AS

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Meet the Team

Members of the AS Children’s Center staff can be reached at (818) 677-2012.

Elsa Shunneson-Lewis

Elsa Shunneson-Lewis

Assistant Director
elsa.lewis@csun.edu

My name is Elsa Shunneson-Lewis and I am the A.S. Children’s Center Assistant Director. I have been working for the Center since 2007. I completed my BA at the University of Kansas and received my MA and CA State Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Education - Special Education from CSUN. I have worked as an Early Childhood Educator and Administrator in a variety of settings, which has developed my knowledge and skills to especially foster inclusion within educational environments. I believe that children of all abilities belong and learn together at school, sharing their interests and strengths to support one another in their own personal ways. Working at a University that actively supports diversity and inclusion also supports my personal and professional passion to stand beside children, their parents, and our staff and students to advocate for and provide high quality, individualized learning. I am happy to be a life-long learner, and take part in a variety of trainings and am a member of several professional organizations. I enjoy using the knowledge I gain to support our staff, college students, and parents. My personal pleasures for time away from work include spending time with my 5 children; talking, playing games, and going to theatre performances and concerts with them. I also enjoy walks with my dog and quilting.

 

Gina De La Barcena

Gina De La Barcena

Office Coordinator
gina.delabarcena@csun.edu

My name is Gina De La Barcena. I began my employment with Associated Students on June 25, 2007 as the Office Coordinator of the Children’s Center of California State University, Northridge. I originally came to CSUN as a transfer student for higher education and in need of childcare for my youngest son. I was fortunate to enroll my son at the Associated Students Children’s Center while earning my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I am currently pursing higher education. I am very proud to work for the organization of Associated Students that advocates for students and provides excellent meaningful programs and services. Associated Students has given me the opportunity to give back and work with student families by directly impacting their lives. Next to my family, my work family comes next at the Children’s Center. We provide quality childcare services allowing student families to pursue their educational and career goals for a better life. My most favorite activity is watching my sons play baseball! My other favorite spare time activities are hiking, tennis, Zumba, fishing, paddle boarding, and spending time with family and friends. I have three wonderful sons who are my pride and joy, and our sweet addition of a mixed- medium Labrador that brings added joy to our loving family.

 

Jody Bodwell

Jody Bodwell

Supervising Teacher
jody.bodwell@csun.edu

Hi, my name is Jody Bodwell. I am a Supervising Teacher in a Preschool classroom here at the AS Children's Center. I have been working here for more than 10 years. I am a CSUN alumnus! Go Matadors! I have my Bachelor's degree in Child Development and my Master's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. I can never see myself working anywhere other than a classroom full of young children. In the classroom, I work alongside college students, many who are majoring in Child Development. I am part of developing future teachers like me! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family! I also enjoy reading and cooking particularly baking!

 

Yvette Harvey

Yvette Harvey

Supervising Teacher
yvette.harvey@csun.edu

Hi, my name is Yvette Harvey, Supervising Teacher. I worked as a part-time Student Assistant at the Children’s Center for a year and a half while attending CSUN, until I graduated in 1999 with a B.A. in Child Development. I have been part of the CSUN Associated Students Children’s Center as a full-time early childhood educator since August 2002. In addition, I was an Early Childhood California Mentor for four years. I have been an NAEYC member and have held a State of California Child Development Matrix Site Supervisor Permit for over twenty years. During my years as an early childhood educator, I have had the opportunity to care for and educate infants, toddlers, and preschool age children. What is most rewarding to me is observing young children’s “aha moments” as they explore with developmentally appropriate and open-ended materials. Ongoing professional growth activities contribute to my competency as an early childhood educator. I attend small and large conferences, workshops, online webinars, and specialized trainings. I especially seek out professional development on topics related to Loose Parts and Designing Environments. I have been married for over 20 years and have a teenage daughter. We enjoy amusement parks, beach trips, hiking, music, movies, and playing games together. I enjoy scrapbooking, daytime naps, and coffee.

