TODDLER & PRIMARY FACULTY

TODDLER FACULTY (ages 18-36 months)

EVELYN MARTINEZ
Toddler Program Coordinator
Bilingual Lead Teacher
Little Steps Toddler Class

Evelyn Martinez joined the Spring Hill School in 2009. After studying child development and earning Associate Teacher Credentials, she completed her Montessori training with master Montessori teacher and mentors, as well as a teaching internship at Santa Rosa Junior College. Evelyn is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English, and she introduces her young students to Spanish with consistent conversation in the classroom. Evelyn is an experienced, talented, and committed teacher who deeply cares about her students. She has been integral to the nurturing and loving environment that is so important in the Toddler classroom. Evelyn provides the consistency, care, love, and structure that our toddlers need to ensure that they have a positive, first-time school experience. She has created trusted relationships with her students’ parents through her respectful and caring interactions and her detailed communication each day. She is much loved by her students and their parents. Evelyn enjoys spending time with her husband and her son, Alan, a Spring Hill student.

REINA STARKE
Assistant Teacher
Little Steps Toddler Class

Reina Starke joined the Spring Hill faculty in 1992.  She has been an important part of the Spring Hill community for many years as a member of the administrative team, an Elementary after-school program teacher, a classroom substitute teacher, and a teacher in Spring Hill’s Toddler program. Reina’s mother was Spring Hill’s office manager when she was growing up, and when Reina welcomed her first child, she began working alongside her mother as an after-school teacher. With her mother’s passing in 2014, she is committed to carrying on her legacy of creating a warm and fun educational environment for the children of our community. Reina lives in Petaluma with her husband and two of her three daughters, all Spring Hill alumni. When she’s not with her Spring Hill family or her young granddaughters (one of whom is a Spring Hill student), Reina enjoys long walks, reading, and spending time at the beach.

EVA GARCIA
Bilingual Lead Teacher
Little Stars Toddler Class

Eva Garcia joined the Spring Hill faculty team in 2011.  As a bilingual teacher, she has worked with both Primary (ages 3–6) and Toddler (ages 18–36 months) students at Spring Hill. She earned an Associate Teacher Credential from Santa Rosa Junior College and is currently continuing her education in child development. Eva has a graceful and gentle teaching approach, encouraging her young students to feel secure and eager to learn, and she engages children in all areas. A native Spanish speaker and fluent in English, her conversational Spanish in the classroom and group lessons enable children to develop a crucial foundation for language learning. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Eva has led classes and performances at Spring Hill in Ballet Folklorico (folkloric dance) for preschool age children. Prior to joining Spring Hill, Eva was a program coordinator with the Boys and Girls Club, where she designed and directed programs, activities, and art projects for young children. Eva and her husband live in Petaluma.

KRYSTEL BECERRA-ALFARO
Bilingual Assistant Teacher
Little Stars Toddler Class

Krystel Becerra-Alfaro joined the Spring Hill faculty in 2019. Krystel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education. She is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English. Krystel is an experienced teacher and has worked in classroom settings with preschool age children, as well as in kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms, over the past five years. We are glad to welcome Krystel back to the Spring Hill team. She was previously a member of our team and taught in both our Toddler and Primary programs. Krystel is committed to her students and their families. Our toddlers love Krystel’s warm and caring disposition and parents appreciate her kind, soft-spoken nature.

MARIANNE RIDDLE
Music Teacher

Marianne Riddle is Spring Hill’s Toddler program music teacher. She has been bringing music to Spring Hill’s toddlers since 2017. Marianne is a Group Empowerment Drum Circle Facilitator and Early Childhood Music Educator. She is the founder of Adventures in Rhythm, a rhythm-based music program for all ages and abilities in Petaluma. With creativity, experience and a lifelong devotion to music, Marianne positively supports people of all ages and abilities along their journey of music making. Marianne is an authorized HealthRHYTHMS facilitator, trained by Dr. Barry Bittman, MD and Christine Stevens, MSW, MA, MT-BC. HealthRHYTHMS is a research-based group drumming protocol which has demonstrated biological and psycho-social benefits. The drum is used as a tool for communication and personal expression, and Health RHYTHMS reduces stress, improves mood and boosts the immune system.

PRIMARY FACULTY (ages 3-5 years)

KIM ZEUNERT-MATTIS
Lead Teacher
Bluebirds Primary Class

Kim Zeunert-Mattis is the Lead Teacher of the Bluebirds Primary Class. Kim has a BS in Psychology from University of California at Santa Barbara and her Montessori Teaching credential from the American Montessori Society. Kim has been a Lead Montessori educator for the past 25 years, including 15 years as the founder, director, and Lead teacher for Redwood Montessori School from  in 2001–2015, and teaching at Montessori School of Sonoma. Kim is a true believer in teaching and guiding children to gain “love of learning” and setting foundations for our children in becoming confident, skillful, respectful, and kind adults. Her teaching includes an authentic Montessori curriculum, peace education, teaching American sign language, and incorporating movements, songs, stories into vibrant circle and group times, when children are enthusiastic to participate. Kim is an avid traveler and passionate about guiding her students to become caring and respectful stewards of Mother Earth. Kim has a great focus on geography, cultural studies, and including world music in her Primary program.

