Tonya Jones, Music Teacher
Tonya has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Elon University. She taught elementary music and middle school band after graduating from Elon in 2005 and then decided to venture into the amazing world of elementary education in 2007. Tonya is an Asheville native! In her free time she enjoys hiking and exploring the mountains of her hometown, and spending time with her family, friends, and her dog Hops. Tonya has worked in the EverAfter program, SummerCare program, as first grade associate, and as a member of the community chorus in her time at Evergreen.
Jo Giordano, Adventure PE Teacher/Athletic Director
Phone: (828) 565-1456
Jo began teaching Adventure PE in 2004. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Warren Wilson College. She also studied Outdoor Education at Unity College in Maine and attended an 81-day semester course with Colorado Outward Bound School. She has a masters in physical education from the University of South Florida.
This class gave her leadership experience in rock climbing, canyoneering, boating, ice climbing, skiing, winter camping, and group process. With her teaching experience in the classroom, she brings academics into the world of physical education. Jo’s goal is to expose students to learning situations through physical activity.
She was named Teacher of the Year in 2008 and has served on the Health & Wellness Committee, Tech Committee, Board of Directors, and volunteers with Special Olympics.
Kevin Smith, Technology Teacher
Kevin Smith has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Warren Wilson College. He was hired as a fourth grade teacher with Evergreen back in 2004. In 2005, he was honored by his colleagues and received Evergreen's Teacher of the Year award. He was one of twelve in the state nominated for North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year. After five years of teaching fourth grade, Kevin became the school's Technology teacher. He also manages the school's social media endeavors and content creation. Kevin loves nothing more than spending time with his son. He is passionate about photography. He also enjoys a variety of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, paddling, and hiking in and around Western North Carolina.
Kriya Lendzion, Middle School Guidance Counselor, Crew Coordinator, Positive Discipline Coach
Phone: 828-298-2173 x 248
Kriya joined the Evergreen community in 2008. She has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, a Masters Degree in Mental Health counseling, and post-grad studies in "high risk" youth and addictions. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, an Internationally Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist, a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, and Licensed School Counselor. Kriya has experience counseling and teaching life skills to youth in alternative school settings with Juvenile Justice, pregnant and parenting teens, high-risk girls, and expelled boys. She has also conducted substance abuse and wellness education with college students, and substance abuse treatment with adults.
Kriya also has a background in intercultural education and various expressive arts, which she weaves into her counseling and life skills education. She also co-chairs the school's Diversity Task Force, Health & Wellness and Service Leadership teams. During working and non-working hours Kriya enjoys dance, yoga, Taiko drumming, singing, gardening, cooking and time spent in the gorgeous nature of North Carolina.
Laura Branch, Librarian
Phone: 828-298-2173 x 237
Laura comes to Evergreen with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and a Masters in Library Science. She loves reading and sharing books with students so she can inspire them to love to read also. Her library is filled with Curious George dolls and she knows you're never too old for a good read-aloud or a great picture book. Laura also coaches the Evergreen middle school Science Olympiad team which allows her inner science nerd to emerge and she feels blessed to be able to share so many of her passions with our amazing Evergreen students.
Laura loves to travel and is fortunate to be a Delegation Leader for the Asheville chapter of People to People Student Ambassador programs. Each summer she shares the world with these high school students from around western North Carolina and introduces them to people and culture in the hopes that understanding our global neighbors will make for a more peaceful future for us all. So far she's visited five continents and hopes to reach them all someday.
Before coming to Evergreen, Laura worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and she still loves animals. She grew up in Morganton, NC and lives with her amazing husband, four cats, and a dog named Molly.
Mary Ann Athens, Art Teacher
Mary Ann Athens has taught visual art in North Carolina public schools for 15 years and holds a B.A. in Art from Agnes Scott College and M.A.Ed. from Western Carolina University. Mary Ann is a 2007 National Board Certified teacher in Early/Middle Childhood Art and has worked with young artists of all ages in afterschool and summer art classes. She has also been a lifeguard, camp counselor and wedding singer. She is married to Clay Griffith and they have two children, Will and Virginia.
Marin Leroy, Environmental Education
50 Bell Road, Science Lab
Asheville, NC 28805
Marin is a native of Northern California where she received her BS in Environmental Biology and Botany at Humboldt State University and began her journey as an Environmental Educator. She shared her love of wildness and adventure with youth teaching ecology in the Redwoods, leading trail restoration crews throughout the Pacific Northwest, and guiding wilderness excursions in the mountains of New Hampshire.After many seasons and many adventures, Marin began to wonder why connecting with the natural world couldn't be more integrated into the daily lives of all children. She felt passionate that Environmental Education shouldn't be reserved just for camp and summertime adventures, rather, that it is a powerful lens for teaching across the curriculum throughout the year. Marin completed a MS in Environmental Studies and received her high school teaching certificate in biology from Antioch New England in Keene, New Hampshire, and has been working in public schools to design curriculum and experiences engaging students with their community and the natural world ever since.
Annie-Michele Meyer, LPCA, NCC, NCSC, MT-BC
Counselor/Behavior Support, K-2
Evergreen Community Charter School
Annie came to Evergreen in 2016 as an intern counselor and officially joined the Evergreen community one year later. She is excited to be part of the counseling and support staff here at Evergreen! Annie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy/Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Education/Counseling, and post-grad studies in substance abuse counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, a Board Certified Music Therapist, and a Licensed School Counselor. Annie has 10+ years of experience as a music therapist, working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in clinical mental health facilities, substance abuse rehabilitation, private practice, and resource centers for individuals with special needs. She has also provided 1:1 music experiences for anxiety relief and pain management to bone marrow transplant patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
When she’s not working, Annie will most likely be found creating or enjoying live music, hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western NC, cooking, practicing yoga, or traveling abroad. Her passions include creative-expressive arts, learning about other people’s stories and cultures, advocating for social justice and human rights, and exploring new ways to integrate all of these things into her work.