Meet Our Staff

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Cindy Acker

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.

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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.


Jonathan Acker

Office Assistant

Jonathan is a Child Unique alum and Alameda native who has two degrees from Holy Names University. He enjoys bowling, technology, and music.  He has two daughters and lives in Alameda. He volunteered for The Child Unique in high school and began working there post high school. He works in the office at the Taylor campus and also assists with payroll.

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Sumaira Olla

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.


Agnes Corpin

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. 


Maria Calvin

Toddler 2 Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon

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Johanny Marte

Primary 3 cohort 1 Teacher / Spanish Teacher

Johanny was born in Santo Domingo and worked in a Montessori classroom in the Dominican Republic for 14 years. She received her Montessori teacher certification from the American Montessori Society in 2005. She has a degree in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children with learning disorders and also has a degree in Elementary Education. She is also taking the training to become a Montessori toddlers teacher. She is the mother of two beautiful children who inspires and encourage her to be a better person. In her spare time, Johanny likes to read, watch documentaries about space and nature and spend time with her family.


Sam Johnson

Primary 3 cohort 1 Assistant Teacher


Bio coming soon


Dr. Ola Wahba

Primary 3 cohort 2 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.

In 2008, I decided to shift my career after a personal incident happened to my daughter, to follow my passion toward the children and since that time, the journey began. 


Melanie Osorio-Martinez

Primary 3 cohort 2 Assistant 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. 


Helen Uzoka

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.

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Nicole Baptiste

Primary 4 Teacher

Nicole Baptista was a Montessori child! She was born and raised in the Bay Area and attended Seaview Montessori, a public Montessori school in San Pablo. She is thrilled to continue with The Child Unique Montessori School community this year. She feels passionate about Montessori education and is currently enrolled in Montessori training and Early Childhood Education courses at Contra Costa College. Nicole hopes to inspire everyone at The Child Unique with her love of crafting and gardening.


Raina Ford

Lower Elementary Teacher

Raina Ford was born and raised in Oakland, California and she have 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. Raina went on to pursue a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology and shortly after, she realized education was her career path. Currently, Raina is finishing up her Montessori credential. She is studying to become a certified Montessori elementary teacher. In her free time, Raina enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her family.


Tina Li

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon


Chisa Iyo

Upper Elementary Teacher

Bio coming soon


Kayla Carter

Upper Elementary Assistant Teach

This is Kayla’s first year as an assistant teacher, and she’s super excited to join the Montessori team! Kayla graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and is excited to bring her passion for science, especially involving the ocean, into the classroom! Kayla’s other passions include painting and spending time with her partner and their cat Kiki. 


Jeanna Nagle


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.

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Rikki Smeltzer

Art Teacher

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

Music Teacher

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.

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Marisela Mascorro

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.

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Sonia Chen

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.

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Katsuko Kataoka

Cultural Primary Teacher/

Japanese Teacher

Katsuko was born and raised in Hiroshima where she got her BA degree in Education. After working in the fashion industry for 15 years, she made a career change, returning to the education field to become a teacher. Katsuko joined TCU in 2016 and obtained her Montessori primary credential in 2018. She is very happy working with children in a Montessori environment and loves to share Japanese and Japanese culture with children. In her spare time, Katsuko likes doing yoga, cooking, watching movies and performances, and playing the piano.   


Bonita Biljard

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.


Aayasha Biggs

Primary 2 Assistant 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.


Anu Pachilla

Cultural Primary Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon

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Kwang Sriprommasa

Toddler 1 Teacher

Kwang, (Thitiyaporn) Sriprommasa graduated from Bangkok University in Thailand with a bachelor's degree in English. She recently completed her Early Childhood Credential at The Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies. Kwang enjoyed working at the Encinal and Pacific campus in past years and is looking forward to joining the Taylor campus this year.


Meiyi Ko

Toddler 1 Assistant Teacher

Meiyi enjoys working with children. Before moving to U.S, Meiyi had been a middle school teacher for 5 years in China where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She moved to U.S in 2008. She earned her Associate degree on Early Childhood Education from Chabot College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time together with her family, especially with her children. She enjoys nature.

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Lindsay Correa

Assistant Teacher

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.


All Campus Staff

Taylor Campus Staff

Encinal Campus Staff

Pacific Campus Staff

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Duponté Bullock

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 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.


Jalia Orosco

Executive Office Manager

Bio coming soon


Justin Rivers

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.

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Tiffani Battle

Preprimary Teacher

Tiffani Battle has been a teacher for 12 years. She has a degree in Elementary Education, her Montessori Primary Certificate and an administrative certificate. She fell in love with Montessori after receiving her degree in education and has never been happier. She loves how Montessori fosters the whole child and teaches peace. She has been a site director, head teacher, toddler teacher and elementary teacher in her journey as an educator. She is the proud mother of 2 beautiful children (a boy and a girl) and she is excited to be a part of The Child Unique community.


Lindsay Correa

Preprimary Assistant Teacher

Hello folks. My name is Samantha Rosen and I was born in China and raised in the Windy City of Chicago Illinois.  The past few years I finished my undergraduate degree at Evergreen State College with an emphasis on Food Sustainability and Organic Agriculture.  I recently moved to the East Bay (Oakland) from Olympia, Washington with the hopes of sunnier skies.  In my free time outside of work, you can find me hiking with my 9 year old dog Apollo and surfing in the ocean!  I look forward to the school year and getting to learn about the children and their families.