Faculty & Staff
Governed by a Board of Directors, Two Rivers incorporates a curriculum of project based and Expeditionary Learning framework for its instructional programs. Teaching and learning is guided exclusively by research based, best practices.
Key features of our teaching technique:
- Keeping academic success and achievement at the core of every student experience.
- Utilizing the latest findings of brain based research to facilitate learning environments.
- Respecting every child’s individual learning styles.
- Producing exemplary, hands on learning expeditions that embody service and meet high academic standards.
- Utilize the latest technologies to expand learning environments.
- Presentation of relevant and place-based materials and content making for a more meaningful learning experience.
- Provide a supportive and compassionate environment that promotes cooperation and teamwork.
Dr. Rizor was born and raised in a beautiful little mountain community in Colorado.Growing up, he and his two brothers shared many outdoor adventures on the cattle ranches where his family made their living. Ranch life also contributed to he and his brothers’ lifelong love of science and the outdoors. After marrying his high school sweetheart and starting a family, a desire for new adventures and learning led him to the big city lights of Laramie, Wyoming where he raised his family, worked full time, and attained his BS, MS, and later, Ph.D. He has worked in the private sector, K-12 education, and at the university level allowing him to live in many beautiful places including Wyoming, Colorado, Hawaii, and finally, Boone.
Throughout his work, Dr. Rizor has looked for opportunities where he could honor his personal philosophy of education: that students build social/emotional intelligence and life long learning skills through authentic and relevant educational experiences. Consequently, he feels the place based, experiential approach of Expeditionary Learning that Two Rivers has embraced is a great fit! He looks forward to using his experience as a science teacher, curriculum coordinator, environmental and outdoor educator, and charter school director to continue the wonderful work that has already been accomplished in building a school. Outside of school, Dr. Rizor is an avid photographer, hiker, guitar player, disc golfer, genealogist, and film buff.
Beth Vossen has been both the voice and the face of Two Rivers Community School. She has been the Administrative Assistant at TRCS since the first year of operation, August of 2005. She brings energy, humor and a commitment to honor the needs of others who pass through the doors of TRCS.
Beth is married to Glenn Randle, a local artist and they live in the Bethel Community and are the proud parents of Savanna a 12th grader at Watauga High School. Beth enjoys swimming and jet skiing on Lake Norman, being with family and working together with Glenn to finish building their craftsman style home.
Throughout his work, Dr. Rizor has looked for opportunities where he could honor his personal
Vicki was born in Ceiba, Puerto Rico and her first language was Spanish. She learned English when she went to school. Vicki had the calling to be a teacher ever since she was in fourth grade. She has been teaching Kindergarten at Two Rivers since the school’s beginning in 2005. She also provides early morning care.
She acquired her B. A. in Elementary Education from Columbia College in South Carolina and has worked the past 20 years with children in diverse settings to include teaching Children’s Choir, Melodee Bells and Sunday School, teaching English Language Learners as a tutor at her church on Monday nights, at a Jewish Day school, as a teacher at Harmony School in Columbia South Carolina, a nanny, as a teaching assistant in summer school, translator, Dedicated Aide (Shadow) & Paraprofessional in Department of Defense Schools.
Vicki loves her family! She and her husband Steve have four grown daughters, Stephanie Rae, Hilary Kay, Valerie Mae and Kimberly Fay, four sons-in-law, five amazing granddaughters. Vicki is a member and Deacon of Boone First Presbyterian Church and enjoys leading worship, singing in the Praise and Worship band and singing in the Chancel Choir. She loves the ocean (Especially in Vieques, Puerto Rico where her family is from) and loves the color yellow because it reminds her that the sun is always shining somewhere.
Ms. Kim is our first grade teacher. She grew up on the Outer Banks of NC right next to the property where the Wright Brother’s took their first flight. She grew up with her mom (an artist/lover of books/professional super mom), her dad (a musician/friend to all/wall paper hanger) and her older sister Laura (who was never too cool to spend time with her little sister!). Her parents love the outdoors and fostered the same enjoyment of the natural world in Kim and her sister. They adventured to the beach, the mountains and everywhere in between. Kim moved to Boone to earn her BA in Elementary Education at App State. She has a son, two dogs and, if you pay a visit to our first grade classroom, you will meet their pet turtle Penny. If you see Ms. Kim around Campus ask her which she loves more, the beach or the mountains…it’s fun to ask a teacher a question that they CAN’T answer!
