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Founder Krystell Guzman

Krystell holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California Santa Cruz and a masters in Public Administration from California State East Bay. She is a training expert by trade. Her training endeavors have taken her to far away lands such as Ethiopia, Dominican Republic and all over Central America. She worked as coffee and training expert for the United States Agency for International Development on improving the quality of coffee for small and medium coffee producers throughout Central America. Her program went on to create 5 National coffee schools that had a huge impact on exports in each of the countries she worked in. Krystell has also worked as a Regional Development Consultant for Mercer Human Resource Consulting where she was in charge of providing learning and development resources for all of the offices in the Western United States and Latin America. Prior to that she was a training manager at Google in charge of creating the training program for the famous book scanning project entitled Book Search.

Krystell is mother to Ziel a teenager, Zaylee a star Softball player and Zyana who still attends La Plazita.  Krystell's children were the inspiration for starting this school as her goal was to preserve the language of her heritage while at the same time ensuring her children would be fully ready for kindergarten and the rest of their educational lives.  

Curriculum Director Christina Guzman

Christina graduated from California State Hayward with a teaching credential in Early Childhood Education. In her early years as a bilingual school teacher in the Fremont Unified School district, she created a bilingual preschool. Christina currently works as a curriculum development specialist and an English Language Program Coordinator for a International Baccalaureate School in San Jose. Christina has trained hundreds of teachers throughout her career for universities such as University of California Santa Cruz and has been a featured speaker at many California Association of Bilingual Educators conferences.

Christina is the proud mother of three adult children and the even prouder grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren. She is fully bilingual and hopes all of her family continues to speak Spanish fluently and uphold their pride in their Latino heritage.

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Our Director La Plazita III 

Etelvina Guadalupe (Lupe) Lopez

Lupe is an energetic, outgoing mother of two with outstanding child care skills and teaching experience. She has eight years of experience taking care of her own children and children of friends. She has a very sweet and kind manner with children enjoys playing, singing, and making children laugh. She loves being around small children and participating in their development. She believes that educating children from a young age with love and tenderness is the basis for them to grow up as healthy, self-confident adults.

Lupe is a certified primary school teacher in Guatemala. She taught first and fifth grades for four years at a rural elementary school outside of Guatemala City. She also completed six months of student teaching in an elementary school in a village close to Antigua, Guatemala. She is a native Spanish speaker with a high level of literacy and also speaks Q'eqchi', a Mayan language from Guatemala and English. She grew up in a multicultural setting in Guatemala in an area with both Spanish speakers and Q'eqchi' speakers. Because of this, she is very respectful of the cultural and linguistic differences that make up a multicultural society. Moreover, she is raising her own children in a bilingual and bicultural manner, trying to teach them to see the world in this way. Lupe holds an anthropology degree in her native Guatemala and is currently doing her early childhood education classes at Merritt College. In 2016 she became part owner at La Plazita Preschool.

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Our Director La Plazita II

Yalin Morales Miller

Yalin was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She holds a bachelor degree in  Education in English as a Second Language from “Universidad de El Salvador”. She also holds  certificate as Site Director in  Early Childhood Development from California Department of Education. She is certified in CPR and preventative Health required by the State of California for Child Care Center. She has over ten years of experience teaching preschool, elementary and highschool at Centro Cultural Salvadoreno Americano. Prior to working at La Plazita she taught Spanish at “Viva el espanol” at various different elementary schools. At La Plazita she returned to her passion, which is teaching. Yalin believes that every moment in life is an opportunity for learning and that children learn best through playing and exploring meaningful activities. Yalin loves to read novels, listen to music and watch movies.

