Roots + Wings Team
We have an amazing group of dedicated teaching artists who make our programs incredibly strong.
You will find them teaching at our Visual Arts Preschool, After-school Community Design Lab programs, Art + Design Semester Programs, Art Workshops, and our Summer Creative Camps and Design Studios. Many of these artists are also available to teach Custom Art Sessions or Art Birthday Celebrations.
If you are interested in being a part of our team as a substitute or to teach a class, please scroll down and connect with us!
Ginger Huebner, Director
Ginger Huebner is the founding director of Roots + Wings School of Art and Design. With a Masters in Teaching Visual Art and a Bachelor of Architecture, Ginger brings a unique perspective to the field of art and design education. She has taught a wide spectrum of ages in a variety of environments. She also has her own studio practice, creating works of art using the mediums of collage, chalk pastel, encaustic and other mixed media. Ginger thrives on doing commissioned work. She has collaborated with individuals, agencies and companies to provide unique pieces of artwork. Ginger’s work can be seen at K2 Home in downtown Asheville, PonShop Studios in Fredricksburg, VA and at her studio by appointment. She lives in Asheville with her husband Scott and two children, Mia and Felix.
Emma graduated from Warren Wilson College with a B.A in Elementary Education. She has gained a variety of teaching experiences in Asheville over the last three years. From her student teaching in a traditional public school to an eclectic bi-lingual Montessori pre-school. She is always searching for new and exciting ways to teach and connect with children. Emma has always had a passion for the arts. While attending Warren Wilson she worked in the art department where she ran the Photography Darkroom and has also experimented with a handful of different mediums. Emma is an advocate for art education. She feels teaching through art gives children a means to express themselves and their intellect in a way that they may otherwise not be able. With the focus of education now being towards standardized testing she believes, more then ever, that a space needs to be provided where children have the option to be creative, imaginative and innovative. Emma is a lead teacher for our Visual Arts Preschool as well as a lead teacher for our After-school Community Design Lab at Vance Elementary School.
Originally from St Petersburg, Russia, Nadia moved to Tennessee in 1997, where she developed her natural affinity for creativity into a lifelong passion for art and artistic expression. She received her BFA from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where she focused primarily on graphic design, oil painting, and photography. Nadia worked as a graphic designer for several years, doing both staff and freelance work for many businesses, churches, and individuals. Nadia found she had a particular passion for working with children and art education, and feels most fulfilled when sharing her love of art with others. She is thrilled to be working at Roots and Wings, where she gets to work with kids, helping them cultivate a lifelong curiosity of the world around them and an appreciation of their own unique talents and abilities. As a hobby, Nadia enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband Ryan and her German Shorthaired Pointer Volkov. She has visited many countries and states, and particularly enjoys experiencing the diversity of cultures, landscapes, and adventures. Nadia and her family currently live in Mars Hill and love to explore the beautiful mountains of southern Appalachia.
Mary is an artist and educator living in Asheville. She graduated with A BSED in Art Education from Western Carolina University in 2012 and received her MFA in 2015. Though trained in many levels of interdisciplinary and contemporary studio practices, Mary specializes in 2-d processes and curriculum planning. In 2010 she had the opportunity to attend a semester long printmaking intensive at GMIT in Galway, Ireland. She has also taught introductory drawing courses at the undergraduate level, worked as a lead preschool teacher and participated in several community workshops throughout the years in the WNC region.
Mary is truly passionate about children and their development and wholeheartedly believes that the arts and humanities are absolutely crucial and necessary for all people- especially the young mind. Having access to and exploring several different art mediums and techniques helps students with self regulation, healing, and calming the mind and body. She notices that by offering more art opportunities for self expression within the classroom, children become more confident in their day to day learning and acts as a support in mastering other core content in the curriculum.
Mary finds that a dedication to the studio process acts as fuel to enrich and inspire her teaching capabilities. Working mainly in abstraction, she explores themes of beauty, nature, man-made designs and boundaries through expressive mark making and layered imagery. Through her experience and art-making, Mary hopes to create works and projects that teach, speak and connect to our community.
