Welcome New Faculty/Staff!

We are grateful to welcome these new faculty and staff members to our Center community this year!

Eleazar Borja, Facilities Team

Eleazar joins the CEE facilities team after spending 25 years at an aerospace and airplane products shop, Dixon Hard Chrome Inc., in Sun Valley. 

Kevin Butler, C6 Teacher

Kevin began teaching in 2002 at a public school on Long Island, New York. For the last six years, Kevin taught fifth grade at the Laurence School and was a member of the school's administrative team, serving as K-6 Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator. Kevin's classroom instruction focuses on creating authentic learning experiences while engaging his students in content-driven instruction. In the spring of 2020, Kevin was a guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show, where Kelly highlighted his dedication to his students during the COVID-19 crisis. Kevin's first book, Lights, Cameras, TEACH: a screenplay for engagement, culture, and relationships, was released in June. In addition to teaching, Kevin speaks and presents at national educator conferences throughout the United States.

Melanie Castro, School Nurse

Melanie recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor's degree in Nursing Science. She shares that she is eager to start her nursing career in the specialty of School Health at The Center! Aside from her career, some of Melanie's personal interests include calisthenics, salsa dancing, and learning random facts about people. 

Chandler Chappell, Instructional Support

Chandler graduated high school in 2021 and gained experience working with Parker Anderson as an enrichment teacher this past summer. Chandler taught rocket science, DinoWorld, coding, fun and games, and more with Parker Anderson and is excited to join the Center community as a member of the Instructional Support team.

Maya Delgado, Early Childhood Associate Teacher

Prior to joining CEE, Maya graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Columbia University. As an undergraduate, Maya worked as an assistant teacher and researcher at the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, a play-based introduction to school for two- and three-year-olds. In addition to serving as an educator in the classroom, Maya studied how parents managed shifting work/life balances during the COVID-19 pandemic for her senior thesis. Maya also has four years of experience teaching swim and water safety lessons.

Gregory Dunbar, Technology and Innovation Specialist

Gregory most recently taught science and technology at the John Thomas Dye School, focusing on K-6 technology integration across the STEM curriculum for the last five years. Prior to his time at JTD, Greg worked at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as an Undergraduate Coordinator for the Department of Earth and Environmental Science and in campus planning and design for MIT. Greg earned Master's degrees in Environmental Sustainability and Science Education, and a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well. Greg is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to work in The Center’s innovation lab.

Kathleen Dutton, C3 Teacher

Before joining CEE, Kathleen taught third grade in Upland, California for four years, also serving as the Head Caretaker and teacher for the school's Learning Garden which she founded in 2019. Kathleen started her teaching journey in college when she became a puppeteer while studying for her theater degree, developing a passion for interacting with children. After university, Kathleen moved to South Korea and taught English for 2 years, before traveling through Southeast Asia doing volunteer teaching. Kathleen then returned to the U.S. and earned her Master’s degree in Education at Portland State University, where she was a member of an arts cohort, focused on weaving art and social/emotional lessons into the curriculum.

Dorothy Forneris, Covid Compliance Coordinator/Library Clerk

Prior to joining CEE, Dorothy was a nurse at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, working in the postpartum unit taking care of families and their newborn babies. Dorothy has also worked as a mental health nurse, step-down ICU nurse, and as a medical, surgical, and telemetry nurse. She received her ADN from Los Angeles Community College and a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s. Dorothy has also served as manager of several high-end restaurants in New York and California, and has worked as a personal trainer.

William Harrison, Toddler Teacher

Most recently, William served as the Assistant Director and Learning Specialist of a small independent preschool in North Hollywood. He is a lifelong preschool educator and has been working with young children and their families for over 20 years. William began his career teaching infants and toddlers at Bank Street's Family Center in New York City, where he discovered child-centered play-based learning for the first time as an undergraduate. William then went on to complete graduate studies at Bank Street's Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention program, earning a dual degree in Early Childhood General and Special Education. After teaching at Bank Street, William became the 3s Head Teacher at the City and Country School in New York City where he taught for 12 years before moving to Los Angeles.

Shannon Larner, Director of Annual Fund

Shannon recently served as the Associate Director of Annual Giving Programs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she raised more than $2 million annually to support museum operations. Through the Curator's Circle and Avant-Garde patron groups, she helped provide meaningful experiences to hundreds of patrons through programming and communications. As a first-generation college student, the generosity of people Shannon had never met made it possible for her to attend the University of Texas at Austin; she shares that “it's only fitting that my fundraising career began there as a student phone-a-thon caller. I've since spent more than a decade as a fundraiser for nonprofit and educational institutions connecting passionate people to the causes they care about.”

Victoria Martinez, Instructional Support

Victoria graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021 with a degree in Sociology. While at Berkeley, Victoria volunteered with the UCB Food Pantry and the Basic Needs Center, helping those in the local community with support and resources. Victoria also supported the Berkeley Student Nutrition Advocacy Club. Following graduation, Victoria worked as an Administrative Assistant at UCLA Health and is excited to begin her teaching career on the Instructional Support team at CEE!

Norma Melara, Facilities Team

Norma joins the CEE facilities team after spending time on the school's evening cleaning crew. Norma previously worked as a home care attendant for the elderly in the Los Angeles area for 25 years before her time at CEE.

Wilber Moreno, Facilities Team

Prior to joining CEE, Wilber’s professional career involved being in the handyman industry. Wilber provided general maintenance and repair to residential and commercial properties. As a handyman, his background includes leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and time management.

Kia Perry, Math Specialist

Kia most recently taught math to fourth through tenth-grade students at Westmark School in Encino for eight years. Kia’s students experienced language-based learning differences, and she helped them find strategies and techniques to be successful with Math. She loves being able to work with students individually and see that "ah-ha!" moment on their faces when they understand a concept! Kia received her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts from California State University Northridge and recently received a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Autism.

Brent Piller, The Caring Place Assistant

Brent was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has worked in childcare for 10 years, beginning in a preschool and then transitioning into personal nannying for the past 8 years with young children. Brent is currently working towards an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education at Santa Monica College. She shares that she has always loved children and being someone they can rely on and trust to meet their needs, and someone they can have fun and be silly with as well!

Casey Smith, A/V Support Specialist

Before joining CEE, Casey was an Audio/Video technician for a company called Encore Global (servicing over 5 hotels in the Hollywood area) as well as a recording and live engineer for platinum and Grammy-winning artists. Casey's childhood love for music and technology led to Casey earning his Bachelor's in Electronic Media and Film. After graduating, Casey had the opportunity to work sound for the Inauguration, New York Ball Drop, and many more events.

June Sunwoo, C3 Teacher

For over ten years, June was an elementary teacher at Ann Arbor Public Schools and then at Emerson School in Michigan, teaching first, third, and fifth grades. Before becoming a teacher, June completed a master's degree at the University of Michigan. She has nurtured her passion for teaching since high school when she served as an English tutor. June and her family recently relocated to Los Angeles and look forward to joining the CEE community!

    • Eleazar Borja

    • Kevin Butler

    • Melanie Castro

    • Chandler Chappell

    • Maya Delgado

    • Gregory Dunbar

    • Kathleen Dutton

    • Dorothy Forneris

    • William Harrison

    • Shannon Larner

    • Victoria Martinez

    • Norma Melara

    • Wilber Moreno

    • Kia Perry

    • Brent Piller

    • Casey Smith

    • June Sunwoo

The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, strives to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.