At the heart of Woodroe are its

teachers and staff members. 

Becky Paasche

2009 to Present



My name is Becky Paasche and I began my preschool teaching career over 15 years ago when my first born was just a year old. I have taken over 24 units of Early Childhood Education at Merritt College and continue to pursue my education through on-line course work. I have attended several workshops through CAEYC and the Bureau of Education and Research to stay current in the field of Early Childhood Education. I love working with young children and find their enthusiasm for learning to be contagious!


I have been with Woodroe Woods since September 2009 and prior to that I ran my own home childcare program for 4 years, following the birth of my second child. I am proud to serve the families of my local Castro Valley / Hayward, and now San Leandro / San Lorenzo, community and look forward to doing it for many more years to come!

Maria Miranda Gresham

1999 to Present



Maria’s two sons began attending Woodroe Woods in 1994 and she was recruited a few years later to join the staff. Since then, she was promoted from Business Manager to Co-Director. Prior to her tenure at Woodroe Woods, Maria worked as Business Manager for an architectural photography firm and a learning resources company. At Woodroe Woods, you’ll often see her showing prospective parents around the grounds. She is the welcoming face in the office. Maria lives in Castro Valley with her husband, Walt and her dog, Wednesday.


Kristie Leo

2018 to Present

Assistant Director

Kristie has always had a passion in working with children and their families.  While pursuing her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development at SJSU, she first started her professional journey in ECE at the university's on site lab preschool.  She also worked at a corporate based early childcare center before joining a nonprofit community based organization for children. With over 15 years of experience working in early childhood education, Kristie has been a part of the Woodroe Woods administrative team since 2018.

Antonia Mambelli

2016 to Present

Business Manager


Trained in Engineering and Project Management, Antonia is the busy business manager of Woodroe Woods. Antonia’s two children graduated from Woodroe Woods and was a frequent volunteer and Board member.  Antonia holds a M.S. in Project Management from George Washington University as well as a M.S in Engineering from Politecnico di Milano. She has worked as a project manager, coordinator and even owned her own publishing company.

Max Billings

2020 to Present

School Technician

Max serves as School Technician.  He attended Berklee College of Music and Academy of Art in San Francisco.  Max handles technical and maintenance issues and is also known as “Snack Specialist.”  He is a graduate of Woodroe Woods having attended preschool and Kindergarten.

Brenda Davis

2000 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Hello! My name is Brenda Davis. I'm from a small town in upstate New York. I decided to leave the cold behind and moved to CA. I've been married for 29 years and have two adult boys. I have my AA degree and have been teaching Pre-K at Woodroe Woods school for the past 18 years. Both of my boys are Woodroe Woods alumni! I stay current and attend CAEYC Conferences and I love children and their creative minds!

Melissa Dykstra

2018 to Present

Kindergarten Co-Teacher 

and Music Teacher

Greetings! I am thrilled to be bringing music and movement instruction into your child's school day at Woodroe Woods. I am originally from Northeast Ohio where I spent much of my youth studying gymnastics, music, and dance, with a focus on pre-professional ballet training. I had the privilege of studying and performing with Cleveland City Dance, BalletMet Dance Academy and the School of the Cleveland Ballet. I went on to receive my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a focus in Dance Education with Honors and Distinction from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Staying in the Columbus area, I taught and choreographed various forms of dance at Northpointe Dance Academy and Leap of Faith Dance Studio. Upon moving to the Bay Area in 2014, I trained as a docent in the Music for Minors II program to make a meaningful impact in Castro Valley schools.

Julie Francisco

2007 to Present

Preschool Teacher

Julie began teaching at Woodroe Woods in 2002 part time and became a full time preschool teacher soon after. Prior to working at Woodroe Woods, Julie had a career in the medical laboratory field. She was drawn to the pediatric field and volunteered at Children’s Hospital. After having children, she began working at Laurel Center, then transitioned to Woodroe Woods. She enjoys spending time at the ocean with her two daughters.

David Gresham

2016 to Present

Multiple Subject Credential Program

After graduating from San Jose State University, David is now working towards his teaching credential (slated for December 2020.)  Not only does David help in the classroom, he works as a technical and maintenance consultant.  He was also very active in the summer program.  He is very familiar with Woodroe Woods as he attended as a preschooler.


Vanessa Lee

2009 to Present

Head of Elementary Program

2nd Grade Teacher

My name is Vanessa Lee Kaitz.  Education and children are my passion, and have been a constant in my life, as well as Woodroe Woods School.  As a teenager, I became a Woodroe Woods camp counselor and afternoon school teacher. After high school, I attended the University of Davis and received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development, and later obtained my teaching credential at Fresno State University. I have been a teacher for the past 6 years. Proudly, my family is a part of the Woodroe Woods legacy. Before me, for over 24 years, my mother Edie Lee taught and retired as the Assistant Director.  


I am happily married with two beautiful children now attending our amazing school.  When I'm not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, playing board games, reading, watching sports, and traveling.

