WHO WE ARE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leslee Moore grew up in East TN doing mud walks in the Douglas lake bottom, riding horses through the clover fields and riding bikes around Cades Cove. That led her to a career as a resource education park ranger with the National Park Service in UT, KY and TN. Then became a stay at home farm mom for her two children now 18&19 years old. As her children started school, she became a licensed preschool Montessori teacher and worked in Montessori schools in OR and TN. But her greatest career achievement was the perfect blend of all her passions when she founded one of only two state licensed full time nature schools in TN. Ijams Nature Preschool was born in 2018 and is still a successful program! In 2022 Leslee decided to take a step back from leadership, and thanks to a now empty nest…moved to Asheville, is a full time preschool assistant at Rainbow Community School. She lives in an RV on a farm in Old Fort with her 2 yr old border collie named Wave.
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.
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.