Director's Page

Edie McDowell
Director

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 freshman at the University of Geaorgia this fall. Colyn, his oldest son, tends to summer in the Rocky Mountains and attends UNC Asheville during the other seasons.

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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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Exceptional Children

Jill Blake
EC Coordinator

Jill Blake comes to Mountain Discovery with over 25 years of experience in teaching exceptional education students. She has taught in self-contained, resource, and hospital settings. Jill has worked with students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She does not have a favorite group because she says there are wonderful qualities at each level.

Jill received her Exceptional Education Degree from Auburn University. She is always looking for opportunities to grow as a professional.

Jill has been married to her high school sweetheart for over 30 years. She has a son who works in the building trade and a daughter who is recently graduated from the University of South Carolina and works for Investco in Atlanta. With her free time, Jill enjoys reading, riding road bikes, and spending time outside with her family.

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Lynn Varian
Assistant EC Coordinator/EC Teacher

Lynn Varian moved from Florida to Bryson City in June of 2006 with her husband Craig Varian, a graphic artist, and their daughter Emma, who attended MDCS and is currently a student at Jackson COunty Early College.

Lynn has a Master's Degree in Psychology from the University of West Georgia. She has over 10 years experience working with youth and adolescents as a Therapist with an Experiential Learning focus. In addition, Lynn has enjoyed a 20+ year passion for yoga and has taught classes to a varied clientele. Lynn is currently teaching in the Exceptional Children's Department at MDCS and is Co-teaching the Our Whole Lives Course to the 7th and 8th graders. She is a licensed NC Special Education teacher.

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Chrissy Ortiz
EC Assistant / Transportation Director

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, MDCS student Keona and their two cats, Coal and Tinkerbell. She loves MDCS and North Carolina and hopes to stay forever!

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Kindergarten

Kristin Schrader
Kindergarten Teacher

Kristin Schrader grew up in Southern California and moved to the coast of North carolina at the age of fourteen.  After graduating High School, Ms. Kristin spent the next two years traveling The United States.  She found her home in The North Carolina Mountains in 1994.  She attended Western Carolina University and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Science of Education, Magna Cum Laude.  She also has a DFA in Art.

Ms. Kristin has over sixteen years experience working with children.  She began teaching Kindergarten at MDCS in 2003.  Over the years, Ms. Kristin has contributed in many ways to the growth of the learning community at MDCS.  She currently heads a committee which oversees the training of new teaching staff and the implementation of K-8 classroom expeditions and hands on learning. 

“I am confident about the environment and routine my Kindergarten students live and learn in on any typical day in my classroom.  I have been very successful at creating a safe, happy, respectful, and productive classroom community.  My students are encouraged to take pride in both personal strengths and challenges they may encounter.  Even the youngest students at MDCS learn to make their own choices, have time to do their best work, and are proud to present finished projects with others.  I have a classroom full of confident Kindergartners who are very excited about learning.  Everyday, parents tell me how much their child loves school.”, says Ms. Kristin.

Kristin's son Harvest is a student at Warren Wilson College.

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Jonathan Wertheim
Kindergarten/Junior Appalachian Musicians Program

Mr. Jonathan is a native North Carolinian. He received a B.A. in English Literature (Journalism minor) from Western Carolina University. He received his recording engineering certification from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. He also studied Theater at the North Carolina School of the Arts and Education at Western Carolina University. He thinks Kindergarten is the bee’s knees.

Jonathan began working at MDCS in the autumn of 2003, becoming part of the Kindergarten Team for the 2004-2005 school year. He strengthens the Kindergarten curriculum through storytelling, dramatic play, puppetry, writing, art, and music. Aside from directing years of Kindergarten Production Nights, Jonathan has produced several Expedition-themed albums of children’s music. The music is unique in that the Kindergarteners write all the lyrics.

Jonathan began teaching guitar at MDCS in 2004, eventually adding singing, recording, and other instruments. He has served as the Program Director for the Junior Appalachian Musicians of Swain County at MDCS since 2005. J.A.M. at MDCS meets after school, instructing third-eighth graders in Traditional Mountain, Old Time, and American Folk Musics. J.A.M. is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. He has also taught Middle School Drama and Music Production.

