Director & Lead Teacher:  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.

 

 

 

nada picAtelierista / Curriculum Specialist: Nada Martin 

Hi, my name is Nada Martin and I am excited take on the role of Atelierista at Mixed Greens! I studied Art at Occidental College in Los Angeles and at the University of California at Berkeley. After completing my BA in the Practice of Art at Berkeley, I continued my education at various institutions in the Bay Area with a focus in Early Childhood Education, and earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. I have familiarity and practice with many modes and methods of education, including training in the fluid, constructivist, and experiential Reggio Emilia approach. I have had a 20+ year career in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I am passionately committed to educating the whole child; heart, body and mind, while fostering critical thinking, independence, compassion, and a lifelong love of learning.

I especially love sharing nature and doing art with children.  It is serendipitous that Heather and I have found each other because we share a common formative influence on our philosophy about the education of young children. We both devoted part of our careers to working at the same preschool in Mill Valley; however, our paths did not cross until we both came to be in Santa Rosa!

 I am of Lebanese and Anglo American descent (Lebanese dad, Anglo mom).  I grew up in the Middle East and Europe, and came to the U.S. during summer trips to visit my mother’s family, and, eventually, for college.  I live in Santa Rosa with my husband, Tony, our son, Dante, our playful mutt, Darwin, and our laid-back turtle, Slider.

 

 

 

Organic Gardening Teacher: Shona Vargas-Smith shona

Hi, My name is Shona. I have been at Mixed Greens for three years as a math teacher and I’m excited to be teaching Gardening starting this year!

My daughter India goes to the French American Charter School. I believe that everyone should know two or more languages, and I think it’s silly that America only requires English.  As an SRFACS mama, I also supervise the Walking School Bus for the Camp Ever Greens kids coming over from the French American Charter School!

I have a Bachelors Degree in Cultural Anthropology and Liberal Arts that I received from San Francisco State. I also have a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Sonoma State. After getting these credentials I realized that my heart is in young children. I love to see their excitement of coming to school and learning new things. I love to witness the big stages of a child’s life such as learning to talk or not needing to wear diapers anymore. I get to learn new things everyday, but at a child’s perspective…And that gets me excited to come to work everyday!

I have been a vegetarian most of my life and have always eaten lots of vegetables. Eating mixed greens almost everyday…I am excited to be introducing veggies to kids and have them try new things. I have a garden at home that includes veggies year round, native plants, and many kinds of fruit trees.

When I am teaching the kids I like to incorporate a lot of art and books into what we are learning. Don’t surprised if you hear of a crazy science experiment, I like to do those too.  I believe that people should always try and learn new things. Working at Mixed Greens allows me to do that!

 

 

 

 

stephanieTeacher: Stephanie Mazzia

Hello, my name is Stephanie Mazzia. I am so happy to be a member of the Mixed Greens community! I studied psychology at the University of Oregon, and Early Childhood Education at Santa Rosa Junior College. Working with young children is not a job to me. It is an opportunity to help guide, support, and learn from them. I like getting to know my students. Each child is unique, and because of this, I feel that the teacher/student relationships is a cornerstone in the preschool setting. Developing trusting and dynamic relationships with my students also helps me, as it allows me to create appropriate and engaging curriculum. I have five years of experience working in the Reggio Emilia philosophy, in addition to studying it enthusiastically. In addition to working with children, I also love gardening, reading, and spending time with my family (including my beloved cat, Bundle). I am looking forward to getting to know you and your children! 

 

 

 

Floating Fairy:  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 everyday 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 have had the privilege of assisting children in therapeutic horseback riding. I believe the connection between child and animal plays a vital role in their emotional development as well as building up a sense or 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 who’s goals match my own!

 

 

Floating Fairy:  Raechel Banuelos

Hello! My name is Raechel and I am thrilled to be a part of Mixed Greens! I have lived in Sonoma county my entire life. I grew up in a very large family of 5 older sisters and 2 younger brothers. My parents always inspired and encouraged us to learn new languages and immerse ourselves in a variety of different cultures. I went to a Spanish immersion school in Windsor,  where I became fluent in both English and Spanish. I had the opportunity to bring my skills to teach children to Speak Spanish by being a Teachers’ Assistant, and also had the privilege of tutoring children over the Summer.  Growing up in a large household helped me to understand the importance of helping children thrive and grow into good citizens and learn through play. I am so excited to be a part of Mixed Greens, where I am able to learn myself and share my passions with everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather & Violet Substitute Teacher: Heather Harrison 

