Ms. Fernanda Aguilar, Folkoric Dance Instructor
My name is Fernanda Aguilar and I am working on accomplishing all of my goals. I never thought that I would be blessed to be where I am today. Currently I am going to school, and have my parents helping through the process, while assisting my community in whatever I am able. I have accomplished my 2nd year of college at the College of Alameda and in the process of attaining a B.A. in Biology. So far I love my school and the classes I have taken. I plan to transfer to a CSU or a UC to become a nurse. All my life I have been around children, ranging from my mom taking care of them, to volunteering at a Head Start, to being a catechism teacher. My passion is helping my community with the skills I was gifted. Something I really enjoy doing is dancing Baile Folkorico. Dancing fills me with joy and completes me, making me feel alive and connected with my culture. I have danced in a folkoric dance group for about 3 years at my local community church. As soon as I put on my dance shoes I feel like a different person. I am alive and ready to share my culture and show others the joy I have while dancing. I would like to transmit the same joy I have towards dancing to all the students at Academia de mi Abuela. Hopefully they will discover new skills while learning from folkoric dance. I hope they may experience the same joy as I always have while in the trance of dancing.
Xochitl Juarez, Co-Teacher
I am Xochitl Juarez, born in Oakland. I grew up in Dr. Mora Guanajuato and came back to the U.S when I was 10 years old. It was really difficult at the beginning because I didn't know how to speak English but I learned how to speak English fluently in middle school. I recently graduated from Dewey Academy High School and I am now planning on starting my career in Early Childhood Education. I would like to work at AMA because my passion is working with children. I interned before at Manzanita Community School and at La Academia de Mi Abuela. I have one sister and three step brothers. I am a very caring, friendly and an enthusiastic person. I also have a good sense of humor and I love animals. In my free time I like to spend time with my family, play soccer, watch TV. I enjoy going out and exploring the world. I love Mexican food, Italian food, mint ice cream, my family, and nature.
Ms. Leticia Javier, Art Instructor
Leticia Javier is an artist and educator from Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in Mid-City, a lively multi-cultural environment, sparked her interest in art. Her arts practice began in High School while attending an Arts Magnet High School. She continued to explore her curiosity in the arts and achieved a BFA in Painting and Drawing at California College of the Arts. The Bay Area’s beautiful natural landscape has continued to inspire her art and nature has become a significant muse to her arts practice. She enjoys sharing her fascination of arts and crafts with people of all ages. She thrives on providing youth with creative outlets and to inspire self-directed curiosity.
Ms. Yaneldis Diaz Pedroso, Site Supervisor and Head Teacher
Yaneldis Díaz Pedroso was born in the City of Havana, Cuba, on May 19th, 1982. Since her short age, Yaneldis showed her inclination towards the teaching field. She often offered her time and expertise to students that needed extra help in any subject. Following her vocation, she enrolled in the Vocational Institute of Educational Sciences (I. P. V. C. P.) "Gaspar Jorge García Galló" in 1997. Its initial objective was to achieve a career in the field of educational psychology, a subject which she is passionate about even today. There she continued to develop her leadership skills, by being in charge of her class group and work team. During this stage, Yaneldis perfected the excellent skills that she already had of the English language. Over the course of time, and thanks to her father’s advice Yaneldis decided to deepen into the study of the English language. Without leaving behind her vocation, in 2000 she opted to pursuit a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Specialty: English language, in the University of Pedagogical Sciences "Enrique José Varona". Her first experience as a classroom teacher was in 2001, which gave her the necessary experience for what was to become her profession for life. Since then Yaneldis has been a teacher who has earned the respect and affection from students and parents. Eager to grow as a professional and improve her skills, Yaneldis took several professional development business related courses and workshops. In 2005, Yaneldis moved to The Bahamas. There she began her career as a Spanish Teacher in Temple Christian School where she worked for nine years (2005-2014). Yaneldis became the mother of a beautiful girl in October 2009 and since then her thirst of knowledge about the psychology behind children development has intensified. During all her professional life, Yaneldis have been working with children of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Yaneldis wants to humbly offer her experience and expertise to help form and develop the necessary skills of our little ones, so they become the future generation we want them to be.
Mrs. Valeria Espinoza, Head Teacher
My name is Martha Valeria Magaña. I was born October 11, 1986 in Nahuatzen Michoacan, MX. At a young age,
I really liked to help and share with everyone who surrounded me. This is how I first took interest towards teaching.
