Lexi Brown joined the St. Mark’s family in July 2022 as an Assistant Teacher in Room 4. Lexi is a graduate of High Tech High International where she gained a strong educational foundation and developed productivity and public speaking skills. Lexi always loved playing with children and worked at an after school childcare program prior to coming to St. Marks. She knew then that her passion were the children and started taking courses in Child Development. She is happy because she knows this is what she wants for her career. Lexi is committed to always doing her best and to get better each day.
Taking care of “the Littles” all started for Erin with her baby brother. She was just 7 when she discovered childcare! Soon Erin was caring for children in her neighborhood including the 2 toddlers who lived next door. Their mom told her to “just play with them and to have fun myself.” And Erin did! Erin still loves the sense of wonder, the enthusiasm, and the excitement of discovery in young children. They taught her to slow down and be present for sparkling rain drops, moving leaves, bits of twig, and wiggling worms.
In college Erin dove into Early Childhood Education, took classes in Child Development, and got a Degree in Child Psychology. She taught preschool children, ran an after-school program for 72 (otherwise) latchkey kids (K-6), and for 8 years was an “in-home” respite care provider for infants and toddlers. And Erin had her own 2 boys, who are still her best teachers!
It continues to be Erin’s joy to introduce the world at its blooming, buzzing best! Think tigers, the sound of hummingbirds, the smell of bread, and the colors in rocks. She hopes to instill a respect for all life forms, and a sense of stewardship for this precarious world we inhabit.
Dariane was born and raised here in San Diego, California. Under certain circumstances, Dariane’s grandparents took her in at the age of six and became her legal guardians. She is beyond grateful that her grandparents were able to provide a stable, loving and enriched environment to grow up in. They provided her with a rich upbringing that allowed her to realize her passions of theatre, dance, and the performing arts. These became pivotal in her childhood at San Diego Junior Theatre as a student taking classes, attending camps, and performing in main stage productions for the San Diego community. She became a teacher’s aide for this program and later a dance teacher and fell in love with teaching children.
Dariane studied at San Diego Mesa College for four years. She earned four teaching certificates, an AA degree in Child Development and a certificate of performance in Dance. She has been an active babysitter for many years and takes pride in teaching life skills to her cousin who has Autism. Dariane has also volunteered her time at the Autism Tree Project Foundation assisting in various events and lending a hand in their adaptive dance classes.
Dariane is currently studying to earn a BA in Child Development with an emphasis in Theater Arts at San Diego Sate University. One day, Dariane would like to pursue teaching kindergarten or 1st grade and incorporate the arts into her work.
She has been working at St. Mark’s Nursery Preschool as a substitute for three years in every classroom. Through her time working with children, she is in constant awe of how much both she and the students grow. Dariane feels fortunate to be given the opportunity to work full time in room 4.
Carolina Valadez was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California. She is the youngest sibling out of three and is the only girl. Straight out of high school, she went to Southwestern College and obtained her Associates Degree in Child Development. Carolina decided to further her education and is currently working on her bachelor’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University. She is beginning her journey as an assistant teacher here at St. Marks as of July 19, 2021. Carolina is excited to start her days off with smiles and warm welcomes. She looks forward to learning and creating relationships with the children, parents and staff.
Bella W. joined the St. Mark’s Nursery School team July 2021 and has worked in Early Childhood Education for over 3 years. Bella grew up in the Sacramento/Bay area and has recently moved to San Diego. She is attending San Diego City College to finish her AA degree. Bella will then transfer to SDSU to complete her BA in Education. Bella loves working with children and animals and finds joy seeing all the children’s smiling faces. Bella has a dog named Violet, a cat, and two horses. In her spare time, she enjoys her family, time at the beach, and visiting National Parks!
Sheri joined the St. Mark’s family as an Assistant Teacher in 2004 and had the opportunity to work with our different age groups. In 2012 Sheri moved north requiring her to leave and pursue other options. We were both excited when she moved back to Clairemont in 2020 and was able to join our team again!
Sheri has an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. As a Lead Teacher in Room 4, she feels lucky to work with the children every day. Understanding that the children make her laugh and are so real, Sheri enjoys getting to know each of their individual personalities. In her spare time Sheri likes to spend time with her daughter, a St. Mark’s graduate, and taking walks with her dogs.
Jamie Schmidt has been a consistent substitute teacher at St. Marks since October 2019. She loves California. Jamie spent ten years away in Massachusetts and thought it was gorgeous but cold. She likes her water non-frozen, likes to swim, walk on the sand, and visit aquariums. Jamie has been working with children for about 15 years. Jamie studied child development at Palomar College earning an Associates of Arts in Social Sciences. She has a passion for the arts that comes out both at home and in working with children. Jamie is a big fan of inclusion and seeks to adapt classrooms to meet the needs of all children wherever possible. She is glad to be part of this awesome team and we are equally happy having her here!
Rachel Leavell was born and raised in San Diego. She discovered her love for children through Child Development ROP. Rachel is a proud graduate of Madison High School and has completed over 24 units in Early Childhood Education. She thinks it is special her oldest son graduated from Madison High School as well. He is now a college graduate and holds an English degree from Stanford. Rachel’s other two children are making their way through elementary school. Rachel has been a nanny, homeschool educator, and most recently an infant/toddler teacher. She loves the simple things in life like the beach, nature, trees, long walks, dogs and most of all children! You might find her at the local library with her children and stacks of books waiting to check out. Rachel’s love for children’s books helps her communicate with children of all ages. She loves seeing that “I got it” look on their faces. It could be the new word they learn or the memory they share with a smile. Rachel started at St. Mark’s Preschool the fall of 2017 and is honored to be here. Everyday she says her thanks for the wonderful community she is involved with here at St. Mark’s.
It was with great pleasure that Rocky Brown finds herself among your children here at St. Mark’s, for many years, It is an honor to be part of the fine reputation that this school holds among many communities. After teaching in the early childhood field for nearly thirty years, she has been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the St. Mark’s family.
Rocky grew up among her Italian family in Chicago. She enjoyed a wonderful, colorful, and cultural childhood there with many well-kept memories. Rocky moved to San Diego to attend college and graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Psychology. She has been happily married since 1984 and blessed with a daughter and son.
Being a preschool teacher was a perfect way for her to be near her own children while doing what she loves most. Some of her passions (besides being here) are having dinners with her family, enjoying tranquility from her garden, and advocating for breast cancer awareness.
Irma Leyva was born in Cuba and immigrated to San Diego in 1995. She is the mother of two daughters, Jennie Perez and Carolyn Perez. Irma started to work for St. Mark’s School as a Teacher Assistant in Room 8 August 2012. She has been caring for children since 2008 working as a Residential Care Worker at Polinsky Children Center. The opportunity to work with children and families is the best and most rewarding job to her. There is nothing more gratifying than witnessing a young child learn something new and knowing she was a driving force behind that growth. Her goal is to continue growing as a professional to give the children at St. Mark’s the best possible learning experiences to help them develop and get ready not only for kindergarten but for life.