Our team of teachers are passionate working artists and dedicated early childhood educators!


Kelly Wiley

Kelly graduated with a BA in Child Development from Chico State. She has worked with young children in licensed programs since 1983.

She owned and operated Golden Gate Music Together in San Francisco 2001-2016.

She created Golden Gate Children’s Art & Outdoor Explorations in the Fall of 2013. Her vision was and still is, to offer a Reggio Inspired Enrichment Program that allowed children to tinker and explore a wide range of materials and express themselves with many different mediums. To document their process and reflect back their ideas by asking questions. To provide a art & outdoor space that was the third teacher because it inspired creativity. To build strong relationships with and between children. To foster their development and to encourage joy.

Kelly was first exposed to Reggio Emilia in 1995 when working at the PG & E Children's Center in San Francisco. It was one of the first centers in the city to start implementing Reggio Emilia inspired classrooms. Funding from the center allowed for her to take part in local and nationwide trainings and roundtable Reggio Meetings. She has remained an active member of NAEYC and attends NAREA Conferences throughout the year. In April 2019 she will be going to Reggio Emilia, Italy to tour the schools and take part in the International study program.

One thing that I embrace as a parent of 3 children are their “mentors,” such as teachers and coaches that they have in their environment (at school and year-round in the USA Swim Team). The attachment that happens as a result of trust and building on their own experiences happens over time and helps them “power through” highs and lows during the process. These mentors are essential for helping them to reflect and to be confident in approaching and taking on new challenges, and to keep moving even though they may feel self-doubt. Mom to Raquel 14, Quinn 17, Sophia 20.....

Teachers / mentors that I have chosen in both of my programs are amazingly gifted and uniquely talented in working with children and tweens. They possess an insightful ability to connect with children.

Maggie Stirk

Maggie has been a teacher for over 20 years in London and on the West Coast of America, teaching in Elementary Schools and Reggio Emilia based learning programs. She gained her BA in art and design in Lancaster University, where she also gained her teaching degree. Maggie is also a painter and works primarily with watercolors and ink.

During her time as a teacher, Maggie has been lucky enough to work with galleries such as the National Portrait Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, and the London Print Studio as a member of the creative arts panel within the UK’s Government’s Excellence in Cities Program.

Maggie fundamentally believes that children learn by doing, exploring, collaborating, playing, and helping one another. As such, she strives to foster a love of learning through creativity and wonder.


Alicia Faris

Alicia is an effulgent educator, artist, holistic nutritionist and local and sustainable food advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences from Florida State University and is a graduate of Bauman College with a certificate in holistic nutrition. In 2014, Alicia began dedicating herself to working with Bay Area youth; empowering children to explore at the farmers market and cook nourishing meals through CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program. She served as Nutrition Education Coordinator for Bay Leaf Kitchen, a local non-profit focused on enriching the lives of children through progressive culinary curriculum. Inspired by the Reggio approach, Alicia favors a patient and observant path, inviting the learning process to be made fun, creative and unique. She takes pride in guiding a child’s awakening and expanding consciousness, through mindful explorations of their environments, encouraging deep curiosities, and fostering an innate desire to closely examine nature. A child’s natural reflection provides them a firm foundation for knowledge of self and a greater connection with their world. In the studio, Alicia facilitates learning by play and exploration; highlighting a child’s development via all of their senses. On a sunny day, you will find Alicia merrily frolicking around any number of local farmers markets, growing and cooking nourishing food, exploring in nature, wildcrafting botanicals, and of course, studying nutrition.


Gabriella DeNike

Gabriella is very honored to be part of Golden Gate Children’s Art and Outdoor Exploration and to meet all our aspiring creators and makers as they grow and learn with us. She grew up in Santa Cruz California where her love for outdoor adventures, and hours of painting under the sun has formed her understanding of the value of creative expression and different forms of learning.

She’s been working with children since 2013 in creatives settings as teacher and assisting their creative process. Gabriella received an education at UC Berkeley with a BFA in Art Practice in 2018. The Reggio Emilia way not only supports Gabriella’s belief that children need a range and depth of learning through creative expression, but also shares that it continues to inspires her to the childlike wonder of learning, adding and enriching her own practice as an visual artist.


Hilary Bond

Hilary is a San Francisco based artist and educator who draws insight and inspiration from both fields. She studied visual arts at The Baltimore School for the Arts, The Cooper Union (BFA 2007), and The San Francisco Art Institute (MFA 2018). Hilary has worked with children and adults in the arts since 2002 in camps, after school programs, day programs, and individually in Baltimore, New York, and Los Angeles.

Since moving and studying in the Bay Area, Hilary has deepened her love of the natural environment, which is reflected in her artwork and as an outdoor explorations teacher. Hiking, identifying birds, and nature photography have become favourite activities directly inspired by being outside.

Hilary is the recipient of the Clyde & Co Community Arts Awards (2018), participated in the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (2018), and has shown work in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, New York City, Zurich, and Baltimore.


Eliana Bustamante

Ellie grew up in Bolinas Ca, where she first began working with children in her mother’s summer camp. She quickly developed a deep love of playing, art making and conversing with little ones and went on to study Early Childhood Education at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz.

She loves to hike, play soccer, swim in the ocean and kick back with family and friends. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Art, and is now living in Dogtown of West Oakland.