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Our Staff
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Ms. Kim - Director

I have been teaching and learning from children since 1993. My experience ranges from teaching children in a home day care, to working for the cities of San Francisco and San Luis Obispo as a Recreation Director for 9 years, collectively. I have over 50 units in Early Childhood education, as well as a BA in English, and I am a Certified Children's Yoga instructor.

As long as I can remember, my dream has been to open a school where the whole child can be nurtured - a school that views the child as a competent, aware, imaginative, capable individual, who possesses a desire to interact and communicate with others, and to belong to a loving community.

I opened this school in my home in 2011 with just 6 children. We have now grown into two licensed child care centers with a capacity for 60 children at each site - a dream come true! I am excited to get to know your child and begin our journey together.
 

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Mr. Vance - Orcutt Road Assistant Director

Greetings! 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 children with special needs, and directed childcare programs for the YMCA. Through these experiences, I have incorporated 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 proud to be part of such a great team and environment.

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Mr. Bryan - Mindbody Site Supervisor

Hello! 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. 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 continue to enjoy doing. I also taught at another local preschool before this. I was the first of my entire family to attend college, and 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.

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Ms. Jo- Mindbody Assistant Site Supervisor 

Hello families! I am originally from Poland, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language Arts 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 education since 2007 and I have since dedicated my professional career to 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. 

My goal is to partner with parents and caregivers, sharing the value of uninterrupted play, allowing for independence and boundary setting, and 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 always look forward to learning new things from you! 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. Katie - Pea Pods' 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!

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Ms. Cecile - Pea Pods' Co-Teacher

I live in AG with my husband and 3 kids! With two about to graduate high school, and one entering elementary, 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 role brings every day. It has been a privilege to work with different age groups, from the youngest infants to school-age children, always learning something new from each child. I have been continuing to take more classes to further develop my career!

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Ms. Cami- Peapods' Teacher's Assistant 

I began teaching in 2003 at the Tiny Tigers program at SLO High. I have since earned a BA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Young Child and Family, and worked and learned in several excellent Bay Area preschools. The amazing colleagues, families, and children I have worked with over the years, including at Google Children’s Center, have taught me so much, regarding both childcare and life, and I am always excited to learn more. I believe every child has something amazing to teach me, and is already a whole person who will thrive with respect and love.

 

My family and I moved back to SLO in Summer 2023 to reunite with extended family where my husband and I grew up. We love exploring the area with our two kids, visiting all parks and beaches. 

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Ms. Amber - Poppyseeds' Lead Teacher

Hello, I have been devotedly working with children and their families since 2011. 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 I am most passionate about teaching: preschoolers! I started working as a lead teacher at the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, where I grew and learned so much. 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, 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. I am so happy to be a part of this community!

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Ms. Sammi - Poppyseeds' Co-Teacher

I have lived on the Central Coast my entire life, and 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, which sparked my passion for teaching in new, innovative ways. I love it here at Bright Life with all the wonderful teachers and families!

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Ms. Cindy - Mudpies' Teacher's Assistant

Hello! I was born and raised here on the Central Coast, but I also spent half my childhood in Mexico. My husband and I are first-time parents to a beautiful little boy. As a family, we love to go on road trips, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with our families. I have worked with children of many ages as a nanny, Behavioral Therapist, and Preschool Teacher. I have a Bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from Cal State Fullerton, with a concentration in Family and Community Contexts. My passion is to support children's creativity, and getting to know each one of them is important to give them the right tools to succeed. My goal has always been to provide a safe, comfortable, and fun environment for children and their families.

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Ms. Daisy - Raindrops' Lead Teacher 

Hello everyone! I am from Guadalupe, a small town

along the California coast. I grew up alongside 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 young 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 children 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 minds to. In my free time, I enjoy reading, knitting,

baking, going to new places, and spending time with my family.

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Ms. Morgan - Raindrops' Co-Teacher

Hello! I am so grateful to be a part of the Bright Life community! It’s a gift to be able to help your children grow, and to foster a nurturing learning environment through play, creativity, curiosity, imagination and so much more. 

 

I grew up in Frazier Park, which was a small, tight-knit community full of friends and family. Our home never had a quiet moment considering I was the youngest of nine. Being a part of such a big family helped spark my interest in childcare. I sought opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of children, and have been working with kids since 2019! 

 

I relocated to Pismo Beach in June of 2020 to live with my sister and continue my education at Cuesta college. I graduated with my AA in Social and Behavioral science.

 

During my freetime, I love to garden, read, be with my family, and explore the outdoors with my puppy as much as possible!

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Ms. Bailey - Rainbows' Lead Teacher

Hey everyone! I am so excited to be part of the Bright Life family! I’m originally from Visalia, CA where I obtained both my associate's and bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. I originally went to school to become an elementary teacher, but it wasn’t until I started working with preschool aged children that I truly found the profession for me. Before coming to Bright Life in 2023, I was a Lead Preschool Teacher for almost three years locally.

The most rewarding part about working with children is being able to help them develop into well-rounded humans. My goal as an educator is to create a warm, welcoming, and nurturing environment for them to thrive. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, going to the beach, trying new coffee shops, & antique shopping. I am looking forward to getting to know your child and family!

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Ms. Holly- Sunshines' Lead Teacher

I have been working in early childhood education since 2018, with an AA in Childhood Development and Family Studies. I’m a SLO county native, my husband and I live in rural Arroyo Grande. You can find me working in my garden, playing with my chickens, surfing, or hiking with our dog.

As an educator, my philosophy is rooted in play-based learning, connection, open exploration, emergent curriculum, and outdoor education. I believe being intentional about the way we present outdoor environments and the learning opportunities they provide naturally engages children. Creating a learning environment that supports learning through the five senses, our approach provides learning opportunities for children that foster a deeper connection with the world around them.

