The Learning Community School l Asheville, NC l 828.686.3080

The Staff

Theresa Cote

K/8 Arts Integration

Theresa Cote has been a member of the TLC community since 2000 when her son, Max, entered Kindergarten. She volunteered with and then headed up the art program for many years before becoming a school employee. She also started TLC’s after-school art club. She has begun integrating art with the rest of the curriculum, which has been a major success. She continues to look for ways to add more art opportunities into TLC’s daily routine. Additionally, Ms. Theresa has designed, produced, and coordinated the costumes for all the musicals. You can check out some of her amazing handiwork on the “school musical” link. 

In her spare time, Theresa enjoys working own art projects, with a current focus on surface design. She lives in Swannanoa with her beloved cats.

David Bird

8th Lead Teacher; 6/7/8 Language Arts; 6/7/8 Spanish

David has taught a variety of subjects in a multitude of environments: from public schools and non-profits to his current position at TLC School. Teaching for more than ten years in traditional public schools left David looking for something more innovative and creative… a place where a student’s individuality is important and vital to learning. He currently teaches language arts, Spanish, and coaches for the Hospitality League teams at school. He has studied abroad in Madrid and travelled through Mexico. He received his National Board certification in Spanish in 2010 and is Orton-Gillingham trained. David’s passion with education begins with the culture inherent in a language; he seeks to create an environment rich with authentic resources and experiences.

Noah Keener

7th Lead Teacher; 6/7/8 Math and Science

Originally from North Georgia and landing in WNC after leaving the northeast, Noah graduated from the University of North Georgia with a B.S. in biology and a minor in chemistry. While his interests are vast, science has always been his passion. He strives to make science and math more meaningful to students by engaging them in the benefits of scientific and mathematic endeavors in all disciplines and throughout life.

He believes there is as much value in failure as there is in success, as both are powerful teaching tools. His classroom is a community where students can talk about science openly and address misconceptions. Noah likes to teach by utilizing a hands-on approach called proof of concept, where investigations into scientific and mathematical principles ultimately lead to exploratory learning that stands to validate often abstract ideas.

When he isn’t teaching, Noah can usually be found playing with his kiddos, hiking, or cycling. 

Ramsee Boone

Middle School Assistant/General Music Instructor

Ramsee Boone is elated to join the TLC community! 

Ramsee was born in North Carolina and her family (mom, dad and two brothers) made many relocations until they ended up back in Huntersville, NC After she graduated high school in Huntersville, she went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University while working retail part-time and nannying. Ramsee’s education at IU propelled her to continue with her passions for both music and childcare which led her to The Learning Community School. She is looking forward to meeting and greeting you all! 

Mitzi Prendergast

K/1 Lead Teacher

Mitzi has been the lead kindergarten and first grade teacher at TLC since the fall of 2001. She has four children and her youngest is a graduate of The Learning Community School. She loves teaching our youngest students to read. Mitzi has participated in many professional development classes and workshops for both Writer’s and Reader’s Workshop as well as specific phonics and reading programs. She completed training in the multi-sensory based Orton-Gillingham language education program and is excited to have so many fun and solid strategies to bring to the K/1 classroom.

Carly Wilbur

K/1 Lead Teacher

In her home state of Maryland, Carly worked with young children in a variety of capacities at the Center for Young Children for almost 4 years. It was during this time she discovered her passion for working with young children and completed her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education.
Carly is joining the TLC school after living abroad for the past year. Since her time in her Family Science and Women’s Studies undergraduate programs, Carly has held a strong commitment to anti-racism, decolonization, and cultural competence. She is beyond excited to be using the tools she’s gained during her studies and self-reflection to meet the needs of and grow with all of her learners. 

Enrique Baloyra

2/3 Math/Science Teacher

Enrique is excited to become a member of the TLC family! He grew up in Chapel Hill, where he was a state champion swimmer. After graduating from the University of Miami, where he majored in anthropology and minored in history, he went on an archaeological dig in the French Périgord and saw the Caves of Lascaux in person. A thirteen-year veteran math teacher, he’s committed to creating memorable lessons that are experiences in critical thinking, the senses, and movement. Enrique has lived in Spain, Italy, and Germany and speaks several languages. 

