u Little Owl Preschool - Staff Profiles

Staff Profiles




Laurence and Janet Watt
Founders/Owners/CEO

Laurence and Janet Watt are the founders and owners of Little Owl Preschool. Each respectively has also established and owned other successful companies such as Renew Landscape & King’s Road Miniatures (Laurence) and Architecture M (Janet).

Both Laurence and Janet are graduates of local universities. Janet began her college career at LBCC and continued to CSULB where she graduated with a BA in Interior Design and a Masters of Architecture from Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Laurence attended LBCC where he and Janet met, then continued to Golden West Community College where he graduated with an Associates Degree in Arts & Spanish. Laurence then went on to earn a BS in Business Administration, Major Computer Information Systems from Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Being involved in the community is very important to the Watt family. Besides running several businesses, Laurence and Janet make time to give back. Previously, Laurence served as a City of Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commissioner. He currently serves on the board of the St. Barnabas Finance Committee. Janet is a founding board member of the IVA PTSA, served on the PTA boards for Los Cerritos Elementary, Intellectual Virtues Academy & Hughes Middle School, Los Cerritos Green Team Chairperson (2015 National Green Ribbon Schools Award Winner), Member of the Loyola Mother’s Guild, St. Barnabas Facilities Committee as well as an Advisory at IVA. She has also served on the Fairfield YMCA Board, Board of Health and Human Services and Long Beach Ballet board.

Little Owl was build as a place where there is value in each child’s innate ability to create, learn and build meaningful relationships with other. Laurence and Janet believe that knowledge is much more than how many facts can be remembered; it is about how a child is able to work through problems, through persistence and open mindedness. These skills reach far beyond the classroom and shape the type of person each child has the potential to become. This approach to thinking allows each child to stretch and perform to a level that will ultimately serve them as independent and creative thinkers that can work and contribute to their community and society as a whole.

Little Owl was created as a place for children, teachers and families to enjoy their journey of discovery and to encourage respect and stewardship for the world we share. Laurence and Janet created Little Owl to be a place full of joy, learning and growth- a small community within a large city.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has"

-Margaret Mead


Linda Wilson
Executive Director

Linda truly believes this quote by anthropologist, Margaret Mead. It guides her dedication in supporting a program and place for children and adults to respectfully listen, learn and grow together.

Linda has been a part of the Long Beach area child care community for over 40 years. She has an educational background from Long Beach City College and CSULB in Early Childhood Education and Anthropology. She began her teaching career at Belmont Heights Methodist Preschool. She was the director and later owner of Young Adventurers. For 30 years, this well-known school-age enrichment program served thousands of children on the McGaugh Elementary School campus in Seal Beach. Linda still treasures the continuing friendships of her former staff and families.

Linda strongly believes in professional growth and the need to be a life-long learner. She has served on the local and regional boards of The National Association for the Education of Young Children, the largest advocacy group for early childhood education in the U.S. She held a variety of positions including Long Beach Chapter President, Public Policy Chair, Programs and Publication Chair. She was part of a Reggio Emilia Study group for 12 years which received grant money to promote the philosophy through educator conferences. This group studied the philosophy of the well-respected Reggio Emilia Municipal schools in Northern Italy. She has made two trips to Italy, one on a study tour to Reggio Emilia to further her understanding, excitement and respect for the philosophy. She is currently a member of NAREA and the City of Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee.

Linda has been a frequent presenter at local and state conferences on a number of subjects including Appropriate Environments and Curriculum for Children, Diversity and Social Justice Issues, Children's Literature and Literacy and Staff Development.

She enjoys travel and live music with her husband, bragging about her 2 grown children, reading, book clubs and good conversation with people of all ages.

“Classrooms can be places of possibility and transformation for children and the adults who work with them. People are called to teaching for many reasons- it might be watching young children open up and grow and become more able, more competent or more powerful in the world. In many ways, an educator can see a transformation when they are with children, the way in which they become their best selves.It is my idea that people teach as an act of construction and reconstruction…as a gift of oneself to others. And it is with this vision that I teach in the hope of making the world a better place.”

-William Ayers


Cathie Fountain
Board Member / Consultant

As an educator and advocate in the early childhood profession for over 20 years, Cathie has come to understand the profound importance of quality early learning experiences and its effect on a young child’s development. Cathie completed her B. A. in Human Development at California State University, Long Beach and recently received her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, also from CSULB. Cathie’s experience in the field is extensive and in depth, ranging from Director to Mentor Teacher, to Parent Educator to Program Curriculum Coordinator in a variety of early childhood settings: Parent Co-op, corporate employee-based, small community-based and on campus, university-based childcare settings.

