Our wonderful Staff

The principal qualification for our teachers is the ability to love children unconditionally, to be able to communicate with them and develop a relationship that emphasizes that he or she is their friend.

  Fern Eisenberg, Director   Fern Eisenberg has been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1965 when she graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in Primary Education. She began teaching and then became administrator of one of the first Head Start Programs in Chicago. She attended UCLA for graduate studies and earned a California Credential as a Parenting and Family Life Specialist. As a Parenting and Family Life Specialist for Los Angeles Unified School District, Fern was a Parent Education and Child Development Master Teacher. Fern has been the founding member of several organizations including The Association of Child Development Specialists, The Family resource Coalition, and The Valley Infant, Toddler, Adult Leaders. Fern has been the Director of Early Childhood Centers since 1993 beginning in Los Angeles. In 2003 she moved to San Francisco to be close to her family. Her dream of starting a non profit Preschool and Parenting Center with the emphasis on a relationship-based curriculum that focuses on the child's social emotional growth and worthy wages for teachers became a reality when GPFP was established in the summer of 2015.

Fern Eisenberg, Director

Fern Eisenberg has been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1965 when she graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in Primary Education. She began teaching and then became administrator of one of the first Head Start Programs in Chicago. She attended UCLA for graduate studies and earned a California Credential as a Parenting and Family Life Specialist. As a Parenting and Family Life Specialist for Los Angeles Unified School District, Fern was a Parent Education and Child Development Master Teacher. Fern has been the founding member of several organizations including The Association of Child Development Specialists, The Family resource Coalition, and The Valley Infant, Toddler, Adult Leaders. Fern has been the Director of Early Childhood Centers since 1993 beginning in Los Angeles. In 2003 she moved to San Francisco to be close to her family. Her dream of starting a non profit Preschool and Parenting Center with the emphasis on a relationship-based curriculum that focuses on the child's social emotional growth and worthy wages for teachers became a reality when GPFP was established in the summer of 2015.

  Robb Ramos, Assistant Director   Robb began his work with children in 1991 in Vermont where he worked at a residential school for medically, physically, and emotionally challenged youth. From there he moved into public education teaching first-grade and serving on a team of 8 mental health specialists. Working primarily with children defined by their neurological health diagnosis Robb gained great knowledge in crisis intervention, understanding behavior in young children, fostering positive relationships with children and families, and providing support for children at risk. In 2004, Robb became one of 30 founding staff members at a public charter school in Washington D.C. There he worked with a small team of educators to develop a rich early childhood program, including learning objectives for children and guiding principles for teaching. It was there that Robb learned that his true love for education and teaching rested with the youngest of our youth. "Their innocence and curiosity is so inspiring and creates a natural pallet for learning. I don’t take lightly knowing that I am one of the first lines of defense in their learning, in their lives. And I love everything that they teach me.” Robb ventured to San Francisco in 2007 and continued his work and study in Early Childhood Education. In 2012, he joined Fern in her work with children and families. In 2016 he became the Assistant Director of Growing Place Family Preschool. Robb often uses art as a tool in his work with children and has produced several exhibitions showcasing child-produced fine art, including a photo essay that was used as a school wide teaching tool for diversity and inclusion, a district wide project that included work from over 2000 students reflecting on their feelings in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, and a collaborative art exhibition with children that benefitted a pediatric AIDS foundation. His most recent endeavor was LOVE, ART & GROW, a fine art exhibition of work by GPFP's children. Robb’s knowledge of children and development has come from his studies at UMASS Amherst, City College of San Francisco, internships and continued professional development.

