Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Mrs. Teena Kyer
Interim Director, Curriculum Coordinator
Upper Elementary Teacher

BA, M.Ed., Francis Marion University

Teena@msfedu.org

Miss Teena came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 1999 as the Director and Upper Elementary teacher.  She has served as an upper elementary teacher and administrator since she joined our school. Miss Teena teaches math, science, and cultural subjects in Upper Elementary and supports staff education at all levels.  Miss Teena received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Education in Learning Disabilities from Francis Marion University.  Miss Teena is certified by the American Montessori Society.


Mrs. Jacqueline Boatwright
Pre-Primary Teacher

AA, Florence-Darlington Technical College

Jackie@msfedu.org

Ms. Jackie joined the staff at the Montessori School of Florence in 2004.  She started as a classroom assistant in the Elementary and Primary classrooms and in the Before/After School Care program.  In 2012, she became the Lead Pre-Primary Classroom teacher.  Ms.  Jackie graduated from Florence-Darlington Technical College with an Early Childhood Education Associate’s Degree.  Ms. Jackie has training in RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) and the Pikler Infant-Toddler Program.


Mrs. Leah Anderson
Primary Teacher

BA, Francis Marion University

Leah@msfedu.org

Ms.  Leah has been with the Montessori School of Florence since 2012 as a Primary classroom teacher.  Previously, Ms.  Leah taught at the elementary level in Florence District One and in the 4-year-old Kindergarten at Highland Park.  She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Francis Marion University.  Ms. Leah holds Early Childhood and Elementary certifications and is also certified in Primary education by the Palmetto Montessori Institute.


Mrs. Betty Coke Lawson
Primary Teacher

BA, Columbia College; M.Ed., Francis Marion University

Betty@msfedu.org

Ms.  Betty came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 2014 as a Primary Classroom teacher. Previously, Ms.  Betty taught elementary education in the Darlington County Public School district for 31 years. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Columbia College and a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from Francis Marion University.  Ms.  Betty is also certified in Primary education by the Palmetto Montessori Institute.


Mrs. Donna Fields
Primary Teacher
BS, Francis Marion University

Donna@msfedu.org

Ms. Donna has been a member of the Montessori School of Florence staff since 2016 as a Primary teacher. Previously, Ms.  Donna was a classroom assistant at McLaurin Elementary, first in traditional kindergarten and then in an elementary Montessori classroom. Ms.  Donna is certified in Primary Education by the Palmetto Montessori Institute.


Miss Tiara Alston
Primary Teacher

Tiara@msfedu.org

The Montessori School of Florence welcomed Ms. Tiara Alston in 2017 as a Primary classroom assistant. She is now co-teaching with Ms. Leah in a Primary classroom.  Ms. Tiara will receive her Montessori certification in Primary after she completes her degree at Ashford University in 2022.  Prior to joining MSF, she worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC. Ms. Tiara has one daughter and one son.


Miss Kendall Brand-McGowan
Primary Teacher

Kendall@msfedu.org

MS. Kendall Brand-McGowan came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 2017 as a Primary classroom assistant. She is now co-teaching with Ms. Betty in a Primary Classroom. Prior to joining the Montessori School of Florence, Ms.  Kendall taught at Charlie Brown Day Care. She is working on her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Francis Marion University and her Montessori certification in Primary education.


Mrs. Amy Binder
Lower Elementary Teacher

BA, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Amy@msfedu.org

Ms.  Amy began her teaching career at the Montessori School of Florence in 2009 as a Lower Elementary teacher. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.  Ms.  Amy is certified in Elementary education by the American Montessori Society. She is married and has one son.


Mrs. Joanna Oswalt
Lower Elementary Teacher
BA, Francis Marion University

Joanna@msfedu.org

Ms.  Joanna came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 2017 as an assistant in our After School Care program and to also serve as a substitute teacher.  Currently, Ms.  Joanna is co-teaching a Lower Elementary classroom. She graduated from Francis Marion University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and visual arts. Ms.  Joanna began her Montessori teacher training in September 2018 with the Palmetto Montessori Institute and once completed she will earn her certification in elementary education.  She is married to Bran Oswalt, owner and Lead Designer of Brown Memorials in Florence, SC.


Ms.  Lauren White
Lower Elementary Teacher

Lauren@msfedu.org

Ms. Lauren joined The Montessori School of Florence in 2018 as a Lower Elementary Assistant. She is now co-teaching in a Lower Elementary classroom. Prior to joining our school she was a 4K lead teacher at Primrose Schools in Texas. She also worked at Francis Marion University’s Richardson Center for the Child for four years. Her love for education began when she took Teacher Cadet as a junior in high school, and has since known it was her purpose. She has studied Early Childhood Education at Francis Marion University and Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Education and Sociology at Coker University. She is currently in elementary education training through the Palmetto Montessori Institute.


Ms. Tamel Pierce
Lower Elementary Teacher
AA, Florence- Darlington Technical College
BS, Utah State University

Tamel@msfedu.org

Ms.  Tamel started in 2016 as a Pre-Primary classroom assistant, and a Before and After School Care Teacher. She is now the lead teacher in a lower elementary classroom. Ms. Tamel received an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Florence-Darlington Technical College and a  Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services from Utah State University.  Ms. Tamel is presently enrolled in the Montessori training program and will soon earn her certification in Elementary.  Previously Ms.  Tamel worked as a classroom assistant at Pee Dee Head Start.