My childhood was nice but at times difficult because I was teased by my peers for my different physical appearance. Support from my family and teachers greatly helped me to surpass the critiques and I grew up to be strong and value myself for who I am as a whole. The dream to gain teaching credentials in the specific subject of Mathematics, came through El Centro Escolar Juana de Asbaje , located in Zamora Michoacan, MX. After accomplishing my goal, I had the opportunity to teach in a high school and it was such a thrill. Not just teaching, but learning from my students. I am honored to have the opportunity to teach at Academia de Mi Abuela. Supported by my family and peers, I am sure I will do well to help in form bright children with amazing futures.
Doa Patty, School Chef and Maintenance Director
Patricia Mariscal was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico in the colony of Zapopan. Her father was a dedicated and hard working man who owned the local, neighborhood bakery and often brought home a wide variety of self-baked sweet bread for his family to enjoy! Patricia’s mother was a stay-at-home mom who raised a family of 13 children in total. Patricia learned many great virtues from her mother as she watched her cook and clean for the family.
Ms. Patricia, also known as Doña Patty, has raised two wonderful children, as a single mother, both of which are college graduates and one of those is Mrs. Cynthia Reimann! She is very proud of her children, to say the least!
Today, Doña Patty is employed as a part time Crossing Guard for Hayward Unified School District and as a Teachers Assistant/Maintenance Director for Academia de Mi Abuela . Ms. Patricia truly admires the joy, fun and innocence that children bring to her life. She is always eager to cook for the children and to please them in any way that she can--Doña Patty is truly the grandmother (abuela, as others may call her) of the school!
Mrs. Leonor Dukes, Administrative Assistant and Head Teacher
Leonor was born in Sinaloa, Mexico. Her family moved to the United States when she was 3 years old. She attended De Colores Preschool in Oakland, where she started to learn English as a second language. When Leonor was still young her family moved back to Mexico. Leonor enrolled in the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa and got a B.A. in English Language Teaching. During her 2nd year she started working in a private English school teaching kids between the ages of 6 to 9. At the end of her 2nd year of college she started working for the Secretaria de Educación Publica y Cultura de Sinaloa teaching English in public elementary schools. During these 3 years she overcame many obstacles like the lack of resources for teachers and students. However, she always felt passionate about giving back what she learned in her childhood, which was learning a second language. During her second year living here, she was given the opportunity to teach Spanish as a second language at Montclair Language League. In 2011, Leonor was hired by LANGO were she taught Spanish to children ages 2 to 9 years old. She started working at Academia de Mi Abuela in 2012 and has been enjoying seeing how her students acquired Spanish as a second language as she acquired English as a child. Mrs. Dukes is CTC certified as Site Supervisor and background checked, and trained in CPR & First Aid., Health & Safety, and Child Abuse Mandated reporting.
Dr. Jason D. Reimann, Board of Directors of Academia De Mi Abuela
Jason Reimann, Ed.D. is an educational leader, advocate for young people, a father and husband. Throughout his career, Dr. Reimann has dedicated himself to the work of celebrating diversity, serving all students and making sure that education results in the development of happy, healthy and successful young people. As a fourth-generation educator, the love for teaching and learning was a part of his family culture.
Following a move back to Northern California, Dr. Reimann assumed various management position in the Education Field. Here, he supervised the academic programs for at-risk students from throughout the bay area, ages 16-26.
Upon his return to the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Dr. Reimann became an Assistant principal at De Anza High School (DAHS). After a successful tenure at DAHS, Dr. Reimann was assigned as principal of El Cerrito High School (ECHS), his high school alma mater. In 2011, he completed his doctoral studies.
Dr. Reimann then went on to serve as principal of Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS), then ranked among the top 5% of schools in California. Following his tenure at DVHS, he became the director of educational services for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD). There, he supervised high school programs, athletics, career technical education and directly supervised seven schools. Dr. Reimann was recently hired as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Castro Valley,
Dr. Reimann has also served as a board member of various non-profit groups and early education programs including Mended Families, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides support to families that have been adversely affected by drug-abuse violence or incarceration, Angaza which focuses on providing educational opportunities for high-performing students from historically-underserved groups, and Academia de Mi Abuela, a Spanish-language dual immersion pre-school located in Oakland, CA. He is a recipient of the STAND! Man of Merit Award for his service to the East Bay Area. He also continues to serve as leadership coach for new school administrators..
