Directors, Teachers & Staff of Mission Kids
Christina Maluenda (she/her) is one of the founding Co-Director/Teachers of Mission Kids and has been working in early childhood education for over 20 years. She was the Founder and Director of Imagine Preschool, which merged with Mission Kids to become a licensed child care facility in 2009.
Prior to her time at Imagine, Christina served as the Director of Partners in Autism Treatment, a non-profit agency serving young children on the autism spectrum. As Director, she focused on integrating children with autism into preschool settings. Christina has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University and a Master of Science in Child Development from University of California Davis. Christina is a Spanish bilingual educator, a certified CLASS observer and a trained member of San Francisco’s NERT program. Christina also holds a Child Development Program Director Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Heather Lubeck (she/her) has worked at Mission Kids as a founding Co-Director/Teacher since the school was licensed in 2009. She has over 20 years of teaching, research, and administrative experience in a variety of educational settings and with students from a wide diversity of backgrounds.
Before working at Mission Kids, she worked for a year at Imagine Preschool in San Francisco. She also worked for 4 years as an elementary reading specialist with the Georgia State University Department of Psychology. Prior to this, Heather taught elementary special education in a public school district in the Atlanta area. In 2001, she received the Atlanta Journal & Constitution’s annual award for teaching excellence in the state of Georgia. She holds a Masters in Special Education from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia. Heather holds a Child Development Program Director Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Maria Celsa Reid
Maria Celsa Reid (she/her) is a Lead Teacher in the Toddler Room at Mission Kids. Celsa was born in Paraguay and speaks Spanish, Guarani, and English. Celsa joined the Co-op in August 2017 and has been training and working in early childhood education in San Francisco and Paraguay and volunteered in The Gambia since 2011.
Prior to Mission Kids, Celsa worked in San Francisco as an Infant Teacher at Bright Horizons and as an Infant/Toddler Lead Teacher at the Epiphany Child Care Center providing early intervention, therapeutic childcare, and developmental assessments. Celsa has a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Development and Family Concentration from San Francisco State University. Celsa also studied Early Childhood Education at the Catholic University in Asuncion, Paraguay and worked in The Gambia, West Africa at the New Covenant Elementary School, where she developed teaching aids. She holds a Director Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Celsa has a son who is an alumni of Mission Kids.
Olga Carlos (she/her) moved to San Francisco in 2008 from Monterrey, Mexico. She has over 15 years of experience in a variety of educational settings including Potrero Kids, Mission Kids Co-Op, Binda Magic, Golden Gate Children’s Art and Outdoor Exploration, and Music Together. Olga holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University Autonomous of Nuevo Leon and a Certificate from the Preschool Teacher Preparation Center in Monterrey, Mexico. Olga graduated with honors from City College of San Francisco with an Associates Degree in Child Development and Family Studies. She holds a Site Supervisor Permit from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing.
She is enthusiastic about the philosophy of music as part of a child’s life, and thrilled to be part of the Spanish community of San Francisco through the Canta y Baila program. She hopes to create nurturing experiences and build positive relationships with staff and families in the Mission Kids community to make a difference in their lives.
Lucy Trigueros (she/her) was born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco and has been with Mission Kids since 2009. She works as a lead teacher and support staff and is Mission Kids Supply Coordinator for inventorying school materials, documenting incoming purchases and maintaining classroom organization.
Lucy is bilingual and regularly speaks Spanish with the children. She believes in providing hugs, a lap to sit in and time to listen. Lucy holds a Teacher Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Kellen Krieg (she/her) joined Mission Kids in November 2017. Kellen holds a BA in performance art from Evergreen State College and is currently completing the requirements to qualify as a Site Supervisor through classes at City College of San Francisco. While attending college, she worked as a high school theatre teacher at the School of the Arts in the Seattle area. She has several years of experience working with various children’s musical theater companies in the Pacific Northwest. She’s worked as a director, choreographer, costume designer, and family liaison. Kellen has over ten years of experience working in childcare here in the Bay Area, both with private families and in group settings. She strongly believes in the success of play-based learning and teaching through a social justice lens.
