Karen has been in Montessori education since 1990 when she began her career as a lead teacher in a lower elementary classroom. She has been a Montessori Head of School in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Master of Science in Elementary Education. She also holds two certifications with the American Montessori Society and is certified in School Management. Additionally, Karen is an adjunct professor and teacher trainer for Lander University and is a board member for the South Carolina Montessori Alliance.
Leslie graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology, Cognate in Child Psychology. She earned her 3-6 certification from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in Raleigh, North Carolina. Leslie is a level 250 certified yoga instructor for children and adults.
After years of volunteering with MSC’s development office, we hired Becky as our Director of Development in the fall of 2016. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University and a B.S. in Nursing from McMaster University. Wanting a change from the nursing and public health industry, Becky joined MSC as a philanthropy specialist.
Heather Connor received a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing and Spanish from Campbell University. She has extensive experience managing bookstores on college campuses, and she has also helped to develop children’s programs at Urban Village Church in Chicago and Lexington United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC.
Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Virginia and an AMI elementary teaching diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute in Washington DC. Before joining MSC, Jim taught lower elementary for nine years and upper elementary for four years. He began his Montessori career at The Butler School in Darnestown, Maryland. Jim and his wife, Kathy, founded the Montessori School of St. Andrews in Columbia, where Jim was the co-administrator and a lead teacher.
Kathy Young is a upper elementary teacher, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of South Carolina, and she earned her Montessori lower elementary certification at the American Montessori Society North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. Kathy was an owner/administrator/teacher at the Montessori School of St. Andrews in Columbia, and she taught lower elementary Montessori at the Montessori Community School in Durham, NC. Prior to her work as a Montessori teacher, Kathy had extensive editorial and writing experience at various South Carolina newspapers, schools, and businesses.
Misty graduated from USC with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and returned to USC for a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education. She taught first grade in South Carolina for two years and spent five years teaching first and second grade in Indiana. In 2011, Misty completed her Montessori elementary certification at the Seacoast Center for Education in New Hampshire.
Erin is an MSC alumna, having attended from age 3 through the sixth grade. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the College of Charleston with a minor in Studio Art. After graduating college, Erin moved to Portland, Oregon where she obtained her AMI elementary teaching certificate from Montessori Northwest.
Sidney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of South Carolina and has since worked with all age levels of our school in roles such as extended-day teacher, physical education director and summer program counselor. Prior to his career at MSC, Sidney volunteered at Tutor Eau Claire and was a professional baker for Publix.
Miss Mani, as she is known to generations of children and parents in Columbia, has worked as a Montessori teacher for more than thirty years at the Montessori Children’s House of Columbia. Mani was trained as a Montessori teacher in her native country, Sri Lanka, and has been teaching children using the Montessori Method since 1976.
Viji Saravanan has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Madras, a diploma in Computer Applications from Loyola College, and is certified in Montessori at the primary level. Before joining MSC, Viji taught for 10 years at the Montessori Children’s House of Columbia.
Carla received her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Lander University. She then went on to earn a Master’s in Montessori and her Educational Specialist degree in leadership and administration. She has been teaching primary Montessori since 2007 and has enjoyed training Montessori teachers in the summers. Carla’s husband, Ed Moore, is the Athletic Director at AC Flora High School.
Betty graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education; History, Economics from Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. She worked as a primary assistant teacher at Jubilee Academy and as a volunteer teaching assistant at Columbia Montessori Children’s House. Betty is earning her Early childhood Montessori credential at the Institute of Advanced Montessori studies in Maryland.
Janeta received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in Pedagogy and Primary Education from the University of Sofia in her native country, Bulgaria. She holds more than 30 years of experience working with children, 13 of which were spent as a primary teacher in Bulgaria. After moving to the U.S., her focus has been working with preschool children and she has spent the last 6 years teaching in Montessori schools.
Sarah is completing her undergraduate studies in early childhood education at the University of South Carolina. She has been working at MSC since 2015 and has worked as a classroom assistant, extended-day teacher, and summer program counselor. Before joining MSC, Sarah worked to create and establish her family’s hydroponic gardening company in Ridgeway, SC.
Brielle Hayes is our elementary art teacher. Brielle graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking. She has worked as an aftercare teacher at MSC. Brielle helped to organize the Girls Rock Camp Columbia, and she has done photography and screen-printing work for Post-Echo, a local music label.
Finnbarr Dunphy is our 3rd grade through 6th grade teacher of Latin and Spanish. He has more than thirty years experience teaching in American International Schools abroad. He received his bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Irish and Latin from St. Patrick’s College of Dublin, Ireland. He has earned a 3.0 in Spanish at the Foreign Service Institute in Virginia, having attained the level of competency in the Spanish language required of U.S. diplomats posted abroad. Finnbarr holds the title of Distinguished Member of the International Society of Poets, and has written three historical fiction manuscripts based on Ireland. He has also coached and played soccer, tennis, and golf.
Alan Knight is our upper elementary music teacher. Alan received his Bachelor of Arts in Guitar Performance from the University of New Orleans and a Master of Music in Guitar Performance from the University of South Carolina. He is a certified Suzuki instructor and has three certifications in Studio Recording. Alan teaches music at Brockman Elementary, Columbia College, Limestone College, and Carolina Music Academy.
Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in music and is a certified K-12 music instructor. Jennifer is also trained in Montessori elementary education and enjoys incorporating music with the Montessori curriculum. She plays the piano and has taught music to children both in public and private schools.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Winthrop University and has taught children at The Art and Play Therapy Center and Bethel United Methodist Preschool. Jessica is a level 500 yoga instructor which means that she has fantastic posture and is certified to teach yoga to children and adults.
D’Artagnan’s experience as a teacher for “Capital Karate” led him to MSC as a karate instructor for our summer camp program. In the fall of 2016, he become our P.E. teacher. In addition to teaching physical education, D’Artagnan continues to teach karate for our aftercare program and our summer camp. He works as a special needs coach for ARC of the Midlands and holds an Associate’s Degree in Arts from Midlands Tech.