Jennifer Leach, M.A.
Director of Lower School, Second Grade
M.A., Elementary Education, University of Colorado, Boulder; Elementary Teaching Credential
Joined Mount Madonna School in 2010
“I grew up in a family of teachers and have felt a natural calling to teach since I was a young girl. I began working with children when I was 14 and have loved caring for and teaching them ever since. Working with children brings me so much happiness. I love the funny things they say, the questions they ask and all the love they give.
I feel strongly that every child deserves to achieve their potential and that is my job to make sure they have all the tools and skills to do so. I honor every child as an individual and have their genuine interest at heart. Mount Madonna School is a kind and loving place where academics, the arts and the environment are focused. My interest and strengths are in harmony with Mount Madonna School and I am excited to be teaching here.”
Cassia Laffin, B.A.
Elementary Credential, with emphasis on K-8 cross-cultural, language and academic development, Bethany College; B.A., Sociology, UC Santa Cruz.
Joined Mount Madonna School in 2010
“I am thrilled to be working at Mount Madonna because it is a particularly nurturing and loving environment. As a First Grade teacher, I strive to make learning fun, exciting and meaningful. I do this by teaching thematically and infusing a great deal of music and art throughout our curriculum. Teaching first graders to read and write is not only a huge responsibility, but is extremely rewarding!
I care deeply for my students and fostering meaningful relationships. I hold social success in as high esteem as I do the academics. I am honored to join the staff at Mount Madonna, where I can be surrounded by others who are as passionate about their work as I am.”
Erin Mitchell (’10), B.A.
Middle School Athletic Director, Elementary and Middle School Physical Education, Fifth Grade Teaching Assistant, High School Volleyball Coach
B.A., Anthropology, Humboldt State University, A.A., Liberal Arts, Cabrillo College, Aptos
Joined Mount Madonna School in 2016
Mount Madonna School Graduate, Class of 2010
Gitanjali Lori Rivera
Currently pursuing a M.A. Theological Studies, Pacific School of Religion; Musical Theatre Vocal Technique and Classical Theater, Ruth Kullerman Studio, New York, NY; Classical Voice and Music Theory, Hunter College, New York, NY
Re-Joined Mount Madonna School in 2017
Hamsa Heinrich, B.A.
California Teaching Credential Work, University of California, Santa Cruz; B.A., American Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joined Mount Madonna School in 1985
“It is exciting to spark the learning process with children. Getting to know a group of students and the different ways that they learn is always a unique and somewhat mysterious process. No two students are alike. I am also always learning from them. At Mount Madonna School we are encouraged to be creative and imaginative. The faculty is supported to take the students on field trips and life adventures, as well as to perform and present their own works. I enjoy working in the open environment that Mount Madonna School provides.” See faculty spotlight article.
Jessica Cambell, B.A.
5th Grade and Elementary Science
B.A., Liberal Studies with Language Arts and Literature Emphasis, California State University Monterey Bay; Elementary Teaching Credential
Joined Mount Madonna School in 2002
“I chose to teach at MMS because I was looking for a school where I could teach while pregnant with my first child, that embodied my educational philosophy. I believe that teachers and education act as a mirror and a window. I believe my teaching should help children to see and find themselves and look into others’ perspectives. MMS presents the teacher with an arena to do just that! After my hiatus to raise my family I returned to MMS because I knew after that first year that this was the only school I ever wanted to teach at and the only school for my children to attend. I have never experienced such genuine love, support and care from any other teaching environment!”
Nicholas Cabassa, M.A.
4th Grade, High School Cross Country Coach
M.A., Education, Specialization in Teaching Best Practices, National University, San Jose, CA; B.A., Liberal Studies, Minor in American Popular Culture, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; A.A., Gavilan College, Gilroy, CA; Cengage Online Teacher Training Program; CBEST and CSET Certified
Joined Mount Madonna School in 2015
“It is a pleasure to get the opportunity to work at such a highly respected and community oriented school like Mount Madonna. As a teacher, I recognize the important role creativity and self-expression play in the development of early childhood learners, and I enjoy the fact that those concepts make up the main pillars of the MMS mission and culture. The outdoor environment at MMS is the kind of atmosphere that just doesn’t exist at other schools. It offers valuable learning opportunities as well as chances for students to participate in authentic real life experiences. The small community and family centered environment at MMS is what makes it such a desirable place to teach. I am excited to get to know everyone this year and to become part of the MMS family.”