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.
John McBroom: Administrative Director
John McBroom has taught Music Performance, Algebra and Geometry since the early days of Community High. He still runs the performance band, but his current responsibilities primarily focus on the administration of staff, finances and the physical plant. John has also been a touring and recording musician for the last 12 years, 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. In the summer, John serves as the production manger 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 has 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 three 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 is a new one, and includes alumni relations and foreign exchange coordination as well as fundraising.
Susan Bowman serves as the adjunct Latin teacher. She graduated from Radford College with a B.S. in Latin and Mathematics and from the College of William and Mary with a M.Ed. and a concentration in Classical Studies. She studied at the American Academy in Rome and attended the Vergilian Institute in southern Italy. She retired after teaching Latin and math for 36 years in Roanoke County and Salem City schools. Susan is an active member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international sorority for women educators.
Rachel Braussen holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Plastiques and Teaching from Strasbourg University in Alsace, France. She taught in her native city of Metz before arriving in Roanoke four years ago. Rachel is the mother of an alumnus. She teaches French.
Anna Caritj holds a BA from the University of Virginia in English and Spanish and an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University, where she was a teaching fellow and graduate assistant. She received the Wagenheim Fiction Prize in 2012 and was a winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ 2016 Intro Journals Project. A Virginia native, Anna has also lived and worked in Perú, Bolivia, Texas, and New Mexico.
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 currently the founding director of the Marginal Arts Festival, founding director of Liminal Alternative Artspace, 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.
Claudia Flores de Franko
Claudia Flores de Franko is a native of Mexico City, who came to Roanoke 17 years ago 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, and has studied French at the National Politechnic Institute in Mexico City and L’Universite de la Sorbonne. She served as a lecturer in Spanish at Hollins for five years, and has taught Spanish and Art at several other institutions for the last 12 years. She recently finished a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Hollins University. Four years ago, Claudia opened Gala, her studio-gallery in downtown Roanoke, and has exhibited her work there as well as in other institutions.
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, co-organizer of Liminal alternative artspace 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. This year he will be leading courses in Geometry, PreCalculus 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, and is currently enrolled in Radford University’s MS program in Mathematics Education. 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, three cats, eight fish and about one hundred thousand honeybees.
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 16 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 services and Counseling services for Community High School.
Simon Nolen teaches courses in the Humanities, Film Theory and Production, and has been a member of the CHS faculty for eight years. 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 work in the classroom, Simon is also an instrumental 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.
Martina Retter teaches introductory and advanced German. She is a native Deutsch speaker from Austria with a foreign language degree, as well as a degree in pedagogy. She obtained her Master’s from Universität Salzburg. She has formal training in Italian and received scholarships to study in Pisa, Florence and Trento in Italy. Martina has taught foreign language at the high school level in Austria, as well as German at the college level at the University of Alaska in Sitka, Lebanon Community College in New Hampshire, and Roanoke College in Salem. She enjoys hiking, mountain biking and supporting the Community High Quidditch Team.
Meg Giuliano Snow
Meg Snow teaches environmental science and serves as the Admissions Coordinator at Community High School. She also directs student internships and coordinates community service projects. 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 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.
Jen Sosnowski received Bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Music from Salem College, and teaches courses in Science and Voice 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.
Sarah Schwartz graduated from Roanoke College in 2015 with a B.A. in Literary Studies and a minor in Secondary Education. Sarah started off at Community High School as a student teacher and is now a writing tutor. She also works at Glenvar High School and the Burton Center for Arts and Technology. She enjoys helping with the school’s Quidditch team and participating in the Dungeons and Dragons club.