Gien Gonnella is proud to be a member of the CCLA team. Gonnella obtained her bachelor’s degree and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential with accompanying BCLAD from Sonoma State University. Inspired by her love of academia, she has also received a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. Gonnella has nurtured a love for athletics, music and education throughout her career. She has a diversity of interests and experiences; Gonnella coached tennis at Santa Rosa Junior College and served on the board of the nonprofit Girls on the Run in Sonoma County. She has directed a variety of tennis camps and continues to teach piano lessons. Gonnella was honored to receive the National Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award presented by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). She has fostered her proclivity for Spanish in both academic and organic settings. Gonnella is passionate about inspiring bilingual, bicultural and biliterate students. She is dedicated to providing new avenues for her students, whether it be playing tennis on the playground, piano days during lunch or simply sharing a moment of connection. Gonnella believes that a bilingual education with the integration of music and movement provides a deeply unique and enriching educational experience.
Cynthia Gutierrez Garcia
Cynthia Gutierrez was born and raised in Santa Rosa California. Her last year of undergrad she worked with migrant families in providing educational support, and community resources with the MiniCorps Migrant Education Program. Gutierrez went to SSU to obtain her B.A in Early Childhood Studies with a concentration in Education as well as obtain her Bilingual Multiple Subject teaching credential. Gutierrez started her career as a preschool teacher for 1.5 yrs at 4Cs Wright Start Preschool and obtained her Child Development Site Supervisor Permit while there. Gutierrez started at CCLA in 2021 as a resident/student teacher for kindergarten before she joined the staff as a fully credentialed teacher.
Gutierrez's passion for teaching is fueled by the need to create an accepting, positive, and supporting learning environment that fosters self-expression and inquiry to meet the needs of all diverse learners! Most importantly she strives to provide her students with a fun, engaging, and inclusive learning experience, where they do not look down on they mistakes but learn from them!
For her free time Gutierrez loves spending time with her family and friends! She loves crafting while listening to music and going to the beach. Gutierrez also loves visiting her extended family in Aguascalientes, Mexico over the summer. She has two dogs named Niko and Nala, one cat named Oreo, and is excited to announce that her husband and her are expecting their first baby into our growing family April 2023!
Wendy Medina was born in Santa Rosa and attended schools in the Santa Rosa City Schools District. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in American Multicultural Studies and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. She was an AmeriCorps member for 2 years and worked for the CalServes Tutoring Program at Bellevue Elementary. She also worked for the MiniCorps Migrant Education Program for 2 years where she worked with migrant families in providing educational support, home visits, and community resources. Wendy is passionate about her teaching and hopes to make learning fun for her students. She loves to draw and tries to include as much Art in her classroom as possible. Art is the best way to let the students imaginations grow.
Araceli Sandoval was born in Jalisco, Mexico, but moved to this country in the year 2000's when she was 14 years old. Since then she has been living in Healdsburg. She has two children – they keep her busy all day long. In her free time she tries to spend it with her kids, playing with them or taking them out on family field trips. She likes to play soccer, although she has not done it in a long time. She enjoys working with kids at this age because of their huge imagination and the will to learn. One of her goals is to make her students succeed by instilling the love of learning in them. She graduated from Sonoma State University majoring in Liberal Studies. She attended the teacher credential program at SSU and student taught in 4th and 2nd grade. Before going into the credential program she worked for JX Wilson Elementary School in Santa Rosa for almost five years in grades K, 2, and 3. Then she worked for a Migrant Education program, MiniCorps, where she tutored students in the grades 3, 4, and 5 in Healdsburg. Thus, she has experience working with many grade levels, she is proud to say that teaching kindergarten his her favorite.
Jennifer Gonzalez was born and raised in Healdsburg, California. She is a first-generation college graduate. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State University. She also earned her Multiple Subject Credential from Sonoma State. Before teaching at CCLA, Gonzalez taught Spanish to a group of homeschooled Kindergarten students. Teaching is something she is very passionate about because she wants to create a space where children feel safe, motivated, and excited to learn. Gonzalez enjoys being part of the CCLA community because she always hoped to teach at a bilingual school.
Fun Fact: Gonzalez loves to dance, hike, cook, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.
Jessica Ortiz grew up in Rohnert Park. She is a first-generation college graduate. Ortiz graduated from Sonoma State University with her BA and majored in Early Childhood Studies in December of 2017. She then pursued her Multiple Subject Teaching the following semester at SSU and graduated December of 2018. Ortiz student taught at Loma Vista Immersion Academy in Petaluma in 5th and 2nd grade. She worked for California Mini-Corps as a tutor for migrant students at various schools in Sonoma County.
