Johanna was born and raised in the Bay Area. Her parents moved to California together as immigrants and Johanna quickly saw that education could provide the opportunities that her parents always dreamed of. Growing up with three sisters and a close circle of friends, Johanna learned the value of empathy and generosity. She wondered and cared deeply about the world around her, which lead her to travel the world, study abroad, and pursue a History degree at UC San Diego. It was there that Johanna worked in summer camps and in a recreation center and was inspired to begin a life-long career working with children. After graduating, she began work at a preschool and then attended UC Berkeley to learn more about child development in education and its role in social justice. After getting her Masters in Education, she taught in public schools for 9 years with the aim of creating a warm, positive learning environment that would foster life-long joyful learners. She loves being with family and friends, travel, hiking, gardening, yoga, reading, and working with kids.
Olivia is a native to California in the truest sense. She has lived in Northern California, Southern California, and the Bay Area. As an independent oldest sibling, she grew up riding bikes with the neighbors, playing hopscotch with friends, and she took theater, dance, and singing classes. At fifteen, Olivia worked at the YMCA, which sparked a life-long journey of working with children. She loved being the one consistent adult that the toughest kids could talk to and be able to count on. Being from a small town, Olivia realized that she was interested in exploring the world outside of her immediate experience. She went to UC San Diego and studied Human Development, studying abroad in Spain in her junior year. Meanwhile, she worked with preschoolers and as a nanny. Olivia quickly realized the inequities that lay in education, and decided to pursue a Masters degree at UC Berkeley to learn about the ways that she could reach every child in education. After 9 years in the classroom, she is excited to work with early learners. She enjoys being outside in the sun, and being around people.
Johanna and Olivia met in 2007 in the Developmental Teacher Education Master's Program at UC Berkeley's School of Education. It was immediately clear to both that they were like-minded hopeful educators. Over the last seven years, Johanna and Olivia worked in public schools in the Bay Area and collaborated in making their teaching equitable to all students. It was through their experience that they gained the tools needed to apply best practices for children. Just as they developed powerful relationships with their elementary school students, they continue to prioritize creating trusting relationships for the children in their care. Their mission continues to be to nurture children so they can be their smartest, strongest, and happiest selves.
Devin Lee grew up in Nevada and California, spending most of their childhood sinking their teeth into pockets of nature still left untamed, foraging wild terrain for fallen flower petals and shiny rocks to concoct the most fantastical potions. They grew up surrounded by healers, artists, single moms, immigrants, love practioners, survivors and activists. Devin graduated from San Francisco State University with Bachelors’ in Anthropology and Women & Gender Studies, identifies as queer and primarily practices their Hawaiian and Chinese cultures. Their identity, experiences, and experiences of their ancestors greatly influences Devin’s approach to childcare. Devin believes it is important for our youth to have a safer space to creatively explore their various identities and ancestors; while seeing their identities as unique and reflected in a larger community. Devin has been working with children professionally since 2016 and wants to continue facilitating safer spaces where our youth can create at the intersection of healing, social justice, and art.
Nandi is originally from Ohio but has been in the Bay Area for three years. Growing up Nandi was always an adventurous and quiet child. As the younger sister to two older brothers, Nandi loved playing street hockey, riding bikes around the neighborhood, or hanging out Grandma's house. Nandi graduated from Allegheny College with B.A. in Environmental Studies and minored in Black Studies, where she worked with local after school programs. After her sophomore year Nandi took a year off and worked as teacher's aid in Philadelphia with 7th grade students. During this time Nandi fell in love with education and providing an equitable education for all students. After graduating, Nandi worked as an garden educator at an elementary school in San Francisco. During this time, Nandi's teaching philosophy emerged as providing all students with experimental learning, social justice, and fun! In Nandi's free time she enjoys reading, hiking, looking at iSpy books and hanging out with friends.
