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Administration and Office Staff

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Dr. Lyn Mueller

Lead Teacher

This is my 15th year as lead teacher and I consider working at CFI the highlight of my 30+ years in education. I am fortunate to have been involved at CFI since its inception as one of the founding parents as my children, Zach and Lora, were members of the first kindergarten and fifth grade classes. Prior to my “Center days” I directed the Writing Improvement Network, a statewide organization to support K-12 literacy instruction, and worked at the South Carolina Department of Education in the Office of Research.  My graduate work in education was completed at The Ohio State University and I have served as an adjunct faculty member at USC since 1988.
I live in Blythewood with my husband, Michael, who is an Elderlaw attorney. Our son, Zach, is a published poet working on his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska. Lora, our daughter, graduated from USC last May, danced for USC as a Carolina Girl for 4 years, and is currently working in a new job and choreographing for high school cheerleading teams. We have always had a variety of animals living with us. Right now, we have two cats and a comical rescue yellow lab mix named Balou. When I’m not at CFI, I’m usually tending flowers or in our vegetable garden. Two of my favorite things in the whole wide world are dancing and swimming. When I tell my friends that I get to dance with a couple of hundred kids every Friday morning, they are so jealous! I love my job.​

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Dr. Heidi Mills
University Partner​

I am an Endowed Professor in the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education at the University of South Carolina, as well as Curriculum, Research and Development Specialist at CFI. As one of the founding members of the Center for Inquiry, I consider this unique university-public school partnership the most important work of my career. Together, with the CFI faculty, we have developed a nationally recognized state-of-the-art site for inquiry-based curriculum, pre-service education, research and professional development. My collaborative research with CFI teachers is featured in professional journals, videotapes, national conferences and books by leading publishers in education.  From the Ground Up: Creating a Culture of Inquiry by Heinemann (http://www.heinemann.com/products/E00267.aspx) is an edited volume featuring critical incidents as well as the beliefs and practices that shaped our school culture from the beginning. Looking Closely and Listening Carefully: Learning Literacy through Inquiry by the National Council of Teachers of English (https://secure.ncte.org/store/looking-closely-and-listening-carefully) illustrates the role of inquiry in Tim O’Keefe’s literacy curriculum. Most recently, I captured the joyfully rigorous ways our current CFI faculty unite content and literacy instruction across the curriculum in Learning for Real: Teaching Content and Literacy Across the Curriculum by Heinemann (http://www.heinemann.com/products/E04603.aspx).
I have the gift of raising two remarkable young men with my husband, Tim O’Keefe. Devin O’Keefe is pursuing his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at MUSC.  Colin O’Keefe is an undergraduate in sociology at USC and plans to complete a MT degree to teach high school social studies. Both boys attended CFI as children. Beyond a doubt, the Center for Inquiry has been central to our family life and it is the school of my professional dreams.

Angie DeBeaugrine