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Director of Administration

Cecilia Rodriguez

Cecilia was born and raised in Abasolo, Guanajuato, Mexico. She loves her culture and enjoys transmitting her culture to the kids. She is married and is the proud mother of 4 kids, blessing her with tons of experience with children. She has also worked as a nanny for many other children. Ceci loves to dance and can often times be seen dancing with all the children at La Plazita. In her free time she loves to go for walks and exercise with her kids. She enjoys nature and has a lot of fun exploring the world with the little ones in "La Plazita". She also has a degree in business administration which provides her another perspective in working with the children. Her organizational skills help in developing great routines with the children, which they love. . Ceci is also returning to school to study early childhood development.

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Director Assistant La Plazita II/La Plazita III 

Yael Blancas 

Yael was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico. She was 15 years old when she moved to the United States. Yael holds an AA Degree in Child Development from Merritt College. She is going to school to accomplish her certificate as Site Director in Early Childhood Development from the California Department of Education. She has a certification in CPR and preventative Health required by the State of California for the Child Care Center certification. Yael has been part of the La Plazita team since 2014. She loves to be with young children, and she sees teaching as one of her life purposes. She enjoys reading, dancing, and traveling to Puebla to spend time with her family.  

Maestras La Plazita II

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Maria is from Michoacán, Mexico. In 1989, she moved to the state with her mother and older sister. She is married and has four boys. Maria has a Child Development Associate Teacher certificate from Merritt College and continues her online education as a teacher. She is certified in CPR and preventive health required by the state of California for child care centers. Maria has more than 5 years of experience teaching in a preschool and working at La Plazita. She is very patient with children and loves her job.  In her free time, she likes to watch movies, go fishing, and spend time with her family.

Maria Villa

Beatriz was born and raised in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico.  She attended school, and at the age of eighteen, she graduated from college. Beatriz went to Matías de Cordova Normal school in the City of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. After graduation, she obtained a title as a Primary Education Teacher and worked in an elementary school for six years. In 1987, Beatriz came to the United States. She took  ESL classes for two years. Her children attended schools in the Oakland Unified District. She got involved as a parent volunteer in the schools where her children attended. She then became part of the board of directors of parents supporting the education of families and students. In 2015, Beatriz decided to take Child Development classes and got two certificates, one as an Assistant Teacher and the other as a Teacher Associate. Beatriz enjoys working with children and sharing her culture with families and children in Plazita 2.  She has five children and loves spending time with them. In her free time, Beatriz likes to take Zumba classes, listen to music, and go for walks.

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Beatriz Gallegos
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Jackie del Toro

Jacqueline was born in Mexico City, where she studied at the International Institute of Tourism. In 1999, Jacqueline immigrated to the United States to continue her studies and worked various jobs in customer service. In 2013, she discovered her true vocation, teaching children. Working closely with them at the Monte Tavor School, she developed several teaching techniques that inspired and motivated her to continue preparing for early childhood education. Some of her experience begins with taking several workshops related to the education of children in BANANAS such as Temperament and Behavior in Young Children, Crafts for 0-5 years Acquisition of Speech, Toddler Language and Literacy and Positive Discipline. Jacqueline continues her studies in gaining other various early education certification with great passion to excel in the field. She continued studying at Merritt College on Child Development. Jacqueline completed 12 units in ECE to apply for her Associate Teacher Permit. She also recently has been teaching classes in zoom during the lockdown due to covid-19 and she received a lot of positive reviews from parents. Jacky, as she likes to be called, is grateful for the opportunity to work at La Plazita Preschool and she hopes to continue improving her English language learning. Jacky’s recreational activities include spending time with her daughters and being outdoors where she can enjoy nature at its best.

Susana was born and raised in a small town called Teocaltiche Jalisco, Mexico. She is the oldest of the eight siblings she has. She has been married for over eighteen years and has two children. Sussana has been living  in the United States for eighteen years now. She likes living here because of the cultural diversity that theBay area has. Susana has been going to school and studying Child Development. She likes working with children. It amazes her to see how fast children learn. Susana likes going on hikes with her sons. She also enjoys knitting, reading, and embroidery.