María Bernadette Peterson
María Bernadette Peterson was born and raised in Windsor, California. She was in the second graduating class of the bilingual immersion charter school in Windsor, Cali Calmécac Language Academy. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Biology. Peterson has eight years experience in natural resource management in Sonoma County and seven years experience as an exclusively bilingual substitute teacher at Cali Calmécac Language Academy. Although she is very passionate about protecting our natural resources, she realized her heart was in teaching and decided to become a teacher. She completed her multiple subject teaching credential program in May of 2018 and has been teaching at César Chávez Language Academy since 2016. She is an asset to CCLA with diverse experience, strong ties to the community, tech knowledge, willingness to help others and love of teaching young children. Peterson enjoys re-discovering with her two children, enjoying diverse foods with her husband, playing board games with girlfriends and meditating while gardening.
Maureen Promis was born in Santiago, Chile, but grew up in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She later moved to Tucson, Arizona during her high school years, and attended Northern Arizona University where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Later she obtained her Master’s degree in Bilingual/Multicultural Education in 2006. She taught in Tucson, Arizona for 15 years before making the move to California in the summer of 2017 to be closer to family. Promis is married, and has 2 boys: Nicolas and Matias. She enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, tennis, gardening, trying new restaurants and traveling. She feels fortunate to be part of this wonderful community and school as she aspired to teach at a bilingual school, and looks forward to new adventures, experiences and memories to be made here at CCLA.
Jessica Wood was born in Boise, Idaho and moved to Santa Rosa when she was a sophomore. She attended Santa Rosa Junior College and got two associate degrees and a Children in the Justice System certificate as well. She transferred to Sonoma State and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. At that time she was doing lots of advocacy for Parent Voices and 4Cs of Sonoma County.
Wood's goal was to work with troubled youth in Sonoma County. She then continued and went straight into the Masters in Public Administration Program and graduated in May of 2021. While there she was the President of the Masters in Public Administration Association and put together many different events connecting government and Nonprofit Leaders. Wood's has been a Credentialed Substitute Teacher for Santa Rosa City School since 2019 and has now gone back to school at NCOE to get her multiple subject credential. She is currently very blessed to be a first year teacher and looks forward to all the ways she can learn and grow into the best educator she can be. She has worked for a few Supervisors and has strong ties to the government and nonprofit sectors in Sonoma County. Wood currently serves as Vice-Chair on the Commission for the Status of Women and loves to teach about democracy, diversity, and teach all kids that they matter and have a voice.
Wood is a single mother to the two of the sweetest boys in the world - one who has attended CCLA since kindergarten. In her free time (when there is free time) she enjoys music, art, and hiking. She loves coffee and enjoys having fun with friends and traveling to new places and seeing new things.
Melanea Ontiveros was born in Michoacan, Mexico but grew up in Santa Rosa, California. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. Since a young age, Ontiveros has had a passion for learning and education, which encouraged her to pursue a career in teaching. She strives to motivate children to become independent and lifelong learners. Ontiveros enjoys working in a caring, respectful, and engaging classroom environment where students are encouraged to think, share, and have fun! In her spare time, Ontiveros loves gardening, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Maestra Chavarria has been a dual immersion teacher for over 16 years and has now joined the CCLA 3rd grade team. She was born in Guatemala and raised in Nicaragua until the age of 10 when she came to the United States. As a second language learner herself she is very passionate about teaching, especially focusing on teaching Spanish and supporting the literacy of both English Learners, and Spanish Learners.
Degrees/Credentials: BA Spanish, BA American Multicultural Studies, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, BCLAD (Bilingual Crosscultural Language Development Certificate), Masters in Organization and Leadership.
Stephanie Brown was born and raised in California. She moved to Sonoma County when she attended Sonoma State and graduated with a BA in psychology with a minor in gerontology. She later attended the University of San Francisco where she earned her Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. Brown met her husband in Santa Rosa, where they continue to reside and raise their two daughters. One of her daughters is attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona and the other is attending Santa Rosa High School as an Artquest Student. As the Fourth Grade English teacher, she is passionate about inspiring young learners to love to learn, ask questions and engage in their own learning. She is excited and inspired to support students with their bilingual, biliterate, bicultural education through collaboration, engaging and hands-on projects as well as academic rigor. She believes in creating a classroom community where students feel supported, embraced and academically challenged. When Brown is not teaching, she enjoys visiting the beach, a good laugh and spending time with her family. She looks forward to working with all of the CCLA students and families.
