Edie McDowell

Edie McDowell, a native North Carolinian, is thrilled to join the Mountain Discovery Charter School community as Director. Over two decades of educational leadership experiences have afforded her invaluable training in innovative, experiential education. Within the past decade, she has helped establish four local alternative schools, most recently serving as Director of Curriculum and Instructional Coaching at The Franklin School of Innovation, a Middle-High School EL Education Charter School in Asheville. In each of these positions, as well as in prior public school teaching environments, she has employed the philosophy and methodology wherein all members of the school community serve as “...crew, not passengers.” It is Edie’s conviction that rigorous project and inquiry-based learning opportunities serve as a catalyst for discovery and genius when learners are empowered to follow their dreams and are taught how to set realistic, measurable goals with high standards for achievement, culture, and quality work. Edie is committed to helping students and teachers become lifelong learners with the capacity to practice inquiry, conduct authentic research, analyze data, synthesize their results, and effectively communicate their conclusions, both critically and creatively in the context of making our world a sustainable and better place.

Edie loves working with teachers to collaboratively design learning experiences that involve students in doing the work of real scientists, historians, writers, illustrators, mathematicians, and inventors! She is grateful to live in the ancient and beautiful Southern Appalachians, and is inspired by adventures on the trail close by, just as well as by learning expeditions farther afield and around the world. Her hobbies include photography, long-distance running and hiking, art, writing, reading, crafts research and revival, dance, and botanical illustration. Edie and her husband Tony have two daughters, Eleanor Gwyneth, begins her second year of college this fall, and Emma Claire, who is attending Asheville High School. The McDowells live in Asheville and have a woolly Siberian Husky named Huxley, and a cat named Artemis.

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Carter Petty
Chief Financial Officer

Carter comes to MDCS with a varied background. He obtained both a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Technical Theatre and Design from the University of Georgia. Before coming to MDCS, he worked in professional theatre and then for ten years as the sole proprietor of his custom metalworking business. He became involved with the creation of MDCS in February, 2001 serving on both the committee that wrote the charter application and the founding board that began the process of making the application a reality. He stepped in to serve as co-director in October, 2003 and has been a lead administrator at MDCS ever since. “It has been an indescribably rewarding experience to play an integral role in growing the school from an idea into one of the best public schools in the state."

Unwilling to let the teachers have all of the fun, Carter teaches 8th grade computer skills, an internet publishing elective, and co-leads the 7th and 8th grade education outdoors offerings. "I really love leading the trip to Hazel Creek. It gets me out in the field for a week, provides me with another opportunity to see the vision come to life, and gives me a chance to share my passion for local history with the students."

Carter currently lives in Bryson City with his wife, Ellen, and his youngest son, Holden, who will be a sophomore at Appalachian State this fall. Colyn, his oldest son, just graduated from UNC Asheville and is currently working his sixth season on a national park trail crew. Rocky Mountain National Park is his park of choice for the 2019 season.

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Crim Bassett
Operations Manager

Crim grew up in North Georgia where she attended the University of Georgia and gained a BS in Child and Family Development. In 1996, she and her husband Jeff moved to the North Carolina Mountains to start their business, Bee Global Studio. For the past 16 years they have owned and operated a working studio gallery nestled in Stecoah Valley where they craft and market candles, ornaments, lamps and many other creations, all made from pure beeswax. They also maintain a bee farm where they harvest many types of honey. Crim has had much experience multitasking where she co- managed the studio gallery and office of her business. There has always been a part of her that knew one day she would use her degree in a positive way. “I am such a people person and like working in a community where I can make a difference. I feel honored to be working here at MDCS among a fabulous staff and ultra fabulous students.”

She has two wonderful sons, Elijah and Booth, who have thrived in this type of learning environment. Booth and Elijah are currently attending Swain High School. In her free time Crim loves to spend time with her family, tend to her garden of more than 60 varieties of wildflowers, experience Fontana Lake and all of its magic, teach yoga, and knit.

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Amy Jo Harvey
Dean of Students

Amy Jo is from Minnesota and graduated with a BSW from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She loves going back home each summer to see family and spend time in the beautiful lakes of this area! Shortly after college Amy Jo was in Peace Corps-Thailand working with children in rural health and traveling for several years. She has about 20 years experience working with children through teaching, mental health, Juvenile Justice and behavioral intervention. Amy's favorite part of her school day is getting hugs and smiles from kids and her favorite part of the after school day is swimming at Deep Creek with her husband, Rich, and their daughters Laiken and Marden.




