Meet Our Staff

Meghan Ammon

Meghan Ammon

Teacher - Classroom 1

I was born and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Right after getting married, my husband and I moved to Colorado for about a year and a half. Although we loved the Rockies and the snow, nothing beats Santa Cruz and all the beauty around here. I have a son, Isaac, who attends CCP and a daughter who was born in March of 2020.

I earned an AA in Early Child Education from Cabrillo College and a BA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. I have been working with children for over 15 years starting with babysitting in my neighborhood. I started taking ECE classes in college and began working in the preschool setting shortly after. I have been part of the Coastal Community Preschool staff since the summer of 2014.

In my spare time I love being outdoors; hiking, running, being at the river, the beach or in the forest. I also enjoy reading and spending time with family.

 

 

Matilde Benzoni

Matilde Benzoni

Teacher - Classroom 2

I have a BA in education from the University of Bologna, Italy. I grew up in Italy in a Reggio Children setting. I studied business during High School but I got bored and decided that education was a better fit for me.

I started working with children as a rhythmic gym teacher, a sport I practiced for 14 years, and that experience allowed me to understand that being a teacher was my passion in life. I’ve been working with children since I was in high school and have teaching experiences in many different approaches such as Montessori, Reggio, Outdoor and play-based education.

When I’m not at school, I enjoy riding my mountain bike in the forest or hiking in scenic places. I’m always looking for adventures in new places and nature. I also enjoy rock climbing at the local rock climbing gym.

 

 

Ellie Ryan

Ellie Ryan

Teacher - Classroom 2

I grew up in Oakland where I lived until moving to Santa Cruz to transfer to UC Santa Cruz. While in community college in Oakland I took classes to get my first 6 units in ECE, I am now continuing my ECE classes at Cabrillo. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2021 with a BA in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and a minor in Education. I am especially interested in how those two subjects overlap and incorporating that into the classroom.

I have been working with children as a babysitter since I was 13 and have been working in preschool programs for the past 4 years. I’ve been a substitute teacher at CCP since 2019 and now I am excited to be a part of the teaching team working in Classroom 2! 

When not at school I love to quilt, knit and do printmaking. I also enjoy the outdoors and like to hike and go camping. 

 

 

Suzie Dailey

Suzie Dailey

Teacher - Classroom 1

Hello! My name is Suzie, and I am so grateful to be at Coastal Community Preschool and share my days with your beautiful children.I have been teaching young children for 35 years in a variety of places, with one of the most interesting locations being at an orphanage in Zambia for two summers. This has caused me to have a tender spot in my heart for all things Africa!
I am a proud and blessed mom of my son, Galen, who is a recent graduate of Seattle Pacific University, and an avid photographer. I am also a mama to my four-legged son, Surfer! He takes me on lots of long walks in our beautiful Santa Cruz area and keeps me company while I enjoy one of my favorite hobbies of reading historical novels.
The preschool years are such a magical, joyful, emotional, and wonderful time in childhood, and also in parenthood. It is my honor to travel the journey with each of you! Children are amazing, and it is such a gift to work alongside them every day.
Thank you for welcoming me into the Coastal Community Preschool family!

 

Patience Harris

Patience Harris

Teacher - PM program in Classroom 1

I graduated from high school in Oceanside. In 2009 I received my associate Teacher permit from Cabrillo College and I have completed several certifications as well as many ECE classes.

I have been working with children for over 25 years. My experience first began when I raised my younger siblings. I was the owner of a preschool for 6 years, a nanny, worked in child care centers, and w/ special needs children.

I have two boys that keep me quite busy. If I’m not traveling for sports activities, and I find the time, my personal hobbies and interests include scrap booking and spending time with friends.

 

Kim Boon

Kim Boon

Teacher - Classroom 3

I began with the Pre-K age group over thirty years ago in a co-op preschool with my own children. When my oldest child went to college, 15 years ago, I started teaching in early childhood education where I enjoy developing curriculum and helping students reach their full potential. I taught Pre-K for over 10 years in Carlsbad, California and I have taught 3- 5 year old children in play-based and Reggio-inspired programs.

In continuing my education I have earned ECE units from several community colleges over the years including a Certificate of Achievement in Child Development Associate Teacher from MiraCosta College. Additionally, I have taught art at a non-profit program called StudioAce and I have volunteered throughout my teaching career at numerous non-profits.

