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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 before coming 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 in Maryland. She began working with children as a volunteer tutor for elementary students at an after-school program at an underprivileged community housing center in Contra Costa County.

After reading Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler her senior year of college, Felicia 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 to six years old).. She has not looked back since starting her career as a head Primary teacher in 2013. She also earned an AMI Assistants to Infancy (birth to three years) from The Montessori Institute in Denver and is a certified It’s Yoga Kids instructor for children up 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.


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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 swimming scholarship. After earning her Finance degree at Converse College in South Carolina, she worked as a swim 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 swim coach.

Lucianne’s passion for working with children and her desire to live by the ocean brought her to California, where she learned about the Montessori Teaching Certificate course. She has earned her AMS Montessori teaching certificate and plans to continue learning about Montessori and education, both at Mission Montessori and through her AMI training.


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Nancy Baker

PRIMARY TEACHER AND CONSULTANT

Nancy received her Montessori primary training and began teaching in 1971 in Washington, DC. In 1978, she moved to Chicago, 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 contributing to the legacy of Maria Montessori’s lifelong work to create world peace and understanding through education.


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Amy Huang

Assistant Teacher

Amy has a bachelor's degree in liberal studies. She started working with children in 2011 and has worked in preschool environments ever since. She loves watching children learn, have fun, and become independent individuals. After teaching in traditional programs, she has become passionate about Montessori, as she loves how children self-direct, make creative choices, and engage in collaborative work with each other.

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


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London Musgrave

Assistant Teacher

London began her career in Montessori as an art teacher at a private Montessori school in Salt Lake City, UT. She has a Teacher’s Assistant Certificate through Maria Montessori Academy and more than three years of professional childcare and teaching experience. At Mission Montessori, she strives to continue her work helping to inspire young minds to be creative, courteous, and continuously curious.

London grew up in the mountains of Utah and has a great appreciation for the outdoors and natural beauty. In her free time, she takes up her interests visual arts, fashion design, and classical piano.


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Katrina Gale

Assistant Teacher

A Bay Area native, Katrina was raised in Marin and moved east to receive her Bachelor’s in Communication Studies from Northeastern University in 2017. Her passion for studying human interactions 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 previously 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, Katrina 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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Patricia Benedict

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary Spanish Immersion)

Patricia 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 teaching 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 Marin Montessori‘s Spanish program at the elementary level. At Star of the Sea, she implemented the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and reinforced the already Montessori-influenced program. Patricia loves being a part of Mission Montessori and contributing to its Spanish immersion program.

For the last seven years, she volunteered in the Atrium at St. Dominic’s. In her free time, she loves to travel and be with her family.


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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 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 worked as 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.

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


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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 for helping her 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 assistant teacher’s certificate and in 2019, she began her AMI Primary Diploma to become a lead Montessori teacher.

Prior to joining Mission Montessori, she worked volunteered in a kindergarten classroom and then nannied for two wonderful children. Melida is a patient and friendly person who enjoys being part of a strong team.

In her free time, Melida likes to read non-fiction books and autobiographies, and bake pastries.


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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.

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.

In her free time, Akiko loves working on a variety of arts and crafts, including sewing, watercoloring, jewelry making, music, and cooking. She brings many of these interests to bear on the wonderful practical life activities that she introduces in her classroom!


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Lorena DeSantiago

Assistant Teacher

Lorena has her Bachelor’s 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 being a part of Mission Montessori.

In her spare time, Lorena loves to read, run, hike, and indulge in photography from time to time.


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Danielle Lickey

Assistant Teacher (Primary)

Danielle grew up in a small town in Central California surrounded by family and close friends. This nurturing environment helped to shape her into sharing that same nurturing. Danielle has her AS degree in Elementary School studies and was a Child Development major before switching to studying History with an emphasis in secondary education, as she is currently doing.

Her six years working in educational institutions ranging from preschools to nonprofit after-school programs have allowed her to influence children as young as 18 months and as old as 18 years. After working at a Montessori in her hometown for three years and moving to San Francisco, Danielle was excited to join the team here at Mission Montessori. Danielle strives to bring her nurturing and loving personality to school each day to help shape the children. As a mother of a Mission Montessori child (who just transitioned from our preschool to our elementary) herself, she wants to help grow and better the school with each child she comes in contact with.



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Natalia Villalobos

Lead Montessori Teacher (Primary Spanish Immersion)

Natalia is a native Spanish speaker born and raised in Mexico City. 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. Montessori has been with Natalia ever since, and she always wanted to be a Montessori teacher. After finishing her Bachelor’s in Pedagogy, she earned a diploma in Cognitive and Emotional Development of the Child and completed her Children's House AMI training (for ages three to six) in Mexico City. She holds a Bachelor’s in Pedagogy, a Diploma in Cognitive and Emotional Development of the Child, and her Children’s House AMI Diploma.

She has been a Montessori Guide in Mexico and Virginia. Natalia’s dedication for inspiring, guiding and educating children are reflected in her more than nine years of experience in bilingual, Spanish immersion and English Montessori environments She loves sharing and spreading 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; if children know they are trusted and loved, everything is possible. 


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Marisol Rosales

Assistant Teacher (Spanish Immersion)

Marisol earned her Bachelor's 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 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 more than 20 years working with children. Her first experiences with children came from leading circle time in her mother's classroom. She went on to work as a nanny, a tutor, and at a summer leadership camp for high school students. When asked what ages she prefers to work with, she always says “whatever age is in front of me.”

Marisol also loves yoga, exploring libraries in the city, and taking in the beauty of nature at Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach.


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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 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 came to the United States 23 years ago. Her first job after arriving here was as a babysitter for two young children, and then as a clerk at San Francisco International Airport. Through her early experiences providing care for children, she discovered that she truly enjoys working with them.

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 doing work she enjoys and appreciates every day.


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Natalia Pinto

Floater 

Natalia was born in San Francisco to Spanish and Peruvian parents. She values the importance of bilingualism and multiculturalism and has been tutoring and mentoring children in Spanish and English since she was in high school. Upon receiving her Bachelor’s in History and Spanish at San Francisco State University, she went on to work as an ESL teacher in Spain.

Natalia values children’s fervor and intuitiveness and loves seeing them grow through their explorative process. She’s excited for her journey at Mission Montessori, where she is looking to spread the joy of self-awareness, collaboration, and creativity.

In her free time, Natalia enjoys being among plants, making jewelry, doing yoga, and learning about etymology and psychology.