Learn Who's Who

Faculty and Staff Directory


 

Michael Amato enters his sixth year at Christ School as an instructor of Advanced Functions, Pre-Calculus, Algebra II Honors, and Geometry. Outside of his duties with the Math Department, Mr. Amato coaches the Greenie Ski and Snowboard team.

Mr. Amato received a B.S. in Mathematics from UNC Asheville and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2009.

Mr. Amato played NCAA Division III soccer for the University of Scranton (Penn.) for three years, and stays active in the sport with an adult league in Asheville. Other leisurely pursuits for Mr. Amato include mountain biking and recreational hiking. He and his wife, Janna, have one daughter, Elise.

 

Teaching is in Jamie Auch’s blood, evidenced by his more than a decade of work at Christ School.  

Mr. Auch is a third-generation independent school teacher and Math instructor. Outside the classroom, Mr. Auch is a member of the JV Lacrosse team’s coaching staff and formerly worked with the Greenies football and wrestling teams.

Mr. Auch received a B.A. in Art History and minor in Mathematics from Washington & Lee University (Va.), making him the product of a single-sex education from middle school through college.

In his free time, Mr. Auch likes to camp, bike, and kayak. He is also a big fan of vintage Volkswagen vehicles. Mr. Auch and his wife Christina have two daughters, Casey and Emma.

Jonathan Barnard came on board as a World Languages teacher three years ago, under the mentorship of his former director of curriculum at the King Language School and wife, Christ School’s Shao-ting Chung.

From 1987 to 1991, Mr. Barnard taught English to native-Chinese speakers in Taipei. He then translated and edited for the monthly Taiwan Panorama there. Since moving to Asheville in 2001, he has worked as a freelance translator for numerous clients in Taiwan, including Taiwan Panorama, the Taiwanese post office, and the Taipei Chinese PEN quarterly, as well as other government agencies and publishers. One of his short story translations has been collected in the anthology Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers (Cambria Press, 2018), which is read for college-level comparative literature, Asian Studies and Women’s Studies classes. Mr. Barnard has also written and edited stories for Asheville’s weekly newspaper, the Mountain Xpress.

Mr. Barnard graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985 with a B.A. in History. He is also a graduate of an all-boys day school, so Mr. Barnard is no stranger to the type of education he provides to Greenies.

In his first year at Christ School, Duncan Barnes will teach Environmental Science and Economics as well as be a coach for the JV Football team. 

Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, Mr. Barnes grew up camping and playing football before attending the University of North Carolina at Asheville. There, he earned a B.A. in International Studies, a  B.S. in Environmental Management and Policy, and minors in Asian Studies and Economics. 

Immediately following his college graduation, Mr. Barnes moved to Baoding, China, with his now-wife and fellow Christ School newcomer, Alyssa Belcher, to teach English at an international boarding school. After a brief time back in Asheville during which he worked with local environmental non-profit Riverlink, Mr. Barnes moved to California and taught middle and high school science at a private day school in San Jose. 

Mr. Barnes is thrilled to be back in Asheville with Ms. Belcher and their dog, Tango. In his free time, Mr. Barnes enjoys rock climbing, cooking, playing board games, and tinkering with the guitar and ukulele. 

Alyssa Belcher is new to Christ School this year as Assistant Director of College Guidance.

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Ms. Belcher first moved to North Carolina to attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she earned her bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology. Immediately after college graduation, she moved to Baoding, China, with her now-husband and fellow first-year faculty member, Duncan Barnes. The couple taught English at an international boarding school.

Ms. Belcher and Mr. Barnes briefly moved back to Asheville before relocating to California. There, she earned her masters degree in International Education Policy Analysis from Stanford University. Since then, Ms. Belcher has worked in education research throughout Silicon Valley and at a private day school in San Jose, Calif. 

Ms. Belcher is excited to be back in Asheville with Mr. Barnes and their dog, Tango. Her hobbies include tubing, paddle boarding, rock climbing, dancing, and most of all, training in aerial arts. 

Kathy Belk has fulfilled a number of roles throughout a decade and a half in Christ School’s Advancement Office: Office Manager, Annual Fund Coordinator, Constituent Relations and Special Events Coordinator, and Advancement Services Coordinator. She now serves as Annual Fund Director.

Ms. Belk received her B.S. in Accounting as well as a B.S. in Business Administration in Management from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1997.

She devotes her time outside of Christ School to being Co-Leader for the Girls Scouts Troop 30437 out of Hendersonville. She also enjoys camping, working in her yard, and spending time with her dogs. Ms. Belk has one daughter, Jennifer.

U.S. Army veteran Colin Billings will teach U.S. and World History, as well as coach soccer and baseball in his first year at Christ School. 

Mr. Billings served as a logistics officer supporting the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He received his B.A. in Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond (Va.) and his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut.

Hobbies for Mr. Billings include CrossFit, yoga, hiking, and traveling. Most recently, he and his wife, Alexandra, visited 14 national parks on a cross-country road trip in May 2019. The Billings will serve as dorm parents for the 2019-20 school year in Noland House. 

