A national benchmark in Educational excellence through integration of the arts
The best way to contact teachers is through email. Teachers do not have individual voicemail boxes. Our administrative team and our Exceptional Children teachers have extensions in which to leave voicemails.
Ms. Sarena attended East Carolina University with the Teaching Fellows Scholarship. Majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Interdisciplinary Human Studies, she graduated with a teaching license in K-12 Health/ PE. Ms. Sarena’s first teaching job brought her to Morganton, where she taught high school dance, gymnastics, and health. Collaborating with the Fine Arts department she established the 1st Annual Art Expo, a night that celebrated all forms of art. Ms. Sarena earned her National Board Certification, a Master’s of School Administration degree from Appalachian State University and was honored as Burke County’s Teacher of the Year.
After earning her master’s degree Ms. Sarena was an Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, and Principal at North Carolina School for the Deaf. She enjoyed the opportunity to learn a new language and being embraced by a different culture. During her tenure at NCSD, Ms. Sarena was recognized as the STEM Administrator of the Year by the NC SMT Center for developing the STEM program. Ms. Sarena is also in the process of completing her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Western Carolina University.
Ms. Sarena enjoys traveling and seeking new adventures with her husband and twin daughters.
This is Ms. Hollis’ third year as K-4 Director and Testing Coordinator. She joined our staff in the 2009 school year, as a third grade teacher. Ms. Hollis was voted Teacher of the Year at ArtSpace in 2011. Before working at ArtSpace, Ms. Hollis taught with Asheville City Schools as well as in the Chicago area. Ms. Hollis holds a B.A. in Sociology from Tulane University, and her teaching licensure through Western Carolina University. Hollis loves hiking the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and two sons. She is an avid runner and will be completing her first half marathon this school year.
Lucy SawyerDirector of Grades 5-8 Artspace Charter School
Lucy has worked in education for over 17 years. She holds a B.A. in English and American Literature and an M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Tennessee. In addition, she holds North Carolina teaching licensure in Cross-Categorical K-12 and Middle School Mathematics. She enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities, reading, and science fiction shows.
Rob SineStudent Support and Exceptional Children CoordinatorArtspace Charter School
Rob started at ArtSpace in 2011. He earned a B.S. in Speech Communication from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and has earned his alternative licensure from Western Carolina University. Mr. Rob has worked as a behavioral facilitator in Virginia and Pennsylvania. He has also worked as Assistant Program Director for Talisman Summer Camps for Children with Autism. Rob enjoys spending time with his wife, hiking and also plays professionally in a bluegrass band called Blue Wheel Drive that just released their first album.
Meg BoernerMusic Specialist and Band TeacherArtspace Charter School
Meg holds a BSE in Music Education from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. She was ArtSpace Charter School’s Teacher of the Year 2014-2015, as well as Mountain Xpress Best Of Winner: 2nd Best Music Teacher (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and tied for 1st in 2018). Meg has been a part of the ArtSpace family since 2013. Meg has recently submitted her work for National Board Teacher Certification. In addition to K-5 general music classes, Meg serves as the director of the choral and instrumental ensembles and has taught private lessons through the AfterCare program. Meg has experience working in the field of behavioral health, and with children who are visually impaired. She has been an Assistant Coach with Girls on the Run for the past four years. Meg also volunteers in the community through the Girls Rock! Asheville non-profit. Meg enjoys running, yoga, and exploring Asheville’s restaurants and live music!
Beth LexaTheatre Arts SpecialistArtspace Charter School
Beth holds a B.S. in Theatre Arts from Towson University and an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also licensed in Theatre Arts, Middle Grades Language Arts, and Special Education.
Ms. Beth began her career as an intern at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the education department. She then served as a Teach for America corps member teaching in South Louisiana for two years. Beth then worked as a teaching artist in Chicago Public Schools with the non-for-profit, Reading in Motion. After moving to western North Carolina, Beth taught theatre arts at East McDowell Junior High. Beth joined the ArtSpace Faculty in 2008. She enjoys books, movies, yoga, and chocolate!
