Meet the Staff

The teachers at Woodland Hills Private School are specially selected and trained for our program. They work with both the children and the parents to assure a positive school experience. Their experience, dedication, caring ways and professional concern will nurture you child through these formative years.

Staff Qualifications

Preschool: Teachers are experienced and certified in Early Childhood Education.
Elementary: Teachers have a credential or equivalent and hold MA and/or BA degrees.
Our teachers have degrees and specialized training in elementary and early childhood education from some of the top universities.

Quick Links:


Administration Team

Lynn Kuo | Founding Director 
 
The founding director and co-owner of WHPS since 1985, Lynn holds an MA in Education from SUNY at Buffalo, N.Y. She has been in the education field since 1978, serving as a director since 1983. Education has always been her passion. As a lifetime member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Lynn enjoys attending educational conferences, professional workshops, and school legislative seminars. She visits other schools and always keeps current on the most updated information concerning the education of children of all ages. Her goal is to always work to keep WHPS growing and improving. Lynn always welcomes all of your comments and suggestions as she is always looking to continue to enhance the school program in order to provide the best care and educational foundation for your children. Lynn is a proud former WHPS parent, now WHPS grandparent.
 
Mission Statement
  • To ensure Woodland Hills Private School continues to be a unique place where all children can succeed.
  • To provide a nurturing environment where children gain love and a great foundation to become a lifelong learner who respects others and appreciates the world around them.
  • To provide a learning space where parents know their children are in good hands and believe WHPS is one of the best decisions they have made for their children.
  • To remain a school where all teachers are proud of what they are doing and recognize that they can be one of the best things in a child’s life and feel rewarded in their career.

Seth Pozzi | Head of School | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seth has been in the education field since 2004 with past experience as an Interim Head of School, Elementary Principal, Dean of Students, and elementary/middle school teacher. Seth holds a MS in Administration and Educational Leadership from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology and a BS in K-8 Education with a concentration in MSET (Math, Science and Educational Technology). He has been actively involved in research on social-emotional learning, resiliency, grit-building, and leadership education for elementary school students, in collaboration with several colleges and universities, including Pepperdine and The University of Pennsylvania. Seth is passionate about developing a strengths-based school community that values and leverages each child and staff member’s unique talents and strengths.
 
Mission Statement
I love to leverage my natural talents for thinking outside the box and getting others excited about the power of what could be...to accomplish meaningful goals and educational reform. In my role as Head of School, one of my greatest privileges and responsibilities is to serve as an advocate for students, parents and teachers and help people become an even better version of themselves.
 
I believe in the definition of listening, according to my favorite author, Rosalind Wiseman: "Listening means being willing to be changed by what you hear."

Jacey Dexter | Elementary Principal | Oxnard Campus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jacey has been with the WHPS family since 2008, both as an administrator and as an elementary teacher. She has a MS in Educational Administration, an MA in Cross Cultural Education, a BA from CSUN, a Administrative Credential, a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and is a member of the Computer-Using Educators (CUE) organization. As an administrator, Jacey also serves as a member of the school’s WASC committee. Jacey strives to motivate the students and staff to reach their full potential, and her door is always open to all staff, students and parents, with the belief that every voice should be heard. Jacey is a proud former WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to motivate students and staff, and to build partnerships with parents. I strive for our students to feel empowered and take ownership of their learning as well as take pride in their unique contributions to our school community.  I will use my natural talents to keep perspective, work hard, and listen effectively. My life’s journey is a process of growing, learning, experiences, and loving my family.

Robin Gee | Preschool and Toddler Center Director | Collins Campus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robin has been in the education field since 1987. She has been a Director since 1992, including 13 years as an Executive Director and has been a Director at the Collins Campus since 2010. A fully qualified preschool director, Robin has a BA in Child Development and earned a Dedication Award for 20 years of Child Care Experience.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to motivate and inspire teachers to be the best they can be and to help develop an environment which creates love, harmony and creative experiences for young children. I want to give parents the tools and confidence to build positive relationships with their child.

Ailin Sacks | Preschool and Toddler Center Co-Director | Collins Campus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ailin is a fully qualified preschool director with a degree in Child Development with an MA in Early Childhood Education and BS in Human Services. Ms. Ailin has been with WHPS since 2009, and has been a teacher at both the Collins and Oxnard campuses, as well as a part of the administration team at the Oxnard campus. Her breadth of knowledge, both in the classroom and in the office, is invaluable as Co-Director. Ailin is certified in  screening children for developmental delays by the Child Development Institute Early Learning Center, where she also continues to volunteer in her spare time. Ailin is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to maintain positive relationships with the staff, parents and children as well as work towards a safe successful learning community. To create an environment of empathy, honesty, and integrity. I will work towards helping guide the staff to find their individual philosophies and pursue of knowledge in the field of Early Childhood Education. To inspire all the children at WHPS to reach for the stars!

