All Campus Staff



Sarah McArthur LeValley : Director of Social Justice

Sarah McArthur LeValley

Director of Social Justice

Sarah's journey to The Child Unique / Montessori Elementary Intermediate School has been a series of apparently disconnected themes that came together to create this wonderful opportunity. She spent over 20 years in the animation film industry and have had the privilege of working for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm Animation.  Prior to her years in animation she had a wonderful career working in theatre as a production manager.  Sarah graduated from University of California Santa Barbara with a BA in Theatre. In recent years she went back to her theatre roots doing special projects for Berkeley Repertory Theatre including Anna Deveare Smith’s project Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education on the school to prison pipeline.  This project activated her desire to do social justice work. As life would have it, a new tangent appeared, she became deeply involved in the creation of a new Montessori preschool. She worked very closely with Cindy Acker on the development of the school from it early inception through our first year of operation. The combining of her social justice work and preschool work led her right to TCU/MEISA in the new position of Director of Social Justice.  For her, it is a perfect combination. She looks forward to the work ahead.

Brendan James : Maintenance Person

Brendan James

Maintenance Person

Brendan James was born and raised in Yonkers, New York.  He recently relocated to California in 2018. Before joining The Child Unique, Brendan worked in the optical engineering and coating field, and had the opportunity to work on multinational projects such as the Hubble Telescope. In his free time, Brendan enjoys music writing and production. He has worked alongside accredited musical artists. He has a passion for children and working with his hands and is happy to be our Maintenance Person.

Rebeckah Farmer : Executive Office Manager / Head of School Assistant

Rebeckah Farmer

Executive Office Manager / Head of School Assistant

Rebeckah is a California native who first came to the Bay Area for undergraduate studies, for which she attended the University of California, Berkeley. She studied Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies with a focus on human rights and human society. Prior to joining The Child Unique, Rebeckah spent several years working in the anti-violence movement, focusing on providing preventative community education as well as advocacy and support to survivors of sexual violence. In her free time, Rebeckah volunteers in her community and enjoys going on hikes, spending time with friends, and reading.

Cindy Acker : Founder & Principal

Cindy Acker

Founder & Principal

Cindy is the founder of The Child Unique and The Montessori Elementary School of Alameda (MESA), and has served as principal for over 30 years. She has several degrees in education, human development, spirituality, cultural studies and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley. Cindy has also been involved in public policy, representing Montessori schools in California. She is a published author and a national keynote speaker. Apart from her passion for education, Cindy is a singer and choir director in Novato and a mother of three adult children. Cindy speaks Dutch and Spanish.

Tiffani Battle : Taylor Campus Director & Enrollment Specialist (based at Taylor Campus)

Tiffani Battle

Taylor Campus Director & Enrollment Specialist (based at Taylor Campus)

Tiffani Battle has been a teacher for 12 years. She has a degree in Elementary Education, her Montessori Primary Certificate and an administrative certificate. She fell in love with Montessori after receiving her degree in education and has never been happier. She loves how Montessori fosters the whole child and teaches peace. She has been a site director, head teacher, toddler teacher and elementary teacher in her journey as an educator. She is the proud mother of 2 beautiful children (a boy and a girl) and she is excited to be a part of The Child Unique community.

Miesha Lampkins : School Events Coordinator (based at Encinal Campus)

Miesha Lampkins

School Events Coordinator (based at Encinal Campus)

Miesha Lampkins was born and raised in the Bay Area. She received Montessori training and has worked within the Montessori community for over a decade. She has always had an interest in event coordination and is excited to be apart of  The Child Unique and MESA community as the School's Event Coordinator. Her warm and bubbly spirit is perfect for hosting and coordinating events. Miesha has A Degree in Liberal Arts: Social and Behavior Science.  She seeks to complete a Bachelor’s degree program in Hospitality at California State University East Bay. She has one loving daughter that she hold high at heart. She loves taking her daughter on trips and spending loving time with her as well as with her family and friends.

Zoe Lopez : Pacific Office Staff

Zoe Lopez

Pacific Office Staff

Zoe has been an assistant teacher at The Child Unique, and is excited to return to The Child Unique, after time off to become a mom. She spent several years working as a dance instructor for children and working at a local gym daycare. Currently, she is completing a degree in Psychology, and enjoys increasing her knowledge of the mental, social and emotional development of children. Zoe loves working with children of all ages and enjoys watching them learn and discover the world. In her spare time, Zoe loves learning, reading, dancing, listening to music, spending time outdoors, working out and enjoying her new baby.

