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Our Staff
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Mr. Vance - Assistant Director

Greetings BLPS! My name is Vance Fahie and I am honored and excited to work with you and your children on our journey to making lifelong memories through play, exploration, music, dance, art, and freedom of creativity. In my 20 plus years of working with youth, I have cherished the uniqueness that every individual brings into the community. We will navigate through our classroom experience recognizing how to work together through positive guidance, good manners, fairness, listening skills, respect for the environment and each other, and being caretakers and good stewards (clean up). Through the years, I have worked in many different childcare environments from preschool through school age. I have directed and managed City of San Luis Obispo child care programs (Sun N Fun/STAR), taught in a private preschool learning center, directed vacation camps, mentored in overnight camps, worked with special needs children, and directed childcare programs for the YMCA. Through these experiences I have implemented my love and passion for music into my curriculum to enhance learning. Music has impacted my life in so many positive ways and I love sharing it with anyone who will listen. I am excited to be part of such a great team and environment.


Mr. Bryan - Mindbody Site Supervisor

Hello! My name is Bryan Mendoza. I was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Mexico. My family moved to Mexico when I was 3 months old and decided to move back to the United States when I was 12 years old. When I entered school here in the United States, I was only able to compose a simple sentence in English that would allow people to know my name. Overall, it was a difficult process because I could not communicate as well as I wanted to at school. This experience played a major role in why I have an interest in pursuing a career that includes helping children. My interest grew when I began working as a Sunday school teacher at my local church, which I still continue to enjoy doing. I also taught preschool at another local preschool before this, which was a great experience. I was the first one to attend college from my entire family and I obtained an AA in Early Childhood Education. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter, Eva, traveling, hiking and spending time with our families.

Ms. Amber - Peapods Lead Teacher

Hello, My name is Amber Martinez and I have been devotedly working with children and their families for the past twelve years. I began my career as a teacher working with middle school students from low-income families; where I ran speech and debate, music and a cooking class. From there, I found my way to the children to whom I am so passionate about teaching: preschoolers! I started working as a lead teacher at a Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, where I grew and learned so much as a teacher. Coming from the Bay Area, I was able to enjoy the diversity of many different cultures and experiences. When I moved to the Central Coast five years ago, I transitioned into working with the littles, in the infant department at Mindbody. There I found a whole new way of teaching and connecting with babies and their families. Now I am continuing this amazing journey with Bright Life! I have worked with every age group from 0-5 years of age. I am continuing my schooling program at ASU for social work as supporting families is a true calling of mine. I am excited to share this knowledge and experience with your children as we explore the world around us. I am adventurous, love music, cooking and being outdoors.  I love to bring my passions into the classroom! I am committed to giving children a safe and nurturing environment as well. I am so happy to be a part of this community.


Ms. Katie - Rainbows Lead Teacher

Hi there! My name is Katie Whinnery and I am so thrilled to be able to work with Bright Life. I grew up on the central coast and recently moved back after college. I studied Child Development at Humboldt State University and while I was in school, I worked at the Children's Center on campus for 4 years. I love nature and exploring the world around us and fully believe that children learn through play and mess! I love to do anything with art, and being able to incorporate art and nature into the classroom is exciting and fun. My goal is to work with children and their families to support and create an engaging and safe place full of wonder. I'm looking forward to getting to know our families!


Ms. Sammi - Peapods Co-Teacher

My name is Sammi Hall. I have lived on the Central Coast my entire life. I was a nanny for three kids, all under the age of five, for two years. I enjoyed watching them learn through play and exploration and that is what sparked my passion for teaching in new, innovative ways. I love it here at Bright Life with all the wonderful teachers and families.


Ms. Jo- Sunshine Lead Teacher

Hello families! My name is Joanna but many call me Jo. I am excited to be a part of Bright Life Playschool and its close-knit community! I am originally from Poland, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature, and completed my Teacher Training at the University Maria Curie-Sklodowska. In 2020, I obtained an Early Childhood Lead Teacher Certification from UCLA. I have been working in the field of education for the past 17 years and I’ve dedicated the last 10 years of my professional career to understanding and supporting the youngest learners. Over the past decade, I have traveled and worked in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, where I taught at International schools and developed nursery and preschool programs that aligned with the cultural norms and expectations of each country. My work revolved around fostering play, project-based, child-led, and emergent curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. It is my goal to partner with parents and caregivers, and build a shared recognition of the value of uninterrupted play, the importance of allowing for independence and boundary setting, as well as the significance of meaningful interactions and relationships in children’s development. It’s been a fascinating journey of learning and trying to understand other cultures, and I am looking forward to learning from all of you too! My professional interests include brain development, free uninterrupted play advocacy, creating wonder-filled learning environments, childhood psychology with an emphasis on trauma, self-regulation, and respectful child-rearing practices. In my free time, I love to try new foods wherever I go, experiment with recipes, read/listen to books, work with my hands and teach myself new skills, such as sewing, restoring old furniture, crocheting, or block printing.

