Montessori Education Staff
is the Research Director for the Riley Institute's Center for Education Policy and Leadership. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Richmond and earned masters degrees from the University of Virginia and University of South Carolina and received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Currently, Dr. Culclasure is the Principal Investigator of the South Carolina Public School Montessori study, the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program evaluation, and the Education Oversight Committee's TransformSC evaluation, which measures innovative education practices being implemented across South Carolina. Dr. Culclasure also currently serves as Program Evaluator for the Riley Institute's White-Riley-Peterson Fellowship for leaders in after-school policy, and as the lead evaluator for the Pickens County Drug-Free Communities federal grant and the Orangeburg District 3 Elementary and Secondary School Counseling federal grant. She also served from 2012-2014 as an evaluator for the Florida Race to the Top federal grant, focusing on Florida’s teacher and principal evaluation systems. From 2005 to 2008, Dr. Culclasure coordinated the Riley Institute's Hewlett-funded research study on public education in South Carolina.
David J. Fleming
, Ph.D., Co-Investigator, is assistant professor in the political science department at Furman University, where he teaches classes in American politics, public policy, and research methodology. Dr. Fleming has significant experience in education program evaluation. A senior research associate for the School Choice Demonstration Project, he is participating in the official, state-authorized evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) the nation’s oldest and largest urban school voucher program. Dr. Fleming graduated magna cum laude
from the University of Notre Dame and earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
, Ph.D., Co-Investigator, is associate professor of education and the coordinator of Furman’s early childhood teacher education program. Dr. DeJong received her Ph.D. from Florida State University in Child Development. Her research and scholarly interests include early childhood teaching models and pedagogy. She has published several book chapters and articles related to service learning, project based learning, and integrated curriculum designs. Dr.DeJong has experience developing, coordinating and reporting numerous grant projects related to early childhood education. She currently serves as president of the South Carolina Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.
Dr. Ginny Riga, Project Montessori Consultant, has held numerous teaching and administrative positions in public education for over 30 years. The majority of her work has been in Columbia, SC, where she was principal of the first total Montessori public school in the state in the early 2000’s. She led the growth of Montessori in public schools throughout South Carolina as Coordinator of Montessori Public School Programs at the South Carolina Department of Education from 2008-2011. Dr. Riga earned a doctorate from the University of South Carolina in Educational Leadership and Policy and is Montessori trained in primary and lower elementary levels. She also serves on the board of directors of the American Montessori Society (AMS) and is a member of the Montessori Leadership Collaborative, a national group working towards unifying the Montessori movement in America. She is a past board member of Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) and a founding member and former officer of the South Carolina Montessori Alliance.
Montessori Classroom Observers
Gail Hornsby has taught in the public school system for 27 years, and completed primary and lower elementary Montessori training in 2000 with Montessori Education Programs International (MEPI) through Lander University. She worked as the Curriculum Resource Teacher for seven years at Brockman Montessori in Richland School District One. After retirement, she served as Richland One's Montessori consultant for four years.
Elaine Kalagher received secondary Montessori training from the Houston Montessori Center and primary Montessori training from Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) in South Carolina. She has taught in both public and private school settings.
Jo-Anne Long is credentialed by the American Montessori Society to educate children ages 3-6, 6-9 and 6-12. After a combined forty-seven years of teaching in traditional schools and Montessori schools, and serving as a principal in private Montessori schools, she began coaching and instructing Montessori teachers.
Russell Long holds three Montessori teaching credentials from the American Montessori Society (ages 3-6, 6-9 & 6-12). He spent 33 years teaching in Montessori classrooms in both private and public schools and has been a Montessori teacher-trainer for over 25 years.
Teresa Noble received her Primary Montessori Classroom Guide certificate from Montessori Educational Programs, International. She has 28 years of experience teaching in public schools, and ten years as a Primary Montessori Guide. For the past six years, she has served as an instructor and program director for the Institute for Guided Studies, a Montessori teacher education program.
Diana Zellner has earned National Board certification in the upper elementary grades. She has worked in both private and public Montessori school settings over the past 30 years, and has served as a presenter in Montessori training programs in a variety of curriculum areas.