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Exceptional Children

Tracy Wharton
EC Coordinator

Tracy Wharton joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with over 10 years of experience in education. Her career in education began as a middle school math teacher. Varied experiences have afforded her the opportunity to work in various settings and grade levels from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After several years teaching math, she had the opportunity to work in a Day Treatment setting providing instruction in all content areas to at-risk students in 6th - 12th grades. This experience guided her toward pursuing a career shift to Exceptional Children's Services. Tracy spent two years working as inclusion teacher with high school students. After obtaining her Master in Education for Curriculum and Instruction, she was given the opportunity to work at the district level for the Exceptional Children’s Department as both a Program Specialist and Behavior Specialist.

Tracy is a transplant to Western North Carolina with her husband, Trent, two sons Ares and Sage, and two cats Loki and Dexter. They have greatly enjoyed the mountainous terrain and enjoy the outdoors, and especially hiking, in their free time. The love of the outdoors and experiential based learning that Mountain Discovery Charter School promotes are just two of the many reasons why Tracy wanted to join the team. She hopes to share her passion with the students she will be working with.

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Emily Herndon
EC Teacher

Emily joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with over 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and is looking forward to her new role in the Exceptional Children’s Department. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a concentration in History in 2007. Her love of the outdoors, nature, and philosophy of education match perfectly with MDCS. “I am eager to continue my teaching and learning career in such a warm and inviting environment.”

In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, cooking and traveling. She has visited many different countries including Canada, England, France and New Zealand. “I hope to bring my passion of learning about different places and cultures to my students. There is so much to do and explore in this world. Let’s get started!” She lives in Bryson City with her husband, Chris, and two children, Amelia and James.

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Jessica Ray
EC Teacher

Jessica grew up in Morganton N.C. She is the youngest of three siblings and the only girl. Jessica moved away to attend college at Western Carolina University and ended up falling in love with the Western North Carolina area. She is a recent graduate with a degree in inclusive education. Jessica is able to teach general education, special education, as well as severe and profound disabilities. Jessica will be teaching K-3 max resource EC students. Her senior year at Western, Jessica did her internship at Mountain Discovery Charter School. She split her time in half with the EC department and with the 1st grade class. She enjoyed the atmosphere at Mountain Discovery. The learning environment provided is what Jessica has been looking for. She cannot wait to explore this amazing school more and take on this journey of being a special education teacher.


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Lindsay Heim
Title I/Speech Pathologist

Lindsay grew up outside of Boston and received her B.S. in Communication Sciences from the University of Vermont. She graduated from WCU with a M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2005 and has spent the last 14 years providing speech/language therapy here in Western NC to children with disabilities of all ages. Her love for the NC mountains started much earlier though as she spent her childhood visiting family in Asheville and vowed to live there one day. Her areas of expertise include speech sound disorders, preschool/school age language, Autism, social language, and supervision of graduate students. Her experience of parenting a child with special needs (including dyslexia) has improved her practice as she has experienced the Exceptional Children’s world from both sides of the table. It has also sparked an interest in all things related to reading instruction, including the science behind how children learn to read, why some children struggle learning to read and what educators can do to help all students become proficient readers. The combination of the above experience along with Lindsay’s long time identity as a book lover are the recipe for a caring, committed and passionate educator for struggling readers. Lindsay is excited to expand her role at MDCS this year to include working with student’s requiring school-based speech/language therapy as well as Title One Reading Support. Lindsay loves being a part of the MDCS community! She and her husband Jeff live in Sylva. Lindsay is the proud mom to 2 Trailblazers, Nora and Garret. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outside, listening to music, playing board games and reading.

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Sarah Mwaniki
Kindergarten Teacher

Sarah Mwaniki is thrilled to be at Mountain Discovery Charter School. She is from Asheville and has lived in Sylva for the past 13 years. Sarah is married and has a one year old daughter named Betty. She is a very happy and active child! Sarah moved to Sylva in 2008 to attend Western Carolina University and graduated in 2012. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Sociology. During her Junior year of college, Sarah studied abroad in Kenya and learned about the educational system, culture, and people. During her experience in Kenya, Sarah spent some time with children who had disabilities. This inspired her to eventually get her Master’s of Art in Teaching- Special Education. Sarah has four years of teaching experience and has taught first and third grade Special Education. Additionally, Sarah has taught Middle School English Language Arts.

