Meet Our Staff

Meghan Ammon

Meghan Ammon

Teacher - Classroom 2

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 1

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.

I take my coffee black and (obviously) I love any kind of carbs and pasta!

 

Samantha Birmingham

Samantha Birmingham

Teacher - Classroom 1

I have been working with children for nearly 20 years. Being a teacher has been a passion of mine from as early as I can remember. I always played “teacher” in school and, as soon as I was old enough, started babysitting the neighborhood kids.  I love being around children and enjoy watching them learn and grow.

I have Early Childhood Education units from Cabrillo College and UCSC Extension and I’m currently working towards a degree. I’ve also completed the SEEDS Early Literacy Class through First 5.

I grew up in Santa Cruz and currently live in Scotts Valley with my husband Steve, and our very stubborn and strong willed, almost 4yr old son, Collin.  In my spare time I enjoy family outings to the beach, park, vacation, camping, biking, cooking, photography and crafts.

I’m excited to be a part of the CCP family. I love working here and look forward to creating new friendships with all the children and families.

 

Suzie Dailey

Suzie Dailey

Teacher - Classroom 2

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 - Classroom 3

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.

 

Ashley Holderfield

Ashley Holderfield

Teacher - Classroom 3

I began my career working with children in 2015 at Gavilan College. I then moved to the small town of Aromas and continued my education at Cabrillo in 2017 where I was offered a year-long internship in their preschool lab. After an amazing year as an intern I began my search for a preschool that fit my teaching style and philosophy.

I grew up as a middle child of six and so have always been surrounded by children. My very first job working with children was as a coach at June Bugs Gym. I then began teaching preschool full time for a year and a half and learned so much while I was there until Covid struck. I am so excited to be back in the classroom again!

One of my favorite hobbies is gardening and taking care of my ever growing house plant collection. I also enjoy making music with my partner Eli. I play the piano, guitar and ukulele. I enjoy painting and crafting as well.

My favorite coffee drink is a vanilla latte. I prefer home-cooked meals and love to be in the forest, at the beach and browsing plant shops.

 

Olivia Lastra

Olivia Lastra

Teacher - Classroom 3

Hi, I’m Teacher Olivia! I was born and raised in Morgan Hill, California, where I attended grade school through high school. Even then I knew that I had a passion for helping children and their families. Prior to high school, I attended West Valley Community College for two years where I realized I loved studying human behavior and development. After I finished two years at West Valley, I transferred to CSU Chico and decided to major in Child Development. Through that pathway I studied human development from conception into adulthood and got the chance to intern and work with many different demographics of people, one of which was a preschool/child development lab. There I fell in love with the organized chaos that is the preschool setting and now here we are!

I moved to Aptos after starting my first year at CCP (two-ish years ago) and I hope to stay here for many years to come. Even though I have been here for a couple years now I am still learning all the wonderful places to eat, drink, and play so I’m always open to suggestions if you have them. I am currently beginning my third year at CCP in Classroom 2.

When I’m not at CCP, depending on what time of year it is, I love to spend time with my friends and family, get work done around my house, explore, go running, snowboard, read, and try new things.

 

Jasmyn Miller

Jasmyn Miller

Teacher - Classroom 2

Hi, my name is Jasmyn Miller. I recently graduated from UCSC with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Bachelors in Sociology.  I have been an intern at CCP since the spring of 2019.  I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Afternoon Program as a support teacher.

I have worked with kids, nannying and coaching kids soccer, since I was about 13 years old. I have always loved being around children and helping them succeed in the tasks and skills they are attempting to achieve.

Watching children take on challenges and navigating this world for the first time, without their parent’s right by their side, is something I am very excited about!

 

Roy Schwartz

Roy Schwartz

Teacher - After School Program

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!

 

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 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 seventh-grader at Mission Hill! Our family enjoys watching my daughter play sports, 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