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Susana Villalpando
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Sonia was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico. She loves the cultural richness and gastronomy that the city of Oaxaca offers. Sonia has a Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy from the Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca. She worked for four years as a teacher in an elementary school and two years as the director of an adult school in Mexico. Sonia currently lives in Oakland. She has worked as a Spanish teacher at the Montclaire Elementary School for two years. Sonia became part of the La Plazita team three years ago. She loves teaching and enjoys her job. Whenever she gets the opportunity, she takes Child Development classes and workshops to keep learning and applying that into her everyday teaching. Sonia likes to listen to music, read, and watch movies.

Sonia Zarate

Teresa was born in Michoacán, Mexico. Her parents brought her to the United States when she was 17 years old. Her passion for children led her to take Child Development classes. She has more than five years of experience working with children.  She works as a teacher's aide at La Plazita. In her free time, she likes to walk outdoors, ride a bike, read, and listen to music.  

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Maria Teresa 
Martinez

Maestras La Plazita III

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Jessica was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico. She is married and has two children, a boy, and a girl. She loves her culture and enjoys transmitting her culture to her children. It is important to her that her children maintain their culture and are bilingual. Jessica loves to work with children and teach them Spanish. As a teacher, she gives her best to helping children meet their needs. Jessica has taken child development workshops and has an Associate Teacher certificate in child development. She continues taking English classes and is working on her AA degree. She has been working at La Plazita for almost six years. Jessica enjoys nature and likes to hike. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, read books, and listen to music.

Jessica Garcia

Blanca was born and raised in San Vicente, El Salvador. She came to California in 2004. Blanca went to Merritt College and obtained an Associate Teacher certificate in Early Childhood Development. She plans to continue with her studies in Early Childhood Development and obtain an Associates Degree. Blanca is married and has three children. She enjoys traveling with her children to El Salvador. She wants them to get to know her roots and to be a part of the culture she cherishes so much. Blanca also enjoys working with children and being part of their growth and development. In her free time, she likes to spend quality time with their family and listen to Latin music.

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Blanca Melara Diaz
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Dinora was born and raised in El Salvador. She grew up with her paternal grandparents, who lived in the countryside. She has nothing but good and happy memories of her childhood. One of her favorite memories is her enjoying nature. When Dinora was thirteen, her grandparents moved to the city. After completing high school, she decided to emigrate to the United States, where her only daughter was born. Shortly after her daughter was born, she returned to El Salvador. Dinora wanted her daughter to experience and learn about her culture. Four years later, she returned to the United States. Her sister and daughter motivated her to take Early Childhood Development classes. Her goal is to continue preparing herself in this area and to be able to give her best to the little ones. In her free time, Dinora loves to spend quality time with her daughter and granddaughter. She also likes to watch YouTube videos that help her learn English and enjoys going on hikes. 

Maria Dinora 
Melara

Ana was born in Nayarit, Mexico. She is married and has three children. Ana came to the United States twenty years ago and has been living in Oakland, California, ever since then. When Ana was a child, she dreamed of becoming a preschool or kindergarten teacher. Little by little, her dream came true. Ana now has six years of experience working in preschools with toddlers. She became part of the La Plazita team three years ago. Ana is currently taking Child Development classes. She wants to keep learning and implementing what she learns in her teaching. She enjoys spending time with her family and exercising.

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Ana Delia Lora
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Leticia was born and raised in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. She is married and has a lovely dog named Bola. Bola became a big part of Leticia's family and she sees Bola as her own child. For Leticia, working with children is one of her best experiences. It brings her joy to be able to teach them, give them attention, affection, and care. Leticia is energetic and sweet towards the children. She believes that children learn the best when they have a welcoming and harmonious environment. Leticia transfers her positive energy to the children by singing and playing games with them. In her free time, Leticia likes to spend time with her husband and Bola. She also enjoys baking, cooking, reading, walking, and doing outdoor activities.