Jonathan is a singer-songwriter. He has written, arranged, performed, and/or engineered music in Chicago, Phoenix, Missouri, and North Carolina. He was co-producer of Smoky Mtn. Drum’n Bass. He has collaborated since 2001 in Jackson County’s own Moolah Temple $tringband (an old time meets electronic curio), on 10 albums to-date (and one ballet). His favorite author is Samuel Becket. Mr. Jonathan likes calling North Carolina home.

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First Grade

Donna Holcombe
First Grade Teacher

Donna spent twenty years teaching kayaking, guiding rafts, managing ropes courses, and leading adventure travel trips for Nantahala Outdoor Center. While this life was fun and exciting (drop by and she would love to swap adventure stories with you) something was missing. In 2003, Donna and her husband Jimmy flew to China and met their eighteen month old daughter Carolyn Xaioyao Holcombe.

After almost two years of being a stay-at-home mom with Carrie, Donna dusted off the Elementary Education Certificate she received from Webster University in St Louis and came to Mountain Discovery Charter School. Many of her friends had been involved in the founding of the school and she had watched its progress with interest. Donna had minored in experiential education and been involved in outdoor programming for at risk youth before she joined NOC. It was just by fate that she ended up in fourth grade but it turned out to be a wonderful fit; she loves both the age group and the curriculum.

Her daughter Carrie attended MDCS and is currently a student at Jackson County Early College.

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Trisha Crockett
First Grade Assistant

Patricia is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University School of Law. She formerly served as a legal officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has been pastor of Cherokee Wesleyan Church since 2001.

Until recently, Patricia and her husband, Doug, owned and operated Cooper Creek Trout Farm in Bryson City. They have four children which they homeschooled.

 

 

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Second Grade

Janet Smith
Second Grade Teacher

Janet Smith, born in Michigan, received her Bachelor of Science degree at Grand Valley University in Michigan and received her Masters in Education from Western Carolina University.  After graduating from Grand Valley, Janet taught several years in the Delton, Michigan school system before leaving to teach and travel in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Upon her arrival back in the States she took a summer job at the Nantahala Outdoor Center that stretched into a 20-year career in outdoor recreation. In the middle of her NOC career Janet went to South America to teach in Baranquilla, Colombia. There she was elected Teacher of the Year.  After returning to NOC, Janet was in her 5th year as a Vice-President for NOC when she decided to resume her other career: teaching.

Janet taught Language Arts for four years at the Swain County Middle School. In 2002 she earned her National Teacher’s certification. She transferred to the Andrews Public Schools system where she taught Social Studies for three years. She began teaching at MDCS in the fall of 2007 as the 3rd grade teacher, a mentor and Curriculum Coordinator.

She enjoys being part of the MDCS.  Having completed a 30-hour course in Reading Foundations, Janet is intrigued with learning more about how children become proficient readers.  A Love & Logic instructor, Janet has offered classes for teachers on “Teaching With Love and Logic”.

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John Mordhorst
Second Grade Assistant

John brings a varied background in experiential education to his role of Educational Assistant for Middle School math. For many years he worked for Outward Bound in the US, Canada and Hong Kong as a field instructor, course director and Program Director. Additionally, he worked for several youth-at-risk programs adapted from the Outward Bound model. In 1990 he moved to Bryson City to work with the Nantahala Outdoor Center and eventually directed the Action Learning Programs department at the Center. Later, he became Assistant Director for Programs at Bradford Woods Outdoor Center, the outdoor center of the University of Indiana.

John originally came to MDCS as an Educational Assistant for EC. Subsequently, he was the Educational Assistant for the 4th & 5th grades. He is currently the Educational Assistant for Second Grade.

 

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Third Grade

Angie Danforth
Third Grade Teacher

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. Their children Sienna and Tal are both students at Mountain Discovery.

Angie loves being at MDCS and finds the school's educational philosophy to be a perfect match for her own educational beliefs. She is thrilled to be the third grade teacher and also enjoys teaching middle school Spanish classes.

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Nicole Zmuda
Third Grade Assistant

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. 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 journey at Mountain Discovery and is excited about her future here. She is eager to learn, and to bring new ideas to the table at MDCS.