Jennifer Bird has her hands full most days at Christ School, and says she wouldn’t want it any other way. Bird multi-tasks as Registrar and Assistant to the Headmaster. She has been at Christ School for 16 years and spent 10 of those years in Admissions.

Ms. Bird enjoys puzzles, reading, cooking, gardening, snowboarding, and traveling. She plays recreational kickball and volleyball.

Ms. Bird’s son is Trevor ’18. Her daughter, Julie, attended nearby T.C. Roberson High School.

“Traveling often on two wheels” is a pastime for Kirk Blackard and he means it. The Director of College Guidance has cycled more than 4,000 miles to colleges in 25 different states during his 16 years at Christ School. Mr. Blackard, in turn, imparts the knowledge he gains onto Christ School families looking to find a college destination for their son.

Mr. Blackard has been involved in college admissions and college counseling since 1991. A graduate of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, VA, Mr. Blackard received his B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1989 and an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995.

When he is not pedaling away on his bike, Mr. Blackard’s interests include basketball (he is an Assistant Coach for the Little Greenies program), tennis, and cooking.

Learn more about College Guidance

With a masters degree in hand, Aly Bolton joined the Learning Resources Department in 2018.

Ms. Bolton received her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.), where she rowed for the crew team, served as president of the Perpetual Motion Dance Organization, and was a writing tutor. During this time, she also studied abroad at Oxford University. Ms. Bolton made the Dean’s List every semester following her first and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Gown honor societies. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors and presented her academic work in English at three separate conferences in the Southeast.

After college, Ms. Bolton was recruited by Teach for America, a national service corps of young professionals who commit to teaching for two years in under-resourced public schools. Ms. Bolton taught English as a Second Language for two years at Albemarle Road Elementary School in Charlotte and was most recently Media Specialist for John W. Dillard Elementary School in Madison, N.C. There, she coached the Battle of the Books team and taught information skills.

Ms. Bolton graduated in May 2018 from UNC-Greensboro with a masters degree in Library and Information (MLIS) and a concentration in K-12 school libraries. In her free time, Ms. Bolton enjoys hiking, reading, tea, CrossFit, and spending time with her cats, Chuck Norris and Luna.

Jameel Brenneman is a jack-of-all-trades and has gotten a chance to show that versatility in his short time at Christ School. Mr. Brenneman joined the faculty in 2018 as an English and Arabic instructor. He also coached soccer and tennis, along with assisting the Christ School Broadcast Network (CSBN).

Mr. Brenneman graduated in 2012 from Indiana’s Huntington University with a degree in broadcasting before getting a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan four years later. His interest in the Middle East stems from the fact that his mother’s side of the family is from Palestine.

Mr. Brenneman’s introduction to boarding school came with two years at The Stony Brook School in Long Island. He also wore many hats there, including teacher, coach, and dorm parent.

Mr. Brenneman was excited to move to North Carolina, in large part because he is a big fan of barbecue, so much so that he and his brother took a 10-day culinary road trip across North Carolina and South Carolina during the summer of 2018. His other interests include sports, music, and crossword puzzles.

Antonio Britto is a new addition to the English Department after graduating from Virginia Tech in December 2018 with a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing. While at Virginia Tech, he completed an internship at Blacksburg (Va.) High School, where he assisted AP English and Creative Writing classes. After graduating, Mr. Britto worked as an assistant JV baseball coach and substitute teacher at Collegiate School in Richmond. He will teach World Literature at Christ School, be an assistant coach for JV football and baseball, and serve as a dorm parent in Cuningham House.

Mr. Britto is from Virginia but is excited to return to North Carolina, as he spent much of his childhood in the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach area. He enjoys reading, writing, playing disc golf, hiking, and cooking Italian food.

Music has always been essential to the education and development of boys at Christ School. St. Joseph’s Chapel comes alive each year with notes sang or played by Greenies.

This tradition spoke to James Cassarino, who is new to the school community as Organist, Choirmaster, and Chair of the Fine Arts Department. Mr. Cassarino recently completed a 20-year tenure as Professor of Music and Music Department Chair at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity at Christ School,” Mr. Cassarino said. “Before I applied, I did a lot of research into the school. I love the mission of the school and I am certainly looking forward to teaching and doing music ministry. I encourage the students to pack their instruments (upon returning for the 2019-20 school year) and know that there will be plenty of opportunities to make music.”

While at Green Mountain College, Mr. Cassarino helped create and oversee a vibrant program that included course work in music and performing opportunities in both instrumental and choral ensembles. He also served as Music Director and Organist for Trinity Episcopal Church in Rutland, Vt. Mr. Cassarino previously filled those same roles for St. Mary’s Church in Newport, R.I., as well. His educational background includes degrees in music and in theology from Castleton (Vt.) University, Ball State University, St. John’s University, and the University of Wales.

Shao Ting Chung teaches Mandarin Language and Culture to Greenies in the World Languages Department.

Mrs. Chung earned her Bachelors degree from Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei and also studied in the teacher licensure program at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Prior to Christ School, she taught at two other Asheville-area schools: Carolina Day School and T.C. Roberson High School. Mrs. Chung is married to fellow World Languages teacher Jon Barnard. 

