Meet the Team



Amber recently joined OGS as an aide, looking to learn more about working in the Early Childhood Education field. She loves children and is interested in building relationships with them.


Anila graduated from Allama Iqbal Open University. She has over 28 years of teaching experience with children of varying ages. Anila is passionate about working with children and especially loves teaching them sports and other physical activities. 


Areli was born in San Francisco and is a lifelong resident of Oakland. In highschool, she participated in an internship where she discovered her passion for working with children. She began working as an assistant teacher in a Spanish speaking program in 2017 and has nearly four years of experience working in preschools. Areli finds it incredibly fulfilling to see children's faces light up when they achieve a milestone or discover something new, and it motivates her to help them further succeed in their development. Outside of teaching, a few of her passions and interests include music, hiking (she loves Lake Chabot), and spending time with loved ones. She has played the piano and guitar since she was nine years old and always loved being outdoors. 


Barry has over ten years of cumulative experience working with preschool children. He studied Early Childhood Education at Cerritos College and  began teaching preschool in 1979, then after many years on a different career path returned to the field in 2015. Barry has worked as a preschool teacher, toddler teacher and a substitute, and joined Oakland Garden School as a floating teacher in 2023. He enjoys the opportunity to visit a variety of classrooms and getting to know all of the children.


'Teacher C' joined the OGS community as a substitute in 2021 and quickly won the hearts of children and teachers with her positive attitude and willingness to jump in and get her hands dirty. A few months later, she joined the Sprouts team full-time and found her true OGS home.  Calvatta earned her Associate Teacher certificate from Chabot College and has nearly fifteen years of experience with young children. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. 


Candace has over ten years of experience as a dedicated and passionate mentor and youth advocate. She has taught both elementary and preschool students in private and public school settings. She is passionate about incorporating art and movement, music and history in education and about serving children in her community and helping them succeed, and grow in positive ways, instilling pride, and the direction to becoming well-rounded, culturally aware, resilient, purposeful individuals.


Izzy  was a nanny for over fifteen years prior to becoming a preschool teacher. She earned her Associates degree and Lead Teacher certificate during the Covid pandemic. Izzy loves to sing and dance. Pretend play is her favorite learning experience as she believes it is the perfect opportunity for the child to express their personal creativity. Her personal teaching philosophy incorporates Reggio and Montessori influences as she lets the child take the lead. Her intention is to help extend their thought process by observing on a deeper level, ensuring they get the necessary support they need. She likes to say, "Not every child learns the same way".


Jonathan holds a BA in Education with an emphasis in Special Education from Boise State University. He has been teaching for many years and has a wide range of experience, including in Head Start programs, multi-language and ESL programs, and as a Teaching Coordinator in an outdoor education program for elementary aged children. He is experienced in and passionate about emergent curriculum and project based learning. He is often seen with his adorable service dog, Zydeco. 


Karel is currently in the process of becoming a licensed therapist. She is very passionate about helping the community through a holistic approach. She has worked with children since 2016 as a nanny and as a co-facilitator of preschool learning in a Forest School setting. She believes that children are our future and this is the critical age to develop their own understanding about the world. In her spare time, she advocates for nature in all its forms, art, writing poetry, and reading books about history, therapy, and the human condition. 


Lakeisha studied Child Development at American River College and Merritt College. She has been working in Early Childhood for over fourteen years. She is passionate about supporting children in making discoveries and learning outdoors. In her spare time, she also enjoys exploring the outdoors, taking road trips with her husband and spending time with her own two amazing children. 


Maria was born and raised in Oakland, and currently lives in Oakland. She is fluent in Spanish and English. Maria has completed over 30 units in ECE and is pursuing my Early Childhood Education degree from Chabot College. She taught at a Montessori school for 7 years and is super excited to bring her knowledge and experience in that approach to the Reggio Emilia approach.  Her favorite areas of teaching are supporting social and emotional skills while watching children grow and learn. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, traveling to new countries, swimming with her daughter, and having picnics at Lake Elizabeth.


Rhiannon has over 25 years experience in Early Childhood Education. She is energetic, dedicated, and loves teaching. She believes that preschool is the foundation of a child’s educational journey, and her passion is to give each child a positive learning experience. 

Rhiannon loves animals, and in her spare time, she enjoys caring for her five cats and one dog. She also enjoys swimming, singing, camping, hiking, and most of all, her family tradition of going to Disneyland with her mom.


Sam has over seven years of experience working with children and loves supporting young children in the beginning of their learning journey. She studied Early Childhood Education at Diablo Valley College and is passionate about Reggio Emilia inspired learning experiences. Sam values the relationships with children and families and strives to provide an atmosphere where children feel safe and valued for who they are and what they bring to the world. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and two children, Gabe and Eleanor.