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Preschool Staff

Our teachers are certified by both, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in Child Development and the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation as part of our educational approach. High/Scope is a quality approach to early childhood care and education which has been shaped and developed by research and practice over 50 years. The central belief of High/Scope is that children construct their own learning by doing and being actively involved in working with materials, people, and ideas. Our teaching staff is trained in the California Desired Results System and receive continuous professional development throughout the school year.  

Office staff

claudia maldonado

Welcome!  My name is Claudia Maldonado and as the preschool director, I am excited to be part of the Lawndale Child Development program.  I am passionate about early childhood education, and I look forward to working together to provide your child with an engaging and high-quality educational experience.  As a mother of five, I have always recognized the importance of a strong home-school connections.  As a lifelong early childhood educator, I am committed to our students, teaching staff, and families. I believe in Maslow’s Hierarchy  - that all children deserve to be fed, feel safe, a sense of belonging, and develop a high self-esteem to focus on learning. I believe in ongoing professional development for staff and a sense of community for families.  We are our children's first teachers! 

Leticia Moreno - Director's Secretary
Leticia has been working and helping parents register their children for the preschool program for over 20 years! 

Leti (as we call her in the office) believes preschool is the foundation of a child’s education, and it is a joy being able to be a part of that vital step in their learning journey.


Phone: (310) 644-8458

Adriana Maciel - Clerk Typist
Adriana has proudly served the families of our community for the past 18 years! It brings a smile to her face to see our little ones so excited to learn and make friends and gives her joy to see that many of our families are returning families that have had a child in our program in the past. This is proof to her that LESD State Preschool families have experienced the quality of our program, the capability and experience of our teachers and the unity of this community.

Phone: (310) 644-8458

Anderson staff

Sonia G

Sonia Gutierrez - Lead Teacher
My name is Sonia Gutierrez. I have been working in the Lawndale School District for 25 years, and I have been in the child development field for about 20 years.

During my early years, I also worked with many other elementary grade levels as an assistant. I am a certified child development teacher with a site supervisor permit granted the state of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I continue to learn and expand my knowledge of child development. I believe that learning is a very personal and unique experience for young children and adults as well.

I became a preschool teacher and decided to stay in this community because I fell in love with the preschool group age. Realizing the importance of learning at such a young age made me feel such responsibility in helping young children build their learning foundation for future school years. Children need to feel free to explore, discover, imagine, and create without being afraid of making mistakes to build on their confidence, and the best place is at the Lawndale Preschool Program. I look forward to meeting new faces as well as continuing to work with many familiar faces!

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 52004

Jessica S

Jessica Sotelo - Lead Teacher
Hi, my name is Jessica Sotelo. I have been working for the Lawndale School District since September 1998. I am a native Spanish Speaker. I was born in Lima – Peru, and I have a Bachelor's degree in Human Services and an Associate degree in Child Development. 

I continue to learn and expand my knowledge of Child Development by taking classes at El Camino College. I believe that learning is a personal and unique experience. Children learn through encounters with people who are significant in their lives. Children need to feel free to explore, discover, imagine, and create without being afraid of making mistakes.

As I begin to work with young children and their families in the early childhood field, I hold firm commitments and convictions from which my practices flow.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 52005

Green staff

Tina P

Tina Paek
My name is Tina Paek. I graduated from Biola University in 1998 with a Communication Degree with emphasis in Speech and Language Pathology. I have worked in a private preschool as a preschool teacher that followed the curriculum of Montessori.

I have been working at Lawndale Elementary School District since 2001.  I worked in a couple of departments in the district for 19 years.  I worked in the Special Education Department as a one-on-one with students, before coming into the preschool program in 2003. I currently hold a Site Supervisor permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  I am trained in High Scope and certified and trained in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR and First Aid.  

My hobbies are spending time with family, friends and shopping. 

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 54039


Isabel Mendoza
My name is Isabel Mendoza, and I believe that guiding and teaching young children has been the most rewarding part of my teaching career.

I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. For the last 25 years, I have also been a preschool teacher dedicated to serving the children in our community. I feel the same enthusiasm and excitement today as I did when I started working in the fantastic field of education. 

I began my career in education because I saw a need in our diverse community for women role models, and I wanted to contribute to the community. My first assignment was as a substitute assistant teacher with the LESD. After a year, I became an instructional assistant in special education. Two years later, I became a preschool teacher. I have also conducted parent training classes on positive techniques for guiding children at home, “Los Ninos Bien Educados.”

I graduated from El Camino College with an AA in Liberal Arts and transferred to Cal State University Dominguez Hills. In 2003 I earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a minor in Child Development. I also completed courses to obtain a Child Development Site Supervisor permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 

I have completed numerous child development workshops and continue to enhance my education because I believe that high-quality educators are critical for a child’s successful growth and development.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 54040

Carson Staff

Patricia R

Patricia Rodriguez
Hello Everyone! My name is Patricia Rodriguez and I have the privilege to be working for the Lawndale School District since May 1999. Through the years, I have worked in three different preschool classrooms (William Anderson, Mark Twain, and Kit Carson Preschool).

I was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Education and worked as an elementary school teacher for 6 years. Once I came to the United States, I was able to earn my associate degree in Child Development from El Camino Community College and continued my education where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the California State University of Dominguez Hills.

Through the years I have continued to work and received the following certifications; Child Development Site Supervisor Permit and Teacher Permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In addition, I am Pediatrics and Adult First Aid CPR certified and High Scope Curriculum.