Tanisha Tomasulo : Office AM Assistant

Tanisha Tomasulo

Office AM Assistant

Tanisha has been part of The Child Unique community since 2015 and is very excited to join the office staff this year. Tanisha holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Hawaii and has been a student of the practice and philosophy of the Montessori Method since her children were young. She and her husband James have three children - two boys and one girl - who have one fish, one bearded dragon, and the hope for a dog.

Sadaya McDonough : Office PM Assistant

Sadaya McDonough

Office PM Assistant

Sadaya moved to the Bay Area from Philadelphia in 2004 to volunteer with an Americorps program that focused on underserved youth in San Francisco’s Western Addition. Her professional career took her into the world of commercial property management, but after a decade of that work she decided to take a hiatus to stay home after the birth of her daughter. She discovered The Child Unique Montessori while researching schools. Transitioning back into work by joining this wonderful community has been an extraordinary opportunity. Sadaya holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Goucher College. In her free time she enjoys exploring the many varied outdoor activities the Bay Area has to offer with her family, and curling up with a good book when she gets a moment alone.


Taylor Campus Staff



Yria Ortiz : Primary 3 Teacher

Yria Ortiz

Primary 3 Teacher

Yria fell in love with the Montessori Philosophy over 20 years ago, and worked as a Primary Montessori teacher for 13 years in Sacramento, before moving to the East Bay in 2013. She took a break from teaching to spend more time with her daughter, as well as earn her certification in Massage Therapy, but soon realized teaching young children was her calling. Yria is completing her Primary Montessori Certification. In her spare time, she enjoys going on adventures with her daughter, cycling, cooking, reading, and dancing.

Sumaira Olla : Toddler 2 Teacher

Sumaira Olla

Toddler 2 Teacher

Sumaira was born and raised in Pakistan. She received a Bachelors degree in Commerce and received her AMI Montesssori credential from the Association Montessori Internationale. She came to America in 2013 and joined The Child Unique the same year. She is a mother of two wonderful children (a girl and a boy). They attend The Child Unique also. Sumaira loves working with children and enjoys having conversations with them.

Emily Reeves Bohl : Kodály Music Teacher

Emily Reeves Bohl

Kodály Music Teacher

Emily Reeves Bohl, a native of South Carolina, holds the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Charleston Southern University and the Master of Education in Administration and Curricular Supervision from the University of Oklahoma. Emily has just finished her fourth year teaching music in the public school setting, and holds certificates in K-12 Music Education in both South Carolina and Oklahoma. Professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. Emily is a frequent soloist in instrumental recitals, new music premieres, and with various choral ensembles. She was recently named recipient of the Logan Fellowship from the Kodály Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, and will complete the Master of Music Education with Kodály Emphasis at Holy Names in May 2020. Emily is honored and delighted to establish the Kodály music program here at The Child Unique.

Raina Ford : Elementary& Middle School Teacher

Raina Ford

Elementary& Middle School Teacher

Raina Ford was born and raised in Oakland, California and she have always known she wanted to work with children. She began assisting in a classroom setting in high school as a tutor and spent some time as a summer camp counselor. Raina went on to pursue a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology and shortly after, she realized education was her career path. Currently, Raina is finishing up her Montessori credential. She is studying to become a certified Montessori elementary teacher. In her free time, Raina enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her family.

Johanny Marte : Toddler 2 Teacher/Spanish Teacher

Johanny Marte

Toddler 2 Teacher/Spanish Teacher

Johanny was born in Santo Domingo and worked in a Montessori classroom in the Dominican Republic for 14 years. She received her Montessori teacher certification from the American Montessori Society in 2005. She has a degree in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children with learning disorders and also has a degree in Elementary Education. She is also taking the training to become a Montessori toddlers teacher. She is the mother of two beautiful children who inspires and encourage her to be a better person. In her spare time, Johanny likes to read, watch documentaries about space and nature and spend time with her family.

Emma Neilsen : Primary 4 Teacher/French Teacher

Emma Neilsen

Primary 4 Teacher/French Teacher

Emma was born and raised in Paris, France where she obtained a Master’s degree in marketing. She moved to the U.S. in 2007, where she earned an MBA from the University of Maryland and worked for several years for Rosetta Stone managing a team of over 100 language teachers. Following the birth of her first child, she decided to become a teacher at a multilingual Montessori school. She now has three daughters and a son and finished her Montessori certification in 2019. During her free time, Emma enjoys photography and writing.

 

Fatma Shoukry : Elementary & Middle School Teacher/Arabic Teacher

Fatma Shoukry

Elementary & Middle School Teacher/Arabic Teacher

Fatma lived in Cario, Egypt before coming to the Montessori Elementary School of Alameda. Fatma has been working with children for 18 years. She holds a degree in Education, Montessori Primary teaching credential, and has her her primary and elementary credentials. She has been a Montessori Guide at private schools in Egypt since 2008. In her spare time, she loves reading, traveling and working out.

