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Teacher Steph
Finch and Hummingbird Aide
Blue Jay PM Teacher

Teacher Steph joined The Lake School in 2017 and immediately became loved by students, faculty and parents alike. She is passionate about animals, nature and all outdoor activities and enjoys sharing these experiences with her students. Teacher Steph has been also been declared our "Play Expert" as it is always hard to tell who is having more fun, her or the children. 

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Teacher Maritza
Hummingbird & Finch  teacher
Spanish and Yoga Enrichment classes

Maritza has been a preschool teacher for 13 years.  After college she worked for 5 years at a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool and then moved on to a Spanish Immersion preschool for eight years. Looking for a change and a place to grow she joined The Lake School in 2017. She enjoys being able to introduce new activities and skills to the younger classes through music and sharing the Spanish language and Latinx culture through Enrichment classes. 


Teacher Kat
Finch and Hummingbird teacher
Garden Enrichment classes

Kat grew up in Athens, Georgia, and spent many years continuing education and exploring New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. It was there she discovered the joy of working with children outside! Since relocating to the Bay Area, she has taught garden-based science at a public Montessori school, and brings a passion for sustainability, exploration, and developing curiosity to her teaching. When she's not gardening or hiking, you can find Kat playing roller derby with her team, skating around Lake Merritt, and trying new recipes.

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Teacher Marisol
Robin teacher
Spanish Enrichment classes

Marisol began her teaching career as a teacher in a variety of preschool settings, working with children from 3 months to 5 years old.  She joined The Lake School in 2020 leading classes with her kind and patient presence. Marisol has a boy and girl of her own and a genuine love for all children. Her teaching is guided by the belief that every child is unique! 

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Teacher Naima
Robin teacher

Teacher Naima is from Algeria and lives here with her husband and three-year-old daughter, Massilva. She has a Master's Degree in English Literature from her home country and has studied Early Childhood Education here in America. She speaks four languages, loves to cook, bake and work with young children. She is delighted to join the The Lake School this year and to support the children's exploration and growth through play.  


Teacher Chianai
Mallard TK teacher
Phonics & Music/Movement Enrichment classes

Chianai has been teaching children of all ages for over 15 years; she previously had the pleasure of teaching TK at Thornhill Elementary for 7 years. She has a passion for teaching and receives joy from participating in the growth and development of young children. Her fun loving, creative spirit ensures her students will always have a blast while learning.

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Teacher Mari
Mallard TK teacher
Cooking with Math Enrichment classes

Mari has taught in early childhood for over ten years, working with ages ranging from 2 - 8 years old.  She believes children to be capable, deserving of trust and respect. She sees the classroom as the place to offer the time and the tools for each child to express themselves, to explore their curiosities, to create their own problems and to then build solutions for those problems.  She seeks to continually send the message, “I think you can do this, let's figure out how,” and in this way, enrich the children’s sense of autonomy, and their active role within the community.

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Teacher Eva
Mallard TK & Phonics Enrichment Aide

Eva is a Bay Area native who is passionate about education and community. She is currently working towards her Early Childhood Education Teacher Qualification. Eva believes children deserve a space built on mutual respect and trust where they can fully be themselves. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the sun, listening to music, and trying new foods. 

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Teacher Keyla
Afternoon Aide

Keyla has found her happy place in teaching preschool for the past 3 years; she enjoys being the children's role model, supporting their growth and helping them to feel comfortable and safe.  In teaching, Keyla looks to discover each child's interests and unique learning style in order to help them develop their own potential.  She loves to bake and walk in the park with her dog China and her partner.

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Maia Gallo
Head of School

Maia held a teaching position at The Lake School for four years before taking the leadership role in 2020. She has worked with children of all ages in various teaching and caregiving positions for over 25 years. Her years in the field, Master's in Early Childhood Education, yoga teacher training, and Connection Practice certification all influence her guidance of the children and staff. She is passionate about the rights of childhood, play-based education, social-emotional learning and equity issues. She very much enjoys caring for The Lake School community of children, teachers, parents and pets. 


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