Inspiring Students

Valerie Feathers

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.

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.

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”
-Arthur C. Clarke


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