Vivien Firta | Preschool Director | Oxnard Campus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vivien has been involved with early childhood education since 1999, serving as a director of a wonderful play-based program and executive director of a foundation benefiting children in the Los Angeles area. Prior to her career in educational leadership, Vivien was a teacher for eight years and spent a year abroad teaching in Budapest, Hungary. Vivien holds her MA in Organizational Leadership, as well as specializing in Early Childhood Development and Child Development Administration. Vivien is a proud WHPS parent.

Mission Statement
My mission as a leader is to inspire and guide Early Childhood Educators in creating both indoor and outdoor environments that instill a love of learning in every child they teach—environments rich with opportunity that satisfy curiosity and that include opportunities in all developmental areas.

Christine Chiché | Preschool Co-Director | Oxnard Campus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Christine started with WHPS in 1999 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher and director with a BA in Liberal Studies and 24+ ECE units. Christine was a teacher at the Collins Campus for 10 years and the Camp Director for 5 years. Christine has been the Co-Director at the Oxnard Campus since 2013.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to motivate and inspire creativity in all children. I want to support children's ideas and show them their thoughts matter in and out of the classroom. I want children to appreciate their natural surroundings because there is always a lesson to be learned.

Sheila Rudow | Office Manager | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sheila joined the WHPS team in 2016. Sheila has been in the customer service industry since 2010 and in the education field since 2014. Sheila is a proud WHPS parent.

Mission Statement
My mission is to use my creativity and positivity to better the lives of those around me and inspire others through a quiet and inner strength.  

Sarah Johnson | Business Manager | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sarah joined the WHPS team in 2017. Sarah has a BS in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance from Loyola Marymount University.  She  has served as an educational leader and school administrator since 2002, with experience as a Business Office Manager, VP of Student Affairs & Human Resources, Campus Director/Principal, and Middle School Dean.

Mission Statement
My mission in my life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style."
- Maya Angelou   

Serena Koegler | Chief Operating Officer | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As an alumna of WHPS, Serena was happy to return as a staff member in 2013. Serena has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BS in Business Administration from USC. Her work experience includes consulting and product management for companies such as Navigant Consulting, Ernst & Young, and Target, as well as involvement in WHPS operations since 1985. Serena is involved in all aspects of the schools' operations, including daily operations, human resources, finance, facilities management, marketing, and accreditation. Serena is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to pursue continual growth through all the unique experiences, ideas, and interactions encountered through life. I hope to create a community of diverse individuals working together to create something far more extraordinary than we could imagine independently.

Wentar Kuo | Owner | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As the owner of WHPS, Wentar plays an active role in the general operation of the school. Wentar has an MS in Computer Engineering from SUNY in Buffalo, N.Y. and was the Vice President of a high tech company before becoming involved in the daily operations of WHPS in the year 2000. Wentar oversees the direction of maintenance and repair, the upgrading of playgrounds and the facilities, and is our liaison with the community. Wentar is very hands-on with the daily activities of WHPS, and you will often see him directing traffic or talking with teachers and parents all around the school. Wentar is a proud WHPS former parent, now WHPS grandparent.

Mission Statement
Lifelong Learner

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Preschool - Collins Street Campus 
 
Erica Ochoa | Toddler Program | Room 1
Ms. Erica joined WHPS in 2016 and is a fully qualified infant/toddler teacher who has been working in the education field since 2008. She has 30 ECE units from Valley College. Ms. Erica is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as an emergent educator is to inspire children to discover their strengths in lifelong learning, While shaping each  individual child to grow in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive experiences at their own developmental pace by responding to each child's interest.
  
Carrie Roske | Toddler Program | Room 1
Ms. Carrie is and is a fully qualified preschool teacher who has been working in the education field since 2018. She joined WHPS in 2021.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to provide a safe and loving environment where I can teach through creativity, art, music, and movement across all areas of development.
 
Monica Senteno | 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 2
Ms. Monica joined WHPS in 2019 and is a fully qualified preschool and infant/toddler teacher, with 24 units Early Childhood Education, who has been working in the education field since 2011. Ms. Monica is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as your teacher is to guide you, care for you, and respect each one of you. I will be here to wipe those tears away and most importantly, have fun!
  