Cathie is a passionate advocate for children as well as providing environments that guide their discovery, providing opportunities that allow children to construct their own understandings and knowledge, and facilitate their growth of critical thinking through reflective engagement, active listening and problem solving. She is a strong believer in Anti-Bias curriculum, peace work and activism. Her past work with Orange County Peace Camp at Cal State Fullerton has deeply enriched her approach to teaching and working with young children and it is with this notion that Cathie works towards social change; knowing that as educators, we play a significant role in supporting children with empathy, problem-solving, caring about people and fostering dispositions of respect.

Cathie is a long time member of NAEYC, as well as its local affiliates. She is also a member of the North American Reggio Alliance (NAREA), a frequent workshop participant, presenter and successfully mentored many educators on the philosophical approach inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. In addition, Cathie is a Professor of Child Development at Long Beach City College.

“You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

-Maya Angelou


Jennifer Rocha
Business Manager

Jennifer has been working in the field of finance/business operations since 1980, having worked most of those years for Accenture, Arthur Andersen, & Senn-Delaney Management Consultants. She graduated from Mills College with a degree in Computer Science. For the last ten years, she's been a homemaker raising her three boys, and volunteering at their schools, PTA, & Baseball.

She is excited to be back in the workforce, and especially delighted to contribute at Little Owl, listening to the children play, while "balancing the books!". Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and playing with their dog MacKenzie.

"Happiness depends upon ourselves."

-Aristotle


Grace McGlynn
Administrative Coordinator

Grace graduated from CSULB with a BA in Early Childhood Education.  She utilized her teaching skills at the CSULB Toddler Lab, Growing Years and the Child Development Program for the City of Carson.  After being in the classroom, Grace spent the next 10 years working to improve child care environments by facilitating parent education workshops, working one on one with licensed family child care homes and developing violence prevention and character education materials for youth programs.

Grace is in awe of a child's innate curiosity.  She is inspired by their enthusiasm to learn, willingness to laugh, and excitement to explore.

Grace is happiest spending time with her husband and three sons.  They enjoy traveling, camping, going to the beach, bike riding, reading, but most all - laughing together!

" Be Kind to each other. Be Open to the world. Be Present in the moment."

- Boggs Family


Stephanie Boggs
Director of Social Media & Marketing

Stephanie grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of California Irvine with a BA in Studio Arts and Minor in Art History. Following graduation, she followed her passion for film and television by working at a post-production editorial boutique in Santa Monica. After a few years behind the computers, she decided she wanted to try her hand at the producing role. Instantly, she found her niche and began working as an editorial and visual effect producer and executive producer for several renowned, award winning post-production houses in the Los Angeles area.

After more than decade, with her family growing, Stephanie and her husband came to the decision that she would leave the bright lights and focus on their family and community. With a happy and full heart, Stephanie began volunteering at her children’€™s schools and joined the Executive Board of the PTA all while she continued to feed her passion for technology in social & digital media.

Currently, Stephanie can be found running around the wonderful communities of Bixby Knolls, Wrigley, Country Club Manor and Los Cerritos, still volunteering at her children’€™s school, and at her home away from home, Little Owl. She keeps the community updated with what is happening at Little Owl and spreads the word world-wide about Little Owl School being a leader in Early Childhood Education.

”Play gives children a chance to practice what they're learning.”

-Mr. Rogers


Patty Carmona

Patty received her B.A. in Human Development from California State University, Long Beach. While attending CSULB, in 2009, she began working at Isabel Patterson Child Development where she first discovered her passion for working with children. She joined the Little Owl team back in 2012 until 2014. In 2014, Patty joined the Peace Corps as a health educator volunteer in Nicaragua; where she lived for a year an a half.

Patty's work at Little Owl Preschool has continued to inspire her love of working with children. Children, she believe, are much more than sometimes given credit for. They are honest, imaginative, resilient and can offer a different perspective into the world. They are valuable. Given the chance and with the right tools, expressing themselves freely in a safe environment with teachers they can trust, they can thrive.

Some things that she enjoys in her free time are baking and practicing Aztec dancing. Traveling is also one of Patty's true passions, as well as learning about new cultures, and spending time with her family.

'We need to cultivate…an atmosphere of reciprocal help and socialization. Implicit in this is a decisive response to a child's need to feel whole. Feeling whole is a biological and cultural necessity for the child (and also for the adult). It is a vital state of well-being."

