Preschool Staff

Beth Hassenplug, Director, Early Childhood Center

Beth has worked with children for 14 years. She has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and has been at our Center since 2002. "My teaching style is observational, calm, and consistent with many moments of quiet joy." [read more...]

Maria Perez, Co-Assistant Director

Maria has worked with children for 13 years. She joined us in 2001. She has her AA in early childhood education. "I believe every day we have an opportunity to grow and we need to keep our minds open to ask for help, share our thoughts and observe." [read more...]

Liz Zuniga, Co-Assistant Director

Liz has been working with children for 16 years. She has her BA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in elementary education. She joined our staff in 2003. "What I enjoy most about teaching is watching the children in my class grow, socially, emotionally, and academically as the year goes by." [read more...]

Katie Crocker, Master Teacher

Katie brought 10 years of experience to her position here at our Center. She joined our staff in 2011. She has her B.A. in Child Development. "I have an open mind and respect each child as an individual person. I set up an environment so each child feels inspired to explore their world in their own unique manner." [read more...]

Martha Manzo, Master Teacher

Martha has her BS in human development. She has 16 years experience working with children. She has been at our Center since 2004. "I am very proud of the fact that we focus on relationships here. The relationships that we have with the parents and children are a very important part of our program." [read more...]

Laura Muzquiz, Master Teacher

Laura has worked with young children for 7 years. She has her AA in Early Childhood Education and is working on her BA. She has been at our Center since 2007. "I get joy from being a part of the first years of the children's lives. This gives me the opportunity to see their first learning experiences and to get excited with them even with the little things they do for the first time." [read more...]

Kaori Otose, Master Teacher

Kaori has worked with children of many ages for 22 years. She has a Masters in Art and over 40 units in Early Education. She joined our Center in 2009. "I like to observe children and then I want to provide appropriate activities for their growth. I give minimal help when they really need it and follow their interests with mindful love." [read more...]

Teresa Smith, Master Teacher

Teresa has worked with young children for 25 years. She has a BA in Developmental Psychology and was a top 10 finalist for a national Preschool Teacher of the Year award in 2010. She joined our staff in 2006. "Developing a relationship with children and their families is the most important part of working in this field." [read more...]

Elizabeth Ricciardi, Master Teacher

Elizabeth has worked with young children for over 6 years. She has her B.A. from UCSB and is completing her early childhood education units at Santa Barbara City College. She joined our staff in the fall of 2010. "Being with children is the one thing that always makes me smile & laugh. I am often in awe of what children do. I love that every day is a new experience." [read more...]

Dany Rodriguez, Lead Teacher

Dany worked with children for 8 years before coming to the Early Childhood Center in 2014. She will complete her AS in Early Childhood Education this summer. "My teaching style is very much how I am as a person. I'm caring, fun patient, observant. I like to see the positive things in people and situations. Everyday is a new start with new opportunities." [read more...]

Nicki Ceriale, Teacher

Nicki has worked with young children for the past 9 years. She joined us in 2008. She has her AA in liberal studies with additional units in early childhood education. "I love working with children and I can't see myself doing anything else. I don't really remember ever wanting to do anything else." [read more...]

Dee Dallmeyer, Teacher

This is Dee's first experience working with young children. She joined us in 2008. She has completed 20 units in Early Childhood Education and is working to complete her ECE certificate. "I enjoy watching the children discover new things, learning new words, and forming new friendships and coming up with new games to play with one another. I enjoy that I get to be a part of it and see that every day. [read more...]

Sidney Jackson, Teacher

Sidney has worked with children for more than 30 years and has been on our staff since 1986! She holds her AS in Early Childhood Education. "My teaching style is to show tolerance of and patience for different ways of thinking. I teach children to respect others. I try to model this by respecting others." [read more...]

Elia Jimenez, Teacher

Elia worked with children for 14 years before joining our staff in 2011. She has completed 24 units in Early Childhood Education. "I decided to be a teacher because I love children and I would like to show the children the best of myself." [read more...]

Nico Mejia, Teacher

Nico has worked with young children for 8 years. She has completed 15 units in early education and is working on completing her certificate. She has worked in our Center since 2008. "I became a teacher because I love the children. I like to see how they grow up and to see the different ways they learn inside and outside." [read more...]

Gina Rodriguez, Teacher

Gina has worked with children for 20 years, 15 of them here at our Center. She has her certificate (40+ units) in Early Childhood Education. "I am proud of the quality of care that we offer, the great reputation we have, and the wonderful, loving teachers that we have at our Center." [read more...]

Dennise Ramirez, Teacher

Denise had two years of student teaching experience before joining our program in 2015. She has Associate Teacher and IT certificates from SBCC and has completed 37 Early Childhood Education units. "I love children. I want to teach them and be a positive figure in their lives. I enjoy seeing them play, learn, and grow. [read more...]

Christian Patterson, Teacher

Christian volunteered with elementary and preschool children for 7 years before joining our staff. He has his AS in Early Childhood Education. "My favorite children's book is "Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats. I love the sense of wonder and curiosity that the main character has. I hope to instill that in the children that I work with. I'm proud of the sense of community that I feel among the teachers here at the Center." [read more...]

Mandy Katje, Teacher

Mandy joined our school in 2014. She was a student teacher and substitute teacher for 4 years before joining our staff. Mandy has a BA in English and 37 ECE units. "I am caring and relational. I like to plan my curriculum around the interests of the children I'm working with in order to greater engage them in the experience." [read more...]