+ staff

The Rev. George Tuttle, Interim Senior Pastor

The Rev. George Tuttle is a native of Ohio. He grew up in the city of Mentor along the shores of Lake Erie where he enjoyed fishing, boating and camping with his family. He studied piano throughout his youth and into college. While in high school he played the organ at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Chesterland, Ohio. During this time, he discerned that serving the church was his calling. In preparing for ordained ministry he attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1975. He graduated from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in 1979 with a Master of Divinity degree. Pastor George has spent his entire ministry in Maryland, serving St. Paul’s of Curtis Bay, then as Senior Pastor of Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Northeast Baltimore City and finally 19 years as the Pastor of St. Mark’s, Hampstead. Searching for a way to serve the church in the closing years of his career, Pastor George was trained as an Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist in 2013. He was the Interim Senior Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church of Sweet Air, located in Phoenix, MD. There he led the congregation through a Re-Focusing Process which resulted in the crafting of a Strategic Ministry Plan. Most recently, he served at Interim Senior Pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum Heights, MD. He was married to Donaleigh Sheehan in January of 2017. Together, they rejoice in being newlyweds for the second time. The couple enjoy traveling and boating in their spare time. In addition to his pastoral duties, Pastor George has been a certified ice hockey referee for the past ten years. He comes to Nativity to lead the congregation in the discovery of a new future and is excited and enthusiastic about being with us as the Interim Senior Pastor.

Irem Ozay, Musician-in-Residence

Irem started piano lessons at the age of 8, at a community music school in Raleigh, when she first moved to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey. After a year of lessons, she was offered to study at Raleigh Conservatory of Music. At age 14, Irem began her first job, teaching piano at the community music school where she had begun piano. Since then, she has placed in numerous festivals and competitions statewide, including NCMTA and Young Artist. She continues to teach and absolutely loves seeing her students grow and become the musicians they can be! She graduated Magna Cum Laude from East Carolina University in a degree in Music Therapy and completed her internship at the VA Medical Center. As she found her passion for teaching, Irem was offered a full teaching assistantship at ECU, where she recently earned a double Masters in Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. She has also been individually selected by faculty to be inducted into the Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda. Irem has also been a sister of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. Irem began her Music Ministry journey during her undergraduate years at ECU, when she joined a church family in Greenville, NC. Since then, she has seen grown to love sharing music more and more as she discovered how much music can bring a community together. While she loves performing, she strongly values and sees music as a ministry and has developed a deep passion for sharing that love with her new church family. For fun, Irem likes to venture out and find new trails and waterfalls to hike around the mountains, keep up her cat's Instagram, travel, and eat at all of the local restaurants Asheville has to offer.

Michele Grush, Parish Administrator

Michele almost literally grew up in the church having a father as a pastor. She has fond memories of playing hide-and-seek in the building, ringing the church bell, and helping to fill the baptismal pool. By degree, she is an accountant earning her BS from Wake Forest University in 1989. After having almost raised three children, she has found her passion to be back in the heart of the church. Since 2004, her roles at Nativity have included Preschool Teacher, Youth Leader, Care Director and most recently, Parish Administrator since 2017. She has been married to Mark over 20 years and they are almost empty-nesters. Their oldest son (Aury), lives in Atlanta and works in Sports Information, their daughter (Charlotte) is a sophomore in at UNC-Chapel Hill, and their youngest son (Graham) is an active Youth at Nativity graduating from high school in 2020. Michele thoroughly enjoys the day-to-day activities of the church including the interaction with Nativity parishioners and members of the community, as well as helping ministry staff carry out the mission of Nativity. For fun, Michele enjoys traveling, playing cards and Catan with her family and friends, watching documentaries and college basketball (Go Deacs and Heels!), and taking advantage of the incredible food and beverage scene in Asheville and its surrounding areas.

Mike Natarella, Ph.D., Nativity Preschool & Kindergarten Director

Mike feels both blessed and honored to serve as the Director of Nativity Preschool. His path to Nativity Preschool has been filled with wonderful life experiences, travel, and surrounding himself with some of the most inspiring students, parents, teachers, administrators, and professors who have all positively impacted his life. He earned his undergraduate degree in secondary social studies from The University of Missouri Columbia (Go Tigers!), and his Master’s and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). He spent eleven years as a middle and high school teacher in Missouri, Paraguay, and Alabama. Next, he spent five years as an elementary assistant principal in Alabama mentored by two amazing principals who inspired and challenged him to always engage the entire community in order to maximize the potential of each and every student. In 2011, he made one of the most difficult professional and personal decisions of his life: a hiatus from his career as a professional educator to become a stay at home father. His wife of 16 years, Emily, is a physician and they have three boys who were at the time very young in age. The decision to become a stay at home father was a sacrifice, as his professional career was both fulfilling and proceeding on a positive trajectory. However, as a dedicated stay at home father he worked every day to provide a stable, nurturing and challenging environment for Anthony , Alex , and Joseph . He loved this work in no small part because it was a natural extension of his passion for nurturing Christian values, positive character traits, life skills and intellectual growth in his own children. He commits his time, energy and expertise to Nativity Preschool to foster a culture of collaboration among parents, teachers, and students so that all students can love, learn, and live in Christ.

Jen Loizzo, Office Assistant

Carrie Dahlberg, Financial Secretary

Gene Hoemann, Bookkeeper

Ed Brumley, Sexton