During her teaching experiences, Sarah has learned a lot about Blended Learning. Her students have regularly used technology and taken part in Project-Based Learning. Sarah wants her students to be engaged and excited about school. It is her goal to meet each child where they are academically and address their specific needs. Sarah is very excited that MDCS engages in outdoor learning. Given her love out of the outdoors, she can’t wait to get the Kindergarteners digging in the garden!

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Melissa Ellersick
Kindergarten Assistant

Melissa is excited to embark on an exciting adventure in the Kindergarten class. She has worked at the Dora Reed Child Care Center and has her Early Childhood Credential. She also graduated with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management, specializing in Outdoor Leadership. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, snuggling with her four cats, and teaching her kids ages 5 and 4 about nature. She also loves hiking, cookouts, campfires, Netflix, and fostering Kittens for Catman2.






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First Grade

Jennifer Harbers
First Grade Teacher

Jennifer Harbers moved to Bryson city from California recently with her young son, Rowan. Jennifer moved here to be closer to family and start a new chapter in her life. She has over 20 years of teaching experience and has been involved in many facets of the education profession. Jennifer has a teaching credential, as well as a masters degree in education. She truly love school, and there is nothing that brings her more joy than getting to spend the day with a classroom full of children. Living in the mountains is a new gig for her, as Jennifer spent a great deal of her life as a surfer and an environmental activist. She gave a great many hours to a nonprofit called Surfrider. Through this organization, she was fortunate enough to combine all of her passions: surfing, education, and the ocean. Jennifer is really beginning to love and appreciate this area, especially the rain! She didn’t experience much of that in California. Jennifer feels especially blessed to have been offered a position to teach here, at MDCS. The people in this community have been very warm and welcoming, and I am excited to put down roots here and raise her son. Jennifer's motto is “Live. Love. Learn.” She plans on doing all three here, at our school.

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Second Grade

Nicole Zmuda
Second Grade Teacher

Nicole was born and raised in Bryson City, North Carolina. She attended Mountain Discovery Charter School as a student in 4th, 5th, and 8th grades. During this time, she decided she would one day become a teacher and give back to the students at MDCS. Nicole attended college at Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University from 2011-2015 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, as well as a minor in Psychology.

Nicole began her teaching career at Swain West Elementary in 2016, where she worked for two years as a second grade teacher. She also was a bus driver for Swain County Schools. Nicole loved working with second graders and teaching them to become lifelong learners. After a year as third grade assistant, she is excited to have the opportunity to serve as third grade teacher. She believes that leading by example is the first step in teaching students to take control of their own learning.

Nicole is thrilled to be starting this phase of her journey at Mountain Discovery and is excited about her future here. She is eager to learn, and to bring new ideas to the table.

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Lisa Monnat
Second Grade Assistant

Lisa grew up as an Army Brat following her Dad’s military career. Her family settled in Alabama where she attended Troy University obtaining her B.S. in Marketing and her Masters in Business Administration. After graduation, she and her husband, Tony, travelled the United States with his Air Force career eventually retiring and settling here in WNC. They have 3 kids all who have attended MDCS. They enjoy being outdoors, biking, fishing, hiking, and kayaking as often as they can. She is excited to be a part of the MDCS family and to help educate the emerging generations.





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Third Grade

Alexandra Nichols
Third Grade Teacher

Alexandra grew up on the southern coast of Massachusetts and she is very excited to begin life here in the mountains as she wants to learn everything she can about hiking, camping, and kayaking. Alexandra grew up playing viola and piano and has played in many different orchestras. Her biggest passion, however, is teaching! Experiencing those "aha!" and "lightbulb" moments with students bring her the most joy. She is overjoyed to be working closely with the fantastic team of teachers here at Mountain Discovery to deeply develop her pedagogy.

Alexandra received both her B.A. in Psychology and M.A.T degree from Brandeis University. Through her studies there, she honed her skills in teaching math through conversation and teaching science through inquiry. Alexandra hopes she inspires students to develop positive social identities, express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them, relate to people as individuals, and express empathy when people are mistreated. Alexandra is excited to be part of a school community that honors: Empathy and Caring, The Natural World, Service and Compassion, Diversity and Inclusion, Success And Failure, Responsibility for Learning, The Having of Wonderful Ideas, Collaboration & Competition, Solitude and Reflection, and The Primacy of Self Discovery.