Christ School alumnus Matt Cioce '13 was named Head Varsity Basketball Coach in April 2019 and is also ready to begin his first school year as Assistant Dean of Students.

Mr. Cioce previously served as assistant coach for the Greenies basketball program during the 2018-2019 season, helping lead the team to a Carolinas Athletic Association Tournament championship and an appearance in the NCISAA 4-A state-championship game. Mr. Cioce attended Christ School for four years and was a member of the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 varsity teams. Following his graduation from Christ School, Mr. Cioce matriculated to Stetson University where he was also a member of the varsity team for three years.

Mr. Cioce comes from a family of coaches which includes cousin, Fran Dunphy, who was a head coach at the University of Pennsylvania and then Temple University; cousin John Griffin, an assistant coach at St. Joseph's University; and cousin Matt Griffin, who is head coach at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia.

Now in her third year at Christ School, Mallary Clay teaches Biology and is the head coach of the JV basketball team. She is involved in the Outdoor Program, lending her expertise in paddling, and lives in Cuningham House. 

Ms. Clay graduated from Catawba College in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry. A member of the Honors College and the basketball team, Ms. Clay stayed busy, but her name never dropped from the Dean’s List. She earned the Stephen H. Wurster Sportsmanship Award, presented to one female and one male athlete who is well-rounded and succeeds not only as an athlete but also has outstanding character, and the Dean N. Grove Award, presented to one senior female and one senior male athlete who excels athletically and academically above others. Ms. Clay was also the Vice President of the honor council. Her undergraduate research, concerning a burrowing crayfish species, was published in 2017 in Behaviour, a peer-reviewed scientific journal focusing on ethology. 

After graduation, Ms. Clay immediately enrolled in a graduate program at Auburn University, researching the genetics of aquatic macroinvertebrates (think crayfish, clams, snails, and worms) for conservation purposes. In 2016, Ms. Clay received her Master of Biological Sciences from Auburn. She then worked at Montgomery Academy and at the Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga. 

The Christ School community is delighted to welcome back Benjie Colberg as Director of Residential Life, starting with the 2019-20 school year. He will resume his roles as assistant coach for the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. 

After three years of work here, Mr. Colberg left in 2018 to take part in The Fellow Program, a nine-month leadership development and vocational discernment program through Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Va. In his first stint at Christ School, Mr. Colberg had been Assistant Director of Admission, a dorm parent and Head of House, Form Advisor, and Faculty Advisor to the Honor Council. 

Mr. Colberg received a B.A. in Economics from Denison University in 2015. There, he was part of three conference-championship lacrosse teams, two of which reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Mr. Colberg captained the team his senior year.

Mr. Colberg likes to travel to visit friends and family, “any competitive game,” reading, watching University of Virginia basketball and Washington Redskins football, and photography. Mr. Colberg considers The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to be “the greatest movie trilogy of all-time.” Mr. Colberg lives in Hemlock House.

 

Mark Crawford returned home to western North Carolina from active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division in the 1990s, starting a 25-year career in education that has brought him to Christ School. His assignment for the 2019-20 school year is AP U.S. Government and Politics. 

Mr. Crawford had taught various Political Science courses for the last 11 years at Western Carolina University, and prior to that was a full-time substitute teacher in the Buncombe County Schools system for 13 academic years. He is a West Point graduate who served for a little over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army. Mr. Crawford was a Ranger, paratrooper, and Jumpmaster who was deployed for the Gulf War in 1990. Upon returning home, he initially worked in construction, and then real estate while substitute teaching. He has served a brief stint in the N.C. House of Representatives and been Administrator of the Swannanoa Valley Medical Center for the past three years. 

Mr. Crawford likes to keep it simple when it comes to his hobbies, reading and chess. 

Patrick Davis is a newcomer to Christ School's Learning Resources Department in his sixth overall year of work in education.

Mr. Davis graduated with a B.A. in History from Clemson University in 2011 before going on to earn his M.Ed degree from the American College of Education in 2018. For leisure, he likes to read, cook, play disc golf and lacrosse, and enjoy his time as a dog owner. 

Mr. Davis and his wife, Kristin, were married in the summer of 2019. 

Now in her 14th year of teaching, Julia DeLaney is a returning member of the Learning Resources Department at Christ School.

Mrs. DeLaney is originally from Statesville, N.C. She received a degree in history and secondary education from Appalachian State University, where she met her husband, Glenn.

Mrs. Delaney began her career in the North Carolina public school system, teaching middle school Social Studies, Science, and English, and then spent five years teaching 6th grade U.S. History at Ravenscroft School, an independent day school in Raleigh. When she and her husband moved to Vermont Academy, Mrs. DeLaney taught History and Learning Resources, coached girls soccer, served as a dorm parent, and supervised the winter recreation ski program. After four years in Vermont, she moved back to North Carolina when her husband became director of the Outdoor Academy in Pisgah Forest.

Mrs. DeLaney enjoys traveling, and has skied on three different continents, with a goal to add two more in the next few years. She and her husband have a son, Elem, and a “crotchety” border collie, Meg.