Meet Our Team


Head of School, Susan Burkhardt


Susan Burkhardt has been a resident of Charleston SC since 1987, after relocating from New Jersey. Susan earned a Bachelor of Arts at Gettysburg College in English Literature and Studio Art and proceeded to pursue a career as a chef. Starting as a prep cook and eventually owning her own eatery without any formal training, Susan has always been an ambitious learner with a propensity for hands-on education.

Susan discovered Montessori when seeking a program for her own daughters. Enthralled by the method, it became a passion of discovery and immersion as she started her involvement with Charles Towne Montessori as an active parent volunteer. After a short time, Susan became the Administrator and Assistant to the Head of School at CTM, working under 2 consecutive Heads of School. It is under their tutelage that Susan developed skills and knowledge that has allowed her to be selected as the current Head of School, and brings her passion and enthusiasm to the CTM community whole-heartedly.

Patsy Alston, Director of Marketing/PR

Becky Tomlin, Administrator

Debbie Kirby, Business Manager


Adolescent Program

Elizabeth Seney, Lead Adolescent Teacher.

Elizabeth comes to us with 19 years of education experience, working for and with a range of schools in various states. She started her teaching career as a special ed assistant, coach and computer lab instructor for charter schools in Southern California. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Research Statistics, she began teaching middle school Algebra in Durham, North Carolina. In Durham, she began writing curriculum and completed her Master’s degree in Secondary Education. Intrigued by Montessori methods and completing the NAMTA-AMI Adolescent Orientation, she became a math specialist and generalist at Hershey Montessori in Ohio for five years.

Inspired by her work with the whole child, Elizabeth started her own business writing Fully-Integrated Montessori curriculum and consulting for schools and teachers. Last year, she wrote the curriculum for Charles Towne Montessori and is now the adolescent program teacher and director. She has one daughter who attends Charles Towne Montessori and is thrilled to be in the beautiful city of Charleston.

Elementary Program

Lynn Newman, Lead Elementary Teacher. B.S., Carroll College; M.Ed., Loyola University, MD.; AMI Elementary Diploma, Montessori Institute of Minnesota.


After receiving a bachelor’s degree in social work, lead upper elementary teacher Lynn Newman worked for several years as a treatment counselor. Because of an interest in working with children, she later decided to pursue a teaching degree and earned a teaching certification and reading teacher license from Cardinal Stritch University in WI. She then worked in Milwaukee Public Schools and the Houston Independent School District as a classroom teacher and as a reading specialist.

When her children were young, she worked part-time as an ESL teacher in the Hong Kong public schools, teaching English to children from first grade to middle school.

Since receiving her AMI Elementary Diploma and a master’s degree in education, she has taught at the upper elementary level in international

schools in Tokyo, Germany, and the Virgin Islands. Ms. Lynn now leads both upper and lower elementary programs at Charles Towne Montessori.


Primary Program

Elisabeth Enriquez, Lead Primary Teacher. B.A., The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA; Master’s Degree in Education, Loyola College of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Primary Certification, A.M.I., Montessori Institute Northwest, Seattle/Portland; Lower Elementary Training, A.M.S., Seattle; N.A.M.C. Upper Elementary Certification, British Columbia.


Elisabeth began her Montessori career upon her eldest daughter’s recommendation after her daughter had completed her three years of Primary education and was beginning first grade in her Montessori school. This excellent recommendation turned out to change the course of Elisabeth’s life for the best! Montessori teaching has become a way of life for her, not just a profession. Elisabeth has loved the training and the experiences at each level of Montessori from Primary through Upper Elementary, and after most recently teaching in the Upper Elementary at a Montessori public charter school, she has decided to return to her Primary roots, here at C.T.M.

Valda Hathaway, Lead Primary Teacher, B.A. Eastern Tennessee State University, AMI certification for Primary Montessori Institute of Atlanta.

ValdaValda is both a teacher and a parent of 2 students at Charles Towne Montessori. She has 10 years teaching experience in the primary classroom including lead positions in Atlanta, Knoxville, Charleston, and Bali, Indonesia. Valda held a lead teaching position at Charles Towne Montessori before teaching in Bali, and has returned first as a parent and most recently as a Primary lead once again.

Rebecca Hyatt, Lead Primary Teacher

RebeccaWith over ten years of combined teaching experience from diverse schools, Rebecca brings her knowledge and passion for Montessori teaching to Charles Towne Montessori. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration yet quickly found her way into Montessori education starting out as an assistant teacher in her home city of Rock Hill, South Carolina. Rebecca continued her journey serving children and families in Colorado, New York City and spent two years teaching as an ESL teacher in South Korea. Most recently, she obtained her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota and is currently completing her Masters in Education from St. Catherine University.

She is excited to be back in South Carolina to join the community at Charles Towne Montessori!

Toddler Program

Elizabeth McGuire, Toddler Lead Teacher, AMS Toddler certification from Center for Montessori Teacher Education, Raleigh, NC


Elizabeth McGuire, a lead toddler teacher at Charles Towne Montessori, completed her American Montessori Society training in Raleigh, NC., in 1991. Liz began her teaching career with children by working in daycare centers and pre-schools until receiving her Montessori certification.  Liz held a lead toddler position for five years at Charles Towne Montessori when she left to marry and start a family. She rejoined the Charles Towne Montessori faculty in 2009.

Kathryn Williamson, Toddler Lead Teacher, AMS Infant/Toddler certification Center for Montessori Teacher Education, Raleigh, NC 


Kathryn has been a lead toddler teacher at Charles Towne Montessori for 4 years. She received her Montessori Infant/Toddler Credential in North Carolina at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in 2014. She enjoys working in the toddler community and being part of such a special school.


Rachel Apple, Primary Assistant


Jamie Decker, Elementary Assistant (photo coming soon)


Laura Kivet, Elementary Assistant
Brittany Gowder, Primary Assistant
Emily Lawing, Toddler Assistant
Bailey Powell, Toddler Assistant
Elizabeth Pak, Toddler Assistant


Wendy Gee, Afterschool Lead