Meet the Awesome Staff of CHALK.
Vida Wessel, Director Manhattan Beach
My name is Vida Wessel and I am the Director at CHALK Preschool of Manhattan Beach. I am very excited to be a part of you and your child’s Preschool experience. I grew up in Northern California and went to college in beautiful Santa Barbara where I pursued my love for teaching. My B.S. Degree is in Early Childhood Development with a dual concentration in Infant/Toddler and Preschool. Four years ago, I made my way to Los Angeles. I started working for CHALK as a teacher in the three year old classroom at our Westwood location. It is such a joy to be able to implement everything I have learned into an enriching curriculum for your kiddos; ensuring growth, development and a deep love for learning. It has been an amazing experience being a part of opening our Manhattan Beach location and I can’t wait to show the South Bay what CHALK has to offer!
Madison Sanello, Assistant Director Manhattan Beach
Hi! My name is Madison Sanello. I have been at CHALK for nearly two years and have loved being a part of this family every day! I’ve lived most of my life in Chicago, and moved out to sunny Los Angeles in August to stay with CHALK (not having to deal with the freezing winters is a plus too!) I have a Bachelors Degree from Western Michigan University focusing on Child Development and Speech Pathology. Some of my favorite things include trying out tasty new recipes at home, soaking up some sun, spending time with friends, experimenting with new exercise classes and exploring the city for fun farmers markets and festivals! I have a lot of fun ideas for this year, and I am so excited to be the Assistant Director at Manhattan Beach!
Paige Ferguson, Classroom Coordinator Manhattan Beach
Hi CHALK families! My name is Paige Ferguson and I’m a teacher in the Purple Room! I have been teaching at CHALK for over two years now and couldn’t be happier! My journey at CHALK began in August 2013 at our Venice location where I had the opportunity to teach in both the Yellow and Purple Room! I was raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and have always known I would pursue a career working with children. I attended Marymount California University, receiving my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. I continued my education and transferred to Loyola Marymount University and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in History, while completing over thirty units of Education courses. The curriculum at LMU gave me the opportunity to work in a variety of different school settings, including preschool, elementary and middle school. Although I have loved all the classroom settings I’ve worked in, I realize that the little ones are my absolute favorite! I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am today and am passionate about what I do! I am very pleased to be a part of such an amazing community like CHALK and look forward to getting to know each and every one of you!
Karen Tu, Teacher
Hello CHALK families! I am beyond excited to be with you all on this wonderful journey we like to call preschool. I have been working within the preschool system for over 6 years. I began at CHALK (Westwood location) over a year ago but can now say that my new home will be in Manhattan Beach! I grew up in Alhambra, CA and moved up to Northern California to study Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. I graduated with a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Latin American Latino Studies—I also hold my Early Childhood teacher’s permit. I have loved every minute of this field and will continue my education in Early Childhood Development so that I can expand my horizon and continue to provide the best foundation for children. I am a strong believer that the early years of life are our most important, so I promise to do my best to give each and every one of my students the love and knowledge they need to succeed!
Molly Frink, Teacher
My name is Molly Frink and I am thrilled to be teaching in the Aqua Room in Manhattan Beach. I have worked with children ages 4-7 the past 3 years after graduating from Texas Tech University in West Texas. I earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and student- taught first grade. I’ve worked as a special education assistant, and was previously a teacher in a transitional kindergarten classroom. I love the wonderful learning experiences I’ve gained from working with kids, and all the rewarding moments. Kids bring daily joy and laughter to my life. I truly can’t imagine working in a different field. I lived in Texas my whole life up until moving to the beautiful Southern California a year ago with my fiancé, and we love it!!! We enjoy reading on the beach most weekends, hiking, surfing, jogging, and having the great advantage of walking to many of our favorite restaurants near our home in Redondo Beach. I can’t wait to get to know these great kids and their families more as I continue to work at CHALK. Thank you for welcoming me to your school!
