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STAFF 2022-23

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Susan Burkhardt, Head of School

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.

Laura Kivett, Lead Elementary Teacher

B.A. Kent State University in Psychology, AMS Elementary Certification in Process, Orton Gillingham Certification

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Laura Kivett grew up in Annapolis, MD.  She obtained a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Art from Kent State. During the first 10 years of her teaching career, she worked with special needs children & adults as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor and an art therapist. For the past 11 years, she has worked at CTM in various positions and is presently the Elementary Lead teacher. During her employment at CTM, she earned her Orton Gillingham teaching certification. She is currently in the practicum phases of her AMS Lower and Upper Elementary certifications.

Laura strives to stay true to the Montessori philosophy. She has observed exceptional academic and social benefits for her students while in the Montessori environment. Laura’s favorite Dr. Montessori quotes is, "Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.”

In addition to teaching, she enjoys spending time with her horses and dogs, stand-up paddle boarding, boating, & sculpting. She enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors, and going to church. Animals have always been a special part of her life. She had a very special dog named Lexi who actually introduced her to her husband while walking on the beach. Laura and Chad have been married for 9 years and live just outside of Charleston. 

Heather Wolf

Heather Wolf, Lead Primary Teacher

B.A. Kent State University in Family Consumer Studies, AMI certification for Primary Montessori Institute of Atlanta.

At a very young age, Ms. Heather became aware that her life's work would be to work with and nurture children. She has been working professionally with children since 1998 and has been teaching within the Montessori curriculum since 2000. After graduating from Kent State, she discovered the Montessori teaching philosophy and enrolled into the AMI Montessori Institute of Atlanta. Upon graduating, she taught at Old Peachtree Montessori for three years in Auburn, GA. Then, when her family moved to Atlanta’s west side where no Montessori schools were nearby, Heather founded Tallulah Montessori School in 2009. Heather and her husband, Alex, enjoyed much success running Tallulah together, however, due to the pandemic, were forced to shut the doors.

Fortunately, Heather and her family found their new home in Charleston and at CTM. Heather has two daughters, the younger is attending CTM in its Elementary Program.

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Chloe Eidson, Lead Primary Teacher

AMS Toddler certification in process

Bio Coming Soon!

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Cosima Franke, Lead Primary Teacher

Bachelor of Science, Winthrop University in Family & Consumer Science, Master's in Education & AMS Montessori Certification for Primary, Lander University

Ms. Cosima has always enjoyed working with children. During her college years, she learned a little bit about Montessori, grew curious, and decided to take a job assisting in a primary classroom in Charleston when she was in college. She has worked in the Montessori setting for over 10 years now. After assisting in the primary classroom, she knew she wast destined to get her Montessori training. She received her Montessori Primary Certification at Lander University in 2016, along with her Master's in Education.  She loves how the philosophy focuses on self-paced learning and independence. 

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Elizabeth McGuire, Lead Toddler Teacher

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

Ms. Liz completed her American Montessori Society training in Raleigh, NC., in 1991. She began her teaching career with children by working in daycare centers and pre-schools until receiving her Montessori certification.  She 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.

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Kate Medlin, Lead Toddler Teacher

B.S. Plymouth State University in K-12 Art Education, AMS Credential in Infant and Toddler at Montessori Institute, New England

Ms Kate started her Montessori journey as a student and became a certified Montessorian at the Montessori Institute of New England three years ago. Upon graduating college with a degree in Art Education in 2015, Kate worked in the public school system for elementary and middle school levels. In 2017, she began her life as a Montessori teacher at Winfield Children’s House in her home state of Maine, where she has lived for the last seven years. Kate, her partner, Ryan, and their golden retriever, Mackworth, made the move to Charleston for a new adventure this winter and for Kate’s position at CTM as a Lead Toddler Teacher. Kate is also a practicing artist outside of school.

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Irene Howanyk, Lead Toddler Teacher

AMS Toddler certification in process

Ms.Irene came to Charleston in 2015 as an “au pair” from her native country, Italy, and she has lived here ever since. After having her son in 2019, she started to study the Montessori Method, practicing it at home. In 2021, she began work at CTM as an assistant teacher in Ms. Heather's Primary classroom. She learned so much! At the beginning of last summer, she began her AMS training and is completing her practicum year in the field this year.

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Luke Jones, Property Manager

Mr. Luke moved to Charleston from Pennsylvania in 2018. Before getting into property management, Luke gained years of experience working with youth as a former youth director and after school volunteer. Luke is also a multi-disciplinary artist and works out of his art studio on Johns Island. He enjoys utilizing all of his skills to keep Charles Towne Montessori a beautiful place!

Alex Wolf

Alex Wolf, Operations Manager, Director of Admissions, Music Instructor

Mr. Alex has over 25 years of experience as an IT Consultant and Technician, 12 years operating a Montessori school he co-founded in Atlanta with his wife, Heather, and he is a musician, songwriter and audio engineer for over 30 years. Mr. Alex, no stranger to wearing many hats, provides IT support for the CTM network and manages Transparent Classroom, our school database and communication software, admissions, property management, marketing, as well as, direct the music program for the student body. Mr. Alex and Ms. Heather have two lovely daughters; the younger is a CTM student.

Becky Tomlin

Becky Tomlin, Accounts Manager

Becky relocated to Charleston (for the 2nd time) from North Carolina, in 2016, where she quickly connected to the wonderful world of Montessori. While in North Carolina, Becky owned and operated a gift basket boutique, where she always enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and put smiles on faces. 

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Lucy Young, Administrative Assistant

Lucy was raised in Greenville, SC and moved to Charleston in 2019. Prior to her role at CTM, Lucy worked as a full-time nanny and part-time front desk associate at The I’on Club in Mt. Pleasant. When she first moved to Charleston, Lucy planned to work towards her degree in elementary education but unexpectedly fell in love with administrative work & the service industry. Her love for children and niche for administrative responsibilities makes her position here at CTM the perfect fit!

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Beth Garris

Toddler Assistant Teacher

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Wendy Gee

After School Coordinator

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Sydney Laribo

Elementary Assistant Teacher

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Leslie Denton

Primary Assistant Teacher

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Megan Moores

Primary Assistant Teacher

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Jen Matthews

Floating Assistant Teacher

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Katie Hinson

Floating Assistant Teacher

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Martha Ann Nichols

Floating Assistant Teacher

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Cory Stegelin

Toddler Assistant Teacher

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Kira McHale

Toddler Assistant Teacher

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Sophia Davis

After School Assistant

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Cameo White

Primary Assistant Teacher

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