Steve LipeInstructional Technology SpecialistArtspace Charter School
Since its inception in 1999, Steve has been associated with ArtSpace Charter School. He wrote the school’s first state technology plan as the school’s charter was being finalized. After 10 years in traditional schools, serving as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, technology specialist and media coordinator, Steve joined the original ArtSpace staff as a 5th grade teacher, which he did for 5 ½ years, before transferring into the technology program.
Steve holds a B.S. in Recreational Resources Administration from NC State University, an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an M.L.S. from Appalachian State University. He completed his teaching certification at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. With over 25 years of experience, he holds North Carolina professional licensure in K-6 General Education, K-12 Computer Science, and K-12 Media Library Science. In addition, Mr. Lipe is a North Carolina A+ Fellow, and has presented integrated technology workshops at regional, state and national conferences. His personal interests include reading, traveling, camping, and history. His daughter, Alex, is attending college at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, and his wife, Roberta, is a co-founder of ArtSpace Charter School, and an art teacher at Vance Elementary in the Asheville City Schools, where she was chosen as the 2015 Vance Elementary Teacher of the year.
Jocelyn has worked in arts education, arts programming and school administration for over 15 years. Her job experiences vary from LEAF Schools & Streets Director, Assistant Principal for Asheville City Schools, and Art Teacher for Chicago Public Schools. Jocelyn holds a BA in Art/Art History from DePaul University, a MAT in Interdisciplinary Arts Education from Columbia College Chicago and a MSA in School Administration from Western Carolina. She was a NC Principal Fellow and has done extensive training in school management, strategic planning and positive behavior support. She is NC licensed in K-12 Art Education as well as School Administration. Her love for teaching art and inspiring youth brings her back to the classroom.
In her spare time, Jocelyn enjoys drawing and painting and creating site specific installations. She also co-produces the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival with her husband each January. This 4 day performing arts festival highlights new and emerging interdisciplinary performances from both local and imported artists for culturally adventurous audiences.
Simone holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder and completed the Teacher Education Program through Adult and Graduate Studies at Mars Hill University to obtain licensure in Elementary Education and Exceptional Children.
Simone’s love of teaching started by being a music teacher after completing the teacher training for Music Together at the Center For Music for Young Children in Princeton, NJ. For ten years following Simone worked as an associate teacher in kindergarten, second grade, and with children with exceptional needs in grades 2-8 at Evergreen Community Charter School. Prior to teaching Simone was a floral designer, and a journalist for Florist’s Review magazine.
In her free time, Simone loves to read, write, enjoy music, garden, and go for hikes with her husband and daughter.
Jane holds a B.S. in Business Education from Florida Southern College. She has been involved with ArtSpace from its inception, first as a volunteer. Jane has been on staff at the school since 2003. She enjoys reading, hiking, and music.
Darlene holds an M.A. in Health Psychology from Appalachian State University. She joined ArtSpace as a parent and volunteer in 2001 and joined the front office staff in 2009. She is passionate about health and wellness and shares this with the ArtSpace community through the wellness committee and the annual Health Fair. She coordinates the ArtSpace garden growing flowers, herbs, the occasional vegetable and cultivating a love of plants and fresh healthy food with students. She is also an herbalist and currently serves on the board of the North Carolina Herb Association.
Beth has a BA in Art from University of California, Santa Cruz and a Masters in Library and Information Science from University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has a long history of working in libraries, which began as a page shelving books in a public library during college over 20 years ago, and the last being in the Asheville-Buncombe Public Library as a children’s librarian. Beth has been an ArtSpace parent since 2013 and joined the ArtSpace staff in 2015. She enjoys reading, crafting, swimming, and spending time with her husband and three daughters.
Erin CarrCommunications and Marketing CoordinatorArtspace Charter School
Erin has taught 3rd and 4th grade at ArtSpace, working with the school since it’s inception in 2001. She earned a B.A. in Literature from Earlham College, an M.A.T. from the University of St. Thomas in Secondary Language Arts Education. Erin also studied photography, printmaking and art history at Marshall University. She enjoys reading, fun conversations and laughing, gardening, cooking and eating good foods, photography and spending time with her family.
