Board Chair and Evergreen Parent
Sam grew up in eastern North Carolina and enjoyed visiting extended family near Asheville. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of the South at Sewanee and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Sam has always been active in conservation, working with leading organizations in Washington, DC after college and remaining involved ever since. After business school, Sam managed marketing at a large retail corporation and then left to launch an advanced air filter company focused on indoor air quality. Sam has been involved in renewable fuels and energy since 2008. In 2011, he started Broad Energy Solutions to focus on developing large scale steam systems in industrial applications using alternative and renewable fuels to generate significant economic, environmental, and social benefits. Sam, his wife, Elizabeth, and their son and daughter enjoy time hiking and biking in the woods and playing on the water from the mountains to the coast.
Brian is the father of three boys who attend Evergreen. He was born and raised in the Asheville Area. After graduating from Enka High School, Brian attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a BA in Political Science. After college, he worked in New York City for a year before returning to North Carolina to begin law school at Wake Forest University. Brian has been a practicing attorney in the area of serious personal injury litigation since 1991. He also volunteers for Mountain Area Hospice as a legal advisor for patients and their families facing end of life issues. Brian is also a board member and current Vice President of North Asheville Little League. Brian and his wife, Beth, started their family in Raleigh, but before their boys got to be school age, they decided to raise their family in Asheville. In his free time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports with his boys, and riding his mountain bike.
Susan Mertz has a B.S. degree in Special Education; an M.Ed. in Special Education, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of NC-Greensboro. Susan has worked as a School Improvement Consultant with the Southern Regional Education Board providing consultation, coaching and professional development to schools across the country implementing the school reform model, High Schools That Work/Making Middle Grades Work. Susan was also the Director of The Piedmont School, an independent school for children with learning disabilities, in High Point, NC.
In her role of Executive Director at Evergreen, she provides forward-thinking leadership with strong organizational development skills. She has led the school in aligning the many initiatives, programs and partnerships and creating a collaborative leadership team structure. Susan also led the school through the AdvancEd accreditation process, resulting in full accreditation. She strives to create structures and processes within which her highly skilled and passionate faculty and staff can create magical learning opportunities for children.
Stephanie taught high school French for three years at the Outdoor Academy in Pisgah Forest, and for nine years at Enka High School. She now teaches French to toddlers and pre-schoolers and to her two bilingual boys, ages 1 and 3. She also translates blogs and books from French to English. A native of Washington, D.C., Stephanie has lived in Maine, Vermont, and France, and has studied in Switzerland and in Mali, West Africa. Ensuring that all children have access to an excellent public education and learning community has been the driving force of her own education and career. She moved to the Asheville area in 2000 and is grateful to live in these mountains with her husband, Matt Christie, their two boys, two dogs, and two cats.
Lori Hilliard moved to Western NC in high school and attended UNC-Asheville. She received a BA in Acting and Directing, and after a few years touring in a children’s theatre company she returned to Asheville to become a certified Theatre Arts teacher. Lori has taught high school and middle school drama and directed many community theatres and summer arts camps. A proud mother of two Evergreen students and wife to McRae, Lori continues to teach, direct and perform voice-overs. She plays many roles in her community on and off the stage as an actress, past President of the Junior League of Asheville, a graduate of Leadership Asheville, volunteer and Smart Start Champion for Children.
Brittany Keeler received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Colorado State University and is certified to teach both elementary and art education. She spent two years teaching and facilitating community outreach programs for the city of Fort Collins. In 2007, she moved to Asheville to teach 4th grade at Evergreen Community Charter School. In 2010, she was awarded the Fund for Teacher’s Grant and traveled to Cambodia and Thailand to do workshops for teachers, with an organization called Teachers Across Borders. After starting a family, Brittany decided to take a break from her teaching career to raise her children and focus on the family glass art business. Brittany loves being outside in nature, working on her pottery, traveling, and Bikram Yoga.
Theresa is a fourth grade teacher and has been teaching at Evergreen since 2007. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. After working for three years as an environmental educator in the Chicago area, Theresa decided to return to school to pursue a career in the classroom. She received a teaching license from Ashland University while doing graduate work at The Ohio State University. Upon completion of her licensure program, Theresa moved to Asheville in hopes of working at Evergreen. When away from school, Theresa loves spending time planting and playing in and around the Ivy River that runs through her backyard. She enjoys relaxing in the Florida Panhandle with family and exploring in the woods with her fluffy, orange puppy.
Mark is honored to be Board Treasurer on the Evergreen Board. He and his parents would have benefited from such a special collective during his youth. At that time, Mark was both a participant and a volunteer for the Asheville Parks & Recreation, The Health Adventure and American Red Cross programs locally. Those experiences, along with time and key mentors within Boy Scouts, Project STEAM and their Outward Bound expedition, and the WNC Magic Club - among many others - helped him overcome agonizing learning challenges before a local Expeditionary Learning program (like Evergreen's) existed. Mark ultimately found success within Asheville High and went on to graduate cum laude from Elon University with a B.S. in Business Administration and Economics.
During this time, he developed an on-the-ground economic study regarding the then-pending entry of Poland and Hungary into the European Union. He also studied abroad in Australia, the highlight of which was meeting his brilliant and beloved wife, Jodi. Upon graduating, Mark joined on with a regarded Asheville based construction-focused executive search firm ultimately leading various sectors. After 12 years, he then accepted an opportunity to lead the Construction & Real Estate executive search practice within Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP – a Top 20 CPA and advisory firm.
Mark, an Eagle Scout, volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America, serves on the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment, and previously served on the Board of the Asheville Parks & Greenways Foundation. The deVerges family is proud to call Asheville home, and they spend most of their time captivated by the antics of their three young sons. They were especially ecstatic when their eldest was called off the Evergreen lottery waiting list in time to start his Kindergarten year with this great school. You’ll find their family camping, canoeing, fishing, and swimming as often as possible.
Fynn comes to Evergreen as she continues to work on a Master's degree in Storyelling and Reading Education. Yes, you read that correctly, she's getting a degree in Storytelling! Originally from Missouri, Fynn also holds a BA in Sociology, but that isn't the half of it. Fynn is fluent in American Sign Language, a certified lifeguard, she knows 14 different ways to tie a bowline knot, and she spent 11 summers coordinating a camp for gifted students. Fynn loves good jokes, bad puns, and tough riddles. When she's not teaching the Program For Advanced Learners (PAL) at Evergreen, you can find her biking, hiking, contra dancing, playing the ukulele, and laughing as much as possible.