Josh Chapman: Academic Director
Josh Chapman has been with Community High School since its inception. He attended Yale University, where he earned his B.A. in Anthropology in 1996; he also holds graduate degrees in Social Science and Creative Writing, both from Hollins University. Josh oversees faculty, curriculum and the college admissions process, and teaches courses across the Humanities. Josh also has occasionally taught graduate courses in Literature and Film at Hollins University, and has served as Curator for Community Engagement at the Taubman Museum. His fiction has appeared in a number of magazines in the United States and Canada, and has been anthologized in New Stories from the South.
Meg Giuliano Snow: Administrative Director and Admissions
Meg Snow is responsible for the administration of staff, finances, and the physical plant at Community High School, and she also teaches environmental science and oversees the admissions process. Meg graduated from Williams College in 2005 with a B.A. in Biology, and holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University. Previously, Meg has taught at environmental education non-profits in New England, and worked as an energy efficiency and sustainability consultant with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing and singing music, spending time outdoors, and growing and cooking delicious food.
John McBroom: Director of Development
John McBroom has taught Music Performance, Algebra and Geometry since the early days of Community High. In addition to teaching, his current responsibilities primarily focus on development and fundraising in order to ensure a sustainable future for Community High School. John has also been a touring and recording musician for more than a decade, playing in jam bands, bluegrass and jazz ensembles. He has been involved in more than a dozen CD projects as a musician, producer and executive producer. John also serves as the CFO of FloydFest, the region’s largest contemporary music festival.
Linda Thornton: Director Emerita
Linda Thornton is a founding member and the first director of Community High School. She graduated from Hollins in 1972 with a B.A. in English and then attended Brown University, graduating with an MAT in 1973. When she returned to Roanoke she began working at Community School under her earlier mentor from St Catherine’s School, Susanna Turner. For the next twenty five years she worked with and educated her children at Community School serving at various time as teacher, administrator, Director and Chairwoman. Having helped the school create its Middle School Program, it fell naturally to her when parents and community members insisted on the creation of a philosophically similar high school. After nine years as Director, she now chairs the Board of Trustees of Community High School. When not on the CHS campus, she is actively involved in her family farm, and is Chief Financial Officer of H.L. Lawson & Son Inc. She has served on various community boards including the Taubman Museum and The Historical Society of Southwestern Virginia.
Erin Coogan: Registrar
Erin graduated from Community High School in 2009, and earned a B.A. in History from Goucher College in 2013. In the years since, in addition to working with children from pre-K to grade 12, Erin served as the coordinator for the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation. In 2016, she became registrar at Community High School, where her duties include record maintenance, scheduling and communicating with colleges and universities.
Roni Sutton: Alumni Relations
Roni Sutton earned a B.A. degree in Mathematics with a minor in Micro-computer Programming from Columbia College, a women’s liberal arts college in Columbia, S.C., in 1989. Roni has been with the school for most of its history, and in various capacities. She watched three sons grow, learn and graduate from CHS and can see it from the perspective of an employee and a parent. In addition, for the last several years, she has served as a host mother to students from all over the world. This brings a well-rounded viewpoint to her work. Her current position includes alumni relations and foreign exchange coordination.
Brian Counihan is a founding faculty member of Community High, where he teaches courses in the humanities, art history, curatorial studies and studio art. Brian grew up in the Republic of Ireland and received a degree in painting and printmaking from Crawford School of Art, in Cork City. He also has a B.A. in Art History summa cum laude from Northwestern University and was awarded The Elizabeth Dipple Award for his M.A.L.S. thesis that explored the work of James Joyce and contemporary culture. Prior to joining Community High School, Brian taught studio art at Randolph Macon Women’s College and Lynchburg College. Additionally, Brian is very involved in the regional art community, having served on the Art Museum of Western Virginia/Taubman Museum’s education committee for six years and served as the Taubman Museum’s Curator for Community Engagement. He is the co-director of Liminal Station, an alternative artspace in downtown Roanoke, and an active member of a variety of cultural organizations in the region.
Les Epstein teaches courses in Theatre and the Humanities. He received undergraduate degrees in Theater Performance and English from Otterbein College, an MA in English from Miami (Ohio) University and continued with studies in Literature at New York University and in Theatre Education at The Ohio State University. He completed his teacher training at Mary Baldwin College. Les spent 20 years in theater and opera management, including ten seasons as education director and production coordinator for Opera Columbus (Ohio) and seven as the executive director for the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem (N.C.). He is also a seasoned stage director, librettist and playwright, and in those capacities has worked for companies across the United States.
Sandra Farmer teaches German II. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1993 with a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature and a minor in German Language and Literature. In 2012, she received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Teaching English as a Second Language and German Language Education for K-12. She is a native speaker of German and has taught German at the college level at Virginia Tech.
Claudia Flores de Franko
Claudia, a native of Mexico City, has been a full member of the CHS Faculty since 2009. She came to Roanoke in 1993 to work for Hollins University as an Assistant in the Department of Foreign Languages. Claudia earned her B.A. from Hollins with a double major in Studio Art and Sociology. She earned her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Hollins University in 2015. She has studied French at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City and at L’Université de la Sorbonne in Paris. She served as a lecturer in Spanish at Hollins for five years, and has taught Spanish and Art at several other institutions. Claudia has exhibited her artwork in numerous institutions, and has been awarded for that work on several occasions. She is the owner of Gala Studio since 2005, a place where she works and exhibits her artwork regularly.