Michelle earned a Business Associate degree from Broward Community College with an added emphasis in psychology. She joined the ArtSpace staff in the fall of 2012 however she has been an ArtSpace parent since 2008. Michelle is a beekeeper, an avid gardener, loves to travel and spend time with her family.
Thomas has worked in residential and commercial construction for 17 years and has experience in carpentry, electrical and plumbing. He studied at Haywood Community College and Western Carolina University. He enjoys fly tying, fly fishing, and walking through the woods with his children.
Michael holds a B.S.Ed. in Physical Education from Western Carolina University and is also licensed to teach Special Education. He was born in Georgia and raised in Canton, North Carolina. Before coming to ArtSpace, Michael taught at North Buncombe Elementary for 2 years in an intensive intervention classroom for students with significant disabilities. He enjoys going to church, fishing, and playing disc golf, basketball, and softball.
After earning dual certification in Elementary and Special Education from Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania) in 2009 and completing a short stint teaching in Mexico City, Ryan went on to teach in a variety of different educational settings, ranging from K-5 Emotional and Behavioral Intensive Intervention to 4th Grade general education to 8th Grade inclusion. He is thrilled to be joining the ArtSpace team for 2018-2019 school year. When not teaching, Ryan enjoys reading, traveling, making and enjoying art and music, and spending time with his wife, Allison, and their animals.
Elise graduated from Appalachian State Cum Laude. She played varsity Field Hockey and taught snow skiing and snow boarding throughout her college career. After graduation she was the director of the children’s ski school. Elise completed prerequisite course work for veterinary school in Charleston, South Carolina. She joined the ArtSpace staff in 2014. Elise was a stay at home mom for several years. While at home she started a mini-farm where she raised rabbits, chickens, and pigs.
Evangeline earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and an M.A.T in Special Education from Western Carolina. She had the privilege of teaching special education, grades K-5, for Henderson County public schools. When not focused on teaching, she loves to get lost in a great book, take the unexpected adventure, attempts to conquer her garden and enjoys few things better than sitting around a firepit on a cool night with friends and family.
Ali holds a B.A. with Honors in Environmental Studies from University of California-Santa Cruz, and an A.S. in Horticulture from Santa Rosa Junior College. She has been an educator for 13 years. Ali is a Master Gardener and chair of the ArtSpace Bulbs and Butterflies committee. She loves animals of all kinds, especially dogs, and spends her time gardening, hiking, nature, poetry, and yoga.
Annabell earned a BA in education from Warren Wilson College. Before joining the ArtSpace staff in 2004 she taught ESL in Brazil and Venezuela. Annabell was ArtSpace teacher of the year for the 2012-2013 school year. She enjoys hiking, painting, dancing, and gardening with her son Coltrane.
There are no projects available at this time.
Heidi Blozan2nd Grade Teaching AssistantArtspace Charter School
Heidi earned a BA in education for middle school science and reading from Warren Wilson College. She also possesses Montessori certification for 1st-3rd grades. Heidi is one of the founding educators of the Swannanoa Valley Montessori School in Black Mountain. Heidi is the parent of two ArtSpace alumni. This is Heidi’s first year as a staff member at ArtSpace. In her spare time, Heidi enjoys gardening, knitting, and contra dancing.
Melissa joined our staff in the 2014-15 school year. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University with a certificate in Arts Integration. Before coming to ArtSpace, she taught third grade for 8 years at Brevard Elementary where she was Teacher of the Year in 2014. Melissa has earned her M.Ed from Mars Hill University and has submitted all of her work for National Board certification. In her free time Melissa enjoys creating all kinds of things (mostly knitting and sewing, but also jewelry, drawings, paper crafts, and visual design pieces). She also tremendously enjoys reading, kickboxing, and hiking.
