MSCS Staff & Board of Trustees

MICHAEL BROWN, Ph.D.

MICHAEL BROWN, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Over the past fifteen years as a teacher and administrator, Michael has worked with a variety of students on topics as diverse as Guatemalan textiles, American nature writing, Permaculture, and Appalachian cooking. He has experience with a wide range of academic skills and ages in a variety of classroom environments as well as guiding experiential education adventures across Guatemala. Most recently, he was the Director of Admissions, Marketing, and Financial Aid at The Grammar School in Putney, Vermont. Before then, he served as Head of School at The Outdoor Academy, a semester school for 10th graders in Pisgah Forest emphasizing community, simple living, and outdoor skills. Michael’s B.A. is in English and Spanish from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and he spent time abroad in London and Mexico during college. His doctoral dissertation explored the emergence of the idea of preserved wilderness in the 19th century and its relationship to early photography. Michael is very happy to live among the streams, forests, and mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife, Susan, a former Outward Bound instructor and accomplished educator, and their children, both Mountain Sun students.

ANNIE BURGESS

ANNIE BURGESS

Lead Primary Class Teacher

Annie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Southern Wesleyan University, where she played on the basketball and volleyball teams. She taught Grades K-2 in Columbia County, Georgia while completing a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Lesley University. Her passion for Montessori Philosophy, classroom design, and implementing handwork into the classroom led her to take a position at Clemson Montessori School as an assistant teacher. During that time, she completed the Montessori Education coursework for ages 3-6. Upon learning about Mountain Sun Community School in the Summer of 2014, Annie and her family moved to Brevard to become part of the School. She and her husband Jody love exploring the forests and potlucking with all of the wonderful people that make up this community, including their four children: Anson, Joey, Harry, and Mac.

JANNA CARLSON

JANNA CARLSON

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Janna studied Outdoor Education at Young Harris College in Georgia before transferring to Brevard College where she received her BA in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. Janna spent several years working around the country in her field of study. In recent years, she has made her way back to Brevard, where she now calls home. Since being back in Brevard, she has worked with local camps, businesses, and a local non-profit, and served as a 3rd grade assistant at Brevard Elementary School. She enjoys combining her love of learning and her love of the outdoors. She especially enjoys sharing that experience with children. Janna and her husband, Charles, live in Brevard with their cat and two dogs.

BRIGID FOX

BRIGID FOX

Lower Elementary Teacher

Brigid earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from University of Texas in 1993. She holds a NC state teaching license for K-6 and earned her Montessori teaching certificate for ages 6-9 years. Brigid has over 14 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. She lives in Pisgah Forest with her family and enjoys being outside whenever possible. Brigid combines her love of children with her love of learning and teaching to create an organic learning environment.

BECKY LANGERMAN

BECKY LANGERMAN

Upper Elementary Teacher and Curriculum Advisor

Becky earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola College of Maryland in 2000 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Appalachian State University. In conjunction with her M.Ed, she received her Montessori Elementary diploma from Association Montessori Internationale for ages 6 -12. Becky has 13+ years of classroom experience having worked as a lead teacher in Montessori schools in Santa Cruz, California and Bowie, Maryland. Complementing her classroom experience, she has also completed positive discipline training with Jane Nelsen. Becky is enthused by the holistic approach at Mountain Sun. She enjoys being able to integrate other methods of education with her Montessori background and loves taking her students in the outdoors into the natural classroom environment, which every year includes two extensive camping trips. Becky and her spouse, Amy, live in Brevard with their baby, Judson, and their two dogs.

TINA LEONARD

TINA LEONARD

Lead Primary Class Teacher.

Tina holds a BS in Mathematics. She moved to North Carolina in 1997 from Florida. Tina is a certified Montessori teacher, trained in the 3-6 year old primary class program, and is excited about the multi-age classroom. 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, Kathryn. Kathryn and younger sister, Isabella, both attend Mountain Sun Community School. Tina has also served as Secretary of our Board, as well as a classroom volunteer and an assistant for 2.5 years, before taking on the lead teacher role in the Fall 2011. Tina is an active student in the practice of “grace and courtesy” and is passionate about nurturing such in her students as well as all at Mountain Sun.

NICK PEARL

NICK PEARL

Primary Class Assistant Teacher and Middle School Assistant Teacher

Nick graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Sociology in May of 2013, in addition to initially majoring in Chemistry and Physics with a minor in Math at Western Kentucky University in the late 90s. Nick possesses a tried and true math and science mind. Sociology, math, and science are simply a part of how he makes sense of everyday life and the world. Because Nick is such a natural at cross-curricular integration outside of the classroom, this aspect of him will be a great asset in the classroom. Nick also has served as the Field Director at Trails Carolina, an organization he helped start in 2007, for over 3 1/2 years. Overall, between Trails and SUWS of the Carolinas, Nick has spent 8 years directing teen programs. Nick has also spent over 6 years teaching non-violent crisis intervention and communication. Nick comes to us with a great foundation for work with teenagers, work with conflict resolution, and work in the field. Nick and his wife, Melissa, have two children enrolled in Mountain Sun, Huck and Addie.

KIM SKEEN

KIM SKEEN

Art, Outdoor Education, and Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher.

Kim 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 (MSCS class of ’14) and Lillian who attends MSCS.

MORGAN SPRINKLE

MORGAN SPRINKLE

Primary Class Assistant Teacher.

Morgan is a mom, wife, enthusiastic hiker, less enthusiastic runner, teacher, woodworker, and lover of any and all vegetables. She lives with her husband Daniel and son Ben in a house surrounded by trees. Morgan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University where she met her husband Daniel and decided that, despite his goofy last name, she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She taught for four years in Henderson County, two years in rural Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer and another year at Brevard Elementary before staying home with her son Ben. She and her husband are currently in the long process of adopting a child from Bulgaria and are looking forward to the day when they will meet their second child. In the meantime, they stay busy floating down the French Broad, trying to remember Thai and brushing up on a few Bulgarian phrases too.

