Leadership and Staff

claireClaire Bainer

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 was Co-Director from 1995 until 2018 with primary responsibility for programs, and now is the solo Executive Director of the school. 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

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 toddlers 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 trained in the R.I.E. philosophy with its founder, Magda Gerber and has completed four years of training at Children’s Hospital Oakland in Early Childhood Mental Health and Reflective Supervision, as well as having taught early childhood education courses with the N.A.C. through Cal State Hayward.

Christa Edwards

Assistant Program Director

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 B.A. from Scripps College. She is fascinated by the study of how children learn, how children develop a concept of self and, on the adult side, in building teaching teams and strengthening and supporting teachers.

Julia Owens

Operations Director

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.

Rosalia Arteaga-Romo

Head Teacher, Schoolroom

Rosalia holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University, became a teacher in the Wobbly Walkers in 2012, and the Head Teacher in 2014. She worked in the Wobblies until 2019, at which time she shifted to be Head Teacher of our Schoolroom classroom.

Amy Hou

Head Teacher, Homeroom

Amy Hou has been with BlueSkies since 2016, and became Head Teacher in the Homeroom in 2019. She holds a M.A. in Fine Arts and has completed 18 units of Early Childhood Education.

 

Sally Zwain

Head Teacher, Playroom

Sally Zwain joined BlueSkies in 2019. Sally has a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Mills College and has worked with young children of various ages as a Head Teacher in other schools before joining BlueSkies. 

Sandy Quach

Head Teacher, Todds

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

Michelle Lollock

Head Teacher, Wobbly Walkers

Michelle has been at BlueSkies since 2014. She has 20+ years of experience working with children. She earned her Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology from SF State.

Maria Villanueva

Supervising Teacher, Baby House

Maria started at BlueSkies in 2003, left to take care of her children in 2005, and returned in 2008. She has 23 Early Childhood Education units and over 14 years’ experience working with children.