Grace Diepenbrock is a graduate of Mars Hill University where she earned a BA in Studio Art and Art History. Grace is passionate about serving her community through the arts, and grew this passion during her time at Mars Hill while volunteering in elementary school classrooms, with the Madison County Arts Council, and other local arts nonprofits. Upon graduating, Grace has worked at museums in Columbia, South Carolina, Atlanta and Dallas, Texas working to create and offer accessible, quality art programs for participants regardless of background, ability, or disability. Grace believes creativity is for everyone, and that the confidence gained from the arts can help everyone flourish.
Grace is a practicing artist and illustrator, working in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media. She is an athlete, avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast and dog lover. She is so excited to join the Roots + Wings family this year working with the After-school Community Design Lab at the new Asheville Primary School site.
Before graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with her degree in Visual Arts, Holly de Saillan discovered her affinity for clay in her high school years. Clay and mosaic have been her mode of artistic expression for thirty years. Her inspirations come from nature, contemporary folk art and (currently) artists Niki de St. Phalle, Antoni Gaudi, Raymonde Isadore, Joan Miro and Marc Chagall among many others. She has travelled and studied in Italy, Spain and France. She teaches ceramics and mosaic in varying capacities around Western North Carolina and also has earned a Master’s degree in Art & Design with Education. She resides in Asheville with a cantankerous little dog named Chagall. Holly is an assistant for our Visual Arts Preschool.
Our world lost Grace Eaton on July 5, 2016 following a brief but brave struggle with cancer. As a member of the Roots + Wings extended family, Grace will remain in our hearts and by our sides as her passion and love always made our little corner of the world more beautiful.
Grace Eaton lived in Asheville since 2002, when she moved here to attend UNCA. She has a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in figure drawing, as well as her elementary teaching license. Grace always considered herself a lifelong student of the visual arts as well as various styles of dance. She also had a love for art history and the inspiration that can be gained from current and historical figures and their works. She volunteered and taught in area schools with preschool to high school aged students. She dabbled in everything from glass blowing to letterpress printing to classical portraiture. However, over her last few years she had narrowed her focus to primarily creating block prints, paper cuts and works of narrative illustration. Her pieces were often inspired by her fascination with classic folktales. Grace always enjoyed experimenting with new mediums and ideas, and particularly loved sharing this process with young people. She was often found at home making messy art with her son Atticus. She was one of our lead teachers for our After-school Community Design Lab at Claxton Elementary School.
Josh Finkler is a music educator and believes a good dose of music can bring joy to anyone’s life. Before getting his music education career underway, Josh earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Warren Wilson College. After working in mental health for several years, he switched gears and studied voice and elementary music, earning a Bachelor of Music Education from Appalachian State University. For the past five years, Josh has worked in public, charter and private schools in Asheville, gathering a strong understanding of both general and music education. Josh is a Percussion Teaching Artist with MusicWorks! El Sistema, an after-school music program at Hall Fletcher Elementary. He is particularly proud of his new music education business, Finkletones, located at the Roots + Wings Creative Campus. Finkletones provides music lessons for all types and ages of musicians. In his spare time, he can be found singing with and serving on the board for The Asheville Choral Society, working on his house, playing with his “furbabies” or enjoying life with his partner. Josh is a Teaching Assistant in our Visual Arts Preschool.
Sarah is a poet, author, dancer, and life coach. She got her B.A. in psychology from SUNY New Paltz and holds certificates in homeopathic medicine and life coaching. She is passionate about self-expression, and how just by the process of making art, we transform. Sarah has worked with kids for the last ten years, and is constantly amazed by them, and how much they teach her. She aims to fuse kindness with creativity, and hold a safe space where others feel free to be themselves and access their creative, sparkling spirits. In this way, she believes much healing, empowerment and joy can happen and naturally infuse our lives. She is currently working on a book, coaches clients, writes for elephant journal, and is most inspired by the ways that nature speaks to us, and the way that our own bodies speak to us. She believes that through creativity, through dance, through telling our stories, through the beautiful risk of making art of any kind, we find our way back to our hearts. And you can find her dancing and writing and painting herself back to her heart every day. It is her deepest joy to share this with others.
Tonya’s has years of experience teaching art, from preschool to middle school aged students. Her experiences have been in public and private schools, as well as homeschooling her own three children. She loves helping a child see and discover something new and amazing. She believes young children learn so much from play and from getting the encouragement to try, and is excited to be a part of our Visual Arts Preschool which fosters and supports that kind of learning. Tonya loves to paint and cook, and get in some trail running on the weekends. She and her husband have three kids and a dog and have lived in the Asheville area for 13 years. They love this city, especially the art and music…and the mountains too. Tonya is a lead teacher for our Visual Arts Preschool, and also teaches some of our once a week Art + Design Classes.