When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy traveling, photography, gardening, riding my bike, and eating delicious food. I also love trying new restaurants, going to the beach, museums, art galleries, and spending time with my two adorable grandsons!

 

 

Kara Nette

Kara Nette

School-Age After School Program

I have earned 16 unites in Early Childhood Education at West Valley College as well as a diploma alongside honors in child development and certificates of achievement in Careers with Children and Child Development. When I was in High School one of my teachers suggested I should try working with children and I fell in love with the job first day!

I have eight years of experience working with all ages. I started with the YMCA in the after school care program. I have worked as a preschool teacher and I have also worked with middle school and high school students. I love working with all ages for different reasons.

I am a dancer and a yoga enthusiast! I love plants, and I am a vegan for the love of animals. When I am at home I play with my two cats and two rats and I also have a frog. I am very passionate about saving animals and I have nursed a sick fox back to health all on my own.

My favorite places to go include spending time at the beach and in the woods

Roy Schwartz

Roy Schwartz

Teacher - Classroom 3

Hello, I am Roy and I am originally from Utah where I grew up in a large family. I have five sisters, 4 nephews, 5 nieces and and one on the way! I have lived in Santa Cruz for over 15 years now.  I earned an A.S. Degree in ECE from Cabrillo College where I did my internship in the toddler classroom. I also have my Site Supervisor/Master teacher certificate. Additionally, I have run summer programs, private school programs, and helped to facilitate and plan family events as well as special events for students. I have also worked as an Optician for the past 17 years.

When I am not at school I love to listen to live music and my partner Ian, for the last 11 years, traveled all over the U.S. for concerts. I have new found hobbies since Covid that include doing puzzles, reading more than I did before, feeding birds, gardening and propagating new starts. I think my house plants make my home feel happier. I was also taught how to Swedish weave by my grandma.

I am excited to be a part of CCP working in the School-Age after school program!

 

Raeleen Benabides

Raeleen Benabides

Teacher - Classroom 2

I have earned my A.S Degree in Early Childhood Education from Cabrillo College where I interned in their Children’s Center for a year and then became a Head Teacher. I worked at the Family Network preschool for three years before moving to the Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center from 2004 until 2020. Additionally I worked in a home preschool from 2017-2020. I have had over 20 years of experience working with children from infant age to 5 years old.
I have three beautiful daughters that I am very proud of and I love spending time with them. I was a pastor’s kid and I enjoy going to church. My hobbies include photography and doing Word Search and board games. If I have spare time I enjoy listening to music and visiting the beach and taking in the beauty of this area.

 

Kimberlee Biagini

Kimberlee Biagini

Administrative Director

I joined the CCP community in August of 2011 as a parent where I enjoyed getting involved with Spring Festival planning and being a member of the CCP Board of Directors as a way to take part in my child’s early education. In 2013 I was delighted to become a member of the staff at this wonderful preschool.

Being around the energy of children is a great joy and a fun environment to work in. My employment background is in management and administration. I have earned a BA in Social Science with a concentration in education, focusing on early childhood education. I feel working here is a great fit for my professional life as I’m able to utilize my degree and knowledge in many ways.

My daughter is now a eighth-grader at Mission Hill! We enjoy watching her play sports and we love traveling and biking. I love to work in the garden as well as spend time at the beach and in nature.

kimberlee@coastalcommunitypreschool.org

Stephanie Simmons

Stephanie Simmons

Program Director

I have worked in Early Childhood Education in the Santa Cruz area for over 25 years, and at  CCP since 2011, where I have been a part of Classrooms 2 and 3.  Most recently, I was promoted to Program Director. I earned my AA in Early Childhood Education along with multiple ECE certificates at Cabrillo College, and have a Child Development Site-Supervisor permit. I have also been trained in both the SEEDS literacy and Handwriting Without Tears programs. 

I have always loved working with children and am passionate about creating a learning, enriched environment that focuses on fostering a child’s self-respect and respect for others. I feel strongly about giving children the opportunity to explore and create at their own pace and to embrace cultural diversity, all the while having FUN! I have always found it rewarding to witness the progression of how a child starts to learn something and then when he/she really grasps the concept. I realize how special these early years are and the positive impact a teacher can have on their growth.  

In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my husband Craig, going on walks, listening to music, spending time in bookshops (I have an exceptionally large children’s book collection), as well as watching the GIANTS!

stephanie@coastalcommunitypreschool.org