Warren C. Fry
Warren C. Fry moved to Roanoke in 2010 after working with Community High School faculty and area cultural workers during the 2009 and 2010 Marginal Arts Festivals. He is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design, and earned an M.F.A. in Event and Performance from Rutgers University in 2007. Prior to joining Community High, Warren taught art history at Bergen Community College and William Fleming High School. His creative practice encompasses writing, performance, game design and comedy. He participates in a number of experimental, creative networks. At Community High School Warren currently serves as Afternoon Coordinator and co-organizer of Liminal Station, and teaches classes in the Arts and Humanities.
Nate Hansard has been teaching since 2000, and since then has taught just about every mathematics course available at the high school level. He frequently leads courses in higher Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Statistics and Physics. Nate graduated from Mary Washington College in 1992, where he was awarded the Theodore Schwartz Award for Excellence in Mathematics. He then did some graduate work at the University of Louisville. Over the years he has taught mathematics at all levels in Newport News, Botetourt County, Bedford County and Roanoke City high schools. At different points he has also been a historical interpreter for Colonial Williamsburg, a roofer, a glazer, a factory worker, an office worker and a number of things to boot. Nate enjoys keeping a variety of critters at his home in Buchanan. The menagerie includes a small flock of chickens, a small herd of goats, a cat, some fish and about one hundred thousand honeybees.
Maria Jernigan holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Virginia Tech: one in Philosophy and one in Spanish. Her deep-seated passion for improving U.S. high schools has led her to complete funded international research with innovative, project-based learning educators in Finland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and across the United States. In 2017 she founded an education-technology start-up company called Redshift Education, which builds hands-on, project-based lessons in virtual reality. While not teaching Spanish at CHS or being the CEO of Redshift, Maria serves as a Lifelong Learning Fellow for SummitAhead, a California-based nonprofit that spearheads initiatives around the future of learning and the workforce in the 21st century. An avid traveler of 15+ countries, Maria firmly believes that speaking another language is the gateway to understanding other corners of the world, and she aims to equip her students with that superpower.
Olchar E. Lindsann
Olchar E. Lindsann teaches Humanities and Creative Writing courses, oversees the Writing Lab, and oversees the Library. He took his B.F.A. in Visual Art from Columbus College of Art and Design, and his MA in Performance Writing at Dartington College of the Arts, an experimental, multidisciplinary programme in the UK where he concentrated on critical theory, experimental performance, arts organizing and literary history. He has published many books of experimental poetry, fiction, literary and social theory, and the history of intellectual subcultures, and has lectured and performed extensively in the United States and England. He administers a small press specializing in avant-garde writing, theory and translation, and has organized and co-organized numerous cultural events and symposia, including many years on the steering committee of the Roanoke Marginal Arts Festival.
Carolyn Lowe-Thompson teaches math ranging from Algebra to Calculus. She earned her BS in Operations Research from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992 and her MST from University of New Hampshire in 1999. Carolyn has taught math for over twenty years in many different states including California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and now Virginia.
Stephanie Martin graduated from Randolph-Macon in 2000 with a B.A. in English Literature and Education, and also holds graduate degrees in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from VCU and FIT, respectively. Stephanie taught in Richmond, VA in alternative education settings for a number of years before undertaking counseling positions in the Roanoke City and Roanoke County Public Schools. Stephanie is currently coordinating Special Education and Counseling services for Community High School, serves as the Head of Special Projects (including leading the VAIS accreditation process), and conducts Community Outreach.
Mellisa has served as an adjunct PE instructor for Community High since 2016. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she attended Eastern Michigan University, where she earned her B.S. in Health Administration and Masters of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University. She has served as an adjunct wellness professor for Virginia Western Community College, and is currently an ACE certified personal trainer. In addition to providing physical fitness training, dance and yoga opportunities and calisthenics for students and staff, Mellisa will be assisting the Registrar and Director of Admissions with administrative tasks.
Simon Nolen teaches courses in the Humanities, Animation, Film Theory and Production, and has been a member of the CHS faculty for over a decade. He graduated from Temple University in 2002 with a degree in Film and Media Arts. He is a winner of the Comcast Philadelphia Screenwriting Award and is a former touring musician, with additional academic interests in African American Culture, Philosophy and Theology. In addition to his classroom work, Simon is also part of the College Counseling team.
Tom has been teaching Music Theory and Composition classes at Community High School since 2004. A graduate of James Madison University, Tom is the author of four critically acclaimed guitar and mandolin instruction books, including Music Theory For Modern Mandolin and Music Theory For Modern Guitar. With over 30 years of experience in the audio engineering field, Tom has engineered, produced and/or played on over 500 album, CD, and film and TV projects, and has worked on projects from such artists as Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Buster B. Jones, Zakiyah, The Agents Of Good Roots and The Dave Matthews Band. As a musician, he has recorded several albums as a member of various bands (Blue Mule and Butch Robins’ Imagination, most recently), as well as under his own name. Tom is currently the chief engineer at Flat Five and is also president and founder of the company.
Jen Sosnowski received Bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Music from Salem College, and teaches courses in Science at Community High. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a Master’s in Biology and attended Virginia Tech for her education coursework, which leaves her feeling rather conflicted during football season. Jen’s background in Molecular Biology research and interest in interdisciplinary curriculum design gives her a wide range of experiences to draw upon when creating her classes.