Our team of 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. Please learn more about our broader educational philosophies and values here, as well as our unprecedented teacher benefits.
Makenna Gazaille| Lead Teacher
Makenna was born in Massachusetts, but has lived half of her life in North Carolina. She went to college in Wilmington at the University of NC Wilmington, and received a BS in marine biology. The ocean is one of her biggest passions and loves in this world, but for now she has found another passion (teaching!) that has her excited to wake up and work each day! She has interned and worked for many environmental nonprofits specifically working with children. Her first day teaching at a forest school she knew right away that this is what she was meant to do. Combining her love of being outdoors and working with children just made perfect sense! Makenna spends her days off hiking, mountain biking, identifying plants and mushrooms, gardening, doing yoga, creating art, camping, and loving on her cat Petunia, bunny Walnut, and dog Ziggy! She enjoys learning about our native flora and fauna and strives to learn something new every day. She is passionate about our planet and taking care of it. Children are the future and it is our job to educate them on the importance of preserving and protecting this beautiful planet!
Shannon is an avid learner who discovered early on that the way to learn the most is by working with children. After getting her degree in art education in New York, Shannon found a home in the mountains of North Carolina where she was inspired to dive into self-led study of the natural world through drawing and painting. Shannon has found a deeper sense of meaning through the art of teaching, and creativity touches all aspects of her practice. She has experience working with children of all ages in a variety of settings, and uses this varied experience to inform a well rounded teaching practice. She uses compassionate communication to help children self-advocate and bring clarity and peace into their lives. Shannon views education as an opportunity to nurture the whole child, creating life-long learners who approach the world around them with curiosity and confidence.
Breanne Jones| Teacher
Breanne grew up in the suburbs of metro-Atlanta where she found belonging in a patch of woods behind her home and a creek to wander. As she studied environmental science in college, she spent her free time exploring the North Georgia mountains, quickly becoming enamored with craggy boulders and rhododendron. Since settling in Western North Carolina, she's found a love for community and has continued to deepen her connection to nature. She has previously worked as a Naturalist at Chimney Rock State Park, and she is currently a nature instructor at Forest Floor Wilderness Program. Her passions include guiding youth in the forest, hugging trees, creek crawling, singing around the fire, harvesting herbs, and foraging wild edibles. She, herself, feels like an eternal student with an unquenchable thirst for nature's boundless wisdom.
Harvey Kunst | Teacher
Harvey has several years of experience in local nature conservation practices and finds great joy in sharing the forest's natural wonders with children. After earning his associate's through dual enrollment in high school, Harvey pushed toward natural resource management in many of our local parks! His experience includes leading volunteers of all ages in invasive plant removal, as well as educating elementary students on erosion's effects on river systems. On any given day at forest school, you can find Harvey one-on-one with the kids, encouraging them to fully explore the possibilities of their world.
Tikva Kingrea | Teacher
Bio coming soon!
Madeleine Sis | Teacher
Bio coming soon!
Shannon Foley | Teacher
Kate Eckhardt | Administrative Coordinator
Kate has spent her career in the fields of nonprofit management and earth-based early childhood education. Prior to joining the Forest School Foundation and Growing Wild Forest School, she taught at a Farm, Arts, and Forest School in Madison County, NC and was the Executive Director at a weekly farmers market in Asheville. She has an M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University. Kate loves to garden, wildcraft, and dance.
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