MSPI Team

Administration

Lesley Byrne-Steedly

Director

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Lesley completed her teacher training for both primary and elementary levels at the AMI Montessori College, Dublin. In 1992 she moved to Greenville, NC to establish an elementary program at Greenville Montessori School.  It was the beginning of an inspiring and genuinely fulfilling career working with children and their families in both private and public school settings.

In 2011, Lesley moved to Blacksburg, VA, where she worked at Salem Montessori School as Educational Director.  Moving from the mountains to the sea, Lesley and her husband, Chip, relocated to Pawleys Island in 2013, where Lesley was delighted to find a nurturing Montessori community with a genuine love for working with children and a commitment to offering the best to each child every day.

Lesley enjoys yoga, beach walks with her dachshunds Harvey and Mabel and trips back home to her Irish family.

Tammy Offenback

Teaching Assistant, Office Administrator

Tammy was born and raised in Illinois. After many years working in the world of banking and admininistration she chose a new career path, and in 2018 she began working with Horry County Schools. Tammy joined MSPI in 2020, taking on the dual role of assistant in Primary 1 and part-time office administrator. Tammy loves the outdoors, especially visits to the beach. She and her husband, Rich, live in Murrells Inlet with their two cats Maya & Ellie.

Infant Program

Rachel Rucker

Lead Teacher

Rachel is the Lead Infant Teacher at MSPI. Her journey at our school began in 2012 as an Assistant in the Infant Room, where she instantly fell in love with the Montessori method, which led to her Montessori Teaching Certification in 2015. She was born and raised in Georgetown and now resides in Andrews with her dog, Helena.  Rachel can’t imagine a more beautiful area to live.  With a passion for educating and caring for children, her spare time is spent volunteering at the church she grew up in, working with teenagers, singing in the choir, caring for babies in the nursery and sometimes even working in the kitchen. She loves to help others and serve her community any way she can.

Arista Jones

Teaching Assistant

Arista found a new passion when she began working with MSPI in 2017 as a Teaching Assistant in the infant room. She has learned so much about Montessori theory and philosophy and enjoys working with a great team. Arista loves living by the beach and thinks that being raised on the East Coast is awesome! She enjoys spending time with her daughter and family. Currently, Arista is studying online for her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and plans to graduate next year!

Shauna Sterle

Teaching Assistant

Shauna moved to Pawleys Island 11 years ago to be close to family and fulfill her dream to live at the beach after retirement. Shauna started her journey with MSPI eight years ago as a substitute in the Infant Program, where she now works five days a week part-time. She loves to tell people that she gets her “baby fix” in the Infant room and loves watching them grow. Shauna enjoys playing golf, watching her grandsons play sports and spending time at the pool and beach.

Toddler Program

Regi Yonkers

Lead Teacher Primary 1

A true local, Regi Yonkers grew up in Pawleys Island and comes from a family of educators (her sister and mother are also teachers).  She studied art at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, after gradating from Waccamaw High School, then received her Montessori Infant and Toddler certification from the North American Montessori Center. She firmly believes that kindness is the most important virtue, it is felt in her classroom.  In her spare time Regi likes to travel, cook, garden, and read.

Marie Gabrielle Griggs

Teaching Assistant

Known to all as Gabby, Gabrielle was born and raised in Haiti. She has more than 30 years of experience working with children. With training in Montessori teaching at the primary level and an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Gabby held the position of lead teacher in a primary class for 12 years. She enjoys continuing learning about Montessori through her work with MSPI. “Working with youngsters brings so much joy to my life; I cannot see me doing anything else,” Gabby says.

Kaye Beckroge

Lead Teacher Primary 2

Kaye is the lead teacher for our Toddler Two’s Program. She graduated from Columbia College of South Carolina with a BA in speech therapy. Kaye began her Montessori career in 1998, and holds her Infant/ Toddler Certification from the American Montessori Society. “Every day is a new adventure working with our toddler children,” Kaye says. With three children, two grandsons, and a granddaughter on the way, Kaye stays busy caring for family and friends, including her many fur babies.