Tina is TRCS’s second grade teacher. She was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and grew up in small and large communities throughout California, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming and Colorado. Her family eventually settled in beautiful North Park, Colorado, where she married her high school sweetheart and started a family. Tempted by the thought of big city life, they moved their little family to Laramie, Wyoming where they added another daughter, went to college, and became teachers.
Prior to coming to TRCS, Tina taught pre-school, kindergarten, transitional first grade, first grade, and second grade in Wyoming, Colorado, and Hawaii. Meanwhile, their daughters grew up and settled with their families in Greensboro, NC and Hunstville AL.
Tina is delighted to be joining a school community that fits her educational philosophy perfectly, is located in a beautiful mountain setting that does get snow, and is just a few hours away from family. She loves crafts of all kinds, hiking, reading, writing, travel, music, theater, and is looking forward to dusting off her clarinet at some point to see if she can still play?!
Lindsay is a proud North Carolina native who grew up as a beach girl in Wrightsville Beach and city girl in Charlotte. Her love of learning and teaching began while teaching environmental education lessons in 3rd grade classrooms through the work-study program at Warren Wilson College in Asheville. Before moving to the area to teach at Two Rivers, she spent 8 years teaching as an Associate Teacher at Evergreen Community Charter School, an Expeditionary Learning school in Asheville. The path that led her here includes a lot of hard work and a little serendipity. She loves travelling, hiking, fishing, live music, and pretending she can play the guitar.
Paula Presnell is proud to call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. A native of Boone, North Carolina, she is honored to be teaching Fourth Grade at Two Rivers Community School. Paula attended Lees McRae College and later graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Sociology. After a career in social work, Paula followed her heart and returned to the classroom to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. Her teaching experience includes teaching Fourth Grade in Watauga County Schools and Third Grade in Orlando, Florida. As an educator, Paula ‘s interests include Project based learning, developing instructional strategies that reach each learning style and intelligence, and developing meaningful and positive relationships with her students. She feels that it is essential to teach and model empathy and compassion to her students.
Paula is married to Rick Presnell, an avid cyclist and recent retiree of Appalachian State’s Business Affairs Office. Rick and Paula are the parents of two adult children, Ben Presnell of Research Triangle Park and Jessica Presnell Smith of Orlando, Florida. Paula’s interests include baking, event planning/decorating, spending time with friends and family, enjoying the beauty of the mountains, bluegrass music, and learning everything she can about bees! She is currently working on her first children’s book based on her mother’s life growing up in rural Watauga County.
Natalie found her passion when she started teaching 4th grade at TRCS years ago (she switched to 5th grade last year). She became interested in reading early on because she was an avid reader but her younger brother struggled with reading.
Natalie wanted to understand the processes behind reading, so she studied cognitive psychology as an undergraduate and in graduate school. Eventually she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a minor in Developmental Psychology and went on to teach adjunct at ASU for 13 years. During all of those years Natalie knew that she wasn’t in the “right” place but didn’t quite know how to make a change. For years, close friends had told her that she should teach young children. In 2006, she made a radical change and became a teaching assistant at TRCS and hasn’t looked back once!
When not teaching, grading or planning lessons Natalie likes to spend time with her husband and daughter. She enjoys photography, scrapbooking, cooking and watching sappy movies that make her cry.
Adam Berk teaches 6th grade at Two Rivers. He grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and while there will always be a special place in his heart for Chicago Style pizza, hot dogs without catsup, and all Chicago sports teams (except the Cubs), he has always felt a pull towards the mountains. After high school, he moved to Colorado and then Alaska for college.
After graduating from Alaska Pacific University in 2007 with a degree in Outdoor Studies and a minor in Education, he came back to the Lower 48 where he and his now wife settled for a time in Salt Lake City, Utah where they worked as field staff for a wilderness therapy program and found time to ski, climb, hike, and camp across much of Utah, Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming. Adam moved to Boone in 2010 and there’s no place in North Carolina he’d rather be.
After working at Grandfather Home for Children for one year, Adam decided to attend Appalachian State University to earn his teaching license in elementary education. He completed his student teaching in Watauga county in Fall, 2013 and joined the Two Rivers Community School team in January, 2014.
