Leadership and Staff

claireClaire Bainer

Co-Director

Claire holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and has taught in pre-school classrooms and at the college level for 40 years. She has been the Co-Director since 1995 with primary responsibility for programs. Claire has a special interest in translating mental health practice into childcare settings and providing parents and teachers with the insights they need to offer each child exactly what he needs to become his or her best self. Claire’s years in preschool classrooms strongly influence her adult teaching, as she has a clear understanding of classroom and family dynamics as well as academic theories that pertain to work with young children. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Mills College and Chabot College. Claire has also co-authored and created several books and teacher training videos and is involved in advocacy for the field of Early Childhood.

Ameena Muhammed

BlueSkies Program Director
Ameena holds an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Jos in Nigeria and has been at BlueSkies since 1989. She is the go-to expert for infants and one-year-olds as well as inclusion for children with special needs, was the Infant Toddler Program Director for more than 20 years, and has been the overall Program Director at BlueSkies since 2016, ensuring high standards of program quality through teacher coaching and support. Ameena has completed 4 years of training at Children’s Hospital Oakland in Early Childhood Mental Health and Reflective Supervision .

Christa Edwards

Assistant Program Director, Head Teacher Baby House
Christa began a second career at BlueSkies in 2010, following five years in the publishing world. She has been a Teacher and Head Teacher in the Infant Toddler program, and has been the Assistant Program Director since 2016. Christa holds a BA from Scripps College. She is fascinated by the study of how children learn and scaffold learning through play, how children develop a concept of self and, on the adult side, in building teaching teams and teachers.

Spencer Perry

Operations Director
Spencer is an operations professional with over 15 years experience managing systems, technology, programs and effective teams in a variety of for profit and nonprofit environments.

Phyllis Montgomery

Bookkeeper
Phyllis joined BlueSkies in 2010 after decades of varied administrative work in both businesses and nonprofit educational institutions. She holds an M.A. from The University of Humanistic Studies.

Julia Owens

Office and Fundraising Manager
Julia joined BlueSkies in 2016, and brings over 15 years of experience in nonprofit programs and fundraising, with an emphasis on and passion for creating positive experiences for youth. She is a Bay Area native and holds a B.A. from UC San Diego.

Janice Haywood

Head Teacher, Playroom

Janice Haywood is the Playroom Head Teacher. Janice has a B.A. in Child Development from Iowa State University and 40 years of experience working with young children. Janice has been at BlueSkies as a Head Teacher and Program Director for more than 20 years.

Kenesha “Kiki” Parnell

Head Teacher, Homeroom

Kiki came to BlueSkies in 2006 after completing her A.A. at San Francisco City College. She has taught in every classroom at BlueSkies over the years, and has been the Head Teacher in the Homeroom since 2016.

Sandy Quach

Head Teacher, Toddlers

Sandy joined BlueSkies in 2012 after earning her B.A. at UC Davis. She taught briefly in the Infant room but soon found her calling as the Head Teacher in the Todds.

Rosalia Arteaga-Romo

Head Teacher, Wobbly Walkers

Rosalia holds a B.A. from San Francisco State University, became a teacher in the Wobbly Walkers in 2012, and the Head Teacher in 2014.