Juliana Holmes, Teacher
Hello everyone! My name is Juliana Holmes and I am thrilled to be part of the CHALK team as a classroom floater. I am a military wife and I just moved back to sunny California after living a long freezing year in Syracuse, New York. In my time there I began as a special education assistant and then was moved to teach the preschool class. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Long Beach, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University of Long Beach. While attending school I had the opportunity to study abroad in the beautiful city of sails of New Zealand and the gorgeous island of Fiji, where our focus was on servicing preschool education. Overall, my passion has always been to work and make a difference in children’s lives since they are the kids of our future, so it brings me an immense joy to be part of your child’s preschool experience. In my free time, I love spending time with my family and friends, playing volleyball and cooking. I am super excited to start this new adventure and meet all the amazing kiddos and families of CHALK Manhattan Beach!
Erika Medina, Teacher
Hello, my name is Erika Medina and I am beyond excited to be joining the CHALK team in Manhattan Beach! I grew up in Venice, California and moved to Long Beach to receive my undergraduate education. I graduated in May of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Child Development. I’ve worked as a tutor for school agers and also partook in the administration of the annual CELDT examination for English learners. I’ve also worked with younger children in a preschool setting where I was the primary teacher for the two year olds. Through my experiences working with different age groups, I found working with the preschool level to be my forte. It is their early years where young children need the proper instruction to develop the necessary skills essential for continued school success. I’m excited to be a part of this critical time period for these children and have a positive impact towards their development. Looking forward to meeting all the remarkable families here at CHALK Preschool and taking on this new venture!
Katie Yu, Teacher
Hello, CHALK families! My name is Katie Yu and I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies from California State University of Long Beach. With my undergraduate background and my field experience, this is my 4th year teaching. As a teacher my goal is to provide a safe and sound learning environment for our friends to feel secure enough to explore and learn through new experiences and discoveries. I believe children learn best by having fun and playing. I want my learning experience to be full of joy and wonders. I will try my best to fill my classroom with love and laughter. I’m sure we will go on great adventures and encounter new learning experiences throughout our journey. I am looking forward to meet all the parents and kids and I am very thrilled. Thank you!
Elizabeth Garcia, Teacher
Hello! My name is Elizabeth Garcia and I am a teacher in the Purple Room! I was born and raised in Los Angeles where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from California State University, Dominguez Hills. I have worked with children in preschool, daycare and after school programs for the last 2 years. I have always had a strong passion for teaching and supporting children in a learning environment. During my free time I enjoy reading, traveling to new places, attending sporting events and being active. I look forward to meeting you all and making memories with your children!
Viviana Salas, Teacher
Hello! My name is Viviana Salas and I’m excited to be a teacher in the Yellow Room! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and a minor in Sociology. I have been in the field for five years now. I enjoy spending my free time with my family and friends and going to Disneyland. I am so excited to start a new adventure at CHALK Preschool, I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you!
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
Diana Kim, Teacher
Hello! My name is Diana Kim and I am so excited to join the CHALK team as a teacher in the Yellow Room. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in the South Bay. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development at California State University of Long Beach while simultaneously working at after school programs with preschoolers to high school seniors. I am also very active at my church and have been since I was in middle school. I always volunteered to work with children in preschool to elementary school and now am a teacher for high school girls. I have also gone on various mission trips to Mexicali and Guadalajara where my focus was on serving the children at each of those locations. I have always had a passion for working with kids and am so thankful for this amazing experience. I look forward to meeting all of the wonderful families and building genuine relationships!
Leslie Chang, Teacher
Hello! My name is Leslie Chiang and I am super excited to join the beautiful CHALK Preschool of Manhattan Beach! I grew up in the bubble also known as, Irvine. I attended UC Irvine where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. I have been working with children for the past 11 years and grew my love for teaching through private tutoring and working as a preschool & school-age teacher. While working with all different ages groups, I realized that I developed more of a passion for working with the preschool kiddos. I love being with the children every day and knowing that I am making an impact on their lives developmentally and emotionally. I enjoy providing a positive learning experience and working through challenges together. In my spare time, I love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, and trying new and interesting foods/restaurants! I absolutely love food and love to expand my taste palate. I also really enjoy spending time outdoors whether it’s running, hiking, swimming, or going to the beach! I truly look forward to meeting all of the amazing children and their families here at CHALK Preschool!
