Learn Who's Who

Faculty and Staff Directory


 

Now in his seventh year at Christ School, Michael Amato teaches Advanced Functions, Pre-Calculus, Algebra II Honors, and Geometry. Outside of his duties with the Math Department, Mr. Amato coaches the 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, a Math instructor, and assistant coach with Greenie athletic teams. 

Mr. Auch earned 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 four 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. Additionally, he is a graduate of an all-boys day school, so Mr. Barnard is no stranger to the type of education he provides to Greenies.

Entering his second year at Christ School, Duncan Barnes teaches Environmental Science and Economics as well as coaches JV Football. 

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 employee, 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 invaluable with her support as boys find the right fit for their next level of education 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 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 Director of the Christ School Fund. 

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, N.C. She also enjoys camping, working in her yard, and spending time with her dogs. Ms. Belk has one daughter, Jennifer.

“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 17 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

Jesse Breite comes to Christ School from the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, bringing with him more than 16 years of experience teaching many varieties of high school English courses in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago. Mr. Breite has also coached basketball every year he has taught. 

He attended Concordia University in Chicago and then received his M.A. in English from Middlebury College. Mr. Breite's hobbies include poetry-reading and writing, working out, enjoying the outdoors, and partaking in many forms of American art and culture. 

His poetry has been published in various magazines and journals, including Rhino, Prairie Schooner, and Crab Orchard Review, along with Best Practice pieces in EdWeek. Mr. Breite has also written libretto for three of Atlanta composer Michael Kurth's scores, including Kurth's "Miserere," performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2019.

Mr. Breite and his wife, Emily, have two children, Deacon and Vivienne.

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 spent much of his childhood frolicking in the sand and surf of North Carolina beaches. So he was pleased to return to the Tar Heel state and join Christ School's English Department in 2019. 

Mr. Britto teaches World Literature, is an assistant coach for JV football and baseball, and a dorm parent.

Mr. Britto graduated from Virginia Tech in December 2018 with a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing. While in college, 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.

In his free time, Mr. Britto 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 has been Organist, Choirmaster, and Chair of the Fine Arts Department since 2019. Mr. Cassarino recently completed a 20-year tenure as Professor of Music and Music Department Chair at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.

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.

Steve Chester attended high school in the mountains of western North Carolina and can draw upon more than a decade of teaching experience with his History students. He specializes in American, classical, and modern European history.

Mr. Chester previously worked at schools in Georgia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He was most recently Assistant Middle School Director at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Ga. In his career, Mr. Chester has coached six different sports as well as assisted or directed a wide variety of camps and clubs.

Mr. Chester graduated from Avery County High School before going on to receive his B.A. degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania.  

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 is proudly back at his alma mater as Director of the Basketball Program. 

Mr. Cioce previously served as assistant coach for the Greenies varsity team 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.

The Christ School community was delighted to have Benjie Colberg return as Director of Residential Life and Head Lacrosse Coach in 2019. He is an assistant coach for the varsity soccer team as well. 

After three years of work here, Mr. Colberg left in 2018 to take part in The Fellows 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 the Washington Football Team, and photography. Mr. Colberg considers The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to be “the greatest movie trilogy of all-time.” 

 

Mark Crawford returned home to western North Carolina from active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division in the 1990s, starting a 26-year career in education. He is an AP U.S. Government and Politics instructor at Christ School. 

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. 

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

Patrick Davis has been involved with education for seven years, with the past two coming in Christ School's Learning Resource Department. 

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 15th year of teaching, Julia DeLaney adds valued experience to the Learning Resource Department.

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.

Mary Dillon has been head of Christ School's Theater Department since 2001 and directed close to 40 plays during that time. It was her idea to introduce Winter Film as an after-school option to Greenies starting with the 2018-19 school year. 

Mrs. Dillon teaches World Literature, Honors World Literature, Journalism, Film as Literature, and English as a Second Language (ESL). She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. 

Mrs. Dillon has directed five productions for the Montford Park Players in Asheville, most recently Henry IV, Part 1 in the summer of 2019. 

Mrs. Dillon on Christ School Theater

Ben Dowling has been at Christ School since 2005, and one of the things he enjoys most is coaching the Quiz Bowl team. His passion is clearly paying off. The Greenies competed in the 2018 and 2019 Small School National Championship Tournament in Chicago, both of which were firsts for the program. 

Mr. Dowling is the History Department Chair and teaches the freshman World History course "Empires & Encounters."

In addition to sponsoring several clubs, Mr. Dowling initiated the Journeymen program in 2015. It is an after-school activity that passes on Mr. Dowling’s personal interests in woodworking and shop skills to Greenies. Mr. Dowling earned a B.A. in American Studies from Montreat College, along with a History Department award. Before entering into education, Mr. Dowling was part of an internship program with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.