Kim lives in Petaluma with her husband Jeff, who is also an educator and a musician. In her spare time, Kim plays bass guitar, loves to run, read, further advance her knowledge for early childhood education, hike, cook, and volunteer at non-profit organizations that are meaningful to her. 

SUMMER REED
Assistant Teacher
Bluebirds Primary Class

Summer recently joined The Spring Hill School and is excited to be a part of the wonderful community. She has an Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as Humanities, and studied Early Childhood Education at Santa Rosa Junior College. Summer previously worked as an aftercare teacher at Oak Grove Elementary School.

Summer loves working with children and is consistently inspired by their curiosity and enthusiasm. She believes in the importance of being kind and trying your best each day. She also enjoys walking, reading, and spending time with her family.

CATHERINE McCRACKEN-JONES
Lead Teacher
Marvelous Minds Primary Class

Catherin McCracken-Jones is the Lead Teacher in the Marvelous Minds class. She joined Spring Hill in 2020. Catherine is a certified Positive Discipline Parent & Classroom Educator and Trainer through the Positive Discipline Association. She has 25 years of experience in early childhood education as both a teacher and director. Previous to joining Spring Hill, Catherine was with the Santa Rosa Co-op Preschool as a teacher and then Director. Additionally, she taught Positive Discipline classes to parents and mentored teachers. Catherine has been a presenter for the Sonoma County Early Learner’s Conference at Sonoma State University. She has a passion for helping families and classrooms build a strong foundation of mutual respect. Catherine enjoys spending time with her family, dog, and two cats.

CLARA MUNOZ
Bilingual Assistant Teacher
Marvelous Minds Primary Class

Clara joined the Spring Hill faculty in 2018. She is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in both Spanish and English, and holds an Associate Teacher Certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College. She has worked with young children from infant to age 5 since 2009. Her experience ranges from home childcare to Loma Vista Elementary School in Petaluma.

Clara integrates conversational Spanish with an engaging curriculum and uses bilingual skills to create a positive and supportive learning environment. She loves working with children and is the mom of three busy children: son Ittai, daughter Sarah, and son Zair. She enjoys cooking, camping, playing volleyball and, most important, spending time with her family.

ROSA (ROSIE) RUIZ
Bilingual Assistant Teacher,
Marvelous Minds Primary Class
Primary Program Bilingual Aftercare Coordinator

Rosie, a native Spanish speaker who is also fluent in English, has worked in early childhood education for ten years. She has an Associate Teacher Certificate and CNA certification (Certified Nursing Assistant). She also has a TALLK project certificate (Teacher Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge), a program that provides preschool teachers with training and coaching in specific strategies for interacting with English learner children to best support language acquisition.

Rosie is passionate about promoting children’s desire to read and write, and she focuses on engaging her young students in acquiring age-appropriate language skills. She brings to her students and colleagues a perennial positive outlook and good humor in approaching teaching and life. She is devoted to her young students and offers them a loving environment each day. She values the trusted relationships she develops with parents. Rosie’s greatest joys are her sons Anthony and George and her husband Tony. She loves spending time with her family, cooking for them, and cheering for her sons and husband when they play their favorite sport—soccer. An animal lover, she enjoys walking her five dogs and caring for her farm animals.

FABIOLA ESTRADA
Outdoor & Garden Education Coordinator
Bilingual Assistant Teacher, Mariposas Class 

Fabiola is an experienced teacher and outdoor program educator who has been a member of the Spring Hill faculty since 2014. A native Spanish speaker, she offers an excellent bilingual program to her students, bringing Spanish to life in a natural “real world” manner. Fabiola integrates conversational Spanish with an engaging outdoor curriculum, offering students a rich learning experience. Fabiola’s positive energy always brightens the days of her students and everyone around her. She is a passionate early childhood educator and celebrates the joy her students find in their work. Fabiola has extensive outdoor education training and creates a welcoming and secure environment, giving children the confidence to explore, play, and learn. She enjoys spending time outside of school with her family.

PABLO RODRIGUEZ
Music Specialist

Pablo Rodriguez is a well-known singer, guitarist, and teacher in the North Bay area. He has performed in a wide variety of styles including classical, Brazilian music, jazz, gospel, pop, and Eastern European music. He has collaborated for years with songwriters, poets, dancers, choirs, and multi-media artists in many venues. He is an experienced teacher both in classroom and private instruction.