Teachers and Staff

DIRECTORS

Christina Maluenda is one of the founding Co-Director/Teachers of Mission Kids and has been working in early childhood education for over 15 years. She was the Founder and Director of Imagine Preschool, which merged with Mission Kids to become a licensed child care facility in 2009.

Prior to her time at Imagine, Christina served as the Director of Partners in Autism Treatment, a non-profit agency serving young children on the autism spectrum. As Director, she focused on integrating children with autism into regular preschool settings. Christina has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University and a Master of Science in Child Development from University of California Davis. Christina is a Spanish bilingual educator, a certified CLASS observer, a trained member of San Francisco’s NERT program and she serves on the Board of Trustees for Presidio Hill School. Christina also holds a Child Development Program Director Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.


Heather Lubeck has worked at Mission Kids as a founding Co-Director/Teacher since the school was licensed in 2009. She has over 15 years of teaching, research, and administrative experience in a variety of educational settings and with students from a wide diversity of backgrounds.

Before working at Mission Kids, she worked for a year at Imagine Preschool in San Francisco. She also worked for 4 years as an elementary reading specialist with the Georgia State University Department of Psychology. Prior to this, Heather taught elementary special education in a public school district in the Atlanta area. In 2001, she received the Atlanta Journal & Constitution’s annual award for teaching excellence in the state of Georgia. She holds a Masters in Special Education from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia. Heather holds a Program Director Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

 

TEACHERS

Gigi Muñoz is a bilingual, Spanish-speaking San Francisco native who began teaching at Mission Kids in 2014. Gigi is currently a Head Teacher.

Gigi spent most of her adult life in the business management world. One day she decided that it would be fantastic to end her days covered in finger paint, while emptying sand out of her shoes. Since she was little, her mother had always told Gigi that she would be best working with children. She made the career change by taking Early Childhood Development classes at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). Gigi obtained her associates degree at CCSF in Child Development and is continuing her education for a Bachelor’s degree. She holds a Site Supervisor Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Gigi is enthusiastic about the philosophy of Mission Kids, and she is happy to be part of  the community.


Monika Zapata joined Mission Kids during the 2013-14 school year.  She has experience in observation, documentation, and play-based learning. Monika started working as a preschool teacher while she was enrolled at the Child Development Program at San Francisco State University in 2008.

Monika also studied and worked in Queretaro, Mexico for two years in a community as a private English teacher. Throughout her work and personal experiences she has grown to value community and family support systems — and their influence on a child’s identity. Monika holds a Site Supervisor Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.


Ryoko Takahashi joined Mission Kids in 2014. She brings more than 6 years of experience working with children in the US and Japan. Ryoko grew up in Tokyo, Japan where she was passionate about music education and specifically the piano. She is excited to share her love for music with the Mission Kids community.

Ryoko holds a Bachelor’s of Classical Piano Performance and an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has previously served as a Kindergarten teacher for two years and preschool teacher for 2 years in Japan. Ryoko received a piano teacher and performance certification from Yamaha music foundation in 2008 and received multiple awards from the Japan Piano Teachers Association.


Lucy Trigueros was born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco and has been with Mission Kids since 2009. She has worked as a Teacher Assistant for six years and is an integral part in keeping Mission Kids well organized.

Lucy is bilingual and regularly speaks Spanish with the children. She believes in providing hugs, a lap to sit in and time to listen. She provides private child care services to many Mission Kids families. Lucy holds an Associate Teacher Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

 

ART SPECIALIST

Cecille Santos is the Art Specialist at Mission Kids. She co-creates art installations and projects with the children. Cecille also enjoys singing and dancing while working with the little artists at Mission Kids. Cecile has been working in early childhood care for the past 22 years in private homes and in preschools. She provides private art lessons and previously worked as the art curriculum coordinator for Imagine Preschool.

She was born in South Africa and previously lived in Jerusalem, where she attended art school. She also lived in Switzerland and London before moving to San Francisco in 1981. Cecile holds an Associate Teacher Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.