Hi there, my name is Heather Harrison. I am more than thrilled to be a part of this amazing community of Mixed Greens and Camp Ever Greens!  I am the Director/Counselor every day at Camp Ever Greens and a substitue at Mixed Greens. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a passion for the outdoors. Gardening, camping, and running cross country were a few of my favored activities. I have also had an extreme connection with animals, always training my dogs’ basic obedience and specialty tricks as well. I was also a very active FFA (Future Farmers of America) member in the Campbell, CA Chapter competing in speech competitions and raising and showing animals, receiving 2 blue ribbons. I raised three pigs, a lamb, two turkeys and shared a steer with a fellow FFA member!

One of my greatest memories when I was younger was attending science camp. Remembering how much joy it brought me singing songs and learning about the earth around me fascinated me and I am so excited to be given the opportunity to share that same joy with other children.

I have my Camp Director certification from the American Camp Association, and am currently enrolled in the Child Development program at SRJC working towards my Associate Teacher certificate…in fact, I have done some of my teacher learning at Mixed Greens! I started this new direction in my career because of my daughter, Violet. The day she was born, a love for children bloomed that I had never realized I had before her arrival.  I started taking child development classes to ensure that I am doing everything I can to become the best mother possible. In doing so, I realized I have a talent for teaching and a passion for guiding new sprouting minds! Working for Mixed Greens and Camp Ever Greens, I am given an opportunity to extend my knowledge of development and nurturing to benefit other children as well as my own.  I am so excited to get to know all of these wonderful children and their families! 

 

 

 

graceSubstitute Teacher – Grace McKenna
 
Hello, my name is Grace McKenna, and I am happy to be a Counselor at Camp Evergreens, and now a sub at Mixed Greens!  I am an ArtQuest student at Santa Rosa High School.  I spend at lot of time taking care of my three younger siblings, two Mixed Greens alum, and one new baby!  After high school, I plan to become an elementary school teacher.  I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to get experience for my future career.  I am a big animal fan and I have a Boston Terrier named Stallone.  I look forward to spending lots of fun time at Mixed Greens and Camp Ever Greens!

 

 

Substitute Teacher:  Megan Izen 

Hi, I’m Megan and I am so grateful to be part of the Mixed Greens community, especially opening the new Lia Lane location! I have my Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in Mathematics from Sonoma State University, and my Master’s from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

My nephew is a Mixed Greens graduate and I fell in love with the Mixed Greens philosophy visiting him at school, picking him up and hearing the exciting things that he did, and exploring with him on many amazing field trips. After living in New York and spending time abroad, I’m back in Sonoma County and excited to start this journey with your little ones at Mixed Greens!

I speak Portuguese and Spanish, I have a very curious toddler (who is also a Mixed Greener), and when I have a free moment, I’m usually experimenting in the kitchen.

 

 

 

Substitute Teacher: Laura Bairdlaura pic

Hi, my name is Laura Baird and I was the Organic Gardening teacher here at Mixed Greens…my dream job! I am now taking some time off to be with my brand new baby Leah.  My son Nash attends the Farmstead campus.  My degree is in Social Science with a double minor in Environmental Sciences and Early Childhood Education.  I also hold a Child Development Associate Teacher Certificate.

The Reggio Emilia approach to learning and teaching has always been my favorite model, and working in the garden has always been something I’ve loved doing, so I am excited to blend these two passions.  I have a garden of my own where I love to grow things to eat for my family.  I have always loved eating from the earth and think it’s important to show children the impact they can make by doing the same!

 I have been working with children for as long as I can remember.  I started with the YMCA and worked with their Healthy Kids and After School program for many years before taking a position as the 24 Hour Fitness Kids’ Club supervisor.   I was also a nanny before having my own son, Nash.  He is almost three now and I have had the pleasure of being a mom while doing part-time Family Social Work.  I am so excited now to get my hands dirty and teach the children all about gardening and the environment!

 

 

 

guadalupeColors of Spanish: Guadalupe

Guadalupe, a native of the Bajio region of México, has been teaching Spanish to children and young adults in this area since 2003. She is part of the El Día de los Muertos, Petaluma committee and in 2011 was among seven individuals named as Latino community leaders in Petaluma by the Argus Courier. She has a Master’s Degree in Spanish, with a focus on early age acquisition of foreign language. Her classes encourage creativity, energy and the spirit of play!