Caitlin Hettich grew up in Miami, where she attended Design and Architecture Senior High School. After graduation she attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture. Caitlin then went on to work for several nonprofit organizations around the country, including Appel Farm Art and Music Center, Hard Hatted Women, and Arts For Learning. In 2015 she completed a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Memphis. Caitlin lives in Asheville with her soon-to-be husband, Casey, and their dog, Maize.
Originally from Southern California, Rebekah has only recently moved to Asheville from Chicago where she received a BA in Community Art from Wheaton College and worked in art education, childcare, and graphic design. Throughout her experiences working with children she has been amazed at their capacity for learning, problem-solving, and innovating. Her mission is to help children exceed societal expectations and excel in all areas by developing internal resources such as confidence, hope and creativity through strategic and collaborative art projects. Her art education heroes are Sister Corita Kent and Tim Rollins. She is thrilled to be living in mountains again and is most encouraged and inspired by plants, animals and wild landscapes. Rebekah is an assistant for our Visual Arts Preschool as well as a lead teacher for our After-school Community Design Lab at Claxton Elementary.
Tessa is a writer, massage therapist and trauma oriented yoga instructor with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Liberal Studies and Psychology. She has worked with a large range of ages from new borns to adults in a variety of settings with a focus on physical and mental health and rehabilitation. She is passionate about healthy development and healing through embodied touch, movement, community and play and loves the science backing these modalities. After working as a substitute teacher in the public school system and witnessing the lack of self awareness too often in our education, Tessa hopes to add relevant concepts of embodiment, presence and creativity to our base of knowledge. She aims to give children from all backgrounds the space to be more present in their bodies and alive in their imagination. Tessa is a lead teacher for the after-school Community Design Lab on Roots+Wings Creative Campus.
Court McCracken is a graduate of Mars Hill College, where she received her BA in Studio Art. Court is a recipient of the Barnes Scholarship for the Arts and the Morgan Family Award for the Arts. She has also studied painting at the Parsons School of Design, NYC and abroad in Perugia, Italy with UNC-Asheville. She was featured in the show “East Meets West” in Bangkok, Thailand where she also collaborated on a mural for a local community center. In recent years she has returned to Asheville to pursue researching with the Asheville Art Museum, teaching with Roots & Wings and collaboration with other artists as a part of the River Arts District community. Her work is an exploration into organic systems, studying both movement and pattern of ecology and human behavior through found natural objects. Courtney teaches custom private lessons, adult workshops, summer camps, as well as works with us behind the scenes on curriculum development.
Lilly attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where she studied music, art history, fine arts, education and creative writing. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, NY, she moved to Asheville in 2013 to pursue a career as a musician and educator. Lilly believes that music and arts education are essential to child development. When given the freedom to express and create, children gain the courage to explore and discover. The skills that children acquire when given this creative platform are invaluable. In addition to music, art and education, Lilly is also passionate about food, wellness and travel. She has traveled her whole life and is fascinated with the fact that music, art and food can defy language barriers and bridge all types of different cultures. She believes that learning through cultural immersion is one of the most successful teaching tools and continues to self-educate in this manner whenever possible. Lilly also loves to be in nature, whether it be hiking through the mountains or swimming in the ocean. She is very excited to be a part of the Roots + Wings team and looks forward to fostering creative learning with her new students!
Jeannie graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture), and an Advanced Diploma in Business Management from William Angliss, in Melbourne Australia. Originally from Hong Kong, her travels have inspired a life long interest in culture and identity, and how art shapes and records the human experience.
A stint in women's roller derby as a skater and league administrator allowed her to travel around Australia and the United States, eventually leading her to settle in Los Angeles. She drew on the skills she learned both on and off the track to work as a marketing operative and event coordinator, with a focus on conventions and broadcast events.
As part of her evolving art practice Jeannie teaches weaving and fiber art and she especially appreciates the reciprocal learning relationship that grows from exploring new approaches to fiber art with established fiber craft practitioners. She is excited to be joining the Roots + Wings team as PR Coordinator and Adult Course Coordinator.
