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. Cheyenne – Office – Program Director- I started working at Kinderwood in August 2016. I was a Kinderwood student in 1995 . I started as a floater and eventually became a toddler teacher. I worked my way across the hallway to the 3 year old class. I studied hard and then became the assistant director. I am now the Program Director and looking forward to this great opportunity. 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. I worked at multiple child development centers in Santa Clara County as a substitute teacher. After gaining my experience I became a Montessori teacher aide for 2 years. I am well rounded and worked with children from different learning environments. Educating children and being a great mother is my passion. I take great pride in everything I do at Kinderwood and with your children.
Ms. Lexi – Director assistant/ Food management – Hello, my name is Alexis, but everyone calls me Lexi. I’ve been working with children for around 3 years now. I started quite young being around children always helped my mom with my two little sisters and then enrolled in a child development program one summer. After that, I started working in children’s centers. I’m currently a student at Evergreen community college. I’m a dog mom to a super cute miniature dachshund named Baby that I love very much. I like to draw and craft. I also love traveling the world, so far, my favorite place is Tokyo, Japan. I’m super grateful to have found Kinderwood and be part of the Kinderwood family and most importantly be able to care for the children and future children to attend here!
Ms. Rocio – Room 1 – My name is Rocio and I’m one of the infant teachers. I love my little babies because it reminds me of when my daughter was a baby. My daughter is now 19 years old and in college. I enjoy working with the babies because I see them learn new things and watch them grow. I have been in this field since I was 17 years old. I started working in my high school’s (William C. Overfelt) daycare. Then after I graduated, I went to Evergreen to do my general ed. Finally, I went to San Jose City College to get my ECE units because my passion was to work with children. Thank you for letting me be part of your child’s life. I am also bilingual and love teaching the babies Spanish words. When I’m not at work I love spending time with my family. Thank you for letting me be part of your child’s life.
Ms. Julia – Room 1- My name is Julia Auston, I am a teacher in the infant room where I have been working for 8 years. I enjoy watching the babies hit their milestones and getting the opportunity to meet their families. I took my child development courses at West Valley College many years ago.
Ms. Shahira Room 1 – 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. Laura – Room 2 – Hello, my name is Laura Martinez and I have been with Kinderwood since September 2020. I love coffee and anything sweet. I have a husband and a 2-year-old puppy named Ellie. She is a rescue dog and very crazy. I was born and raised in San Jose California, I have one older brother, one stepsister, and a stepbrother, and a new sister in law. My mom and I are really close. Recently my brother just had his first baby, so I am a new auntie. I don’t really get t see my brother very often as he is in New York. I attended San Jose City College in 2015 and graduated with my associate degree in Early Childhood Education, and currently, I am enrolled online at Grand Canyon University a Christian School based in Phoenix, Arizona, where I am earning my bachelor’s degree as well.
Ms. Swati Room 2 – My name is Swati Monhari. I have been teaching for more than 12 years now. I started my career as a graphic designer and working in that position for three years. After my son was born, I switched my career to be a teacher. I was an art teacher, teaching art to elementary and middle school in one of the best schools in India (Delhi Public School) for 8 years. I came to the US and worked in an art studio for three years in Cupertino. Because of timing, I switched my job again and started teaching in preschool. I started working at Kinderwood in January 2020. I love my class and my toddlers. I am so attached to all of them that I keep thinking about them on weekends too! I did my master’s in fine arts in Delhi, India. Also, I did a Montessori diploma from India and ECE units from De Anza and Foothill College. I also completed a Graphic design course from UC Santa Cruz.
Ms. Joy – Room 2 – Hello! My name is Supansa Seesod or Joy.
My vision is to be a teacher whose children can trust and feel safe with. I would like them to feel like the classroom is their second home where they can be themselves and be happy. And where they can feel like nobody can harm them physically or emotionally, also where they can feel kindness and learn to be kind to others, and finally where they want to come every day. I graduated from Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand with a degree in History. During my four years in university, I enjoyed being a volunteer working with and for children. For example; being a teaching volunteer for children in the countryside during summer break, building the school’s canteen, and a water tank for the island that was hit by Tsunami in 2006, organizing Children’s Day activity for the orphans in the refugee camps along Thai-Myanmar border, etc.
Ms. Jackie Room 3 – I have been working at Kinderwood since 2000. I have 16 ECE units and I am First Aid and CPR 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. I also went to San Jose City College to get my ESL and ECE courses.
Ms. Mandi – Room 3 – Hello! My name is Mandi Castillo, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be part of the Kinderwood family. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and moved to San Jose, California when I was in first grade. I went to Branham High School. I am the 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. Bana – Room 3 – Hello my name is Bana Zeratsion. I am 24 years old. I’ve been working at Kinderwood since September 2020. I finished high school in 2015 and currently going to West Valley College. I have 9 ECE units and currently in school, working on my last 3 units. I am also working on my BA degree in teaching. I speak 2 languages English and Tigrinya. I don’t have any kids of my own. I am not married. I love working with children because I would like to have kids of my own someday and love connecting with them and their families. Kinderwood is my second family. I enjoy watching the children grow and learn. I love what they teach me through their innocence, love, and humor. The best part of my job is that at the end of the day I feel like I have made a positive impact on a child.
Ms. Michelle – Room 4 – Hello! My name is Michelle and I have been with Kinderwood since January 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. I have a sweet nephew that was born in December 2019 whom I love so much. I love seeing these kids grow into unique little individuals!
Ms. Val – Room 4 – My name is Valerie and 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 2002. I can speak two languages, English and Portuguese. Working with children has been my most rewarding profession. I am a movie Junkie!! I love to go out with my friends to eat and shop! I went Santa Clara High. After graduation I went to Beauty School. I was a beautician for over 5 years. I even tried being a janitor for a brief period until I found my calling in working with small children. I then attended De Anza College where I obtained ECE training.
Ms. Nicole – Room 5 – My name is Nicole and I am a teacher for the 4-year old’s. I just recently joined the Kinderwood team, I am loving my time so far. I started working in preschools about 4 years ago and have experience with all ages and every classroom! My favorite age group is the 4-year old’s, this is such a fun age because they are so inquisitive, imaginative, and absorb knowledge like sponges. I went to Silver Creek High School and then went to San Jose City College to take courses in Early Childhood Education.
Ms. Ro – Room 5 – Hello, my name is Ms. Ro. I am a new teacher at Kinderwood. I am beyond excited about my new role! I have been working in childcare since I was 18 years old and have always enjoyed looking after and caring for the needs of children. I strongly believe that there is nothing more rewarding than guiding and helping children develop. I love working with children because they are the future and have an endless amount of potential. I am an enthusiastic, empathetic, and hard-working individual hoping to nurture and help the children at Kinderwood grow and develop. I recently graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Communication while having completed extensive coursework in the Education field.
Ms. Carrie – 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.
” 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.”