I am so grateful to be a part of the team here at Bright Life!

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Ms. Darcie - Monarchs' Lead Teacher

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 began volunteering at my kids' school after I moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 2016, and discovered my true calling: teaching! 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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Ms. Allie - Monarchs' Co-Teacher

Hi Bright Life Family! Growing up with my mom as a Pre-K teacher, I absolutely loved helping out in her classroom from the time I was little. I have worked with children of all ages, but have a special love for preschool! Prior to Bright Life, I taught in Fresno, Los Angeles, and Oakland. 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!

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Ms. Mya

I am from Portland, Oregon and I moved to the Central Coast during the summer of 2023. I have loved being around kids from a young age, and as I got older, I realized I wanted to work with children. I worked in a couple day care centers in Oregon as a floater, and stepped in to follow lesson plans in classes when teachers were absent. I then stepped away from the child care industry to try different career options. Once I moved to the Central Coast, I knew I wanted to jump back into childcare. Not knowing where to start for my units, I came across Bright Life Playschool who offered a pathway for me to earn post-secondary early childhood education units through a grant-funded Ticket-to-Teach program! I’m excited to grow with Bright Life and build great relationships with these kiddos!

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Ms. Maria

Hi everyone! I was born in Mexico, and, at the age of six, my parents brought me to the United States. I grew up in Fresno and lived there my whole life! I have three younger siblings and three young nieces and nephews. I am a first-generation college student, with my Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and a certificate on At-Risk Youth. It's safe to say I love children! However, when children are not around, you can find me where the sand kisses the waves and the waves meet the sky, or on a hiking trail. Sharing love and smiles is how I take on my days!  I am so happy to have joined the Bright Life Playschool family!

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Ms. Morgan Hall

Hi there! I am so excited to be part of the Bright Life family! I grew up in Creston, California on a small farm/vineyard. I have had the amazing opportunity to work with kids of all ages over many years through 4-H, FFA, and childcare. I have over three years of experience working in a preschool setting and am excited for more to come. I am currently a student at Cuesta College, where I will be completing my Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. My next goal in my education is to finish my Bachelor's degree at Cal Poly and enter their Masters of Agricultural Education and Teaching Credentials Program. In my free time, I love to camp, explore the wilderness, cook, snowboard, do some photography, and spend time with my family and friends. I can not wait to meet all of your kiddos and be a part of their journey here at Bright Life!

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Ms. Sophia

Hello! I was born and raised here on the beautiful central coast. I currently live in Cambria with my partner and our daughter. In 2023, I earned my Associate Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Child Development at Cuesta College. Now, I’m thrilled to be a part of the Bright Life family! In my free time I enjoy being in nature, reading, baking, crocheting and going on adventures with my family. I look forward to connecting and making memories with your child and family!

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Ms. Caren

Hi! I’m thrilled to join Bright Life Playschool as a substitute teacher to support the dedicated staff at both locations. I have spent 10 years in early childhood education as the owner/educator in a home-based setting in Tehachapi, CA and 2 years here in San Luis Obispo county as an assistant preschool teacher.

 

One of my goals at Bright Life is to create loving and respectful relationships with each child and their family. I am passionate about children becoming independent and confident learners. Activities I most enjoy doing with them are process art, exploring nature, reading, singing, and snuggling! I will be spending my time both at Bright Life, and back in Tehachapi.

 

In my free time, I enjoy playing fetch with my Golden, cooking, camping, playing cards, and going to concerts with family and friends.

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Ms. Sarah

Hello everyone! I am from Fresno California – go Bulldogs!!! I relocated to Cayucos with my family. My 11-year-old son is my pride and joy, as are my four cats. Well what can I say? I just love them! I have been working with children since 2005, from Clovis Unified, to private school, and now Bright Life Playschool. I feel I am talented in early childhood education, and professional, with diverse experiences in planning and implementing various activities. I always promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth of children. I'm looking forward to many adventures with your children, and a great year ahead.

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Ms. Taylor

Hello everyone! I previously worked at Bright Life, before taking a few years to focus on my own family, then returning in 2024 to help throughout the school.

 

I graduated from Fresno Pacific University with my Bachelors in Early Childhood Development. The focus of my degree was learning to teach using Reggio Emelia, Montessori, and Waldorf methods. My education also had a strong emphasis on helping children build social and emotional skills through self regulation.

 

My favorite hobbies are art in any form, being outdoors, and traveling with my family. My husband and I have two upper elementary age children, Noah (a Bright Life graduate!), and Hartlynn, and many animals. I am excited to be a part of the Bright Life family!

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Ms. Emily

Hi! I'm from South San Francisco, CA. I am currently finishing my last quarter at Cal Poly as a Liberal Studies major! After receiving my Bachelor's degree from Cal Poly, I plan on pursuing my masters and teaching credentials. I am honored to be a part of the Bright Life Family! I love spending my time at the beach and love to explore around SLO to find hidden nature gems. I have also been getting into crocheting and reading

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Ms. Madi

Hi! I am from Santa Maria, CA. I have been working with children since 2010. Ever since I was a toddler I loved taking care of babies. I have had that passion stick with me my whole life. While I have experience with all ages, most is with newborns to age 5. I started babysitting when I was 13. After high school I took some early childhood development classes. I found myself wanting to be more hands on and around children more, so at 19 I became a full time nanny. I have also worked in a home daycare and as an assistant teacher at a local Montessori school for 1st-3rd combination class. I was blessed with the opportunity to be their art and P.E. teacher while I was there. It’s such an honor to love and support every child. I’m so grateful for my role in their life. It brightens my life and is so fulfilling to be a happy, loving teacher for them.

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