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 everyone! My name is Eman Alkaheli and I am currently pursuing my degree in Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State. I am very passionate about working with children and a firm believer that all children should be coddled, loved, and cared for. Also, I am fluent in both English and Arabic. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and playing with my younger brothers. I am very excited to get to know each and every one of your children and can’t wait to watch them all grow!


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.


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.


My name is Nomita. I came to the United States from India in 1984 with my husband and son. I love children and decided to work with children all my life. I enjoy seeing them grow up everyday. I worked with Contra Costa County Child Development Center for a long period of time. After my retirement, I decided to continue working with children. Now, I am working with GLMS!


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.


Hi, I am Teacher Sierra, it’s so nice to meet you!
This will be my 1st year at Growing Light Montessori, and my 9th year of teaching and building with young students. I love being a reading teacher and watching my students learn and grow. I believe that every mistake* is an attempt to learn and I always encourage students to share their experiences.

I have a bachelors in liberal arts from CSU East Bay with a minor concentration in human development, ECE. I think humans are fascinating, especially the tiny ones! Learning should always be fun and inclusive for both teachers and students. Perhaps just a bit messy too!

I grew up right here in the Bay Area in San Francisco. I love all the natural beauty we have around the bay and think it’s great that we can utilize it in our classroom experience. I look forward to all the new faces I will be seeing this year and embarking on our learning adventure together!