Staff Biographies

Currently updating for 2022-2023. For contact information, please use ParentSquare or email addresses are on the Staff Contact Information page.

Head of School

Krishna Feeney
(Ms. Feeney)

Ms. Feeney has been working in public education for the better part of 2 decades! She joined Urban Montessori Charter School in 2018 after a successful career as a Middle School math and science teacher, an instructional coach, and a school administrator in Oakland Unified and John Swett Unified School Districts. Her commitment to bringing Montessori pedagogy into the public sector brought her to UMCS and keeps her excited to come to work every day. And her passion for expanding public Montessori for ALL students starts here in Oakland, at Urban.

Assistant Head of School

Daniel Bissonnette
(Mr. Bissonnette)

Mr. Bissonnette has worked in public and private education for a decade with the goal of bringing Montessori pedagogy to all students in Oakland and beyond. He has experience as a public school teacher in OUSD and is Montessori trained for 3 - 18-year-olds. He brings a deep commitment to high fidelity Montessori in the public sector and here at UMCS.

Expanded Learning Opportunity Program (aftercare)

Melody Washington, Director of Expanded Learning

Tomia Patterson, ELOP Program Leader

Destiney Chavez, ELOP Program Leader

Kimberly Cervantes, ELOP Program Leader

Anna Bell, ELOP Program Leader

Adekemi Osunlewa, ELOP Program Leader

Operations Team

Rosibel Dubon, Site Coordinator
(Ms. Rosi)

Buck Bailey, Operations Coordinator
(Mr Buck)

Marcos Mendoza, Custodial
(Mr. Marcos)

Iris Helm-Hernandez, Assistant Site Coordinator

Buck is an art and technology geek who has been working in IT support for non-profits and artists for over ten years. He joined the Urban Montessori aftercare program in 2016 before moving into the office, and is proud to be a part of an amazing team! Mild-mannered clerk by day, by night he is the house manager for Landmark Musical Theatre. He keeps a garden, cats, and chickens, and collects music and art.


Amethyst Classroom

John Harbo

Manzanita Classroom

Amy Hutchinson
Teacher Amy

Alex de Man

Teacher Amy is a recent Bay Area transplant, having earned her 6-12 AMI Montessori credential and worked at both private and public Montessori programs in Portland, Oregon. A Minnesota native, Amy loves to hike, bike and bake, and is thrilled to be a part of the UMCS community of learners and doers!


Juniper Classroom

Freedom Reign

Lorri Garrett
(Ms. Lorri)


Now on his 5th year at Urban Montessori, Teacher Freedom is excited to combine his experience from the years in the Dolphin Classroom and UMAC the afterschool program, to bring those lessons and connections into Sage! His speciality is Holistic Youth Development, Project-Based Learning and empowering marginalized youth to become self-driven Life-long Learners!
He enjoys Design Thinking, Art and defending Truth and Justice, both as a vigilante, and by helping to create the next generation of Changemakers through The UMCS Community!

Ms. Lorri is excited to be back in California Poppu for her 3rd year at UMCS. She taught science, cooking, and nutrition in Alameda Unified School District Gardens for 13 years. She is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona and has a BA from Arizona State University.

Sequoia Classroom

Isa Oropeza

Bryan Nguyen

Redwood Classroom

Brendan Gagnon

Annie Saelee

Sunflower Classroom

Tobie Garcia
(Miss Tobie)

Jodi Enomoto
(Miss Jodi)

Ms. Tobie is a second generation Montessori teacher, who also attended a public Montessori school in Louisville, Kentucky where she grew up. Ms. Tobie received her BA in Human Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She holds a primary diploma from The Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies (AMS) and an elementary diploma with Montessori Northwest (AMI). Ms. Tobie has been with UMCS since 2019, and is excited to continue to bring cosmic education to the children of Oakland. 


Tidy Tips Classroom


Ri Johnson

CamishaFatimah: As a Restorative Justice Practitioner (which is comparable to Montessori thinking), UMCS has utilized my skills in a number of positions since I began years ago. This year I will be the Lead Teacher in Tidy Tips. I have been working in schools in the Bay Area for over 10 years. Educational Leadership is one of my passions and I received my Masters degree from Mills College, while raising my three young daughters in 2009.


Leopard Lily Classroom

Lisa Gonzalez
(Teacher Lisa)

Sandra Taylor
(Ms. Sandra)

Teacher Lisa has been with UMCS since 2012 and is a founding teacher. Lisa has served as both a Support and Lead teacher in various classrooms. Lisa started her public school journey in kindergarten in Southern California and continued to her days as a banana slug at UC Santa Cruz earning a B.A. in Feminist Studies. She also holds a Multiple Subject California Credential and a Montessori Credential for ages 6-9. Outside of school Lisa is a mom and always excited for the next delicious meal.


