We have a wonderful staff of four teachers and our office administrator.
Martha melgoza, director and preschool teacher
B.A. Chicano Studies from UC Berkeley
M.A. Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University
I have been in the field of early childhood education for 25 years and it has filled my life with joy and deep respect for young children and their families.
I have worked with toddlers and preschoolers for most of my career but have also taught first and fifth grade with assistant teacher positions in kindergarten and second grade. In addition to working with children I also teach adults at SFSU in the Education Department.
Children’s creativity and curiosity makes them wonderful conversationalists and makes working alongside them a privilege. Philosophically, I have taken from many learning theorists and teaching methods, but draw most heavily from Vygotsky, Dewey and Reggio Emilia, which consider children to be capable on various levels and posit that children construct their understanding of the world through interacting and exploring it along with their peers and their community. Children need time and space to discover and develop themselves and the world around them. They incorporate knowledge through hands-on activities, which allow them to make the cognitive connections in ways that memorized learning does not. Critical thinking and trusting their questions and voices allows children to develop a strong sense of self that then places them in the stance of learner throughout their lives. Social interactions and the ability to communicate clearly enables them to be better understood and to form strong relationships.
Other professional interests of mine revolve around action research, the power of language, literacy as a functional aspect of the lives of in young children and not simply a memorized action, conflict resolution and the relationships between teachers and families. More specifically, I am curious about how teachers and parents can collaborate in supporting children’s development and education. At Skytown we are constantly working on improving and understanding this relationship and the power it holds for the children as well as for our own development.
Outside of my educational interests, I enjoy hiking, bicycling, walking on the beach, cooking, gardening, reading (about everything), napping when at all possible, and spending time with my family.
I was born in Los Angeles, California and lived there until I was 18 years old with my parents and three younger brothers. I am a proud Dodger fan and yet fell in love and married a Giants fan. Baseball season is an exciting time at my house. I have a 15 year old son who is currently attending Berkeley High School.
Roland Bergfelt, Preschool Teacher
I became interested in child development when I lived in San Francisco. I attended City College of San Francisco, where I received an AA degree in Early Childhood Education in 2002. At that time, the Child Development Department at CCSF emphasized sensory integration needs in young children. I found this information exciting and I try to incorporate it in my teaching. While in SF I worked for several years at Laurel Hill Nursery School, a parent co-operative. Then my family moved to El Cerrito and I began working at Skytown in 2008. I champion educational programs that dedicate themselves to fostering the self-esteem of children and emphasize play-based curriculum. The parent co-operatives I have worked at have maintained strong family communities. I also feel this ultimately benefits children. Outside of teaching, I enjoy nature activities, bicycling, and film history.
Yavanna reynolds, Lead Teacher, Toddler Room
I first came to Skytown in the Summer of 2013 as a parent with a deep interest in Early Childhood Education and a desire to find a school with enough flexibility to meet the needs of a precocious, adventurous daughter (and later a fun loving, gentle son). It was in finding a school to meet my own interests and the needs of my family that I found a place to grow professionally and pursue what turned into an unexpected dream job.
After working in the Toddler Room as one of the Parent-Assistant Teachers, and then pursuing my studies in Early Childhood Education, I have been granted the privilege of my first lead teaching position here at Skytown Preschool. My approach to Early Childhood education is one focused on child-centered play, open-ended process based art, and sensory experiences that help develop cognition, motor-skills, and social-emotional growth. Early literacy is also an important component to what I love to teach, with a focused interest in early language acquisition.
Previous classroom experience includes tutoring reading and math at the elementary school level, training for single-subject teaching, and on-site assistant work at the middle school level in addition to one year working under the previous master teacher in the Toddler Room.
I am currently in process of finishing my AA in Early Childhood at Merritt College in Oakland. Previous degrees include a BA in English Literature and a BA in Asian Studies from CSU Sacramento, and an AA in Fashion Design from FIDM in San Francisco.
My other interests and hobbies include baking, crafting, costume design and training for endurance events
I look forward to learning more about you and your families as we adventure forth together this year.
Marcos Altamirano, Assistant Teacher, Toddler Room
Marcos Altamirano has worked at San Francisco’s Public Montessori School and at the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness in Berkeley. He is currently studying Early Childhood Development at Contra Costa Community College. Marcos plays the guitar and likes to make up songs to sing with the toddlers at Skytown. As an artist and a musician, Marcos enjoys supporting the children's enthusiasm for creativity. "When I am not working, I enjoy eating well, creating works of art, being out in nature with my dog, or relaxing at home practicing yoga."
Mira liao, School Administrator
Mira Liao works in the Skytown office as the school’s administrator. She has been at Skytown since 2006, when her daughter started the preschool. The next year, her son started in the toddler room, so she’s participated in both the toddler and preschool classrooms (and for one crazy year, BOTH). She also served on the Skytown board of directors as Co-President for 2 years. Now that her kids are grown-up elementary/middle school students, she is rounding out her Skytown experience in the “staff” capacity. She’s been administrator since 2009 and loves working with the dedicated teachers and parents in this community. She thinks Skytown is a unique place that attracts caring, talented, and hard working people…and their adorable children!