Our team of professionally-trained and highly-skilled educators is here to help your child grow and reach their potential. We believe in supporting and engaging the whole child, inside and out, in this critical stage of their development. You can learn more about our broader educational philosophies and values here.

Kathryn Long | School Director & Lead Teacher

Kathryn is a co-founder of the Growing Wild Forest School and its parent organization, The Forest School Foundation. She is also a  proud member of the American Forest Kindgergarten Association. She is an empathetic and creative being who loves working with children and guiding them in the natural world.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and has over a decade of experience in early childhood education and care, including teaching in early learning centers, providing small-group childcare, and nannying.  She is certified EEC Level 8. Her continuing education has included the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers, as well as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia systems and the latest research on child psychology.  She also teaches voice and piano lessons part-time with an Asheville music studio. Kathryn's purpose is to support all children's evolving sense of self and intrinsic belonging in the human community and natural world.

Mica Whitmire | Lead Teacher

Mica has worked with children and young adults for over ten years as a counselor, caregiver, facilitator, and teacher. He particularly likes helping young children be aware of their feelings, speak their needs in clear and kind ways, and using silliness, play, and roleplaying to work with deeper issues in a fun and productive way. He is a trained permaculturalist and gardener, musician, storyteller, poet, and performer, and is initiated with the Mankind Project of Asheville. He advocates for social, ecological, and economic justice in the world, and is dedicated to practicing a life where all beings are treated with respect, affection, and care.


Kelly Gaskill | Lead Teacher

Kelly is a lover of nature and comes alive when sharing in the fascination of the natural world with children. Much of her adult life has been spent interacting with and exploring the outdoors. Well versed in the natural world of the Appalachian Mountains, Kelly has a vast knowledge of local plants, crafting with natural material, wild foraging, wilderness awareness, and honoring the rhythms of nature. She has been the director of Mudpuppies Nature Program in Barnardsville, NC; which mentors young children in developing deep connection with the natural world, with the support of a loving compassionate learning community. She regularly works and plays with the kids’ program at regional Earth Skills Gatherings. She also teaches natural plant dyes, weaving and basket making to adults.

Assistant Teachers

Erin Murphy

Grace Upshaw

Eliza Rose Laubach

Additional administrative and financial support is provided by The Forest School Foundation.

Meet the rest of our team here!

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