Fereshteh (Feri) was born and raised in Iran. From her adolescence on, she had a strong desire to discover the world. After receiving her high school diploma in Tehran, Iran, she began her higher education in Europe. In Germany, she graduated at University of Munich with a MA in Clinical Child Psychology. In Austria she was awarded at the University of Salzburg with a Ph.D. in Psychology and Sociology. She returned to Iran and worked for a long time in different fields of child psychology. In 1999, she emigrated to the United States. After some years working for a company and foundation in Los Angeles, which gave her the possibility to obtain her Green Card, she moved to Bay Area, received her citizenship, and worked with different preschools. Fereshteh has experience with different societies and different cultures such as Europe, Middle East, and America, and speaks three languages. She appreciates diversity. She loves children and believes that the preschool age is the most important period in a person's life to grow to be an independent, strong, secure, achieve higher intellectual abilities, and become a happy individual. She likes to help children in this journey. Fereshteh loves reading, music, art of cinema, socializing with friends, and walking.
Lucas Brown grew up in the rural forested landscape of North Carolina where he was fortunate to have long full days of roaming the rolling hills and creek ravines. These experiences, coupled with a degree in Wildlife Sciences, have entirely influenced his work with children. Lucas believes firmly that developing a right relationship with the earth, one of reciprocal love and affection, is of utmost importance for a healthy life. Lucas comes with over a decade of working with children and adults in atmospheres conducive to this learning. Lucas also believes deeply in play and art to ground the body and spirit in rhythm and to foster healthy relationships with peers and one's self. When not with children Lucas can be found playing capoeira angola, painting acrylics on wood, studying the art of the clown, and wandering the East Bay Hills.
Sarah grew up in the deserts of Southern California near Joshua Tree on a small farm. Homeschooled in a “back the basics” type environment and curriculum, she learned the value of composting, farming, food preserving, and animal care. She spent most of her childhood days hunting for rocks or quail/dove nests to peep at, collecting animal dropping in baby food jars for her “lab,” and enjoying warm nights watching meteor showers under the bright desert stars with her 5 younger siblings.
Sarah has worked with children of all ages since her early teens. She started out assisting in the children’s ministry at her parents’ churches. She also worked as a counselor-in-training at Cedar Brook Camps. There, she worked both as Camp Counselor and Life Guard. Since then, she has nannied and traveled, and ended up in the Bay Area where she became a mother to a wonderful child. She’s also earned an A.A. in Social Behavior Sciences at Berkeley City College. She loves interacting with children and how they can reconnect us to the awe and wonder in the world and give us invitations to be and stay mindful.
Sylvia was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her parents met in Costa Rica while her father was serving in the Peace Corps. Her mother emigrated from Costa Rica and growing up, Sylvia’s primary language was Spanish. She has always been grateful to grow up in a bilingual household and is an advocate for multi-language learners. Growing up she spent many summers with her family in Costa Rica, where her love for education started. At a very young age she remembers going to school with her aunt, who was a grade school teacher, and feeling so joyful at the opportunity to study and learn. This curiosity and joy for learning has followed her throughout her life and she looks forward to supporting others in finding their passion in learning and life.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor Degree in Business with an emphasis in International Marketing. As part of her undergraduate studies she attended Semester at Sea and spent 100 days circumnavigating the globe while studying with over 600 students. This program offered her the opportunity to visit and study in 10 different countries as well as do field practicum in Hong Kong, Vietnam and India. She went on to receive her MBA from Nova Southeastern University and spent her last semester studying abroad in Panama. She has always had a passion for education and believes that world travel is synonymous with education.
After working in international business, Sylvia moved to Japan in 2005 to teach ESL. She immediately knew that education was where she wanted to be. She continued to create opportunities to mentor students and grow as an educator.
Sylvia has supported the opening of 3 school campuses and spent the last 9 years of her career as Head of School for a 6th – 12th grade school that fosters a model of education focusing on the whole child: emotionally, socially and educationally. In this role, she worked closely with students to motivate and mentor them and help them realize their potential. She is very excited to join the Storybrook team and work with early learners.
Sylvia enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, dance, muay thai, yoga and music.
Hello! My name is Jennifer and I grew up in Burlingame, California. Second oldest out of five, who spent a lot of time in the outdoors, playing hide and seek, tag, digging in the dirt for worms and salamanders, riding bikes, rollerblading, and playing four square with all the kids from the block. I still enjoy all of it along with playing soccer, painting, and taking long walks on the beach. Childcare was introduced to me in my early teenage years since my mother was a Nanny. I graduated from Burlingame High School and decided to continue working and traveling. I loved babysitting my nieces and nephews especially during the summer. I always invented creative and fun games, and I find that children have always connected to my personality and my exciting spirit. Working with children of all ages has been the most rewarding and fulfilling for me. Children are a delightful gift. They bring so much joy to my heart and make everyday so much better.
