The Founder-Ms. Sierra

I love children and am proud of myself for having a childlike spirit. My 5-year old little boy has brought me tons of joy, hope and fulfillment. This love has led me to work in several Montessori schools and become a certified Montessori teacher after having worked extensively in the field of education in China, UK and US. As a matter of fact, my love for my son and for children in general has enlightened me my purpose - to become a child advocate, to embrace and implement the essence of Montessori philosophy in modern times, and to nurture future generations into independent and intelligent global citizens with intercultural competence, creativity and compassion.

In July 2011, I came to the US and studied Translation & Interpretation at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. In August 2012, out of my passion for international education and intercultural communication, I switched to the inaugural International Education Management program, and graduated with honors in December 2013.

There is nothing which a mother would not do for her son. After giving birth to my son, my life is forever changed (for good :) ). I always remember Mr. Honey-Jones (the founding Principal of The British School of Beijing - an international school for children of expatriates) once said to me, "Sierra, whatever you do, you do the best!" The truth is, whatever I do, I give it my heart and soul. This is even so when I become a mother, I strive to become the best mother I could. Such desire has eventually led me to the establishment of Garden of Joy Montessori International School.

I cherish the spirit of "Live to Learn", and continue to improve myself through professional and personal development. I am a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS), Bay Area Montessori Association (BAMA), and Bay Area Childcare Network Group. As such, my inspiration is constantly renewed throughout ongoing Montessori training, Early Childhood Education workshops, child development classes, conferences, and frequent group network meetings. 

My educational credentials:

  • A certified Montessori Teacher

  • Ongoing training with AMS, BAMA, and First 5's Quality Matters Program 

  • MA in International Education Management

  • One year's training in Translation & Interpretation (English/Chinese)

  • BA in English at Beijing Language & Culture University

My professional background: ​

  • Chinese Teacher for preschoolers at Word of Grace Chinese School

  • Preschool Teacher at several Montessori preschools

  • Inaugural San Francisco Summer Program Coordinator for Boston University

  • Independent Translator for Elfenworks Productions LLC., translated the book "Intelligence & Compassion in Action: The Seven Pillars for Social Entrepreneurs" written by founding CEO Dr. Lauren Speeth

  • Head of School Services & Facilities and a founding member for The British School of Beijing 

In my spare time, I like to spend time with my son and family. I practice yoga (I am a certified yoga instructor in China), and I like jogging, hiking, salsa dance, and watching movies. I am also a dedicated Toastmaster, having obtained Advanced Communicator Gold and Competent Leader certificates.

Ms. Katherine Tan

Assistant Teacher

A mother of two boys, Ms. Katherine has a master’s degree in Mathematics from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangdong Province,  China. She truly enjoys being a mother as her sons bring her tremendous joy and happiness. This love leads her to a great deal of volunteering work at their schools over the years (3D Preschool, Kinderwood Children’s Center and Stratford Schools). She is an active member of Parent Committee at Stratford Schools, helping the schools to organize events on the class and school levels.

Being around children, watching them grow and learn, and being a part of their lives give Ms. Katherine a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. She is constantly inspired by their innocence, love, and sense of humor. Striving to be the best teacher she could possibly be, Ms. Katherine has finished Myteachstone Teacher Training Program provided by First 5. In her spare time, she likes cooking, singing, dancing, painting, hiking and traveling, as well as spending time with her family and friends.

Ms. Yuki Feng

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Yuki is a originally from China, graduated from Shanghai Engineering Technology University with a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics Management. She and her family came to the US in 2011. Ms. Yuki and her husband have two children. Their son is in the 7th grade and their younger daughter is in 2nd grade. Ms. Yuki has been teaching 1st and 2nd graders Chinese at Morning Light Chinese School for the past five years. With her love for children and her passion for early childhood education, she has been taking ECE courses at San Jose City College.

In her spare time, Ms. Yuki enjoys reading, music, and traveling (although due to the pandemic, she has not been able to travel since last March).

Hello! My name is Cecilia Cipriano, and I am thrilled to join Garden of Joy Montessori International School. I have been working as an Associate Teacher at a bilingual school calledVoices Academy. I graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Liberal Studies (Prep for Teaching). In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors. As I went to school I worked as a caregiver. However, I love children and have always worked with children. I was a school assistant and a reading tutor for several years.

Ms. Cecilia Cipriano

Spanish Teacher

I enjoy creating a safe and positive environment for children, so they can succeed. I'm excited to be working with and learning from Ms. Sierra providing the best care and education possible for the little ones! 

Ms Sarita/Grandma

Assistant Teacher

Hi I am Sarita Carey, but you can call me Grandma; all the kids do. I have  been working with Ms. Sierra since the beginning of the school. I am not a certified teacher but my many years of experience with children and my having taught Sunday school, help me to fit in quite well. I was raised here in the Bay Area and twenty-five years ago moved up north to Paradis/Chico area. After the devastating fire in 2018 I found myself back in San Jose with my family.

One of y main duties here is planning the menus and cooking the food for the children. I studied nutrition in college, and I make sure the children get a balanced food program. I usually do the shopping and pride myself on choosing the best items and still aim for a reasonable price. I try to accommodate the children's likes and dislikes and create a variety for everyone.

If you like the bulletin board displays and holiday decorations, you should know I love that part of my job. It is fun and the children seem to enjoy my efforts.

It is an honor to work here with Ms. Sierra. I like the passion and love that she brings to her school and the students. She always brings her best and that brings out the best in us.