Lori Manning 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 2
Ms. Lori joined WHPS in 2021 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with 18 units Early Childhood Education, who has been working in the education field since 2010.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a teacher is to help guide my students to develop cognitive, language, physical, and social skills while promoting a cooperative play environment. A place where students not only learn from their teachers, but also each other. I want the children to be motivated and encouraged to learn and play in different types of environments, as well as using methods that are best for them to be happy and successful. I hope each one of my students always knows that they are loved, and that they inspire me, and my goal is to inspire them as well. I strive to create positive memories that will help guide them in their early stages of development and beyond! 
 
Angelica Tinoco | Toddler Program | Room 3
Ms. Angelica is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with a BA in Child AA in Social Science. Ms. Angelica has been teaching since 2017 and joined WHPS in 2021. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a teacher is to provide a nurturing, safe, and fun environment where children always feel supported and to encourage children to find their voice, reach for the sky, and always believe in themselves. I hope to inspire my students as much they inspire me.
 
Joette Verstat 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 4
Ms. Joette joined WHPS in 2020 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with 24 units Early Childhood Education, who has been working in the education field since 2016.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a preschool teacher is to create a play based environment that will encourage the students to learn through discovery. It is my goal to build social skills that will benefit these children throughout their entire lives and plant roots that will help them bloom and grow to their fullest potential.
  
Felicia Rodriguez 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 4
Ms. Felicia is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with a BS in Liberal Studies and concentration in Child Development. Ms. Felicia has been working in the education field since 2018 and joined WHPS in 2019.
 
Mission Statement
Dear students,
I want to help you build confidence in anything you do.
I want to help you succeed in anything you put your mind in to.
I want to build a lifelong meaningful relationship and show that you can trust and can confide in me when you are feeling sad.
I want to create an environment where you feel like you can be yourself without any judgement.
Lastly, I want you to know that you are heard, loved, and respected.
Love,
-Ms. Felicia
  
Kathy Soria 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 5 
Ms. Kathy is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with a BA ECE. Ms. Kathy has been working in the education field since 2011 and joined WHPS in 2018.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to provide a safe & nurturing environment for children grow and learn. 
 
Serena Moreno 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 5 
Ms. Serena is a fully qualified preschool teacher, with 24 units in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Serena has been working in the education field since 2018 and joined WHPS in 2020.
 
Alexis "Lexi" Sacks3-4 Year Old Program | Room 6
Ms. Lexi joined WHPS in 2019 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher who has been working with young children since 2014. She has 21 ECE units.
 
Mission Statement
Dear Students, 
You are loved
You are celebrated
You are important
You are intelligent and empathetic
You are ambitious
You will thrive
You inspire me
     -Love, Ms. Lexi
 
Anna Sera 3-4 Year Old  Program | Room 6
Ms. Anna is a fully qualified preschool teacher, working with children since 1995 and at WHPS since 2004.  She attended Los Angeles Valley College, majored in Child Development, and is a member of NAEYC (National Association of Education for Young Children).
 
Mission Statement
I am passionate about teaching children to love nature, care for the environment, and respect all living things.
 
Pam Cohen | Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 7
Pam is a fully qualified preschool teacher that has been in the field of early childhood education since 1975 and with WHPS since 1985.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to nurture the children’s souls, so they have the confidence to succeed in their future endeavors. To help guide the children and encourage them to have care and respect for nature, other people, and themselves.
 
Kendall Yocum Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 7
Ms. Kendall is a fully qualified preschool teacher with a BA in Early Child Development and Child & Adolescent Development. Ms. Kendall has been in the education field since 2019 and joined WHPS in 2021.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, developmentally appropriate environment for my students.
 
Joliette ElmPre-Kindergarten Program | Room 8
Ms. Joliette started with WHPS in 2021 and is a fully qualified preschool and toddler teacher who has been working in the child care field since 2018. She has 15 ECE units.
 
Mission Statement
My objective is to provide a challenging and loving environment where each child can grow and thrive, reaching new goals daily and improving both socially and academically. I believe in using hands-on activities, with teachers and students working in tandem, to create a curriculum that is engaging for every child. 
 
Jessica Monjes | Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 8
Ms. Jessica has been with WHPS since 2014. A fully qualified preschool teacher with 32 ECE units, Ms. Jessica also has a Kinder Intervention Program certificate.
 
Mission Statement
I believe a loving and cooperative environment promotes cultural values and positive relationships as well as respectful interactions. My priority is for children to learn by doing and experiencing hands-on, which will help them reach their fullest potential socially, emotionally and intellectually.
 
Dora Mowry | Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 9
Ms. Dora is a fully qualified preschool teacher with over 24 ECE units, working with children since 1981 and at WHPS since 1992. Ms. Dora is a proud former WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
I will use my knowledge and kind heart to encourage positive behavior for others to see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love on a daily basis.
 
