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The Forest School Foundation is a 100% volunteer-led organization. Our Board of Directors includes talented professionals from a variety of backgrounds and locations, all working together to promote the mission of forest school advocacy and awareness.

Board President

Michael Torres

Michael Torres Forest School Foundation

Dr. Torres has worked as an educator and biochemist since 1970, devoting his career to teaching and research in higher education in the US and abroad. Now retired, Michael pursues his passion for travel, photography and the natural world.  In 2016 he helped to establish the Forest School Foundation in Asheville, NC.

Board Member

Katie Wilson


Katie Wilson is an educator with a heart for linguistic, cultural, & community development.

Katie grew up in Asheville, graduated from Appalachian State University, and has taught in WNC for nearly a decade. Throughout her teaching career, she has taught all ages in everything from Spanish to yoga. She has honed her passion for cultural immersion and experiential learning with an ESL intensive summer camp program, Grow Abroad Asheville - a Cultural Exchange-meets-Summer Camp initiative, which aims to advance equity by closing gaps in student access to foreign languages, exposing students to other cultures, & promoting “global learning”. Katie’s other ventures include designing and implementing well rounded and nurturing environments for Early Childhood Development, offering a space for creative, independent, and child driven learning through a personal passion project: part consultancy, part educational support & part personal blog, Raising Rooted.

Administrative Coordinator 

Kate Eckhardt


Kate has spent her career in the fields of nonprofit management and earth-based early childhood education.  Prior to joining the Forest School Foundation and Growing Wild Forest School, she taught at a Farm, Arts, and Forest School in Madison County, NC and was the Executive Director at a weekly farmers market in Asheville. She has an M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University and continues to expand her studies in the fields of permaculture, yoga, and herbal medicine. 

Board Member

Debby Genz


Debby Genz, grandmother of a student currently enrolled in Growing Wild Forest School, has a Masters in Child Development and spent her career
working with children and families, including numerous stints as a preschool teacher. A great lover of outdoor learning, she is also a certified Tinkergarten
leader and loves to spend time in the mountains with her husband and little dog, Scout. Her other great passion is climate activism- she's a founding member
of the Green Grannies.

Board Member

Rachael James


Dr. James is a licensed clinical psychologist. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Hofstra University. In 2023 she relocated with her husband and two kids to Asheville N.C., where they enjoy extensive opportunities to have fun outdoors together. She joined the Growing Wild Forest School Foundation Board in 2024 due to her personal and professional interest in holistic, child-centered, and nature-based learning.

Board Member

Heidi Vaught

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Heidi has a background in Early Childhood Education and is the parent of a soon to be Growing Wild Forest school graduate (+2 future forest school participants). She serves as the board's parent liaison and parent advisor. Being a forest school parent has made it even more obvious how important it is for children to learn outside starting at an early age. Serving as a board member has been a great way for her to help ensure that this vital growing and learning environment is available to generations of children to come. 

Board Members Needed!

Your Name Here

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Send your resume and letter of interest, we would love to connect with you:

To learn more about the educational and administrative staff we work with, please visit the Growing Wild Forest School.

Interested in getting involved with our team? Check out our current volunteer opportunities.

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