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Ms. Kayla - Raindrops' Co-Teacher

Hello, my name is Kayla Cheyno! I am a 4th year child development major at Cal Poly. I was born in Southern California but have fallen in love with the central coast. In high school I volunteered at a pre-school and realized I wanted to continue working with children. Young children are naturally curious and love to learn. I hope to provide an environment that the children feel comfortable to explore and contribute to. My goal is to attend Graduate School after Cal Poly to become an occupational therapist where I can assist young children in reaching their full potential. 


Ms. Sarah - Poppy Seeds Co-Lead Teacher

Hello Bright Life! My name is Sarah and I am an experienced caregiver who is enthusiastic about what I do. I have spent most of the last decade teaching and learning from children in a wide variety of settings. I have been a caregiver to infants and toddlers, worked in a classroom environment helping children with special needs, conducted in home behavior therapy for kids on the autism spectrum, taught preschool age children at a child care center, and worked closely with families as a nanny. In my time spent with children, I have learned that love, patience, and flexibility are some of the best teaching tools. Watching children learn through play and express their own creativity brings me so much joy! I am grateful to the wonderful parents who let me be a part of their children’s lives. 


Ms. Alia - Poppyseeds Co-Lead Teacher

Hello everyone! My name is Alia Ogden. I am overjoyed to be apart of Bright Life. I have always been passionate about working with children even from a young age. My first experience with childcare was growing up in an in home daycare where my mom worked. As I got older and was able to help more often, my love for working with children grew. I have had many roles while working with children- I have been a swim instructor, an art instructor, a babysitter and a nanny, but my favorite role of all is being a teacher! I have been a teacher for the past 4 years and every year my love for teaching grows even more. I cannot wait to partner with both you & your child as we go through this learning journey together!

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Ms. Holly- Sunshine Co-Teacher

My name is Holly. I am a San Luis Obispo native. I have stayed close to home and live in Arroyo Grande with my husband, Josh. You’ll find us in our garden or hiking with our dog. I am currently enrolled at Cuesta Community College to complete my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education this year. I have been working with preschool age children since 2018. I have a background in literature based curriculum and a passion for outdoor education. These are such formative and important years for every child. It is my heart to be able to instill a love of learning, curiosity and enthusiasm for all discoveries, big and small. I value open communication, sincerity, and enthusiasm! I am so grateful to be part of the team here at Bright Life!


Ms. Georgia - Floating Teacher for Sprouts and Pea Pods

Hi everyone! My name is Georgia and I am from a small town in Northern California called Grass Valley. I grew up at my families summer camp in Plumas County where I fell in love with the outdoors and working with children! I recently graduated from Chico State with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and am now onto a next adventure living on the Central Coast. During my free time I love to camp, hike, and ski. I feel very grateful to work in such a caring community and hope to help foster an inclusive environment where every child feels they belong.


Ms. Daisy - Raindrops Lead Teacher 

Hello everyone! My name is Daisy Ceja-Vera and I am from Guadalupe, California; a small town
along the coast. I grew up alongside my three older brothers and my mom and dad. As I reflect
back I always enjoyed learning and as I grew older I found myself helping in the classroom and
guiding younger ones. As a teenager I volunteered in after school programs and realized I was
meant to be in a classroom helping children explore in a safe supportive environment. I knew
that there was absolutely nothing else I wanted to do. I decided to obtain my B.A In Early
Childhood Studies from California State University Channel Islands. This was a huge
accomplishment for me since I was the first one in my family to attend college and get my
degree. My main goal is to provide an environment where they feel safe to explore, observe,
play, make a mess, laugh, and learn! I strive to let our children know that they are capable of so
much and can do anything that they set their mind to. In my free time, I enjoy reading, knitting,
baking, going to new places, and spending time with my family. 


Ms. Cecile - Rainbows' Co-Teacher

My name is Cecile. I live in AG with my husband and 3 kids! With a toddler and 2 teenagers I spend most of my time as a personal chauffeur  I graduated from Folsom Lake College with my degree in Early Childhood Education and really enjoy the creativity and imagination that this age group brings everyday. I am excited to be co-teaching in the Rainbows room and experiencing what each child will teach me! 