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Lisa Murphy
Third Grade Assistant

Lisa received her BS in Elementary Education in 2017. She loves guiding students through inquiry and investigations of science and social studies through the use of technology, games, and project based learning. She would like every child to know that they have a purpose in life and can be successful in their quest to be responsible for their own learning. Lisa currently has four dogs, Harley, Jake, Bella, and Gihli (Cherokee for dog), her cat Smoky, four chickens and one horse. In the near future, she hopes to open 3D’s Christian Youth Center and Family Campground and to care for foster children. Her son, Dillan, is furthering his knowledge and love for working with horses and she hopes to add this skill to the Youth Center.




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Fourth Grade

Londa Bohl
Fourth Grade Teacher

Londa Patterson Bohl is a native of Transylvania County, in Western North Carolina. However, until recently, she lived and traveled outside of the state and the country. She comes to MDCS after a 25 year career in the corporate world as both a Series 7 Licensed Financial Consultant, and owner and founder of a small chain of specialty printing boutiques. Londa left the business arena to follow her heart and passion for working with children as a facilitator of learning. It is her belief that genuine learning is founded within a curiosity about the world around us. Ms. Londa’s goal with the 4th graders is to foster a responsibility for learning through fun and creative activities that stimulate a thirst for more knowledge. In order to prepare for her new role as a facilitator of learning in the elementary classroom, she recently completed Bachelor of Science degrees in both Elementary Education and Sociology, as well as her Master’s of Education Degree in Elementary Education. Ms. Londa is very enthusiastic about teaching 4th grade at MDCS because of her belief in the small school environment, and her respect for the fact that all children learn differently, at different rates, and that many factors contribute to the differences among students. Fortunately, her studies in both Elementary Education and Sociology have provided her with a good understanding of how cognitive, family, and community factors affect children. Ms. Londa enjoys creating a classroom that appreciates each student’s uniqueness by providing varied and productive learning opportunities for each student.

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Betty MacAvoy
Fourth Grade Assistant

Betty is from Coral Gables, Florida where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology. She is retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, Florida where she served veterans for 37 years as a laboratory supervisor and instructor. In 2013 she and her husband Jim relocated to Bryson City where she began working at MDCS as a substitute teacher and tutor. In 2015 she accepted a position as a teacher's assistant. Betty thoroughly enjoys working with the children and finds this experience extremely rewarding.





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Fifth Grade

Valerie Feathers
Fifth Grade Teacher

Dr. Valerie Feathers joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with a varied educational background. A native of Elizabethton, Tennessee, Valerie grew up in the mountains and loved the outdoors. She attended East Tennessee State University and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology as well as Foreign Languages. She decided to expand her horizons and moved to Louisiana where she attended Louisiana State University. Here, she received a M.A. in Anthropology as well as a PhD in Anthropology and Geography with a concentration in Archaeology. Yes, she’s an archaeologist! Her area of focus is Mesoamerican archaeology at a remote underwater site off the coast of Belize. During her time at LSU, she taught several courses on Archaeology. Valerie found the best way to engage her students was through project-based applications. She designed various in-class activities engaging the students in real archaeological excavations and lab practices. She also mentored undergraduate students in 3D scanning artifacts recovered from their archaeological excavations in Belize and in 3D printing.

After graduating with her PhD, Valerie joined the Louisiana Division of Archaeology as their Outreach Coordinator. Since her time there, she’s worked with and taught at several K-8 schools throughout Louisiana. She attended a Project Archaeology Leadership Academy where she met a wide array of educators and archaeologists. Together, they learned ways to engage K-8 students in project-based learning and how to use archaeology to teach math, science, physics, history, social studies, etc. After returning from the academy, she designed and implemented project-based lessons focusing on Louisiana archaeology and prehistory for teachers to use with their students. Additionally, she created a Discover Archaeology program which taught the students the basics of archaeology by using real artifacts, site maps, a mock excavation, and archaeological interpretations. She adapted the program for students with sensory disabilities and visual-impairments. Valerie also uses her knowledge of 3D scanning and printing to create replicas of artifacts which can easily be handled by students.

She believes all students are interested in learning but knows that every student learns differently. She strives to find a mid-point which includes all aspects of learning to engage every student in the best way possible. Valerie likes to challenge her students to think critically and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world issues and events.

In her free time, she goes on walks with her husband, son, and their pup. She loves the outdoors and is happiest when she can be outside in the woods or by the lake with her family.

