Brittney Ward

Ms. Brittney Ward was born and raised in Oakland. She is the second oldest in her family, has four brothers and was raised by her loving and caring maternal grandparents. She is currently attending Diablo Valley College pursuing her educational goals in Early Childhood Development and Dental Assisting. Her interest in children began at the age of 9 when she had her own mini babysitting business watching over her younger brothers, cousins, and children of friends of the family. She was introduced to the Montessori philosophy and to GLM through working with a substitute teacher company. She believes that all children are unique and have something special that they can bring to their own education. She is excited to start her first year this fall of 2021 at Grand Lake Montessori. Her passions outside of school include spending time with her son and family, sports, baking, cooking, and graphic design.

Verónica Romeo

Verónica Romeo was born and partially raised in Germany. She is the daughter of a neuroscientist and a Montessorian and so received a Montessori education inside and outside the home. Her family moved to Los Angeles, CA when she was a preteen. As an adult, she returned to her Montessori roots working as a assistant in both primary and toddler Montessori communities while receiving her Bachelors from UCSC. She then decided to complete her AMI training at the primary level at Montessori Northwest in Portland. She completed her Masters in Education from Loyola University shortly after and led her own classroom for a couple of years. In 2021, Veronica very enthusiastically joining the GLM staff as the support teacher in the Magnolia class. She is excited to work in a community of educators that follow the Montessori philosophy of making Montessori available to every child. Verónica is an avid earring collector and loves to travel, try new foods, and go on adventurous hikes with her dog.

Mary Aima

Mrs. Aima was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in the small town of Webster Groves with her parents, four sisters and a brother. During her summers she and her family enjoyed traveling throughout the United States. She studied psychology while working at a deaf institute as a house mother for four years. She then traveled to Haiti to volunteer for three years at an orphanage, where she was the Activity Director. It was there that she met her husband and later they moved to California. She joined the GLM community in 1991 and has been working as one of our toddler teachers for the past twenty-nine years. During this time she has studied early childhood education and took administration classes to become a Site Supervisor. For twenty of those years she designed and sewed costumes for the GLM Performing Arts Camp, hosted by GLM every summer. She holds a AMI diploma from the Montessori Institute of the Northwest for the infant & toddler level. One of her favorite things about working with the toddlers is supporting them in their independence and watching them explore and discover things for the first time. She also values her role of supporting and collaborating with parents for the well-being of their children. Her daughter attended GLM through elementary. Outside of school she enjoys cooking, cake decorating, sewing and swimming.

Cristina Graham

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.

Leta Koerber

Ms. Koerber was born in Seattle, Washington to the proud parents of Mary and Johnny Anderson of Hot Springs and Hope, Arkansas. She grew up in Monterey, California near the beach. In 1971 Leta’s family relocated to Berkeley, California where Leta enjoyed taking care of her three younger siblings. Leta graduated from Golden Gate Academy and moved to Riverside, California and attended Riverside Medical School; after a year she realized that this was not the direction she wanted to go. Leta graduated from Contra Costa Collage in San Pablo, California persuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. In 1989 Leta started searching for a job closer to home. She feels blessed to be a part of the Grand Lake Montessori community. After working in the afternoon program and assisting Ms. Campbell in the toddler classroom, she realized that furthering her education in Montessori would be a good idea. She started taking classes at Contra Costa College through Fountainhead Montessori School. Following, supporting, having fun, and being a true advocate for the child is what Leta believes helps children develop fully. She enjoys all types of music, singing, dancing outdoor adventures and being in the Juniper classroom, which keeps her young and her brain sharp.

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.

Joaquin Dehoyos

Bio coming soon.

Rodrigo Oliveros

Bio coming soon.

Sid Leck

Ms. Leck was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. Her parents were both born and raised in Kitwe, Zambia, and moved to South Africa to attend university before she was born. Sid received a BA in Sociology from the University of Cape Town. After leaving her first job out of college, as an Assistant Fashion Buyer in Johannesburg, she traveled to Europe. It was in London, England, whilst working as a nanny, that she first discovered Montessori. She then studied at the Maria Montessori Training Institute (AMI) in London to become a Primary Montessori teacher. Working first at a Montessori school on Long Island, New York, she later moved to Oakland, California, to join GLM. She has worked in our community as a lead teacher in one of our primary/preschool classrooms for nineteen years, later transitioning into the administration as the Assistant Head of School, and in 2017 she assumed the role of Head of School. Her inspiration is one of supporting and empowering both children and adults to be their best, most fulfilled selves so that they can live fully, thrive and give back to their community. Her passions include running and hiking in nature, cooking with the treasures of food that California has to offer, spending precious family time, as well as traveling our amazing planet!

Ying Tien

Mrs. Tien was born in Vietnam and moved with her family to China. She came to the United States in January 2006. She did not speak any English upon her arrival, but began taking classes. She joined GLM in 2008 as a support teacher in the Mulberry classroom, where she is still teaching! She believes that working at GLM is a great place for her to better her English and learn Montessori philosophy: learning from the parents and community, learning from colleagues, and especially learning from the children. Children have taught her to open her mind and her heart to joy. Ms. Tien feels blessed to be a part of the GLM community, and she has completed Montessori Assistant training for both primary and toddler courses. Her goal is to help children become confident, independent learners and she believes learning should be fun. She enjoys shopping and cooking for her family in her spare time.