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.
Ms. Clark was born in Denver, Colorado and was raised on the east coast in Alabama and Maryland. She comes from a very 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 comes to Grand Lake Montessori after working for a year as an Assistant Teacher in a primary-age classroom at LePort Montessori Preschool in Emeryville. Ms. Clark believes strongly in the Montessori philosophy of allowing children the freedom to explore and learn independently and at their own pace. She has a particular interest in art, stories, film, and geography. She also loves music and plays piano in her spare time.
Bio coming soon.
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!
Ms. 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-four 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 has also designed and sewn 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 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. Outside of school she enjoys cooking, cake decorating, sewing and swimming.
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.
Mosa Laren was born and raised in Southern California, and moved to the Bay Area to complete her undergraduate work at San Francisco State University. It was during this time that she took a job as an assistant in a Montessori school. She vividly remembers the moment she fell in love with Montessori as she watched a young toddler hang up her own coat. Despite years of work with children prior to this, she had never before witnessed such independence and satisfaction. After spending some time in traditional education, teaching both second and fourth grades, Mosa came back to Montessori when she realized that it was the best path for her own daughter (who attends GLM and is happy to be a part of the Redwood Elementary class). She is delighted to come to school with her daughter each morning here at GLM. Mosa received her AMI Primary Certification from Montessori Northwest in 2017. At every turn, Mosa continues to be amazed and gratified by what Montessori has to offer children and adults by way, not only of education, but spiritual growth and joy. In her spare time, Mosa enjoys the rich storytelling and literary scenes in the Bay Area, paper and textile crafts, and snuggle time with her daughter, their two cats, and good books.
Born in British Hong Kong and growing up in the Bay Area, Mr. Chu has always been interested in personal stories. He was intrigued by the stories his father told of his great-great-grandfather coming to America, of how his family has straddled two continents for many generations. His search for meaning took him to study Chinese at UC Berkeley and getting a master’s in classical Chinese at Peking University in Beijing. In China, while teaching English, Jeff discovered his love for teaching elementary children; where his search turned to understanding what it meant to be human. After coming home, he happened upon Montessori and discovered that Montessori gave him a framework to do just that.
After completing his AMI elementary diploma in Minnesota in 2012, Mr. Chu ran a successful elementary classroom in Hollister for six years. Jeff now joins GLM as the elementary lead teacher.
While he hasn’t found the meaning of life, he has made it his mission to help his students find meaning in theirs. When not teaching, Mr. Chu spends time with his wife Tracy and two cats, studies Spanish, reads history, plays the piano, and is in the middle of restoring a 1972 VW beetle.
Adrienne grew up in Fort Worth, Texas where she attended a public Montessori school from 2nd-5th grade. She graduated from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema and Photography and moved to the Bay Area in 2003. As an elementary student, Adrienne fell in love with Montessori principles and experienced first-hand the benefits of a Montessori education. It was this experience that led her to Montessori teacher-training. She earned her American Montessori Society Primary Certificate from St. Mary’s College in 2008. During her training, she interned at a Montessori school that was also a farm- complete with goats, chickens, horses, vegetable gardens, and fruit trees. She taught there for seven years, serving as the Lead Teacher and Director for the last four years. Adrienne stopped teaching full-time to have her first child. She is delighted to be a part of the GLM community as a staff member and parent. She enjoys spending time with her husband and sons exploring all that the area has to offer and is passionate about travel, reading, and photography.
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.