-Loris Malaguzzi


Sara Zacuto

Sara Zacuto has worked closely with young children and their families for over fourteen years. She has been deeply influenced by the philosophies of Reggio Emilia and believes play is at the heart of all learning. Being an educator at Little Owl has been such an enriching journey, and great blessing. Sara is currently working towards her degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Piaget, Vygotsky and constructivist philosophies.

Sara is committed to cultivating relationships based on respect, acknowledgment, the individual needs of the child and the classroom as a community. It is her hope to foster a sense of connectedness and belonging in the group, and encourage self awareness, autonomy, and confidence. She views children as capable learners, inquisitive thinkers, and fearless experimentalists. Some of the things Sara values most in working alongside young children include negotiating terms to perpetuate positive change, deepening the relationships we have with each other and our surroundings, and joyfully engaging in the processes of project work.

Outside of the classroom Sara enjoys beaming over her new daughter and delighting in all the new discoveries of motherhood, watching great cinema with her husband, laughing with her family, and thrifting by herself.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The Child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

-Loris Malaguzzi


Michelle Ramirez

Michelle has a passion for serving children and their families. She has been teaching preschool since 2005 and has experience with a variety of curricula and demographic populations. She began volunteer work with the children in her church during her teen years and has not left her passion since. During her junior year in high school, Michelle's mother inspired her to take an early childhood education class at Rio Hondo College. The successful completion and interest drawn from this class empowered her to continue her college education after high school with an emphasis in education. She has received two A.A. degrees from Cerritos College; one in General Studies and the other in Child Development. She also received a B. S. degree in Child Development from the University of La Verne with departmental honors in the fall of 2010. In 2014, Michelle earned her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from California State University, Long Beach. She plans to extend her passion for early childhood education by utilizing her Master's degree to teach child development and early childhood education community college classes. Aside from teaching children on the Yellow Side, Michelle is also part of the California Early Childhood Mentor Program; it is through this program that she is able to mentor and guide prospective educators enrolled in the Child Development Program at Cerritos College. She shares her knowledge, insight, and experience as they work alongside her on the Yellow Side each semester.

In Michelle's teaching philosophy, she states; " I believe that children are capable, confident, and unique individuals. The job of the child is to play, discover and research the world around them. Because of the differing learning styles of children, I must take the challenge of finding multiple ways and multiple mediums in which children can experiment and explore. My role in facilitating the work of children is to observe children's interest and develop ways to challenge and construct new ways of teaching and exploring with the children. I am a source of knowledge, but also a co-learner alongside the children."

Outside of school, Michelle enjoys spending time with her friends and family. Her hobbies include: crafting & scrapbooking, spending time with her husband and other family members, watching movies, going to Disneyland, spending time outdoors, and playing with her niece Nigella. She also enjoys watching sports; her favorites include Anaheim Angels, Anaheim Ducks, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

""We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open."

-Harry Edwards


Matt Emmons

Matt graduated from CSULB in 2012 with Sociology departmental honors. Although his BA was received in Sociology, his true passion lies in early childhood education. Matt and his newfound love for early childhood education arose from his work at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center on the CSULB campus. Shortly after beginning his work there, he realized teaching young children was his true passion. The endless supply of excitement and happiness that children bring to the world never ceases to amaze him. Matt believes that children are competent learners who should be respected as individuals. He feels children do the best they can with the skills that they have. In turn, giving children the necessary tools to then solve problems and take on new experiences will help them grow. Matt also believes that children learn through play. Play is a child's means of understanding, therefore, the classroom environment must be set up in an engaging way. The environment should reflect children's interests so they may further explore and discover.

Outside of the classroom, Matt enjoys listening to music, playing and watching soccer, backpacking, traveling, and spending time with family.

"The key is curiosity, and it is curiosity, not answers that we model. As we seek to know more about a child, we demonstrate the acts of observing, listening, questioning and wondering. When we are curious about a child's words and our responses to those words, the child feels respected. The child is respected. "
What are the ideas that I have that are so interesting to the teacher? I must be somebody with good ideas.”
-Vivian Paley

”When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

-Rumi


Amber Norman

Amber has a genuine passion for early childhood education and feels honored to be an educator in these early years of growth and development. She believes teaching is an ever-learning process on the teacher's part and remains inspired through workshops given by influential souls. Amber is passionate about reconnecting children to nature, as nature holds endless possibilities for exploration and learning. She deeply believes in the compelling effect emergent curriculum and the constructivist approach has on young learners, and very much respects children as the unique individuals they are.