Mary received her degree from Appalachian State University in Recreation Management. After working briefly for the Forest Service in Lake Tahoe and being home with her son for three years, she started teaching at a Montessori School in Spruce Pine, where she spent the next fourteen years. Mary completed her elementary certification through UNCA in May 2014 and has taught second grade at Two Rivers Community School in Boone for the last two years. She has now joined Artspace teaching third grade. Mary enjoys guiding children through the process of discovering what inspires them, and igniting a passion to learn about the world. Mary’s bucket list includes becoming a master pasta maker on the Italian Riviera, going on safari in the Serengeti, and learning the mysteries of Angkor Wat (previous life goals were to become Indiana Jones). Mary’s other interests include reading, cooking, hiking, camping, music, and spending time with family and friends. Mary is slightly obsessed with tubing on the river and can be found at the river near her house on most sunny summer days.
Ms. Tonya earned a Master of Education in Reading from the University of Florida. She taught 4th – 8th grade at The Learning Community in Black Mountain for 5 years where she trained in and utilized reader’s and writer’s workshop. She also collaborated with the arts teacher to integrate social studies curriculum with visual and perfoming arts. After leaving TLC Ms. Tonya taught 5th – 8th grade language arts and social studies at two different charter schools. She feels very fortunate to be a part of a community that nurtures the whole child and fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and independence through the arts. Ms. Tonya’s favorite hobbies include writing, hip hop fitness, and learning to play the ukulele. She and her husband enjoy traveling and attending concerts together.
There are no projects available at this time.
Kathy SelfFourth Grade Math and Science TeacherArtspace Charter School
Ms. Kathy graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Child Development. She finished her education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, focusing on Elementary Education. Ms. Kathy has National Board Certification and has taught K-2nd grade for the past 22 years. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2007, and she was nominated by her previous school district for the Jacksonville State University’s Teacher’s Hall of Fame in 2012. This is Ms. Kathy’s first year to teach at ArtSpace, and she’s thrilled to be starting this new adventure. Other than teaching and learning, Ms. Kathy loves to play games, read, and spend time outdoors with her family and her dog Daisy.
Chris earned an Associate of Arts degree from AB Tech Community College. He has worked for Eliada Home for Children in their day school program as well as a house parent at the Black Mountain Home for Children for 8 years. Chris joined the ArtSpace staff for the 2015-2016 school year. In his spare time Chris enjoys hiking, mountain biking, playing guitar and being a dad.
Heather BurrowsFifth Grade Social Studies and Language Arts TeacherArtspace Charter School
Heather began working at ArtSpace in 2008 as a Teacher Assistant, and has been teaching her own class since 2009. She taught seventh grade Language Arts for five years, before becoming the fifth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Heather holds a B.A. in English from Keene State College, in New Hampshire, where she is originally from. Heather holds NC teaching licenses in Middle Grade English Language Arts and Elementary Education.
In 2009, Heather completed a NC Teacher’s Initiative Outward Bound program, where she gained experience with experiential learning and teaching. In 2015, Heather completed a National Endowment for the Humanities training in Concord, Massachusettes, focusing on the Crossroads of a Revolution, where she gained expertise on the eve of the Revolutionary War. Heather co-leads the GRITS program, where she fosters a love of science and builds community with girls in grades 5-7. She is a proud recipient of the AmeriCorps Education award for three years in a row. In addition to spending time with her family, she enjoys music, exploring the mountains, reading, and yoga.
Dana York5th Grade Math and Science TeacherArtspace Charter School
Clay holds a degree in Fine Art from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and is currently pursuing a license in Art and Special Education certification at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Clay joined ArtSpace in 2011 and has worked in the classroom as a teacher assistant, as well as a one on one in our Exceptional Children Program. Clay is also involved in the ArtSpace extracurricular program as both a painting and pottery instructor.
John HallSixth Grade Language Arts and Social Studies TeacherArtspace Charter School
John, a National Board Certified educator, has a long history with ArtSpace, beginning in 2003. He was the ArtSpace Teacher of the Year in 2008-09, and North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year in 2009-10. He also served on the State Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council in 2010 and 2011. He earned his B.A. in Humanities from Milligan College and has taught for 17 years. A professional entertainer, John enjoys performing in theatre and cabaret in the Asheville area. He also enjoys attending local theatre productions featuring former students, as well as hiking and reading. John has a daughter, Anna Kate, a Senior at Catawba College.