Abby has a B.A in International Studies from the College of Charleston, with experience and expertise in youth development in more than one country. Her interest in art education began while studying in India, where she realized the universality and power of the relationship between young children and art, no matter what language they spoke. She moved to Asheville from Charleston, SC at the end of 2014 and has since joined the local crusade for arts education. When introduced to a young child, making unique works of art can bring about new levels of individuality, courage, creativity, and self-awareness that are difficult to attain by such a young age. Abby is excited to be bringing these opportunities to the students of Roots + Wings and watching them grow at individuals, as well as helping to nourish the presence and influence of community arts in the greater Asheville area through community partnerships and events. Abby is an assistant for our Visual Arts Preschool as well as a lead teacher for our After-school Community Design Lab at our Roots+Wings Creative Campus.
Jess is a librarian, artist and Relaxing Lady. Her work, including field recordings, puppet shows, collections of items, zines, and the occasional knitted object, touches on questions of ecology, community, history, mortality and archival practices. Inspired by library projects like the Reanimation Library (Brooklyn) and the Prelinger Library (San Francisco) as well as her experience as Programming Coordinator for the Read/Write Library (Chicago), she began collection development for the Relaxing Lady’s Library after moving to Chicago in 2010. Jess performs with her husband Peter under the name The Speers, primarily creating live improvisations with their collections of LPs and modular synthesizers to find the hypnotic patterns hidden in ordinary sounds. After heading up the children’s department of a public library where she was occasionally able to do art with kids, Jess is excited to create and explore with the kids at the After-school Community Design Lab at Claxton.
Tricia is a native of Weaverville, North Carolina. She continues to make her home here with her daughter. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting from Meredith College. She has practiced in both public and private accounting but finds she enjoys the private industry better. With 20 years of experience, she is excited to join our team here at Roots + Wings and share her number crunching talents.
Community Teaching Artists
James is a recently retired art teacher with 34 years experience, nearly all of it in Asheville. He brings a passion for teaching the arts that is stronger now than ever to the Roots and Wings team.
James Cassara has a BFA and Masters of Liberal Arts from UNC Asheville. He has been Nationally Board Certified in Early and Middle Childhood Art since 2002. Since retiring he has focused on taking art classes and improving his own art making skills. He is now eager to again be working with students, sharing my expertise and learning from them. In addition to teaching and making art his hobbies include fitness, hiking, collecting record albums, and spending time with his grand daughter (who of course LOVES art!)
Mason's pedagogical approach includes art, design and science. He believes that project-based learning is integral to transdisciplinary ways of thinking and making. Whether the example is an artist, designer or polymath each in their own way share the same desire to seek out new modes and methods of creating by looking beyond any one area of specialty. The workshops Mason organizes and runs in small community schools and programs are ideal environments for learner-centered education. Design-thinking is just one example of going from concept to form no matter what the challenge is.
Aside from teaching Mason designs and builds custom made furniture with his wife Summer. He also has a passion for building bamboo bicycle frames. Mason Cooley holds an MFA degree from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA. He has 12 years of college-level teaching experience in art and design. His sculptures have been exhibited in the US and Europe.
Megan is a writer and yoga instructor in Asheville, N.C. Originally from Illinois, she taught writing and literature at the high school level for 18 years at a public school. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Illinois State University, and a Master's degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. The majority of her teaching career was as a writing instructor where she taught advanced writing skills and creative writing. She also blended her love for writing, yoga, and mythology and created a unique and popular senior level Early World Literature course where she and the students studied ancient mythology and used storytelling, meditation, writing and creative activities to develop a stronger connection to modern life, personal story, and mindfulness. After a successful career as an English teacher, she moved to Asheville in July of 2016 to concentrate on her writing career and creativity. With her writing, she blends poetic elements with memoir in her creative nonfiction pieces to evoke images and emotions. Her most recent work has been published in The Raven's Perch and Foliate Oak literary magazines. She teaches yoga and journaling workshops in and around the Asheville area. She spends her free time hiking in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains, gaining inspiration and wisdom from the trees, moss, ferns and tapping into her wildness. You can read her work on her blogsite "Scratching the Surface".
