The teachers at Mustard Seed are the backbone of our school. Teachers collaborate with each other and with parents with the goal to bring out the very best in each child.
Candace (Director of Preschool)
Candace has been working in preschools for 20 years. She holds a BA in Child Development and an MA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Childhood Trauma. She loves to partner with teachers and families as they navigate through the preschool years. Her side passion is bringing yoga + mindfulness to children to support their social-emotional development and learning. When not at work, she is either reading historical fiction or on a hike with her husband, 3 children, and 2 dogs.
Linda (Associate Director)
Linda has been at Mustard Seed for 13 years, but she has worked with children for over 20 years. There is not a single thing Linda can't help you with, as she knows all the ins and outs of Mustard Seed. She has taught in the Kanga, Pooh Bear, and Roo classes. When children do not surround her, she loves reading, drinking boba, and traveling.
Laurie has been the bookkeeper for Mustard Seed Preschool and the church for 12 years. She holds a BA in Nutrition but discovered she liked working with numbers when she got a job as an underwriter for St. Paul Insurance. Laurie's sunny smile and cheerfulness brings joy to the children, parents, and staff. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. Laurie has three grown sons whom all graduated from Mustard Seed over 20 years ago.
THE ROO CLASSROOM
Janine has been working with kids for about 15 years and 8 of those have been with Mustard Seed Preschool. She has a degree in Graphic Communications and Animation. She says that one of the best things about the world of preschool is seeing kids' creativity and imagination at work. When she is not drawing or painting, she spends her time eating at taco restaurants, buying books she probably won’t read, and going out for a run resisting the urge to pet every dog and cat she sees along the way.
Eliana is currently a Roo teacher. She began teaching in the Kanga class while attending school to get her degree in Early Childhood Education. She has 5 years of experience at Mustard Seed. Her daughter is also an alumni! Eliana is a silly and loving teacher who believes in nurturing each child's individual personality and play style. She enjoys being outdoors, exploring, hiking, and practicing yoga.
THE PIGLET CLASSROOM
Sharon has been teaching at Mustard Seed Preschool for TWENTY-NINE YEARS. She has certifications in child development and early childhood education. She majored in art in college, and she is a phenomenal artist. She draws and paints in her free time. Therefore, she really enjoys doing art projects with the children! Her grown sons are both alumni of Mustard Seed.
This is Emily's 8th year at Mustard Seed. She went to school for Business Administration. She has been working with children for over 15 years. Emily is one of the hardest-working people on the planet. She exudes kindness and playfulness with each preschooler she's with. She teaches the cooking enrichment class, and its waitlist is always overflowing! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, being with family, and going out to sporting events.
Ruth has been working with children since forever. She has spent years as a counselor/admin in summer camps and teaching in Sunday School in preschool settings. She loves to be silly and tinker away, making all things creative. Ruth also loves to dive into learning new things like cultural anthropology, healthy recipes, and tiny home building while snacking in her many many hammocks.
THE POOH BEAR CLASSROOM
Natalia started at Mustard Seed as a one-on-one Behavior Therapist for children who have special needs. She has her BA in Human Development with an emphasis on Child Development. She has worked with children in lots of settings, after-school programs, summer camps, and even art & craft classes through Michaels. For fun, Natalia likes to cook, bake, read, be crafty, walk trails, and exercise.
This school year is Nai's 12th year at Mustard Seed. She worked in elementary schools for 7 years before landing here. Nai loves to see children blossom--she says it keeps her young and gives her endless energy. Nai loves learning new things and always seems to be enrolled in an exciting community college course! Nai has 4 children and one grandchild. She loves coffee, hiking, and jogging.
This is Vanessa's second year with Mustard Seed Preschool. She graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education. Vanessa has been working with children for 10 years, and whether it's teaching, nannying, or after-school childcare, she loves it all! During her summers, Vanessa works on the leadership team at Camp Okizu, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families affected by childhood cancer. Her favorite part about working with kids is seeing all the joy and silliness they share with the world!
THE TIGGER CLASSROOM
Erwin has been working in preschool classes of Mustard Seed since 2004. He has also been working with children through play & movement, Christian ministry, and piano/music lessons since graduating from UC Berkeley in 1997. Erwin is also a credentialed elementary teacher, which brings a rich learning experience to the classroom. Erwin brings his gifts of music, science experiments, and organization into Mustard Seed. When he is not in the classroom, he often tries to visit the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club to unwind in a game of bowls with friends.
Tamara has been working with low-income children and families for over 20 years before coming to Mustard Seed Preschool in 2021. She has a degree in Early Childhood education. The best thing she loves about working with children is watching them grow from little tiny seeds into beautiful flowers. For fun, Tamara likes going to the movies, out to dinner, going to fairs and festivals, watching Netflix while eating popcorn, and hanging out with friends and family.
THE KANGA CLASSROOM
Minna started at Mustard Seed as a substitute teacher 8 years ago. She grew up in Tampere / Finland and received her degrees as a Social Educator and Kindergarten Practical Nurse from the Tampere Institute of Social Work. She has been a preschool teacher both in Finland and here in the Bay Area. She had an afterschool program in her home for several years in Berkeley while her daughters were growing up. Minna is well-loved by all of her coworkers, the families, and especially by the children. Her other interests are gardening, the outdoors, baking, reading, and she is a huge hockey fan.
Ken has worked with children for over 13 years through different programs and schools. This is Ken's second year as a Kanga teacher at MSP, having taught soccer and Spanish at MSP in 2018. Growing up in Mexico, he's been a lifelong athlete and currently coaches the soccer/sports elective. Ken loves engaging with children through dramatic play, physical activities, and challenging games. During his free time, Ken enjoys rock climbing, working out, concerts, and movies.