Isabel Winston

2/3 Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher

Isabel is from Wilmington, North Carolina but moved to the mountains in 2009 to study at Appalachian State University.  After graduating from college, she moved to northern Thailand where she ran an English tutoring company, and she taught all subjects to international students for three years.  In the classroom, Isabel focuses on providing a meaningful, diverse, and a hands-on learning experience.  In her spare time she likes to write and illustrate children’s books, cook, go camping, work in her garden, hike, play tennis, and play with her beloved cat, Turnip!  

Lymaris Lopez

K-5 Spanish Teacher; Classroom Assistant
Lymaris was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico. She graduated from the Bayamón Central University with a Bachelor Degree in Arts of Elementary and licensed by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. She spent 5 years teaching on the island and also had a small business making sleepwear for private preschools. She moved to the United States in 2017 where she received her child care certification. 
In the classroom, she uses the method of learning by doing along with strategies that facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. She believes that each child is unique and has their own way of learning  
Lymaris enjoys nature and family time. The sunset on the beach is the place and the moment that she calls “the healing of the soul.”

Brookie Connell

4/5 Lead Math and Science Teacher

Brookie is joining our team after living abroad in Costa Rica for the last decade. During this time, she helped open a new elementary school, design curriculum, and teach grades K-3 using a bilingual language structure. She also spent many years during this time teaching in an online environment. As a Georgia native, she spent her first five years teaching 5th grade in the Atlanta Public School classroom before making the move. This has given Brookie a rich and diverse background that she is excited to bring back to the classroom at TLC. 

Brookie is energetic, passionate, and knowledgeable. She has earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. In her classroom you might see students engaged in learning projects, delving into science experiments or integrating math into real-life situations. She has a love of learning and seeing the joy and spark of her students puts a huge smile on her face. 

Brookie is now settled in Asheville and loves calling the mountains home. In her free time, you will find her spending time in nature hiking and camping. She enjoys having a good book in one hand and a cup of joe in the other. Brookie loves to spend time with her friends and animals. 

Ann Harris

Ever up for an adventure, Ann joins TLC fresh from South Korea, where she directed and delivered outdoor education programs across the three divisions of Chadwick International and led the 8th grade Language and Literature team. Her roots run deep with experiential education, an approach to teaching that she has integrated into her instruction and leadership since her early days as a public high school English teacher and Outward Bound course director. While she has traveled and studied abroad, the Appalachians always call her home, and her family is excited to be nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains once again. She is mom to Dylan, a rising junior, and Keenan, who will be joining the 8th grade class at TLC. Their dog, Whitman, helps them remember to relish life and cherish community. 

Crystal Hibbert

4/5 Assistant, Office Support, Stage Manager
Crystal is originally from sunny South Florida and moved to Asheville after visiting a friend. She knew in her heart this was home.  

Crystal is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. In her spare time, she lives out her passion to support families in the community.

Since moving to Asheville, Crystal is developing an appreciation and love for nature, enjoys hiking all the mountains have to offer. 
Crystal is looking forward to working with the TLC family and she knows “the best is yet to come!”

Ben Fleming

Outdoor Education Instructor

Ben joined the TLC community along with two of his three sons as the Outdoor Education Teacher. He grew up on the coast of SC and loved escaping to the mountains on family camping trips as a kid. Those trips led to work in WNC as a whitewater canoe program leader and environmental education instructor. 

Ben went further afield as a classroom teacher in Cali, Colombia and kayak instructor and raft guide in Ecuador. On his return to the US Ben was program director at a Florida non-profit working in Central America and the Caribbean.
Since arriving in Asheville Ben has devoted his time to raising three boys. He has held a variety of volunteer positions including soccer coach and Cub Scout Den leader. He looks forward to getting outdoors and active with the TLC community.