VICTORIA KERR

VICTORIA KERR

Librarian and Class Assistant

Victoria 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 to be closer to her family, including her grandchildren Jasmine and Koty

 SUSANNE WALKER

SUSANNE WALKER

Bookkeeping Assistant

Susanna has spent over 15 years working in the non-profit world in finance and office management. She also has a daughter enrolled at Mountain Sun, Lucy.

Board of Trustees

Contact the MSCS Board of Trustees

LAUREN AGRELLA-SEVILLA, Vice Chair, was most recently the assistant head of school at the Mountain School of Milton Academy in Vermont, where she also worked on the school’s farm and taught courses in English and the politics of food. Prior to that, she was the founding program director for the Muddy Sneakers program, served as the Dean of Students at the Outdoor Academy, and taught middle and high school in New Mexico. Lauren’s Bachelors from UNC-Chapel Hill in Women’s Studies and International Studies and Masters in Educational Leadership from UVA inform her perspective on the ways innovative education can look, though her just-beginning journey into parenthood is the most intense study yet! Lauren lives in Brevard with her partner, Matthew, and their sons, Asa (who is in the Owl class) and Elias.

JOYANNE BARON grew up in Sarasota FL and moved to Western Carolina in 1994 to complete her BA in Biology at Western Carolina University. She then completed her Masters in Physical Therapy at WCU. Joy and her husband Randy moved to Brevard in 1999 where she worked for the local hospital’s Outpatient Rehab Dept. Joy became a Certified Manual Therapist through the University of St. Augustine and continued to work in rehab while her husband envisioned and created the grocery store Poppies in Brevard. Joy worked w/him and their partners in setting up all departments, hiring staff, ordering, buying and setting up the store. In 2007 their daughter Annaly was born. Finding Mountain Sun Community School was a blessing, and Joy quickly became an avid volunteer. She joined the school board in 2009 where she held the position as Secretary for three years and was a very active member of the fundraising committee. Joy went off the board when her son Bryce was born in 2012 but continued to stay active in fund raising. Joy is thrilled to be back on the Board with both of her children attending Mountain Sun.

MARY BEARDEN

MELISSA GRILL-PETERSEN

CLAUDIA HAWKINS, Treasurer, is a CPA and has recently begun her own practice in Brevard. Prior to her new venture she was CFO at Brevard Music Center. Her professional experience includes corporate tax positions in the Research Triangle area prior to moving to Brevard and working for both for-profit and non-profit organizations here. Claudia grew up in Syracuse, New York, but after receiving her undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill never ventured further north than Washington, DC and ultimately settled in North Carolina. She and her husband, Mike, moved to Brevard in 1994 with their daughter, Allison, and loved raising her in the town Mike grew up in. Claudia is on the board of the Transylvania County Community Land Trust and is a volunteer navigator for the Healthcare Marketplace. She and Mike are avid Tar Heel fans and enjoy traveling to Chapel Hill to attend basketball games, with the added attraction of visiting their daughter, Allison, while they are there.

HARVEST LEASURE 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 was on the founding committee of Mountain Sun before the school opened and not only helped shape and bring to fruition the school’s existence, but also worked countless hours on facilities improvement and the permitting process at our current location at Keystone Camp, and served as MSCS Board Chair for years.  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 operates his own construction company, Harvest Home Improvements.  He is also an enthusiastic Mountain Sun parent to his daughter Arawen.

WENDY MANNER lives with her family on the top of a mountain just outside Brevard. After ten years of professional work with youth and children in residential care facilities, she now happily homesteads in an intentional community. Wendy teaches homesteading classes and provides parenting consultation for local families as well. Wendy and her husband Eric have served as foster parents to more than 30 children and teens. Their children, Jamin and Cora, attend Mountain Sun.

DILSHAD POSNOCK, Chair, is a flutist by profession and is a member of the Artist Faculty at the Brevard Music Center.  She grew up in Mumbai, India, and holds degrees from Royal College of Music, London, and Carnegie Mellon University.  While in Pittsburgh, she performed regularly with ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Ballet and Pittsburgh Opera. Dilshad served as Artist Lecturer in Flute, and Director of the Artist Diploma Program at the Carnegie Mellon School of Music.  She has a great passion for teaching young musicians, and has been active as a flute teacher for over 15 years.  Dilshad lives in Brevard with her husband Jason, and their 2 children, Max and Lylah.  They joined Mountain Sun in 2010 and love being a part of this wonderful community!

JENNIFER STEWART, Secretary, 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 grade at Mountain Sun, and a toddler son, Rowan.  Jennifer has been involved in other organizational boards in the past and has been an active volunteer with Mountain Sun for over four years.  She is an organized and dedicated Trustee who has coordinated several Mountain Sun special events, primarily the bi-annual consignment sale. S he has also served as an individual teacher and a tutor for several years.

LINDA THOMPSON, a native of Chattanooga, TN, retired to the Brevard area after living in Atlanta, Germany, Montana, Indiana and Pennsylvania. An educator with 42 years’ experience, she was a classroom and special education teacher and a consultant for several State Departments of Education, a federally-funded Technical Assistance Center, and a number of low-achieving schools and districts. For 10 years she was a National Assessment Consultant for McGraw-Hill Publishers, primarily in the areas of Reading and Writing. She holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University with additional degrees from Winthrop College and Georgia State University. Linda is an active volunteer with the Brevard Music Center and serves on its Board of Trustees. In addition she volunteers with young readers in the Acorn Class. Linda and her husband Ron live in Pisgah Forest.

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