 

L. Cherie Hogan

L. Cherie Hogan

Supervising Teacher
missree@csun.edu

Hello everyone! My name is Mrs. Chérie (pronounced Sure-Ree), also called Ms. Chérie, Teacher Ms.Chérie and Teacher She. That’s me!!! I am a CSUN alumni, Go Matadors!, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development and a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on Parent-Child Relations. I have taught for decades (that means a lot of years!) Early Childhood Education (ECE) to babies, toddlers and Two’s. I’ve been a Mentor for the state of California in ECE, an Adjunct Instructor at a local junior college, guest speaker plus presenter at the Building Educational Success Through the (BEST) Arts and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Conferences. Now I have come full circle with Associated Students in the position of Master Teacher teaching Two & Three Year Olds, parents and families. I love it!!! I plan on continuing to teach Early Ed to ALL in the future!

 

Norma Loera

Norma Loera

Supervising Teacher
norma.loera@csun.edu

I have been working in the Education field for more than 30 years. I started teaching at a high school level in my city of Zacatecas, Mexico. There I became a high school director in 1988. Then I moved to the United States where I continued my education and started to attend Los Angeles Community College where I got continuation of education units and received my child development permit. I gained experience by working at the Tiny Tigers Preschool and Volunteers of America in 2001 to 2002. Then I was hired as a teacher in 2003 at the Associated Students Children’s Center where I has been working with young toddlers ever since. I’m fluent in Spanish and I appreciate all different cultures and ethnicities that go to CSUN. My classroom is bilingual, and I have supported many families and children in the last 17 years as the Supervising Teacher. I’m from Mexico and I came to the United States in 1997. I live in the San Fernando Valley now with my husband and daughter.

 

Irene Osako

Irene Osako

Supervising Teacher
irene.osako@csun.edu

Hello, my name is Irene Osako. I have been working at the Children Center since August 2007. The first 4 years, I worked in the Room 120 as the Supervising Teacher for the Toddler class. The past 9 1/2 years, I have worked in Room 150 and Room 160 as the Supervising Teacher. I really have enjoyed my years working here at CSUN as a Supervising Teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Child Development in 1991 and since then, I have worked in many different schools from Toddlers to Kindergarten. My goal as a teacher is to make sure that the capacity to obtain knowledge and experience are passed on to the next generation, to help the children develop positive self-esteem, develop the ability to work and cooperate in small and large group, build strong relationship between the children, families and the communities. Other goals as an educator is to help them share, assist and care for others. I would also like to continue my education as an Educator and continue attending a variety of classes so that I can keep abreast of the most up to date information for the classroom objective. On my free time, I enjoy being outdoors with my daughters, Alyxis and Justyne as well as my dogs, Bailey and Milo. We enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, river rafting and surfing. My family and I try very hard to be active whenever possible and whenever possible, as we take our dogs everywhere on our journeys. As of March 2020, I have been teaching remotely on zoom twice a day. As much as I love physically being with the children, I am loving the distance learning experience with my zoom kids. I have made my dog's bedroom into my classroom, decorated it to make it look like a classroom and enjoying every moment of my zoom class with the children I have met via zoom.

 

Adriana Arias

Adriana Arias

Teacher
adriana.arias@csun.edu

My name is Adriana Arias, I was hired in September 2005, as a teacher at CSUN Children’s Center. I am a former graduate from CSUN, with a Bachelors's degree in Child Development and with a minor in Psychology. I am a bilingual speaker in Spanish and English. I am the mother of a 4-year-old and two teenagers. I have worked at the A.S./CSUN Children's Center for 15 years and have worked with all age groups from infants to preschoolers. I am currently working with mixed ages, which is 3-5 years old. I am a dedicated, affectionate, loving, nurturing, enthusiastic, and compassionate teacher. My emphasis is treating children with respect, by meeting each child's individual needs no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and religion. I am providing children with high quality, hands-on experiences, and developmentally age-appropriate activities. That will foster their understanding, learning, and social-emotional skills as well as challenging them. I strive to build strong relationships with my colleagues, and student assistants to make it a friendly safe working environment. With the families, I strive to have an engaging and positive ongoing daily communication. Currently, I am providing distance learning interactive Zoom meetings to support the families' and children's needs five days a week. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and going to the movie theaters.