Kinsey Steere6th Grade Math and Science TeacherArtspace Charter School
Kinsey graduated from Union University in Jackson, TN with a BA in Biblical Languages and a minor in Chemistry before moving to the Asheville/WNC area with her husband. She earned a BA in Classical Languages from UNC Asheville and completed the teacher’s licensure program while there. She enjoyed teaching 6th and 7th-grade math, science, and Latin before moving to ArtSpace to teach 6th-grade math and science.
Kinsey has been a lover of the arts since childhood, acting in school theater productions, singing in choirs and ensembles, and taking part in dance classes and groups. She and her husband have enjoyed living in the mountains of WNC, hiking, and camping with their three dogs, and enjoying food and fun in Asheville with friends. She is excited to be part of the amazing team at ArtSpace.
Ian Canary-KingSeventh and Eighth Grades Social Studies TeacherArtspace Charter School
Ian holds a B.A. in history from Macalester College and an Master’s of Education in social studies from the University of Minnesota. Over the past seven years he has worked in schools as a teacher, tutor, mentor, and college access coach. He joined the ArtSpace staff in 2014. Outside of school, he enjoys music, reading, and walking his dog along the French Broad River.
Leila WhelessSeventh and Eighth Grade Language Arts TeacherArtspace Charter School
Leila holds a BA in Comparative English and French Literature from Davidson College and a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English from Agnes Scott College. She has taught kindergartners through high school seniors subjects including French, humanities, phonics, creative writing, and martial arts. Leila joined the ArtSpace staff in 2014. Leila loves Shakespearean theater, poetry, long distance running, and bouldering. Leila also enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and many cats.
Megan SmithSeventh and Eighth Grade Mathematics TeacherArtspace Charter School
Megan earned her a bachelors in environmental science in Pennsylvania and a masters in teaching from Western Carolina University, and she is still loving and learning new things about math every day. Megan is also the co-director of the GRITS extracurricular program. Outside of school Megan is a big fan of backpacking, playing water polo, cooking, and making music.
Nick RogowskiSeventh and Eighth Grade Science TeacherArtspace Charter School
Nick has worked in education for over 20 years. He holds a B.A. in Arts and Architecture from the University of New Mexico, and a teaching degree from Appalachian State University. He enjoys painting, playing with his son, bike riding and racing, car racing, hiking, and time with his family.
Marni joined the ArtSpace faculty in 2006 and was Teacher of the Year in 2013-14. Marni holds a BFA and a MEd from West Virginia University. Marni lived in Taos, New Mexico for 5 years where she began her teaching career in an Expedition Learning Outward Bound school. She directed a camp in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and she also taught 6th grade at a charter school in New Mexico. In her free time, Marni enjoys spending time with her son, husband, and dog, reading, and exercising.
Eric FlorenceExceptional Children's Teacher/Intensive Intervention ClassroomArtspace Charter School
Eric taught in Exceptional Children’s programs for 9 years in McDowell County and for 3 years at Owen High School before coming to ArtSpace in 2015. He has worked in a variety of outdoor recreation and therapeutic programs for people with special needs over the decades. He has a BA in Biology from Albion College in Michigan and has taken graduate classes in Special Education from Western Kentucky and Western Carolina University. He is licensed in Special Education and Biology. He has earned National Board certification in Exceptional Needs Specialist; Early Childhood through Young Adulthood. He enjoys playing with his boys, doing just about anything outdoors, reading, and playing chess.
Amy McDuffieStudent Support CoordinatorArtspace Charter School
Amy joined the ArtSpace staff for the 2014-2015 school year as the second grade teaching Assistant. In the 2015 -2016 school year she changed roles and is working with students with behavioral needs. Amy holds a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Special Education. She has taught in residential treatment facilities as well as 2 other charter schools. She is very excited to be a part of a community that fosters creativity. She loves painting, hiking and spending time with her husband and two children.