My name is Jennifer Gamas, I grew up in Spanish speaking household most of my life. I went to school for environmental studies and early childhood education. I feel my purpose and goal is to do my part in helping guide our youth for a brighter future. I would like to take part in the bettering of our education system by providing children with a more in-depth hands on approach to learning that encourages children to develop emotionally cognitively and physically while creating a safe space for them to grow as individuals and explore the world around them. I strive to maintain wonder in my own life and the lives I encounter, so that I am always eager to learn and grow not to mention it keeps life exciting.
Hi! I’m Laura and I’m so excited to be starting my journey as a preschool teacher here at Storybrook Oakland! I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have recently returned from living in Portland Oregon. I’m so happy to be back in California. I have always worked with children in some capacity in my life and truly love my days spent with them in the classroom. I’m studied at Santa Rosa Jr College in the Redwoods and began my teaching journey at a small school in San Francisco :) I love the wonder and curiosity children bring to learning and how joyful the little moments are with them, I believe that as teachers we learn right along with them as they discover how the world around them works! In my spare time I love riding my bike, hiking and spending time with my friends and family. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of the families and children and be part of this wonderful community :)
Breana grew up here in Oakland, California. She was an adventurous and curious child. She has one younger sister, (they’re 11 months apart) and they’re best friends. Breana enjoyed building club houses in the back yard trees, playing Barbies, and riding bikes or skates around the neighborhood. She attended Merritt College where she obtained a certificate of completion in Early Childhood Education. Soon after her studies, she went on to become the head preschool teacher of a school in San Ramon, CA. After her departure, she took on a position working with children with developmental disabilities as a behavior intervention specialist. Working with children is one of Breana’s many life fulfilling passions. She truly enjoys being a part of their early learning journeys, and helping set their foundation. Breana also enjoys music, cooking, hanging out with her 8 year old son, and being out in open nature.
Monica is enthusiastic to be teaching at Storybrook Preschool. She has always heard from her friends, that guiding young children is her natural calling. Seeing the joy and excitement of all things new for preschool children gives Monica the passion to teach this remarkable age. She grew up in Los Altos spending days outside with friends biking, running, gathering, experimenting, and developing every creative game they could imagine. They started young babysitting the neighborhood kids and continued through high school. Monica was a sixth-grade camp counselor and Special Olympics guide. She moved to Oakland to study art, at California College of the Arts and received her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She worked in Palo Alto for years, but always had the travel bug, the desire to see more of the world around us. She spent many years travelling and studied abroad in Firenze, Italy, then spent the summer in Iceland. She went back and forth to Europe many times, backpacking and camping in Baja for months on end. Being emerged in so many different cultures really opened her mind and heart to celebrate all. While snowboarding at Kirkwood for eight years, Monica went to culinary school in SF and received a culinary degree in pastry from Tante Marie. For years, she worked at the most amazing restaurants in the Bay Area, creating pastries and wedding cakes. She married and they decided to travel national parks throughout America, and what beauty America has to behold. They had two beautiful children who are teens, 13 and 16. Her oldest is getting ready for college next year and they are in deep with helping his dreams come true. Monica treasures her time at home for fifteen years. She assisted the teachers every day in their classrooms and worked on fundraisers to support the arts, music and PE programs, from preschool through elementary school. She always wanted to teach, and so received a degree in Early Childhood Development from Merritt College. She has been teaching for the past few years in Oakland. Monica feels like her life experiences have gone full circle, and she is able to bring to teaching her love for art, nature, cooking and curiosity.
Shiloh grew up in gorgeous Oakland, California. They have an older brother that they still love to dig in the dirt and ride bicycles with! Shiloh earned their Bachelors of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and is finished their Master’s degree in Special Education there, as well. Shiloh was a Paraprofessional for 3 years in an elementary Special Day Class, where they became even more inspired to learn from differently-abled learners. Shiloh went on to be one of the founding teachers at Storybrook Oakland, and contributed greatly to the values that Storybrook Oakland holds dear today. Shiloh truly believes that learning happens through our innate curiosities and relation to our environments and to one another. They are an active member of Veteran’s For Peace and seek every opportunity to teach to transgress oppressions.