Sharon Velasco Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 9
Ms. Sharon has a BA in Early Childhood Studies and has been in the field of education since 2017. Ms. Sharon joined WHPS in 2021.
 
Mission Statement
Dear Students,
You are a shiny star
You are super
You are great
You will learn
You will succeed
You will always teach me something new.
-Ms. Sharon 
 
Angie Martir Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 10
Ms. Angie has an AA in Child Development from Mission College, joined WHPS in 2001 and has a wide range of experience with children of many ages.
 
Mission Statement
I thrive on enriching children's minds with meaningful learning experiences. I am passionate about encouraging children's confidence and teaching them how to be compassionate, respectful, and loving individuals.
   
Debbie Espinosa | Preschool Teacher
Ms. Debbie joined WHPS in 2017 and is a fully qualified preschool and infant/toddler teacher who has been working in the education field since 2009. She has 32 ECE units and is completing her AA.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to provide a nurturing and safe environment that allows your child to feel comfortable to play, explore and learn freely.
 

Preschool - Oxnard Street Campus 
 
Roxana Robledo 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 1
Ms. Roxana is a fully qualified preschool teacher who started at WHPS in 2018 with a BA in Early Childhood Education.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to lay a foundation for the love of learning, by scaffolding each child's interest to become curious learners and thinkers. Children's Learning will be shaped socially, emotionally, and cognitively building onto their foundation year after year.
   
Maggie Garcia 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 1
Ms. Maggie has been teaching since 2013 and joined WHPS in 2021.  She is a fully qualified preschool teacher with 18 ECE units.
 
Judith Bracamontes | 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 2
Ms. Judith is a fully qualified preschool teacher with an BA in Early Childhood Education.  She joined the WHPS team in 2018 and has been teaching since 2017.
 
Mission Statement
I want to create a loving and nurturing environment so the children can grow and learn in a safe space. 
 
Jennifer Rodriguez 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 2
Ms. Jennifer has been teaching since 2015 and joined WHPS in 2021.  She is a fully qualified preschool teacher with an AA in Child Development.
 
Traci Maki-Brandonisio | 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 3
A member of the NAEYC (National Association of Education for Young Children), and in the education field since 2000, Ms. Traci joined WHPS in 2015. Ms. Traci has an AA in Child Development and holds certificates in Special Education and Infants & Toddlers.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to.....help our future generations to love the themselves and the world around them. To always be passionate about their dreams and to NEVER give up. To have to confidence in themselves and know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that "boo boos" will only make us stronger. I hope to inspire them to always be creative, inquisitive and courageous. Most important I wish for them to have an open mind, a smile on their face, love in their heart and know that they are treasured!
 
Lidia Perez 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 3
Ms. Lidia is a fully qualified preschool teacher who has worked with young children since 1998 and at WHPS since 2003. She has a calm and caring personality that really helps our little ones settle into their new classroom. Ms. Lidia has a positive attitude and a great rapport with our children and their parents. She is very organized, responsible, compassionate and nurturing.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is:
Be a conscious model of moral and ethical behavior.
Be fair and impartial when student behavior is in question.
 
Kirsten Wetzel 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 4
Ms. Kirsten joined WHPS in 2011 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher with 24 ECE units and experience in the education field since 2004. Ms. Kirsten is a proud former WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My Mission is to create a loving and trusting learning environment where the children grow as a whole. I want to provide a space that is both comforting and challenging for the children. I hope in doing this, I can learn and be inspired from the children as well.

Gina Sandoval 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 4
Ms. Gina is a fully qualified preschool teacher who started at WHPS in 2018 and has been in the education field since 1987. Ms. Gina has a MS in Family and Environmental Sciences and a BA in Child Development from CSUN.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to be a...
Hand holding
Tear drying
Lap sitting
Shoe tying
Back rubbing
Storytelling
Song singing
Question asking
Skill building
Mind engaging
Active listening
Support giving
Always learning educator
 
Evan Marie Estrada | Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 5
Ms. Evan joined WHPS in 2020 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher who has been working in the education field since 2013. She has over 20 units in Early Childhood Education.
 
Mission Statement
It is my goal as an educator to provide a nurturing, safe and fun environment where children always feel supported. “Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in their own play.” – Magda Gerber
 
Marissa Veloz Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 5
Ms. Marissa has been teaching since 2014 and joined WHPS in 2021.  She is a fully qualified preschool teacher with an AA and 15 ECE units.
   
