Teachers

Claire Koukoutsakis

teacher claire Director
3/Y4's Teacher

The heart and soul of MVPNS. Her knowledge, thirty years of experience, and wisdom resonate in every aspect of our school, and they reflect her life-long passion for children and building community. Her high emotional intelligence and dedication to the profession of early childhood education greatly benefit both our children and our school community. Claire began teaching at MVPNS in 1990 and became Director in 2007.

She is also a Child Development Instructor at Foothill College and Founder of Foothill’s Mentor Teacher program, where she guides student teachers in the best practices of early childhood education. She has presented workshops at national, state, and local conferences on a variety of early child care and education topics. She also coordinates the Foothill College Child Development Training Consortium, and was awarded the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.

Claire has a B.A. in Child Development from Chico State University and has completed the Master of Arts units in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. Her warmth and professionalism with children and parents provide a comforting beginning to school. Her modeling of team work and respect are invaluable to the parent participation experience. She is famous for her hugs, humor, and radiant smiles, and for making everyone feel cared for and loved.

Diane Hart

teacher diane Parent & Child Director
Toddler Teacher
2/Y3's Teacher

Started teaching at Parent Observation in 2000, becoming the director in 2008, and teaches parent and child classes for 18 month old to 3 year old children. Diane studied social welfare and earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at U.C. Berkeley and an MA in Special Education at Santa Clara University. She has continued her education by taking Child Development classes.

Diane’s lucky enough to make a living doing what she enjoys most, which is helping children be confident in a classroom setting and in making new parents confident as parents. It’s this critical time for both the child and the parents that Diane finds the most rewarding component to her career; it’s when imaginations and language develop, where a child learns to participate in a group, develops confidence, learns to share, and makes their first friends. Parents and children alike are lucky to share in Diane’s warmth, compassion, and expertise.

Mindy Lieberman

teacher mindy 2's Teacher

Joined Parent Observation as a teacher in 2008. She received her BA and Teaching Credential from San Jose State University, and taught middle school for seven years.

Mindy continued her studies by taking Child Development classes at Foothill College while raising two children and finds herself today surrounded by children and coworkers who find her enthusiasm and compassion contagious. Always warm and disarming, Mindy is a constant source of reassurance for new parents.

Rachel Martensson

teacher rachel 4/Y5's Teacher

Joined the MVPNS teaching team as a teacher in August 2009. She received her A.A. in Child Development from Foothill College. She has operated her own family child care center, been a nanny, and worked as an assistant teacher at a child care. Prior to her career focus on preschool education, she was an English teacher at the community college level. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in English Education from the University of Florida.

Through Rachel’s sense of wonder and love for learning she emphasizes the importance of children becoming active participants in their own learning through exploration, questioning, and investigation. Children and parents love Rachel for her intuitive and compassionate manner, her artistic creativity, her earnestness, and her love of music. She recently learned to play the ukulele.

Cindy Flynn

teacher cindy 4/Y5's Teacher

Joined MVPNS as a teacher of the MWF PM 3’s class in 2016. She has a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University, a Bachelor degree in Sociology from Kalamazoo College, and Early Childhood Education Certificate from Foothill College. Before moving to California, she started a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool in Chicago, where she also worked as a preschool director and curriculum development specialist.

Cindy loves introducing new ideas to children and working along side them to explore what they want to learn the most. "I believe children highly value having a teacher who listens and deeply cares about their questions, tears, fears and joys. I feel so fortunate being there for them and being able to have these important and meaningful conversations." Her interests include taking Stanford Continuing Studies Courses, peer counseling, hiking, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family and her dog Elsa.

Sristi Sapkota

teacher sristi Toddler Assistant Teacher
2/Y3's Assistant Teacher
3/Y4's Assistant Teacher

Joined MVPNS as an assistant teacher in the 2’s PM class in 2015. Before moving to the US, Sristi was a Math and Science teacher at a boarding school in Nepal. She has a Masters degree in Zoology and holds a court appointed special advocate certification. During the last two years, she has been taking Child Development Units at Foothill College.

“Working with children is fun and makes me happy. I admire their honesty, creativity, imagination, innocence, smiles, energy and curiosity. The most rewarding part is when I see them growing up every day with their achievements of new skills. I also learn from the children every day which helps me be a better person. As a teacher I would like to build their trust and be their friend.”

Susan Pence

teacher susan 2/Y3's Assistant Teacher

“What’s past is prologue” wrote William Shakespeare in The Tempest, channeling Susan. A former co-op child, Susan started working at a co-op after graduating from U.C. Santa Cruz. After starting a family, she returned to the world of co-op programs as a parent. Along the way, she earned a multiple subject teaching credential and a Ed.M. from C.S.U. Hayward. Susan continues to fulfill her co-op destiny by starting as an assistant teacher at MVPNS, where her background in studio art and experience leading Music Together classes help contribute to the rich sensory environment.

Sandra Mitchell

teacher sandra 2/Y3's Assistant Teacher

Sandra joined MVPNS in 2019 as an assistant teacher. She graduated from Foothill college with an AA in Psychology and an AS in Early Childhood Education, and continues to pursue her BA degree in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College.

After working in personnel management for many years, Sandra made the decision to leave her career and dedicate herself to her son, Oliver, during the first pivotal years of his development. Through Oliver, she obtained a deep interest in understanding child development, and in nurturing her son’s growth and education, to the point where she decided to pursue this as the next evolution in her career.

Based on her experience, education, and passion, Sandra’s goal is to help children discover their love of learning, while helping parents understand and set proper expectations for themselves, and nurture their child’s growth and exploration based on their ages and stages.

Claudia Garcia

teacher claudia 4/Y5's Assistant Teacher

Joined MVPNS in 2018 as assistant teacher. She graduated from Mothercraft Institute for Early Development in Toronto, Canada (2008). She has extensive experience working for children in different settings and various age groups. Throughout her career she has focused on delivering an inclusive environment for every child and ability.

Before joining as assistant teacher, Claudia experienced the wonderful community at MVPNS with her daughter for three years. Claudia is looking forward to meet families and children every day and help facilitating an enriching environment during those precious years of wonder and discovery.