Meet Our Staff
All Campus Staff
Founder & Principal
Cindy is the founder of The Child Unique and The Montessori Elementary Intermediate School of Alameda (MEISA), and has served as principal for over 30 years. She has several degrees in education, human development, spirituality, cultural studies and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley. Cindy has also been involved in public policy, representing Montessori schools in California. She is a published author and a national keynote speaker. Apart from her passion for education, Cindy is a singer and choir director in Novato and a mother of three adult children. Cindy speaks Dutch and Spanish.
Sarah McArthur LeValley
Director of Social Justice
Sarah's journey to The Child Unique / Montessori Elementary Intermediate School has been a series of apparently disconnected themes that came together to create this wonderful opportunity. She spent over 20 years in the animation film industry and have had the privilege of working for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm Animation. Prior to her years in animation she had a wonderful career working in theatre as a production manager. Sarah graduated from University of California Santa Barbara with a BA in Theatre.
Executive Office Manager
Duponté is a lifelong Alamedan, and a graduate of UC Davis, where he studied Political Science and Communication. Duponté has several years of experience working in customer service, operations, and facilities management roles across multiple industries, including: tech, shipping and logistics, and education. Before joining The Child Unique, he helped launch a successful start-up delivery company, partnering with Amazon.com. Having been eager to return to the education space, Duponté is very excited join us, and very much looks forward to contributing to the operational success of TCU/MEISA.
Bio coming soon
Director of Student Success
Justin recently moved from Queens, NY to Alameda. He has twelve years of experience managing teams while applying logistics and data analysis to boost the allocation processes of several well known fashion brands. He looks forward to applying his focus to be of service to The Child Unique Montessori School and surrounding community. He has many passions including, but not limited to, spirituality, music, literature, skateboarding, data science, physics, seeking truth, and helping people. Proudly on the Autism Spectrum and working everyday to highlight the beauty of neurodiversity.
Taylor Campus Staff
Toddler 2 Teacher
Sumaira was born and raised in Pakistan. She received a Bachelors degree in Commerce and received her AMI Montesssori credential from the Association Montessori Internationale. She came to America in 2013 and joined The Child Unique the same year. She is a mother of two wonderful children (a girl and a boy). They attend The Child Unique also. Sumaira loves working with children and enjoys having conversations with them.
Toddler 2 Assistant Teacher
Hi, I'm Agnes Corpin , I live close to Taylor just walking distance away. I received my college from the Philippine Women's University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and I took units in Education. I moved to Las Vegas and then moved here to Alameda California. It's my great honor to be part of the Montessori Team ! I love working with children. Knowledge is power . To be among learners each with their unique personality, passion, ideas is magical. They keep us healthy, happy, and young forever.
Primary 3 Teacher / Spanish Teacher
Melanie was born and raised in Oakland, California and is currently attending San Francisco State University for a BA in Child and Adolescent Development. Melanie enjoys working with children and loves singing in Spanish with them. In her free time she loves to bake, hike and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Primary 3 Assistant Teacher
Stephanie has a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and is also a native Spanish speaker.
Primary 4 Teacher
I am excited to join The Child Unique Montessori Family. My lifelong journey to become a Montessori guide began back in Nigeria in 2014 where I left a lucrative banking job to become a teacher. My passion and love for seeing children blossom and bloom are met with great organizational skills, a kind heart and a deep desire to see the world become a better place.
Being a mother of two young girls myself, nurturing and guiding are two things I take very seriously. I am grateful and elated to have been entrusted with your children. I look forward to partnering with you to see the children blossom into all that they can be.
Primary 4 Assistant Teacher
Bio coming soon
Lower Elementary Teacher
Raina Ford was born and raised in Oakland, California, and she has always known she wanted to work with children. She began assisting in a classroom setting in high school as a tutor and spent some time as a summer camp counselor as well as an after school program leader. Raina went on to pursue a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology and shortly after, she realized education was her career path. Not long after joining TCU, Raina began and completed her Lower Elementary training. She became a certified a Montessori teacher with us! Raina loves sunflowers, watching movies, cartoons, reading, and being silly with her students! Her passions include teaching the cosmic studies, history, and language
Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher
Bio coming soon
Dr. Ola Elserwi
Upper Elementary Teacher
Merhaba, my name is Ola El-Serwi. I’m an Egyptian adventurer who likes to discover and learn as I go.
