English Speakers from Seattle University.
 
Maggie has been a middle school English teacher in Henderson County Public Schools for the past six years. As she transitions to working with a new age group, she brings with her a unique perspective: understanding foundational skills students need to master in order to be successful as they progress academically while simultaneously prioritizing joy, creativity, and curiosity. Maggie is a lifelong learner and has many hobbies: listening to podcasts, cooking vegan meals, writing poems or journaling, watching movies with her big orange cat, and rummaging through thrift stores.

Kristina Lunsford

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023


3rd and 4th Grade Homeroom Teacher (they / them)

Kristina loves being from this area and calling these beautiful mountains their home. They believe learning should be exciting, inspiring and engaging for all students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Kristina utilize a classroom model that emphasizes both collaboration and independence, and they are passionate about teaching with a global mindset! Art is also a very important part of their life and they love to bring creativity into the classroom.

Kristina has a BA in psychology as well as a state teaching license from the University of North Carolina- Asheville. They have a certificate in LETRS (a professional course of studies in the science of reading). When they’re not at school, they love traveling, cooking, and swimming at the lake with their wonderful partner Erik and fur-baby, Ottie! Her family can also be found exploring the trails and waterfalls of this gorgeous place. Kristina is elated to bring their experience and love of learning into the Odyssey classroom!

Natalie Silva

Thursday, July 6th, 2023


Director of Academic Programming  

(she/her)

Natalie arrives at Odyssey as an experienced educator, a curriculum designer, and logistics master; she loves the direct connection to community that the Education space enables, and thrives on being able to support and empower others to do their best work. Since graduating from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, she has served diverse communities across Brooklyn, NY as a teacher, developed educators as an Instructional Leader in a Blue Ribbon school, earned a M.A. in Teaching and Learning at Relay Graduate School in New York City, served as a curriculum designer for a NY-based non-profit, and most recently in a growing charter school in Charlotte, NC. Although she has always felt at home in the classroom, it is in positions of teacher and operational support that Natalie feels most fulfilled in her life’s work. 

As the Director of Programming for Odyssey, Natalie is provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers on a daily basis, while also driving logistical support that further enables the development of Odyssey’s academic programs for its students. Trained and committed to the continuous learning of centering her work in equity, inclusion, and diversity, Natalie enjoys staying current on research in the Education field, on topics of instructional methods and curriculum design. She firmly believes that every student and educator deserves a safe, supportive, and thought-provoking environment; Natalie will continuously seek to join Odyssey’s educators and families in advocating for, and contributing to the ever-evolving creation of this space. 

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys working on home-related projects with her husband in Burnsville, spending time outside with her 2 rescue dogs, and exploring the world and its various cultures through travel and cuisine. 

Rebecca Jordison

Thursday, July 6th, 2023


Director of Finance, she / her

Rebecca Jordison comes to Odyssey as an experienced manager with more than 20 years in finance combined with over 11 years of HR. After growing up in Western New York, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and gained her management experience in varied retail environments, as well as in the legal sector and telecommunications industries. She has served as the principal financial and administrative advisor to the Director at the CI Department of Environment, where she was responsible for the budgetary and financial reporting requirements as well as the administrative, office management, human resource and records management functions. She easily integrates her knowledge successfully into a variety of teams and projects, and she is well equipped to handle uncertain and circumstantial events and issues with confidence and certainty.

Rebecca is lucky to have been raised to value the Arts and creativity, and loves to write, sew quilts, and crochet in her spare time. She has a creative, close knit family full of artists and scientists, and loves to hike and walk in these beautiful mountains!

Agustin Palomo Ramos

Monday, May 22nd, 2023


Music Teacher, Pre-K – 12th : Healing Through Drums & Music

Agustín is a national and international musical artist born in San Jose, Costa Rica. He earned a degree in Music & Social Behavioral Sciences from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and later attended Florida State University for Jazz Studies. He has been a Qualified Professional in North Carolina and has over 20 years of experience working with the IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) community.

As a drummer and percussionist he performs, tours, and is a recording artist with his bands.  Agustin is currently featured in the original rock band ExciterBox, who have a newly released album. He plays with Zabumba, a Brazilian drumline and dance troupe based in Asheville, NC. Some past ensembles include the 1995 Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps and Walt Disney World (3 ensembles). He has also played in several orchestras/symphonies, concert bands, percussion ensembles, steel drum bands, jazz bands, marching bands, percussion for theater productions and many pop/rock bands.

Since 2021, he has been the music teacher at the Odyssey School in Asheville NC for pre-kindergarten through high school students. He is a resident teaching artist at LEAF Global Arts (Schools & Streets program) in Asheville, NC. His music pedagogy work has included Winter Park and Trinity high schools in Florida, The Austin Waldorf School in Texas, and as a percussion master class clinician at festivals and conventions. He arranged and composed for Appalachian State University, UCF, Wake Forest, and high schools.

Agustín is also a live event producer and a sound mixing engineer whose Front of House/Monitor A1 work can be heard with XL Live Media USA, IATSE, local production companies and independently. Some of his past crews in Austin, TX include the Bass Concert Hall, Erwin Center, and numerous events (Broadway Across America with The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Mama Mia!, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, George Strait, John Meyer, Neil Young, George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic, SXSW, Austin City Limits, Santana, Willie Nelson, Blueman Group, Tom Petty, and Deadmau5). In New York City his credits include work at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR), Rocket Studios, and more (Fiona Apple, Beyonce, Trey Anastasio, LL Cool J, My Chemical Romance, Burning Spear and The Foo Fighters).

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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 lives of intention and purpose with an authentic sense of self.

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