Kensington Staff


Hello! My name is Ana. I was born in Brazil and I came to the United States in 2001. I speak Portuguese, Spanish and English. In the classroom I like to teach Spanish to the children. When I am not at work, I like to sing and dance.


My name is Denisha. I was born and raised in Oakland, CA. I love to listen to music and writing poetry. I love to see the academic progress as well as physical growth of children over the year. In both the classroom and out door environment, I enjoy sharing movement and arts and crafts with the children.


Hello! My name is Fahima. I was born and raised in Algeria. I came to the United States in 2010. My native language is Berber, which is north Africain language, I speak other languages french, Arabic and English. I love working with children, and enjoy my time with them. I like music and cooking. I am very excited for this opportunity to be a part of community and work with such purposeful children.


Hello everyone!! I’m Fernando Gutierrez and Im excited to be apart of Growing Light Montessori!
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, I’ve been teaching for the past 10 years and currently reside in the East Bay. I graduated from SF state with a BA in Liberal studies with a concentration in education and what I love about teaching is sharing my passion and curiosity for discovering new ideas and experiences.

As a fluent Spanish speaker I can appreciate cultural diversity within the community and also feel excited about sharing Spanish with the children in the class.

Some of my hobbies and interest are cooking, hiking, gardening, art, and practicing yoga and martial arts. I’m grateful to be apart of such a wonderful school and community and look forward to growing with everyone while working with such caring educators!


Hi, my name is Jiab. I was born in Thailand in a city called Chang Kong and I am also a refugee. I came to the United States in 1993 when I was 14 years old. I went to Richmond High School and I graduated in 1997. I can speak Mien, Thai, Laos and English. I am Mien and I am a mother of three children. I have worked in preschool from the day I graduated high school and until today. I love to join the kids, in any kind of game, art, crafts, movement and Sports. I love what I do and I believe that I do my best with the children that I know. I love the children like I love my family.


Julie was born in Burma, now known as Union of Myanmar. She speaks Burmese and English fluently and a little bit of Cantonese. She was formerly a nationally ranked #1 tennis player in Burma for thee consecutive years and a Division 1 tennis player in Florida in the early 1990s.She loves teaching any age of children, especially 3-6, and seeing the moment of “ah-huh”. This primary age group is when the children discover the love of learning, and I enjoy being a part of it.

When she is not teaching, she is in the garden or on the pickleball courts, and sheI loves volunteering at her church and taking road trips with her grown kids.


Laura was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has been a California resident for 40 years. Laura has a BA in Human Development and an AMS teaching credential. She has been a preschool teacher for 21 years and a children’s dance and movement teacher since 1989.

Laura enjoys teaching all subjects, but especially loves sharing nature with children. She believes art education is essential in early education and encourages children to Be thinkers and creators.
Laura enjoys ballet and ice skating among other hobbies. She also loves spending time with her husband, Carlos Arellano.


Wizards teacher Maria was born and raised in Mexico City. She speaks Spanish and English. Interests she enjoys sharing with the kids are Mi culture and Baile Folklorico. When she’s not at school she likes to go for walks with her daughters and her dogs.


My name is Maria, but I’m best known as Teacher Maria. I was born in Autlan, Jalisco, Mexico. My family and I came to the United States when I was 4 years old. I was raised in Oakland California and currently reside in San Pablo. I’m fluent in Spanish and English. I’ve been teaching for the past 15 years, 11 of which have been at Growing Light.

When I’m not at school I enjoy traveling (near or far) with my family, going to baseball games, arts and crafts with my two daughters, watching movies, and spending time with the ones I love.

When I’m in the classroom I love to teach arts and crafts, continents, botany, and zoology.


Rachel was born and raised in Auburn, Maine and is of Franco-American descent. Her first language was French, but now only speaks English with a little bit of leftover French!

She is a grandparent of 5 children who all live with her and loves sharing stories with the school children of the silly things her grandchildren do and say.

When she is not at work she is an amateur genealogist, researching ancestry and creating projects for family and friends. Her family always jokes that she talks to dead people! Additionally, she loves scrapbooking and making cards.


Hello, my name is Sheryl Hernandez. I was born in Mexico City and raised in the Bay Area. I speak both English and Spanish fluently. I am a student pursuing my degree in early childhood education. Working with children is a passion of mine. When I’m not teaching I love to spend time with my dogs, ducks, and my loved ones. I also enjoy listening to music and watching old movies. I look forward to getting to know each of your children.