Our professional and experienced team of teachers works collaboratively to provide a secure, stimulating, nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment. They are experts in the field of child growth and development and most have been with our school for many years.
All teachers and assistants are college graduates and meet or exceed Early Childhood Education state requirements. Several have master’s degrees and/or teaching credentials. Our staff participates in continuing education on an annual basis. The teacher/student ratio is one to seven.
Our 2018-2019 Staff
Director: Teri Clark
Teri joined St. Francis Preschool as the Director in 2016. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education, holds a degree in Child Development, a Site Supervisor permit with the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing and is a California Mentor Director. Teri developed the Marin Director’s Group in 2017 and coordinates monthly seminars for early childhood programs in the county. Before coming to St. Francis, she was the Educational Resource Director/Executive Team Member for a large multi-site early childhood education program where she was responsible for staff development and education and helped develop community educational partnerships in Marin and Sonoma counties. She has multiple years of experience teaching at the preschool and elementary school level and directing preschool programs. In addition, she has coordinated several school gardening programs. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking and baking.
Younger Class Head Teacher Room A: Beth Mason
Beth Mason has a BA in sociology from Vanderbilt University and a State of California Child Development Teacher Permit. She has been teaching preschool for 13 years. Beth joined the St. Francis staff in the summer of 2017 and is the head teacher in Room A with our youngest children and the assistant teacher in the Spanish enrichment class. In her free time she enjoys gardening, bird-watching, camping and learning to paddle board. She currently lives in Petaluma with her husband and two teen-aged children.
Younger Class Head Teacher Room B: Melissa Fortney
Melissa has a BA in Child and Adolescent Development from San Francisco State University. She has several years of experience teaching Preschool, and has been working with young children since 1998. She joined our staff in the summer of 2018 and teaches the older children in the Younger class. Melissa lives in Novato with her family and is the mother of two school age sons. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at her children’s school, kayaking, hiking, and reading.
Younger/Pre-K Head Teacher Room C: Rosa Mendez
Rosa Mendez has a BA in Interior Design and a Preschool Teacher Diploma from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala. She completed additional Early Childhood Education studies at SRJC and holds an Associate Teacher Child Development Permit from the State of California. She is currently working on her California Child Development Teacher Permit. Her teaching experience includes 8 years as a Montessori Preschool Teacher in Guatemala, special education at the elementary school level, and 19 years at St. Francis. During this time, she worked in both Younger, Pre-K, and Enrichment classes, as well as developed our Spanish Enrichment class. Rosa is currently the Head Teacher of our youngest Pre-K class. She aslo teachers the Spanish and Cooking enrichment classes. She enjoys cooking and baking, jewelry making, painting, music, and traveling.
Pre-K Head Teacher Room D: Jenny Crowther
Jenny Crowther went to Eaton Hall College and received a teaching credential at Nottingham University in England. She continued her early childhood education at Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, and the College of Marin. At St. Francis since 1973, she has over 46 years of preschool teaching experience and has taught children of children formerly in the school! Jenny has been the Head teacher of our middle Pre-K class for many years. A co-owner of Engine Dynamics LLC in Petaluma, she enjoys cooking, swimming, and gardening.
Pre-K/TK Teacher Room E: Shoshannah Vorhies
Shoshannah Vorhies has a BA in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University, a Multiple Subject Elementary Teaching Credential from Dominican University, and a California Site Supervisor Child Development Permit. She taught K, 1st, and 2nd grade for 7 years and has been a Pre-K teacher at St. Francis for 8 years. She currently teaches our oldest children in the Pre-K program (4 year olds) - our Transitional Kindergarten. Her 2 children attended St. Francis. Shoshannah enjoys photography and her work is often on display at the preschool.