Clint is the science teacher at Two Rivers Community School. He is a North Carolina native, a graduate of Appalachian State University, and an Honorably Discharged veteran of the Gulf War. For the past eleven years, he has taught primarily biology at the high school level, but also earth science and physics.
Prior to starting his professional teaching carrier, Clint worked in experiential outdoor education at various camps including: Camp Bud Schiele, Camp Buck Toms, and Camp Broadstone. These camp experiences allowed him the opportunity to work with middle school age children. Clint says, “It was these young minds which first got me excited about education and teaching. Coming to TRCS, in many ways, feels like returning to my roots.” Clint is truly committed to this school and its approach to teaching and learning; not only as a teacher but also as a parent.
Kelly teaches Middle Social Studies. Kelly began teaching middle schoolers in 2005 after graduating from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. She has worked with children in a variety of settings from classrooms to summer camps since the 1990s. She has taught all four academic subjects and all three middle school grades in various combinations. She has worked in private, public, and charter schools, and homeschooled her oldest child.
Kelly came to the Mountains in 2005 following a childhood dream. She fell in love with these mountains as a young girl and vowed to herself that one day she would live here. After living here for many years, there is still no place she would rather be.
Kelly enjoys spinning, weaving, crocheting, reading, dancing, making cheese, cooking, camping, horseback riding, walking in the woods and communing with rivers.
Rachel Wood is our Guidance Counselor and Middle School Language Arts Teacher. She is one of Two Rivers’ founding teachers. In 2004 Rachel graduated from ASU with a degree in Middle Grades Education. Since then she has been working slowly on a Master’s in Professional School Counseling. She loves adventure sports, especially bouldering and snowboarding.
If she won the lottery, she would do the following: 1) take some time off to backpack all over the world with her family, stopping at all the countries that are famous for their cheese; 2) come home and do all the work on her house that will probably not get done if she doesn’t win the lottery; 3) hire the Beastie Boys to be the entertainment for a party for her family and friends; 4) put some away for her daughter, Johanna; 5) give the rest away and go back to her normal life, which is pretty awesome without the millions!
Shannon McCaa is the EC Coordinator and Teacher. She grew up outside of Washington, D.C and then the suburbs of Atlanta. Shannon traveled and lived in a variety of places including Aspen, Colorado, the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, south Florida, and completed her students teaching in San Ignacio, Belize. Shannon graduated with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education for Elementary grades K-6 from Kennesaw State University. It was in south Florida where she became certified in Special Education K-12, finished her Endorsement in Autism and finally her Masters in Educational Leadership/School Leaders from Florida Atlantic University. Shannon worked in a K-5 inclusion setting for 3 years and then spent the next 4 years as a Lead Teacher specializing in behavior and autism at a public charter school in Stuart, Florida. Her passion for working with students with disabilities has remained strong and she loves what she does. She happily joined the Two Rivers family in 2016. When she is not working, she enjoys travelling, hiking, biking, playing soccer, kayaking, snowboarding, horseback riding, and loves music and animals. The mountains have proven once again to be a wonderful place to call home.
Bill first connected with Two Rivers when he moved to Boone in 2008 from Portland, Oregon after completing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in a program called Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning. He served as a TRCS substitute teacher while also working in the field of adventure education. This was his fourth cross country move. A glutton for punishment, he went back to school for a second Master’s degree at Appalachian State in Special Education.
Boone was not entirely new to Bill as he has spent some time here when he would visit between programs when he worked as an instructor with the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 2004-2005. He has always had one foot in schools and one foot outside. He has served as the former director of Mountain Alliance, a high school soccer coach at WHS and as a Juvenile and District Court Mediator.
In his free time he enjoys backpacking and camping with his family, mountain biking, skiing, playing soccer, singing karaoke, swimming in lakes, traveling and playing more soccer. He has two children at TRCS and likes spying on them while they are in class.
Joy Schlagal is Two Rivers’ Reading Specialist and Testing Coordinator. She has a Master’s in Reading and a B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology, both from the University of Virginia. She is also certified to teach Permaculture Design, and for a year was a teacher in a nationwide NASA program that encouraged underserved children to pursue careers in the sciences. She taught as adjunct faculty for six years at Appalachian State and for one year at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay.