Rosie Galvez : Physical Education Teacher

Rosie Galvez

Physical Education Teacher

Rosie was inspired to pursue a career in education while creating a fictitious Wellness Center project her senior year of High School. Rosie holds a degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences and is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. For the last 19 years, she has worked with people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, ages 6-75, with the intention of enhancing their self-esteem and quality of life, as well as cultivating a sense of community through movement. Rosie understands that when life happens, there is always a way to move around to embrace the process of change. She is looking forward to sharing her ideas with all of the TCU and MEISA students.

Danilo Portugal : Primary 4 Assistant Teacher

Danilo Portugal

Primary 4 Assistant Teacher

Danilo is originally from Brazil and has been living in Oakland for the last ten years. He is proud to be the father of two beautiful and strong young girls, Lua and Alidia, 12 and 9 years old respectively. Danilo has enjoyed working with children for seventeen years and attended a Montessori school in Brazil. He became a Montessori teacher in the United States and teaches Capoeira, a dynamic Brazilian form of martial art and dance. He is both a musician and dancer and in his free time, he also likes to surf.

Nicole Baptista : Primary 3 Teacher

Nicole Baptista

Primary 3 Teacher

Nicole Baptista was a Montessori child! She was born and raised in the Bay Area and attended Seaview Montessori, a public Montessori school in San Pablo. She is thrilled to continue with The Child Unique Montessori School community this year. She feels passionate about Montessori education and is currently enrolled in Montessori training and Early Childhood Education courses at Contra Costa College. Nicole hopes to inspire everyone at The Child Unique with her love of crafting and gardening.

Jeanna Nagle : Assistant Teacher

Jeanna Nagle

Assistant Teacher

Jeanna Nagle loves working with children and is very happy with her position at The Child Unique. She has studied child development at Merritt College, where she earned a Child Development Assistant Certificate, and has experience volunteering at several childcare centers. She likes to swim and play soccer and basketball and attend Giants, A's, and Cal games.

Steve Slater : School Music Teacher

Steve Slater

School Music Teacher

Steve Slater has been playing drums for nearly 25 years. Steve attended Santa Barbara City College and San Jose University. He is a percussion instructor at Allegro Music and has his own studio in Fremont, the School of Drums. Steve leads the drum line at Mission San Jose High School for over ten years. He also plays drums in three San Francisco Bay Area rock bands and in his own jazz ensemble, Park St. Trio, based out of Alameda. He is the primary songwriter and has released two albums of original music.

Meiyi Ko : Toddler 2 Assistant Teacher

Meiyi Ko

Toddler 2 Assistant Teacher

Meiyi enjoys working with children. Before moving to the United States, Meiyi was a middle school teacher for 5 years in China where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in education.She moved to the United States in 2008. Here she earned her Associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Chabot College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially with her children, she also enjoys nature.


Encinal Campus Staff



James Higuchi : Aid/Afternoon Staff

James Higuchi

Aid/Afternoon Staff

James was born in El Cerrito and is a proud father of two. He spent 11 years in Southern California studying Computer Science and working for a marketing research company. He moved back to the bay area in 2000, this time to Alameda, and worked for 12 years in the apparel industry mostly in supply chain planning. In 2008, after his son was born, he decided to become a stay-at-home parent, and this is where his admiration of children truly began. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music.

Marisela Mascorro : Encinal Campus Director/Primary 1 Teacher

Marisela Mascorro

Encinal Campus Director/Primary 1 Teacher

Mari is very excited to begin her 16th year with The Child Unique. She has a degree in Liberal Arts and Child Development and a Montessori Early Education Credential. Mari is the proud parent of three beautiful daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and going on adventures with her daughters and husband. She loves the family-like aspect of The Child Unique and the peace education that is helping to make a better world.
Joseph Niles : Primary 2 Teacher

Joseph Niles

Primary 2 Teacher

Joseph Niles has taught in a preschool-age setting for over 10 years. His work is informed by his passion for early childhood development, his love for history, writing, and nature. He attended the Montessori Teacher Education Center where he attained his Montessori Teacher’s Certificate early in his career. Currently, he is enrolled in classes with the ambition to obtain degrees in Early Childhood Education and Human Development.

Dawn Ocampo : Afternoon Teacher

Dawn Ocampo

Afternoon Teacher

Ms. Dawn has been a Montessori teacher for over ten years. She has a bachelors degree in journalism and is a certified yoga instructor and incorporates yoga elements in the curriculum.. She has taught in schools on the east and west coasts but enjoys being back home in the Bay Area. Ms. Dawn also enjoys learning, the outdoors, reading, music, dancing and her family.