Elizabeth Santana | 3-4 Year Old Program | Room 6
Ms. Elizabeth joined WHPS in 2015 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher with a BA in Child and Adolescent Development from CSUN and has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education since 2007.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a preschool teacher is to use creative, engaging and hands-on lessons that will motivate my students to express their own creative abilities, by providing a loving and secure environment were they feel comfortable learning.
    
Valerie De La Torre | Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 7
Ms. Valerie joined WHPS in 2016 and is a fully qualified teacher with 28 ECE units and experience in the education field since 2015.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a teacher is to show all the children I am around how much I love them equally. I want them to trust me and feel how much I care about them. I want to make coming to school fun because they are still very young. I don’t want them to hate school early on. I want them to remember me years into the future and wish me happy thoughts. I also want to grow and learn from my fellow co-workers. I can already tell there is a lot for me to learn here.
 
Andrea Salvatierra Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 7
Ms. Andrea joined WHPS in 2021 and is a fully qualified teacher with 19 ECE units and experience in the education field since 2017.
  
Tanya Colligan | Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 10
A part of WHPS since 1996, Ms. Tanya is a fully qualified preschool and Pre-K teacher that has been in the education field since 1993. Ms. Tanya has a BA in Liberal Studies from CSUN and is also a member of NAEYC (National Association of Education for Young Children) and CAEYC (California Association of Education for Young Children). Ms. Tanya is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to be kind, be positive, be inspired, be creative, and be present in the moment. To know every student can learn just not on the same day or in the same way.
  
Alissa Turney Pre-Kindergarten Program | Room 10
Ms. Alissa has been teaching since 2010 and joined WHPS in 2018.  She is a fully qualified preschool teacher with 39 ECE units.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a preschool teacher is helping provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for children and to educate them socially, emotionally, and cognitively, so they can continue to build a foundation for lifelong learning. I want to help all children believe in themselves and strive to reach to their full-potential.
 
Molly Martin 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 11
Ms. Molly has her BA in Child & Adolescent Development. Ms. Molly has been teaching since 2017 and joined Woodland Hills Private School in 2020. 
 
Desiree Breise 2-3 Year Old Program | Room 11
Ms. Desiree has her BS in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Desiree has been teaching since 2018 and joined Woodland Hills Private School in 2021. 
 
Syra Siddiqui | Pre-Kindergarten Program Room 12
Ms. Syra joined in WHPS 2016 and is a fully qualified preschool teacher with a BA in English Literature & Sociology and 24 ECE units.  Ms. Syra has been in the education field since 2014.
 
Mission Statement
I'm at my best when I'm challenged I'm at my best when I provide comfort to a child and make a difference in his/her day I'm at my best when I see the world through my little friends' eyes I'm at my best when I give my best to each of them It's children, without a doubt, who bring out the best in me!
 
Kaitlyn Iannolo Preschool Teacher
Ms. Kaitlyn is a fully qualified preschool teacher who joined WHPS in 2020. She has been a preschool teacher since 2013 and in the education field since 2006. Kaitlyn holds an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with several, including directors courses, and continuously working towards more units in Child Development. Ms.Kaitlyn is a proud WHPS parent.
 
Mission Statement
Dear Students,
I will care for you.
I will respect you.
I will explore with you
You are safe.
You are heard.
You are important.
We will love.
We will laugh.
We will grow.
Together our possibilities are endless.
Let's enjoy the adventure.
 
Mojgan Sanei | Preschool Teacher
Mission Statement
My mission is to:
* Speak kind words
* Set an example
* Be a dedicated and a caring teacher
* Teach them how to be respectful and love one another
* Teach them through the play
* Provide a loving, safe, and secure environment
I am passionate and enjoy working with children
 

Elementary - Oxnard Street Campus 
  
Kasey Hoogerland | Transitional Kindergarten Teacher | Room 8
Mrs. Hoogerland (formerly Ms. Tripp) holds a BS in Child Development from Meredith College in North Carolina. Mrs. Hoogerland has been in the field of education since 2017, serving as an elementary teacher, preschool teacher, and an assistant summer program director, prior to joining WHPS in 2019. 
 
Mission Statement
I am committed to creating a safe, secure, and loving learning environment for my students, while empowering them to be the best version of themselves. 
   
Cynthia Baroudi | Transitional Kindergarten Teacher | Room 8
Mrs. Baroudi holds an MA in Education from Cal State University as well as BA is Child Development. Mrs. Baroudi has been in the field of education since 2014, serving as a Pre-K teacher at WHPS prior to teaching TK. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to recognize parents as the primary educators and believe that good parent-teacher relationship is necessary for maximum school success. I believe students learn best through hands-on activities and in a safe environment that promotes learning. Children should be able to depend on their classroom community by the consistency of guidance and schedule of routines that are present. Teachers should provide opportunities for all students to grow and develop physical, socially, emotionally, and cognitively together. I believe learning should be meaningful and should build connections to prior knowledge or experiences. I believe children learn differently, but all children are able to learn. 
 
