Kavita has experience as a science instructor and tutor, oral historian, environmental educator and gardener. She was drawn to AMS as a place where experiential work provides the basis for meaningful inquiry. Kavita enjoys hiking, finding mushrooms and wildflowers, running, cooking, board games and gardening. This is her ninth year at AMS. She enjoys working with middle schoolers because she finds them curious and asking the big questions while also being super playful.
Middle school memory: In 7th grade, I had really long hair, down to my waist. The boy behind me in Language Arts used to toss my braids as I tried to pay attention in class. To get even, I ding dong ditched his house. I am appreciative that AMS teaches our students better conflict resolution skills.
Jake Silver (he/him/his)
Social Studies, Science and Math Teacher
Co-clerk, Maintenance Coordinator
BA in Philosophy, St. Mary’s College
Jacob Silver has enjoyed working with teens outdoors since 2010. He has worked on a farm and as a rock-climbing guide for campers in Shenandoah Valley, VA. Being in the woods, especially when it’s with students, is where he’s happiest. “Middle schoolers are often eager to explore questions of themselves and others about what matters, and what role they can play in shaping the world. In working with them, I enjoy striving to make that an adventure.” This is Jake’s fifth year at AMS.
Middle school memory: I tended to be pretty serious and uncomfortable with the prospect of making mistakes. Then, I had this teacher who encouraged us to write on the walls, examine found objects on the side of the road, and speak our poetry out loud. She taught me to keep finding ways to play. That really opened things up for me.
Heather Dawes (she/her/hers)
BS in Nursery Crop Production and Landscape Design, Auburn University
Teacher Licensure for Secondary Science and MS Mathematics, UNC Asheville
Non-Profit Management Certification, Duke University
Heather is in her 9th year with AMS. After college, she ran a business and became the outdoor conservation planner for a Florida Water Management District. Two sons and a move to the mountains of NC pulled her into the alternate energy world to become the first executive director for EnergyXchange before eventually coming to AMS. Her position allows her the privilege of using her wide range of experience to enable the idyllic education for students as they are finding their path to adulthood. She loves that middle schoolers are still open to learning. They want to learn and are excited to discover new things.
Middle school memory: Middle school was the break out time in my life thanks to Title IX (’72). I was finally allowed to play sports! My junior high also had a great music program, shop, home economics and fine arts classes. Everyone had to participate in everything. I loved it. It set the stage for the rest of my life.
Nicholas Maldonado (he/him/his)
Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
BS in Communications & BA in Media Arts and Design, James Madison University
Nick has been working with teenagers for over 17 years and been part of the AMS family since 2009. Originally a technical writer designing instruction manuals, Nick quickly realized the corporate world wasn’t for him. After going on an Outward Bound trip, he found his love for simplicity and community and teaching middle schoolers. “They are in that really awkward place where they want to be both a kid and a adult. Its an important time for guidance and support.” This is Nick’s 10th year at AMS.
Middle school memory: I was going to ask a girl to dance at a party, but as I approached her I tripped over my own feet and fell flat on the floor. There was no dancing that night.
BSE in Industrial Engineering, University of Michigan
Ward grew up and lived in Michigan until 1979 when he and his family moved to Celo. They joined the AMS community in 1980, with Ward and his wife serving as house parent staff members for 3 years, and their 2 daughters attending and graduating from AMS. After leaving AMS, Ward was a small business owner for many years, working with a variety of nonprofit organizations on IT and financial management. In 2014 he returned to the AMS Finance Office. “While my works doesn’t involve a lot of direct engagement with the kids, I absolutely love being around them, and am constantly charmed by their unique and ever-changing blend of goofiness, mischievousness and loveliness. I also firmly believe that the unusual structure of freedom, personal responsibility and compassion which AMS offers these kids is invaluable in their development of strong and healthy characters”.
Middle school memory: Being de-pantsed by 9th grade bullies in public on the first day of 7th grade – a “tradition” that – believe it or not – was not even punished, let alone prosecuted. I am glad AMS is a safe place where students can be themselves without fear of bullying.
Brad Archer (he/him/his)
Social Studies Teacher
BA Social Studies Education, Northeastern State University
MA Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs, The American University
A social studies classroom teacher since 1998, Brad has spent much of the past two decades helping teens understand their own agency in a world desperate for radical solutions to our planet’s myriad human-made problems. Having taught in places as far afield as California’s Mojave Desert and the Ecuadorian Andes, he has never felt more at home than he does here at AMS.
|Sadie Kneidel (she/her/hers)
BA in Spanish and Women’s & Gender Studies, Guilford College
MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, UNC Greensboro
500-hour Yoga Teacher Certificate, Free Spirits Yoga
Sadie came to AMS after many years of working in international education. Sadie is a licensed professional counselor and the co-author of two books. Her favorite part of working with middle schoolers is pushing them to expand their thinking on complex topics. “My favorite teaching moment this year was an impromptu conversation with two students studying dream analysis, pondering whether symbolism is relative or absolute. Our minds were blown!”
Middle school memory: My family moved (temporarily) to England when I was in 7th grade. One of my first days there, I was late to French class, and the teacher insisted that I apologize to the whole class – in French. I repeated the phrase, and inadvertently copied not only the French words but also my teacher’s British accent. To my horror, she thought I was mocking her, and I ended up in trouble not only for being late but also for sassing the teacher! I’m glad to be at AMS now, where student-teacher communication is more of a two-way street. But I’ve never forgotten how to say, “Je regrette d’être en retard!”
