Erin has a background in social work and non-profits. She was a home-based family support worker in Georgia for four years after which she became an intern for a non-profit organization. The organization had various locations within the United States as well as internationally. Erin worked there for almost 12 years in various countries and cultures before becoming a stay at home mom. She has two children who keep her quite active and were participants at The Family Place for several years. Coming on staff at The Family Place has allowed her to become more involved in our wonderful community.
She loves sports, travel, reading and working to make a difference in people's lives.
Denise holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University and has post-graduate education in Nonprofit Management. She has worked with at-risk youth, trained therapeutic foster parents and managed specialized treatment facilities for victims of severe abuse and human trafficking. Denise joined The Family Place team in 2020. We are excited for all of the knowledge and experience she will add to our team.
Sara is a playful mama to three little kiddos and wife to one big kid! The mountains of WNC called Sara and her family home three years ago, and they quickly fell in love with the community of Brevard. A third generation teacher, Sara has taught High School Math, Middle School Math and Science, and Elementary School. She also coached soccer and track, and facilitated Student Government. Although life has led her out of the classroom she continues her love of education as an advocate for public schools and programs that empower not only our kids, but the families and communities as a whole through volunteering at Brevard Elementary OPT, Democracy Project-Transylvania, and The Family Place. You can catch Sara around town walking, riding, running, shopping the local thrift stores, hiking, yoga-ing, knitting, gardening, and most of all enjoying time with her family and friends including the many visitors she welcomes into her family’s tiny home because EVERYONE loves to visit our community - this beautiful, dynamic, diverse place on Earth!
Melissa has lived in Transylvania County for 20+ years. Born in Denver, CO she is the daughter of a military mom and has lived in many places but Brevard is the only place she calls home. She enjoys hiking these beautiful mountains, making her own health and skin care products, and spending time with her daughter.
Melissa has worked in education since 2002. She has taught preschool through lower elementary aged children. The Family Place is a new adventure for her, only having joined the team in 2016, but really has enjoyed watching families learn and grow together.
Nikki has been joyously married to Wes since 2007 and they have two boys who are teaching their parents a lot! They love the small community and outdoor activities of Brevard, and you can often find them in the forest somewhere on an adventure. Nikki studied social work where she grew up in Louisiana and has worked with children, youth, and adults in various settings from the classroom to camp to university campus and even traveling overseas. Nikki facilitates two parent chats in Brevard as well as one at the Haven and one in the Housing Authority. She also helps with the Foster Parent Chat and Incredible Years Parenting Program. She loves meeting people and learning their story.
Keli'i, or Rabbit as she is better known, has been the Childcare Coordinator since the summer of 2014. She has over 15 years of Early Childhood Education experience and leads the children's programs at the Brevard Family Place. Rabbit loves Brevard and enjoys exploring the mountains with her daughter Kitra. Her favorite thing about The Family Place is watching children learn and grow with their families.
Wes and Nikki have been on the parenting journey since 2011, with still so much to learn! Wes has been working with Family Place dads since 2015, organizing dad and kid get togethers such as bowling, animal exhibits, climbing, hiking, and swimming. Currently he and other dads (and kids!) have been having a blast learning Jiu-Jitsu together on Monday nights. Wes is a musician who graduated with a bachelor degree in performing arts. He has performed on cruise ships, lived overseas, and built an off grid house. You can find him at church, swimming in a waterfall, working on a project, playing jazz sax, or getting tapped out by his 2 boys.
Rebecca Columbo grew up in New Jersey and was happily transplanted to Brevard in 2002. She was a public school teacher for five years in New Jersey and for twelve years at Brevard High School. She has also been leading preschoolers in a local community organization since 2002. She now spends much of her time exploring all Transylvania County has to offer with her adventurous four-year-old son. Becky co-facilitates the Incredible Years class with Felice St. John. She took the class twice as a parent and feels that the program enriches her parenting experience and builds a solid community of parents learning together.
Felice is a native of Pittsburgh and moved to Brevard from New Jersey in 2015 with her family for an intentional change of pace. She holds a BA from Indiana University of PA and an MA from the University of GA in Public Relations.
While living in NY/ NJ, Felice worked for a youth development non-profit in East Harlem. Felice co-facilitates the Incredible Years (IY) parenting class with Becky Columbo. It continues to teach and inspire her as a mom as she shares the information with others.
Felice loves spending time with her husband and their son and daughter and exploring the beauty and fun of Brevard.