When Lisa Jones moved to the Asheville area in 2004, she fell in love with the mountains and the rich artist community. She grew up in Minnesota and received a BA from St. Olaf College in Studio Art and English. After teaching with AmeriCorps in the Pacific Northwest, she moved to Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her job was to teach English and she found the best way to do that was through the universal language of art. She moved to Italy to study printmaking as a post-bac student, and then continued graduate study of printmaking at Penland as a Winter Resident, and as an intern at Pace Prints in NYC. She completed her MFA at Western Carolina University. She has taught art at the Asheville Art Museum, WCU and Warren Wilson College. She currently enjoys observing and nurturing the artistic journey of her two small children and is thrilled to share her love of printmaking with Roots + Wings.
Lisa Klakulak’s creativity was nurtured at a young age by good public-school art programs in the suburbs of Detroit and classes at the local art association. Klakulak graduated from Colorado State with a BFA in Fiber Arts and moved to the southeast to study at Penland School of Craft and to accept an Artist-in-Residence position at The Appalachian Center for Craft, in Smithville, TN. While at ACC from 2002-2005, Klakulak extensively explored the medium of felt, educated children in middle Tennessee public schools through ACC’s Outreach Programs, began instructing adult workshops and acquired a K-12 Visual Arts certification. Klakulak, now residing in Asheville, NC, creates wearable textiles, accessories and non-functional sculpture as well as instructs workshops worldwide. She pursues opportunities to work with children to integrate fiber art into the visual art curriculum and to raise cultural awareness and appreciation by way of her international travels.
In 2012 Kelley came to the Asheville Area to take part in a three month, all woman's natural building apprenticeship. Since the apprenticeship, her passion is to educate about working with natural materials to make works of art and design the community can enjoy. She believes we have an abundance of materials and resources around us to live a culturally enriched life.
Currently she enjoys working with schools, learning centers, and community groups to educate and practice Natural Building, Eco-art, Natural Paint and more. She admits that she doesn't take part in this work alone. She says the best part of working with natural materials is the community atmosphere that is created while building.
Rebecca Williams brings over 25 years of teaching experience at the elementary, middle, high school and university levels to Roots + Wings. Working primarily in the world of theater, puppetry, community arts, and humanities, Rebecca has designed curriculum and taught at Old Dominion University, Virginia Wesleyan College, Appalachian State, and The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA. For seven years she taught classes in the Arts and Ideas program at UNC Asheville and in Lesley University’s Integrated Teaching Through the Arts program, a graduate level training program in arts integration. Rebecca earned a B.A. in Theater from Old Dominion University, a Certificate of Professional Training in Directing from the Trinity Rep Conservatory, and a M.A. in Theater and Women’s Studies from Rhode Island College. She recently immersed herself in documentary filmmaking and digital storytelling to complete the certificate program at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and is finishing up her documentary film, Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of An American Mill Town, about the Beacon Blanket Mill, once located in her adopted home of Swannanoa, NC. She currently creates short documentary style videos for artists, small businesses and nonprofits with her production company Mountain Girl Media. Rebecca believes in creativity as a daily practice and the power of storytelling, across all media, as a way to bring people together and transform lives.
Lisa Zahiya travels nationally and internationally as an award-winning performer and in-demand dance instructor, workshop and event facilitator, and speaker.
Lisa is based in Asheville, NC where she is the founder & owner of Studio Zahiya, four time winner of "Best Place to Take a Dance Class" in Asheville, NC.
As a movement instructor, she travels, teaching workshops, performing and developing curriculum. She has taught and performed in New York, NY, Las Vegas, NV, Austin, TX, Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Montreal, Southern France and more. She also specializes in women's empowerment workshops and as a team building facilitator. She is the winner of the 2008 Bellydancer of the Universe. At home, she has taught at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, Warren Wilson College and Western Carolina University. She serves as an Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, Asheville.
Lisa is also known for her work with children and women, using dance as a impetus for change. Lisa serves the senior Teaching Artist with the Lake Eden Arts Festival and is also a Guest Dance Instructor with the Buncombe County School System. She travels nationally teaching in school systems and for children's organizations. Lisa has completed training in Developmental Assets and 21st Century Skills.
Interested in being a part of our team?
We are ALWAYS looking for talented folks to be on our program substitute list, and sometimes have openings for teachers in our programs. Please fill out the form below and let us know what you are interested in and we will be in touch!