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Melissa Doughty
Fifth Grade Assistant

Melissa is thrilled to join the MDCS crew as the assistant for 5th grade. After several moves from NC, FL, GA, and KY, it is nice to be back in NC. Melissa grew up in eastern NC and attended college at WCU. Her husband, David, teaches middle school science at MDCS, and both of their daughters attend school here as well. She has a bachelor’s of science degree in geology from WCU and a lifetime of interest in plants and horticulture from growing up in a family plant nursery business. Melissa enjoys learning about the natural world, and she is very excited to go on learning adventures with the 4th and 5th graders and share her love of science with them. When Melissa is not with the MDCS crew, you may find her right at home in a local garden center, exploring this beautiful region we live in, or just enjoying life home with two sweet girls.


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Middle School

Language Arts/Social Studies

Angie Danforth

Angie was born and raised in Michigan. She attended college in Huntington, Indiana where she received a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in middle school language arts. She took her first teaching job at Academia Los Pinares in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and taught third grade there for two years while enjoying life in the Caribbean.

Angie then moved back to Michigan and took a job in Lansing at Mid-Michigan Public School Academy as a Primary Academy (Kindergarten-2nd grade) Spanish Teacher. While teaching there she met and married her husband Karl who was in the Air Force. Soon after they were married, Karl and Angie were stationed in the United Kingdom where she taught for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools for three years on RAF Lakenheath. She taught third grade for two years at Lakenheath Elementary and then looped up to fourth grade at Liberty Intermediate while pregnant with their first child, Sienna. Her free time during Karl's numerous deployments was spent finishing a Master's degree in Education from Oklahoma University.

When Sienna was just three months old the young family moved back to Michigan. Karl completed his schooling at Michigan State University and they welcomed a son, Tal to the family while living in East Lansing. Karl then began his career with the National Park Service and Angie spent the next several years home with their kids-- moving frequently! The NPS has taken them to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina and Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi, Texas and now back to The Smokies. Somehow they've managed to live in the same place for years and have begun to put down some roots.

Angie began her time at MDCS as a teaching assistant and quickly went on to teach third grade for 6 years. Angie loves being at MDCS and finds the school's educational philosophy to be a perfect match for her own educational beliefs. She's excited to focus on her favorite subjects, including Spanish, in middle school.

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David Doughty

David Doughty joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with a wide range of educational and professional experience. David grew up in central Georgia but attended Western Carolina University graduating with a B.S. in Geology. He then went on to receive a M.S. in geology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After graduating, David worked in Naples, Florida as a coastal geologist specializing in beach management. He then relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he continued working as a geologist before eventually changing careers and forming his own real estate lending company along with his brother. After eight years of successfully running his company, David sold his interest and moved to Kentucky to pursue separate degrees in teaching and theology. David earned an M.A. in secondary education from the University of Kentucky and is nearing completion of an M.A. in theology from Asbury Theological Seminary.

With graduate degrees in both science and education, David brings a well-rounded and academically sound level of instruction to his science students. David believes that all children are born learners, and he strives to deliver a level of personalized instruction that taps into the learning potential of every child. David wants to cultivate in his students a passion for exploring the world around them and teach students to ask the probing questions that help make sense of their world.

David recently relocated to Western North Carolina from Kentucky with his lovely wife Melissa and their two young daughters, Olivia and Charlotte. David enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, traveling, and reading as often as possible. He is happiest when he can do all four in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Brook Stillman

Brook grew up in the small town of Homer in upstate New York. She was always interested in learning- especially math. Inspired by her 7th grade math teacher, Brook decided that teaching math was her calling.

From 1998-2002 Brook attended Western Carolina University, where she studied Elementary Education and participated on the women’s golf team. While she was there she focused her studies on math. After receiving her license to teach K-6, she became certified to teach middle school math.

Brook took a job at Mountain Discovery teaching Title I Reading in the spring of 2004. She took over teaching Middle School Math in the Fall of 2005. She loves getting to work with the same students for 3 years in a row. Building relationships with the students makes it easier to teach them.

Brook loves sports and all things athletic. She recently became a certified personal trainer. Her love for athletics shows during PE and Sports Elective. Brook also started the school's Cross Country team in 2012. During the school year she coaches Running Club for students in K-8th.