I was born and raised in Mansoura, Egypt and I had a rich and warm childhood as my parents were investing in me and my siblings.
In 2002, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Mansoura University, Egypt.
Upper Elementary Co-Lead Teacher
Bio coming soon
Jeanna Nagle was born in Oakland and lives in Alameda. She attended the Early Childhood Education Program at Merritt College. She loves watching Giants and A's baseball and Cal football and basketball. She enjoys swimming, playing soccer and basketball, and playing with her nephew. She also enjoys listening to music and going for short hikes with her family. She looks forward to returning to the Taylor campus this Fall.
Rikki Smeltzer has lived in Oakland for 8+ years teaching several art medias to a diverse range of students. In 2011, Rikki received a BFA in Studio Arts: Metalsmithing and Jewelry design. Working with youth mentees in the industrial arts inspired Rikki to engage with younger makers to offer guidance in the process of creating art. The values and teaching styles of Montisoree perfectly align with Rikki's approach to art education. At home gardening, cooking, custom designing home improvements and spending time with loved ones makes Rikki the happiest.
Steve Slater has been playing drums for nearly twenty-five years. Steve attended Santa Barbara City College and San Jose University. He is a percussion instructor at Allegro Music and has his own studio in Fremont called School of Drums. Steve leads the drum line at Mission San Jose High School for over ten years. He also plays drums in three San Francisco Bay Area rock bands and his own jazz ensemble, Park St. Trio, based out of Alameda. He is the primary songwriter and has released two albums of original music.
Primary 1 Teacher
Mari is very excited to begin her 16th year with The Child Unique. She has a degree in Liberal Arts and Child Development and a Montessori Early Education Credential. Mari is the proud parent of three beautiful daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and going on adventures with her daughters and husband. She loves the family-like aspect of The Child Unique and the peace education that is helping to make a better world.
Primary 1 Assistant Teacher/ Mandarin Teacher
Sonia was born in China and speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. She worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for 11 years in China. Since 2011, she has been teaching in preschools in the United States. She likes to cook, listen to music, make friends, organize, and loves doing creative art projects.
Encinal Campus Staff
Primary 2 Teacher
I was born in The Netherlands, received my bachelor in Education and my Montessori teacher certification on the beautiful island of Aruba where I worked and lived for 20 years.
I am the proud mom of two girls and two boys, three of them studying in the Netherlands. I love to draw, paint, hike, read and sing, and I love to teach.
Primary 2 Assistant Teacher
Aayasha was born in Nepal, home of Mount Everest, and has been living in Alameda for the last 12 years. She was a former The Child Unique parent! Both of her children attended The Child Unique and she is thrilled to continue to be a part of the TCU family in her new role as an Assistant Teacher. She has recently completed her degree in Liberal Arts. Aayasha loves to dance and do fashion designing, a career she was successful at in a previous life. She hopes to share these interests with TCU students again. In her free time, Aayasha loves to spend time with her family by going on hikes throughout the Bay Area and long bike rides around the beautiful island of Alameda.
Cultural Primary Assistant Teacher
Bio coming soon
Pacific Campus Staff
Toddler 1 Teacher
Jessica has a Bachelor's degree in Education Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and an Infant-Toddler and a Primary (3ys - 6 yrs) MACTE accredited Montessori teaching credential. She has more than six years of teaching experience, and has led Lego, swimming, and music clubs for children.
Lindsay earned an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Merritt College. She has worked in the childcare field for 3 years and loves to read, dance and cook. Lindsay has traveled to many countries, including five wonderful trips to Vietnam. She dances with a vietnames dance company that performs traditional vietnamese, contemporary/modern, ballet and hip hop styles. Lindsay is looking forward to working with the children this year.
Bio coming soon
Preprimary Assistant Teacher
Bio coming soon