Tara ReeseException Children's Teaching AssistantArtspace Charter School
Tara studied Early Childhood Development at McDowell Technical Community College. She has been involved in ArtSpace since its inception: while her husband served on the original Board, she was a co-founder of the ArtSpace parent organization. Tara has worked at ArtSpace for eleven years. A coach in local soccer and baseball associations, she enjoys cooking, her church, and time with family.
Jake WareExceptional Children’s Teaching Assistant Grades 6-8Artspace Charter School
Jake first began working with children in high school, volunteering in an afterschool program for elementary students. Upon graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in creative writing, Jake found himself working as art director for a girl scout camp in Cuba, New Mexico. In 2001, he was hired to work in an afterschool program and sub at an elementary school in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, where he remained in many different capacities, (pre-school assistant, one-on-one assistant, office manager, union president) until 2011. Jake joined the middle school and EC teams here at ArtSpace in 2012. He enjoys sharing his passion for writing and the arts, and is proud of his time spent coaching the middle school spelling team to several region-wide victories.
Hal SmithExceptional Children’s Teaching AssistantArtspace Charter School
Hal holds a B.A. in History and English Wofford College. He joined the staff in 2003. Hal also coaches the middle school Odyssey of the Mind team each year as well as coaches flag football and soccer for the hospitality league. When not at school Hal enjoys reading, tennis, camping, and photography.
Terri FletcherExceptional Children's Teacher Grades 5-6Artspace Charter School
Ms.Terri earned a B.A. in psychology and communicative disorders from San Diego State. She earned an M.A. in education with a focus in special education from UC Riverside. Ms. Teri has worked with children for over 6 years and has experience working with adults with traumatic brain injury. She joined the ArtSpace staff in the 2016-17 school year. In her free time Ms. Teri enjoys spending time with her family hiking, biking and playing games. She also enjoys reading, going to concerts and gardening.
Glenda holds a B.S. in Bible and Bible Teaching from Columbia International University and an M.A. in Human Resource Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. She holds NC teaching licensure in Bible (K-12) and in Reading (K-12) and has worked in education for over 15 years. Glenda joined the ArtSpace staff in 2008. She enjoys spending time with her family, travel, reading, and scrapbooking.
Dede KeaslerTitle 1- Assistant Reading TeacherArtspace Charter School
Dede has been at ArtSpace since 2007. She has worked with children for more than 15 years. Her earlier experiences include various summer camps including a camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Director of Recreation at Lake Royale and 10 years in the Wake County Public School System. She holds a B.S. in Recreation Administration from Wingate College and Special Education Certification from Western Carolina University. She enjoys interior design, home remodeling, watching movies and spending time with her dogs.
Beth WatmanSpeech Language PathologistArtspace Charter School
Ms. Beth earned her degree from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. Ms. Beth just recently moved to WNC from the Chicago area. She is enjoying the natural beauty and mild winters of the area. She has worked for 37 years with children 3 years -14 years in ages. She also has 13 years experience with children birth to 3 years old. moved here from Chicago about one year ago. She loves this area for the natural beauty and mild winters. She enjoys hiking, jogging, cooking and playing golf.
Tami holds an A.A. in Cultural Studies from Brevard College as well as a B.A. in Foreign Language and Cultural Studies from UNC-Asheville. Tami enjoys traveling abroad and has lived in England, Austria, Italy, and Argentina, and though she grew up in Buffalo, NY and Baltimore, MD she now enjoys the beauty and tranquility that western North Carolina provides. Tami coordinates all AfterCare related programs at ArtSpace as well as teaching the afterschool Pottery class.
Amanda joined the ArtSpace AfterCare staff in August of 2012. She studied at AB Tech before transferring into the English program at UNC-Asheville. Ms Amanda was a nanny for 7 years traveling to Europe and other places in that position. Ms. Amanda also worked with high risk youth in an after school program while in college She is a certified travel and tourism agent, and is a CNA 1. She loves travel, especially in Europe and Africa, gardening, hiking, pottery, and glass art.