Cotati Staff

Director:  Heather Ashton Black

I am honored and excited to be a part of Mixed Greens, a real-life dream come true, and a place of love, peace, and learning for children and grown-ups alike!  To learn more about me and our beginnings, please visit the Director tab in the About menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site Supervisor/Atelierista (Art Teacher): Jessica Crosier

Hello everyone my name is Jessica Crosier and I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to grow with the Mixed Greens family as the Site Supervisor at our brand new campus! I was drawn to working with children after my first official job in high school and since that moment, I knew some form of work with children was the career path for me. After high school, I spent a few years at the Santa Rosa Junior College exploring various courses and completing an Associates’s Degree in Elementary School Teaching before transferring to Sonoma State University. There, I completed my B.A. in Early Childhood Studies with a focus on Education. I have been working alongside children since 2011 in various positions, including being an assistant director for a child care facility for five years, and have learned so much from each experience.

This past 2020 school year, I joined Mixed Greens as the Atelierista at our Farmstead campus! I really have enjoyed this position and the opportunity to strengthen my teaching skills and ability to meet the children where they are, providing creative, open explorations to further build on their interests and skills. I’m so incredibly grateful and humbled to now be part of a further extension of the wonderful Mixed Greens family as we continue to build a community of lifelong learners who feel safe and supported in their education journey.

I believe that children are leaders in their own learning and that learning best occurs when it is developed from the child’s interests. Having various materials readily available for open exploration encourages children to express themselves freely and symbolically through various forms of work and play. I am so happy to be a part of the  Mixed Greens family and am looking forward to meeting everyone and getting the chance to grow alongside your little ones!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blossoms Teacher:  Cam West

Hello! My name is Cam and I am so excited to be a part of Mixed Greens and the positive impact that it is bringing on our community! My passion for working with children stems from my own past and upbringing, growing up in a big family where every day was taught to be an adventure, there was never a dull moment. My parents encouraged all of us to learn with our hands, interact with nature, and explore the beauty in all cultures, languages and ethnicities. To this day, I watch them help any child in need and I strive to follow their glowing example.  I earned my Early Childhood Education credits at Theoria College, and received my real life ECE training during my years as the Environments Teacher at Mixed Greens, enjoying time at both the OG and Farmstead campuses!

I enjoy the privilege of assisting children in therapeutic horseback riding, and love introducing Mixed Greens kids to animals right in our own backyard. I believe the connection between child and animal plays a vital role in their emotional development, as well as building up a sense of responsibility and trust. Another passion I have is teaching music. Music is the universal language in which anyone, including children, can express themselves in any language or even without having to speak a word. Seeing a child really ‘feel’ music is one of the most rewarding things anyone could ever experience. When I am not outdoors, you can bet I am thinking about when I can be outdoors again! We live in a very high-tech world, so helping a child find the magic within nature is even more so important to me! A few other activities I love teaching and sharing are Archery, Loom crafting, Farm maintenance, and Swedish/Spanish/Vietnamese language learning. I am so happy to be a part of such an inspirational school and team whose goals match my own!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouts Teacher: Vivian Jacinto

Hola! My name is Vivian Jacinto, and I am so excited to be part of Mixed Greens’ growing community! I started my work with children almost ten years ago, where I have worked in many different settings from nannying, to private centers, and federally funded preschools. While working alongside children, I received my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State University. 

Over the years, my work and philosophy in the way I teach children has changed…my greatest shift happened when my now three year old son was born. He truly taught me to slow down and connect with my surroundings. I am here to truly learn and observe alongside the children as we explore what this world has to offer. My greatest passion is nature-based teaching, where our outdoors teaches us basic life skills from gardening, cooking, leadership, empathy, creativity, and much more. I am an avid gardener who loves to cook and eat, and look forward to enjoying some of my passion work with the children everyday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organic Gardening and Music Teacher: Rachel Finton

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am so grateful to begin my second year teaching in the Mixed Greens garden! I’m addition to being the Garden teacher at Mixed Greens, I also teach music inspired by Kodláy and Orff philosophy. I have my Master’s Degree in Teaching, Multiple Subject Credential, and am currently pursuing my Early Childhood Waldorf Teaching Certification. I have taught in a variety of classroom settings as a K-2 grade teacher and as an elementary school music teacher! The Mixed Greens community is the most nurturing, inspiring and joyful school that I’ve ever had the opportunity to teach for. 

My love for nature and baking inspired me to become a garden teacher. It brings me so much happiness to see little hands foraging daily through our strawberry patch. The children’s curiosity for the creatures that share our garden (birds, bees, ladybugs, worms) and excitement over planting, harvesting and cooking, brings me so much joy! I’m thrilled to bring early childhood music education to our days, as the children learn so much through rhythm. I enjoy teaching through body percussion, jubilant songs, learning Solfege (do, re, mi, fa) and rhythmic games. Watching the children learn music through play and exploration is a wonderful experience! 

