Montecito employs a teaching staff of 30 professionals comprised of Teachers, and Assistant Teachers. The administrative staff consists of the Director, Curriculum Coordinator, Finance Officer, Office Manager, Receptionist, and Bookkeeper.
Carmen Gilman jjoined Montecito in October, 2012, as our newest member of our drop-in Enrichment team! She joined Miss Alicia and Miss Louise for 5 afternoons per week. Carmen has been working as a teacher for about 20 years. She has worked as a teacher in preschool and K-5th settings, and as a Parent Educator in San Jose. Her background is in Psychology and Child Development and she is currently working on a Certificate for Early Intervention and Special Needs. She is very happy to be a part of Montecito and to support our programs and the learning enrichment for the students. She strongly believes that not only meeting the child’s individual needs is important, but that it is also important to work together with every family to support each child’s optimal development and learning.
Teacher Liz joined Montecito this year in 2012, and she teachers our morning and afternoon fours classes (including "Kinder Prep") with Teacher Rebecca in the Blue Room. Most of her working life has been directly with children. Liz feels she was born to teach, as both of my parents were university professors and one of her two sisters is currently a teacher as well. Liz enjoys helping develop the minds of a much younger crowd. She speaks French and can understand basic Spanish. She has attended countless trainings and workshops dealing with early childhood and continues to take numerous interesting classes at several local colleges. Teacher Liz' interest in working with young children began as a teenager when, together with a friend, she created and ran a summer day camp. With up to 12 three-(3) to seven (7)-year-old participants, they spent most of their time outside, as Liz lived next to a park in Chicago. This, along with a variety of other later jobs, put Liz through college where she obtained a BA in Cultural Anthropology and French. Since she finished the degree early, Liz decided to take a break from school and worked for The National Opinion Research Center before moving to the West Coast. She continued to work in social research but also started volunteering, and then working, for a local YMCA. As she began to have her own children, Liz realized that working with young people was what she wanted to do. She has not stopped since. In her 20 years with the YMCA, Liz developed, ran, and taught in many different types of children’s programs. After her two (2) girls became more independent, she decided to try teaching in a low income community where the focus was on getting children ready to be successful in Kindergarten. She had a wonderful classroom there for seven (7) years until their state funding was cut. Then, Liz spent a year teaching at one of the Google Children’s Centers. Teacher Liz is ery excited to be given the opportunity to join the community here at Montecito, and she feels it is a special place. Teacher Liz feels he has found a new home here, and she looks forward to becoming a partner with all of us at Montecito in the early education of all of our children.
Miss Shahnaz came to Montecito in November of 2004 as a substitute teacher. Shortly thereafter, she joined the regular staff as a Teacher's Assistant in our three-& four-year-old classes, and now she works in the Young Fives/Pre-K class with Teacher Gina. Since 2004, Miss Shahnaz has earned a Teacher's Assistant Certificate and she has completed 17 Early Childhood Education units at Foothill College. She also has volunteered at the San Jose State University Child Development Center as part of her coursework in Early Childhood Education. Shahnaz has a passion working with children and feels it is a very rewarding experience to engage with them and teach them, because she is able to help them express their creativity while providing a fun, safe and caring environment in which to learn and grow. Miss Shahnaz truly believes in Montecito's teaching philosophy and enjoys having both of her grandchildren attend as well!
Alicia joined Montecito in 2008 as an assistant in our threes program. She is the life coach of five, and a former owner of her own child care facility. Alicia’s extensive background in child care and development spans 30 years. We are thrilled to have her share her experience with us.
Gina Souza joined Montecito as a Teacher in August, 2013. In the spring of 2013, she volunteered and interned in the Yellow Room (AM threes), so she was able to get to know the children and teachers. Gina also worked during the Summer 2013 in our fun Music & Magic camp and substituted in our wonderful Summer programs. Gina's work with children began 15 years ago, when she was a substitute Teacher's Aassistant in a long- term position for the San Mateo County Department of Education. For 5 years, Gina worked for the San Carlos School District with children ages 3 to 5, and in a Pre-K Special Day Class, which was a play-based program. While working in San Carlos, she spent one(1) year as the afternoon Teacher in the toddler room at Happy Campers Child Care Center. She also spent two (2) years with the Campbell School District, working with children with severe to moderate autism in the K-2ndgrade age group. Gina has certificates from the Bev Bos workshop “Good Stuff for Kids” and the Santa Clara Unified School District's “No Child Left Behind Act of 2002”. In addition she has attended many workshops and training programs to develop specific chlid development skills. Currently, Gina has 39 units in Child Development and will complete her Associates Degree in Child Development in the Spring of 2014. Along the way, she has followed other career paths and opportunities, but Gina's true passion has always been working with children. Gina not only loves working with children, but she is very receptive to and in tune with their needs and she creates many opportunities to learn in a playful atmosphere.
Ria is one of the newest teachers to join our Montecito team as of August 2013. She has 18 units in Early Childhood Development from De Anza and Foothill College. Ria also taught at a summer program for school-aged children from low-income households. The summer program was intended to prepare children for the next grade level. Ria became interested in early child development while observing her eldest child reach developmental milestones in her preschool program. She figured she could help children achieve their potential if they have age-appropriate activities and models. Ria has a child in the yellow room and her eldest is a first grader. Outside of Montecito, Ria teaches religious studies for children at her local congregation and enjoys hiking with her family. She is fluent in Filipino/Tagalog, proficient in Spanish and has working knowledge of Cebuano, a Filipino dialect. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from U.C. Irvine. Ria loves working with children, she loves working with her co-teachers and connecting with the children in the Blue Room morning fours class, and she looks forward to more training to make learning fun for them!
Miss Abbie grew up in Shanghai, China and is fluent in Mandarin and English. At age 21, she became a flight attendant for a British airline and subsequently spent over 10 years traveling around the world before finally settling down in California. She joined Montecito in August 2013 with 21 child development units to start her career as an educator. She is very passionate about teaching and truly enjoys interacting with children. Miss Abbie works in the Blue Room with the 5 morning four-year-olds and she has bonded very closely with these children. She has an Assistant Teacher Permit in Child Development, with enough units to be a prescohol teacher; and she aspires to eventually become a Teacher at Montecito. Miss Abbie continues to take additional classes with the goal of obtaining aTeacher Permit, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. She is a real asset to her teaching team and a valuable member of the Montecito community and family.