MSCS Staff Biographies
JULIE WILLIAMS, Executive Director, has over twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector. Her non-profit endeavors have included directing, administering, and teaching in non-traditional learning environments with over 10 years of experience at The Outdoor Academy in Pisgah Forest where she formerly served as the Assistant Head of School for 6 years and as the Human Resources Manager for over 5 years. Her experience at The Outdoor Academy included successfully coordinating the SACS (Southern Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation process for the school. Prior to moving to the Brevard area nearly 12 years ago, she served as the Executive Director for two different non-profit public interest organizations. Julie also has extensive educational experience in Montessori schools, both as a student and a teacher. Julie always considered Brevard her “home away from home” as she grew up spending many weekends throughout her childhood exploring the Transylvania county forests and environment. Julie is also a Mountain Sun parent. Her son, Skyler, is a fourth grader at the school.
BECKY BOISVERT, Middle School Teacher, has her BS in Education. She has taught middle schoolers for several years at ArtSpace Charter School in Asheville. Additionally, Becky has led educational tours with teens throughout India and Guatemala. She has spent most of her professional career working with teenagers in various settings that involve teaching, mentoring, and leadership roles. Her combination of skill, experience, expertise, enthusiasm, and heart for Mountain Sun Community School and her understanding of the developmental needs of adolescents has her well-equipped to serve our the holistic learning process of our students. She thrives on integrating curricular material and on project-based learning. In her previous classroom experience, Becky has taught all of the major subject areas and has led the students on their off-campus learning expeditions. Becky lives in the Asheville area with her spouse, Sanne, and their daughter, Willow.
BECKY LANGERMAN, Upper Elementary Teacher, earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola College in Maryland in 2000 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Appalachian State University. She is a certified Montessori elementary teacher and a certified family services counselor. Becky has seven years of classroom experience having worked as a lead teacher in Montessori schools in Santa Cruz, California, Bowie, Maryland and Palm Harbor, Florida. Complementing her classroom experience, she has also completed positive discipline training with Jane Nelsen. Becky is enthused by the holistic approach at Mountain Sun and enjoys being able to integrate other methods of education with her Montessori background. Becky and her spouse, Amy, live in the Fletcher area with their baby, Judson, and their two dogs.
BRIGID FOX, Lower Elementary and Kindergarten Teacher, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from University of Texas in 1993. Brigid is a certified Montessori teacher for ages 6-9. She also holds a NC state teaching license for K-6. Brigid has eight years of classroom experience having worked as a lead teacher in both pre-school and elementary school in Brevard. Brigid has also worked at various camps and outdoor settings in positions ranging from Camp Counselor to Assistant Director. Her family includes Jim, her husband, Hannah and Ian, her children, 2 cats, a dog, and several fish. Brigid combines her love of children with her love of learning and teaching, and integrates storytelling and music into the daily lives of her students.
TINA LEONARD, Primary Lead Teacher (PreKindergarten and Kindergarten), moved to North Carolina in 1997 from Florida. Tina has a bachelor’s degree in math and has completed her training in Montessori Primary Teacher education. She worked for a Financial Executive at a local bank for seven years before leaving to be a full-time mom to her oldest daughter, Kate, who attends Mountain Sun Community School, along with her youngest daughter Izzie. Tina has also served as Secretary of our Board as well as a classroom volunteer before being hired as an Assistant Teacher. After completing her training in Montessori training, Tina became lead teacher for the kindergarten class and co-lead teacher for the primary class. She believes her greatest lessons in educating children come from her students themselves. She has a gift for creating handmade learning materials based on individual student interests.
KIM SKEEN, MSCS Art, PE/Outdoor Education, and Assistant teacher in the Primary Class, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from Appalachian State. She has long dedicated herself to her professional development in the visual arts with a special emphasis on ceramics. She has taught pottery classes for years at the Carwile-Dodson studio at MudDabbers Pottery in Brevard as well as directed the art program at Eagle’s Nest Camp. In addition to working with children in the arts, she has years of experience in outdoor education, having worked with several environmental and outdoor education programs leading backpacking, caving, and climbing trips. She is also certified as a Wilderness First Responder. She lives in Brevard with her husband, Rob, and their two daughters, Cedar Ann and Lillian who both attend MSCS.
RICK HASTINGS, Administrative Assistant, Facilities Support, and Music Teacher, is trained in music educational pedagogy, is a trained chef, and has worked with children in various outdoor and camp settings for over 15 years. He was a student of jazz and classical guitar at West Virginia University, and was a founding member of the WVU Guitar Quartet. His training included both performance and pedagogical instruction, in addition to music history and world music traditions. Rick plays guitar, piano, a bit of mandolin, and is currently toying with the accordion. For the last 15 years, Rick has run the kitchens of various not-for-profit organizations, from Mountain People's Kitchen in West Virginia to The Outdoor Academy and Eagle's Nest Camp in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. Rick is married to Salli Lewis and they have 2 children at Mountain Sun Community School--Stro, 12 years old, and Mary Ella, 6 years old.