Robb Ramos, Assistant Director

Robb began his work with children in 1991 in Vermont where he worked at a residential school for medically, physically, and emotionally challenged youth. From there he moved into public education teaching first-grade and serving on a team of 8 mental health specialists. Working primarily with children defined by their neurological health diagnosis Robb gained great knowledge in crisis intervention, understanding behavior in young children, fostering positive relationships with children and families, and providing support for children at risk. In 2004, Robb became one of 30 founding staff members at a public charter school in Washington D.C. There he worked with a small team of educators to develop a rich early childhood program, including learning objectives for children and guiding principles for teaching. It was there that Robb learned that his true love for education and teaching rested with the youngest of our youth. "Their innocence and curiosity is so inspiring and creates a natural pallet for learning. I don’t take lightly knowing that I am one of the first lines of defense in their learning, in their lives. And I love everything that they teach me.” Robb ventured to San Francisco in 2007 and continued his work and study in Early Childhood Education. In 2012, he joined Fern in her work with children and families. In 2016 he became the Assistant Director of Growing Place Family Preschool. Robb often uses art as a tool in his work with children and has produced several exhibitions showcasing child-produced fine art, including a photo essay that was used as a school wide teaching tool for diversity and inclusion, a district wide project that included work from over 2000 students reflecting on their feelings in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, and a collaborative art exhibition with children that benefitted a pediatric AIDS foundation. His most recent endeavor was LOVE, ART & GROW, a fine art exhibition of work by GPFP's children. Robb’s knowledge of children and development has come from his studies at UMASS Amherst, City College of San Francisco, internships and continued professional development.

  Elizabeth Reisteter, PreK Teacher   Elizabeth moved to San Francisco from Ventura county in 2009 to study early childhood education at San Francisco State University. She discovered an affinity to working with young children when she started as a volunteer with preschool age children as a student in high school. While completing her degree, Elizabeth worked for Reading Partners, a non profit located at Leonard Flynn Elementary school. She spent about two years with Reading Partners working closely with the kindergarten classes as an aide in an after school setting and as a lead teacher during their summer programs. As she finished her degree, Elizabeth then ventured into the preschool classroom where worked as a lead teacher at Gan Noe Preschool (Chabad of Noe Valley) for three years. Elizabeth's experience at Gan Noe helped her learn about Judaism and how to integrate the culture into the classroom.

Elizabeth Reisteter, PreK Teacher

Elizabeth moved to San Francisco from Ventura county in 2009 to study early childhood education at San Francisco State University. She discovered an affinity to working with young children when she started as a volunteer with preschool age children as a student in high school. While completing her degree, Elizabeth worked for Reading Partners, a non profit located at Leonard Flynn Elementary school. She spent about two years with Reading Partners working closely with the kindergarten classes as an aide in an after school setting and as a lead teacher during their summer programs. As she finished her degree, Elizabeth then ventured into the preschool classroom where worked as a lead teacher at Gan Noe Preschool (Chabad of Noe Valley) for three years. Elizabeth's experience at Gan Noe helped her learn about Judaism and how to integrate the culture into the classroom.

  Jasmin Mendez, PreK Teacher   Jasmin earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Los Angeles Valley College. From there she moved to San Francisco and completed her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University. Jasmin has been a teacher at GPFP for two years. We are glad to have her continue her teaching as a member of our staff. Jasmin’s work experience began at Wellspring Healthcare, an agency dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities. It is through this work that she discovered a sense of fulfillment and passion to assist and advocate for children.Jasmin moved on to work at Valley Village Nonprofit, another agency dedicated to working with adults with developmental disabilities. There she managed a program that was designed to nurture the development of their social skills.

Jasmin Mendez, PreK Teacher

Jasmin earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Los Angeles Valley College. From there she moved to San Francisco and completed her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University. Jasmin has been a teacher at GPFP for two years. We are glad to have her continue her teaching as a member of our staff. Jasmin’s work experience began at Wellspring Healthcare, an agency dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities. It is through this work that she discovered a sense of fulfillment and passion to assist and advocate for children.Jasmin moved on to work at Valley Village Nonprofit, another agency dedicated to working with adults with developmental disabilities. There she managed a program that was designed to nurture the development of their social skills.

