Teachers are co-researchers who always look for ways to stimulate a child’s learning experience.
It is the teacher’s role to ask open-ended questions to further explorations and knowledge.
We model language and behaviors, document experiences, create “yes” environments, and listen without judgment.

Michelle Benitez

Director

I have been working with children and families for over 25 years. I enjoy watching children grow and develop while gaining independence. I have a Masters’ Degree in Human Development with a specialization in adult supervision. I have three children of my own and enjoy spending time with my family. I believe children need a safe, supportive environment to become happy successful individuals. I’m so excited to be part of the Mulberry Tree family!

Sara Salazar

I was born and raised in Whittier, California and I have been a Butterfly Teacher at Mulberry Tree for two years. I’m currently working on my BA Degree in Child Development. I strongly believe children are capable of thinking independently and thrive in nurturing environments. As a teacher, I aim to promote a caring atmosphere that helps guide the physical, social, and emotional growth of each child.

Jenoveva Melendez

I am a teacher in the Twigs and Branches classroom. I have been a pre-school teacher for eight years. Currently, I am working on my AA Degree in Child Development. When I was young, I worked as a babysitter which inspired me to work with children. Along with being a teacher, I am a wife and a mother of two daughters. I love working with children and watching them grow and develop.

Melissa Sanchez-Ortiz

I’m a teacher in the Twigs and Branches classroom. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, Girl Scout leader, and friend. I have worked with young children since I was a child myself, volunteering in my church nursery. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher and work with children of all ages. I believe that through nurturing and guidance, children have the potential and capability to be caring and considerate problem solvers.

Dulce Alvaro

I’m a teacher in the Twigs and Branches classroom. Creating a sanctuary for children to be free to cultivate their natural curiosity through play is one of my goals as an educator. My love for education and working with children was clear to me since I was in second grade. To better prepare myself and enhance my understanding of the development of children, I pursued an undergrad degree in Education – Early Childhood Studies and graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 2019. I like working with children of all ages. However, my natural nurturing and high energy self allows me to connect well with children ages 2 – 4, which allows for a day full of fun and learning. I believe that through positive relationships, a nurturing environment, and given opportunities children will grow into their full potential as caring individuals and critical thinkers.

Janelly Flores

I am currently working on my degree in Child Development and have a background in Waldorf Education. I love learning and working with children of all ages, and I believe that observing and understanding each child allows me as the teacher to meet their individual needs. As a whole, learning through play, experiences, love, and being viewed at their full potential gives children the courage and confidence to become whoever they want.

Jeanine Gutierrez

I am a Caterpillar classroom teacher at Mulberry Tree for over a year. I have an Associate’s Degree in Early Child Development with a minor in dance. I am currently working on my BA in Early Childhood Development. Aside from teaching, I love Disney and dance. My goal is to give children the opportunity for growth and development through play and exploration. We strive for nonstop learning in our classroom in a fun way that children are engaged in. Children are our future and it is our job to guide them to become the best learners.

Erika Espinosa

I’m a full-time student at Cerritos College and my major is Early Childhood Education. In my free time I like to go to the beach, amusement parks, shopping, as well as spend time with my family, fiancé, and two dogs. It’s my pleasure to be a teacher at Mulberry Tree Preschool. I’m excited to get to know all the families and children and see what adventures we will have together.

Alejandra Ramirez

I’m known as Alex here at Mulberry Tree. I am currently attending Cal State Long Beach and graduating in May 2020. I will be receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I will continue to work with children and families in the future with my education and experience. Working in a child care environment has been a great experience. It is a learning opportunity to gain knowledge about what children’s minds are capable. My goals for children are to gain socialization and self-help skills, as well as being able to develop emotional and physical growth through play and actual experiences.

Nayelli Flores

I am majoring in Business Management with a minor in Real Estate. In addition, I am studying Child Development. I am one of the after school teachers at Mulberry Tree Preschool and enjoy working with elementary-age students. I believe elementary school is a crucial time in development. As their teacher, I strongly encourage social and emotional development by fostering a safe place for creativity and problem-solving!

Erica Valdez

This is my first-year teaching at Mulberry Tree Preschool and I am an Early Childhood Studies major at Cal Poly Pomona working towards my Bachelor’s Degree to become an elementary school teacher. I have been working with children since I was 18 years old, as I started off babysitting and volunteering. I love working with children of all ages and it brings me joy to watch them grow. I believe teachers are the foundation in young children’s learning development, so it is important for children to be taught how to think, not what to think.

Jarely Martinez

I attend Long Beach City College pursuing an AS-T Degree in Early Childhood Education. On completion of my studies, I will transfer to Cal State University Long Beach to obtain my BA Degree. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano, long walks on the beach, and spending time with friends and family. My philosophy about children is that children’s play is serious learning that unfolds into great experiences.

Kimberly Valdez

I am in the Early Childhood Education Associate Arts program at Fullerton College. I will transfer to CSFU for my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I believe in the philosophy of Reggio Emilia and am happy to work in a school that uses this approach. All children learn through play and exploration with guidance from the teachers as co-researchers.

Leslie Parada

I attend college majoring in Child Development. I believe children learn through play which is essential for their growth and development. Play is essential as it gives them the advantage of developing fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and social skills. Play also provides learning opportunities for things like manners and sharing. I believe that building strong relationships with the child and their family is important as these allow me to see their interest, strengths, and challenges to help them reach their fullest potential. I’m here to make a child feel safe, loved, and comfortable.