Site Directors and Teachers

Our teachers are caring and innovative educators. We provide extensive and ongoing professional development so teachers provide the best learning experiences. 


You can find your child's teachers below by finding the school first. Schools are listed in alphabetical order. 



Julie Mathiasen

Farallone View Site Director


Julie was raised in a small farming valley in the Sierras in Northern California. She has lived in El Granada for the past 33 years.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Julie worked in the greenhouse industry in Half Moon Bay for 12 years growing baby plants before starting her own daycare when her two daughters were in elementary school at Farallone View Elementary School.  Currently Julie works part time in the mornings at The HEAL Project and leads tours to school-age children educating them as to where their food comes from and why it matters. In addition, Julie is a Garden Coordinator for an elementary school in South San Francisco where she teaches healthy eating and gardening practices to T-K through 5th grade. We cook, we sample, we dig, we weed, and we learn.  In the summer, Julie manages her own Summer Day Care business where she leads kids to explore in nature on our beautiful coastside. Julie is also a Part-Time Children's Ministry Director at Western Hills Church in San Mateo. She has worked as an Assistant and Co-Director for the past nine years at Kings Mountain Elementary School.  Julie loves photography, hiking to waterfalls, gardening and jewelry making.


Gikui Kuria

Farallone View Teacher


Gikui was born in Kenya, Africa and then raised in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a BS in Elementary Education and is a certified teacher. After graduating from Texas Tech, Gikui got an opportunity to be a full time nanny in Half Moon Bay for two families. She moved to Half Moon Bay in January 2018.  Gikui ended up loving living on the coast. She decided to stay and continue pursuing her passion of teaching children and joined Workshop Education. Gikui is very excited to learn and grow with Workshop.

Hatch Elementary


Katy Katzenberger 

Hatch Site Director


Katy is excited to be a part of Workshop Education. She grew up in Southern Illinois, a daughter of a college professor and a regional assistant superintendent. After an especially chilly Midwestern winter, she and her husband moved to the Bay Area in 1993.  Katy was Co-Director of Kings Mountain Children's Center for four years, working after school with kindergarten through fifth grade students. Prior to that, she spent five years with the San Mateo County Historical Association, leading field trips as a Program Interpreter in their Education Department.  Katy has been a longtime docent at the Woodside Store and volunteers at various special events to help preserve county history.  Katy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. While spending twenty years working as a PR specialist, she had her own children and realized she enjoyed helping in their classrooms and wanted to work in education. Katy loves to instill creative confidence in children by helping them be good readers, writers, and public speakers. She believes it’s important to have a good sense of humor and she loves watching children use their imaginations.  In her spare time, Katy enjoys relaxing with her family and friends, hiking near the beach or redwoods, listening to all types of music, and cooking.

North Star Academy


Yesica Mendieta

North Star Site Director, Grade 3 Teacher


Yesica was born in Mexico and raised in the peninsula. Her trajectory working with children began in 2010 as a Sunday school teacher with school aged children. Yesica also has worked at the YMCA where she helped students meet their academic goals.  In 2014 she expanded her experience and began working with special needs students as a paraprofessional. When working with this population Yesica found a deeper satisfaction and discovered that she wanted to pursue higher education in the special needs field. She enjoys working with children both as a group and individually.  Yesica is looking forward to having fun and helping the North Star students as much as she can!


Eliana Sanchez

North Star Grade 4 Teacher 


Eliana recently graduated with an Associate Degree from Canada College and is currently working on her BA. While in college she was a nanny and enjoyed working with kids.  She also has tutoring experience and served in different summer camps.  Eliana shadowed and volunteered at the Boys and Girls club. Having a big family has created her passion for children. She loves working with children and being able to interact with them.  Eliana is bilingual in English and Spanish.  In her free time she likes to play soccer and practice yoga. 


Lorrie Del Rio

North Star Grade 5 Teacher


Lorrie Del Rio was born and raised in Redwood City. She is a mother of 6 children and has 6 grandchildren. Lorrie has worked with children of various ages for the past 25 years.  She ran a licensed home day care in Redwood Shores and currently is the Children's Director at a local church in Redwood City. Lorrie also worked as an assistant education specialist with a family caring for their son with special needs. She loves working with children, helping them find their potential, and encouraging them in their learning and personal growth. She enjoys creating an environment that is loving and caring, bringing out the best in every child. Lorrie is looking forward to working with the children at Northstar, getting to know them and their families. 