Marcy Ancrum | | Kindergarten Teacher | Lower Elementary Division Lead | Room 9
Mrs. Ancrum holds a BA in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Elementary Education from San Diego State University. Prior to joining WHPS in 2014, Mrs. Ancrum taught in an international dual language school, where she served as a Cultural Resource Teacher and English-Learner Coordinator. At WHPS, Mrs. Ancrum provides instructional coaching for curriculum design/implementation and social-emotional learning to the Lower Elementary (TK-1st grade) team. Mrs. Ancrum is a proud WHPS parent. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to create a safe, loving environment in which my students feel important and respected. I want to help my students practice empathy and realize the power they have to affect the world around them. I want to instill a love of learning in my students and I want them to know that their best is always enough.
 
Jennifer Moros| Kindergarten Teacher | Room 9
Mrs. Moros holds a BS in Elementary Education from Green Mountain College in Vermont. She has been teaching elementary and Early Childhood Education since 2012 and joined WHPS in 2017. 
 
Mission Statement
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
-Albus Dumbledore
 
Jordan Castleberry Kindergarten Teacher | Room 14
Mrs. Castleberry holds an MA in Literacy from New York University and an BS in Elementary Education from State University at New York College at Geneseo. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles in 2021, Mrs. Castleberry has been teaching since 2010, and more recently served as an instructional coach, developing other teachers on effective pedagogy. Mrs. Castleberry is a proud WHPS parent. 
 
Mission Statement
My life's journey is to teach and inspire students, while valuing differences and diversity.  I strive to engage and build creative minds through student-centered lessons and activities. I support students as they discover and investigate new ideas in a safe, welcoming classroom environment.
  
Jennifer Baker Kindergarten Teacher | Room 14
Mrs. Baker holds a BA in Liberal Studies from CSUN. Mrs. Baker has been teaching at the elementary level since 2010 and joined WHPS in 2016. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to make sure my students get the most out of their time with me. I will do my very best to ensure they know how much I care about each and every one of them. My hope is that years from now they will think of me and smile.
  
Jacqueline Gottlieb | First Grade Teacher | Room 15
Mrs. Gottlieb holds an MA in Education from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education & Psychology, with an emphasis in Crosscultural, Language & Academic Development, and she holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Mrs. Giottlieb joined WHPS in 2017 and has been in the education field since 1995.  
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a Kindergarten teacher is to motivate, inspire, encourage, and support students by providing a safe, nurturing, and creative environment to educate them socially, emotionally, and cognitively, so they can continue to build a foundation for lifelong learning. With that, I believe learning should be meaningful and should build connections to prior knowledge or experiences.

Two quotes we use as mottos in our classroom are:
“Practice makes progress, not perfect.” and
“Listening is Learning! If you listen, you may learn something new.”  
 
Alexis Shoemake-Smith | First Grade Teacher | Room 15
Ms. Smith holds a BA in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Language Arts from California State University Long Beach. Ms. Smith minored in Deaf studies while obtaining her AA and is fluent in American Sign Language. Ms. Smith joined WHPS in 2020, serving as a substitute teacher, childcare specialist, and distance learning teacher for 4th and 5th grade.  
 
Mission Statement
My mission as an educator is to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for children of various backgrounds. With my students, I want to lead with love, speak with compassion, and teach with passion. I hope to help each student grow not only academically but also on a personal level. In doing so, I hope to make sure each student knows that they matter; their views, thoughts, and feelings matter too.
 
"The best teachers are those that tell you where to look but don't tell you what to see."
-Alexandria K. Trenfor
 
Melissa Pero First Grade Teacher | Room 16
Mrs. Pero holds a BA in Liberal Studies from CSUN with a concentration in Earth Science and Astronomy. Mrs. Pero has experience teaching in grades K-8 since 2006, having also run the Math Lab program at one of her previous school sites, prior to joining WHPS in 2015. Mrs. Pero is a proud WHPS parent. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to help students build a love for lifelong learning and approach the challenges of learning with a positive attitude. I want to encourage all my students to do their best and achieve success.
 
Sarah-Jane "SJ" Cruz First Grade Teacher | Room 16
Ms. Cruz holds a BS in Psychology & Sociology from the University of Georgia and teaching credential and certification from the University of West Florida. Prior to joining WHPS, Ms. Cruz taught at another private school in Los Angles, taught elementary and middle school in Taiwan for two years, and served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador as a part of a Community Health Project. Ms. Cruz is certified in Reading & Writing Workshop and TESOL (teaching English as a second language).
 
