Meet Our Teachers
Our teachers are certified in Child Development by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. High/Scope is a quality approach to early childhood care and education shaped and developed by research and practice for over 50 years. The central belief of High/Scope is that children construct their own learning by doing and being actively involved in working with materials, people, and ideas. Our teaching staff is also trained in the California Desired Results System and receives continuous professional development throughout the school year.
We encourage you to connect with our teachers and staffing using ParentSquare, which allows you to message the teacher and stay up to date with classroom information!
Maribel Gutierrez, Teacher
I have been part of the Lawndale Elementary School District family since the year 2000. My positions in the Preschool program have ranged from being an instructional assistant to lead teacher. I am currently holding a Preschool Teacher position. I have a vast amount of experience working with various ages of children ranging from the age of three to five years old as a preschool lead teacher. Currently, I am a preschool teacher at William Anderson Elementary School. In 2008, my classroom was considered an Exceptional classroom by our State/Federal review.
I graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies: Special Option in the year 2011. I am also currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Education. I hold a Site-Supervisor Permit issued by the California Department of Education. I am certified and trained in CPR and First aid. Also, I am certified and trained in; HighScope, Reading Roads, DRDP, COR360, GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design), California Preschool Learning Foundations, Lesson planning, Read With Me/ Lea Con Migo, Breakthrough to Literacy, M sign, Pre-K-Grade 2 English Language Learners, ECERS, Pre-K/Kinder Articulation Rep, etc. I am also a part of the Unions Negotiations team for the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees. In my spare time, I enjoy reading books, spending time with my family, traveling, road trips, baking, home renovations, doing crafts (DIYS), giving back to my community, and shopping.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 ext: 52005
Mario Cornejo, Instructional Assistant
Hi! My name is Mario Cornejo! It is my pleasure to work for the Lawndale School District. I started working in 1999 as an Instructional Assistant for the State Preschool program. I am currently working at William Anderson Preschool. I am certified in CPR and First Aid. I am very proud to be the only male Instructional Assistant in the program.
I enjoy soccer, fishing and I am also a handy man. I have 5 children of my own and I also have 2 beautiful granddaughters. I am also married to a beautiful young lady.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 ext: 52005
Patricia Rodriguez, Teacher
Hello Everyone! My name is Patricia Rodriguez, and I have had the privilege to be working for the Lawndale School District since May 1999. Through the years, I have worked in three different preschool classrooms (William Anderson, Mark Twain, and Kit Carson Preschool).
I was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Education and worked as an elementary school teacher for 6 years. Once I came to the United States, I earned my associate degree in Child Development from El Camino Community College and continued my education, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the California State University of Dominguez Hills.
Through the years, I have continued to work and received the following certifications; Child Development Site Supervisor Permit and Teacher Permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In addition, I am Pediatrics and Adult First Aid CPR certified and High Scope Curriculum.
During my free time, I enjoy walking on the beach, reading books about personal growth, and exercising. Children can develop their maximum potential by being exposed to social interactions from birth. We, as adults, are responsible for helping build these essential foundations.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 53232
Caridad Ordonez, Instructional Assistant
Hello! My name is Caridad Ordonez, and I had been fortunate to be working for the Lawndale Elementary School since October, 2000. Throughout this time, I have worked in different preschool classrooms such as Billy Mitchell, William Anderson and Kit Carson Preschool.
I was born and raised in Durango, Mexico. I attended the Normal School for Preschool Teachers and obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I worked as a preschool teacher for 4 yrs. In addition, when I came into this country, I attended El Camino College, where I obtained my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education.
I hold a Teacher’s Permit granted from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I received training in Breakthrough to Literacy, UCLA/Stanford Early Childhood Math Project. I frequently participate in trainings to expand my knowledge of child development. Additionally, I am certified in the High Scope Curriculum Approach and Pediatrics and Adult First Aid CPR. As a preschool teacher, I believe that the purpose of early childhood education is to provide children with strategies that help them develop the emotional, social and cognitive skills needed to become lifelong learners.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, taking care of my birds, watching movies and going to Church.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 53232
Isabel Mendoza, Teacher
My name is Isabel Mendoza, and I believe that guiding and teaching young children has been the most rewarding part of my teaching career.