  Sara Dionisio, PreK Teacher   Sara was born and raised in Alameda, California. She has her B.A. from San Francisco State in Child and Adolescent Development and her California teaching permit in Early Child Development. She began as a Chemistry major but while working for TEAM Math Assessment at Stanford University she began working with young children and decided to pursue her degree in early childhood development. Sara has worked as a volunteer for Jumpstart Corps and in that capacity provided positive adult child relationships to help prepare children attending preschool in under privileged neighborhoods for school success. She is also a volunteer for Reading Partners and is a reading tutor for children.

Sara Dionisio, PreK Teacher

Sara was born and raised in Alameda, California. She has her B.A. from San Francisco State in Child and Adolescent Development and her California teaching permit in Early Child Development. She began as a Chemistry major but while working for TEAM Math Assessment at Stanford University she began working with young children and decided to pursue her degree in early childhood development. Sara has worked as a volunteer for Jumpstart Corps and in that capacity provided positive adult child relationships to help prepare children attending preschool in under privileged neighborhoods for school success. She is also a volunteer for Reading Partners and is a reading tutor for children.

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  Jordan Mills, Three's Teacher   Jordan started working at Growing Place Family Preschool in 2018. He grew up in Pleasanton and earned his BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. After graduating he worked at the Edgewood Center for Families and Children in the Sunset  developing a collaborative problem solving approach for children. Jordan has been a teacher at the JCC for the past two years using an emergent curriculum based learning approach to his teaching. 

Jordan Mills, Three's Teacher

Jordan started working at Growing Place Family Preschool in 2018. He grew up in Pleasanton and earned his BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. After graduating he worked at the Edgewood Center for Families and Children in the Sunset  developing a collaborative problem solving approach for children. Jordan has been a teacher at the JCC for the past two years using an emergent curriculum based learning approach to his teaching. 

  Theda Maritzer, Three's Teacher   Theda earned her associates degree in Early Childhood Education from the exceptional program at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. While earning her ECE's, she taught in their child-directed, play-based preschool which solidified her love of teaching. Theda has a natural empathy for children's feelings and values the importance of taking the time to help them recognize their feelings and help them express them in a healthy way.

Theda Maritzer, Three's Teacher

Theda earned her associates degree in Early Childhood Education from the exceptional program at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. While earning her ECE's, she taught in their child-directed, play-based preschool which solidified her love of teaching. Theda has a natural empathy for children's feelings and values the importance of taking the time to help them recognize their feelings and help them express them in a healthy way.

  Erica Rosenberg, Older Two's Teacher   Erica earned her BA in Sociology and Minor in Women's Gender Studies from Sonoma State University. While earning her degree she worked as an Enrichment Teacher at the University Recreation Center Preschool as well as being a counselor at a Jewish summer camp for multiple summers. She most recently worked at Peekadoodle Preschool and Kidsclub and is furthering her Early Childhood education at SF City College.

Erica Rosenberg, Older Two's Teacher

Erica earned her BA in Sociology and Minor in Women's Gender Studies from Sonoma State University. While earning her degree she worked as an Enrichment Teacher at the University Recreation Center Preschool as well as being a counselor at a Jewish summer camp for multiple summers. She most recently worked at Peekadoodle Preschool and Kidsclub and is furthering her Early Childhood education at SF City College.

  Taylor Todd, Older Two's Teacher   Taylor graduated from SFSU with a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, he decided to follow in the path of his mother and complete his Early Childhood education and teach preschool. For the past 4 years he has been teaching at a preschool working with children ages 2.5-5 years old. Taylor has attended the Santa Cruz Nature Conference and has been a presenter at the Innovated Teacher Round Table. 

Taylor Todd, Older Two's Teacher

Taylor graduated from SFSU with a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, he decided to follow in the path of his mother and complete his Early Childhood education and teach preschool. For the past 4 years he has been teaching at a preschool working with children ages 2.5-5 years old. Taylor has attended the Santa Cruz Nature Conference and has been a presenter at the Innovated Teacher Round Table. 