Andrew Mainen (he/him) joined the Mission Kids staff in 2019. His experience working at Mission Kids as the parent of a recent graduate inspired him to pursue a career in early childhood education. Andrew is from the East Coast, growing up in Maine and earning degrees from Brown (B.A.) and Columbia (J.D.). After abandoning corporate law, Andrew travelled extensively before finding a home in San Francisco. Has completed the requirements to qualify as a Master Teacher/Site Supervisor through classes at City College of San Francisco.
Jennie Cabrera (she/her) has been a Teacher in the Mariquitas classroom since February 2021. Born in San Francisco to Filipino immigrants, Jennie speaks English and Tagalog. She strongly values working with children and communities that celebrate diversity, which she says makes Mission Kids a perfect fit.
Jennie has more than 10 years of experience working with infants and toddlers, having been previously employed at Bright Horizons, where she was honored with a Regional Award of Excellence for Family Partnership in 2019. She also worked for seven years at a K-5 before- and after-school care program with Growth and Learning Opportunities (GLO), formerly known as West Portal CARE.
Jennie has a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and has completed units in the child development program at City College of San Francisco.
Matthew Estrada (he/him) is a Teacher in the Mariquitas classroom. Before joining Mission Kids in December 2020, Matt was an lead teacher at a Sacramento preschool and worked as student teacher, after-school program volunteer and classroom volunteer for elementary school children.
Matt earned a Bachelor’s Degree in child and adolescent development, with a focus on school-age children, from San Francisco State University in 2015. Born and raised in Daly City, Matt speaks English and is learning Spanish.
When Matt is not in the classroom, he likes to write, bike, try new foods and build computers. He lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend, Julie, and current Mission Kid, Kiera.
Kleita Joe (she/her) originally comes from upstate New York where she started taking dance at the age of 4. While studying at the Boston Conservatory under the BFA program in dance lead by the artistic director Yasuko Tokunaga, Kleita realized her love of teaching children. After the Conservatory, Kleita performed with Shipp dance theater and Dance Romanesque. For the past few years, she has trained children in gymnastics and creative movement in the Bay Area. Kleita has a son who is an alumna of Mission Kids, and she is thrilled to be a part of the MK staff!
Ariel Parada (he/him) is a teacher at Mission Kids. He is the grandson of Beneranda, Gregorio, Miguel, Amanda, and the son of Edith and Carlos. He is from El Salvador and was raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. He has been an educator in his community for over 10 years as a tutor, teacher, and volunteer — and now as a preschool teacher. Spanish is his first language. He became involved with Mission Kids when his oldest son joined the mariquitas classroom in 2021. Ariel has his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State in ethnic studies. He also has his master’s degree in teaching urban education and social justice, as well as a single-subject teaching credential in English literature.
His outside interests include fútbol, podcasting (listening and recording), being a father, dancing, fashion, reading, writing, and eating.
Pantea Saeb (she/her) her experience as a solutions architect in the corporate travel technology space spans two decades. Her expertise in automation has assisted clients in selecting and optimizing the systems used in their travel programs. She has implemented technology, managed and built support teams, and led technology related projects. She is a parent of a Mission Kid graduate and currently has a son who is attending the school. The sense of community, diversity, incredible leadership, and dedicated teachers fuel her passion for the school and inspired her to leave the corporate world behind to dedicate her time and expertise to the Mission Kids community and nonprofit sector.
In early 2020, she brought her expertise to Mission Kids as our Technology Manager. She is passionate about efficiency through automation and driving the technology advances for the organization with a focus on both internal and parent facing tools and services.
Pantea holds a B.S Degree in Environmental Studies Earth System Science from San Francisco State University, as well as certifications in building online travel booking tools and a leadership certification in managing teams.
Andrew G is a teacher in the Gatitos classroom. He grew up in San Francisco’s Mission District and has two young sons. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in education from SFSU and will be an accredited teacher by summer 2024. He believes in providing a safe and joyful space where children can freely express themselves through art, storytelling, music, and play. He understands that each child is a unique individual with
their own strengths and challenges and is committed to recognizing and celebrating
these differences. Through patience, empathy, and understanding, he aims to cultivate a sense of self-confidence and independence in every child.
