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Felicia Zulhendri

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Felicia was born and raised in Medan, Indonesia and then lived in Sydney, Australia to work in the hospitality industry. She then came to the U.S. to pursue her undergraduate studies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Francisco State University and her Master’s in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She began working with children volunteering as an afterschool tutor for elementary children at an underprivileged community housing center in Contra Costa County.

Felicia stumbled upon Montessori in her senior year in college and decided to enroll in the internationally-recognized training at  AMI Montessori Teacher Training Center in Northern California in Mountain View, CA for Casa dei Bambini level (2.5 years to 6 years old) after reading Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler. She has not looked back since starting her career as a head Primary teacher in 2013. She also earned her AMI Assistants to Infancy (birth to 3 years old) from The Montessori Institute in Denver, CO and is a certified It’s Yoga Kids yoga instructor for baby to 13 years old.

In her spare time, Felicia loves to read, cook, explore new hiking trails and national parks, and travel to Indonesia and other parts of the world.


Lucianne Kimura

Junior Teacher (primary)

Lucianne was born and raised in Brazil. She was given the opportunity to fulfill her dream to study abroad with a scholarship through swimming in an American college. After graduating in Finance at Converse College, in South Carolina, she worked as a swimming coach in a high school in Miami. This work opportunity led her to continue her studies in an MBA program

in Oklahoma, where she worked as a graduate assistant swimming coach.

Throughout all of her collegiate experience, she worked with children as a swimming coach. Her passion to work with children and a desire to live by the ocean, brought Lucianne to California, where she learned about the Montessori Teaching Certificate course. She has earned her AMS Montessori teaching certificate and plans to continue learning and taking classes in education and Montessori.


Nancy Baker


Nancy received her Montessori primary training and began teaching in 1971 in Washington, DC. She moved to Chicago in 1978, where she  raised her family and taught at The Ancona School and Flossmoor Montessori School. For the past 13 years, she has taught and tutored students at Santa Cruz Montessori, where she has also spent her summers developing a “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” program for children transition from primary to elementary.

Nancy is committed to helping establish a strong bridge between Mission Montessori’s primary and elementary programs. She is also honored to continue to contribute to Maria Montessori’s lifelong work to create world peace and understanding through education.


Katrina Gale

Assistant Teacher

A Bay Area native, Katrina was raised in Marin and moved east for college to receive her BA in Communication Studies from Northeastern University in 2017. Her passion for studying human interaction led her to work in financial public relations and community support at a non-profit, but her desire to work with children brought her to Mission Montessori's primary program. She has also worked with children as a counselor in training at a summer camp and as a tutor for elementary school students.

When she is not in the classroom, she loves cooking, spending time with friends, hiking, attending stand-up comedy, music, reading, watching basketball and movies, and exploring San Francisco and beyond.

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Amy Huang

Assistant Teacher

Amy graduated from San Francisco State with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and continues to take courses in business at City College of San Francisco.

Amy started working with children in 2011 and has found her passion is in education and working with children. She loves watching children learn, have fun, and become independent individuals. She randomly stumbled upon Mission Montessori and has found that she truly enjoys the method of self-directed activity, creative choices, and collaborative play.

Outside of school, Amy loves going to the gym, taking fitness classes, reading, and traveling to beautiful places.

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Patricia Benedict

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary Spanish Immersion)

Mrs. Patricia Benedict was born and raised in Colombia. After earning her degree in architecture, she worked for several years in city planning before moving to the United States. She is currently married with three children and two granddaughters. She started as a Spanish Assistant in Virginia where she fell in love with the Montessori method and pursued a primary teacher certification at the Montessori Institute of North Texas. After moving to the Bay Area, she helped create the Spanish program at Marin Montessori at the elementary level. At the Star of the Sea, she implemented the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and reinforced the already Montessori-influenced program. For the last seven years, she volunteered in the Atrium at St. Dominic’s. Mrs. Patricia is excited to be part of Mission Montessori as a Spanish Immersion Lead Teacher. She loves to travel and be with her family.


Isabella Arevalo

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary Spanish Immersion)

Isabella was born and raised in San Francisco and received her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of the Pacific. She proudly earned her AMI Montessori Primary credential from Montessori Northwest in 2017.

Isabella has been a part of our school since before its doors opened in 2015. Before teaching here, Isabella was an art instructor, science teacher, ESL teacher, and tutor. She is deeply passionate about the work she does and has always had much love for her work with young children. As a lead Montessori Primary teacher in a Spanish immersion classroom, she….

When Isabella is not working with the children, she can be found making people laugh and enjoying good company with close friends and family. She has dreams of traveling the world and helping children from all walks of life.


Melida Hernandez

Assistant Teacher, Spanish Immersion

Melida was born in El Salvador and raised in San Francisco. She credits being in a choir since the age of 10 in helping her to become a responsible student. She has a Pre-Teacher Certificate and has completed 32 Units of Early Childhood Education credits at City College of San Francisco. In 2015 she also obtained her AMI certificate for a Montessori assistant teacher and in 2019 she began her AMI Primary Diploma to become a lead Montessori teacher.