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Fourth & Fifth Grades

Londa Bohl
Fourth & Fifth Grade ELA/SS 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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Tracy Wharton
Fourth & Fifth Grade Math/Science Teacher

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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Lisa Murphy
Fourth & Fifth 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 and her husband, Daniel, hope 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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Middle School

Language Arts/Social Studies

Sarah Rave

Sarah grew up in Greensboro, NC where she attended UNC-Greensboro and graduated with a BA in Geography with a concentration in Earth Science. After college, Sarah spent almost 10 years living on the west coast in California, Arizona and Oregon working for several large corporations. Eventually, a longing for home sank in and Sarah returned to NC where she met and married her husband Matt, a professor at WCU. Sarah found her way to Mountain Discovery in 2008. Since that time, Sarah has worked in several positions at MDCS and has been fortunate to be able to spend time in most of the classrooms and learn from all of the incredibly talented teachers here at MDCS. Recently, Sarah returned to school, attending UNC-Charlotte, and earned her teaching license in Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies. Her teaching philosophy includes a focus on engaged, active learning and utilizing higher order thinking skills. Sarah's son, Christian, attended MDCS and is currently a student at Jackson County Early College. Sarah treasures her interactions with the students and feels incredibly lucky to have landed at MDCS and to be part of such a wonderful learning community.

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Science

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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Math/PE

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 schools Cross Country team in 2012. During the school year she coaches Running Club for students in K-8th.

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Betty MacAvoy
Middle School 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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Art

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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Music

K-5 Music Teacher

Mr. Jonathan is a native North Carolinian. He received a B.A. in English Literature (Journalism minor) from Western Carolina University. He received his recording engineering certification from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. He also studied Theater at the North Carolina School of the Arts and Education at Western Carolina University. He thinks Kindergarten is the bee’s knees.

Jonathan began working at MDCS in the autumn of 2003, becoming part of the Kindergarten Team for the 2004-2005 school year. He strengthens the Kindergarten curriculum through storytelling, dramatic play, puppetry, writing, art, and music. Aside from directing years of Kindergarten Production Nights, Jonathan has produced several Expedition-themed albums of children’s music. The music is unique in that the Kindergarteners write all the lyrics.

Jonathan began teaching guitar at MDCS in 2004, eventually adding singing, recording, and other instruments. He has served as the Program Director for the Junior Appalachian Musicians of Swain County at MDCS since 2005. J.A.M. at MDCS meets after school, instructing third-eighth graders in Traditional Mountain, Old Time, and American Folk Musics. J.A.M. is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. He has also taught Middle School Drama and Music Production.

Jonathan is a singer-songwriter. He has written, arranged, performed, and/or engineered music in Chicago, Phoenix, Missouri, and North Carolina. He was co-producer of Smoky Mtn. Drum’n Bass. He has collaborated since 2001 in Jackson County’s own Moolah Temple $tringband (an old time meets electronic curio), on 10 albums to-date (and one ballet). His favorite author is Samuel Becket. Mr. Jonathan likes calling North Carolina home.

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Music

Band Director/

Sarah Elizabeth Burkey 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. Sarah 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!"

Sarah 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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Afterschool
Jenn Storm
Title I/Afterschool Coordinator

Jenn was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida. She moved to western North Carolina with her family in the summer of 2004. Jenn is the proud mother of three sons. Her oldest son, Kyle lives with his wife in Clyde. Her middle son, Dalton, and youngest son, Jake, are both MDCS graduates. Dalton recently graduated from Swain High School, while Jake is a current Swain High School student. Prior to joining the MDCS community as an EA, Jenn was a stay-at-home mom for 5 years, during which time she returned to college to pursue a degree. She attained her AA in Elementary Education through St. Petersburg College at the end of 2007. Currently, Jenn facilitates Title I Reading instruction to students in grades 3 through 8, and is the coordinator of the After School Program. Jenn is also responsible for many of the beautiful photographs of MDCS activities and students.

“We couldn’t ask for a better learning environment for our children. Mountain Discovery Charter School is a wonderful community and I’m privileged to be surrounded by such caring and dedicated people.”

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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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Photo credits: Terri Clark Photography and Jenn Storm
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