Cathy Wiskes

As a senior instructor of Spanish at the University of South Carolina, Cathy coordinates the foreign languages and teaches Spanish. Her academic interests are foreign language acquisition and instruction, translation, and sign language development. She has been teaching at the University of South Carolina since 1998. Cathy has also worked as a translator and interpreter for the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and has translated and recorded materials for McDonald’s and BCBG Max Azria.

Jessica Gibbons

Jessica earned a Bachelor’s in Music and Minors in Political Science and Spanish from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching at the University of Seattle. Before her move back to Columbia, Jessica taught general education for six years in Seattle Public Schools. She is well aquatinted with the Montessori community as she has nannied for several children who have attended MSC.

Joanna Derrick

Joanna graduated the University of South Carolina with her Bachelors in Journalism and a Mass Communication Track in Advertising and Public Relations. She has served as a marketing director for Moore Orthopedic and as a Development Director for the American Heart Association. Joanna enjoys spending time with her four children, doing mission work in Belize and blogging about her adventures.

Erica Patterson

Erica has her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English from the University of South Carolina, as well as two degrees in elementary education from Drexel University and Lander University. She is certified by the American Montessori Society to teach lower elementary. Erica has taught English at Keenan High School; writing, ESOL and 4th grade at public schools in New York; and was a lower elementary teacher at Brockman Montessori in Forest Acres.

Nitzia Gutierrez

Nitzia Gutierrez is a native Spanish speaker from Mexico. She holds a bachelor’s in law but found her passion as a Spanish teacher at the Bridges Language School in Charleston, SC. Nitzia teaches our students in small groups five days a week.

Jessica Smith

We are thrilled to Jessica Smith teaching art at MSC. Jessica, or “Jess” as we fondly call her, has her bachelor’s degree in studio art from Winthrop and has worked as an art teacher at The Hive Studio and Gallery, The Art and Play Therapy Center of SC, The Portrait Gallery, and Our Heritage Studio. Jessica is also a yoga instructor for people of all ages and abilities. She is certified in trauma yoga and is now a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider. Jess describes herself as an artist, spouse, mother of two girls, and lover of nature.

Corey Jungclaus

Corey earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from the University of North Dakota. Since graduating in 2011, she has worked as a Montessori teaching assistant, a nanny, and a mother. She received her 230 hour yoga certification and loves to practice Ashtanga yoga. Corey completed her primary AMI teaching certificate at the San Diego Montessori Institute.

Kathy Young

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. She earned her Montessori lower elementary certification at the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. Kathy was an owner, administrator, and 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.

Michael Thigpen

A career student, Michael has three degrees from the University of South Carolina and one degree from Lander University. He holds a Master of Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Psychology. Michael completed his Montessori lower elementary training in 2015 and his upper elementary training in 2019. He taught in the public school system for ten years before becoming a Montessori teacher. Michael joined the Montessori School of Columbia elementary teaching team in 2016.

Sarah McCants

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.