She is the founder of Colors of Spanish, an early childhood language-learning program that has provided classes in schools, preschools and community centers in Sonoma and Marin Counties since 2004.

 

 

 

My Gym: J.J.

My name is J.J. Johnson and I work at My Gym Children’s Fitness Center in Santa Rosa. I love helping children learn the importance of movement and teaching them the fun and easy ways to stay active every day. I have had the privilege of teaching young ones for the past eight years, as a dance instructor and working in various classrooms throughout Sonoma County. I received my Bachelors in Early Childhood Studies from Sonoma State in 2017, and am grateful to be able to pursue my passion of bringing children and families a place where they can learn, play, and grow together at My Gym. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring the My Gym fun here to Mixed Greens Preschool and hope to see you and your family at one of our fun filled Practice and Plays at My Gym Santa Rosa.

My Gym Santa Rosa – Fitness Made Fun for Kids!

 

 

 

Happy Feet Soccer: Coach Jonny 

Jonathan grew up in Northwest Indiana where he played soccer since he could walk. He was selected to the Olympic Development Program at ages 12 & 13. This gave him the opportunity to go and play the beautiful game in Italy, England, Whales, and Costa Rica at a young age. When he got into high school, he made the Chicago Fire Academy team, a youth professional club. After competing nationally, he then transferred to Sonoma State University to finish out his collegiate athletic career. During that time, he was named All Conference Honorable Mention, as a sophomore.
While being a collegiate soccer player, Jonathan would coach the high school aged Identification Camps, as well as assist with the youth camps. Jonathan now coaches for HappyFeet Soccer, where he loves his job of introducing the game of soccer to preschool children. He considers himself fortunate to pass on his love for the game through coaching!

 

 

 

 

Karate: Alejandro Quenta

Hello, my name is Alejandro Quenta, and I am so happy to be back at Mixed Greens!  I am originally from Argentina and I started practicing Martial Arts at the early age of 7, when the doctor told my mother that I needed an active outlet.  I earned my black belt at the age of 15 and soon went on to teaching younger children.

I moved to the United States in 2001 and continued to pursue my other passion of photography.  Through photography, I maintain a vital connection to the energy of the real world, found in the joy of people, especially children.  I love sharing with the children the skills and self-control that have helped me so much in my life.  I love to teach kids that with discipline and persistence, they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.  It has been a dream of mine for many years to teach Karate to children…I am so happy that Mixed Greens gave me the opportunity!

I was the Karate teacher at the Hoen campus for a while and my work with the kids of Mixed Greens inspired me so much that I took classes towards a Child Development degree at Santa Rosa Junior College and began working at Mixed Greens full time!  After being away for a few years, I am so happy to be back enjoying life energy with the children!

 

amyNutrition / Rainbow Greens: Amy Hudgens

My name is Amy Hudgens, and I am the Nutritional Consultant for Mixed Greens and two other local preschools.  I am honored and excited to announce a new program that we started here the first week of May 2012. Mixed Greens agreed to be the Pilot school for my Nutrition Program for Preschoolers called Rainbow Greens!  I am also a mother of a toddler and know how busy life can get and how important it is to stay nourished inside and out. I am grateful that my dreams and visions are finally coming alive with the start up of Rainbow Greens! Rainbow Greens was developed with the intention of making learning about nutrition fun and educational for the kids. I want to keep it simple with a huge focus on organic whole foods, short fun educational lessons, and little cooking demos.  I will also be providing parents with 2 free cooking classes per calendar year so that the whole family can be involved. Also, with every monthly lesson, each child with get a card with “health tips” or a nourishing recipe on it to share with their family. I am so excited to start this program. Thanks to Mixed Greens for helping so much get this program started! Be Well, Amy Hudgens

Website: busybeenutrition.com

 

 

Music (& other fun Mess Making): Russ Scarola

Russ is the papa of Mixed Greens alum, Jenner, and of current Mixed Greens rock star, Jalen, who now shares his love of music and teaching with the whole MG crew!  “You haven’t learned something until you’ve created with it!”  When not learning from his two adventure seeking boys, Russell Scarola teaches art-integration to future teachers in the Hutchins Department of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University. Recent community projects have included designing recycled materials and mentoring student projects for the Sonoma County STEAM SHOWCASE. Russ’s passions include volleyball, playing guitar, and creative writing, but his biggest joy is in helping people of all backgrounds enjoy science and encouraging more voices to be involved in how best we can guide our human ingenuity.