Among Heath Alexander’s singular joys of teaching at FBRA is the experience of guiding a group of students down a deep philosophical hole in a rigorous academic setting one day, but then leading those same students down a wilderness river the next. Heath loves to see his students develop the skills to move through terrain gracefully and powerfully –in other words to surf; whether on river waves, ski hills, rock faces, or ideas. Heath has seen students transform and grow into more complex people both while exploring a text around a seminar table and while perfecting a paddle stroke in a rapid.
Prior to joining FBRA, Heath taught high school history for six years, including American History, World History, and AP Human Geography in Buncombe County Schools. During his tenure in the public school system, Heath created an outdoor adventure program for his students, involving indoor and outdoor climbing pursuits, backpacking, skiing, and paddling adventures. During summer breaks, he worked as a rock climbing guide for Camp Mondamin and as a raft guide for the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Pigeon River.
Heath is a North Carolina native. He graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a B.A. in History and a minor in Religious Studies. He completed a Masters of Arts in Teaching History at Duke University. He is an American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and National Board Certified Teacher.
Heath served seven years in the North Carolina Army National Guard and completed two combat tours in Iraq. One of Heath’s sergeants taught him to rock climb when they returned home from his first deployment. This developed Heath’s lifelong passion for alpine pursuits, which has taken him to rock and ice all over the world. Of note, he has summited El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Mt. Rainier in Washington, Mt. Whitney in California. When Heath first moved to Western North Carolina, he fell in love with whitewater kayaking as another lifelong mountain sport to pursue. Heath is passionate about spreading his love of the outdoors by teaching others to step out of their comfort zones and create their own adventures.
Heath lives in Asheville with his partner, Susan, and their rad kids, Thomas and Charlotte. He is an avid kayaker, canoeist, climber, and skier.