Tori Lewis

2018 to Present

3rd Grade Teacher and Reading Specialist

I’m a Bay Area native and a mother of three. I’ve been a huge fan of the Woodroe Woods play based program for years. My youngest was lucky enough to start here as a zebra and is currently a happy red apple. I’m excited to be returning to elementary education after several years of working from home in the financial sector while my children were all small. Working with children has always been my truest calling. I have an elementary teaching credential from St Mary’s in Moraga and a reading specialist credential and a Master’s in Education from UC Berkeley. I’ve had the privilege of working and volunteering at many schools throughout the east bay for decades and I’m so pleased to share with your children what I have learned along the way. 

Carlene Metz

2018 to Present

Virtual Teacher 

Kindergarten through 5th Grade


Debbie Nappo

1993 to Present

Kindergarten Teacher


Debbie Nappo is a Kindergarten teacher entering her 25th year at Woodroe Woods.  Prior to her current position, she was a preschool teacher at Woodroe. 


Although a traditional teacher through the school year, Debbie is a key teacher in the summer camp program open to children up to 4th grade. 


Debbie educates, nurtures and embraces each child.  She is CPR certified, one of Woodroe's swim instructors, and also tutors through the summer with her enrichment program.

Joanne Niklewski

2002 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Czesc (Hello)!  My name is Joanne Niklewski and I am currently a Bear (ages 2 to 4) teacher at Woodroe Woods.


After 5 years of working at Southwest Airlines and traveling the world, I decided it was time for something new.  Although I previously earned an Associate of Arts degree in computer graphics, I quickly realized my creative skills were better utilized in early childhood education.  I returned to school to complete the units needed to become a preschool teacher and have never looked back!  Valentines Day 2016 will mark my 14th year teaching.


On a personal note:  I was born in Warsaw Poland and came to the United States at the age of 5.   I feel extremely fortunate to have ‘landed’ in California.  In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my 3 F’s… family, friends and my fiancé :  cooking,  crafting, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors in Lake Tahoe.


I am so thankful for the opportunity to work in a nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence while they play. I look forward to continued success and new discoveries with the amazing team of teachers that I get to collaborate and learn from every day.  This is truly my dream job! 

Laura Noriega

2004 to Present

Preschool Teacher

Since 2004, Laura has worked at Woodroe Woods as an afternoon preschool teacher. A grandmother whose grandchildren have also attended Woodroe Woods, Laura recognized her true calling to work with children. Laura is happy to be a part of the school’s community.

Jessica Pacheco

2003 to Present

Preschool Teacher


After obtaining a BA in Human Development with an emphasis in Child Development, Jessica began teaching at Woodroe Woods in 2003. She is married with three children all of whom have attended Woodroe Woods. Jessica is very proud to be a part of these teachers and considers her co-workers her second family.

Diane Rempel

2016 to Present

Preschool Teacher


I have worked in Early Childhood for 21 years.  For 19 years I was the owner and operated of a small family childcare in Castro Valley.  I’m an extremely proud mother of 3 amazing grown sons.  I currently have my Associate Teaching Certification in Early Childhood Education and continue to be a life long learner.

Sara Rolita

2019 to Present

4th / 5th Grade Teacher

Kathy Schwartzle

2011 to Present

Preschool Teacher


My name is Kathy Schwartzle.  I have been a preschool teacher at Woodroe Woods for 5 years.  I enjoy working with my fellow teachers and the families that attend our school.  I would very much like to continue the legacy of this very special place.

Katrena Shepard

1988 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Katrena has worked at Woodroe Woods since 1988. As a high schooler, Katrena worked as a babysitter and earned a certificate in in the Fields of Career with Children from the Regional Occupational Program. She went on to earn a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Chabot College. She is originally from Louisiana and enjoys her family, singing and dancing.

Valerie Suarez

1996 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Hi, my name is Valerie Suarez, and I have resided in the Bay Area my entire life.   For the past twenty years, I have had the privilege of teaching at Woodroe Woods School as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher.  I've been teaching for thirty three years AND still counting! I have my certificate in early childhood development.  I am proud to say that both of my children attended Woodroe Woods.

Donna Tenbrink

2004 to Present

After School Teacher (once we reopen)

Resident Gardener


I was a stay at home mom for 26 years.  My husband and I raised three daughters and a son.  


I met Greg and Kerrie Rice when our children attended Hayward High School.  We were all very involved with P.T.A., Sports Boosters, and Band.  I have worked 11 years at Woodroe Woods School.  I enjoy the energy and squeals of children, and I plan LOTS of afternoon messy projects for Kindergarteners, First and Second Graders.  


I am also a Grandmother of seven grandchildren ALL UNDER 6 YEARS OLD.  My home is once again filled with toys and fun, too, just the way I like it!

Julia Warner

2018 to Present

Preschool Teacher

Julia began working at Woodroe Woods in 2018, while completing her BA in Psychology with an emphasis in children and adolescents. She received her degree in 2019 and enjoys the constant learning she receives from the children.

Please reload