My daughter Emma is four years old and a student at Mixed Greens! Our family loves all things outdoors, as we hike and camp in every season. Emma wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up and I feel so fortunate to share these early years alongside her. We are looking forward to another wonderful year together at Mixed Greens! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmstead Campus Site Supervisor & Part-Time Shalom Teacher: J.J. Johnson

My name is J.J. and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the Mixed Greens community!  I am honored to be the Site Supervisor at our Farmstead campus, and had to get in on the fun at our new Shalom campus as well!  My love for working with children began in high school, when I started teaching dance classes to some aspiring ballerinas who, little did they know, were really the ones inspiring me. Motivated to continue down the path of teaching, I found myself in the Early Childhood Studies program at Sonoma State University.  I was quickly drawn to the professional field of Early Childhood, and am continually inspired by the individuals who make up this valuable community. Working in various classrooms throughout my time at SSU allowed my appreciation and passion to grow even more. After receiving my Bachelors in Early Childhood Studies in 2017, I spent a year teaching at My Gym Children’s Fitness Center here in Santa Rosa. I loved being able to help provide a place where children and families could play, learn, and grow together. I believe the value of play should take an active role in children’s learning and that education should emerge from children’s own interests.

When being introduced to Mixed Greens, I immediately knew I had found a community that shares my values and beliefs. It is important to me to create an environment where every child feels safe and supported. I believe it is only then that we can teach the whole child and help shape them to be life long learners. It is with so much joy that I get to be here at Mixed Greens and I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher:  Joe James

Hello everyone! My name is Joe James and I am extremely excited for my first year at Mixed Greens. I can’t wait to learn more about your children’s interests and passions to better help them learn and discover the world around us. To get a better sense of me, some of my hobbies and passions include basketball, music, food, cooking, swimming, board games, my three guinea pigs, and much more.

For the past six years I have been working with kids in elementary after-school programs and summer camps in Marin county. There, I created a curriculum and activities, led small adult teams, and helped maintain a safe environment. Currently I am a senior at Sonoma State University studying Early Childhood Education. I plan on continuing my education after graduating and obtaining a teaching credential for elementary school. 

I have had the opportunity to visit Mixed Greens multiple times, and am very excited to have the opportunity to teach within the environment. The outdoor space and caring nature of all who are a part of it brings a welcoming and open space to learn and grow. I’m really excited to join such a great team of wonderful teachers and be a part of such an awesome community. Hope to meet you all soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Ever Greens Counselor / Floater Teacher: Raynee Jervan

Hello! My name is Raynee Jervan and I am very excited about taking this next step and adventure in my life with Mixed Greens. I come from a large family that has strong roots here in Sonoma County. From the time I was born, my parents and family have engulfed me with love & support, have taught me to believe in myself, appropriately express my feelings,  and experience every new day as an adventure in life that helps mold you as a person & create endless possibilities. I look forward to sharing those same loving qualities with the children I am blessed to be around here at Mixed Greens. I believe that children should observe nature and not only build and find the beauty in it, but also learn valuable loving qualities that they can imitate as they grow up and become respectful members of the community. I love teaching kids new things & having fun with them. I love being a part of a child’s development and I hope that I can make a positive impact on the kids that I am entrusted with daily. I’m very grateful to be working here at Mixed Greens so I can learn from the kids & they can learn from me. 

I’m currently working as an Electrician’s Apprentice with my Father who has been an Electrician in the Bay Area for over 30 years and I am striving to be more & more skilled in this trade. It has been a privilege to help the fire victims in Sonoma County rebuild their homes and see their smiling faces when they move back into their homes and put their lives back to the Sonoma County normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitute Teacher: Tyrrell Salath

Howdy folks! My name’s Tyrrell and I’m super duper excited to be a part of the community here at Mixed Greens. I’m currently enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College and working on getting my credentials. My experience working with children has been an adventure. Every party and event I’ve attended, children seem to gravitate towards me like how I seem to always gravitate towards the all-you-can-eat buffet tables. I also worked in another preschool two years ago, and worked for an after school program for an elementary school. Being around all the kids I’ve come across in my life has helped me gain a lot of knowledge and also feed my spark of passion to work with kids. One of my memorable moments working with kids was when one of the kids who was considered difficult by other staff members told me that I was his favorite teacher because I know how to talk to him unlike everybody else. 

Some of my passions are singing, playing chess, and taking care of my frog. For me, singing is a way to express myself…especially when I’m happy. I enjoy playing chess because I tend to think a lot so I like to use my thinking brain on the board instead of getting lost in my thoughts. Frogs are my favorite animal. I feel they have a good representation on how people are. Frogs start off as eggs and hatch into tadpoles then evolve into adult frogs and they are capable of adapting into almost any environment they’re in just like how people evolve and adapt from situations they are given or thrown into. I have a Pikachu Pacman frog named Jiraiya aka Young Thunder. I look forward to being a part of the Mixed Greens family and getting to know every child as an individual and their families. See y’all soon!