Student Support Faculty

Kelley Gardner is the lead Special Education Teacher, working with students across all classrooms. This is her fourth year at UMCS. During her time at UMCS, she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of students in multiple roles, ranging from Student Support teacher to Co-Teacher.  Kelley moved to the Bay Area from New York, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in College Student Services Administration at The College of Saint Rose. Kelley is currently pursuing her second Master’s degree, in Special Education, at San Francisco State University. In New York, she spent five years working with students in both academic and extracurricular settings.  She has worked with students of all ages, from pre-school to college, in varied roles from math teacher to career counselor. Kelley enjoys exploring all California has to offer, including soccer, hiking, and traveling up and down the coast.


Hasina Anderson is the Speech Therapist. This is her second year at UMCS. She received her Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University East Bay. Hasina’s career in communication began with print/broadcast journalism. She later transitioned to a job in marketing for a physical medicine management company for injured workers. Over the years, her interest in the psycho-social aspect of language and her volunteer work prior to graduate school led her to study communication disorders. She has worked with both pediatric and adult populations with language disorders/delays, articulation and phonology disorders, developmental delays, learning disabilities, social-cognitive challenges, emotional regulation challenges, and traumatic brain injuries. Hasina was born and raised in Houston, Texas and lives with her her husband and their two Boxer dogs. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, as well as traveling, sports, and fashion.


Nicole King is the Occupational Therapist. This is her third year at UMCS. Nicole earned a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology at California State University East Bay and had a career as a Personal Trainer before returning to school to receive her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University. Nicole is passionate about working with children and helping them realize their potential. Past pediatric occupational therapy experience has included working both in school-based and clinic settings. In addition to working at school, she enjoys tutoring and holds a handwriting specialist certification. In her free time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters, shopping and exercising.


Laurel Schwarzbach is the Reading Intervention Specialist / EL (English Language Learner) Teacher.  Last year she worked as the lead Kindergarten teacher in Hummingbird. She is stepping into the role of support this year in order to dedicate time to obtaining her California Teaching Credential with Reach Institute. Before joining UMCS in Fall 2014, Laurel worked for three years as a teacher at The Berkeley School. She holds a primary (ages 3-6) AMI teacher training certification from the Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, OR, a Master’s in Education from Loyola University Maryland and a Bachelor’s in Spanish from Willamette University in Salem, OR. Laurel has also spent several years travelling abroad to teach English to students ages 2 to 50. When not teaching, Laurel loves to take time to do yoga and take weekend trips to visit her family.


Kimberly Chism is excited to be returning as the Reading Specialist at Urban Montessori! She is trained in the Lindamood-Bell Interventions Seeing Stars and Visualizing & Verbalizing as well as Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention. Kimberly earned her Master’s in Elementary Education and CA State Teacher Credential from San Francisco State University. She taught third grade for 9 years for San Francisco Unified School District. Prior to that she worked as a therapeutic assistant for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Most recently Kimberly co-founded Oakland Outdoor Education Preschool Parent Cooperative and facilitated parent/child play experiences at The Child and Family Research Center in Menlo Park. When not at UMCS, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, hiking, and playing in the warm waters of the Atlantic when visiting her Florida family.



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Montessori, Design Thinking and Arts Integration Charter School in Oakland, California