Gilea Hurley Second Grade Teacher | Room 17
Ms. Hurley holds a BA in Elementary Education from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and an MA in Educational Therapy from CSUN. Starting at WHPS in 1998, and with experience in the field of education since 1995, Ms. Hurley was chosen as “Best Teacher,” as listed in the Daily News in 2000.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to…
*motivate and inspire my students
*teach my students to embrace their weaknesses and strengths and use them to thrive in their lives
*to deeply understand and listen to others ideas, inventions, and solutions
*inspire in my students positivity, compassion, and respect for themselves and others
*elevate a love of life and learning in my students
*have an open heart and mind
*overcome difficult challenges with unstoppable perseverance
*stimulate a curiosity and adoration for nature in others
 
Aviva Coco Second Grade Teacher | Room 17
Mrs. Coco holds an MA in Education from Hunter College in New York and an BS in Human Development from Binghamton University in New York. Mrs. Coco has been teaching since 2012, with experience in the field of talented and gifted education since 2014. Mrs. Coco joined WHPS in 2021.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a teacher is to support every student by building on their strengths and teaching them to embrace their challenges, in order to help them develop both as students and individuals. I hope to cultivate life-long learners by always encouraging my students to think critically, ask hard questions, and explore topics they are passionate about.  
 
Lisa Levy | Third Grade Teacher | Room 18
Mrs. Levy holds an MA in Education from Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education & Psychology and BA in Communication from UC Davis. Mrs. Levy began her elementary teaching career in 2008, serving as a classroom teacher and Dean of Students prior to joining WHPS in 2019. Mrs. Levy is a proud WHPS parent. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission as an educator is to foster a love of learning for all my students and meet each one at their level to support them on their academic journey. I want to join them on a path of exploration, collaboration and creativity as we learn and grow together.
 
Mara Holbrook | Third Grade Teacher | Room 18
Ms. Holbrook "Ms. H." holds a BA in Elementary Education from Western Governor's University in Utah, where she graduated with the Excellence Award for the Application of Elementary Visual & Performing Arts Methods. Ms. Holbrook has experience teaching in an elementary setting since 2008 and joined WHPS in 2020.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to encourage and support my students. By becoming problem solvers, we can make anything work!
"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
-Albus Dumbledore
 
Jennifer Foster | Fourth & Fifth Grade Teacher | Room 19
Mrs. Foster holds a BA in Liberal Studies/Elementary Education with a focus in Science and is Responsive Classroom Certified. Mrs. Foster began her elementary teaching career in 2009 and joined WHPS in 2014. Mrs. Foster also serves as a resource specialist for the Upper Elementary literacy program. Mrs. Foster is a proud WHPS parent. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to support my students in their hopes and dreams. I hope to challenge them in ways they have not been challenged before. I believe, trust, and care about each of my students and hope they will find a love for learning. 
   
Melanie Henson | Fourth & Fifth Grade Teacher | Upper Elementary Division Lead Room 19
Ms. Henson holds a BS in Zoology from UCSB and BA in Elementary Education CSUN. She has been working with children since 2005, initially as a preschool teacher at WHPS, and transitioning to the elementary division in 2010. At WHPS, Ms. Henson provides instructional coaching for curriculum design/implementation and social-emotional learning to the Upper Elementary (2nd-5th grade) team. She also oversees experiential learning, including robotics and overnight field trips.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as a teacher is to inspire young minds to think deeply and question often, to be courageous and explore the world around them, to gain confidence in themselves and their own special abilities, to gain a love of all living things, and to trust in the student-teacher relationship.
 
Sharon Herslikovitz | Elementary Teacher
Ms Herslikovitz holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Roehampton, London, UK and BA in Child Development from Humboldt State University. Ms. Herslikovitz has taught all ages from infants/toddlers through elementary school. Prior to joining WHPS in 2019, Ms. Herslikovitz taught elementary school in the UK and completed a teaching fellowship, which included teaching elementary and middle school, in Israel.  
 

Specialists & Support Staff
The staff members listed below are our support staff, along with our specialists, who specialize in a particular enrichment area and help to expand and enhance the quality of the program you find at WHPS.
 
Coach Albert Albino | Physical Education Teacher
Coach Albert teaches a wonderful physical education program at WHPS. With an AA in Child Development, and courses on coaching and athletics for children, Coach has a unique understanding of the needs of our Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and elementary age students. His physical education program strives to help develop coordination and physical fitness skills, teach the rules and form for various sports and playground games, as well as encourage teamwork and good sportsmanship. Coach’s students are eager to participate and there are always smiles and cheering when Coach arrives.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to make physical education fun and engaging for all students, while also ensuring safety at all times.
 
