Our Staff



Maria Alvarez graduated from St. Mary’s College in Moraga with a B.A. in Liberal and Civic Studies: TFT Program. She continued her graduate studies at St. Mary’s and attained a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, M.A. in Teaching, and an American Montessori Society Credential in Early Childhood. She has taught in both Montessori and traditional classrooms but loves the Montessori curriculum. During her free time, Maria enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, attending family events, and traveling.  


Co-Director Rachel Smith is a co-direcor with Maria Alvarez as well as a co-teacher in the classroom. She is a professionally trained scientist who joins us after discovering her passion for Montessori education. While she loved bringing research products to scientists, what inspires her most is one-on-one or small group teaching where she can contribute directly to sparking a love of learning. Montessori is her ideal vehicle to do just that, and she is recently attended St Mary’s Kalmanovitz School of Education to receive her Montessori credential.


Ronda Deplazes is a highly experienced Montessori teacher with over 30 years experience working with preschool and toddler age children. Ronda has deep roots in the Bay Area Montessori community. She has enjoyed a variety of roles during her career including head teacher and school directress.

Maraly Mercado worked with young children in daycare programs in the East Bay. She earned her Associate Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Education from Los Medanos College in 2015. She enjoys working with preschool aged children. She looks forward to earning a Montessori Early Childhood Credential in the near future. Maraly enjoys bike rides, running marathons, and reading.