The Montessori School of Camden Staff




Oscar Avila, Primary Classroom Co-Director in a bilingual classroom and Extended Day Assistant, was born in Guatemala and completed his Music Education degree at the Jesus Maria Alvarado Escuela Normale before moving to the U.S. in 2003. Before joining MSC in January 2009 he worked as music teacher and Director of Musicians at the Bethel Worship Center in Camden . Oscar is certified in the Orff music method and is implementing it at MSC.  He has completed his certification training through the Institute for Guided Studies at the Early Childhood level. 


Quinn Baker, Infant Classroom Director, is a native of Camden, SC.  She holds a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina and is working towards her Montessori certification at the infant/toddler level.  She has worked as a lead infant teacher for two years before joining the MSC team in August of 2010.


Janet Calkins, Extended Day Assistant, has been a resident of Ohio and Texas prior to moving to Camden in 1994. She began working at MSC in January 1995. Janet has completed the IGS Montessori Paraprofessional Course. Janet lives in Camden and enjoys her computer and decorating shirts during her “spare” time.


Michelle Casey, Lower Elementary Assistant, has earned a BA in Art and a Masters in Elementary Education.  Originally from Massachusetts, she has had the opportunity to live in Japan, England, Spain and Belgium before moving to South Carolina.  Michelle started at The Montessori School in March 2012 as Extended Day Assistant, before moving to her current position as Assistant Teacher in the lower elementary class in the autumn of 2012.  She loves dance, art, acting and singing and hopes to utilize these talents in the classroom.  She has a daughter who graduated from Thomas Sumter Academy in 2011.  She has completed the IGS Montessori Paraprofessional Course.

Alice Clark, Upper Elementary Classroom Director, is certified by the Montessori Institute of America. She completed her training with the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education (American Montessori Society) for ages 9-12. Alice began teaching at the Primary level in 1983 and moved to the Upper Elementary class in 1989. Prior to becoming a teacher, she had experience in health education at the Rusk Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center. Alice attended the College of William and Mary and the University of South Carolina, and completed her BS degree in Nursing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She served on the founding Board of Directors of MSC for 4 years and has rejoined that group numerous times. She resides in Lugoff with her husband, Jeff. Their two college-graduate daughters are Montessori School alumnae.

Heather Hartenbach Conder, Toddler Classroom Director holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Education form Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. and holds a Florida preschool certification.  Before joining MSC, she had experience working with a variety of youth, ranging from infants through preschool and elementary age children.  She returned to Camden, SC, allowing her to continue riding and showing her horses on the National Show Circuit.  This is a longstanding hobby and passion of hers that keeps her focused, relaxed, and motivated in all aspects of her life.  She is excited and enthused about being a member of The Montessori School of Camden because she is truly dedicated to teaching and influencing the lives of children.  She has completed the IGS Montessori Infant/Toddler Certification Course.  Her son is enrolled in the Primary program.

 Magali Day, Infant Assistant, was born in Lima, Peru.  She earned a degree in Business Administration at the Enrique Guzman y Valle University and her Masters in Social Management and Human Resources at the Universidad Inca Garcilaso, before moving the the United States in 2012.  She is excited to be a member of the Montessori School of Camden and enjoys caring for the children there.  She is currently studying English in Camden and her favorite activities are to share times with family, painting, dancing, reading, gardening and learning about America. 

Meek Duren, Primary Classroom Director, holds a B.S. in Marketing from St. John’s University. She began her service at MSC in 2004 as Upper Elementary Assistant and then served as Extended Day Director for one year before moving back to Upper Elementary.  She left MSC in 2009 and, after working as a Primary Assistant in a Montessori program in Maryland, Meek returned to MSC as a Primary Co-Director in 2011.  She has completed her certification training through the Institute for Guided Studies at the Early Childhood level.  Meek is a native of Ghana, West Africa and has lived in the U.S. for the past 45 years.  Four of those years were spent at Trafalgar Castle School, a boarding school in Whitby Ontario, Canada.  While there she played various sports such as Basketball, Volleyball, and Badminton.  During her senior year she won the title of most valuable player in Basketball; she now enjoys sewing and crafts as hobbies.

Wilton Hickman, Director of Facilities, joined the MSC staff in August 2008. A 1991 graduate of Bishopville High School , Wilton has worked as a warehouseman, custodian, and maintenance man prior to assuming his present position.