I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. For the last 25 years, I have also been a preschool teacher dedicated to serving the children in our community. I feel the same enthusiasm and excitement today as I did when I started working in the fantastic field of education.
I began my career in education because I saw a need in our diverse community for women role models, and I wanted to contribute to the community. My first assignment was as a substitute assistant teacher with the LESD. After a year, I became an instructional assistant in special education. Two years later, I became a preschool teacher. I have also conducted parent training classes on positive techniques for guiding children at home, “Los Ninos Bien Educados.”
I graduated from El Camino College with an AA in Liberal Arts and transferred to California State University Dominguez Hills. In 2003, I earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a minor in Child Development. I also completed courses to obtain a Child Development Site Supervisor permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
I have completed numerous child development workshops and continue to enhance my education because I believe that high-quality educators are critical for a child’s successful growth and development.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 54039
Abelina Portillo, Instructional Assistant
My name is Abelina Portillo. I have enjoyed working with children since graduating from High School. I began working in different private preschools and also directed and owned a family day care. After working in the private sector and closing my family day care, I decided to work in the public sector for a school district.
I had the opportunity to work for Lawndale District in 2003 as a preschool substitute. After a year of working as a substitute, I was hired permanently in 2004 as a preschool instructional assistant. I have worked in different school sites through the years. I am currently working at William Green Preschool.
My education began at Santa Monica College. I also attended several other colleges as I completed my Child Development Studies. I have a Child Development Teacher Permit from the State of California. I have completed coursework in Child Development, General Education, Child Development Seminars and Workshops. I continue to stay abreast on the latest developments in early childhood education by participating frequently in related seminars, workshops and college classes.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, listening to music, and taking care of my pets.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 54039
Gabriela Pina, Instructional Assistant
My name is Gabriela Pina and I started my career in Child Education in 2006. I started working for the Preschool Program as a substitute at the Lawndale Elementary School District. I was hired as a permanent preschool instructional assistant in 2007. Last year, 2023, I was called back and returned as a permanent Instructional Assistant. All these years I have been very happy to be working for this wonderful program. I hold a Teacher’s Permit from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I am certified in infant/ child and adult first aid and CPR. In my free time I like to spend time with my family and watching movies. I enjoy working with children because I also have three children of my own. I enjoy working with them because they are the children of the future.
Jessica Sotelo, Teacher
Hi, my name is Jessica Sotelo. I have been working for the Lawndale School District since September 1998. I am a native Spanish Speaker. I was born in Lima, Peru, and I have a Bachelor's degree in Human Services and an Associate degree in Child Development. I continue to learn and expand my knowledge of Child Development by taking classes at El Camino College. I believe that learning is a personal and unique experience. Children learn through encounters with people who are significant in their lives. Children need to feel free to explore, discover, imagine, and create without fear of making mistakes. As I begin to work with young children and their families in the early childhood field, I hold firm commitments and convictions from which my practices flow.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 55017
Ixchel Ruiz, Instructional Assistant
My name is Ixchel Ruiz. From a young age, I knew that teaching was my passion. Since then, my objective has been to make a positive difference in each child’s life. I am bilingual in English and Spanish. I am a dedicated wife and a proud mother of three young children. I am a very flexible, enthusiastic, creative, and open-minded person. I received my Bachelor’s in Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. I also possess a Master Teacher’s Permit in Child Development. I am CPR and first aid certified. I have worked for more than 15 years for the Lawndale Preschool Program. I am pleased to invite you to be part of our preschool learning environment. I am currently a part-time teacher along with my Instructional Assistants. Our goal as teachers is to work together as a team to provide a positive and safe place where children can have the opportunity to learn as they play and explore doing hands-on activities. In our classroom, there are seven well-defined areas where children can enjoy three hours of natural learning. We also have a big playground to develop children’s gross motor skills.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 53233
Rosa Maria Torres, Teacher