Katsuko Ono : Assistant Teacher/Japanese Teacher

Katsuko Ono

Assistant Teacher/Japanese Teacher

Katsuko was born and raised in Hiroshima where she got her BA degree in Education. After working in the fashion industry for 15 years, she made a career change, returning to the education field to become a teacher. Katsuko joined TCU in 2016 and obtained her Montessori primary credential in 2018. She is very happy working with children in a Montessori environment and loves to share Japanese and Japanese culture with children. In her spare time, Katsuko likes doing yoga, cooking, watching movies and performances, and playing the piano.   

Steve Slater : School Music Teacher

Steve Slater

School Music Teacher

Steve Slater has been playing drums for nearly 25 years. Steve attended Santa Barbara City College and San Jose University. He is a percussion instructor at Allegro Music and has his own studio in Fremont, the School of Drums. Steve leads the drum line at Mission San Jose High School for over ten years. He also plays drums in three San Francisco Bay Area rock bands and in his own jazz ensemble, Park St. Trio, based out of Alameda. He is the primary songwriter and has released two albums of original music.

Sonia Chen : Primary 1 Assistant Teacher/Mandarin Teacher

Sonia Chen

Primary 1 Assistant Teacher/Mandarin Teacher

Sonia was born in China and speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. She worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for 11 years in China. Since 2011, she has been teaching in preschools in the United States. She likes to cook, listen to music, make friends, organize, and loves doing creative art projects.

Pacific Campus Staff



Reyna Stefani :  Assistant Teacher

Reyna Stefani

Assistant Teacher

Reyna Stefani has been an Alameda resident her entire life. She began working with children when she was 13 years old, and really enjoyed preschoolers. Reyna was a cheerleading coach at Alameda High School for 7 years. She is currently taking classes at Merritt College to transfer to a CSU to get a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development.  She looks forward to working at the Pacific Campus this year and working as a substitute at the other campuses!

Carolina Serrano : Assistant Teacher

Carolina Serrano

Assistant Teacher

Carolina was born in and raised in Colombia. She obtained a degree as a dental hygienist in 2005 and as a social worker in 2011. Carolina has led workshops for families and employment assistance for low-income, at-risk youth. Since relocating to the United States in 2012, Carolina has gained experience working with diverse populations, but holds a solid passion working with young children. In 2013, she received training in the foster care system of Alameda County through the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) to volunteer to help children navigate the court system. In 2018, she extended her knowledge in early education at Chabot college. In her spare time , enjoys riding her bike, traveling and photography.
Lindsay Correa : Assistant Teacher

Lindsay Correa

Assistant Teacher

Lindsay earned an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Merritt College. She has worked in the childcare field for 3 years and loves to read, dance and cook. Lindsay has traveled to many countries, including five wonderful trips to Vietnam. She dances with a vietnames dance company that performs traditional vietnamese, contemporary/modern, ballet and hip hop styles. Lindsay is looking forward to working with the children this year.

Porshia Lewis : Teacher

Porshia Lewis

Teacher

Porshia has been a teacher here at The Child Unique since 2006, working as both a Pre-primary and Toddler Teacher. She has studied psychology and holds a certificate as a Lactation Consultant (through Alta Bates Medical Center). She is happy to have been accepted into the National University bachelor’s program for Early Childhood Development Multiple Subject Credential. Her current goals are the completion of her Montessori Infant/Toddler Credential and ECERS assessor through the Montessori Teacher Education Center.

Cherefah Obad : Assistant Teacher

Cherefah Obad

Assistant Teacher

Cherefah is 23 years old and currently a senior at California State University, East Bay. She has two A.A. degrees, one in Liberal Arts and in one Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Since middle school, she has always known that she wanted to work with children as she enjoys watching and assisting children to grow and learn. She is looking forward to seeing each of them progress throughout the school year.

Steve Slater : School Music Teacher

Steve Slater

School Music Teacher

Steve Slater has been playing drums for nearly 25 years. Steve attended Santa Barbara City College and San Jose University. He is a percussion instructor at Allegro Music and has his own studio in Fremont, the School of Drums. Steve leads the drum line at Mission San Jose High School for over ten years. He also plays drums in three San Francisco Bay Area rock bands and in his own jazz ensemble, Park St. Trio, based out of Alameda. He is the primary songwriter and has released two albums of original music.

Kwang Sriprommasa : Toddler Teacher

Kwang Sriprommasa

Toddler Teacher

Kwang, (Thitiyaporn) Sriprommasa graduated from Bangkok University in Thailand with a bachelor's degree in English. She recently completed her Early Childhood Credential at The Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies. Kwang enjoyed working at the Encinal and Pacific campus in past years and is looking forward to joining the Taylor campus this year.