  Ari Perez, Younger Two's Teacher   Ari graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Developmental Psychology from Medgar Evers College CUNY. She was an instructor at Medgar Evers college and taught Human Development: Infancy and Childhood. Ari studied Early Childhood Education at Brooklyn College in New York. In 2016 she worked with a close friend to start her own science based preschool in New York before moving to San Francisco.         

Ari Perez, Younger Two's Teacher

Ari graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Developmental Psychology from Medgar Evers College CUNY. She was an instructor at Medgar Evers college and taught Human Development: Infancy and Childhood. Ari studied Early Childhood Education at Brooklyn College in New York. In 2016 she worked with a close friend to start her own science based preschool in New York before moving to San Francisco.

 

 

 

  Yuki van den Ende, Younger Two's Teacher   Yuki has worked with children most of her teenage and adult life. In the late seventies through the mid eighties Yuki was a preschool teacher at Katherine Michiels School in the Sunset and the Mission before moving to France in 1985; in Paris, Yuki studied French at the Alliance Francaise and cared for young children as an au paire. Upon returning to SF in 1987, Yuki embarked on a new career in retail and fashion, culminating in her role as GM for Giorgio Armani for the West Coast. After the birth of her two girls; Sophia (now 17) and Isabella (now 14), Yuki decided to focus on the girls and dedicate herself to volunteering at their schools; Rosa Parks and Gateway Middle School. Yuki has a certificate in early childhood education from SFCC, is an avid yoga practitioner and is thrilled to return to her most loved passion at GPFP!   

Yuki van den Ende, Younger Two's Teacher

Yuki has worked with children most of her teenage and adult life. In the late seventies through the mid eighties Yuki was a preschool teacher at Katherine Michiels School in the Sunset and the Mission before moving to France in 1985; in Paris, Yuki studied French at the Alliance Francaise and cared for young children as an au paire. Upon returning to SF in 1987, Yuki embarked on a new career in retail and fashion, culminating in her role as GM for Giorgio Armani for the West Coast. After the birth of her two girls; Sophia (now 17) and Isabella (now 14), Yuki decided to focus on the girls and dedicate herself to volunteering at their schools; Rosa Parks and Gateway Middle School. Yuki has a certificate in early childhood education from SFCC, is an avid yoga practitioner and is thrilled to return to her most loved passion at GPFP!

 

  Frenda Tran, Extended Day Teacher   Frenda was born and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies. Frenda found her passion working with children while still in high school. She was a volunteer at The UCSF daycare center. As she was working toward her Bachelor's Degree, Frenda spent 7 years working at an after school program with children ranging from Kindergartner to 5th grade. Frenda is passionate about helping each child through their journey.                     

Frenda Tran, Extended Day Teacher

Frenda was born and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies. Frenda found her passion working with children while still in high school. She was a volunteer at The UCSF daycare center. As she was working toward her Bachelor's Degree, Frenda spent 7 years working at an after school program with children ranging from Kindergartner to 5th grade. Frenda is passionate about helping each child through their journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Paola Besagno, Extended Day Teacher   Paola has been working with young children all of her adult life. She started as a nanny for an infant and continued this work for five years. Although she loved working in a family dynamic, her true calling was to be in the classroom. From 2002 to 2012, Paola taught at Marin Day School, where she worked with young two's and three's. In 2013, she met Fern and immediately fell in love with her philosophy and passion for working with children and families. Paola has an Associate in Arts - Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from College of Marin. Her Early Childhood studies were done at College of Marin and City College of San Francisco. She continues to gain knowledge of child development through workshops. Paola has a love for cooking and enjoys sharing this passion with all of the children in the school.               

