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Meet Our Teachers / Conoce a Nuestras Maestras

Mi Escuelita Maya Preschool & Children's Performing Arts Program

With the believe that children are strongly influenced by the adults they interact with in their early years, we most importantly look for experienced educators who are warm, loving, and caring individuals. This is Mi Escuelita Maya's wonderful staff:

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Our Licensee, Owner, and Program Director Maria Trenda is a college-educated businesswoman originally from Mexico. Maria’s passion for early childhood education started from watching her mother teach young children at their family owned Kindergarten named “AMALIMOGAJC” in Mexico. Her family ran their school for 27 years! Maria was one of the Assistant Teachers for several years until she moved to California. Once re-located to this area she became a nanny and eventually a Spanish translator, an elementary school instructor, and a multicultural educator. Maria taught Spanish for several years at “Blue Oak Charter School”, our local Waldorf approach school. In addition Maria is a Performing Arts teacher and has been a dancer for most of her life acquiring her skills from trained professionals both in Mexico and U.S.A. She has taught world dance styles and general performing arts to students of different age groups. During her classes she embraces a multicultural approach to the dance and artistry components of our school; in addition she uses the application of Spanish enrichment while teaching. Maria is our Lead Teacher during the afternoon program as well as the Performing Arts instructor during the morning and afternoon sessions.

             Maestra Maria is professionally participating as a member of the Butte County Local Child Care Planning Council (Butte County Office of Education) and at the Butte College Child Development Advisory Committee because of her love and passion for early childhood education. She is an advocate of equal opportunities for high standards of preschool education to all the children of our diverse community.  

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Lisa Dauwalder, our new wonderful Head Teacher, earned her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Utah in 1973 and her teaching credential from S.D.S.U. in 1976. As a girl, she studied French abroad and she speaks Spanish with increasing fluency, daily supported by her husband, Joseph, a retired high-school Spanish teacher. Maestra Lisa retired this year from her position as kindergarten Teacher at Nord Country School in Chico. During her six years there, she was privileged to work with many wonderful children and adults, and her lifelong interest in multi-cultural education and the growth and development of young children was honed to a passion. Upon retirement, this passion led her to M.E.M., where she hopes to inspire and support children’s natural interest in the world around them, using the skills she developed as an elementary school teacher. Maestra Lisa is excited to help plan and participate in a program which honors children’s need for and love of exploration, discovery and play as she brings her love of languages, literature, music, rhythm, nature, art, and world cultures and the people who create them to M.E.M.! Maestra Lisa will be in charge of our Pre-K students, the “Mariquitas” Group (Ladybugs) during the morning and afternoon sessions. It is an honor to have her on board!

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Patty Nelson's training includes a Bachelor's Degree from CSU Chico in Child Development. Patty is our morning Lead Teacher; she brings a wealth of information and experience working with young children and parents in Early Childhood Education Centers for over 30 years. Patty is an integral part of our teaching staff; she is dedicated to the education and growth of young children. She is fun, silly and compassionate. Maestra Patty always offers many hands-on projects, puppetry, stories and songs to our daily routine. We love her! 

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Carmen Olivares is Mi Escuelita Maya's full time Teacher's Aide. She is currently taking Child Development classes at Butte College and is hoping to transfer to CSUC to acquire her B.A. in Child Development in the future. Carmen joined M.E.M’s staff since last summer. Her wonderful contributions and hard work are always present through her gentle personality and big smile ... All the time!

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Jessie Eastman is one of our preschool teachers. Jessie started with M.E.M. as a Child Development Intern, and through her reliability and ease with children, we asked her to join our team, which has worked out wonderfully for all! Jessie is a senior at Chico State, majoring in Child Development this winter. She is funny, artistic, loves to perform and always has a smile on her face!

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Sarah Santos is one of our afternoon preschool teacher's assistants. She has more than eight years of experience on Early Childhood Education. She is a loving and caring teacher who has in-depth child supervision skills and a great ability to provide a supportive and caring environment for children. She is fluent in Spanish.


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Shenlyn Arnett is one of our Teacher's Assistants. She is studying Child Development at CSU Chico, with the goal of earning a Bachelor's degree in this field. She interned with Mi Escuelita Maya in Spring '10 and all of us, teachers and children, fell in love with her! Shenlyn is a loving, patient, and very artistic teacher. From the moment Shenlyn joined our team of Maestras, she has shared her joy for teaching young children and expressed herself through the visual arts at our school.

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Maestra Shenlyn

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Maestras Meekha and Maria

Meekha Yang has a B.A. in Child Development from CSUC; she is one of our preschool teachers. Her teaching style is gentle, kind, super understanding but firm at the same time. In addition, Meekha possesses a close understanding of multicultural experiences and is fluent in Hmong.

Holli Nuņes (we are in the process of updating her photo) is currently attending Chico State University and will be graduating this December with a Bachelors Degree in Child Development. Holli has always been interested in working with children; her passion for teaching was consolidated when she started a program called “Camp Adventure Youth Services” during spring 2010. This program provided her the great opportunity to work closely with military families across the world. She has worked on a US Navy base in Key West, Florida; she was in charge of infants to preschool age children. In addition, she had the great opportunity to work at a US army base in Vicenza, Italy during winter 2010-2011. Through these worldly experiences Holli has learned the importance of embracing family and cultural diversity.

Mi Escuelita Maya
Preschool & Children's Performing Arts Program
1455 Chestnut St. Chico, CA 95928
530-893-1419