San Jacinto Staff
Listed alphabetically, by first name.
San Jacinto Panda Bears Teacher (Twos and Threes)
Favorite Children’s Book: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Angela discovered the UTCDC during her college years in 2009 and has been assisting many teachers since. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UT Austin with a major in Human Development and Family Sciences concentrating on Early Childhood and minors in Psychology and Korean. Angela speaks both Korean and English fluently.
The strong foundation in her education and hands-on experiences with young children allows Angela to recognize and utilize the developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). She LOVES having fun with children by playing! Angela is an excellent photographer - taking photos of children-in-action and sharing them with the Panda Bears parents at our members-only shutterfly website.
When Angela is not working, she loves to go out explore restaurants and have a great time at the Barton Springs or Zilker Park with her Husband, Jay.
San Jacinto Rainbows Teacher (Threes and Fours)
Favorite Children’s Books: I Love You Because You’re You by Liza Baker and David Mcphail, and We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates and Joe Mathieu
Ella has been with us since 1996, and has worked in the child care field since 1981. She got her start in the field by babysitting nephews, nieces, and siblings, and went on to earn a child development associate credential.
As an active member of the Austin Association for the Education of Young Children, Ella is committed to current issues in child development. She is also a card-playing enthusiast who belongs to the Austin Bid Whist Club, and enjoys traveling, gardening, and decorating her home.
San Jacinto Ositos Teacher (Twos and Threes)
Favorite book: I love you forever by Robery Munsch and Sheila McGraw
Erica was born and raised in Laredo, TX. She moved to Austin after spending most of her childhood summers with family. She has been working with children for 8 years, and has been with UTCDC since 2010. Erica's favorite age group is two to three year olds because of the growth and development they display throughout the time they are enrolled in her classroom.
Erica is currently attending Austin Community College to study child development. In her spare time, Erica enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and listening to live music.
UTCDC Program Director
Favorite Children’s Book: The King’s Equal by Katherine Paterson
Hara has been with the Child Development Center since 1992. She holds a bachelor’s degree in child development from Texas State University, and a Masters of Education from The University of Texas. Before bringing her gifts to us she worked as a summer camp administrator. She also has years of experience as a child care consultant for the city of Austin, and as a member of Austin Community College’s adjunct faculty.
Hara is busy while away from work managing one daughter and two sons. She and her husband spend many hours watching the kids at swimming and diving events. In her spare time Hara has a small photography business and enjoys quilting.
San Jacinto Administrative Assistant
Favorite Children’s Books: Curious George series by H. A. Rey; The Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein; Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Hilda grew up moving around the country which led to her attending 33 schools and 3 colleges before graduating with a major in History. After moving to Austin with her husband and son she began worked at Bethany Lutheran Child Care Center in their administration. Fortunately, in 2010, Hilda came to work at UTCDC and with her 13 years of experience immediately became an asset. One thing she has learned over the years - when around children there is never a dull moment! Although she is not in the classroom with them, she is able to watch the progress each child makes – from walking, to talking to sharing the day with their parents.
When not working, Hilda enjoys reading and working in the yard. She is active in two bunco groups, does fun activities with “Empty Nester” friends, enjoys plays, going out to eat with friends and playing games.
San Jacinto All Stars Teacher (Pre-K)
Favorite Children’s Books: The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola and anything by Mo Williams
Jennifer joined the UTCDC staff in April 2011 after moving to Austin. She has been working in early childhood education classrooms since 1998. During her career, she has had the opportunity to have worked with children 6 weeks to school age. Jennifer will receive her Associates Degree in Child Development from Austin Community College in May 2015.
What Jennifer loves most about children is their natural curiosity and unique view of our world. She loves to introduce new ideas to them to discovery in his or her own way. Having conversations and listening to their stories is one of Jennifer’s greatest joys.
Jennifer is originally from San Diego, California. When she is not teaching in the All Star classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her black lab mix, Ruby.
San Jacinto Penguins Teacher (Threes and Fours)
Favorite book: Charlotte's Web by E. B. White and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Jessica received her B.S. in Early Childhood with a Business Foundations Certificate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. Soon after she began working with the UTCDC as a floater at our Comal location. She says she loves working with children because they find value in the simplest objects and they remind me to appreciate the small things every day. Jessica’s goal as a teacher is to encourage independence, critical thinking skills, and a love for literature.
When not working, Jessica enjoys spending time with her Australian kelpie, Kirko, and leopard gecko, Mr. Fantastic. She also loves to read, volunteer, and partake in trivia nights.
San Jacinto Leaping Frogs Teacher (Pre-K)
Favorite Children's Book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Laura joined the UTCDC team in 2005 as a floating teacher at the Comal location while she attended UT. She graduated from UT with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development and a minor in Child Development. After graduation, Laura began working full time in the Leaping Frogs classroom. Laura loves the intrinsic motivation to learn she sees in her students and enjoys teaching new ideas to them. Her favorite part about her class in how unique each of her students are. She loves to hear the children's ideas and learn about their interests.
At home Laura loves to spend time with her silver dapple dachshund, George. She is also a big movie enthusiast and particularly enjoys horror films.
