Our Incredible Staff
“Because We Care”
Gramma Freda – Founder She was mother of 5 wonderful children, 15 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. (the family is ever growing) In 1980 she opened our first Childcare Center. She immediately joined the Professional Association of Childhood Educators (P.A.C.E.) It is a statewide association. She served as area Chairperson, Vice President for 4 years and then President for four years. She became a member of the national Child Care Association (N.C.C.A.) and served as secretary for 4 years. She also has lobbied for quality daycare and testified in Sacramento over many different children’s issues. She served on the Board of Directors for the Community Child Care Council (4C’s) of Santa Clara County for twenty years taking the budget from $125,000 to $28 million. She owned and operated a total of 3 Preschools. She is the reason our preschool has been hugging, loving and educating children since 1980.
Ms. Lee – Senior Director / Owner – I have been working with children since 1972. I have B.S. Degree in Early Child Development. I have had a strong passion for children from a young age. I am the second oldest in a family of 5 children. I have four boys of my own and 4 grandchildren. I opened Kinderwood in 1980 with my mother. We wanted to give children a safe and loving environment that will promote positive self-esteem and encourage their imagination to grow and learn. Pre-school is a major stepping stone to building a good foundation for their future. Every day we make their early years the best and most rewarding that they can be.
Ms. Char – Program Director – I have been with Kinderwood since 2000. This is my second home. I love each day that I come to work! I have worked with every age in this school. Even though I am not a teacher anymore, I am involved with each classroom. On a personal note: I am a mother to a very energetic and handsome boy, Robert. He was born October 2007. He is my pride and joy. I feel that he has opened my eyes to a whole new world I never could have imagined. I am married to a wonderful Giant, Jim. I also love to hang out with my family. We love to go to sporting events, wine tastings, BBQs and overall just be with each other. Kinderwood is my second family and I would not trade it, the teachers or any of the children for the world.
Ms. Danielle: Office and Cook – I started working at Kinderwood in 1994. I have worked in babies, toddlers and 3-year old’s. I left Kinderwood in 1998 to be a stay at home mom to my three beautiful children. I have a daughter who is now in college and attending University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, 2 Sons at Pioneer High School. I have returned to Kinderwood to help in the office and do the cooking for the school. My free time is usually spent being with my family and watching them play sports. I love being around children of all ages, even my teenagers. Go Hawks!
Ms. Kristy – Office – Assistant Director- I am excited to be here at Kinderwood. I have been enjoying and teaching children since 1991. I have been the owner of a large family daycare, an assistant director, and a program coordinator for children. Over the years I have taken several workshops to help development my skills as a teacher. I attended ECE classes at both Foothill and Gavilan College. I live in Morgan Hill with my husband and two stepsons. I have a grown son and two amazing granddaughters. I enjoy hiking, camping, music, cooking, thrift store shopping and Bingo. I believe the classroom should be a positive, encouraging environment with consistency, creativity and structure. I support natural consequences and giving choices for positive behavior. I also believe that there are days when the children need a flexible teacher to declare a “play day”. I look forward to building relationships with both you and your children and I am pleased to be a part of the Kinderwood family.
Ms. Shahira – Rm 1- Infants – I am married, and I have two sons. Waise who is grown and is no longer living at home and my youngest Soleyman is a Senior in high school. I can speak two languages, English and Farsi. I have 12 ECE units and I am First aid and CPR trained. Infants are my favorite age group. I love all of the one on one attention and affection that infants need because they give it right back to me. I have been a part of the Kinderwood family since 2002.
Ms. Rocio – Rm 1- Infants – Hi my name is Ms. Rocio. I’ve been working with preschool since I was in high school. I took some Early Childhood classes in high school and I loved it. I was very fortunate that they loved me at the preschool program that they had in my high school and hired me right away. After that, I continued to work and go to school. I love what I do and feel so wonderful working with children. Makes me feel so happy and loved. I really enjoy working with children since I only have one daughter and she’s now 17 years old. I see all the children as they were my own and work hard to make each one feel special.
Ms. Julia-Rm 1- Infants – I have been part of the Kinderwood family for many years. I have been working with children since the early 90’s. Currently I work in the infant class, however, I have worked in all of the classes; I love working with children of all ages. I find it rewarding when I form strong relationships with my students and their families. I completed my early childhood education at West Valley College. I have an adult son and daughter. I also have two crazy Chihuahuas who think they run my home! In my free time, I love to cook, read, and stay healthy by walking. I enjoy watching cooking shows and reading cooking magazines and experimenting with new recipes!
Ms. Michelle – Rm 1 and 2 Floater – I joined the Kinderwood Family in 2018. I have an Early Childhood Development Associate Teacher Certificate that I received from Las Posits College in Livermore in 2007. In 2014, I graduated from San Jose State University in studio photography. When I meet children tend to bond to them quickly. I certainly feel like the kids here will become family to me. I cannot wait to see these kids grow into their own unique personalities. Thank you for already making me feel like a part of the Kinderwood family. I’m so excited to be here!
Ms. Karina -Rm 2 -1 Year Old’s – Hi! My name is Ms. Karina. I recently graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Adolescent Development. Although, my interest in working with children began in high school through volunteer work and having an active role in the child’s learning. It was through these experience and studies that solidified the importance of child-directed learning, positive teacher-child relationships, and play. All these elements are seen at the Kinderwood Children’s Center making me extremely excited and eager to begin my journey. In the future, my goal is to continue working while studying for my Master’s Degree. My objective is to further expand my knowledge of early childhood and implement it into the classroom to better develop the child during their critical years of growth.
