Management & Staff

Our multilingual and multicultural staff consists of dedicated and highly qualified educators in the field of Early Childhood.  All of our teachers hold California State Child Development Permits, while our teaching assistants have taken courses in Early Childhood Education working towards their Child Development Permits.

Our staff members have worked in the field for several years with our lead staff having worked with children for over 10 years.

All staff members are trained in CPR and First Aid.

Executive Director - Kiri Fluetsch

My name is Kiri Fluetsch and I am the Program Director here at Redwood City Child Development Program.  I have worked as a preschool teacher for the past 10 years here in the bay area and 3 years before that in-San Diego California.  I have a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy emphasizing on working with children and adults with developmental disabilities. I had the opportunity to teach preschool while in college and found my true passion.  I have my master’s degree in early childhood education with an emphasis in curriculum development and instruction. I have developed curriculum and teacher trainings while working for Gymboree Play and Music prior to landing here at RCCDP.  Teaching is my favorite way to spend my time, learning with the children, expanding their knowledge with new experiences and working closely with families to build long lasting trusting relationships. We are so happy to have you and your family here at the Redwood City Child Development Program!

Associate Director - Mary “Lisa” Penisini

Hi!  My name is Mary “Lisa” Penisini.  I am the Associate Director here at RCCDP.  In 2002, I was given the opportunity to be a part of this community.  That is where my interest grew in wanting to learn more about child development and social interactions among children.  Being able to foster children’s imagination, creativity and independence is incredibly rewarding. When I think of RCCDP, the one word that comes to mind is FAMILY.

A few things about myself…
My favorite color is turquoise
My favorite food is pizza
I enjoy spending my free time outdoors with my husband and children

Candy Vallejo

Hello, my name is Candy Vallejo.  I was born in Mexico and came to the United States when I was 14 years old.  I am a single mother of three beautiful children. Since I was little I always wanted to be a teacher, and here I am working with your little ones.  I have been working with children for more than 14 years and I love it! I currently have 12 units in Early Childhood Education and I am planning to go back to Canada College to get my Associate Degree.

Gabriela “Gaby” Herrera

My name is Gabriela Herrera.  I was born in this country, but I grew up in El Salvador.  I have been working at RCCDP as a teacher’s aide for over a year.  I have two daughters who have both graduated from RCCDP. It is my goal to take child development classes to further my education and understanding of the development of children.

Esperanza Patiño

My name is Esperanza Patiño. I have lived in the United States for over 40 years and became a citizen in 2007. I started working at the Redwood City Child Development Program in 1997; I started working in the kitchen serving the children’s meals. I consider this place my second home and I love working with children. I enjoy working with my peers, with parents and families, and seeing children strengthen every day.

I started taking early childhood education classes at Cañada College and in 2004 I received my first Associate Teacher’s permit. I continued taking courses and in 2010 I received my certificate in Early Childhood Education from Cañada College. I continued to take classes to learn more about the development of children and in 2016 I got my Teacher’s permit.

It brings me a lot of happiness to work with the children and see how they are developing and I am here to assist in their development. I think it is very important to always remember that children are learning everything for the first time and it is my responsibility to treat them with patience, affection, and understanding. I am always aware that the center is here for the benefit of the children and it is my responsibility to look for different ways to support their growth in their education and development.

Dora Ramos

My name is Dora Ramos.  I have been working at the Redwood City Child Development Program for 18 years.  I am fortunate to have my two daughters working in the same field of early childhood education. Working in this atmosphere makes me very happy and the work that I do makes it more valuable.  Coming into this field has taught me so much, not only working with the children I serve but with my family as well. All the knowledge I have gained through the years has shown me that guiding children at an early age better prepares them for school and gives them the opportunity to socialize with their peers.  I am very thankful to all the parents who give me the privilege to care for their children while they are working to provide for their family. I believe that creating a classroom that is well organized and inviting has a positive impact on learning.

Araceli Ontiveros

My name is Araceli Ontiveros, aka, Chely by family members and closest friends.  I was born in Mexico on 11/23/1976. I am very proud of my origins and my age. I feel happy with my life and accomplishments so far.  I was brought to the United States at the age of 12 by my parents. I was upset upon my arrival with my mother and father for bringing me here and leaving Mexico behind, but now I know how lucky I am.  Now, I feel it was the best choice that my parents made for us.

I have been working with children since 1996.  I enjoy working with children because it is like reliving my childhood one more time, seeing the children playing reminds me of my wonderful childhood in Mexico.  I grew up in a small village surrounded by nature. I have a diploma in Dental Assisting and my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Maria Rocio Mendoza

Hi, my name is Maria Rocio Mendoza but I go by my middle name “Rocio”.  I came to this country in 1989.  I live in East Palo Alto with my two sons, Ritchell and Julio.  I studied Early Childhood Education at Cañada College where I have 32 units and hold my Associate Teacher Permit as well as my certificate in Human Services.