Victoria Huddleston, Teacher
Hello CHALK families, Manhattan Beach! My name is Victoria Huddleston. I am so thrilled to be a part of the CHALK Preschool family and to meet everyone! I recently moved to Redondo Beach. I grew up in the South Bay and moved to Davis, CA after high school. I earned my B.A. in psychology at UC Davis and have a minor in fine arts. After I graduated, I spent a year doing ABA therapy and realized I love working with preschool age kiddos. Kids at this stage in their development are so sweet and always have so much to say! To be a part of that development is extremely fulfilling. When I’m not at work I love to rock climb, travel, and paint!
Sarah Rieckhoff, Teacher
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Rieckhoff and I’m ecstatic to be a part of the CHALK Preschool family. I recently moved to California. I grew up and was raised in Michigan. After graduating high school, I ventured off to Arizona State University. I graduated receiving a Bachelors in Family and Human Development. While living in Arizona, I worked in a preschool where I developed my love for teaching and learning with children. I’ve worked with children from infants to fourth grade for 5 years, with my main focus on preschool. Being able to see all types of age groups made me appreciate how special a child is during each year of their life. Once I moved to California, I enrolled at Santa Monica Community College where I earned my teaching credentials and pursuing my Masters in Teaching Certificate. In my free time I enjoy exploring California, traveling overseas and being outside. I’m eager to meet and develop relationships with the children and families!
Briana Rodriguez, Teacher
Hello! My name is Briana Rodriguez and I am so excited to join the CHALK team. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Long Beach. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Human Development at California State University of Long Beach while simultaneously working at an after school program with preschool through middle school aged children. I have also gone on various volunteer trips to New Zealand and Fiji where my focus was on servicing the education of preschoolers. Throughout these experiences, I have learned each day working with children brings something new and exciting no matter what continent you are in. I have always had a passion for working with children and love hearing the insights they have to share. In my free time, I enjoy being with my family and close friends, riding my bike, traveling and hiking. I am looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful families and building genuine relationships!
Maria Martin, Teacher
Hello! My name is Maria Martin and I feel so lucky to be part of the amazing team of CHALK Manhattan Beach. I was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where as a teenager, spent lots of my free time in orphanages playing with young children and providing care for them. When I turned 21 I came to Los Angeles and I initially attended CSU Long Beach to pursue a career in Art History. However, during the time I was in college, I started working with young children again and realized this was my true path. Soon after that, I changed my major and in 2015 I earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from Brandman University. I later received a Site Supervisor permit. I have been a preschool teacher in various schools, private and public, for the past seven years. I have worked with children 6 months old to second grade. Due to my experiences working with children and families, I have become an advocate for childhood safety and I hold a certification as a Supervised Child Monitor. I have also been a part of the training of working with children with trauma ages 0-5 at the Pacific Clinic in Pasadena. I am really enjoying spending time with the children of every classroom and I am always looking forward to see what games they have for me!
Shelly Lim, Teacher
Hello CHALK families! My name is Shelly Lim and I am so excited to be part of the CHALK team. I grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes and have really enjoyed the weather SoCal has to offer. I graduated from Otis College of Art and Design majoring in Illustration and minoring in Graphic Design. Shortly after, I started teaching at an art academy for children teaching them the basics of drawing with pencil, painting and encouraging them to explore their individual creativeness. I was also given the opportunity to teach English in South Korea and taught at an English Academy for 2 years. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to be a part of CHALK. I look forward to this new journey and meeting all the children and families!
Children will experience moments of awe and wonder every day at CHALK Preschool…
Shouldn’t you consider CHALK today?