Inspiring Students

Exceptional Children


“Helping Exceptional Children Reach Their Potential in the Least Restrictive Environment”

At Mountain Discovery, we strive to create an environment that celebrates inclusion and diversity and that allows each child to discover their own unique potential. We pride ourselves on serving the whole child. We collaborate as an integrated team with teachers, parents, related services professionals, support staff, and the students to develop effective Individual Special Education Plans for each student.

The E.C. Department’s goals are to provide innovative research based strategies and interventions to support all of our students’ academic, social, and functional growth. By utilizing a least restrictive inclusion model of services, exceptional students are in the regular classrooms with their peers as much as possible. This allows all students to participate as active classroom community members. We are here to provide the support and tools they need to successfully access and navigate the North Carolina Curriculum for their grade. Extra support, small group and one on one instruction are offered as needed and on a regular basis. Each student is provided the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and insight to lead productive lives.


Jill Blake, Director of Instruction and Exceptional Children’s Services
Lynn Varian, Assistant Director of Exceptional Children’s Services, EC Teacher


Web links for parents:

National Center For Learning Disabilities
Web Resources for Special Education
Learning Disabilities and ADHD
Handbook Of Parent Rights/Policies Governing Services
Handbook of Parent Rights

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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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