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Ms. Jordan - Floating Teacher's Assistant (Both Sites) 

Hi all! My name is Jordan Skow and I’m so excited to be working with all these wonderful kids! I am a 2nd year student at Cal Poly SLO and I am a Child Development major looking to minor in Studio Art! I have worked as a swim instructor for about 2 years and also a lifeguard! I have previously taught at summer camp as well.  I really love teaching kids different activities like painting, jewelry-making, music and singing, and anything in the water! I am very passionate about Early Childhood Education and have taken courses that specialize in children from infancy to age 12!  I am excited to be a part of the Bright Life family.

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Ms. Sara - Monarchs' Lead Teacher

Hello Bright Life family! My name is Sara and I am excited to be an extension of this wonderful team. 

Born and raised in San Luis Obispo County, my journey as a teacher started over a decade ago and my passion for quality education has only grown. My own educational background is in psychology, a focus on behavioral studies, and early childhood education. When I am not playing the role of a college student, I love to travel, get lost in nature, and be around anything creative! What inspired me to be a part of BLPS is the philosophy. I have a strong belief that all children are unique individuals and because of that, they learn in their own way. It is important to me to play a supportive role in a child’s growing foundation in a positive and constructive manner.  I feel honored and humbled to be a part of your child’s journey!

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Ms. Allie - Monarchs' Co-Teacher

Hi Bright Life Family!  My name is Allie. Growing up with my mom as a Pre-K teacher, I absolutely loved helping out in her classroom from the time I was little, myself. I have worked with children of all ages, but have a special love for preschool age! Prior to Bright Life, I taught in Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, and now here in SLO. I have a passion for animals and love sharing that passion with children through play, fun activities, dance, and art. I am so happy to be here and to get to work with all of your amazing children in the Monarchs class!


Ms. Sharron - Sprouts' Co-Teacher

My name is Sharron Williamson.  I’m a graduate of Cuesta College with my AA in Child Development.  I’m a mother of six and a grandmother of 6.  I loved working with children my whole life and look forward to teaching your children.  I’ve lived in Arroyo Grande, CA, for the past 40 years and love to go to the beach and visit the vast hiking trails in the area.  I love to camp, fish, and prospect for gold and gems. I believe that the children we teach are the citizens of the future, and they are capable of much more than we give them credit for.  I love to sing and dance, read, and listen to music.  


Ms. Destiny - Poppy Seeds' Co-Teacher

Hi my name is Destiny and I am so excited to be working here at Bright Life! I am from Missouri but I moved to California about a year ago! I have worked with children for about 6 six years as a camp counselor, a nanny, and a music teacher for infants through 4 year olds, and I am currently working to get my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education to be a 1st grade teacher! In working with children, I strive to show kindness and patience and create invitational environments where children can explore and learn! In my free time, I love to spend time with family, go to the beach, and  I am thrilled to be here at Bright Life and I look forward to getting to know each one of you! 

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Ms. Liberty - Mudpies' Co-Teacher

Hello my name is Liberty Hartnell. I go by Ms. Libby.  I have worked as a nanny, preschool teacher, music & movement teacher, and operated my own family child care home.  I studied Early Childhood Education at Cuesta College.  I have three children of my own and am excited to become a grandmother this year! I am assisting Mr. Bryan in the Mudpies' classroom.  I'm enjoying being with such an amazing group of children and, I'm glad to be a part of observing their wonder and curiosity as they discover new adventures daily. There is so much that I learn as well from each of them. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have working at Bright Life and am looking forward to building relationships with all of our wonderful families.

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Ms. Dartiane - Monarchs' Co-Teacher

My name is Dartiane (Ms. Darcie) and I am thrilled to be a member of the community and Bright Life Playschool! I am originally from Brazil, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Health, and worked
for 4 years before moving to Canada, where my children were born. I started to volunteer at my local church when I was 14 and still volunteer today. I began volunteering at my kids' school after I moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 2016 and discovered my true calling: becoming a teacher. Up until the Pandemic I was employed as a paraprofessional in a public Montessori school in Savannah. I chose to return to college to pursue an Early Childhood Education degree when my family relocated to
California in 2021. I speak four languages and enjoy educating kids about the diversity of the world, as well as other cultures and languages. My goal is to foster a love of learning, curiosity, and a passion for all new discoveries.

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