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.
Sarah Shaw joined the SC Childcare Inclusion Collaborative in October 2019 as the Program Coordinator. She provides support to our Inclusion Specialists and coordinates our developmental screening initiatives.
Sarah earned a BS in Early Childhood Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany NY and an M. Ed in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina. Sarah was an Early Interventionist for 10 years. During this time, she provided service coordination and family training to families that had children with special needs. Prior to early intervention, Sarah worked as a childcare teacher in several childcare centers in Albany, NY, and Columbia, SC. Sarah has experience working with children from birth to five years of age.
Sarah has a daughter with whom she enjoys spending spare time. Together they enjoy the beach, museums, art, dance, and theater.
museums, art, dance, and theater.
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.