Meet the Team
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.
Briana is a bilingual teacher, fluent in Spanish and English. She studied Child Development at Cerro Coso and Peralta Colleges. She has worked in the child development field for over seven years. She has been at Oakland Garden School since 2018. Briana has worked across a variety of age groups. She is passionate about building relationships with families and getting to know all of the children and families at OGS.
'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.
Katie has worked with children for over eleven years and is currently completing her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate about teaching and supporting love, kindness, compassion, respect, and perseverance in the classroom. Katie believes children are natural born learners and appreciate their open-minded curiosity for the world around them. When she's not working, Katie enjoys being outside, and loves tennis and spending time with family and her dogs.
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.
Lexi joined the OGS family in 2023 with over six years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field. She is passionate about the opportunity to be a part of a child's learning experience and is working on completing her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, Dance and Humanities. Lexi grew up in Arizona and came to the Bay Area in 2017. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and exploring new places and cultures. She has a pet Gecko named Bonnie.
Melissa joined the team at Oakland Garden School in 2022. She has worked with children since 2017 both as a nanny and as a toddler teacher. Melissa has a talent for building routines in the classroom and engaging children fully in everyday activities. She is passionate about watching the personalities of young children emerge and develop as they grow.
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.
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.