My name is Rosa Maria Torres, and I started my career in Early Childhood Education in 1995 when I began working for a preschool program at the Lawndale Elementary School District. I hold a Teacher's Permit from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Additionally, I received training in Ypsilanti, Michigan, from the High/Scope Curriculum Approach/Philosophy, Breakthrough to Literacy Program & UCLA/Stanford Early Childhood Math Project. I am certified in Infant/Child and Adult First Aid and CPR. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family going to the movies, and going on mission trips. I became an early education teacher because I love how children learn and explore the world. I enjoy participating in their natural curiosity in exploring the environment, interacting with their peers, and how to develop problem-solving skills. The best part of teaching preschoolers is watching how they grow from the first day of preschool into confident, independent kinder-bound students. I look forward to creating and building relationships with the preschoolers and families during the school year.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 55018
Lilian Gutierrez, Instructional Assistant
My name is Lilian Gutierrez, and I have been working in the Lawndale Elementary School district for 21 years. I am bilingual in Spanish and English. I am a widow, a mother and a grandmother. I graduated from El Salvador as a Special Education Teacher then I came to the United States and I graduated from El Camino College where I received my Child Development A.A. degree. I have also taken infant and toddler development classes. I have my Child Development master teacher permit from California Commission on Teacher credentialing. I have worked throughout the years at Kit Carson, Mark Twain, William Green and now at Billy Mitchell State Preschool. Through the years, I have had the privilege to observe and enjoy how children grow and learn cognitively, socially and emotionally.
Tina Paek, Teacher
My name is Tina Paek. I graduated from Biola University in 1998 with a Communication Degree with an emphasis in Speech and Language Pathology. I have worked in a private preschool as a preschool teacher that followed the curriculum of Montessori.
I have been working at Lawndale Elementary School District since 2001. I worked in a couple of departments in the district for 19 years. I worked in the Special Education Department as a one-on-one aide with students before entering the preschool program in 2003. I hold a Site Supervisor Permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I am trained in High Scope and certified and trained in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR and First Aid. My hobbies are spending time with family and friends and shopping.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 59009
Veronica Arriola, Instructional Assistant
Hello, my name is Veronica Arriola. I have enjoyed working with children since 1990. I first made myself available in 1998 as a volunteer for Jane Addams Elementary. I volunteered there until I was requested to work as a substitute in May 2004 for the Lawndale State Preschool Program at Jane Addams. I began working permanently at Mark Twain in 2004-2005 school year in the morning, and at Anderson elementary in the afternoon, since then I have worked in all the school sites. I am currently at Mark Twain and have remained with the program for 20 YEARS! I have completed coursework in Child Development, General Education, Child Development Seminars and Workshops. I continue to stay abreast on the latest developments in early childhood education by participating frequently in related seminars and workshops. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, cooking with my children, reading, and gardening.
Olga Salazar, Instructional Assistant
My name is Olga Salazar. I have been working with preschool children for 17 years. I am married and have three daughters and two grandchildren. I love to exercise and eat healthy food. I consider myself a friendly person and I always put my best efforts into completing any task.
Wendy Muro, Teacher
My name is Wendy Muro, and I have been working for the Lawndale State Preschool program for 21 years. I first got involved in the program as a parent volunteer when my children attended the program. Volunteering interested me in pursuing an education in Early Childhood education and, most importantly, contributing to the Lawndale preschool program.
I am a graduate of early childhood education, and I continued to expand my knowledge of child development by frequently participating in training, taking classes, and other workshops. I hold a Site Supervisor Permit issued by the California Department of Education, and I am certified in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR and First Aid. My focus has been educating children, ages 3 to 5, in areas such as social-emotional development and preparing them for kindergarten and beyond.
As a preschool teacher, I incorporate blended teaching styles to benefit each student effectively. I help students explore appropriate learning scenarios and consider students’ responses when moving forward with lessons, adapting to their needs. There are some essential elements in every classroom environment conducive to learning. I provide students with the opportunity to create a unique community and allow their curiosity to direct their learning. With access to hands-on activities that expand knowledge and the ability to make independent decisions, they will develop their skills in a safe environment.
The most important thing I have learned throughout my experience is that the best results come from a cooperative partnership between each parent and teacher. It allows for support in the classroom and at home and gives more opportunities to be a part of their development.
Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 59010
Elida Banda, Instructional Assistant