Hanna Ramirez Becerra
Alejandra (Hanna) Daniela Ramirez Becerra (she) is a teacher in the Mariquitas classroom. She joined MK in November 2022. She previously worked for Mi Escuelita in Spanish, as a teacher assistant. She graduated from ALVART University in Puebla, Mexico, with a degree in Psychology. During her university studies she worked for a preschool as a shadow teacher and in a private school for people with Down Syndrome disabilities. She has over two years of experience working in child care with private families.
She was born in San Francisco CA. Raised in the city of Libres Puebla, Mexico. Daughter of Mexican immigrants. Currently lives in San Francisco and is bilingual (Spanish/English).
In her free time she enjoys exploring new places, going to libraries, writing, dancing, arts and crafts, and practicing LSM.
She says she didn’t choose to be a preschool teacher, the children chose her to be a teacher and she loves sharing and being surrounded by the real love of the little ones, laughing, exploring and getting to know every world.
I became involved at Mission Kids as a family volunteer in 2019, and became a teacher for the school in 2022. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education majoring in Special Education and am working remotely with the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines towards my Master’s in Special Education. I’m from the Philippines and speak English, Tagalog and Bisaya. I’m into child psychology, brain, and behavior. When I am not teaching, I love to create or edit videos, read books, travel, run, and do yoga.
I was born in Puebla, Mexico and have lived most of my life in San Francisco. My commitment is to nurture children and give them hands-on and creative experiences in nature and for each individual child to learn how to communicate in an effective way. I am Spanish/English bilingual and love to share the differences and similarities in cultures of the world.
I am a widower who raised two nieces who are now in their late thirties. I have been a preschool assistant and teacher for forty five years with experiences including working with migrant and refugee children, special education, public, non profit, and private children centers. I enjoy listening and talking to children. I love telling flannel board stories, doing art activities, gardening, and teaching about nature. My hobbies include traveling, quilting, gardening, and learning about various cultures.
I am very grateful for working at such an exceptionally excellent school with inspiring staff, directors, and families.
Erika Mota (she/her) is a teacher at Mission Kids. Her journey began with her son’s enrollment in Ranitas in 2021. Working with her sister, Maestra Janet, further strengthened her connection to the MK community. With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Labor Studies from San Francisco State, she brings a diverse background. She has Latin heritage and Mexican roots, a Spanish Bilingual educator who values her culture. Beyond her teaching role, Erika finds joy in motherhood, exploring new hiking trails, dancing, trying new hobbies, and discovering trendy eateries. She is excited to be part of MK and engage kids through creativity and music. Erika strives to create nurturing experiences and build positive relationships within the Mission Kids community, making a meaningful impact on their lives.
Celeste Beltran (she/her) is a teacher in the Ranitas classroom at Mission Kids. She started working at Mission Kids in March 2023. Celeste graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and a minor in Special Education. After participating in Jumpstart, a student-teaching internship program at SF State, Celeste fell in love with teaching and was inspired to continue to work in Spanish-Bilingual environments. Prior to MK, Celeste worked in elementary schools as a teacher assistant and after school teacher/tutor for migrant students. She also has experience working with children/adolescents on the spectrum, and believes all children are deserving of a happy and inclusive environment. Celeste is currently working towards obtaining her Preschool Teacher Permit.
Celeste was born in San Francisco, in the Mission District, and grew up a few blocks away from MK. She speaks Spanish and English, and loves reading books and singing songs in Spanish with the children. In her free time, Celeste enjoys reading books, traveling, dancing, visiting the beach, and exploring new brunch places around the city.
Bio coming soon
Oona (she/her) joined the Mission Kids community in 2016 as a parent, and helped run the Capital Campaign to build our Forever Home as one of her many parent jobs. She joined the staff in 2023, working on Family Relations and Administrative Support. Prior to working at Mission Kids, she was a professional nonprofit fundraiser with 20 years of experience in all areas of development including special events, grantwriting, major donor appeals and direct mail. She was born and raised in San Francisco and attended a co-op preschool herself, which led her and her family to the wonderful world of Mission Kids! She and her wife have two Mission Kids alumni.