Our support staff and “specials” teachers are also multi-talented and have years of experience. They include Melissa Heywood, Lower Elementary Class Assistant, who has been a lead teacher with various preschool ages at First United Methodist Church and as well as managed the summer camp program at FUMC. She is a gifted and talented early educator and a mother to a Sophia. Victoria Kerr, Primary Class Assistant, is an artist & entrepreneur. She co-founded and taught pre-school at Seven Springs School in Mountain Grove Missouri. After retiring from two careers (chef and interior designer), she returned to school and took early childhood education courses in anticipation of working with children again. She moved to Brevard two years ago to be closer to her family, including her grandchildren Jazmin and Koty. She lives with her dog Lola Loretta and they both LOVE children. Marie-Lise Coudert, K-Elementary Spanish Teacher, has her Masters degree in Architecture and has spent years working for an international humanitarian organization with displaced children in post-conflict areas. She was born and raised in France by a French mother and Spanish father. She speaks three languages fluently and speaks conversational Hebrew and Italian.
MSCS Board of Trustees
HARVEST LEASURE (parent), Chair, grew up in Lexington, VA, where he was home schooled through 4th grade and then attended and graduated from a cooperative school that his parents helped to create. He has extensive experiential and outdoor education experience that included leading backcountry trips for a Quaker camp, serving as a wilderness specialist for the Wilderness Leadership Academy, and facilitating a ropes course and adventure program with Inner Quest. He also worked with the North Carolina Outward Bound School for four years as an Instructor and Whitewater Specialist in the mountains of North Carolina and Everglades Florida. He is now a permanent resident of Brevard has a daughter, Arawen, who attends MSCS. He operates his own construction company.
NICK PEARL (parent), Vice-Chair. After years of working as a Field Director, staff manager, and program supervisor for a therapeutic wilderness program, Nick co-founded Trails Carolina, a new outdoor wilderness therapy program. He has been the Field Director for the organization and has played key roles in staff management, staff trainings, risk management, and state licensures and permits. Nick brings his leadership experience and his strong background in organizational development to Mountain Sun Community School. He has two children attending the school.
TOM WARTH, Treasurer. Having retired in October 2010 after 22 years working in the Bell System, 2 years as owner/manager of a year-round restaurant and dinner theatre and 20 years as CEO/President of a peace, justice and environmentally focused year-round retreat and learning center, my wife Jane and I have settled in Brevard. In addition to peace, justice and environmental issues, I have been very passionate about educational systems (quality, outcomes and access) in the country. This includes public and non-public primary schools. When asked to consider a position on the board of Mountain Sun Community School, I realized that this would be a good opportunity to serve an organization that brings together my primary interests.
JOHN SHACKELTON has been an educator for thirty years, teaching everything from second grade to college freshmen. His school administrative experience spans seventeen years in non-traditional private schools. He most recently served as executive director of Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in Asheville. Along with paving new paths in education through a variety of avenues, he also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at AB Technical College. John provides regular staff training and teacher’s in-service workshops for Mountain Sun Community School and provides regular inspiration to our entire community.
SUSAN DAILY (parent), currently works as the Dean of Students at The Outdoor Academy in Pisgah Forest, where she also teaches an Environmental Seminar class on food ethics, climate change and consumerism. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in English and Environmental Studies, and Tufts University with an MA in Teaching. Susan is thrilled to be back in Western North Carolina, after teaching for many years around the country and leading trips for teenagers in Thailand and Tibet. She has been working in the field of Outdoor Adventure and Education for nineteen years, including fifteen years with Outward Bound. She has been a classroom teacher for middle school, high school and college students, as well as adults at San Quentin State Prison. Susan’s passion is working with teachers and students to bring experiential education into the traditional classroom, and she has facilitated diversity workshops in schools and conferences around the area. Susan joins the Mountain Sun community with her husband Michael Brown, son Noah, and daughter Tinsley Wren.
JENNIFER STEWART (parent) has her MEd. in Counseling Psychology and has worked in various therapeutic settings. She and her spouse, Jeremy, have a daughter, Marlee, who is starting her third year at MSCS as a first grader. Jennifer has been involved in other organizational boards in the past and has been an active volunteer with Mountain Sun for over two years. She is an organized and dedicated Trustee who has coordinated several Mountain Sun special events, primarily the bi-annual consignment sale. She has also served as an individual teacher and a tutor for several years.
SEBRING LEWIS, recently moved to Brevard and built and designed a new home with her husband, Tom Lewis. Sebring is the grandparent of two Mountain Sun students, Stro, 7th grade, and Mary Ella, 1st grader. She has worked as an activities director of an Assisted Care Facility. She has also volunteered with several non-profit organizations. Sebring is focusing her work with Mountain Sun on public relations and marketing, among supporting numerous other projects and Trustee efforts.
KAREN HOLT (ex-officio) is the Founder and Director of the Montessori School of Anderson in SC. Under Karen’s thirty-five years of leadership and nurturance, the non-profit school has grown from 14 students in the basement of a church to over 250 students ranging from infants through high school. Karen has served as an advisor to growing Montessori schools both internationally and in the United States, has presented at numerous workshops on experiential education, and is actively involved in Peace education. Karen has a significant personal investment in the success of the Mountain Sun Community School where her grandson, Skyler, attends. She has been a part-time resident of Brevard for over eight years.