Our Team


Stevie Shickel Lee

Program Director
Born and raised in Harrisonburg, Stevie's roots go deep in the Shenandoah Valley. She loves spending time with children and enjoys the wonder that kids bring to everyday life. She is a NOLS Outdoor Educator, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and Wilderness First Responder with CPR training for children. Stevie has over nine years of professional experience in outdoor education. She has a bachelor's degree in Sport and Recreation Management and a master's degree in Sport and Recreation Leadership. She has worked as a climbing guide in West Virginia, as well as a crew leader for Appalachian Conservation Corps. With more than 500 days logged leading participants in wilderness recreation, you can rest assured that your child will be well cared for under her supervision. Stevie's hobbies include mountain biking, rock climbing, XC skiing, kayaking, and spending time with friends and family. 

David Lee

Assistant Director
David plays a critical role in the planning, vision, and communication of Appalachian Forest School, and has since the very beginning. He will probably never write a bio. 
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Susannah Oda

Lead Instructor
Susannah enjoys spending time in nature and sparking creativity in children’s lives through outdoor exploration, free play, and nature connection. Susannah holds a MA in Teaching from James Madison University and is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Before joining the Appalachian Forest School Team, she taught fourth grade with Harrisonburg City Public Schools, worked as an adventure team director at a summer camp, facilitated for an outdoor learning center, and was a tour guide for a rock climbing and zip lining program in West Virginia. She loves implementing story telling, place-based learning, and independence-building skills into her teaching style. Susannah follows a restorative justice approach to social and emotional well being. In her free time, she enjoys going on walks with her husband, gardening, playing music with her band Rosy Eyes, beekeeping, and cozying up with a good book.

Deidrah Velker

Lead Instructor
Another Shenandoah Valley native, Deidrah, grew up in the mountains surrounding Harrisonburg, partaking in all kinds of outdoor adventures. It was during those years she realized she wanted to give others a chance to experience the same love for the outdoors she has. Deidrah worked as a manager for the Adventure Program at JMU, leading trips for college students and for Camp UREC, a summer camp for 5-12 year olds. Deidrah loves working with kids, and especially enjoys the wonder and curiosity they bring to any situation. Through these adventures, as well as certifications in Leave No Trace, Wilderness First Aid, and CPR training for children, Deidrah has gained a confidence in leading in the outdoors. In her free time she jumps into any body of water she can, hangs out with her bike, Herb, adventures with friends and family, and is on the constant lookout for a dog to pet!
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Jessica Cooper

Lead Instructor
Jessica Cooper is a mother of two and has worked with children the past five years at the United Jewish Community Center of the Virginia Peninsula as preschool teacher and advocate of child-led, emergent curriculum, and nature-based learning. She received her Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools and has also worked as a Nature-Based Teacher Consultant for Smart Beginnings teaching webinars for local preschool and daycare providers on introducing nature-based learning to their classrooms in the Hampton Roads area before relocating to the Shenandoah Valley. She is happy to call Harrisonburg home and enjoys hiking and reading!

Andrew Bollinger

Assistant Instructor
Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Andrew has been romping in creeks and wandering through the woods since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. His passion for the great outdoors blossomed through a cumulative 15 years of participating and instructing in countless nature camps. Through these programs Andrew has led many adventure trips, and he has been certified in CPR, AED and Wilderness First Aid. In recent years, Andrew has spent time hitchhiking around the United States, working as a surgical Assistant in a veterinary clinic, and facilitating education on world hunger and poverty through Heifer International. Andrew loves the joy and wonder that kids bring to every day, and enjoys fueling their creative and intrepid natures with rock paint and wild stories. On a lazy day, Andrew loves to go hiking, create via any medium, bike around Harrisonburg and play board games.