For four years she taught high risk teens in a residential treatment center and was a Title I teacher before she came to Two Rivers. She is one of the co-authors of Houghton Mifflin’s English, the first K-8 text book series to teach the process approach to writing. She has sold two children’s stories to magazines and her writing has placed in several contests. She has also written a book and numerous short stories that all live in a cardboard box in her downstairs bedroom.
A variety of past experiences makes for plenty of stories to tell, including work experience in a donut shop, a tire factory, the law library at U.Va., and a short stint as an EMT. She started one of the first certified organic farms in Watauga County and spent happy years milking goats, raising lambs and her three children, and selling eggs far and wide.
In her past life (that means when she was younger), she jumped into a quarry full of garbage to save a drowning dog (he lived to be fifteen), chopped all her own firewood, and ran a five minute mile. She started doing yoga in high school, long before it was fashionable (“You’re going to get stuck like that,” her mother said.). Joy inherited her love of housekeeping, gardening, flowers, the natural world, and her green thumb from her mother; and her love of music from her father, who took her to a Hank Williams movie and then bought her first guitar, and later a mandolin. Joy has always loved reading and books, books, books. She knows that teaching children to read, many of whom believed they would never be able to read, is the greatest gift on earth!
Born within the throes of civil upheaval in the jungles of Borneo, Coach Pack used his indelible spirit and lightning quick legs to evade capture from tyrants run amok. This, as well as various occurring stories within the Coach Pack mythos, is unfounded and based on scant evidence, mainly the hearsay of his students.
This Coach Pack character, of mediocre descent and no useful super powers, has a passion for running, bodyweight exercises, and guiding his students beyond their own perceived limits. He is engaged in constant research and self-experimentation to provide the most up-to-date and functional fitness methods to his classes. His alter ego wears glasses, is obsessed with used book stores and 80’s love songs, and answers quite simply to Austin (or Nitsua).
Cyndi Rapenske was invited by the founding Board of Directors to lead Brain Gym®, a movement- based program that is part of the Two Rivers Community School Charter. Cyndi is licensed by the Educational Kinesiology Foundation/Brain Gym International.
She has completed over 600 hours of coursework with the Edu-K Foundation including Brain Gym for Children with Special Needs, Brain Gym for Educators, Integration of Infant & Childhood Dynamic and Postural Reflexes, Movement Re-education, and Whole Brain Learning. Cyndi says her best training comes from working with the students. “The students’ ideas, needs, movement patterns and discoveries inspire me to share the activities and concepts of Brain Gym in new ways and with continued awe for how we learn.”
Cyndi’s experiences include working 15 years in Outdoor Education, facilitating adults and children in adventure programs, challenge courses, team building, and primitive living skills. She was a trainer and builder for Alpine Towers International for 9 of those years. Cyndi has co-instructed several courses at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
Cyndi loves swimming in her pond, farming sustainably, participating in Aboriginal Studies Programs at the Schiele Museum of Natural History, hiking, and being a lifelong learner of the natural world.
Kelly Snider earned her BFA from East Tennessee State University in 2006. Since then, she has been teaching art at Two Rivers Community School. Kelly loves working with young people of all ages. She is energized by their enthusiasm, sense of wonder, and fearlessness when it comes to creating art. She loves music too and plays fiddle in The Sheets Family Band. Kelly lives with her husband and daughter and many plants & animals on a small farm in Creston, NC.
Mimi has been with TRCS since the beginning. She started out as a volunteer in various classrooms as needed. She was hired as a Kindergarten assistant teacher working with Mrs. Vicki. Mimi graduated from the Kinder classroom (after three years) and moved to the multi-age classroom. Currently she is working back in Kindergarten, which is a pleasure.
Mimi is a wife and mother. Zack and Zoa, her children are both in high school. You might not have known this about Mimi, but she loves acting and was in a lot of plays in high school and college. She also likes to be near water of any kind! Tennis is another love of hers! Tennis anyone???
Linda is the assistant in Ms. Lindsay’s 3 rd grade class. She enjoys working with such an awesome teacher and such wonderful students. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and also lived in Spain, Michigan, and South Carolina before moving to Boone. She taught 20 years in public elementary schools. She is married and has one son. Linda is a big sports fan and she enjoys traveling, reading, and baking. She loves to be outside in the sun and to be near water. She loves Boone and all the fun stuff there is to do outdoors year round.