Meet Our Team of Educators

Contact us to learn more!


Our instructors are some of the best in the business. With over 20 years of experience in the classroom and on the table, our instructors are able to convey academics clearly but even more importantly help you understand how utilize the information in your practice. We cater to each individual’s style of learning including auditory, visual and kinesthetic. All of our course materials were designed or adapted by our instructors to make sure every learning style is accommodated. We want to make sure you are able to hear and understand the information, see demonstrations, charts or graphs visually, physically feel and receive the benefits, and finally by doing or applying the hands on knowledge. More than subject matter experts, our educators are versed in modern adult learning theory, curriculum design, and teaching strategies to customize each class for individual learning needs.


We also offer over 25 continuing education workshops and advanced training programs which are designed to expand upon your knowledge and keep you up to date on the latest therapeutic methods. Each of our instructors are specialists in their field — highly respected educators and practitioners with a passion for their methods and the profession.


Hope DeVall LMBT 10846

Founder, CEO & Educator

Administrator & Teaching Assistant

Desiree Porter, LMBT, E

development, marketing and public speaking.

Hope has been a NCBTMB Approved Provider of Massage Therapy Continuing Education since 2011.  She teaches 10 different continuing education courses from Aromatherapy , Ethics, Business and Marketing to Psychology and Stretching.  Hope is also a Yoga Instructor and Reiki Master, drawing from both of these, the practice of mindful awareness added to everything she does. Her passion for the massage profession is apparent; from the courses she writes and teaches, to the charities she is involved with. Her compassionate nature coupled with dedication, knowledge, and experience makes her a powerful resource to help you along your educational path.

Hope DeVall, LMBT #10846 is the founder, CEO and lead instructor at the Western North Carolina School of Massage. Hope is also the owner of the Mind Body Connection, a center for therapeutic massage in Asheville, NC. In 2010, she founded Serenity Now Massage Therapy, LLC in Cornelius, NC. She studied Communications at Gardner Webb University, and she has used her education as a tool for successful business 

Nate Novgrod, L.a.C.

Massage Educator

Dr. Melinda Sellers, LMBT

Program Director

Dr. Melinda Sellers LMBT brings over 20 years of experience in massage therapy; both as an educator and therapist in an integrative healthcare practice. Designing, developing and teaching massage therapy programs she brings her passion for her art to our school as our program director. She shares her knowledge as a continuing education provider and administrator. In 1985 Melinda was involved in a severe auto accident that left her with major body trauma and partial paralysis. Working closely


with a physical therapist and body movement expert she regained her ability to walk and discovered the role the mind plays in overcoming pain. This “accident” is what motivated her to pursuing a career in massage therapy as a method to assist those with chronic pain. She was one of the first massage therapists to be licensed in North Carolina, and helped to establish the laws that govern our practice today. Melinda’s love for nature has inspired her to create an herbal guild and is currently writing a book on aromatic chemistry and the therapeutic use of essential oils.

Nate Novgrod began his journey into health care, specifically Chinese medicine and bodywork through martial arts training. As the result of a sports injury he sought alternative care and discovered all that Chinese medicine had to offer. This interest combined with personal experience led to him obtaining a Masters of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine from the #1 school in the country, the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2009. This allowed him to sit for 



his board exams and become nationally certified and state licensed. He has been in practice in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina ever since, providing Acupuncture, Tui Na [Chinese massage], Chinese herbal medicine as well as teaching Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Nate is happy to be able to help people find health in modern times with a unique blend of the ancient arts of Chinese medicine and modern science.

Jon Clancy, LMBT 

Massage Educator

Lauren Griffin, M.A., LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

adventure, risk management, and emergency medicine and was trained in structural bodywork.  Jon is also a 500- hour yoga teacher, a nationally registered EMT and AHA CPR instructor. he has spent about 8 years and 10,000 plus hours training people inbackcountry emergency medicine, teaching in every conceivable venue (from lecture halls to trail shelters and everything in between). Growing up in Maine, he attended Hampshire college in Western Massachusetts before coming to Asheville for the first time in 2003 as a whitewater raft guide. When he is not at work, you'll find find in the woods hiking, mountain biking, or practicing Tae kwon-do.

Lifeskills Toolbox workshop curriculum and the OnTrac Wellness Series.   Each series track is customized for a specific group with a focus on enhancing participants wellness by teaching practical skills training for clear, assertive  communication, healthy boundaries and relationships, taming stress, emotional wellbeing and self care. Lauren's style is nurturing, kind and collaborative with just the right amount of reality check to be helpful.  Lauren is an engaging, dynamic facilitator and instructor who brings lightness and humor to practical health and wellness enhancing classes and workshops.


Jon Clancy, EMT-W, LMBT, RYT  is an anatomy nerd and structural bodywork therapist.  He started Active Asheville as a way to help people do more of the things they love. Jon believes that people feel better when their posture is natural, relaxed, and balanced. He has studied anatomy exhaustively so that he is able to help people feel good and play more. His background is in backcountry

Lauren Griffin, M.A., is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Asheville, North Carolina and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida.  Lauren is a Certified HeartMath Practitioner, Rapid Results MBT (Meridian-based Tapping) practitioner, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Certified Practitioner, seated QiGong instructor, speaker, author, and group facilitator.  Lauren designed and facilitates the

Desiree Porter is a graduate of the Western North Carolina School of Massage, Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist and Licensed Esthetician.  She graduated at the top of her class and has already developed her own unique style and successful massage practice.  In addition to her massage education, Desiree sought certification in Myofascial Release, Oncology and Prenatal Massage.  She is patient, kind and compassionate

with students and clients.  Desiree is highly knowledgeable and skilled in the practice of massage therapy, along with nine years of practicing as an esthetician, she has a broad range of experience to share with massage students.