Prior to joining Mission Montessori, she worked as a volunteer to a kindergarten classroom and then a nanny for two wonderful children. Melida is a friendly person with tremendous patience, and enjoys being part of a strong team. In her free time, Melida likes to read non-fiction books and autobiographies, and bake homemade pastries.


Akiko Furukawa

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Akiko, originally from Japan, earned her bachelor’s degree from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and went on to pursue her AMI Montessori diploma from Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College in Maryland. She is now in her twelfth year as a Montessori Primary Lead Teacher guiding children from ages 3-6 years old.

Akiko has a lovely artistic eye. She particularly enjoys finding and making materials that contribute to a beautiful classroom environment, filled with objects that attract the attention and interest of the child. She is fluent in Japanese and English. Outside of work, Akiko loves a variety of arts and crafts, including sewing, water painting, jewelry making, music, and cooking. She brings many of these interests to bear on the wonderful practical life activities that she introduces to her classroom!


Lorena DeSantiago

Assistant Teacher

Lorena has her bachelor’s degree in Child Development from CSU East Bay College in California and obtained her Early Childhood Education units from Merritt College. She has 12 years of experience working with children from infancy through 11 years of age. She enjoys working with children of all age groups and enjoys being a part of Mission Montessori. In her spare time, Lorena loves to read, run, hike, and indulge in photography from time to time.


Minyi Liang

Assistant Teacher

Minyi was born and raised in China, and moved to the United States when she was in her junior year of high school. She is fluent in English and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese).

In addition to teaching at Mission Montessori, Minyi attends the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) pursuing an Associate's Degree in Social Behavior Sciences. She plans to continue her education with the intention of getting her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. Minyi has also received her Early Childhood Education credits, and became a preschool teacher for children 3-5 years old. She loves creative work, such as arts and crafts with children.

In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.


Natalia Villalobos

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary Spanish Immersion)

Natalia is a native Spanish speaker born and raised in Mexico City. She holds a B.A in Pedagogy, a Diploma in Cognitive and Emotional Development of the Child and her AMI Diploma (Children's House 3-6). Her over 9 years of experience in Bilingual, Spanish Immersion and English Montessori environments reflects her dedication and caring for inspiring, guiding and educating children. 

Montessori has been with Natalia throughout her life. She attended a Montessori school from toddler to elementary. Those were the best years of her childhood, experiencing firsthand the power of Montessori’s philosophy and approach to life. Natalia knew that she wanted to be a Montessori teacher and after finishing her degree in Pedagogy, she completed her Children's House training in Mexico City. 

She has been a Montessori Guide in Mexico and, most recently, Virginia. She is ready to share and spread her experience, knowledge and genuine passion for the Montessori method with our students at Mission Montessori. 

Natalia believes that as a Guide you must first connect with your children. A child is full of potential. You must see every child with eyes wide open, and try to connect deep into their hearts, because if the children know that they are trusted and loved, everything is possible. 


Marisol Rosales

Assistant Teacher (Spanish Immersion)

Marisol earned her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Special Education from San Francisco State university. She has always had a special place in her heart for children and teenagers and hopes to help others achieve their goals and to stay focused on their future aspirations, just as she was encouraged to follow her dreams growing up.

One of her own dreams was to be a role model for any child she may encounter. Marisol has over 20 years working with children. Her first encounters were in her mother's classroom leading circle time. She went on to work as a nanny, a tutor, and working summers at a leadership camp for high school students. When asked what age she prefers to work with, she would say whatever age is in front of her. Marisol loves yoga, exploring libraries in the city, and taking in the beauty of nature at Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach.


Reina Diaz

Assistant Teacher (Spanish Immersion)

Reina was born in Honduras. She came to the United States when she was 11-years-old and has been living in San Francisco ever since. She loves children and has always been surrounded by them; while growing up she often babysat family members.

Reina is currently attending the City College of San Francisco. Once she completes her associate degree, she'll transfer to San Francisco State University, where her goal is to obtain a bachelor's degree in Child Development. Outside of school, Reina enjoys playing sports and also loves spending time with her family and friends.

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Gabriela Castrillon

Assistant Teacher (Spanish Immersion)

Gabriela was born and raised in Colombia. She worked as a clerk and as a secretary for 15 years and immigrated to the United States 23 years ago. Her first job after arriving here was as a babysitter for two small children, and then as a clerk at San Francisco International Airport for 12 years. Through her early experiences providing care for children, she discovered that she truly enjoys working with young people.

Gabriela has found time and again that children help her to appreciate the little things in life, which make the time she spends with them that much more rewarding. She joined our school after making an intentional decision to work in the early childhood field, and is very happy to be working in a field that she enjoys and appreciates every day.