Heidi McCarty

Teaching Assistant, Music Teacher

Born and raised in California and Northern Virginia, Heidi received a BFA in Music Performance from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, and did Masters Studies in Arts Management at AmericanUniversity in Washington, DC. After working for several arts organizations and performing as a cellist with various orchestras and ensembles in Washington, DC, Heidi moved to Pawleys Island with her three children, Camille, Liam and Wyatt. Heidi has worked as a music teacher with Coastal Montessori Charter School, the Waccamaw String Program, and MSPI. A few years ago, Heidi began working as a Teaching Assistant in the MSPI Primary class and this year is the Teaching Assistant in the Toddler 2 class. Heidi enjoys traveling, reading, swimming, acting, playing the cello and most of all spending time with her family.

Myriam Azgour

Aftercare Teacher

Born in France, Myriam has lived on three different continents so far – Europe, Asia, and North America – in France (of course), London, Israel, Macedonia, and the United States. Her travels have also included Africa.  With three more continents to hit, she already embodies the definition of “worldly.”  Myriam is licensed in International Montessori by NAMC, has an childcare certification, an esthetician license, and a Bachelor of Science in Alternative Medicine. She has taught pre-primary for 37 years before coming to MSPI. Two of her three grown children went through Montessori from K – 8th grade, and three of her four grandchildren were Montessori educated in Macedonia.  Myriam and her husband live in Pawleys Island with their 14-year-old Lab and one-year-old “wild child,” a six-toed Hemingway cat.  She enjoys traveling, meeting people and sports, holding a black belt in Taekwondo.

Primary Program

Paget Graham

Lead Teacher

Paget Graham began teaching in the 3-6 year olds primary classroom at MSPI in 2018 after starting at MSPI in 2015 as an assistant in the infant classroom. She graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, and worked in Bermuda, FL, and Washington, DC, before returning to her home state of New Jersey. She discovered a passion for the Montessori method of early childhood education while helping to care for her nieces (and future nephews) who were all Montessori students. Paget received her 3-6 years early childhood Montessori certification through The Center for Montessori Teacher Education in North Carolina.

Tammy Offenback

Teaching Assistant, Office Administrator

Tammy was born and raised in Illinois. After many years working in the world of banking and admininistration she chose a new career path, and in 2018 she began working with Horry County Schools. Tammy joined MSPI in 2020, taking on the dual role of assistant in Primary 1 and part-time office administrator. Tammy loves the outdoors, especially visits to the beach. She and her husband, Rich, live in Murrells Inlet with their two cats Maya & Ellie.

Pamela Rhodes

Lead Teacher

Pamela has been with MSPI since 1996, when the school was knows as Pawleys Island Montessori Day School and was located in what is now Landolfi’s. She started as an elementary assistant and primary assistant. In 2001, she completed her Montessori certification at the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education and has been a Lead Teacher in Primary since2001. Pamela has lived in Pawleys Island since 1992, and enjoys traveling, gardening, walking, biking, reading, DIY projects, and spending time with my family.

Karen Moree

Teaching Assistant

Karen has been part of the MSPI family since 2010, as both a Toddler and Primary teaching assistant.  She was born and raised in Washington DC, and has lived in Pawleys Island since 1998.  Karen has two children and three dogs and loves being part of the MSPI community.

Sheila Hewitt

Aftercare Teacher

Sheila has been in Early Childhood Education since 1993 and loves it! Working as a volunteer at her children’s school in Ojai, CA, she was offered and accepted a position in the 3-5-year-old class. In 2001, Sheila and her husband, Steve, moved to Charlotte, NC, where he had taken a new job. Shortly after, Sheila went back to teaching and held a lead position in a 4-year-old class for 12 years. Growing up in Southern CA, Sheila and her family’s love for the ocean kept them coming down to the Hammock Coast area for vacations. They decided to make the move to their favorite get-a-way spot and are so glad they did! Sheila feels fortunate to have joined the MSPI staff and families in 2018.

Substitutes

Jane Hall

Substitute Support Team

Joyce Morris

Substitute Support Team

Anne Pate

Substitute Support Team

Anne graduated from the University of South Carolina with a major in Elementary Education. She happily taught in SC public schools for 21 years. Anne has been in Pawleys Island for 34 years and is blessed with eight grandchildren, who have all benefitted from a Montessori education. 

Rayjene Dereef

Substitute

Sidney Stuckey

Substitute Support Team

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