San Jacinto Bumblebees Teacher (Infants)
Favorite Children's Book: Love Is A Handful of Honey
Born and raised in Austin, Leah joined UTCDC in 2003 as a Peek-a-boos teacher, brining to the center her radiant personality and over 11 years of child care experience. Her favorite thing about working here is the sense of closely-knit and supportive community of teachers, staff, parents, and children. Ms. Leah loves to hear her Bumblebees' laugh when she reads Love Is a Handful of Honey to them. When she is not loving on our babies, she is spending time with her daughter, Ari, scrap-booking, reading, and watching movies.
San Jacinto Dragonflies Teacher (Toddlers)
Favorite Children’s Book: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Leticia moved to Austin in 1991 and began her career as a childcare provider with UT Child Dev. Center. Her son attended the UTCDC for the four years she was with us. After she left she continued working at a local school and took over their infant program. Leticia received her Child Development Associate credential in 2009. We were fortunate to have Leticia bring her talents back to the UTCDC in the spring of 2011.
Leticia makes her classroom a joyful and fun place for children to develop. She loves teaching the children self-help skills and allowing them to become more independent. Her goal as a teacher is to give every child the best quality of care and to set a great example for them.
When Leticia is not working with young children, she loves spending time with her family. She has a 26 year old son who graduated from MIT and an 18 year old daughter currently attends Texas A&M. She also enjoys watching funny movies and listening to music.
San Jacinto Peacocks Teacher (Twos and Threes)
Favorite books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak; Corduroy by Don Freeman
Mary has been working in early childhood development since 2005. While earning her undergraduate degree at Western Kentucky University, she worked at the campus child care center Head Start program. She graduated in 2008 with a BA in Advertising and a minor in Sociology. Watching her mother, who was her kindergarten teacher and now a 2nd grade teacher, has given her a passion for teaching. When she first moved to Austin in 2009, she was a full-time substitute at UTCDC. She is so glad to be back and join the team!
In her spare time, Mary enjoys outdoor activities, especially kickball and sand volleyball, where she participates in local leagues around Austin.
San Jacinto Amigos Teacher (Threes and Fours)
Favorite Children’s Book: A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Melinda was born in Dallas, TX and raised in Raymondville, TX with her parents and 10 siblings. She attended college at the University of Texas Pan American where she majored in Early Childhood Education. Melinda joined the UTCDC team in 2000. She has 13 years of experience working with children, 8 of them at the UTCDC. The opportunity to be a part of such a diverse community is one the things that she enjoys most about working here. In her classroom, Melinda feels privileged to be able to foster the growth and development of so many children. She strives to provide the best care for each family.
When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her son, Izac. They both enjoy visiting libraries, spending time outside at parks, and taking trips to the valley to visit family.
San Jacinto Site Director
Favorite Children’s Books: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Suess and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Paula has been working in early childhood development since the birth of her son in 1992. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from Baylor University. Paula joined San Jacinto the spring of 2011, after 12 years in the classroom and 7 years as a director of a center. Paula is a member of NAEYC (National Association of Education for the Young Child). She enjoys the developmental process of young children and keeping up with early childhood issues.
In her spare time, Paula enjoys her family and making personalized gift baskets for friends and loved ones during special occasions. She and her husband love movies, trying out new restaurants, and traveling to new regions of the country whenever possible.
San Jacinto Assistant Site Director
Favorite Children’s Books: The Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Series by Mo Willems and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (among MANY others!)
Sarah was born and raised in Cookeville, TN and lived there until 2009. Sarah has a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with a reading concentration, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She has been working with children since 2004 and has loved every minute. Sarah joined San Jacinto in the spring of 2014, after working as a teacher, assistant director and filling in as an interim director for the past five years. Sarah enjoys evolving as an educator and learning new teaching strategies and methods.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys exploring Austin and participating in anything outdoors. Some of those outdoor activities include: hiking, rock climbing, and camping. Sarah is also an avid movie lover and children’s book fanatic!
San Jacinto Sea Turtles Teacher (Toddlers)
Favorite Book: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
I have worked in early childhood education since 2001. In college I interned at Disney World (sooooo fun) and worked as a DJ. I graduated from Texas State University in May of 2006 with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in Family and Child Development. I knew from a young age that working with children was my calling. I have worked with children of all ages, but I really enjoy the toddler years the most. Children at this age are little sponges and I love helping them discover new things and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they accomplish something for the first time!
Favorite Children’s Book: Susan loves children’s books and has a very extensive collection. She cannot pick just one favorite. But some of her favorite authors include Patricia Polacco, Don & Audrey Woods, and Shel Silverstein.
We are fortunate to have such an experienced person work with us as our Curriculum and Training Coordinator. Susan’s career has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and their families for more than 30 years. She holds a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education and has been a teacher, director, mentor, consultant and validator for early childhood programs all across the United States. In the coordinator role Susan spends time at each of our locations to assist in providing guidance and inspiration in all aspects of our programs curriculum and staff training.
When not enjoying children and their families at the center she is enjoying her own family which includes a son (Ezra), daughter (Mardi) and many other children she and her husband have “adopted” from around the world.