Heather has over 15 years of experience working in the field of early childhood special education. While earning her BS in special education at Winthrop University, she was convinced that she wanted a career working with middle school or high school aged students with learning disabilities. After one year teaching middle school, she realized middle school teacher was not her life’s calling.
She saw an advertisement for an open position as an Early Interventionist in the Post and Courier and found her passion for working with young children with disabilities and their families. Heather spent six years in Charleston and Berkeley counties providing early intervention services to children and families in natural environments including child care settings.
She went to the University of Texas at Austin and earned a M.Ed. in special education with a concentration in early childhood special education. She missed South Carolina so much she moved back to Columbia and completed her PhD in special education at the University of South Carolina in 2011.
Heather believes child care providers play an important role in supporting children with disabilities/developmental delays and their families. She is passionate about supporting providers to increase their skills and knowledge related to including children with disabilities in their programs. She is also interested in participating in the broader system of supports for young children and their families in South Carolina.
Heather is married with one child. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, watching really good movies, and baking Christmas cookies.
Carrie Trivedi joined the Inclusion Collaborative in January 2013 as a Technical Assistance Specialist. In 2017, Carrie became the Program Coordinator for the Inclusion Collaborative. She provides support to our Inclusion Specialists and coordinates our developmental screening initiatives.
Carrie earned a BA in Psychology from the University of South Carolina.She loved being a Gamecock so much that she returned to earn her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education. Carrie taught Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten for seven years before joining our team.
Carrie holds a South Carolina Professional Teaching Certificate as well as being a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider with the South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development.
Carrie has been married since 2009. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters that they spoil everyday. In her free time, Carrie enjoys Gamecock Football, shopping for cute clothes for her daughters and playing with the family dog.
Karen B. Johnson is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. She joined the SC Inclusion Collaborative in January 2013 as a Technical Assistance Specialist. Prior to joining the Inclusion Collaborative, She worked in many facets of Head Start, serving as both an Education Specialist and Center Coordinator for 22 years. She has worked with both Aiken Barnwell Head Start and GLEAMNS Human Resource Commission.
Additionally, she was a Grantee Performance Support Specialist with STG International, Inc. providing training and technical assistance throughout Head Start Region IV.
She received her Masters of Arts in Human Behavior and Conflict Management from Columbia College. In addition, she received a certificate of 40 hours in Civil Mediation Training from Columbia College.
Karen has an A.A. in General Studies from North Greenville College. She received a BS in Child and Family Development from Benedict College. While attending Benedict College, she received a Certificate in Child Protective Services from the Social Work Department. She is also a President’s Trophy Scholar. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider through the South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development. Her additional certifications include CLASS, TPOT and TPITOS Reliable.
She has received many professional training hours, certificates, and honors. She is a member of NAEYC and The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.
Karen enjoys traveling, shopping, listening to music, especially jazz, and photography. Her personal motto is “The sky is the limit.”
Karen provides training and coaching to child care providers in Child Care Licensing Region 3.
Kim McCollum joined the Inclusion Collaborative in December 2014 as an Inclusion Specialist. Prior to joining our team, Kim taught Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten for 17 years, served on the board of First Steps of Pickens County for 2 years, was a child care trainer for Lifelong Learning of Greenville County for three years, and was a Preschool Director for three years. Kim has experience in private and public schools and child care facilities.
Kim earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Southern Wesleyan University in 1993 and her Masters of Education specializing in Teacher Leadership from Walden University in 2013.
Kim holds a South Carolina Professional Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood as well as being a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider with the South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development.
Kim has been married since 1991 and they have four children. In her free time, Kim enjoys spending as much time as possible with her children, family, and friends or going to the movies and reading.
Kim provides training and coaching to child care providers in Child Care Licensing Region 1.
Phines J. Black is a native of Florence, South Carolina. She joined the SC Inclusion Collaborative January 2018 as a Technical Assistance/Inclusion Specialist. Prior to joining the Inclusion Collaborative, she worked as a 4K Preschool Lead Teacher for three years with South Carolina First Steps. In 2016, Phines was awarded 4K Teacher of the Year in her regional area. She has worked in the education field for 15+ years.
Phines received her BS from Grand Canyon University with a dual major in Elementary Education and Special Education as well as a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Phines has a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Special Needs from Liberty University. She is a certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider through the South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development.
Phines has received many professional training hours and certificates, including TPOT and TPITOS Reliable certifications. She is a member of SCECA (South Carolina Early Childhood Association) and SCEA (South Carolina Education Association).
She enjoy cooking, spending time with family, and traveling.
Phines provides training and coaching to child care providers throughout Child Care Licensing Region 4/Pee Dee area.
Nichole Hudgens joined the Inclusion Collaborative in January 2018 as an Inclusion Specialist. Prior to joining the Inclusion family Nichole served as a Quality Coach with the South Carolina Childcare Resource and Referral Network for four years. Nichole earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University and received her Master’s Degree in Education from Ashford University. Nichole also taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and upper elementary school. Nichole holds a certifications as a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider with the South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development. Nichole is a firm believer that “You can’t do life alone”, so to stay connected she and her daughter are involved at Newspring Church- Columbia Campus and enjoy spending time with their small group. Nichole enjoys, Broadway, traveling, Clemson Football, and enjoying new experiences with her daughter.
Nichole provides training and coaching to child care providers in Child Care Licensing Region 2.
Referral and Outreach Coordinator
Tecoria Jones joined the Inclusion Collaborative in February 2018 as the Referral and Outreach Coordinator. Tecoria handles our parent referrals as well as administrative tasks necessary to facilitate our Inclusion Specialists. She is the ROC of the team!
Tecoria earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from USC-Columbia. She has worked in many service related fields, including retail and as a peer support provider for parents with children who live with mental illness. “Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth,” a quote attributed to Shirley Chisholm, very well summarizes how Tecoria feels about what she does.
Tecoria is an active volunteer. She is a Parent Advocate and works closely with Children Trust of SC. She is a Protective Factors trainer. She is excited about an upcoming opportunity to become a trainer in Adverse Childhood Experiences!
Tecoria has a large family and a busy home life. For down time, she enjoys outside activities, walking, hiking, exploring, gardening and yard work. Music has been a lifelong joy as well. She loves learning, especially about healing arts and mindfulness.