I have been working at Redwood City Child Development Program for 15 years.  I have enjoyed every moment and feel proud to help families with their children and needs.  I love to see how the children in the center grow and develop physically and cognitively.  It feels so good when they come back to visit as an adolescent or adult.  I hope to work in this center for another 15 years.  I will be going back to college this fall (2018) to finish my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education.

Antonia Trejo

My name is Antonia Trejo, but everyone calls me “toña” and some of them call me grandma!  I have lived in Redwood City for 25 years.  I am married with 3 children, 2 daughters and one son.  They have blessed me with 3 grandsons.  All three of my children attended Redwood City Child Development Program and my two oldest grandsons have as well.  I am filled with happiness because I have seen my children and grandchildren grow in this program.  I have studied at Cañada College, obtaining 30 units of Early Childhood Education and began working here in 2001.  I love working with children and my fellow teachers.

Ana M. Barron

My name is Ana M. Barron.  I came from Mexico in 1985 where my first job was in an assembly factory.  When I had my first child I decided to stay at home and raise my children.  When my children were older I decided to go to Cañada college to take classes in Child Development. I obtained my associate teacher permit and begun working here at RCCDP in 2010.  Ive worked as a substitute, associate teacher and now find myself in the lead teacher position of our Koala program.  To further expand my knowledge and understanding of the infant/toddler environment I trained in P.I.T.C to learn the core values.  It is my goal to take on this new role continuing to provide amazing care to our toddler program.

Mayra Maciel

My name is Mayra Maciel.  I have been teaching at Redwood City Child Development Program for 10 years.  I currently hold my Site Supervisor Permit. I plan on furthering my education to obtain my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education.

I have had the opportunity to teach in every classroom from toddler to pre-k.  The one thing I have learned is that patience is key. I enjoy working with the children and their families, I get to learn new things about them everyday.  I love challenging their young minds and helping them with their social skills.

My main goal every morning as I walk through the door is to make a difference.

Ritchell Garcia

Hi, my name is Ritchell Garcia, but i go by my nickname Ritchie.  I was born and raised here in Redwood City and attended Sequoia High School.  My interest in this field started when i would volunteer here when I was 14.  This job is amazing in the sense that you see every child grow and develop both physically and mentally and you feel proud for guiding them through the most important years of development.  I enjoy playing basketball, soccer, softball, baseball and the occasional hike as well as video games.  I have one brother, Julio, my dad Cesar and my mom who i get to work with Rocio.  I want to thank you as a parent for entrusting us with your children!

Diana Alvarado

My name is Diana Alvarado and I am originally from New Jersey.  I moved to California about 7 years ago, I enrolled at Canada College and have taken many courses in Early Childhood Education.  I currently have my Site Supervisor Permit and I have just obtained my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development.

This Fall I will be applying to CSU and UC’s to transfer to a university so that I can continue to work on my Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Child and Adolescent Behavior.  I enjoy teaching preschool. I have been working in this center for the past 5 years, beginning as a teacher assistant and quickly moving my way up to lead teacher. I find this time of the young childhood development stage to be the most important and fascinating, as we all know they are the most important years for growing and expanding their minds.  I look forward to the fun we’ll have learning and exploring.

Lizette Hinson

My name is Lizette Hinson, but many of you know me as Teacher Liz.  I have been a part of the RCCDP community for quite some time. I used to volunteer here from middle school until I graduated from high school in 2009.  

 I formally joined the RCCDP staff in August of 2016 as a floater teachers aide and office support staff.  I have my Associates Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and am currently working on my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University.I want to enhance my abilities as a preschool teacher while I am at RCCDP because I believe children deserve to be around people who want to help them and understand them as best as teachers can.  Children will thrive in a program with skilled and loving teachers, which RCCDP is lucky to be in abundance of and it is one of the many reasons why I love to work here.

I am excited to help your children grow and develop into their unique personalities and be there to assist your family in any way that I can.  I am sure you will see me “floating” around the program!

Paulina Langi

Aloha! My name is Paulina Langi, but everyone knows me by Lina.  I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Honolulu Hawaii.  I moved to California in April of 2017 because I felt I could get better job opportunities.  When moving, I was able to work as a camp leader at Red Morton’s Parks and Rec Center working with ages 5-7.  It was then that I realized that I loved working and playing with kids. I enjoy challenging their young minds and working together with them to solve different problems/situations.  I am currently working towards getting certified in the state of California as a teacher’s aide. I am very excited to be working with RCCDP and can’t wait to see the growth and development of each child in this program.

Carolina Martinez

My name is Carolina Martinez.  I have been working at the Redwood City Child Development Program since October 2007.  I am one of the Associate Teachers of the program. I spend half of my time in the kitchen working with the food program, and the other half out in the classrooms helping to cover breaks and assist where needed.  I am responsible for making sure that the children get their proper nutrition that they deserve every day. I truly enjoy working with the children and in the kitchen.