Ms. Graham was born in Monterey Park, California and moved to the Central Valley as a young child. She had the pleasure of growing up there. Her grandfather owned a farm where she spent many days picking whatever fruit she wanted. She moved to the Bay Area from Visalia in 1991 to attend St. Mary’s College where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies in 1996 and her Montessori Certification in 1997. After the birth of her second son in 1999, she became a stay-at-home mom for nine years. She joined GLM in October of 2008. She says it is a wonderful feeling to help share in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. The child’s world view is beautiful and they remind her of what unconditional love truly is. Cristina has three sons, David (26), Langston (21), and Joaquin, (18) and two dogs, Lola and Buddy. She enjoys sewing, crafting, dancing, and relaxing in her backyard.
Ms. Clark was born in Denver, Colorado and was raised on the east coast in Alabama and Maryland. She comes from a large, close-knit family and has more than a dozen nieces and nephews who sparked her love of children. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a psychology minor from Brigham Young University in Utah, and she moved to the Bay Area in 2012. In San Francisco, she worked with elementary-aged children for over 3 years and gained experience with preschoolers at Friends of Potrero Hill Preschool. She came to Grand Lake Montessori after working as an Assistant Teacher in a primary-age classroom at LePort Montessori Preschool in Emeryville. Ms. Clark joined GLM in 2018 and finished her AMI Montessori Certification in 2021. She believes strongly in the Montessori philosophy of allowing children the freedom to explore and learn independently and at their own pace. Ms. Clark has a particular interest in art, stories, film, and geography. She also loves music and plays piano in her spare time.
Rynae was born and raised in the South Bay Area. Her love for travel led her to London, where she lived while obtaining a BA in Developmental Psychology. Over the past 2 decades, Rynae has served children of various backgrounds and abilities in a multitude of ways. It was the birth of her first child that led her on a journey to uncover alternative methods of education and introduced her to the wonderful world of Montessori. She completed her Primary (3-6) training at Montessori Northwest, and is in pursuit of a Masters in Early Education. Rynae finds joy through her work with children, and is excited to begin this journey with GLM. Outside of the classroom, she spends most of her time studying or hanging with her little blended family. She enjoys the outdoors and can be spotted on weekends at the beach, on a hike, or enjoying a good book at the lake.
Ms. Jenkins was born and raised in Oakland, California. She is currently attending Merritt College where she is pursuing her educational goals in both Montessori training and early childhood development. She is most passionate about life, nature and the outdoors. With a combination of both her educational goals and her passions, she has been drawn to working with children while implementing the Montessori approach to teaching and learning. She believes that when teaching children, it is extremely important to build a relationship with the families, to help support the implementation of the Montessori philosophy in and outside of the home. She is very excited to experience her first year of teaching at Grand Lake Montessori.
Vincent LaRocca grew up in California between Los Angeles and Riverside. He moved to the Bay Area after graduating from high school. Vincent attended Merritt college in the Fall of 2018, where he took his courses in early childhood development and earned his Assistant Teacher certificate. His observations in early childhood education environments taught him that children are inherent learners, as they naturally explore their surroundings. Subsequently, he became enamored with the very curious nature and love that children have for learning. It was then he decided to begin his journey in the Montessori practice of child development. Vincent joined GLM in July, 2018. He is inspired by children’s potential and wants to be a model support for them on their journey of life. Vincent enjoys listening to music, stand up comedy, hiking and exploring the Bay Area, and finding new spots to eat delicious food.
Mr. Gordillo was born in California and is a proud Oakland native. He is currently attending Cal State East Bay to earn his B.A. in Liberal Studies (multi-subject) in hopes of becoming an educator for future generations. His interest in working with children began in 2013 when he volunteered for a non-profit organization as a reading tutor in several elementary schools in East Oakland. The organization focused on closing the literacy gap in underserved schools. In 2016 he began working for that same non-profit as a tier two-literacy interventionist. He discovered GLM through a substitute agency he was working for. It was here that he was introduced to the Montessori philosophy, which resonated with him. He very much liked that the philosophy deepens one’s understanding of the potential of children and their unique abilities to transform the world. When he is not at GLM, he enjoys going on long hikes, playing the piano, writing scores, live music and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Xiang was born in GuangXi, China. She relocated to the US with her family when she was a teenager. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. degree in Child and Adolescent Development. She has also received her A.M.S. (American Montessori Soceity) credential through Saint Mary’s College and is trained in Montessori to teach Primary (3-6 years). She taught at a bilingual Montessori school for the past five years before joining GLM. In her free time, Ling enjoys hiking and spending time with her friends and family.