Principal: Nicole Cush
Nicole Cush is closing in on her 3rd year in Asheville, leading SILSA (School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville) and her 29th year in education.
She is honored to be celebrating the amazing SILSA Family for these remarkable achievements:
Principal Cush comes to Asheville with decades of experience leading Inclusivity and Equity Initiatives as a trainer and administrator (Rutgers University and Northeastern University), leading in Wake County (Green Hope High School and Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School) and beginning her 17 year teaching career in New Jersey (Morris County, Newark and Jersey City).
Cush prides herself on her expertise as a Social Emotional Leader, placing the needs of the faculty, students and community she serves as paramount.
Principal Cush was featured in WLOS’s Never Stop Learning for upgrading the appearance and creating a more welcoming environment at SILSA. She then took a bold move by expanding the need for an inclusive space, she secured flat screen TVs from the Career and Technical Education Department in SILSA’s entrance and 1st Floor Rotunda, ensconced with images of students active within the community, whether it be artistic, athletic, performance based or social, “There is something powerful in being seen, students and stakeholders do get a kick of seeing themselves. I love watching them taking selfies with themselves.”
Principal Cush is a devotee to the Social Emotional Wellbeing of her staff and students and she passionate about Mental Health; she mentors a group of young women from SILSA and AHS called the Glitter Sisters, founded in 2018, upon her arrival to SILSA. She has also created a weekly series on Productive Struggle and Growth Mindset to prompt meaningful discussion between scholars and their families. They can be found weekly on the SILSA Facebook Page, which she mantains.
In addition to being laser focused on the importance of engaging in discussions of Productive Struggle and at the core, the well being of all in the building; Principal Cush challenged students to be creative and she had a Labyrinth installed in the first floor Rotunda to provide support for staff and when students return, as an immediate place where folks can go inward on a short journey, locate their center and come out with a renewed perspective. Principal Cush serves on the boards of Open Doors of Asheville, The Delta House Life Development Asheville, Black Asheville Demands, the Roots Foundation and The Cougar Lacrosse Alliance, she volunteers with a host of agencies within the city serving youth and sits on the Asheville City Wide Equity Team. She has been Tapped as a thought leader for Lenoir-Rhyne University Equity and Diversity Institute course work and teaching a Master Class on Community Engaged Leadership with Western Carolina University.
In the rare moments of free time she enjoys hiking and spending time with her daughter, Kyrie, a professional musician who just completed her Masters at Berklee School of Music in Valencia Spain.
Assistant Principal: Heather Reidinger
After 13 years teaching high school English in central North Carolina and here at SILSA, Heather Reidinger is excited to be Assistant Principal here at SILSA during her 17th year working in education. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and National Geographic Certified Educator with experience working in diverse school communities.
A native of Western North Carolina and graduate of North Carolina State University, she enjoys hiking, fly fishing, kayaking, watching football, reading, and travelling.