Leticia Muniz

Marialuisa was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. For a year, she attended the Michoacán University of San Nicolás of Hidalgo. At the age of 19, she got married and moved to the United States. Marialuisa has four daughters, Fanny, Diana, and her twins Paulina and Camila. Fanny graduated from U.C Davis in 2016 with a major in Anthropology and two minors in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies. Diana is currently attending City College of San Francisco and is planning on getting her BA in Arts and Design. The twins Paulina and Camila are ten years old and are in the 5th grade. Marialuisa went back to school and studied Child Development at City College of San Francisco and got her Associate Teacher certificate. Her goal is to complete the general education classes and transfer to a 4-year institution to obtain her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Marialuisa has been working with children for almost 15 years. She loves her job because she finds it rewarding. For instance, it brings her joy to see the way children view the world. . In her free time, Marialuisa likes to spend time with the twins and her dog, Muffin. She also likes to read, dance, go on hikes, and learn new things about cultures.  

Marialuisa
Ramos
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Elena is a Xicana born and raised in Oakland, who likes to integrate her eclectic environment into different learning skills to teach others. She’s worked 6 years in education ranging from college readiness, elementary-level reading comprehension advancement, and most recently preschool age children. She passionately believes in the power of educational equity to interrupt systemic racism, poverty, and social inequality. While working for Gateway to College, she often spoke of the program’s mission and dedication to teaching underprivileged youth in order to secure funding and technological  resources for students. 

Elena has been working at La Plazita for over 3 years as an assistant teacher, she recently started to create accessible web pages with the songs of the monthly themes to help families stay involved  and follow along with our curriculum. Elena strongly believes that the key to create a thriving learning environment is to have support, open communication, and inclusivity between teachers and families. 

Elena Castro

Leticia, was born in Sinaloa, Mexico, and has been living in Oakland for  over twelve years.  She attended school in Mexico, where she obtained a BA as a Social Worker. She has two children, Gustavo and Brian. Leticia has performed different jobs related to customer service and Education. In 2011 She worked in an organization called PIQUÉ, which is in charge of giving guidance to parents on how to raise their children's self-esteem, and graduate from High School. She also worked for the county of Alameda in Oakland, taking care of the children of a very large family. In 2017 she started taking Child Development classes, which is a vocation that she loves, children are her passion. She started working at La Plazita, as a Teacher Assistant in 2018.

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Leticia Lindoro
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Mayra was born in Nayarit, Mexico, and grew up in Oakland, California. She is fluent in Spanish and knows how to speak English. Mayra studied Child Development at Las Positas community college. She is planning on going back to school to finish her education. In 2016, Mayra became a part of the La Plazita team. She loves working with kids and preparing them for kindergarten. Mayra is married and has two children, one is fifteen, and the other is eleven years old. Mayra likes to go on hikes and spend her free time with her family and friends. 

Mayra Vega

Noemi was born in Mexico. She has two daughters and eight grandchildren. Noemi has twelve years of experience working with children in preschools and she loves her profession as a preschool teacher. Her favorite thing about teaching is sharing her culture and traditions with the children. She is currently taking Child Development classes and is working on getting her AA degree. Noemi loves nature and likes to do gardening. In her free time, she likes to read, exercise, and cook.

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Noemi Fierro

Eliseida was born in Mexicali, Baja California. Later in life, she relocated to Oakland, California.  Eli has three children and two granddaughters, Aly 15 years old, and Ava two years old. Ava is currently attending La Plazita. Eli worked for years as a waitress in a Mexican food restaurant. She was involved in her children's education and became part of parent committees at her children's school. Eli even helped design and promote the foundation of Think College Now, an elementary school that focused on bridging the gap for black and brown students in OUSD. In 2016, Eli became an ambassador of the Oakland Promise for the Oakland mayor office. She helped with policy recommendations and community participation. Ely went to college and took courses in child development. One of her passions is working with children and being part of their growth and development. Eli is committed to educational equity and early childhood education. She believes in the La Plazita mission and loves the community there. During her free time, Eli loves to cook delicious Mexican dishes, workout, and sing karaoke with her family.