Assistant Teacher Room B TTH: Caroline Smith
Caroline earned her BA in psychology from the University of the Pacific where she majored in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her Early Childhood Education (ECE) background began with volunteer work at Ross Valley Preschool and continued with ECE classes at the College of Marin and Santa Rosa JC. She has 6 years of pre-school teaching experience at Ross Valley Preschool and at Little Mountain Preschool in Sleepy Hollow, a program she helped to develop. Caroline has since enjoyed time off to raise her own 4 children, but returned to the ECE field here at St. Francis in 2018. Her younger daughter and both of her sons attended St Francis.
Assistant Teacher Room B MWF: Kathleen Frey
Kathleen Frey has a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an ECE certificate from the College of Marin. Prior to becoming a teacher at St. Francis, she worked as a Victim’s Advocate at the Marin County District Attorney’s Office. Her son attended St. Francis and she was on the Advisory Board as a parent prior to joining the teaching staff 11 years ago. Kathleen is the teaching assistant in Mrs. Elu’s MWF Younger class. She is an active volunteer in the Novato Unified School District and local community.
Time For Twos Teacher and Pre-K Enrichment Teacher: Lori Picardi
Lori Picardi has a BA in Art and Design from San Jose State University and a California Child Development Associate Teacher Permit. She worked as a photographer and event coordinator prior to joining the St. Francis staff in the 2016-2017 school year as the head Time for Twos Teacher and the Room A assistant teacher. Lori is currently the Head Teacher in our Time for Twos program and the Pre-K Art and Movement enrichment classes. Her two daughters attended St. Francis. Lori enjoys playing the piano, art, and hiking.
Assistant Teacher Room A: Marianne Thomas
Marianne joined St. Francis Preschool’s staff in the summer of 2018 as an Assistant Teacher in Room A. She is a graduate of De Anza College majoring in Child Development. Marianne has been teaching for 39 plus years in the Early Childhood field working in various types of programs, parent co-operatives, private schools as well as Head Start. In addition to working with young children and their families she was a mentor teacher for the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto.
In her free time Marianne enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her grandchildren, family and friends.
Administrative Assistant and Pre-K Enrichment Assistant Teacher: Laurie Friedman
Laurie Friedman has a BS in Nursing from San Diego State University and is a registered nurse in the state of California. She also holds a California Child Development Associate Teacher Permit. Laurie has over 15 years of nursing experience in pediatrics, neonatal intensive care, and emergency transport services. At St. Francis for 5 years as a float teacher and administrative assistant, she also works as an assistant in our enrichment classes. Laurie enjoys gardening and restoring old furniture.
Assistant Teacher Room A: Corlett Osbourne
Corlett Osbourne joined the St. Francis staff in the summer of 2017 as an assistant teacher in Room A and the Movement enrichment class. She has a BA in Sociology from Sonoma State University and a California Child Development Teacher Permit. Corlett taught preschool chidlren from infants to kindergarten age for 8 years years before joining our staff. Her hobbies include cooking, reading and photography.
Assistant Teacher Pre-K Gretchen Tara
Gretchen joined the St. Francis staff in the fall of 2017 as the Pre-K Assistant Teacher. She is also the assistant teacher in the Cooking enrichment class. She has a BA in English LIterature from Villanova Univeristy and a Master's degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania. A teacher since 1990, Gretchen has taught preschool through college. Most recently,she has worked for the Novato Unified School District as a preschool early intervention specialist and home instruction and elementary school teacher. Her 2 children attended St. Francis.
Program Assistant; Christine Reyes
Christine spent her childhood in Chicago but returned to Manila where she was born, and received her general education from the University of the Philippines. She has also lived in Melbourne, Australia; Seattle, and San Francisco. After many years as a Sunday School teacher, Christine began taking Early Childhood Education classes at the College of Marin with the goal of working in the early education environment. Christine joined the St. Francis staff in the summer of 2018 as our program assistant. She and her husband have lived in Novato since 1998, have launched two adult children, and have a high schooler still at home. Christine loves spending time with family and enjoys reading and baking.