I grew up in an Army family and lived in several states on the eastern coast of the US and Canada. I graduated from Columbus High School in Columbus, Georgia and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. As an Army officer for 26 years, I served in various countries and conflicts to include service behind the "Iron Curtain" in Berlin, Germany, and in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Most of my time in the Army was spent in command or operations for airborne, ranger, and contingency organizations. Upon retiring from the military at Ft Benning, GA , I moved to Columbia, SC and joined a local real estate firm, Bollin Ligon Walker Realtors, where I was an agent and broker until joining Tomlin and Company, Inc, as the Vice President for Special Civic Transactions. In this position, the most significant effort was a holistic approach to address homelessness in the Midlands, and included the creation of a diverse and focused governing body, the raising of required capital, and the construction of a transition facility. Following this effort, I served as a strategic planner in Workforce Development for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. I then returned to Ft Benning, Georgia and served for almost three years at the newly formed Maneuver Center of Excellence which was the combination of three military colleges (Infantry School, Armor School, and NCO Academy. I have a Masters Degree in Education from the University of South Carolina as well as a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, DC. I have served on the staff and faculty at the University of South Carolina as a Residence Hall Director, The US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS as small group Instructor teaching staff skills, the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY as a leadership developer, and most recently as the Chief of Training Development at the College of Infantry and Armor, known in Army circles as the Maneuver Center of Excellence. As such, I was responsible for adapting training, education, and leader development for over 150 courses to make them more relevant, engaging, and rigorous, using new technologies and learning methodologies for about 100,000 students per year. I have two boys, Roe (26) and Andrew (23), both of whom attended AC Flora here in Columbia. Roe works for SWIFT, an international banking organization, and lives and works Hong Kong, China. Andrew is a network security analyst and works for EndGame in Northern Virginia but lives here in Columbia. I have two step children, Christopher (16) and Caroline (15) and they attend Dreher High School. My wife, Kelly, is a board certified ophthalmologist and owns 20!20 Vision in Five Points, Columbia. She is both an MD and a PhD. We live in the Shandon area of Columbia.
My roots as a South Carolinian were established in Whitmire, a small manufacturing town where every face is familiar. I graduated from Whitmire High School in 2002, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2005 from the University of South Carolina. I also attended graduate school at USC, earning a Master's Degree in Teaching, Secondary Education in 2006. Prior to joining SC Economics, I was a classroom teacher at both the secondary and middle levels. I earned my National Board Certification in Social Studies and Early Adolescence in 2010.
Most recently, I taught AP Microeconomics, general Economics and American Government at River Bluff High School in Lexington School District One. During this time, I also served as a coaching teacher for student teachers from the University of South Carolina and as the school's TEDxYouth Ambassador. I spent much of my teaching career in Richland School District Two at Richland Northeast High School and E.L. Wright Middle School. Over the course of eight years, I taught AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, IB Economics, Honors Government, Modern World History and Ancient Cultures. I also chaired many committees, including Common Core implementation,the social studies department, and professional development experiences. I conducted several workshops on best practices, Common Core, and technology integration. I discovered my true passion for development economics while teaching in the Horizon Magnet and International Baccalaureate Programs, as I worked alongside passionate students who were driven to lessen the plight of the "bottom billion" who experience immense poverty.
I am extremely blessed to have married my best friend nearly ten years ago, who shares my passion for the "dismal science". My husband, Kurt, teaches economics at Ridge View High School. Together, we have four children, Collin and Cassidy (who are USC Gamecocks) and twin girls, Harper and Hayden (4). We make our home in Lexington. I enjoy traveling, spontaneous adventures, reading, cooking, and spending time with my family.I am excited to continue advocating for economic education and financial literacy around our great state!
I was raised in Charleston, South Carolina attending the public schools of Charleston County and graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Administration - Accounting from the University of South Carolina. I have served on several boards including the Board of Directors of National Association of Women Business Owners, as President of the Board of Directors of a Homeowners Association and I was a visiting professor at Columbia College’s celebration of Women’s History Week. One of the most challenging and rewarding pleasures of my life is the privilege to work with The Women’s Shelter in Columbia. Since 1996, I have been involved with the management of their 15 facilities helping the shelter by providing reasonable accountability which leads to stability for the residents. My husband, Michael, and I, live in the Shandon area and have a successful small business called Renaissance Designs, a custom cabinetry and furniture business. We have a daughter who works for Palmetto Health and son-in-law, a recent graduate of USC’s nursing program, who works at Palmetto Baptist. It is a delight to have them nearby and their daughter, our granddaughter, who is 3 years old, is perfect joy!
I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University (’86) and a B.S. Degree International Affairs from The George Washington University (’84). I returned to Columbia from La Jolla, CA 15 years ago to raise my 4 children and black lab on Lake Murray and SEC football. I have worked extensively in public affairs, representing primarily education and healthcare constituencies. I serve on several Boards across the State and am a former member of the Junior League of San Diego. I have been a certified yoga instructor for more than 10 years and continue to teach at various locations in the midlands. I recently completed my first Half Marathon and looking forward to my Bucket List goal: the Boston Marathon.