Teaching Team

Teaching Team

A key part of Mandala’s mission statement is to “nourish the staff.” This is drawn from one of our founding principles, written over 40 years ago when we established the school: to create an environment where teachers, staff, and childcare providers can learn and thrive through support of their personal, as well as professional, growth.

When we started Mandala, we wanted to create a workplace that supported women’s need to both have a career and a family and be successful at both! We think we’ve done that.

We refer to ourselves as the “Mandala Family.” We care about and support each other. Many members of our staff have been here 15 years or more. Some have been here even longer.

Our Preschool Directors support and guide the teachers in the classroom. The teachers at Mandala are very special people who are particularly gifted at working with young children. They model kindness and peacefulness in the classroom, and we feel very grateful to have them. They work collaboratively as teams in the Preschool and Early Preschool.

Preschool Teacher & Classroom Administrator
Montessori Certified
Email: aparna@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Aparna is our beloved Preschool teacher and Classroom administrator. She teaches in the Preschool class, oversees the daily running of the classrooms, and collaborates with the Executive Team. Aparna is a highly experienced and gifted teacher who grew to be Lead Teacher in the Preschool, which then evolved into her current Preschool Director role. Aparna first came to us as a parent volunteer in 2001 and soon became a teacher. We knew she was a perfect “Mandala fit” because of her thoughtful, gentle teaching style. Although she had to move out of the area for a short time, she returned to rejoin the Mandala family in the fall of 2009. Aparna has a quiet confidence and a warm, accepting style. Her special gift is teaching Montessori. She is committed to helping each child learn, no matter the challenge. As a Mentor Teacher, Aparna also supervises mentees from local community colleges doing their practicum at our school. She has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India, completed her ECE classes at SJCC, and obtained her Montessori Certificate. Aparna speaks Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Kannada, as well as English. Aparna has two beautiful girls, one headed off to the University of Washington and another working in a prestigious program in Boston.

Preschool & Early Preschool Teacher
Montessori Certified
Email: amber@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Amber teaches in both the Early Preschool and Preschool classrooms. She is an incredibly gifted teacher and is such an asset to our Mandala team. Amber came to us as a mentee in the fall of 2016 and then worked as a substitute throughout the year. She showed the exuberance and joy in teaching that we value in our classrooms. We found a place for her at Mandala as soon as there was an opening and hired her as a permanent teacher in our Early Preschool class in the summer of 2017. Amber received her degree in Early Childhood and has also completed her Montessori Certification. Amber has continued to grow into a strong and dynamic teacher. She brings a particular talent in music, movement, and drama to her work at Mandala. She worked for many years as a choreographer with the Starting Arts Program in San Jose. Amber loves sharing her musical gifts with the children, and we are grateful for the grounded energy she adds to the classroom. The children love her enthusiasm and she loves them. Amber also hopes to travel the world someday.

Preschool Teacher
Montessori Certified
Email: neetu@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Neetu currently teaches in our Preschool classroom. She first came to Mandala as a parent, but in 2003 she started as an assistant teacher in the Early Preschool. She later left on maternity leave, returned to us as a substitute teacher in 2007, and then became a permanent teacher in September 2009. Neetu did college work in computer application for business and web design, but after working at Mandala she decided that her real love was teaching young children. She returned to school to complete her AA degree in Early Childhood Education from SJCC and received her Montessori Certificate in 2012. Neetu says that she has always loved Mandala. We appreciate that she truly lives “the spirit of Mandala.” Neetu brings cultural enrichment to our staff, speaking Hindi, Punjabi, and “a little Telugu.” She adds a calm and caring presence to our classroom and the children love working with her. Neetu has a daughter working on her post-graduate studies and a son just starting college.

Office Administration & Preschool Support
Montessori Certified
Email: janine@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Janine spent many years teaching in the Preschool classrooms and in the fall of 2022, joined our office staff, but she can often still be found in the classrooms supporting our teachers. Janine joined our staff in the fall of 2015, but has been part of the Mandala family for years. Janine was first introduced to us in 2001 when she brought her children to school at Mandala, so it feels like she has been with us forever. Janine graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Child Development and a minor in Deaf Education, and has also obtained her Montessori Certification after coming to Mandala. Janine worked for over 15 years in management and then stayed home to raise her children. She was a substitute Teacher’s Aide for seven years at a local private school. Janine loves being an integral part of Mandala. We appreciate not only her organizational skills, but also her engaging and playful spirit and her natural gift with young children. Janine says she feels Mandala is “such a special place, not only for the children but for the parents as well. It truly is a loving and enriching environment.” Janine’s children are nearly grown now; her daughter graduated from UC Davis, and her son from Gonzaga University. In her free time, Janine loves to garden and has done coursework in horticulture and landscape design. She loves to plant with the preschoolers and offers Mandala her valued gardening expertise.