Mrs. Beth Franck
Upper Elementary Teacher

BA, East Carolina University

Beth@msfedu.org

Ms. Beth began in 2005 at the Montessori School of Florence as an assistant in the Upper Elementary classroom.  In 2007, She became an Upper Elementary classroom teacher.  Ms.  Beth received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from East Carolina University.  She has her Elementary certification from The American Montessori Society. Ms. Beth has two daughters who graduated from our school and are now attending college.


 

Mrs. Heather-Lynne Shannon
Primary Music Teacher
Librarian

BA, M.Ed, Ohio University; MT-BC

HeatherLynne@msfedu.org

Ms.  Heather-Lynne started at the Montessori School of Florence in 2001 and taught music from 2001-2004. In 2008 Ms.  Heather-Lynne returned to teach music and to assist in the library.  Ms.  Heather-Lynne received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy and her Master of Science in Special Education from Ohio University and is a National Board Certified Music Therapist.


Mrs. Heather Ward
Art Teacher

BS, Francis Marion University

Ms. Heather Ward joined the Montessori School of Florence staff in 2017 as the art teacher.  She graduated from Francis Marion University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education.   Previously, Ms. Heather taught Art One, Art Two, and Art Honors, at Southside Middle School.  During her ten years there, she was recognized as their “Teacher of the Year”.  Ms. Heather is currently very active in the local art community and volunteers her time to local charities.  She is married and has two daughters.

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Mrs. Jennifer Foxworth
Music Teacher
BM, University of South Carolina

Ms. Jennifer Foxworth teaches PreK-K4 music at Montessori School of Florence. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education.  Ms. Jennifer taught elementary music for 10 years in Charleston County School District and Henrico Public Schools in Richmond, Virginia, and is a National Board certified music teacher.  She plays the violin and piano and is very active in the local music community. Ms. Jennifer has served as the concertmaster for the Florence Symphony Orchestra since 2016.


 Staff

Ms. Esonya Woodberry
Elementary Classroom Assistant, Building/Grounds Manager

Ms. Esonya came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 1999 as an assistant in the After School Care program.  She has been the assistant in the Upper Elementary level since 2005.  Ms. Esonya has also taught Physical Education to Upper Elementary students and is certified as a classroom assistant by the American Montessori Society. She is a native of Florence and a graduate of Wilson High School.  Ms. Esonya has two daughters who are MSF graduates and attend college at this time.


Ms. Evelyn Thompson 
Pre-Primary Classroom Assistant

Ms. Evelyn has been a member of the Montessori School of Florence staff since 2000.  She has been an assistant in the Pre-Primary and Primary Levels and has assisted with the Before School and After School Care program.  Ms. Evelyn earned her classroom assistant certification from the American Montessori Society. She is a native of Florence and a graduate of Hannah-Pamplico High School.


Dawn Sumner
Office Manager

admin@msfedu.org

Ms. Dawn came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 2018 as the Administrative Assistant.  Prior to Ms. Dawn joining our school, she worked at Darlington High School for 27 years. In her most recent role there, she served as a Dropout Prevention Facilitator.  Ms. Dawn’s husband, Ken, has been a School Resource Officer in the Darlington County School District for 27 years. She has two children,  Lee and Kathleen.


Diana Groom
Lower Elementary Assistant
BS, Francis Marion University

Ms. Diana came to work at the Montessori School of Florence in 2019 as an assistant in Ms. Tamel’s Lower classroom.  Prior to joining our school, she worked as a substitute teacher in Florence School District One, at The King’s Academy and Calvary Baptist Church.  Ms. Diana received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Francis Marion University in 2008 and began elementary education training in 2019 to obtain certification through the Palmetto Montessori Institute. She is married to Jeremy Groom and mom to Natalie.


Kathleen Sumner
Lower Elementary Assistant

Ms. Kat is a former After School Care Assistant who is currently serving as Ms. Amy’s Lower Elementary Assistant.  Previously she worked at Fitness World Gyms as a front desk receptionist.  She is a former SC Coaches “All-State” softball team participant and “All-Star” softball team participant for class 1A.  Ms. Kat volunteers coaching recreation and travel ball softball teams for girls ages 18 and under.  She has one son, Brooks.


Ms. Keena Jordan
Primary Assistant
BS, College of Charleston
Ms. Keena joined The Montessori School of Florence in the 2020-21 academic year as a Primary Assistant.  She was trained as a Montessori Assistant in 2018 at Montessori Education Centre of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado.  Prior to her employment at MSF, she gained valuable knowledge in the four years she worked as an assistant in both toddler and primary classrooms at a private Montessori school in Colorado. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Religious Studies. Keena’s love for education began during her sophomore year in college when she mentored a child in Montessori classroom. She is currently pursuing primary Montessori certification through the Palmetto Montessori Institute. Keena is both an American Heart Association and American Science and Health Institute Basic Life Support instructor and enjoys teaching these life skills in her spare time.