Meredith Hines, Toddler Classroom Director,  Extended Day Director and Summer Director, is a native of New York, now residing in Columbia, SC.   Meredith worked at The Montessori School of Camden with the Toddler class and the Extended Day program in 1996 through 1998, and rejoined the MSC faculty serving as Director of Extended Day and Toddler Director. Meredith has also lived in Virginia Beach where she worked at a Montessori school. She is certified by MEPI at the Early Childhood level and has completed her course at the Infant/Toddler level as well. Meredith is enrolled at Central Carolina Technical College in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree.  

Lauren Hogan, Primary Assistant, graduated from Midlands Technical College with an associate's degree in Human Services.  Lauren moved to Lugoff, SC in 2006 from Daytona Beach, FL with her two daughters and finacee.  She worked a year in a residential home for children with autism where she earned numerous certificates and clinical innovative methods.  She plans on continuing to work with this population on weekends doing one-on-one in-home therapy.  She also currently volunteers as a Preschool teacher at Pathway in Camden for at-risk children.  Her passion and love for children continue to play the key role in her volunteer work in the community.  She is an advocate for family unity and healthy living and continues to participate in community events and public programs.  She is also excited to have enrolled her 3 year old daughter Lily at MSC.  They are both happy to join the MSC family. She has completed the IGS Montessori Paraprofessional Course.

John Moncure serves as Headmaster of The Montessori School of Camden, a position he held previously from 1998 to 2004.  He was born in Victoria, Texas, attended The Citadel, and graduated from West Point in 1972.  During his military career he served in cavalry regiments in Germany and Texas, and held teaching positions at West Point, Davidson College, The University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the French Cavalry School in Saumur, France.  After his retirement from the Army in 1997 with the rank of lieutenant colonel, John joined the Montessori School in Camden and was an adjunct professor of history at Coker College, South Carolina . In 2004 he moved abroad where he was Dean of the Apollo Institute of Health Sciences in Hyderabad, India, Principal of Eton Academy, a bilingual Montessori school in Beijing, China, and Director of Operations of the Montessori Foundation and the International Montessori Council. He is president of the Board of Directors of Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) and serves as a member of the boards of directors of First Steps of Kershaw County, the Kershaw County Historical Society, and was a founding member of the South Carolina Montessori Alliance (SCMA).  He also serves as an On-Site Visitor for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), is Program Director for the Administration Course offered by the Institute for Guided Studies (IGS) and is a member of the national Montessori Leadership Collaborative.  John has authored three books and numerous articles, graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and holds a Ph.D. in European history from Cornell University.  He resides in Camden, South Carolina.

Cintyia Jennifer Moreno, Toddler Assistant, was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  Prior to coming to the U.S. in 2008 she attended Pedagogica Universidad Autonoma to become a teacher.  She is enrolled in the IGS Infant/Toddler Certification Course.  Cintyia has three children, and enjoys spending time with her family and reading the Bible.  

Karen Porter, Administrative Assistant, was valedictorian at Boyd Anderson High School and attended Broward Community College in Ft. Lauderdale , FL. Prior to coming to MSC in 2007 she worked in Indiana as a teacher at Dixon Dance Studio, Manager of My Way LLC, Internet & Computer Company, and Administrative Assistant of the Ruff Drug Task Force. Her hobbies include dancing, sewing, and baking, and her favorite activity is spending time with her four grandchildren.  She has completed the GS Montessori Paraprofessional Course.

 Sandra Tisdale, Receptionist, was born in Atlanta, Georgia and joined the MSC faculty in 2004 as a Lower Elementary Assistant, moving to her present position in 2007.  She studied human biology at Kaplan University, completed the IGS Montessori Paraprofessional Course in 2004, and holds a certificate as a Montessori Assistant. She was a member of Montessori faculty in both Early Childhood and Lower Elementary levels at Pine Tree Hill Elementary. Sandra is a former Girl Scout leader and enjoys line dancing. Her daughter Katy also worked at MSC, and her grandson is currently enrolled in the Toddler program.


Karen Tolliver, Primary Classroom Director, holds an AA from Columbia Junior College and is enrolled at Central Carolina Technical College working toward her BA in Early Childhood Education. A member of the faculty since 2001, Karen is certified by MEPI at the Early Childhood level. She enjoys singing and listening to music.  

Ashley Turner, Infant Assistant, is a native of Lugoff, SC.  She holds a bachelor's degree in Child and Family Services with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College.  She was previously a substitute at MSC and has worked in Early Childhood for four years before joining the MSC team in May 2013.  Ashley has one daughter who is excited to return to MSC and a new baby who will be entering the MSC Infant class in 2014.  She has completed the IGS Montessori Paraprofessional Course.