Our Director provides overall supervision and has a master’s degree in education. Our Director and most teachers are graduates of accredited colleges and universities where they majored in early childhood, elementary education or a related field. Staff members take their responsibilities seriously and make adequate preparation for the accomplishment of their assigned duties. They view their tasks as child-centered and exhibit genuine concern for our children. South Carolina state law mandates that the following ratios be met. Our teachers are partners in learning with your child while acting as a resource, facilitator and documenter of learning in the classroom. Our team of professional educators, child care specialists and experienced administrators are passionately committed to providing the highest quality, innovative child care programs and facilities for families.
Katie Carter, Executive Director
Katie Carter is a Charleston native and has been a teacher in both kindergarten and first grade in South Carolina’s public-school systems. Over the past six years, Katie has been the Director of the Venning Rd location. Through this experience Katie has served on the leadership development team, trained staff members and created an engaging and welcoming environment for children and their families. Her role as the South Carolina Executive Director gives Katie the ability to provide direct support to both the Venning Rd. and Park West locations. By splitting time between the centers each week, Katie will remain available to support families and provide on-site administrative leadership. Katie will make sure both centers successfully execute high expectations and create learning environments that will flourish. Katie has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in divergent learning from Columbia College. As a mother of two, Katie saw the need for exemplary early childhood care in the Mt. Pleasant community and was able to have her daughter as a CDC student at the beginning of her tenure with CDC.
Stacey Heilman, School Leader – Venning Road
Our Venning Road School Leader, Stacey Heilman, first came to CDC as an atelierista. As an atelierista, Stacey was responsible for creating different projects to introduce new concepts to our students, spark their curiosity and creativity and establish a new explorative way of learning. This experience gave Stacey the opportunity to mentor teachers and led her to her role in administration. Stacey is a Columbia native, but has lived in the Charleston area for more than 12 years. Stacey has two boys with one still attending Children’s Discovery Center. Through her multiple roles across CDC and as a wife and mother, Stacey can relate to parents and create an inspiring environment for all.
Alexandra Hewson, School Leader – Park West
Alex Hewson has been with Children’s Discovery Center since 2014 and has served as the Pre-K teacher during her tenure. With her Pre-K position, she also assisted in front desk duties and held a large role in assisting families at the Venning Road location. Her successful time at the Venning Road location led to her promotion to the School Leader for Park West. Alex came to CDC with her degree in education from College of Charleston. After growing up in the Awendaw area, Alex chose to move downtown to pursue her degree. Alex has created long lasting bonds with CDC families and is eager to continue to build relationships and provide positive educational impacts for young learners.
Alexandra Gibson, Assistant School Leader – Venning Road
The Venning Road Assistant School Leader, Ms. Alex, first joined CDC when she moved to Charleston from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her passion for children, led her to studying speech and hearing with a focus in adolescence at Edinboro University. After obtaining her degree, she worked in a classroom that focused on assisting children with special needs and there solidified her love of teaching. After moving to the lowcountry, Ms. Alex instantly fell in love with the Children’s Discovery Center and its Reggio inspired philosophy. As a lead teacher and coordinator in the Toddler department since 2017, Ms. Alex was able to shape projects, create new learning spaces and encourage her team of teachers. Ms. Alex believes communication is one of the many keys to educational success. This experience within the CDC leadership structure prepared her for her administrative role in the front office.
Maureen Begley, Assistant School Leader – Park West
Maureen Begley joined the CDC Park West team in December of 2019, after completing her Master of Education in Counseling Education from the Citadel Graduate College. Maureen relocated to the Charleston area after living in the upstate of South Carolina and attaining her undergraduate degree in psychology from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. Her desire to work in a Christian based educational environment brought her to CDC, and she loves working in the same area that she resides (Mt Pleasant) with her husband. Maureen has a strong desire to connect with families and act as a guide to early childhood opportunities within the CDC environment.
Cherie Fuentes, Director of Education
Cherie Fuentes serves as the Education Director and Atelierista for our Park West center. Cherie moved to Charleston in the summer of 2019 with her husband and two children. Cherie attended Elon University to attain her undergraduate degree and then gained her Master’s Degree in Childhood Education from Touro College, in her home state of New York. With her strong educational background and many teaching experiences, Cherie is the perfect fit to mentor and guide teachers in best early childhood practices. As the atelierista, Cherie will also use art to enhance children’s knowledge and further their creative experiences.
Venning Road Location: 1110 Venning Road; Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Park West Location: 3300 Stockdale Street; Mount Pleasant, SC 29466