Ashley Vanderford

Ms. Vanderford was born and raised in the Bay Area, predominantly spending her childhood in San Lorenzo. After University she decided that she wanted to work with children and came to be an Assistant Teacher in the Brown Cottage. She fell in love with the Montessori principles and wanted to learn more. She then had an opportunity to travel and live in London for an extended time, so said goodbye to her beloved Camellia class. As luck would have it, her new job in London offered Ashley a chance to study at the Maria Montessori Training Institute (A.M.I.) and become a Montessori teacher, specialising in working with children ages 0-3 years. After 5 lovely years in the UK she has returned back to the Bay Area and her Brown Cottage team. She strives to encourage independence and a love of learning in the children that come through her classroom. During her free time she enjoys singing with friends, swing dancing and attending aerial circus classes.

Grace Mollel

Ms. Mollel was born and raised in Arusha Tanzania, East Africa, as were both of her parents. After finishing college she worked at the the NGO-Tanzanian Norwegian Aids Project in Arusha and the Kilimanjaro region as an account assistant for five years. She traveled to the United States and Oakland, California where she worked as a nanny for several years before joining GLM. She has worked as a support teacher in one of our toddler classrooms for more than 10 years. Her philosophy in her work with both children and adults is for all to be acknowledged, respected and treated with love. Her passions includes cleaning, organizing, music and spending time with family and friends.

Paul Contreras

Mr. Contreras is from the San Fernando Valley, where he first started working with students with developmental delays while in the 6th grade. His passion for empowering and advocating for youth blossomed from that experience. Paul quickly fell in love with the multiculturalism of the Bay Area while studying Sociology at UC Berkeley. After operating his own business in Berkeley, with a brief stint in the corporate world and an after-school program in Oakland, he decided to return to school to attain a degree from the Peralta Colleges in Child Development so that he could work with younger age groups and their families. He worked with the City of Oakland’s Early Head Start program for a year before making the transition to the GLM community in June of 2013. Paul spends his free time at dog parks with his two Pugs, jogging Lake Merritt, playing softball & basketball, attending concerts, and enjoying the numerous festivals and events the Bay has to offer.