Matthew McGuire (he/him/his)
BS in Math and Environmental Studies, Guilford College
Inner Life of the Child in Nature Certificate; Center for Education, Imagination & the Natural World
Matt’s connection to nature was solidified on a 15-day raft trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon when he was 13 years old. Most recently, after earning a postgraduate certificate in nature education, he led students as an Earth Guide for the Center for Education, Imagination & the Natural World. He later worked as the business manager for the same organization, and will continue this work as the AMS bookkeeper in the coming year. This Matt’s fourth year at AMS. In his free time, Matt enjoys taking walks, finding swimming holes, and relaxing – especially with his partner, Sadie, and their children.
Middle school memory: I somehow managed to wet my pants prior to a basketball game, and couldn’t change out of my uniform. I pretended that I had spilled water on my pants, but I’m pretty sure my teammates knew the true story.
Justin Davis Metzner (he/him/his)
Social Studies and Art Teacher
BFA in Experimental Studio, Howard University
Justin likes to consider himself a citizen of the world with several languages under his belt and many years of international experience working as an artist and social justice activist. He relishes the opportunity to inspire middle schoolers to visualize a better world and develop the skills required to build it. “”These are the years during which their values, beliefs and passions are solidified. I want to help students find their place within our global community and discover the power they have to make this world a more peaceful and inclusive place.”
Isaiah Miller (he/him/his, they/them/theirs)
Houseparent, Kitchen Coordinator
BA in Art & Archaeology, Princeton University
Izzy is beginning his fourth year at AMS. He enjoys playing games, baking tasty treats, and connecting with students. “I love talking to students about their feelings and asking probing questions about life. Sometimes it’s all eye-rolls and groans, and other times it gets pretty real.”
Middle school memory: When I was in middle school, I hated learning Spanish. I was afraid of saying the wrong words in class, messing up the grammar, or just making a fool of myself. It was only later that I came to understand making mistakes and wading through awkwardness offer some of the best moments for learning.
Natalie Monaghan (she/her/hers)
Science, Language Arts and Spanish Teacher
BA in Studio Art, Carleton College
Printmaking Concentration, Penland School of Crafts
This is Natalie’s third year at AMS. Originally a Midwesterner, she has lived in these mountains for going on eight years. As an artist she works primarily in painting and printmaking. She loves working with middle schoolers, especially in the arts, because “they are at the age when they begin to delve wholeheartedly into the work of figuring out who they are, what they stand for, and what makes them unique as people.”
Middle school memory: I remember I had a short-lived obsession with drawing fairies in 7th grade. I encouraged my friends to join me in creating these fantasy creatures. It soon became clear, however, that the world of sweet little fairies I had envisioned was not going to materialize. My friends only wanted to draw monster fairies. Fantasy ruined.
Rebecca Snavely (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs)
Language Arts, Math, Science, and Personal Growth Teacher
BA in Psychology and Fine Craft, The Evergreen State College
Rebecca is excited begin her third year teaching at AMS. As a native to the area, she loves roaming the mountains and sharing the richness of local blacksmithing culture with students. She experienced a lot of positive mentorship from early teachers and is passionate about supporting middle schoolers during their key years of self-discovery.
Middle school memory: A group of friends and I won third place in NC “Living Literature” competition where we enacted a 15 minute, still frame from Tuck Everlasting. I was the villainous Man in the Yellow Suit.
Jenifer Sterling (she/her/hers)
Language Arts and Math Teacher
BA in English/ Drama, University of Georgia
Jenifer has wanted to be a teacher since she was in high school. She walked the world, performed professionally, played with plants, and taught in public school before landing at AMS in 2007. It was here that she found the teaching environment she had always sought: where students, curiosity and creativity were celebrated equally. She loves working with AMS students because they are the perfect blend of kid and adult: still young enough to appreciate play, but mature enough to engage deep ideas about the world and themselves.
Middle school memory: When the entire class laughed at me when answering the question, “Who is your best friend?” with, “My Dog.”
Kevyn Breedon (they/them/theirs)
Language Arts and Electives Teacher
BFA in Visual Communication Design / Illustration, Kent State University
Kevyn served as a naturalist intern last year at the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center of Yellow Springs, OH. While researching the local history, they ultimately learned of Arthur Morgan’s impressive legacy of education reform and building community. They are thankful to be teaching art this year and to be helping lead Morning Sing. (another link for morning sing?)
Middle school memory: Despite a love of learning, I loathed school and middle school was easily the most miserable time of my life. In 7th-grade language arts, we had a brief poetry unit and I wrote a poem defining why I loathed school and nervously read it in front of the class. To my surprise, my audience gave me a standing ovation and many high fives – including my teacher!
Annie Livingston (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs)
Language Arts and Spanish Teacher, Houseparent,
BA in English, Writing, Grand Valley State University
Annie is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has spent the past three summers in Celo, first as a member of the 2016 Arête Project, then as the Garden Counselor at Camp Celo in 2017 & 2018. This year, Annie is excited to teach a Spanish class and cook a lot of breakfasts. She does not consider dandelions to be a weed.
Middle school memory: The summer of my eighth grade year, I played a giant in the stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. A total theatre geek, I got really into my role as “Bonecrusher,” which involved, but was not limited to, growling through the aisles in the audience with a huge paper-mâché mask on. It was a true testament to my devotion to the dramatic arts when, one performance, I lumbered past the boy I had a massive crush on and managed to continue my best child-devouring giant snarl. Everyone said I was “pretty good” at being scary. Joe Wagner and I never got together though.
Arthur Morgan School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity or expression, marital status, economic status, or disability.