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 Miranda Gresham joined Woodroe Woods School in 1999 and became Assistant Director in 2008.   Prior to joining, Maria worked closely with San Francisco based and internationally known Architectural Photographers.   She commuted Monday-Friday from the East Bay to San Francisco, and fulltime child care was a necessity.  Following many testimonials from the community, in 1994 while expecting her second child, Maria came to visit Woodroe Woods. She knew immediately her children would be happy, safe, loved, and offered a fulfilling early child education through play. After five years of enrollment, she was presented with an opportunity to join Woodroe Woods.  Once on board, her instincts were right, the school was as it appeared from the outside in.  The administrators fully supported the staff resulting with very content staff and very happy children.


Born and raised in San Francisco, Maria and her husband Walter, reside in Castro Valley with their dog, Wednesday, 

Antonia Mambelli

2016 to Present

Business Manager

Trained in Engineering and Project Management, Antonia is the busy Business Manager of Woodroe Woods. 

She spends most of her time tucked away in the office, but relishes occasionally helping out in classrooms and frolicking around the campus.

After her two children graduated from the school, she became an active volunteer on the Woodroe's New Beginning project in 2015, and eventually a member of the staff.  Originally from Italy, she holds an M.S. in Engineering from the The Polytechnic University of Milan, and an M.S. in Project Management from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. 

She absolutely loves her job and considers it a privilege to serve the Woodroe families.

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.

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

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. Since then, I have been teaching music in various Castro Valley pre-k and elementary classrooms. Recently, I also embarked on the adventure of homeschooling my two sons during their later elementary years. 

I look forward to sharing musical time each week with your children.

Julie Francisco

2007 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Julie Francisco started working for Woodroe Woods School in 2002, as an on-call substitute teacher. When her youngest daughter started kindergarten at Proctor Elementary School in Castro Valley, Julie began her journey on a Monday-through-Friday position with the preschool age children in Building B. For the past six years, she has worked alongside Becky Paasche and Katrena Shepard with the Zebra group of children.


Prior to working at Woodroe Woods School, Julie worked in the medical laboratory field managing many departments for Nichols Institute and Quest Diagnostics. While she enjoyed working with her colleagues and adult patients, she was mostly drawn to the pediatric departments. She enjoyed playing with and comforting the infants and children, and was frequently called upon to collect lab samples in difficult situations. She would often volunteer at Oakland Children’s Hospital to support the staff and patients for fun events during the holidays.


In her spare time, Julie enjoys exploring and spending time with her family (husband, two daughters, and dog). She is a true soccer mom, dedicating much of her time on the fields to Katie, her competitive, soccer-playing daughter. She's also the proud parent of an amazing artist, and supports the silly quirks of her artsy daughter Julia. Julie is the owner of a beautiful little campground on a beach in Mendocino County. Nestled among the sky-high redwood trees, Anchor Bay Campground is Julie's favorite place to relax.


Julie spent several years working with the teachers at the Laurel Center, in an environment based on early childhood development. She will continue to pursue and expand on her education in this field. Being a teacher is her passion, and a childhood dream come true.

David Gresham

2016 to Present

The Dude


Emily Hall

Co-Kindergarten Teacher

Megan Justus

2019 to Present

Preschool Teacher


A big kid at heart, Megan brings her love of nature into the classroom every day.  She was born and raised in the Bay Area and her childhood was spent digging in the garden of her grandmother’s backyard and stomping through the mud at Lake Chabot park.
Teaching has always been one of her passions.  For over a decade, she has been teaching in different areas ranging from natural science, to special needs and social justice programs. 
Megan has spent the past five years working and flourishing within the field of Early Childhood Education.  She truly loves working with young children and draws inspiration from sharing in their wonder and curiosity.  
Becoming a teacher has been an amazing journey, and Megan is always looking to expand her horizons.  She holds a degree in Gender & Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley, an Associate of Arts Degree in Spanish from Chabot College, and received Early Childhood Teaching Qualifications from Merritt College.
Megan is very excited to be part of the Woodroe Woods community.

Vanessa Lee

2009 to Present

Head of Elementary Program

2nd/3rd 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

Reading Specialist, Afterschool Program Coordinator, Teacher Substitute

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

4th/5th Grade Teacher


Mary McKenna

2009 to Present

Preschool Teacher


My name is Mary McKenna.  I'm a preschool teacher at Woodroe Woods, but I wasn't always a teacher.  After 15+ years in finance plus a stint in the now defunct arena, I decided I needed a change.  I needed to do something that brought a smile to my face, so I went back to school and got my AA in Early Childhood Development.


Now, I smile everyday...who wouldn't?  You get paid to paint and play and get dirty.  Sure you leave each evening bone tired, but you leave with a satisfaction that you made a difference in some little person's life.  So worth it!!!

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

Hello! I am Laura Noriega.


I joined Woodroe Woods School in 2004. I was referred by a dear friend and former Woodroe Woods parent who recognized my true calling of working, caring, and playing with children. I have been with Woodroe for the past 11 years; most of those as an afternoon preschool teacher.


I reside in Hayward, and I am happily married with two children. My adult son also has two children which makes me a Grandmother, and recently, my grandson joined the Bear classroom! My daughter began as a Zebra and continued through 2nd grade; she is now a 3rd grader.  As you can see, I truly love being surrounded by children!!


Woodroe Woods has meant so much to me and my family for many years and for many reasons that I hold close to my heart.

Martha Ordaz

2017 to Present

Preschool Teacher


Jessica Pacheco

2003 - Present

Preschool Teacher


My name is Jessica Pacheco, and I have enjoyed teaching at Woodroe Woods for almost 13 years. After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Child Development at California State University East Bay, I was fortunate to begin my teaching career at Woodroe Woods!


In the past 13 years, I married my very best friend, have three happy and active children, and gained a second family with my co-workers at Woodroe Woods. 


It is not simply a work place for me, it is also the amazing place where my children have grown and experienced so much love.  My daughters have benefited from attending Woodroe from pre-school through Kindergarten, and my son is currently blossoming in the pre-k Dolphin class. 

Teaching kids is a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding job. I am very proud to be a part of this group of teachers!  I look forward to continuing this rewarding career along with your child!

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.

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


Greetings, I am Katrena Shepard.


From a very young age, beginning with my family and family friends, I have volunteered and worked as a babysitter.  My enjoyment interacting with children and their families lead me to further my interest and volunteer at preschools and child development centers.  While in high school I earned a certificate in the Fields of Careers with Children from the Regional Occupation Program, and continued on to earn a certificate in Early Childhood Development from Chabot College.


Four months after graduating from high school, I was blessed to be introduced to this special place and the phenomenal people at Woodroe Woods School.  I am amazed at the love and dedication shown here at Woodroe, and I have not been able to leave, 28 years later.


I am originally from Louisiana; my family moved to California when I was a toddler.  I enjoy singing, dancing, and spending time with my family.

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

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

After School Support

Hello!  I have my AA in Psychology and I will be receiving my BA with an emphasis in children and adolescents in Fall 2019.  I really enjoy working with the children here at Woodroe Woods and getting to know each one of their personalities!

Please reload