Leah Tevaseu was born and raised in Mendocino County. She studied Sociology and Spanish at the University of California, Davis and pursued her teaching credential there too. Leah began teaching at age 22 in Ukiah, CA and later in Windsor, CA. She has spent her entire teaching career in a dual immersion classroom. After her seventh year in the classroom came to a close, Leah decided to try something new and came to CCLA to be a TOSA (to support teachers in the classroom), then a third grade teacher and currently the fourth grade Spanish teacher.
Rubí Solorio Guillén
Rubí Guillén was born and raised in Sonoma County. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in Chicano Latino Studies and then with a Multiple Subject Credential. Before she graduated from Sonoma State, Guillén worked with CA Mini-Corps, a statewide program designed to provide direct instructional services for migrant students in grades k-12.
Andrea Hernandez Chávez
Andrea Chávez was born in Michoacan, Mexico but grew up in Santa Rosa, California. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. Before she graduated from Sonoma State, Chávez worked with Academic Talent Search, a program designed to provide first generation college-bound students to access and succeed in college.
Fun Fact: Chávez loves to hike, spend time with her loved ones and travel!
Valeria Garcia Buenrosto
Valeria Garcia Buenrosto was born in Hayward CA but has lived in Mexico, Salinas Valley, and Central Valley before locating to Sonoma County. She attended Sonoma State where she earned her Bachelor's in Liberal Studies and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Buenrosto worked for California Mini-Corps Migrant Program for 3 years, tutoring low-income migrant students. Working with first- generation, low-income, and historically disadvantaged migrant students motivated her to pursue a career in teaching. Buenrosto is married and has two dogs, Frida and Fiffy. She enjoys traveling, trying new foods, reading, spending time with family and her two dogs. Buenrosto is thrilled to continue to be a part of an amazing team.
Carolyn Smith was born in San Diego. She moved to Sonoma County to get her B.A. in Theatre Arts at Sonoma State University in 1998. After college she worked for several years with teenagers who had emotional disturbance in a residential setting. She also had the pleasure of working in Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program touring schools in Northern California. During this tour she was educating kids on violence prevention and conflict resolution. In 2008 Smith earned her Education Specialists Credential from Sonoma State University.
Smith has worked for Santa Rosa City Schools for 15 years as an Education Specialist. She works with the North Coast School of Education where she mentors new Education Specialists throughout the district start their careers in special education. Smith's philosophy of education is to educate the whole child. She works tirelessly to make school a place for growth and happiness for every child regardless of their abilities. In her off work hours she can be seen camping, hiking, and enjoying the bounties of Sonoma County.
English Learner TOSA
Holly Aviles was born and raised in Sonoma County. Mrs. Aviles has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas, San Antonio. She graduated from California State University at Fullerton’s Cal State TEACH postgraduate childhood education program in 2010, where she earned a California Clear B.C.LA.D. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She is also a certified bilingual K-8 generalist teacher in the state of Texas. Mrs. Aviles graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Economics & Latin American and Latino Studies. She is a certified trainer of Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools from Cornell University.
Mrs. Aviles began her career in education in a bilingual first grade classroom in 2008 as an Intern in Watsonville, CA. She taught in bilingual and dual immersion classrooms in Watsonville and San Diego, California from 2008-2014. In New York, Mrs. Aviles was the Elementary Program Manager from 2014-2018 at East Harlem Tutorial Program and East Harlem Scholars Academies. In collaboration with Hunter College, Mrs. Aviles supported and coached four cohorts of Teaching Residents. In San Antonio, TX, Mrs. Aviles began her career in the San Antonio Independent School District in 2018 and continued on to become a Principal Fellow and eventually an Assistant Principal in the district. She graduated from the Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principal Academy as a Principal Fellow in 2020.
She is passionate about supporting student growth in culturally relevant school environments, and is thrilled to be serving the CCLA community in her role as the English Learner Teacher on Special Assignment this year.
Fun Fact: Mrs. Aviles has traveled to 13 countries, studied abroad in Mexico and Chile, and has worked and lived in Baja California, Mexico.
Elementary Reading TOSA
Originally from the East Coast, Victoria Nelson moved to California at age 5 and grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from UCSB. Mrs Nelson is a three time National Board Certified Teacher in addition to holding both a teaching and an administrative credential. Mrs. Nelson taught for 3 years in East LA, before moving to Sonoma County and Santa Rosa City Schools. Mrs. Nelson has taught for Santa Rosa City Schools for over 20 years and has served in a number of positions including, teacher, TOSA, mentor and administrator. Mrs. Nelson lives in the nearby West End neighborhood with her husband and two cats and a variety of backyard chickens.
Fun Fact: It was the experience of living in Japan for two years teaching English conversation that led to Mrs. Nelson becoming a teacher.
Elementary Instructional Assistant
Elementary Instructional Assistant
Lead Yard Supervision