Our team of teachers are passionate working artists and dedicated early childhood educators!
Kelly Wiley, Director
Kelly graduated with a BA in Child Development from Chico State. She has worked with young children in licensed programs since 1983. Throughout the years she has implemented different types of philosophies of theory in early childhood classrooms. She feels that taking different components from many philosophies and understanding where each theorist is coming from helps teachers know which philosophy is the best "match" to implement. Connecting and reflecting with children in their environment comes easily for her and she knows that it is so important to have and make a connection with every in class. She values the bond between children and their caregivers. Her mission continues to be to support children and their relationship with themselves, their environment, and growing curiosity. Our new art space will provide inviting and joyful experiences. Scaffolding children's development and helping teachers model how to embrace differences and implement an unbiased and culturally sensitive curriculum is what she aspires to do on a daily basis.
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 NAECY and has continued to attend many workshops and conferences regarding the progress and key components that are valued. In 2001 she opened Golden Gate Music Together. That was when she expanded her knowledge of music and movement for children, and her passion for that piece of children's development grows daily.
A note from Kelly: 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 10, Quinn 13, Sophia 16.....
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.
Heidi Gustafson, Teacher
Heidi is a working artist, teacher and researcher, who has degrees through the Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA, General Sculptural Studies ’05), and the California Institute of Integral Studies (MA, Philosophy & Religion ’14). She has over 15 years of teaching experience in various environments, including a number of years teaching in a preschool classroom and directing a research think tank with young children in Baltimore, MD. Outside of GGCA she does residencies in SF preschools teaching process-oriented art to teachers and students. Her own art practice is inspired by visionary art traditions and she spends much of free time researching, writing and making work around dreams, divination and other forms of imagination research.
Bernadette Quattrone, Teacher
Bernadette has been facilitating art for toddlers and preschoolers since 2005. It is inspiring to watch young children create and explore with confidence and enthusiasm when they are allowed to trust their own instincts and freely express themselves. Bernadette received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from NYU and has been working as a head teacher and director in preschools since 2007. She is a big fan of PLAY and all of the fantastic ideas that are born out of a child's imagination. As an experienced caregiver and teacher she trusts, celebrates and respects the many different learning styles children bring to any classroom or studio.
Naja Rose, Teacher
Naja is a teacher, musician, actor and advocate, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) from Barry University, FL. She loves working with children, and with 5 years of experience, she is excited and passionate about spreading art, music and creativity to young minds. Naja is a certified Music Together teacher, and as an art teacher with GGCA, she is continuing to learn a tremendous amount on early childhood development from mentors Heidi and Kelly. Naja is excited to be included on this team in such a positive, fun and artistic environment. She has professional experience with daycare, babysitting and after school programs teaching poetry, music and acting to young children. In her spare time Naja enjoys songwriting, swimming, camping, traveling and her sweet 100lb american bulldog 'Bubba.'
Kelsey Bechelli Teacher
Kelsey Bechelli is an Environmental Educator who loves exploring the outdoors and sharing her passion with children. She graduated from Stanford University in 2011 with a degree in Biology and a double minor in Drama and Spanish Language. Since graduating, Kelsey has worked with young children as an Environmental Educator at non-profits including Environmental Volunteers of Palo Alto, Richardson Bay Audubon, the YMCA, and The Woods Project. Over the past 10 years Kelsey has also worked as a dance teacher, soccer coach and camp counselor. Kelsey loves the energy that children bring to her life and is excited to be part of the GGCA community!
Jackie Katz is a Canadian educator who has volunteered offering arts-based learning opportunities and peer mentoring in refugee centers for over 12 years in both Canada and the USA. She is currently completing her MA in Social Practice and Public Forms with plans to be a full-time educator in the Fall of 2017. Jackie is one of eight members who founded the non-profit play:groundNYC, an Adventure Playground on Governor’s Island in New York City providing vast outdoor space for young people to imagine and build their own play spaces. She is an unfaltering advocate for children’s rights and is currently writing her thesis based on a devised theatre piece that puts young people in the position of the educators and leaders of our society. Last summer, Jackie led an arts-based summer program for over 100 Syrian children who had recently arrived in Hamilton, Canada.