Ms. Ana – Rm 2- 1 Year-Olds – My name is Anica, it is a Croatian name with a long history of Anica’s in my family. my nickname is Ana. I have been working with children since I was 16. I currently attend Foothill College in Los Altos. I have a blue heeler mix dog named max. I am getting married this October. My hobbies included creating ceramic sculptures, and running my in house bakery. Fun fact: I am a retired semi pro soccer player from the California storms.
Ms. Jackie – Rm 3- 2-year old’s – I have been working at Kinderwood since 2000. I have 16 ECE units and I am First aide and C.P.R. Trained. I can speak 3 languages. They are English, Farsi and Assyrian. I am married with one daughter. Her name is Mona. She graduated from San Jose State. I love working with children because I always wanted a large family. Kinderwood is my second family. I enjoy watching the children grow and learn. Most of all, I love what they teach me through their innocence, love, and humor. The best part of my job is that at the end of my day I never feel like I left work.
Ms Mandi- Rm 3- 2 Year Olds- Hello! My name is Mandi Castillo, and I cant begin to tell you how excited I am to be joining the Kinderwood family! I am looking forward to meeting and bonding with all of you. I was born in Albuquerque New Mexico and moved to San Jose, CA when I was in first grade. I am a mother of a 6 year old boy named Julius, and we love to go on adventures! Beaches or anywhere near water is where you will most likely find us, I am currently in the process of getting my AA in child development at De Anza College, I have been working with kiddos for about 7 years and I LOVE it. So excited for what room #3 has in store for me and your little ones!
Ms. Valerie – Rm 4- 3-year old’s – I am the teacher for the 3-year old’s. They are my favorite age. This is when they are the most inquisitive and eager to learn and experience new things. I have been working with children since forever! I have been working at Kinderwood since April 2003. I have 16 ECE units and I am first aid and C.P.R. Trained. I can speak two languages, English and Portuguese. Working with children has been my most rewarding profession.
Ms. Cheyenne – Rm 4- 3 year olds – I started at Kinderwood late August 2016. I started as a floater and eventually became a Toddler teacher. I am a De Anza College student studying early childhood education. I have a son of my own that attends Kinderwood. I started in the childcare field when I was 15 years old at my auntie’s daycare, I also volunteered my summers in another preschool. I became a nanny to triplets after graduating from Cupertino High School. When I became of age I worked for Child Care Careers as a substitute teachers aid. I worked at 20+ child development centers in Santa Clara County. After gaining my experience I became a Montessori teacher aid. I am well rounded and worked with children from different learning environments. Educating children and being a mother is my passion. I take great pride in what I do for a living.
Ms. Diana – Rm 5 – 4-year old’s – Hola! Mi Nombre es Diana. Hello! My name is Diana. I speak, read and write in English and Spanish. I am currently working in room 5 with the 4-year old’s. I started working with children in 2013. I started with Kinderwood in 2015. Working with 4-year old has been my favorite age to work with. Their brains are still developing and growing, I love being part of that process. It brings joy to my life. I have 5 sisters, a niece and a mother that I love very much! I love to travel, take road trips and cook for large groups. I am a student at Mission College obtaining my AS in Early Childhood Education with a CHAD Major. As a child care provider, I practice respect, honesty, values and treat each child as a worthy person. I believe it is important to learn each child’s unique way of learning. My favorite quote is “A teacher adapts to the child not the child to the teacher.”
Mr. Josh Rm – 5 – 4-year old’s – I have been in the child development field for over 20 years. I have an AA Degree in Child Development from De Anza College. I have worked with children of all ages and I love learning, laughing and growing alongside them. I have a wonderful wife and an energetic seven-year-old daughter. I am a DisneyNerd and love all kinds of music. “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.” -Walt Disney
Ms. Carrie – School Opener and Floater – I attended West-Med College in San Jose California where I attained my 12 ECE Units. I’ve been working with children of all ages since 2000. The things I enjoy the most about working with children is watching them grow and mature. It really makes me happy to be a part of their lives. I have three sisters and one brother. I’m the youngest in my family. I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, relaxing on the beach, reading a good book and going to family functions. I’m happy and excited to be a part of Kinderwood.
Ms. Angela – Substitute – Hi, my name is Angela. I have a daughter who was born in the summer of 2016. I have been working with children for 9 years. I was an infant and toddler teacher, I was a Nannie, and I did substitute work for infants to Pre-k. Working with children is something that I truly enjoy doing. With children, I love to read books, dance, and do art activities. Besides working with children, I like to go hiking, camping, and going to sports games. Warner football) for about 4 years. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity to work at Kinderwood, I look forward to spending quite some time here!
” Being a mom of 4 Children and having been through the terrible two’s with all of them, I found that the t two year old teachers were all very helpful and understanding. They gave the children nothing but love and support.”
“I am a single Dad of 2 very energetic boys. My boys can not wait to get up in the morning and come to Kinderwood. The staff has always been very supportive and understanding of our situation. They care for the whole family not just the child.”
“My child has been attending Kinderwood for 2 years. During her time here I have seen her grow by leaps and bounds. She is growing up so fast right before my very eyes.”