• Principal: Nicole Cush


    Nicole Cush

    Nicole Cush is beginning her 7th year in Asheville, leading SILSA (School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville) and enjoying her third decade in education.

    She is honored to be celebrating the amazing SILSA Family for these remarkable achievements:                                                         

    Named One of the Top High Schools In the Asheville Metro Area High Schools according to US News and World Report.  Citizen Times Agrees.

    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 at 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 the community she serves as paramount. Learn more about Principal Cush here.

    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 well-being of her staff and students and she is 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. 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 maintains. 

    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 The Cougar Lacrosse Alliance and the YWCA, She sits as an Advisory Board Member (2 Year Term) The Public School Forum of North Carolina and serves as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion State Liaison to the North Carolina Art Education Association (NCAEA)  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 at Western Carolina University. 

    In the rare moments of free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking and spending time with her daughter, Kyrie, a professional musician who recently completed her Masters at Berklee School of Music in Valencia, Spain. 



    Assistant Principal: Stephanie Day

    Ms. Day Stephanie Day is beginning her 14th year as an educator and her 6th year with Asheville City Schools. Although she is new to the role of Assistant Principal for SILSA, Mrs. Day led the GRAD Alternative Learning Program on the high school campus for four years beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to joining the Cougar Family, Mrs. Day served Erwin High School as an English teacher for many years.

    Mrs. Day is a North Carolina native who grew up mostly in Robeson County and later in Ashe County. Mrs. Day moved to Asheville in 2006 to attend UNCA. Now Mrs. Day lives in Canton with her husband, Will, two children: Alex-10 and Jasmine-6, and two dogs: Leo, a 14-year-old pit bull/boxer mix, and Moxi, a 8-year-old chihuahua/feist mix.