Talisman Semesters Staff

The administrative leadership of Talisman Semesters have many years’ experience working with our specific population of students, typically teen boys with autism. They have or are pursuing master’s level training in their field, and are backed by owners with a passion for providing opportunities for young people with neurodevelopmental disorders, and a successful track record doing it. Teachers and residential instructors are chosen for their aptitude for successfully engaging our students, including our teen boys with autism, as well as their integrity, knowledge, and professionalism. Talisman offers programs for teen boys with autism, adhd, asperger’s and a variety of other conditions and disorders. Our staff truly cares about getting your teen boy the best education possible.


staff1Linda Tatsapaugh
Operations Director & Owner
MS in Child and Youth Care Administration, Nova SE University; Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Davidson College

While working as a summer camp counselor as a college student, Linda proclaimed to a director that “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” Little did she know …. Linda worked at Stone Mountain School from its inception in 1991 to 2000, serving as a counselor, program director, human resources manager and admissions director. Although this was very rewarding, she found the high energy and fun of camp to be her passion. She transitioned to be director of Talisman Programs from 2001 – 2012.  Clearly hooked, she is back. Linda is a Red Cross instructor trainer. She thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1990, and still can’t get enough of hiking. In her free time, she gardens, cooks, swims, cycles and endeavors to get her techie teenager OUTSIDE!

staff3Robiyn Mims

Admissions Director
More than 85 graduate hours in clinical and school psychology, WCU; Bachelor of Arts in psychology, UNCW

Robiyn’s love for everything summer camp started in the summer of 1998 when she found an amazing way to combine learning, fun and adventure that first fateful summer as director at Talisman.  After working several years with Talisman, Robiyn decided to attend graduate school to study clinical and school psychology. Robiyn discovered her passion for understanding and helping those diagnosed with neuro-developmental delays, specifically high-functioning autism.  Since then, she has used that experience and understanding to work with families in a variety of settings.
Robiyn shares her own adventures with her amazing husband Eddie (also a former Talisman Programs staff), her nutty boxer Knuckle and their demanding cat, Bacon. She can typically be found snowboarding, “Jeeping,” traveling to other countries or generally avoiding housework.

John Bates
Program Director
Graduate Cert. Youth Development Leadership, Clemson University; BA History, Sewanee: University of the South.

John has worked with special needs youth and children with at-risk behaviors since 2009. His diverse work history combines experiential education, independent living skills, recreational instruction, leadership development and team-building. Previously John has served as a teacher’s aide at a school in Mobile, Ala., for students with intellectual disabilities, and more recently with a residential transitions program in Hendersonville, N.C. John has worked with Talisman in a multitude of capacities starting in 2010 where he worked his way up from residential instructor to managing the Foundations and Young Adults summer camp programs in 2012 and 2014, respectively. John is a certified lifeguard, lifeguard instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and First-Aid/CPR certified instructor.

David Rollins
Academic Director
MA in Teaching,  Western Oregon University,   Special Education, Concordia University, BS in Environmental Science, The Ohio State University

Dave has dedicated his professional life to working with children who learn differently. As a special education teacher he is well versed in helping children learn skills to meet their fullest academic and personal potential. His work experience is rich and diverse as he has worked at traditional summer camps, public schools, therapeutic boarding school and residential treatment centers. Much of this experience included working with students dealing with emotional and behavioral issues. Further, Dave served as the academic director at Santiam Crossing therapeutic boarding school. Dave thrives working directly with students in a classroom setting, yet his unique skill set of curriculum and program development serve him well as academic director. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, canoeing, listening to music and spending time with his wife and two daughters.


Byron Browne
BFA in Art, UNCA

Byron is a licensed teacher in K-12 Art Education.  He has taught art and outdoor education in public schools, after-school clubs, and at summer camps.  His teaching goals are to enliven student interest and to build student success through creative teaching. He enjoys sharing his talents with the students of Talisman by leading a variety of creative projects.  He enjoys bicycling, hiking, ceramics, and music in his free time.

Patrick Doyle
Residential Instructors
BA in Psychology, English Literature, and Gender Studies,  St. Andrews Presbyterian College

Originally from Boston, Mass., Patrick moved to N.C. for college.  At Talisman, Patrick has moved through the ranks, from camper to CIT to counselor, where he has worked for five summers.  With a deep understanding of our students and our practices, he is an effective and caring guide through the semester program.  In his free time, Patrick enjoys exploring the beautiful N.C. mountains and traveling to other exotic places.


Trent Harris
Residential Instructors
BA in Social Science, St. Andrews Presbyterian College

Born in Kansas, Trent grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C. While earning his college degree, Trent wrestled for St. Andrews.  In the summer, he worked at Talisman Summer Camp for three years, leading groups in several different programs.  Trent likes being in the mountains and sharing his love of the outdoors with young people.  Trent is an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, and likes to follow them and other sports in his free time.


Emory Klesick
Residential Instructor
BS Recreation Management, Appalachian State University

Emory is originally from Savannah, Ga., but has called Asheville home for the last 3 years. He has worked in camps for five years; this is his first year working at Talisman. In his free time, you can likely find him on the river kayaking with friends, or else enjoying the great outdoors by hiking, backpacking, canoeing, or climbing. He enjoys sharing his passion for the outdoors and introducing young people to the many opportunities to connect with nature.