Eliseida Jauregui

Ana was born and raised in a small town in Veracruz, Mexico. She is married and has a son. Ana loves giving back to the community. She has done community service in different places and continues to do it every time she gets the chance. For example, Ana has volunteered in a Charter School, in the Oakland Unified School District, and 1Oakland, an organization that advocates for a better education. Before COVID, Ana was a volunteer at the Cesar Chavez Library. Ana started working in La Plazita 3 years ago. She decided to work at a preschool because she likes to know that she is making a positive difference in somebody's life. Her favorite part about teaching is whenever she sees that her students are learning. Besides volunteering in her free time, Ana likes to read, run, and listen to music. 

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Ana Silvia 
Herrera

Katherin was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She has lived in California for 2 1/2 years. She is very fond of the arts, communication and social service. When she was 17 she traveled to Haiti to work in an orphanage for two months, it was there that she discovered her passion for working with young children. That experience motivated her to learn more about child development. She is currently studying Child Development at Merritt College to earn her AA in Early Childhood Education. She has been working at La Plazita since October 2019.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano, drawing, painting, sewing, reading, listening to music, playing sports, and spending time with her family.

Katherine
Guatibonza

Raquel was born and raised in Brazil. At 23, after graduating, she moved to California. She has a preschool education and a bachelor's degree in pedagogy and school administration. Raquel's first language is Portuguese. She knows Libras (Brazilian sign language), English, and some Spanish. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, playing the guitar, and going for hikes. Raquel started working at the Plazita preschool last year, and her goal is always to be open to help and learn.

Raquel Brim

Gladiola was born and raised in Guatemala. She is fluent in Spanish and Mam, a Mayan language. In 2016, Gladiola came to the United States to reunite with her father. She joined La Plazita three years ago.  Gladiola likes working with children because she feels that she is making a positive difference in their lives. She also works as a Mam translator at immigration tribunal courts. In her spare time, she likes to listen to music, meditate, and spend time with her family.

Gladiola Aguilar

Ana was born in Washington, D.C. When she was a baby, her family decided to go back to Mexico. She grew up in a small town in the state of Michoacan. Ana remembers her childhood being beautiful. In the afternoon, she used to play with her neighbors and loved riding her bike everywhere. At the age of 15, Ana came back to the States and attended high school. She has a lovely son that is five years old. Her son motivated her to go back to school. When she was pregnant, she started taking Child Development classes. She wanted to help her son in any possible way she could. Ana now has a Teacher Assistant and Associate Teacher certificate. She likes working with children and worked in a daycare for three years. She then became part of the La Plazita team two years ago. In her free time, Ana likes to go to the beach, cook, do gardening, and spend quality time with her son.

Ana Veronica Magana
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Dayana was born in Oakland, California. When she was three years old, she and her family moved to Dr. Mora Guanajuato, Mexico. She was raised there and attended school. When she was 14 years old, she came back to the States. She is proud of the culture and traditions she grew up in, and she considers them a big part of her identity. She is the oldest of her five siblings. Dayana has three associates degrees; Health Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences. She joined the La Plazita team last year and is still going to school to finish her education. Dayana likes hiking, and her favorite painter is Frida Kahlo.

Dayana Juarez

Veronica was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. She is married and came to the United States with her husband when they were young. Veronica has been living in Oakland ever since then. She has two children, a son, and a daughter. Her son is 24-years-old, and her daughter is  18-years-old. The most important thing for her is her family. Veronica comes from a large family. She has eleven siblings. Half her family is in Mexico, and the other half resides in Oakland, CA. She is kind and cares for others. She has been part of the La Plazita team for more than a year and a half. 

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Veronica Gastelum

© 2019 La Plazita Preschool

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Gladiola Aguilar