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Our Guides (Teachers)

Rosemary Rae, MA

Rosemary Rae, MA

Head of School

I tried teaching Kindergarten but it wasn’t until my daughter was 3 that I realized that this was the most enjoyable and rewarding age to work with, at least for me. It is an age of innocence and wisdom, joy and delight, clarity and heart-felt honesty, and unbridled curiosity. So I started a small school in Glen Park where I stayed with my own small group of students until I was offered the opportunity to move to the commercial space on Chenery Street. The school has now been in existence for 24 years growing and improving all the way. I love the effortless way the Montessori Method allows children to teach themselves, explore their world from many points of view, and cooperatively create a peaceful and respectful environment in which to learn and teach each other.

My favorite…
Color: Sunrise peach.
Food: Curry.
For fun: I love to write and work with medicinal
herbs.

Ana Padilla

Ana Padilla, MA

Director

I was born in El Salvador, Central America. I have always enjoyed working with children even at an early age. My inspiration to become a teacher was my 4th-grade teacher. Her love and kindness towards children deeply touched my heart. I especially enjoy children’s curiosity, honesty, and desire to learn. I have been a teacher for 15 years–and a mother for longer! I love the amazing community and supportive environment at Glen Park Montessori Preschool. The students, my fellow teachers, and all of our families make this a very special second “home.”

My favorite…
Color: All of them.
Food: El Salvadorian.
For fun: Spending time with my children and reading.

Kristine Flores, BA

Kristine Flores, BA

Lead Teacher in the Upstairs Classroom

I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with children in a Montessori environment for over 9 years. It is truly amazing to recognize and understand the significant changes in children’s brain development from birth to 6 years of age. This is such an instrumental time for their cognitive, social, and emotional growth. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I earned my BA in Psychology with an emphasis in child development at the University of Colorado in Denver in 2002. After graduating college, I observed a Montessori classroom and my desire to work with children solidified. I was so inspired as I watched children move around the classroom with such ease and purpose; I immediately knew this moment would lead me to pursue my own unique path of growth, education, and purpose. I obtained my AMS Early Childhood Credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado, in 2014. I am so excited to continue my joyful path of teaching at Glen Park Montessori.

My favorite…
Color: All hues of of blue; especially near sunset.
Food: Guacamole; anything with avocado.
For fun: Reading and road trips.

Sushma Shukla, BA

Sushma Shukla, BA

Co-Lead Teacher in the Downstairs Classroom

When I was in college, I had always dreamed of working at a school that helped young children reach their full potential. It only took me one day of volunteering in a Montessori classroom to realize the importance of the method. I then pursued my career as a Montessori preschool teacher from 2009 to 2015 and enjoyed being able to provide an environment and guidance that cultivated children’s independence and desire for a lifetime of learning. It’s wonderful to see the world through the eyes of this age group as they discover the carefully prepared Montessori classroom. I find that this method meets and exceeds the needs of children in their self-discovery.

More recently, I completed a 3.5-year service with the Peace Corps. My husband and I served as education volunteers in Indonesia where we taught English to high school students. Even though my time serving in the Peace Corps has been one of the most rewarding experiences, I had missed being in a Montessori preschool environment and happy to have returned.

After receiving my B.A. from the University of Mumbai, India with a major in Early Childhood Education, I earned my M.A. in Marketing Communications from University of Canberra, Australia. Later, I obtained my Montessori Primary Certification from North American Montessori Association.

Minnesota had been home since 2002 before we moved to California last year. I am looking forward to enjoying all that California has to offer, including the great weather, beautiful scenery and delicious food.

My favorite…
Color: Red.
Food: Anything with lots of spices.
For Fun: I like to cook, dance and travel to new places with my husband.