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Krista Skrede
Art Teacher and Art Curriculum Coordinator

Krista was born and raised in Wisconsin, in a town right along the Mississippi River. From the time she was little, she knew two things: she wanted to be a teacher and she wanted to travel the world. Krista graduated from Winona State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in art education. She also holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Webster University in St. Louis. Soon after graduation, Krista packed her bags and moved the the Netherlands, where she taught art for 10 years at The American School of The Hague. Eventually, she wanted to experience a different part of the world and accepted a position in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the American International School/Dhaka. For 6 years she worked as an art teacher and department head. Living in the developing world was challenging, but more importantly, transformational. Krista states, "In Bangladesh I experienced so many interesting, compassionate, and ingenious people. It is where I truly got my education." After living in Asheville for a year, Krista trekked back over "the pond" to teach in Belgium.

The Penland School of Crafts brought Krista to WNC and she fell in love with the landscape and the people she met. After taking classes at Penland, she realized how much she had missed creating her own art, and so began using her experiences overseas and interactions with people to inform her work. As a practicing artist, Krista is constantly exploring new materials and ideas to enhance her own work and to share with her students. She has experience with a wide variety of materials and tries to learn a variety of techniques and mediums in order to share them with her students so that they can express themselves in a variety of ways. Through critical thinking, problem solving, and experimentation, Krista encourages her students to respond to local and global issues in unique and creative manners. After living a rather nomadic life, Krista is happy to be settled in Franklin, NC with her family. She spends her free time creating art, working in the garden, cooking, and playing with her family.

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Songbird Burkey
K-8 General Music

Sarah Elizabeth Burkey (Songbird) is a Recording Artist, Songwriter, and Storyteller whose work has been featured on over 17 albums including Door of the Moon, When the Redbuds Bloom, Don’t Die Yet, and Honeysuckle Vine. She has toured 19 countries and earned an international reputation as an authentic voice for Roots Music and Cultural Arts. Songbird is deeply committed to the preservation and continuation of traditional knowledge and the vital role it plays in health, healing, and well-being. She worked for the Cherokee Historical Association for 5 years as a Historian, Heritage Arts Crafter, Assistant Music Director and performer for Unto These Hills, craft teacher at Oconaluftee Indian Village, and member of the Tsalagi Touring Group.

"The creative arts have taught me to dig deep, plant my feet firmly on the ground, and believe in myself. I look forward to sharing my love of the natural world, music, and culture with the MDCS community. Let's go on an adventure!"

Songbird earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Literature, Summa Cum Laude from Campbellsville University. She lives down a dirt road deep in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina with her husband, Wes, and their sons, Stone and Sky.

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Lisa Monnat
Afterschool Coordinator

Lisa grew up as an Army Brat following her Dad’s military career. Her family settled in Alabama where she attended Troy University obtaining her B.S. in Marketing and her Masters in Business Administration. After graduation, she and her husband, Tony, travelled the United States with his Air Force career eventually retiring and settling here in WNC. They have 3 kids all who have attended MDCS. They enjoy being outdoors, biking, fishing, hiking, and kayaking as often as they can. She is excited to be a part of the MDCS family and to help educate the emerging generations.





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Amanda Singley
Afterschool Assistant

Amanda grew up in the Nantahala Gorge in Swain County. She and her husband, Henry, have two sons attending MDCS, Christian & Christopher. Amanda calls them her "little blessings." She was a stay-at-home for five years before working at MDCS. Amanda also works part-time at The River’s End at the NOC. When she is not at MDCS, Amanda spends her days with her family. They enjoy attending church, 4-H, picnics, or just sitting at home together. Amanda is grateful to be able to spend her evenings at MDCS and absolutely loves being a part of so many children's lives.





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Chrissy Ortiz
Bus Driver

Chrissy Ortiz grew up in Central Florida and moved to North Carolina in 2014. She attended Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, FL and graduated Cum Laude with an AS in Applied Science. Chrissy spent over a decade working in restaurant management. Then, 4 years as a District Manager for a commercial playground repair/cleaning company. Wanting to be home with her daughter on weekends and holidays, she persued a school bus license. Once employed at Mountain Discovery, an amazing position opened up as a one-on-one teacher in the Exceptional Children's Department, and it turned out to be a perfect fit! Chrissy lives with her daughter Keona and their two cats, Coal and Tinkerbell. She loves MDCS and North Carolina and hopes to stay forever!



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Michael Crew
Bus Driver



Bio Coming Soon








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