Nicolette Cerniglia

Nicolette Cerniglia was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She moved to California when she was in elementary school and has just recently relocated to the Bay Area. Through her work in doing art with children while in college, she fostered a curiosity and passion for education for primary aged children. Nicolette also was a Montessori student as a child and has always believed in the beautiful philosophy. After getting her BFA from Sacramento State University, she further cultivated her early childhood studies. She has been exploring the Montessori philosophy and has gained experience by working in other Montessori schools. Some of Nicolette’s hobbies include transforming art from recycled items, keeping up with her bonus son, and spending time with her family and her dogs.

Maggie DeSio

Ms. DeSio was born in the Northern Central Valley and was raised in Sacramento. As a young child, she attended a Montessori ​school ​in Davis. She received a Bachelor’s in Humanities from The Evergreen State College in Washington State. Whil​e​ working on her degree, she ​had the opportunity to work in education in various capacities, including as a paraprofessional educator, a tutor, and as a research assistant. Ms. DeSio moved to the Bay Area after completing her degree in 2015, and worked for a number of years as a Behavioral Therapist. It was during this time that she rediscovered Montessori and began to develop a passion for Early Childhood Education. She began teaching preschool in 2017 and she joined GLM in 2018. Ms. DeSio believes the child to be a capable and competent agent in their own learning and enjoys facilitating their growth. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time at home cooking, reading, making electronic music, and cuddling with her cat. She also enjoys getting out into nature for hiking and swimming.

Tamara Dormon

Ms. Dormon grew up in Seattle, where she discovered early the joys of working with children through many happy hours of babysitting a young cousin. Ms. Dormon moved to the Bay Area as a young adult, where she attended college while working as a nanny. She earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and afterward obtained a Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. After numerous years of working in the corporate world, Ms. Dormon decided to change course. She took a job with a social services agency that provides support for children with developmental disabilities. In this role Ms. Dormon came upon the wonders of Montessori education. She was immediately struck by how right it felt, and soon afterward earned a diploma from the North American Montessori Center. In her work with children, Ms. Dormon strives to foster a sense of awe about the world, as well as a strong sense of security. She is thrilled to be a part of the amazing school community at GLM. In her free time, Ms. Dormon loves to read, eat out at the many fabulous Bay Area restaurants, hike, and spend time with her family.

Wolfgang Ettenreich

Wolfgang was born and raised in Augsburg, a city in the South of Germany. After enjoying the close proximity of the Alps for years and travelling to many countries of Europe, he visited California for the first time in 1996. In May 2000 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Wolfgang holds a M.S. in Computer Science & Theoretical Medicine from the Technical University of Munich.

After working as a software engineer in the Silicon Valley for several years, he changed his career and received his AMI Montessori diploma from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California in Mountain View in 2006. After some years as a teacher in the classroom, he switched over to take on more administrative work, bringing together his knowledge of Montessori and an extensive computer background. In 2017 he started teaching beginner’s robotics classes for elementary.

In his free time he loves playing the Australian didgeridoo and lately a new invention called RAV drum. He is committed to the spiritual path of the Diamond Approach and is one of the very few certified facilitators for Walking-In-Your-Shoes® ( in the Bay Area (

Jonathan Gordillo

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.

Vincent LaRocca

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.

Somsy Phonexaysitthidet

Ms. Phonexaysitthidet (PON-SE-SIT-TI-DAY) was born in Laungprabang, Laos and came to the United States in 1980. She graduated from high school in 1984 at Freemont High. In 1985 she began working at a public elementary school as a Laotian bilingual support teacher and stayed until 2003. While in the service of public education, she went back to college for five years to study liberal arts. In mid 2003 she was introduced to Montessori and impressed with the philosophy, she decided to take the Montessori training at the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Leandro. She then worked at Rising Starr Montessori school for seven years years, before joining GLM in 2011. She has been living in Oakland for three decades and married for thirty three years to a wonderful husband who served in the social services in Oakland. It is an honor for her to support and teach within the GLM community. In her spare time she enjoys working out at the gym and cooking healthy food from scratch.

Victorina Santiago

Ms. Santiago comes from Jalisco, Mexico. She has been living in the United States since 1990 and teaching since 2002. She’s mom to five children, ages 33 through 40, and lots of grandchildren. She attended the American College and obtained an Early Childhood Education Certificate. She likes reading, dancing and playing with her grandchildren. She is happy to have the opportunity to share her Mexican heritage and her native language of Spanish with the children at GLM. She is very grateful to be part of the school community and hopes she is helping the children become good human beings who are learning to be kind.

Danny Tien

Mr. Tien was born in Beiha, China. His family immigrated to this country when he was 10 years old because his parents wanted a better life, especially for him. At six months old, he had an accident and hurt his right leg. He was very lucky to get into Shriners Hospitals for Children and the care he received there changed his life. He attended Merritt College and studied Child Development. In addition he received his Administrative Site Director units and holds a AMI diploma from the Montessori Institute of the Northwest for Infant/toddler level. When he first stepped into a Montessori classroom at GLM he observed how quiet, calm, patient, and well mannered the children were. His teaching philosophy is supporting children to make their own choices and helping them develop intrinsic happiness. He joined GLM in the early 1990s. He taught in a primary classroom for seven years before switching over to work with toddlers. He now enjoys his new role as staffing coordinator. He loves spending time with his family, cooking, and bowling.

Jared Mata

Jared Mata was born in San Jose but moved up and down the western coast of America until he was eighteen. From age eighteen to age twenty-six he ran a brewery and restaurant in Spain which sparked his love of good food and business development. His primary interests are traveling and helping small businesses grow. Outside of work you can find him volunteering at an animal shelter or trying to find his new favorite restaurant. He is a fan of a good book, a quiet night, and is always up for learning something new.