Lafayette Staff


My name is Barb. I was born in Walnut Creek, CA and I was raised right here in Lafayette. I speak English only. I have had a passion for working with children from a very young age. I have taken several ECE classes right out of high school from Acalanes. I have spent most of my adult life teaching preschool and nannying for two families in the Bay Area. I have three grown daughters, two of which live here in the Bay Area (one of which lives with me in Orinda), and one lives in Los Angeles. In my spare time, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my daughters and my cats. I love walking around the reservoir, listening to music, and playing board games. I am excited for this opportunity to be a part of your child’s young life, and to help them grow and learn.


Hello everyone,
My name is Ghizal Taymuree and I prefer to be called Gigi.
I was born in the very beautiful city of Kabul, Afghanistan. At a very early age, I migrated with my family to yet another marvelous city, Paris, France where I grew up and graduated from high school. I then went to college and started an internship in the Afghan Consulate in the magnificent city of New York, US. I got married in California and raised two amazing children who are now 21 and 16. I picked up life where I had left it after 17 years and went back to school in 2016. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with emphasis in Multiple Subject Teaching from CSU East Bay in 2021 and applied for the Master Program, Early Childhood Development at the same University. I consider myself a citizen of the world. I am fluent in three languages and having experienced so many different cultures has shaped me into a very open-minded and receptive person. I love to cook, bake, read Rumi poetry, and walk. I collect vintage jewelry. I am passionate about working with children. It is my greatest honor and pleasure to join the amazing team of Growing Light Montessori, where teachers work in collaboration to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for all children.


Hi, my name is Lane. I was born and raised in Marin County. I speak English as my primary language and have over 30 years of teaching experience at Montessori preschools. I enjoy watching children become independent, develop their social skills, and expand their inquisitive minds.
I have a very active family life with three adult children, two fantastic grandchildren, and two dogs. I am happy to be part of Growing Light School and look forward to meeting you all.


Hi my name is Mari Martinez. I was born and raised in Chavinda Michoacan Mexico. My first language is Español. I came to California when I was 17 years old. One of the things I love to do is cook. I also love to listen to music and go outside for walks. I especially love to spend time with my family. Some of the things I love to do with the children is teaching them Español, doing art projects and gardening. I am so happy to meet you all soon!


Hello! My name is Mireya. I was born in Mexico City and I came to the United States when I was 11 yrs old.

I am fluent in Spanish and English. I  grew up in Richmond,  Ca. I have over 16 yrs of teaching experience.  I love working with children of all ages but my preference is working with Pre-k /Kindergarten. I enjoy teaching the children movement class and also teaching them Spanish.  I like to learn about different cultures and travel to different continents.


My name is Norma Barajas. I am a calm and joyful teacher. A Cali girl through and through. Bay Area!!! I was born and raised in Walnut Creek, Ca., but also spent time in Mexico in my early years. I really enjoy being around water fronts; beaches, lakes, pools, etc. I love to do DIY’s, dance, take photos, and cook. I am bilingual and teach spanish. I am a great storyteller. I love to teach cultural subjects; Places, people and their cultures. It is what makes us interesting. I like to watercolor and create with the children. I am a proud Montessorian and a GLMS staff member. Enriching little minds is what I do.

Head Teacher

Teacher Rachel K was born in South Bend, Indiana and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been a teacher in the great states of Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, and California. Before teaching, Rachel worked as a mental health counselor for children and as a social worker for adults with schizophrenia. Happy to have found her place in the Montessori classroom, Rachel loves singing with her students, teaching them about nature and geography, and Montessori language lessons.

Outside of the classroom, Rachel creates art and greeting cards, and has a love for all animals!


My name is Rasika and I was born in Sri Lanka. I have also lived in Tennessee and California. I speak Sinhala, English and Hindi. I have 15 years of teaching experience and have been with Growing Light since 2017. My favorite student activities are: Art, yoga, science projects, music and movement. I love to do Yoga, dancing, cooking and spending time with my family as well as my cute little children in my small school.


Hello!  My name is Roxanna and I was born in Maine.  I’ve lived in Lebanon, Greece and India as well as RI, NH, OH, IL, NM, CO and California.   I  have taught children since I was a teenager (first as a swim instructor during the summer) and then as a preschool teacher.  I worked at GLMS in Berkeley 30 years ago!  I teach yoga and meditation and love teaching these practices to the children.  The thing I love the most about working with preschool age children is how they are completely uncensored in the way they relate and how much love they carry in their hearts.   I enjoy travel, being in nature and spending time with my children (18 and 21.)


My name is Shannon and I was born in Phoenix, AZ. I was raised in “the City” (San Francisco) but also lived in San Diego, Nashville, & New Jersey. I speak English only. I have about 20 years of teaching experience and prior to that was in banking for 20 years. I truly love teaching and connecting with children and families. I have taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade as well as pre-school. When I am not working, I love yoga and hiking. I live in Oakland and have three wonderful children ages 21, 24, & 25 who keep me laughing and young!