Sage Classroom

Laura Esparza-Gonzalez
(Miss Laura)

Renee Lopez
(Miss Renee)

Miss Laura has taught at UMCS for over five years. This is her third year as a Montessori Lead. She is an Oakland native and is excited to continue working with the youth of Oakland. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Chicanx Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Outside of school, she has a passion for social justice, enjoys live music events, and watching sunsets.

California Poppy Classroom

Bradley Izaguirre-Hodgson

Stefanie Morlan

Mr. Bradley is beginning his third year at UMCS. This is his first year as Lead Teacher after being an UMAC team member/substitute for his first two years. Mr.Bradley is a Bay Area native and prides himself on continuing his work with Lower Elementary for his third year. He graduated in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus. His hobbies include hiking, running, sports, reading and writing.


Caterpillar Classroom

Marquita Carter
(Ms. Marquita)

Deaunte Goolsby

(Teacher D)

Ms. Marquita was raised in Oakland and is overjoyed to return to UMCS for her 5th year. She is entering her 16th year of teaching, 9 of which have been Montessori. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelors in Psychology, followed by a Montessori credential in 2012, and finally a Master’s in Education and California Credential in 2018. She has a 10 year old son with Autism and tons of personality to go with it. In her free time she I enjoys Oakland Raider football, reading, writing, nature, and music.

Teacher D (short for Deaunte), is a bay area native who has been working with children for over five years. He was an integral member of them UMAC after school team, and is excited to step into the classroom this year. He is eager to teach incoming students and set them up for success. Teacher D enjoys hiking, anime, and comics.

Dolphin Classroom

Denisse Ponce Alarcon
(Ms. Dee)

Daijah Young

Born in Lima, Peru and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Ms. Dee has worked with children in different settings including; English Preschool Teacher, Spanish Teacher, Au Pair, Nanny and Montessori Support Teacher. She graduated from La Universidad del Zulia receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Modern Languages, followed by an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Merritt College, and completed the Early Childhood Education Montessori Credential program . Ms. Dee enjoys rock climbing, hiking, camping, music, and good food.


Hummingbird Classroom

Chelle Davis

Gabriela Varela

Response To Intervention (RTI) Team

Katie Pitre & James Vargas, Educational Specialists

Elizabeth Bascom, Speech Language Pathologist

Jessica Meyer, School Counselor

Kimberly Chism, Reading Intervention Specialist

Eduardo Ortiz, Student Support Assistant

Teacher James is beginning his first year at UMCS. He’s worked in the Cognitive Behavioral field as a Registered Behavioral Technician for the past 3 years. He studies Psychology at San Francisco State University and intends to continue higher education up to a Ph.D. He is interested in Emotional Intelligence, Spiritual Development, Human Potential and Moral Reasoning. In his spare time he enjoys Art (Classical and Contemporary), Philosophy, Offering unneeded help, Games (MMO/RPG/RTS), Camping, Metaphysics, Statistics and Dogs.

"Ms. Elizabeth" Bascom (she/her/hers), M.S., CCC-SLP holds a M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Cal State East Bay and a B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience with a minor in Linguistics from University of California, San Diego. Elizabeth, originally from San Diego, previously worked with OUSD as a Speech-Language Pathologist, stayed home full time with her kids for 7 years, became a UMCS parent in 2016, and began working at UMCS in October 2018. She is a mother of four (all UMCS students!), and if she has free time, Elizabeth enjoys playing soccer, baking, reading, and being in nature.

Ms. Jess has been the School Counselor at UMCS since 2017. She relocated to Oakland from Brooklyn NY in 2016 where she traded fast walking, subway performances, and fold-and-hold pizza by the slice, for stopping to smell the roses, off-leash hiking trails, and taco trucks. She has her B.A. from University of Maryland, and Master’s in Education from Hunter College in NYC where she focused heavily on working with diverse urban populations. Creating a welcoming and safe learning environment for students of ALL backgrounds is a top priority for her. In her free time, Ms. Jess likes to make art, volunteer as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for a teen in foster care, enjoy nature with her dogs, see live music, and dance around in her living room.

Ms. Kimberly began her teaching career in SFUSD in 1999! She holds an M.Ed from San Francisco State University and brings her passion for reading and study of Orton Gillingham and LindaMood Bell to students at Urban Montessori. As a child, Ms. Kimberly struggled to learn to read and her time spent with a reading specialist, which began in third grade, greatly impacted her self-esteem and ability to achieve in school. This experience is ultimately what drove her to do the work she does. She is excited to begin her 5th year as UMCS Reading Specialist.


English Language Development

Katie Pitre

Enrichment, English Language Development Teacher, and Educational Specialist (TK-4th)

Physical Education

Mikael Wooten

Substitute Teachers

Shani Abeysinghe

Nancy Hartman

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  • R. Buck Bailey
    published this page in About 2022-08-29 10:16:23 -0700