Our Staff

​Kelley Cohen

Administrative Director

It is an honor and a privilege to work with the children, parents and teachers at Tree of Life Learning Center every day! I began my career over 13 years ago, teaching elementary education. I love being a teacher. I love the look on a child’s face when they are asking a question and the satisfaction they have when their curiosity has paid off and they have found the answer! I love being a director. I love watching the teachers develop and grow into your children’s heroes. I opened this school in August 2011 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has given me an opportunity to bring the kind of culture and values to the early education of the children in our community. I love working in the community in which I live with my husband and our three children. I hope to instill a love of learning into my own children and all the children at Tree of Life Learning Center!

 

Evelyn Owens

Hi! I am Ms. Evelyn and I am very excited to be teaching here at Tree of Life Learning Center! I received my teaching credential through Sacramento State University for Elementary Education. It wasn’t until my time teaching the preschool classes at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum that I fell in love with teaching preschool-aged children. I worked for the Museum for 4 years before deciding to focus on teaching in the classroom fulltime. I completed my Early Childhood Education units through Diablo Valley College. I love being creative and I bring this energy and learning to the classroom. I view the child as a whole person, who brings with them the tools and talents to learn and grow. My role is to guide their learning, build up their strengths, and support them with their challenges. When I’m not teaching, my passions include dance, theater, my dog Sparkey, and Civil War Reenacting.

 

Kerri White

Hi! My name is Ms. Kerri. I was born and raised in Fremont and moved to the Danville area in 1993. I have been with Tree of Life Learning Center since August of 2014. When not working I enjoy taking my daughter to sports games, cheering on my nephews in their games and spending time with family and friends. I have 20+ years of experience and am currently attending Diablo Valley College to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. My main goal in the classroom is not only to provide a loving environment for the children, but to also enrich their lives with learning while having fun. I became a teacher because I love kids! I like to get messy and explore!

 

Zvia Bitansky

Hi! My name is Ms. Zvia. I was born in Israel and grew up there. I attended a vocational high school learning drafting and other architectural office skills. After serving in the Israeli Army, I worked for an architect in Tel Aviv. In 1981, my family moved to San Francisco. Soon after settling in the East Bay, I began to study preschool education and worked in the preschools at Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, Temple Isaiah, and B’nai Shalom. During this time, I completed the curriculum in Early Childhood Education at Diablo Valley College and earned numerous certificates. I bring the richness of Judaism to my classroom and with every small dose of Judaica, enrich the learning environment. I love introducing the children to the world, to language, music, and art. I have for many years watched children gain knowledge through experience as I encourage their curiosity. I am the one honored to guide their curiosity.

 

Trini McGeogh

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

Hi! My name is Ms. Trini. I was born in Redondo Beach and raised in Castro Valley. I have been working with children since I was a child myself! When I was 11 (with my mom’s supervision), I started my own backyard summer day camp for the children in my neighborhood and ran the program until I was 15. My passion for teaching has been lifelong!

I graduated in 2012 from Mills College with a B.A. in Psychology and completed my Early Childhood Development units at Merritt College. I have been teaching preschool since April 2014 and have been at Tree of Life Learning Center since August 2015. Prior to teaching, I taught gymnastics for eight years and also worked as a nanny for almost seven years. While teaching gymnastics, I found that I really enjoyed working with the preschool-aged children. Their enthusiasm and energy is very inspiring to me!

 

Claudia Argueta

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Dr. Hiam Ginnot

My name is Claudia Argueta. I have a Master degree in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College and a Bachelor degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University. I have been at Tree of Life since November 2015 and I am very excited to be part of the team. I believe the early years in a child’s education are intrinsic in order to build on the future years. This is such a great window of opportunity for parents, family and educators to teach valuable lessons that can stay and promote advanced learning in a child’s life. In addition, as a teacher, it is such a great pleasure to work with these young minds and souls that show you day-to-day the very best of humanity. One of the greatest pleasures I get from my job is to experience the candid spontaneity that you can only see through a child’s mind and character.

I have always been fascinated about how the mind works and even though it is such a cliché phrase, I have to agree that children’s minds are like sponges that absorb everything. I have been aware of the importance of the early years in early childhood education since my first years in college, but my first job experience came working with adolescent girls who were dual-diagnosed in a residential facility as a caseload worker. Ten years passed, and I realized I wanted to work with children but in the role of an educator. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love any outdoors activities and I try to walk or jog whenever possible.

Jessica Mikkelson

Hi! I’m Ms. Jessica. I am a bay area native and have lived most of my life in the Concord/Clayton area.  After high school I went on to study nursing at the University of San Francisco. However, while working part-time as a daycare assistant I realized that working with children was my true passion and more aligned with my personality and purpose. I have since worked as daycare assistant, nanny, and various other early educational roles for over seven years while concurrently obtaining my degree in early childhood education. I am a lover of learning and am always looking to improve myself or my skills. As a teacher I hope to instill that same enjoyment for learning into the children. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, cooking, watching movies, and being crafty!

 

 

Nausi Demay

“Every child is a different kind of flower, and all together, they make this world a beautiful garden.”- unknown

Hi! My name is Ms. Nausi. The children like to call me Ms. Mousy! I was born and raised in a small town called Kalocsa in Hungary. I came to the United States in 1996. I have two boys, Charlie (20), and Kevin (19).When I was growing up, my grandma worked at a preschool, so I spent lot of time there after school. I have nothing but fond memories of being around children. I’ve worked at a preschool previously for five years, then I spent ten years at an after school program. I am very happy to be part of the Tree of Life families since August 2017. Coming to work each day is happiness and fun. My favorites are laughter, being silly, and have a blast while we are learning. I enjoy sensory activities, science, and of course messy projects like painting the most. Outside of work, I love hiking, going to the beach, and exploring new places.