A national benchmark in
Educational excellence through integration of the arts

Grades K-4 Staff

Meet our Kindergarten through Fourth Grade teachers and teaching assistants.

Rebekah Walker Kindergarten Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 602

Rebekah holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Central Methodist College.  She won the Elizabeth Stephenton Award in Art Education for making a four-foot King Babar puppet. Rebekah has been an educator for 18 years and has worked as a tutor at a private tutoring center, a teacher for Buncombe County Schools and in Delaware. Ms Rebekah joined the ArtSpace staff in 2002.  Rebekah enjoys laughing, spending time with family and friends, hiking, knitting, and volunteering for non-profit organizations.

Ryan Brisini Kindergarten Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext. 647

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 Fuller Kindergarten Teaching Assistant Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 615

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 raises rabbits, chickens, and pigs. Every summer Elise runs a science and art camp for children ages 4-12.

Claire Spence First Grade Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 614

Claire has a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.Ed. in Special Education Early Intervention from UNC-Charlotte. She joined ArtSpace in 2012, but before that she taught in schools in private and public settings across NC.  Claire studied and trained with the famous developmental Reggio Emilia schools in Italy and in the summer 2015 she taught English to middle school students in Shanghai.  She also was privileged to research and explore elementary mathematical instruction with the Ministry of Education in Singapore. Claire was selected to be a member of the Governor’s Teacher Network 2014, conducting, reporting and presenting action based research on dramatic play in kindergarten.  Claire is an A+ Fellow, training teachers in other schools to embrace the arts integration philosophy in North Carolina. When not teaching or lesson planning, she enjoys exploring the Asheville area and travelling overseas.

DonorsChoose.org Projects:
There are no projects available at this time.
Evangeline Maumenee 1st Grade Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 8282.298.2787, ext. 626

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.

Natalie Wilson 1st Grade Teaching Assistant Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext. 616

Alison “Ali” Mellander Second Grade Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 606

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 Lisa Second Grade Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 605

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.

DonorsChoose.org Projects:
There are no projects available at this time.
Heidi Blozan 2nd Grade Teaching Assistant Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 649

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 Redden Third Grade Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 639

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 is in the process of earning her master’s degree and 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 Wray Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787 ex: 601

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.

Julie Williams Third Grade Assistant Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 650

Tonya Clanton Fourth Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 608

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.


DonorsChoose.org Projects:
There are no projects available at this time.
Kathy Self Fourth Grade Math and Science Teacher Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 632

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 Williams Fourth Grade Teaching Assistant Artspace Charter School
Phone: 828.298.2787, ext 630

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.