Maria Perez

Office Assistant; Classroom Assistant

Maria is so excited to be back at TLC! She is a TLC alum (class of 2014), and then went to the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville, graduating in 2019. She is currently a sophomore in college studying psychology with a concentration in pediatric development. Maria is excited to be on staff so she can finally eat lunch again with Ms. Katherine and Ms. Holly as she did each day when she was a TLC student! She is very happy to get back into the community and help out wherever she can.

Sean Geran

K-8 PE teacher

Sean is originally from a small town in New Jersey, but has been living in Asheville since 2007.  He received his Master’s in Teaching from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.  He has worked with children for the past decade as a math/reading specialist, coach, and most recently as a Physical Education teacher. He enjoys leading games and fitness activities that promote inclusion, respect for others, and personal expression.  Sean believes strongly in the role of movement in the role of child development and overall well being.  In his spare time he enjoys strumming his guitar, hiking, crosswords, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.  He is excited to join the TLC community!

Tom Tracy

6/7/8 Language Arts; Musical Director

Tom has been around TLC since his son entered third grade in the fall of 1999. His daughter followed soon after and both children have long since graduated. Tom, however, was not allowed to leave and his graduation is still pending. Tom’s family is his main passion. He is married to his most excellent partner, Libba, and he enjoys watching his own children continue to blossom.

Tom received his Bachelor’s of Elementary Education at the University of Georgia and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. While his children were attending TLC, Tom helped introduce the Writing and Reading Workshop programs. He loves to create an environment where young people can express and explore themselves through their own writing and by delving deep into literature. He works hard to create a safe and rigorous community of writers and readers. Since being with TLC, Tom also took on the job of directing the all-school musical.

Robin Jacobs

Office Manager

Robin joined the TLC community in the fall of 2012 as a TLC parent, with children in grades 1 and 4.  She began volunteering in the office and classroom, and then served on the TLC Board as a parent member from 2014 to 2017, and enjoyed serving as Facilities Committee Chair and working on TLC policy during that time.  Robin joined the TLC staff the fall of 2017 as a P.E. Teacher and Special Projects Coordinator. She has served on the silent auction committee since going the TLC Community and has served as organizer since.  Robin is an avid fitness geek with a background in playing and coaching soccer, is a black sash in ShaoLin Kung Fu and enjoys teaching Kung Fu and self-defense classes. She is an attorney and practiced locally with Pisgah Legal Services focusing on public benefits, disability and Medicaid services law, before taking a break from law.  In her spare time, Robin hangs out with her family — artist husband Fox, two amazing kids Fox and Jesse, and sweet puppy dog Panda.

Katherine Murphy

Head of School

Katherine began her life at TLC in the fall of 2000 as a classroom teacher for grades 3/4. She is now the school’s Head of School but still enjoys leading a few middle school math classes.  Ms. Katherine’s classroom is a multi-sensory, hands-on educational experience for all students. Math is taught through the use of manipulatives, games, and movement lessons. Katherine helps her students to create a rich, inquiry-based classroom, allowing each student to become fully engaged and enthusiastic about learning.

Holly Baumgartner

Administrative Director

Holly’s family became a part of the TLC family when her daughter entered 1st grade in the fall of 1999. Holly became an employee of the school in the fall of 2004 when her son entered Kindergarten, and has been on staff ever since. While her children have long since graduated TLC, Holly enjoys remaining in community with people dedicated to raising good human beings. Much of her time is spent managing business operations. 

A Community Striving For

Personal Growth

Talk it out

Everyone counts

Appreciations, not putdowns

Make it fair

Fostering A Culture Of


  • We appreciate Kiersten for helping settle the K/1 classroom into their new handwashing routine each morning; John, Dan, and Meggan for helping in the morning carline; and Daisy for her office/recycling/trash support!

    -H and K

  • TLC is even more of a home this year than it used to be!


  • I would like to appreciate Mitzi for her calm, sweet, peaceful, and patient way in the K/1 classroom. She is the best!

    – Kiersten

  • I feel so grateful for this school. My kids come home happy each day!

    – Alexandra



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The Learning Community

We would love to hear from you. We welcome visitors to our school for tours on select Wednesday mornings at 9:00.

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1220 Bee Tree Rd
Swannanoa, NC 28778