Her major influences have been her wonderful professors, the philosophies of Loris MalJean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, Janet Lansbury, and the Reggio Emilia approach as a whole, Rumi and the teachings of Patanjali.

Amber also enjoys camping, art, dance, engaging in her yoga practice, belly dancing and gardening as well as savoring life with her husband Michael and oh so inspiring daughter Olive.

"Let Nature be your teacher."

-William Wordsworth


Shannon Weaver
Garden Educator

Shannon has a strong connection and love for the community of Long Beach. She completed her BA and Elementary Education credential at CSULB and strives to continue growing personally and professionally in the field of education.

Shannon believes a child’s education should contain a collection of experiences that include the classroom, home and the community. She strives to help a child develop a relationship with the natural world that surrounds them.

Shannon cultivates a connection between the garden and the students. She believes children develop a love and respect for nature and are motivated to taste new fruits and vegetables by participating in the growing and harvesting process.

In addition to the maintaining the school and community gardens, Shannon facilitates a bi-monthly “Pop-up Farmers Market” to provide an authentic farmers market experience for the preschool families and community. The Little Owl market promotes eating locally grown produce.

In collaboration with the school chef, Shannon is also able to foster good nutritional habits by preparing food grown together in the garden.

Besides gardening and teaching, Shannon’s passions include watching her two sons grow, traveling with her husband, reading and practicing yoga.

"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function is the sincere and honest development of one's potential."

-Bruce Lee


Dawn Velez

Dawn Velez is deeply committed to facilitating children through real experiences of play, conflict, love, and community. She is an advocate for children and believes they deserve to be authentically cared for and respected; to have their feelings and needs valued and heard; and to be given guidance and developmental consideration in an inclusive and democratic environment.

Dawn has been applying this work with children for 18 years. Twelve years were spent as a preschool teacher at the child development center at CSULB where she also received her Bachelors of Art in Early Childhood Development. The past few years were spent receiving her Masters of Art in Human Development at Pacific Oaks in Pasadena and teaching college courses at Long Beach City College. Dawn's passion has taken hold in parent co-­-op consultations and teacher trainings as well as classroom involvement in the process of active listening, mindfulness, and conflict mediation.

Dawn's passions include spending time with her two school age sons, practicing karate as a family, fitting in art & sewing projects when she has time, spending time outdoors hiking or at the beach.

Her favorite activities with children involve reading & telling stories and she's drawn to risk taking activities such as: facilitating wood working & construction; sewing & finger knitting; wrestling & tumbling; and art in many mediums especially recycled art projects.

"Play is the work of the child."

-Maria Montessori


Jacob Gardea

Jacob began his career with children back in 2009, while working at Isabel Patterson Child Development Center at California State University, Long Beach. There at CSULB, he completed two BA's, one in Child Development and Family Studies and the other in Family Life Education. He is currently working on his master's in Early Childhood Education at CSULB.

He believes that children learn best when they are in an environment where they feel safe and are able to trust the adults. The environment is also one of the child's teacher, so it must be set up in a way that is inviting and helps the child explore their own interests. Jacob strongly believes that children learn best through play and do their best with the skills they have. While playing, children will learn to be self-learners, develop important communication skills, and respect for others. Jacob believes that children should be able to experience their full range of emotions and have a safe environment to express their feelings. He respects children and sees them as competent and capable individuals.

Jacob also enjoys traveling, yoga, swimming, music, art, watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.

"Leaders Follow. That's what we do."

-Danielle Medina, (5 years old, 2006) LMUCC
"What we have to do now is draw out the image of the child, draw the child out of desperate situations that many children find themselves in. If we redeem the child from these difficult situations, we redeem ourselves."

-Loris Malaguzzi


Darryl Redick

Darryl sat on a baseball field. Alone. It was the spring of 2004, the end of his college baseball career. He asked himself the question, "What will I do for the rest of my life?" The answer came. "Fully realize all that you are." A couple of weeks away from earning his Bachelor's of Science Degree in Physical Education, Darryl realized his purpose to develop his life's narrative and help other human beings in their journey towards self-actualization.

Darryl studied the works of many great philosophers, theorists, and others who he believed were on the same path. He found inspiration and insights in the writings of Joseph Campbell, Hermann Hesse, Plato, John Dewy, Bruce Lee, Carl Jung, Dan Siegel, and Loris Malaguzzi.

The path that he had chosen eventually led him to working with children. He helped his sisters raise his five nieces during his teen years. But when he began working in early childhood education, he learned a truth.