Lisa has been working alongside children and their families for close to twenty years. She has a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and she worked in an early childhood literacy program in Pittsburgh and an anti-poverty nonprofit in New York City before shifting gears for several years to help run a family business and homeschool her children. Lisa and her family moved from the beaches of New Jersey to the mountains of North Carolina in 2018 and already have a hard time remembering life before swimming holes, forest wildflowers, and the porch at Dolly’s! Lisa feels very lucky to be able to learn so much about Transylvania County’s history and beauty through her work with Community Playgroups, and loves how much of her week she gets to spend reading and laughing with children.
A Tennessean originally, Melissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Belmont University. She moved to western North Carolina in 2003 after exploring Colorado and South Carolina. She realized the mountains were where she needed to be and has called WNC her home for the past 15 years. Melissa received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Chapel Hill in 2008 and since that time has worked with many populations, however children and families have her heart. She has been active as a therapist since that time, and is excited to focus more on community building and outreach in her role as Community Playgroups Facilitator. Melissa and her husband Nick have three wonderful kiddos and in her time away from work, Melissa loves playing outdoors (with her family and solo), practicing yoga, gardening, road trips, and nurturing friendships.
Charlotte grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She is the mother of 4 and grandmother of 4. Charlotte earned a BS at Western North Carolina, and has worked in a variety of settings. From teaching pre-school, to working with adults with disabilities, she has always enjoyed helping people reach their full potential. As the CONNECT Outreach Coordinator she works alongside low income families encouraging them in overcoming barriers to personal success and stability through goal setting. She assists families in housing and transportation needs, as well as resources for their children to nurture their growth and well-being. In her free time, she enjoys working out, kickboxing, reading, gardening, creating décor, history and studying genealogy.
Active with The Family Place for about 15 years Joan has served as Board Chair, Vice-Chair, and is currently serving as Secretary of the Board. She has three children, all of whom have been involved with The Family Place over the years. She has a Master of Education in Instructional Technology, and is currently teaching English as a second language online (ESL) /(TEFL).
"I am very proud to be associated with The Family Place, an organization dedicated to the support and well-being of all families in Transylvania County."
Rachel grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and moved to Western North Carolina in 2006. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Western Michigan University, and a Master's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Western Carolina University. Rachel lives in Brevard with her husband Josh and their three young children and works as a Pediatric Speech Pathologist. She enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time in nature. Rachel started coming to the Family Place with her children in 2016, and especially enjoys attending Parent Chat. Rachel and Josh are very active in the community and run the Brevard Health and Racquet Club.
Anna is a native of Transylvania County and a Brevard High School graduate. She completed her degree in Psychology from Appalachian State University and worked in the Boone area for several years before returning to Brevard in 2007. After beginning a family in 2009, she became invested in the lives of young children in Transylvania County and began work as preschool teacher for 4 & 5 year olds. After serving in this capacity for 5 years, she has recently moved on to be the administrative director at a local camp. She is excited to be a part of the Family Place and make a difference in her hometown.
Jason Trent is a local business owner with several insurance offices throughout Western NC. He’s happily married to his wife Kellie for over 22 years, and they are extremely proud of their three sons in college and their little girl (age 2). For the last two decades, Jason has been passionate about the well-being of young children. For as long as he can recall, he and his wife have served in their church’s children and youth programs, and they also served in the Boy Scouts of America program for a decade with their three sons. In 2015, he and his wife were called into the ministry of fostering children, and they have passionately served in this area ever since. Jason’s heart is now called to partner with others in the community who share in this passion to bring lasting solutions to the epidemic of trauma impacted children and families.
Suzie Taylor was one of the first families to come to The Family Place over 20 years ago. She has helped The Family Place grow as a committed volunteer and board member. Suzie, and her husband John own, the world's coolest toy store, O.P. Taylor's.
Leah grew up in Transylvania county, graduated from Rosman High School, and is currently attending AB-Tech. She, along with her husband and their three children, call the Rosman area home. They are a homeschooling family that loves reading, traveling, exploring outdoors, and being involved in their community.
Leah is very involved in the rare disease community as a patient advocate and through her work as a Community Engagement Liaison. She is also a Parent Advisory Board Member for the Systemic JIA Foundation. In 2009, Leah attended a few Parent chats at the Brevard location on her mornings off work. Later, after becoming a SAHM and searching for community, she began regularly attending the Rosman location. She and her children have made lifelong friendships through their involvement with The Family Place and are excited to see the growth that has taken place over the last 10 years.
As a board member, Leah is happy to give back to The Family Place and is dedicated to supporting the development and ongoing efforts of their programs.