Maxie Barnett "Ms. Maxie" Extended Care Supervisor & Assistant Teacher
Ms. Maxie joined WHPS in 2014 with experience in the education field since 2007. Ms. Maxie has an AA from Los Angeles Valley College and she is working towards obtaining her BA from CSUN. She has worked with all elementary grades and has served as an extended care supervisor. She has also been working with our summer program, Camp Woodland Hills, as our cooking instructor and counselor. In March 2015, Ms. Maxie became certified for tennis instruction for children ages 10 and under.
 
Mission Statement
My mission as an educator is to ensure that students get the most from their learning experience in a safe, secure and loving environment. To help them grow socially, emotionally and cognitively so that they may become great contributors to society. To aid them in exploring new things so they may find the paths that interest them. Lastly, to do my best to keep them inspired, motivated and encouraged.
    
Jill Miller Technology Integration Specialist
Mrs. Miller joined WHPS in 2013 and has an MA in Educational Technology. Mrs. Miller oversees technology integration for TK-5th grade, including the school's VEX IQ Robotics program. Mrs. Miller teaches weekly technology classes to all grades and provides technology integration support to the entire elementary team.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to not only develop good digital citizens, but to also be an advocate for every student and to encourage, motivate and inspire.
 
Alyse Rubinich "Ms. Rubi" | Art Specialist & Summer Camp Director
Ms. Rubi has a BA in Art and Art Education from Cal State University and over 16 years of experience as an art instructor. She is a dedicated teacher who has a strong passion for introducing children and their families to the world of art. Ms. Rubi teaches weekly art classes to all grades and provides arts integration support to the entire elementary team. Ms. Rubi also leads Camp Woodland Hills, the summer camp at WHPS. Ms. Rubi is a proud WHPS parent and teacher.
 
Danielle Etcheverry "Ms. Dani" | Music Teacher
Ms. Dani began studying music at age eight with guitar and piano. She discovered she also had a passion for voice and musical theatre. She attended California Lutheran University, graduating with a double major in music and marketing. Ms. Dani has taught all ages from toddlers to college-age: instrumental music, voice lessons, musicianship, musical literacy classes, and music theory. 
 
Sra. Amy Conroy| Spanish Teacher
Señora Conroy has an M.A. in Anthropology from San Francisco State University, a B.A. in Sociology from U.C.L.A. and founded Habla Blah Blah as an informal language educator 15 years ago. Named a bilingual thought-leader by HundrED in 2020, she is passionate about introducing children to new languages with a focus on communication skills and literacy.
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to inspire a generation of lifelong language learners who are curious, interested, and engaged with communities near and far to them. My goal is to dispel the myth that only some people can learn second languages and to inspire confident communicators who will bridge the gap between people who speak other languages and arrive with a different cultural capital. We will seek connections and celebrate the differences found in the world.
 
Matthew Fike | Animal & Nature Studies
Matthew oversees the WHPS Science & Nature Center, including developing and teaching the unique curriculum. He joined WHPS in 2015 and has over 10 years of experience working with all kinds of animals. Matthew graduated from the EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management) program at Moorpark College. He's especially excited to launch our enhanced animal and nature studies curriculum this year, aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. 
 
Mission Statement
My mission is to help students develop a profound understanding and appreciation for our world and the many special ways we are all interconnected. I have never seen another school like WHPS, and I am so proud to teach our unique Animal & Nature Studies curriculum.
    
Tanja Wolfmeyer Animal Care Specialist
Tanja joined WHPS in 2016 and previously worked as veterinary technician and has been in the animal husbandry field since 1995. Tanja is responsible for the care and supervision of over 75 animals that live on site.
 
Steve Ignacio | IT Specialist
Steve joined WHPS in 2007. With a BS in Information Technology and an MA in Educational Technology, Steve provides support with IT issues and emerging educational technology trends.
 
Mardon Yasen | Maintenance Supervisor
Mardon is literally the MacGyver  of the WHPS team, and we are grateful for all his hard working keeping the campuses running smoothly! Mardon can do anything, and he often does. His responsibilities include the maintenance of both the Oxnard and Collins campuses. Mardon has been at WHPS since 2005 and is a proud WHPS grandparent. 
 
Santos Arrieta | Maintenance Team Member
Santos has been with WHPS since 2002 and also divides his time working at our two campuses. He is responsible for keeping the school clean and safe. His duties include general maintenance and repair and also include set up for special school events and activities.
 
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