In 2005 Darryl began working as a Teacher Assistant for Loyola Marymount University Children's Center. There he met Payton, Danielle, Ian, Caleb, among other children, who changed the way he looked at life. He realized children are on the same journey towards self-discovery. Darryl guided children. He helped them learn how to learn. While doing so, he realized the children were also guiding him. Every interaction he has with a child, inspires Darryl to become a better version of him. Here is the Truth; teaching is not separated from learning.

Darryl knows he needs the help of other adults in his work with children. Since 2011, several times a year, he speaks to early childhood education students and other educators. He conducts trainings and workshops on various Child Development concepts.

Darryl's life is learning and teaching. He continues to independently study ideas in Human Development. He shares his life with others through writing and speaking. He is always interested in dialogue.

"If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far."

-Daniel Goleman


Xochitl Hernandez

Xochitl began her journey at Little Owl as a substitute teacher in April 2014. When she first stepped into the school and saw the environment and the interactions between everyone in the Little Owl family she instantly saw her values of how she believes people- including children, ought to be treated: with respect, love and as teachers and learners. She saw how children's needs and emotions were nurtured and she knew this was the ideal space for her to grow as a human and teacher. She completed her teacher certificate at LBCC and had her BA in Sociology from CSULB. Xochitl has substituted at three other schools. And even though this is her first actual permanent position as a teacher she has learned and experienced a lot from her now 12-year-old son and peers. Most of Xochitl's experiences are in community work with families--as a grassroots community organizer here in Long Beach, a counselor to teenage girls in the foster care system, and a supervisor, training and working with adults with varying mental abilities. She founded parent and child support groups, served on the board of directors as a parent representative, and completed a number of classes through Functional parenting and Choose connection: non-violent communication. Through all her experiences Xochitl continues to believe in self-empowerment as a foundation of strength, change, and growth. When people believe, trust, and are able to express themselves, anything is possible.

"Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colors."

-Loris Malaguzzi


Milly Camarena

Milly has been in the field of childhood education since 2008. Her journey began after the birth of her niece and earning a BA in Art for the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima, Peru, where is is from. Continuing her education in the U.S., Milly pursued a Master Teacher certificate, earned an Early Childhood Education Teacher Certificate with a Special Education focus at Long Beach City College while still firmly rooted to her arts practice.

Milly discovered her combined passions for working with children and art while working at the L.B. City College Child Development Center and other local preschools. She as worked at Little Owl as a sub for 2 years prior to her gaining teacher status. She believes children are social beings who need a nurturing place to imagine, create and play. She has a deep appreciation for their honesty and spontaneity and enjoys using the arts as a tool to facilitate their process in a warm and encouraging environment. Recently Milly earned a Family Development credential through the University of Connecticut Center for Study of Culture, Health and Human Development. When not working, Milly loves to spend time with her friends and family, making art, dancing, riding her bike and cooking and eating good food.

" I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."

-Susan Sontag

”Play is the highest form of research.”

-Albert Einstein


Chelsea Hepner

Chelsea began her career in early childhood education in 2007. She attended San Francisco State University where she received her B.S. in Child Development with an emphasis in Young Child and Family. While attending San Francisco State, she worked as a teacher’s assistant at the child development center on campus. Chelsea stayed in San Francisco for 4 years after she graduated and became a teacher at a wonderful Reggio inspired preschool. Chelsea believes that children should be looked at as strong, competent beings and that they deserve to feel secure and open to learning. Each child is special and unique with an enormous amount of potential and curiosity. This curiosity drives children to learn and to understand their world and their place within it.

Outside of the classroom, Chelsea spends time with her family, goes camping and hiking. She also enjoys traveling to new exciting places. She has traveled to many different countries where she learns about new cultures and often volunteers in the places that she visits.

" The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."

-Henry Ward Beecher

”The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Dianna Barajas

Dianna has been working with young children since 2010. She completed her ECE certification through Cerritos College and is looking to further her education in the field of early childhood. In 2015 she began working as a substitute for Little Owl. Dianna believes that every child has the right to be heard and the right to express themselves. She believes that children can express their way of learning and thinking through many different ways. She also believes that every child has the right to a safe environment where they can feel safe and comfortable. Dianna is thankful to have the opportunity to learn something new every day as a teacher, she feels that every day we can learn something new or learn from our mistakes.

Outside of the classroom Dianna loves to spend time with her loved ones. Dianna believes in seeking adventures and enjoys working out. She likes to go hiking and signing up for mud races.

