About Us / Staff Bios

Steps to Learning Montessori Preschool has been serving children since 2005. We follow Montessori, play-based and other early childhood education (ECE) approaches based upon careful observation of the way each child learns and develops.

Ruwini - Director, Administrator, Curriculum Development Specialist, Music and Movement, Fitness, Healthy Habit and Yoga Program Specialist

Steps to Learning Montessori School was founded in 2005. I worked as the managing member and administrator until 2014, when I took over as Director. I have since established the school as a Montessori school and have implemented other ECE philosophies. I constantly strive to learn new educational methods and techniques in order to continue to meet the needs of children of the 21st century. I have completed many ECE (Early Childhood Education) units and hold a Montessori diploma. I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher for over 5 years and went on to earn my engineering degree at UCSB before working as an administrator in 2005. Since then I have taken many training courses in Montessori and play-based philosophies in the US in early childhood education. Some of my other training has been in outdoor classroom implementation, healthy food, healthy habits, garden-to-snack concepts and STEM education.

In addition to education, I have worked in various industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceutical and homeopathy. I am able to apply some of the same organizational structure that I learned from these experiences in developing our Montessori school.

I am blessed to be able to do what I do every day. I strive to provide quality childcare and a nurturing environment for children. Additionally, I like to try to make it a fun, supportive and exciting workplace for the teachers.

Cindy, Infant Teacher

When I was younger, my teachers were my role models and I looked up to them. Now I want to be a positive role model to children. I have been working with children for 2 years and have completed core ECE units. In addition, I have completed my high school diploma and I plan to continue to pursue knowledge and training in the ECE field. My hobbies are reading, arts and crafts, movies and music. I teach spanish and find it enjoyable to see my students start using new words that I taught them.

Maria, Preschool Teacher

I have AA degrees in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Child Development, and many ECE and administrative units. I have been a teacher for all of my adult life. I love working with children and I strive to provide a nurturing and safe environment for them. My son graduated from SLMS and now I have my second child started in the older infant program. I am very happy with the solid foundation this school has provided for my first child and he is currently excelling in the public elementary school. I enjoy spending time with my family and cooking. I have been working at SLMP since 2014.

Additionally, I am the spanish teacher. I am very proud of the children and I am amazed how much spanish they have learned during this short time.

Sayali, Toddler Head Teacher

I chose to work with children to be a positive influence. I loved my teachers and always had a passion to be a teacher. I have a diploma in Art education and has a diploma in ECE education. I have 4 years of experience working with preschool age and volunteered prior to that. I have a yoga certification and practice on a daily basis. I was successful in potty training my two children at under 2 years of age. I have implemented these practices in our toddler program. My son started here in the older infant program. I am very happy to see his progress at this school and very fortunately to provide an opportunity for a quality education. I have a daughter attending public school now.

My hobbies are art, reading, cooking and spending time with my family.

Belinda, Preschool Head Teacher

I chose this field to make a difference in childrens' lives and to guide them to become successful in life. I started as an office assistant and later completed many ECE units and after that I started gradually working my way up. During the span of this time I have held many positions in the early childhood education field such as Site Supervisor, Lead Teacher in preschool and toddler classes, and have worked as a teacher trainer. I have 24+ years of experience in early childhood education, a Montessori certification, a BA degree in liberal studies, an AS degree in child development and a Child Development Program Director permit.

I love seeing sparkles in the children’s eyes when they accomplish new things, like learning numbers, letter sounds, writing their name, counting etc. I have three children currently attending public schools. My hobbies are spending time with my family, crochet and creating activities for my classroom.

Jacky, Infant Head Teacher

I have a Montessori certification, B.A. degree and two certificates in Early Childhood Education. In spring 2012, I received two certificates from Santa Barbara City College. The first certificate I received was my Associate Childcare Teacher. The second certificate I received was in Infant/toddler. I then went on to attain my Bachelor’s degree. In spring 2015, I graduated from Brandman University in Irvine, CA in Early Childhood Education.

I have a heart for teaching young children. I have experience from working in a Home Daycare setting to working in a Child Development Center. I started working from the bottom up. I was a substitute teacher and worked my way up to being a site supervisor and head teacher. I am very nurturing and strive to create a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment where all children and families can feel safe.

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy going camping, jet skiing, fishing and riding ATV’s on the weekends. My biggest passion is listening to country music and attending country concerts throughout the year. One thing I am really good at and enjoy is cooking. I hope to teach children how to cook many healthy foods and desserts.

Courtney, Toddler Teacher

I love working with children, watching them grow and develop and meet their milestones. I have completed many ECE units and experienced working in a center for a short time. I worked as a nanny for 6 yrs and still do. I studied Liberal Arts with an emphasis in ECE. I am only shy of a few courses in order to complete the degree.

I played college basketball for Santa Barbara City College. I love working out at the gym. Fitness is a very important part of my life style.

Susan, Ballet/Creative Dance Enrichment Program Teacher

I have been working as the creative dance teacher at SLMS since 2016. Since 2018 I have focused on teaching ballet for children 2.5 yrs and up here. I have a lot of experience working with young children and teaching ballet and creative dance. I was born in Madrid, Spain and lived for six years in Singapore and Malaysia studying under the Royal Academy of Dancing. My work has been shown at the Regional Dance Festival, Santa Barbara Dance Alliance and the Fountain Theater in Hollywood, California. I have given workshops and master classes throughout the country and presently teach ballet in several studios in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez as well as coaching privately.