Enrichment/Electives Educators

K - 2 Educators   3 - 5 Educators    6 - 7 Educators   EC/Intervention   After School

Eric Scheider, Music and Performing Arts Teacher

Eric grew up in Buffalo, NY, and lives in Asheville with his wife, Emily, and daughter Lily. He has been exploring music with children in WNC since 2005. He has taught in and then led the education programs of the Hendersonville Symphony and taught orchestra at the middle and high school level for the Henderson County Public Schools. Eric currently performs professionally as a cellist with the Cafe String Quartet, in several orchestras, and freelance around the WNC, Upstate SC, and Eastern Tennessee areas. His pop/rock/folk/jazz cello career has included performances with lots of awesome artists and recordings for MTV Films, NPR Music, WNCW Radio, and more.

Eric is also an active conductor who has worked with children, collegiate groups, and adults in WNC and Upstate SC in orchestral, festival, and theatrical performances and workshops, currently directing the Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra in Hendersonville and the Jubilee! Summer Orchestra in Asheville. He has arranged dozens of pieces for chamber groups and orchestras, and is a prize-winning composer.

In previous lives, he has worked in a vegetarian restaurant, green building, non-profit management, a meditation center, and as a yoga teacher, all of which he still thinks are fun. Eric has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Rochester and further Music Education licensure coursework from the Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, University of the Arts, Western and East Carolina Universities and elsewhere.

Liz Wiesel, Visual Art Teacher

Liz Wiesel came to Fernleaf in 2017 after teaching Art in Henderson County for 11 years.  Originally from Michigan, she received her BFA, K-12 Art teaching license, and certification from Michigan State University. During her time with Henderson County Public Schools she taught high school Art and Photography and earned her National Board Certification.

When not actively making America smarter, Liz can be found wrangling her three kids, spending time with her dreamy husband, playing with her far-too-devoted-dogs, or managing her not-nearly-devoted-enough cats and pet bunny.  Liz is also a working artist focusing on painting, printmaking, and ceramic arts. Liz is a horrible but enthusiastic baker, an avid but self-deprecating gardener, and an above average dancer. Liz is so excited to bring her love of art and creativity to the students of Fernleaf.


Luke Shofestal, STEM Instructor and Technology Coordinator

Luke is also known as “Murphy’s dad” to many in the Fernleaf community. His son Murphy has been enrolled in Fernleaf since 2016 and has been able to thrive in such a wonderful environment and community. Luke graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in secondary education and teaching certifications in English, social studies, and technology education. In 2015 the Shofestalls moved to Asheville from Western Pennsylvania, where Luke would teach Project Lead the Way Engineering classes for the Career and Technical Education Department at Asheville High School. 

Luke is passionate about project based learning and the benefits of S.T.E.A.M. education and Career and Technical Education. He gets excited about any project or activity that stimulates critical thinking and skill development. Luke considers himself a lifelong learner and wants students to become the same. He wants them to be Inspired by new ideas, difficult problems, and creative solutions as well as possess the skills and confidence they need to solve any problem or obstacle life throws at them. 

Outside of the realm of education (but not entirely, never entirely!) Luke enjoys hiking, lazy kayaking, campfires with friends and family, reading books, watching movies, and playing complicated board games.


Mary Rutkowski, Visual Arts and Outdoor Education Teacher

Mary grew up with a love of the outdoors and spent many hours fishing, camping, and exploring in the woods of Wisconsin. She moved to the city in 2009 to study at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she received her bachelor degree in Art Education. She remained there teaching K-8th grade art in public schools until 2015, when she and her partner set out on a new adventure and moved to Asheville. She is certified both in K-12 Art as well as Elementary Education and has been teaching at FernLeaf since 2017.

Mary’s favorite thing about FernLeaf is watching kids thrive in an environment that encourages exploration, creativity, and community. She has a passion for integrating art in all subject areas, learning through the natural world, social/emotional learning, and letting kids play! Mary currently lives with her partner in West Asheville. She enjoys art making, reading, camping, hiking, rockhounding, studying plants and insects, and doting on her cat, Fredy.