Paola Besagno, Extended Day Teacher

Paola has been working with young children all of her adult life. She started as a nanny for an infant and continued this work for five years. Although she loved working in a family dynamic, her true calling was to be in the classroom. From 2002 to 2012, Paola taught at Marin Day School, where she worked with young two's and three's. In 2013, she met Fern and immediately fell in love with her philosophy and passion for working with children and families. Paola has an Associate in Arts - Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from College of Marin. Her Early Childhood studies were done at College of Marin and City College of San Francisco. She continues to gain knowledge of child development through workshops. Paola has a love for cooking and enjoys sharing this passion with all of the children in the school.

 

 

 

 

 

  Brianna Brostoff, Floating Teacher   Brianna, a Los Angeles native, made her way to San Francisco in 2008 to attend San Francisco State University. Prior, she spent a year in Israel, where she realized it was imperative that she choose a career in which she could help or teach people directly. Working with preschool children brings her immense happiness, presents crucial critical thinking opportunities for her, and gives her the feeling of knowing she is in the right place. Studying dance seriously as a child and a teenager, she has brought an array of energetic movement activities to each of the preschools she has worked in. Brianna began her career at Gan Noe, continuing at Congregation Beth Sholom Family Preschool before joining GPFP. She brings her love of Jewish culture and peoplehood wherever she goes.

Brianna Brostoff, Floating Teacher

Brianna, a Los Angeles native, made her way to San Francisco in 2008 to attend San Francisco State University. Prior, she spent a year in Israel, where she realized it was imperative that she choose a career in which she could help or teach people directly. Working with preschool children brings her immense happiness, presents crucial critical thinking opportunities for her, and gives her the feeling of knowing she is in the right place. Studying dance seriously as a child and a teenager, she has brought an array of energetic movement activities to each of the preschools she has worked in. Brianna began her career at Gan Noe, continuing at Congregation Beth Sholom Family Preschool before joining GPFP. She brings her love of Jewish culture and peoplehood wherever she goes.

  Lenora   Esquenazi, Extended Day Teacher   Lenora grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, near Los Angeles, CA. She then moved to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego where she received a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Minor in Health. More recently, she moved to San Francisco and acquired enough Early Childhood Education Units to apply for an ECE Site Supervisor Permit. Lenora has worked with young children for over ten years. She has found fulfillment and joy as a Preschool Teacher, having experience with children ages 3 months through 5 years of age. She has also worked as a nanny as well as with organizations such as The YMCA. Lenora is passionate about providing children with a safe space for learning skills such as problem solving, social empathy, accountability, and authenticity. Her experience and creativity has provided her with the tools to actively listen to children and help them to cope with challenging situations. She is empathetic and often puts herself in her students shoes to interpret the classroom through the child's perspective.    

Lenora Esquenazi, Extended Day Teacher

Lenora grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, near Los Angeles, CA. She then moved to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego where she received a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Minor in Health. More recently, she moved to San Francisco and acquired enough Early Childhood Education Units to apply for an ECE Site Supervisor Permit. Lenora has worked with young children for over ten years. She has found fulfillment and joy as a Preschool Teacher, having experience with children ages 3 months through 5 years of age. She has also worked as a nanny as well as with organizations such as The YMCA. Lenora is passionate about providing children with a safe space for learning skills such as problem solving, social empathy, accountability, and authenticity. Her experience and creativity has provided her with the tools to actively listen to children and help them to cope with challenging situations. She is empathetic and often puts herself in her students shoes to interpret the classroom through the child's perspective. 

 

  Ruthie Sakheim, Extended Day Teacher   Ruthie grew up in New York. She attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Pratt Institute in New York City where she studied painting. She moved to San Francisco, continued painting, and worked as a graphic designer in advertising for several years. She then became a documentary filmmaker working on films for PBS. One film, Daddy & Poppa. about gay dads adopting, inspired her to adopt her 3rd daughter Lola. Wanting to spend as much time with Lola as possible she spent time in her classroom and ultimately began her study of Early Childhood Development at City College of San Francisco. She began teaching preschool at Temple Emanu-El while continuing her education and getting her Master Degree from Gratz College in Jewish Early Childhood Education. Ruthie continues to work on films and is active in the social justice movement.               