Mrs. Cynthia Reimann, Director & Founder of Academia De Mi Abuela
Cynthia Mendez Reimann was born in Southern California and raised in the bay area. While attending several public Elementary and Middle Schools throughout Northern and Southern California, as well as in Jalisco, Mexico, she has experienced first-hand the imperfections of bilingual education in particular. Also, in searching for daycares for her own two children, Cynthia realized the incredible need for affordable and quality child care within the city of Oakland, which emphasized Spanish Immersion education, and Kindergarten preparedness. This made way for her vision of creating a strong multicultural and creative bilingual program that balances both play based activities and academics. Why can’t parents find a preschool that is nurturing and academic, as well as fun, affordable and exciting all at the same time?! Cynthia’s vision is to encourage creative thinking and ‘hands on’ learning through play based activities, with a focus in Music Appreciation, Dance, History, Mathematics and Science. She would like to see each child communicate in both English and Spanish and graduate from the Pre-K program fully prepared for Elementary Schooling, Kindergarten. In doing so, Mrs. Reimann wants children to think critically about the world and to make connections with people of diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences. She is dedicated to the quality and equity of both Pre-K Bilingual and Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Reimann graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelors Degree in World Arts and Cultures. She then continued her education and earned a Master’s in Education with an emphasis on Elementary School Instruction and Multicultural Curricula. She taught at various Elementary Schools throughout West Contra Costa Unified School District and lead an after school tutorial program. Mrs. Reimann is fully accredited for child care center services and holds an ECE Directors' Permit. When not working, Cynthia enjoys dance and music performances, world foods, cinema and traveling. She also likes to take her two children out for nature walks and ice cream.
Mr. Eduardo Valadez Visual Art Instructor
Eduardo Valadez is a Mexican artist from the Coachella Valley currently working in Southern California and the Bay Area. His work is primarily community based focusing on interactive and collaborative projects with a multidisciplinary studio practice that involves creative writing, painting, drawing, collage and performance. He is also an Educator and has collaborated with non-profit arts organizations and schools such as Kala Arts Institute, Ryse Youth Center, Riverside Museum of Photography, Oakland School for the Arts and more.
Ms. Gladys Corro, Co-Teacher
My name is Gladys Corro and I was born on May 18th, 1996. I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in Oakland, California. Although I was born in California I had trouble speaking fluent English because my mom would always make sure I was in Spanish speaking classes and English was not used often in the classroom. When I got to 4th grade my teacher only spoke English and it took me a while to understand. Luckily I was able to overcome the learning curve and learn how to speak English rather quickly. I now speak fluently in both English and Spanish. I have always had a passion for working with kids. Ever since I was 15 years old I babysat cousins, nieces and nephews, and my other children in the neighborhood. Overtime I realized that this is something I would definitely want to do professionally. I'm very family oriented and I love to spend time with my family, especially with uncle Luis, who always looks out for me. I love to spend time with my mother Maria, who has done a lot for me. I don’t know what I would do without her. Other things I like to do in my spare time is go to mall or go to the movies. One of my professional goals is to run my own daycare center. I am excited to be working at AMA. I look forward to getting to know the children, their families, and having a positive impact in their lives.
Mrs. Laura Soto, Head Teacher
My name is Laura Soto and I am 24 years old, married, and the mother of a wonderful little girl. I was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and raised in San Pablo, CA. My family and I moved to the United States when I was three years old. Moving to the US was very frustrating and scary for me as a child. I did not speak or understand English and I felt it was very difficult for me to make friends because of the language barrier. I have always had a passion for working with kids. Having a child of my own expands my desire even more to learn more about childhood development. I am very excited to be part of Academia De Mi Abuela. What I have to offer AMA is patience, creativity, and enthusiasm. I hope to gain experience through playing, teaching, and growing with children. I strongly believe that being bilingual is an important skill that in the long run is very helpful.
Faculty & Staff
Ms. Lani Rodarte, Co-Teacher
Lani Rodarte, Is 23 years old San Francisco native. Lani was raised in Oakland. Her mother is from Guatemala and her father is from Mexico. She attended schools in the Berkeley Unified School District from preschool to high school. Her senior year of high school was when she decided she wanted to be a teacher. She loved the thought of helping someone in the way her teachers helped her. After high school she enrolled in Merritt College in Oakland Majoring in child development.
Lani has worked with children since her senior year in high school; she worked at Thousand Oaks Elementary in Berkeley and also did a lot of babysitting on the side. After high school she worked with a company in Hayward, (SSPBI) Si Se Puede Behavioral Intervention. SSPBI offers in-home and community-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. She worked with SSPBI for four years. Working in
this company gave her the chance to learn to better understand children and their families. It gave her the skills to be organized, responsible, patient and caring. Having to work with diverse and culturally different families she has learned to use communication and social skills at her advantage. She is creative, outgoing and down to earth. Lani is attentive, hard working, honest, and a delightful individual who has an interest in learning new things. Lani looks forward to using her skills and enthusiasm to create new experiences and bringing her positive energy to AMA. Lani has been a assistant teacher with the AMA team for a year and a half she is responsible, enthusiastic, considerate, and humble. She gives genuine love, care and support for children and their families. From past experiences she has learned that knowing how to speak and understand a second language is a great advantage, she looks forward to be able to help children learn to understand and speak
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