During my free time, I enjoy walking on the beach, reading books about personal growth, and exercising. I believe that children can develop their maximum potential by being exposed to social interactions from the start of birth. We, as adults, are responsible to help build these essential foundations.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 53232

Ixchel R

Ixchel Ruiz
My name is Ixchel Ruiz. From a young age, I knew that teaching was my passion. Since then, my objective has been to make a positive difference in each child’s life.

I am bilingual, English and Spanish. I am a dedicated wife and a proud mother of three young children. I am a very flexible, enthusiastic, creative and open-minded person.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree of Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. I also possess a Master Teacher’s Permit in Child Development. I am CPR and first aid certified.

I have been working for more than 15 years for the Lawndale Preschool Program. It is my pleasure to invite you to be part of our preschool learning environment. I am currently a part-time teacher along with my Instructional Assistants.

Our goal as teachers is to work together as a team to provide a positive and safe place where children can have the opportunity to learn as they play and explore doing hands-on activities. In our classroom there are seven well-defined areas where children can enjoy three hours of natural learning. We also have a big playground to develop children’s gross motor skills.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 53233

Mitchell staff

Pearl Lee

Pearl Lee
My name is Pearl lee, I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since June 2002. After I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Child Development at El Camino College in June 2003, I started working at Lawndale’s State Preschool Program as an Instructional Assistant. While working, I continued going to school to increase my knowledge and to gain a better understanding of how to serve the families of Lawndale. In June 2013, I received a Bachelor’s Degree of Human Services at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

I currently hold a Site Supervisor Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I have also been a Professional Growth Advisor since 2008 and I have advised many Teacher Assistants on their professional growth. I am trained and certified in infant, child and adult CPR and first aid.

Something that I really enjoy about working in the preschool classroom is meeting young children who are not native English speakers and being able to watch their growth as they learn English throughout their preschool years. I love being able to see these students develop and master the English language before they go on to kindergarten. Because I am fluent in Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin, I am grateful that I have the ability to provide translations of classroom instructions to children who speak these languages as their primary language. I believe that a strong understanding of classroom instructions allows children greater confidence to learn and provides them with a better learning experience in school.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 55017

Rosa Maria Torres

Rosa Maria Torres
My name is Rosa Maria Torres, and I started my career in Early Childhood Education in 1995 when I began working for a preschool program at the Lawndale Elementary School District.  I hold a Teacher's Permit from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Additionally, I received training in Ypsilanti, Michigan from the High/Scope Curriculum Approach/Philosophy, Breakthrough to Literacy Program & UCLA/Stanford Early Childhood Math Project. I am certified in Infant/Child and Adult First Aid and CPR.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family going to the movies, and going on mission trips.

I became an early education teacher because I love how children learn and explore the world. I enjoy participating in their natural curiosity in exploring the environment, interacting with their peers and how to develop problem solving skills. The best part of teaching preschoolers is watching how they grow from the first day of preschool into confident, independent kinder-bound students. I look forward to creating and building relationships with the preschoolers and families during the school year.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 55018

twain staff


Loc Duong
My name is Loc Duong, and I am currently a preschool teacher at Twain. I began my career after graduating from Teacher Training College (Vietnam) in June 1978, teaching first and third grade. After moving to the United States, I began working for the Lawndale School District in January 1993 through various capacities - a teacher assistant at Green Elementary, preschool teacher at Anderson Preschool, and my current role as a preschool teacher for Twain.

Since September 1996, I have worked with young children and enjoy engaging with little ones through music movement and hands-on activities. Particularly, I provide a learning environment to prepare these young students for Kindergarten. I continued my education career by taking child development classes at El Camino College and Cal State Long Beach. In May 2009, I earned my BA degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Child Development and Family Studies.

My additional qualifications include: The Site Supervisor Permit by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in Child Development, certification from High/Scope Educational Research Foundation in our Child Development Educational Approach, and certification of Child and Adult CPR First Aid. I continue to expand my knowledge and teaching skills by attending child development classes online.

In my leisure time, I enjoy cooking for my family, listening to classical music, watching fantasy movies, gardening, and walking along the beach.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 59009

Wendy Muro

Wendy Muro 
My name is Wendy Muro, and I have been working for the Lawndale State Preschool program for 21 years. I first got involved in the program as a parent volunteer when my children attended the program. Volunteering led me to become interested in pursuing an education in Early Childhood education, and most importantly, contributing to the Lawndale preschool program.

I am a graduate in early childhood education, and I continued to expand my knowledge of child development by frequently participating in training, taking classes, and other workshops. I hold a site supervisor permit issued by the California Department of Education, and I am certified in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR and First Aid.  My focus has been educating children, ages 3 to 5, in areas such as social-emotional development as well as prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

As a preschool teacher, I incorporate blended teaching styles to benefit each student effectively. I help students explore through appropriate learning scenarios and consider students’ responses when moving forward with lessons, adapting to their needs. There are some essential elements in every classroom environment conducive to learning. I provide students with the opportunity to create a unique community and allow their curiosity to direct their learning. With access to hands-on activities that expand knowledge and the ability to make independent decisions, they will develop their skills in a safe environment.

The most important thing I have learned throughout my experience is that the best results come from a cooperative partnership between each parent and teacher. It allows for support both in the classroom and at home and gives more opportunity to be a part of their development.

Phone: (310) 973-1300 Ext. 59010