Cynthia Buell, AA

Cynthia Buell, AA

Intern and Assistant Teacher

I am an artist and teacher with a passion for teaching children and adults. I have over 13 years of experience of teaching in the pre-school and elementary setting. I was an assistant to the director of a Montessori school in Wilmington, NC, a beautiful coastal community. Before moving to the Bay Area this year with my husband Shawn, I was a lead teacher and creative arts director for 10 years at a creative arts school in Wilmington where we balanced our pre-school and our after schools programs in a Reggio Emilia/Montessori approach to teaching. I have an Associates Degree in the Arts and early childhood credentials. I love sharing with my students my enthusiasm for curiosity and creativity. I am dedicated to treating every child with respect and honor.

My favorite…
Color: Purple.
Food: A tie between honey-crisp apples and hamburgers.
For Fun: Adventuring outdoors with family and friends.

Abigail Pena

Abigail Pena

Afternoon Teacher

Hello! My name is Abigail Pena and I am currently obtaining my BA in Child Development (with a concentration in Early Childhood Education) at San Francisco State University. For as long as I can remember, I always knew it was my calling to be a teacher. Before moving to San Francisco, I attended De Anza College and took my first Child Development classes. I felt very lucky to find that these classes further assured me that this field was for me. While enrolled in the ECE classes, I worked at a bilingual Montessori preschool and stayed for an incredible year (and a half!) that was full of growth and joy. My time there showed me that the preschool years are an amazing time of development and discovery! It brings me joy that I have the opportunity to guide children through their educational journey, as their excitement for learning is inspiring and contagious. These early years are so critical, and I feel it is very important to teach children early on how to exist in a peaceful manner, where they are provided opportunities to become caring and productive members of their community. I prefer an educational environment where children are respected, and where spontaneity and curiosity are supported and encouraged. Having a warm, nurturing environment is so important for children’s’ emotional, intellectual and spiritual development, which I feel a Montessori setting provides. I am thrilled to be a part of Glen Park Montessori Preschool and am delighted to be a figure that your child will seek guidance and support from!

My Favorite…
Color: Turquoise.
Food: Mexican & Korean.
For fun: Painting, picnicking, hiking, reading and yoga.

Elizabeth Martinez

Elizabeth Martinez, AA

Afternoon Teacher

I am a Gilroy native but am excited to be living in San Francisco for my final year at SFSU. My focus is on early childhood. I feel that guiding children through engaging experiences in the context of warm, reciprocal relationships is key to learning. I have three nieces – ages 10 years, 5 years, and 8 months – who have played a positive role in my decision to work with young children. Watching them grow and being involved in their development has humbled me and reignited a passion to continue to seek knowledge. I look forward to working alongside the children and families of Glen Park Montessori.

My Favorite…
Color: Blues and greens.
Food: Pozole, ramen, anything with broth!
For fun: Listening to music, walking, day trips with my nieces and partner.

Soukaina Houkal

Soukaina Houkal, BA

Assistant Teacher

I was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. I earned my BA in English Studies at the University of Ain Chock, Casablanca in 2010 Raised by both parents teachers taught me the values of this remarkable and noble job. With that in mind and a clear desire to work with children, I obtained an Associate degree in Child Development from City College of San Francisco in 2016. I was fortunate to start my professional career in a Montessori environment where children are respected and valued. I have recently become a mother to a baby girl Noor. During my maternity leave, I have always missed working at GPM where the magic experience of developing children’s life is endless.Happy and excited to return and continue my joyful adventure.

My favorite…
Color: Pink and black.
Food: All flavorful food and sweets.
For fun: Traveling, family gathering, walking and enjoying nature.

Shannon Rice

Shannon Rice, BA

Communications Director

I was an assistant teacher at GPM from 2012-2014. Since moving away from San Francisco, I have held the position as Communications Director. I believe I am well suited for this position because I have classroom experience and understand how important clear, consistent communication is for a school’s functioning. I am very happy to still be involved with the amazing community that surrounds GPM! I have a BA in psychology from SFSU and am currently obtaining my MA in Clinical Mental Health at Naropa University located in Boulder, CO.

My favorite…
Color: Green.
Food: New Mexican.
For fun: Hiking with my pups, traveling with my husband, and lots of yoga.

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