Ruthie Sakheim, Extended Day Teacher

Ruthie grew up in New York. She attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Pratt Institute in New York City where she studied painting. She moved to San Francisco, continued painting, and worked as a graphic designer in advertising for several years. She then became a documentary filmmaker working on films for PBS. One film, Daddy & Poppa. about gay dads adopting, inspired her to adopt her 3rd daughter Lola. Wanting to spend as much time with Lola as possible she spent time in her classroom and ultimately began her study of Early Childhood Development at City College of San Francisco. She began teaching preschool at Temple Emanu-El while continuing her education and getting her Master Degree from Gratz College in Jewish Early Childhood Education. Ruthie continues to work on films and is active in the social justice movement.

 

 

 

 

 

  Christine Brenneman, Atelierista   Christine holds a degree in art history, and has over 15 years experience as an early childhood educator, working in the classroom and as an art specialist. Her great passions are art making, teaching young children, and spending time outside. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying studio art and art history, and working part-time at the campus nursery school. Upon completion of college, Christine moved to San Francisco and found her way into journalism and writing about the visual arts scene. Her work appeared in many local publications. A brief stint as a staff writer at an online art gallery completed this chapter of her career. Christine had a strong desire to return to teaching. She was lucky to land a job at Calvary Nursery School here in the city. There, she worked as a classroom teacher for 10 years, becoming a mentor teacher over time, and attending City College of San Francisco to earn her certificate in Early Childhood Education. For one brief year, she was Program Director at Stretch the Imagination preschool, trying her hand at administration. The classroom beckoned, and she returned to it, and her job at Calvary. Christine also runs an after-school and summer art camp program, and crafts her own artwork in her spare time. 

Christine Brenneman, Atelierista

Christine holds a degree in art history, and has over 15 years experience as an early childhood educator, working in the classroom and as an art specialist. Her great passions are art making, teaching young children, and spending time outside. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying studio art and art history, and working part-time at the campus nursery school. Upon completion of college, Christine moved to San Francisco and found her way into journalism and writing about the visual arts scene. Her work appeared in many local publications. A brief stint as a staff writer at an online art gallery completed this chapter of her career. Christine had a strong desire to return to teaching. She was lucky to land a job at Calvary Nursery School here in the city. There, she worked as a classroom teacher for 10 years, becoming a mentor teacher over time, and attending City College of San Francisco to earn her certificate in Early Childhood Education. For one brief year, she was Program Director at Stretch the Imagination preschool, trying her hand at administration. The classroom beckoned, and she returned to it, and her job at Calvary. Christine also runs an after-school and summer art camp program, and crafts her own artwork in her spare time. 

  Linda Moody, Music Teacher   Linda holds a Master of Science in Education from San Francisco State University, a Multiple Subject Credential and a Site Supervisor Permit in Early Childhood Education. Her Bachelor of Arts is in Philosophy from Miami University of Ohio. She is a professional musician and has been doing music classes with children since 1999.                        

Linda Moody, Music Teacher

Linda holds a Master of Science in Education from San Francisco State University, a Multiple Subject Credential and a Site Supervisor Permit in Early Childhood Education. Her Bachelor of Arts is in Philosophy from Miami University of Ohio. She is a professional musician and has been doing music classes with children since 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Erica Kajdasz, Office Administrator   Erica is originally from Los Angeles and has a Bachelor's degree from University of California, Berkeley in City & Regional Planning. After college she started the San Francisco Little League Girls Softball program and worked as an Assistant Athletic Director in San Francisco Independent High Schools for 12 years. She has two children that currently attend Growing Place Family Preschool. 

Erica Kajdasz, Office Administrator

Erica is originally from Los Angeles and has a Bachelor's degree from University of California, Berkeley in City & Regional Planning. After college she started the San Francisco Little League Girls Softball program and worked as an Assistant Athletic Director in San Francisco Independent High Schools for 12 years. She has two children that currently attend Growing Place Family Preschool.