Aliza Peters

North Star Grades 6-8 Teacher


Aliza has lived in Redwood City, California her whole life.  She attended Kennedy Middle school, Everest Public High School and then continued her education at Cañada College. She is now attending San Francisco State University and obtaining her degree in English Literature and will be continuing on to an Accelerated Nursing Program in the future.  Aliza always had a passion for helping children learn and understand what is going on around them.  She feels like everybody deserves a support system.  Aliza began working with children as a volunteer for her brother's Hard of Hearing summer classes as a young teen and then continued to volunteer at Sequoia Hospital in the Labor and Delivery section where she would sometimes watch little toddlers. From there Aliza joined Aim High, as an college intern in 2019. This program is special to her since she attended the program in 2010. Aliza started off by being an intern for a Science class in her first year and by her second year she was co leading a Humanities class, where English grammar and writing with personal development were connected. Aliza's goal is to help students learn and show them that she believes in them and wants to support them because she truly cares.


Kathy Valos



Kathy is originally from New York, born and raised. Her family background has been in real estate and the beauty industry. From a very early age, she gravitated away from her family’s business towards her desire to explore child development. She pursued double BA majors from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology and Cross-Cultural Literature from Hunter College CUNY. Kathy also studied Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialty in Art Therapy in the Masters Program at Notre Dame de Namur University. She has taught religious education for over 7 years. Kathy also has her Certificate of Clearance by the State of CA.  She is authorized to be a substitute teacher and is currently subbing at Roy Cloud.  She has a special interest for working with children with disabilities and in the medical arts. Kathy’s belief that teaching with clarity, passion, empathy, and sincere enthusiasm, effectively impacts the learners at Workshop, ultimately connecting them to their ‘passion’ and lifelong learning. Additionally, Kathy is bilingual in English and Greek. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, museums, and spending time with her husband and children.

Roy Cloud


Princess Parangan

Roy Cloud Site Director


Princess Parangan was born in San Francisco and is currently enrolled in Skyline College. She is on track to get her Sociology and Political Science Associate's degree, and transfer to San Francisco State University in the fall. Hoping to one day teach sociology, she wishes to gain experience teaching all grade levels and learn different teaching techniques. She has been tutoring since she was 15 and then switched to teaching at a private elementary school in 2018. She is excited to work at Roy Cloud elementary school to help students understand the joy of learning and to learn new things herself!



Michele Gonzalez

Roy Cloud Teacher


Michele grew up in East Palo Alto. She has always had a passion for working with children since she was a child herself. Michele grew up going to after school programs in elementary and middle school, which made her realize she wanted to make an impact on children's lives as well.  She worked at The Boys and Girls Club as a First Grade Instructor teaching enrichment classes, running study skill stations and clubs. Michele attended Foothill College where she studied Early Child Development. She hopes to finish her degree soon. Michele is very excited to join the Roy Cloud team and be able to share her ideas and be a good mentor to the Roy Cloud students.   




Jennifer von Bleichert 

Woodside Site Director



Jennifer was born and raised in San Carlos, CA. After many years of working in the video game industry and living in Redwood Shores, her family moved to Roseville, CA. There she followed her passion and pursued her desire to become a teacher. She started teaching in 2012 at Childtime Learning Center where she taught age groups as young as preschool to elementary. Jennifer feels very fortunate to be able to move back home on the Peninsula, near the ocean and San Francisco.  Jennifer loves teaching crafts and creative arts with the children. She enjoys mentoring and guiding each child so they can recognize their own individual strengths to reach their full potential with confidence.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, traveling and making custom jewelry.


On Call Teachers


Mary Dournaee

On Call Teacher


For over ten years, Mary has enjoyed helping students of all ages learn to exercise their creativity and also think critically. Mary has degrees in engineering, computer science, and education with experience as a program manager and director of education for various tutoring and after school programs. As a credentialed teacher, she's taught and tutored math and science across the San Francisco Bay Area. Mary hopes to encourage students to build creativity and innovation skills with some fun STEM activities during Workshop innovation time.


Amoriya Perez



Amoriya Perez grew up in the Bay Area and has been working with children for 4+ years in a variety of settings. She worked as a lifeguard, camp counselor, and then as an administrative assistant at a private elementary school. She enjoys helping children reach their full potential as they grow and thrive in a school setting. Outside of work, she does volunteer work and enjoys painting and playing cello.  She is excited for the opportunity to work with the Workshop students.