Preschool Teacher
Montessori Certified
Email: sharada@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Sharada teaches in our Preschool classroom. She is another highly gifted and talented teacher who has been with us for years. Sharada first came to us as a student teacher from Mission College, and we knew she was a match for Mandala. After observing her remarkable presence and keen attunement to young children, we encouraged her to join our staff as a teacher in the fall of 2011. Sharada brings a vibrant creativity and a gentle strength to our classrooms. She models our values of nurturing children’s spirits, following their lead, building bridges with families, and celebrating diversity. Sharada is the leader of our Small Group curriculum, and she keeps it flourishing for all of us. Sharada was born and raised in a large family in Bangalore, India, and she grew up with the life-long dream of working with children. She earned an AS Degree in Early Childhood Education at Mission College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Degree in Economics, English, and Sociology from Bangalore University, India. Sharada has a college-aged son, Mihir, who is a great joy in her life. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, baking, and most of all, spending time with her son. Sharada also speaks Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and English.

Preschool & Lead Early Preschool Teacher
Montessori Certified

Email: tabatha@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Tabatha teaches in both the Early Preschool and Preschool classrooms. She is another highly skilled teacher who has been with us for a long time. Tabatha started at Mandala as a student teacher from SJ City College. We were all impressed with her natural ability with children, and by the fall of 2010 she was able to join our staff permanently. Tabatha comes with a maturity beyond her years. She has developed a particular expertise in understanding both typical and atypical development in young children. Tabatha has mastered balancing playfulness with giving children the structure they need. She has a special way of engaging in floor play with the younger children and entering into creative play with the older ones. They love her energy and her exuberance. Tabatha continually takes on more responsibility and more learning. She completed her AS Degree in Early Childhood Education, obtained her Montessori Certificate, and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development in 2015. She also pursued more education in Montessori with Infants/Toddlers and the early education of English Language Learners. Tabatha has also worked as an Early Interventionist, and a particular area of interest for her is mental health with young children and children with special needs. Tabatha is married and has a Mandala preschooler, Noelle!

Early Preschool Teacher
Montessori Trained
Email: aiko@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Aiko found her way to Mandala through her daughter. After experiencing Mandala for a year as a parent and volunteering in the classroom, Aiko fell in love with the Mandala way and, as she jokes, “now we can’t get rid of her!” 😊 Aiko recalls the joy she felt watching her daughter fall in with school and grow in so many ways over the course of her experience in Early Preschool. Aiko comes to Mandala with many years of experience at the early elementary level in public education. She taught 1st grade for years and is now excited to take the next step on her journey as part of Mandala’s team, as she ushers our youngest students through their first year of school. In her free time, Aiko loves being with her family and friends, hiking with her dogs, enjoying good food, and traveling to explore new places!

Preschool Teacher
Montessori Trained/Full Certification in Process
Email: rocio@mandalachildrenshouse.com

We are so thrilled to welcome Rocio back to the Mandala team. Rocio hails from Bolivia and is a native Spanish speaker. Rocio first came to Mandala as a mentee in 2019. She rode the COVID storm alongside us, even joining in and teaching children Spanish over Zoom when our physical location had to close. Rocio is excited to return to the Mandala team in the fall of 2023, this time as a preschool teacher for our Ladybugs and Dragonflies. Rocio received her A.S. Degree in Early Childhood Development from San Jose City College and completed the Montessori Fundamentals course through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies back in 2020. Her goal is to earn a degree in Psychology. Rocio has also received additional training in TBRI and Trauma-Informed work. Rocio loves to work with children and her passion is helping the youngest learners progress in all areas of development. In her words, “I strive to create a community of learners that nurtures growth in a positive and fun environment!”

Preschool Teacher
Montessori Trained
Email: louanne@mandalachildrenshouse.com

When Louanne was just a teenager, she discovered her love for working and being with children through interacting and engaging with younger relatives. Louanne’s work with children began when she was a teaching assistant at her church’s Sunday School program and a volunteer mentor for the children who attended Vacation Bible School. Louanne’s love for working with children continued to grow as she became nanny to her niece and nephew, who are now 6 and 9 years old. Given her passion for working with children, Louanne decided to further her education and attended Foothill College where she received her Associate’s Degree in Child Development in 2023. In fact, Louanne came to Mandala, like many of our teachers, as a mentee in the Spring of 2023. We immediately saw Louanne’s gifts and her gentle way of interacting with children, so we were excited to invite her to join our staff in the Fall of 2023. Louanne will be working primarily in our Early Preschool classroom this year. Louanne was born in the Philippines and moved with her family to the Bay Area 20 years ago. When she isn’t at work, she loves spending quality time with her family and making memories with her niece and nephew!

Preschool Teaching Assistant

Email: ashley@mandalachildrenshouse.com

Ashley joined Mandala as a preschool teaching assistant in the fall of 2022. She came to us from Rocketship where she previously worked in an early elementary classroom, and she has fallen in love with the Mandala spirit. Ashley attended San Jose State University in the evenings and graduated with her BA in May of 2023. She has now moved on to Santa Clara University and will be working towards her Master’s Degree in Psychology. Ashley comes from a big family where she is the middle child and the only girl amongst 6 brothers! Children gravitate towards Ashley’s warm and gentle temperament, and she can often be found in our classrooms with several children around her engaged in a story or working on art. In her free time, she loves to swim, travel, and spend time with her dogs!

Classroom Volunteer

Bio coming soon!


Mandala Mission: “Nurture the child. Support the family. Nourish the staff.”