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

-Benjamin Franklin
""There are a million things one might do with a block of wood. But what do you think might happen if someone, just once, believed in it?"

-Suzanne Weyn (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium)


Kelsie Castro

Kelsie graduated from CSULB with a BA in Linguistics and a minor in Anthropology. While her original goal was to work as a teacher for ESL students, she realized shortly after graduating that her true passion was working with young children. She decided to continue her education at LBCC, this time focusing on Early Childhood Education. There she had the opportunity to learn from several experienced and knowledgeable professors who helped guide her understanding of different philosophies while also helping her to develop her skills as an educator. She is now working on extending that development by pursuing a Masters in Education.

Kelsie is constantly inspired by the natural creativity and inquisitive spirits of the children she works with. She believes that children are willing and capable learners who find the most success in environments that support and inspire them. She strongly supports the idea that children learn through play and that they construct knowledge from their interactions with the world around them. As an educator she values opportunities that allow her to collaborate with children and participate in the learning process. She sees herself as a co-researcher, learning both with the children and from them.

Outside of the classroom Kelsie enjoys art, movies, snowboarding, yoga, going to Disneyland, playing with her puppy, and spending time with her friends and family.

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

-Cesar Chavez


Sean Forsha
Chef / Food Educator

Native to Long Beach, Sean has returned to his hometown after 20 years to reconnect with his family, put down roots, and begin an exciting new chapter in his career as a chef. He first started cooking professionally while working towards his BA in English and Mass Media Studies at the University of Oregon. After graduation and upon the suggestion of a respected chef, Sean decided to shift gears and move to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. He lived in San Francisco for over ten years, working in many different areas of the culinary industry including stints at the venerable Greens' restaurant and writing for the San Francisco Chronicle Food Section.

Most recently, Sean spent four years in New Zealand where, while teaching kids' cooking classes through a small cafe he found his true calling - combining his love of cooking with his desire to teach children about the wonders and necessities of wholesome, nutritious cooking and eating.

Upon return to Long Beach in March 2012, Sean has done extensive work in the community to pursue this passion, frequently lending his talents to local events and organizations such as So Cal Harvest, Spring Street Farm and The Growing Experience. He teamed with Long Beach Community Action Partnership in the summer of 2012 to prepare healthy, farm-to-table school lunches for the 100 middle school children at the Lindbergh WRAP with astonishing results. He has participated many years as a featured chef at Kids in the Kitchen, a massive community event co-sponsored by the Long Beach Junior League and the Long Beach Health Department with the goal of introducing kids and their parents to easy, delicious and nutritious recipes.

He finds true joy out of educating children about the importance of being aware and making the smartest choice possible when they are choosing what to eat. Sean is happy to be home again in Long Beach, and thrilled by the opportunity to cook for the developing and discerning palates at Little Owl Preschool.In his off time, Sean loves spending time with his family and most of all sharing his passions for traveling, music, and of course, cooking with his beautiful daughter Lillian.

“Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.”

-Leo Tolstoy


Rebecca Pontier

Rebecca has always had an interest in taking care of and nurturing young children. Often Rebecca would volunteer her time to aide in her Aunt's preschool classroom, which is where she truly realized her passion for teaching. Rebecca graduated from Long Beach City College with an AA in Early Childhood Education, and immediately joined Little Owl Preschool as a substitute in early 2014.

Rebecca believes that when a child's natural curiosity is actively engaged in their learning environment, they begin to take ownership of their education. Rebecca loves the opportunity to see children thrive in a constructivist setting. This early stage in life is so inspiring for Rebecca she hopes to never miss an opportunity to learn. Outside of school Rebecca is a caregiver for the elderly, and enjoys the ability to gain knowledge from another generation.

Traveling is Rebecca's other true passion; she wants to be able to experience nature in all different parts of the world. So far she has been in 40 states, Canada, Mexico, England, and Greece.




Eric Eyman

Eric began his career in early childhood education in 2011, while working at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center at California State University, Long Beach. He worked there as a Student-Assistant for three years and as Program Teacher for two. There, Eric gained valuable skills and was influenced by many inspiring teachers. He is currently working on his Bachelors degree in Child Development. Eric believes children are competent, active learners that learn best through play. Eric believes that every child is deserving of respect and that every child should be allowed to experience his or her full range emotions in order to learn to cope with their feelings. He enjoys supporting children as they discover and develop their unique interests.

Eric enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He likes hiking, dancing, visiting art museums, and doing cross fit.

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Little Owl Preschool, Inc.
3426 Linden Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807