 

Vanessa Gallarza

Vanessa Gallarza

Teacher
vanessa.gallarza@csun.edu

My name is Vanessa Gallarza and I have been a teacher at the A.S. CSUN Children’s Center since April 2018. I graduated from College of the Canyons with my Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, then transferred to California State University, Northridge and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development in 2017. Professionally, I aspire to deepen the relationship between school, families, and the community. I am committed to fostering an anti-biased environment for children to learn and grow through empathy and embracing our diversity. I am fortunate enough to be able to continue my education about the ever-changing role of a teacher through workshops and webinars. Outside of work, I enjoy spending quality time with my family and working on various art projects such as embroidery, painting, and sewing.

 

Alejandra Gonzalez

Alejandra Gonzalez

Teacher
ag7634@csun.edu

My name is Alejandra Gonzalez and I have been an Early Childhood Education teacher now for the last fourteen years. I attended and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in Child Development.
During my time here, I have been very fortunate to work with such a diverse group of children, families and co-workers. I have taught children ranging from 3 months to 5 years old. I currently teach toddlers ranging from 2 to 3 years old. I believe that building strong and nurturing bonds are the foundation for learning. I also believe in respecting and honoring all cultures and diverse backgrounds. My teaching partner and I use both English and Spanish in our classroom curriculum. I also continue to grow in my professional development. In Fall 2020, I began my master’s program in Educational Psychology and Counseling. I have also received my Site Supervisor Permit through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing program and I renew every five years. Besides teaching, my favorite past time activities are exercising, reading books, and watching movies (Marvel movies are my favorite). But above all, I love spending time with my family.

 

I will teach you in a room I will teach you now on zoom I will teach you in a house I will teach you with my mouse I will teach you here or there I will teach because I care

Flor Ibarra

Teacher
flor.ibarra@csun.edu

Hello, my name is Flor Ibarra and I am a teacher at Associated Students for California State University, Northridge (CSUN). I have worked here for more than five years and worked in the education field for more than ten years and counting. My goal as an educator is to create and provide fun and meaningful learning experiences for all children in a safe and nurturing environment. In addition, I am a firm believer that all children can learn through play and develop the skills needed for the school-age years. Currently, I am teaching through zoom providing quality, engaging and meaningful activities to support children's growth and development. During zoom I enjoy reading aloud to the children and speaking Spanish. When I am not teaching, I love being with my family enjoying movies, small road trips and dining out on the beach.

 

Linda Leibovitch

Linda Leibovitch

Teacher
linda.leibovitch@csun.edu

My name is Linda Leibovitch and I started working as a teacher at the Children’s Center in August 2008. I graduated from California State University Northridge in May 1981 with Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Child Development with a certificate in Child Mental Health. Upon graduation, I worked and traveled for a few years and then returned to school to pursue a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in Communal Service from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles in May 1985. In the fall of 1985, I became the director of a small private preschool in Los Angeles and remained there until I left to start a family of my own. When my own children began attending elementary school, I returned to teaching part-time in a local preschool as well as volunteering with activities and curriculum for the young children in our family’s synagogue. Becoming a member of the teaching team here at Associated Students Children’s Center has been very rewarding and I enjoy my role as an early childhood educator where I have the opportunity to participate in developing and implementing curriculum that integrates and supports the children’s learning and behavioral skills as well as cultivating a supportive and caring relationship with their families. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling and reading.

 

Iris Garnica

Iris Garnica

Teacher
iris.garnica@csun.edu

My name is Iris. I am a Teacher at the Associated Students Children’s Center at California State, Northridge (CSUN). I am a CSUN Alumni. I graduated from Pierce College and graduated with a (Associates) AA degree in Early Childhood Education then transferred to CSUN and graduated with a (Bachelor of Arts) BA degree in Early Childhood Education. I have taught children from 18 months to 5 years. My goal is continuing to provide positive impact on profession by bringing home-school environment with language, music and culture. On my free time, I like to read books, watch movies and spend time with my family.

 

Bethanie Petty

Bethanie Petty

Food Services Supervisor
bethanie.roberts@csun.edu

Hello! My name is Bethanie Petty! I have been the Food Services Supervisor at the A.S. Children’s Center since 2015. I am thrilled to be able to provide balanced healthy meals and introduce children to new foods according to the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). I had the privilege to work at the Children’s Center as a student assistant in the kitchen for two years while completing my degrees as CSUN back in 2013. I have a Bachelor of Science in both Family Consumer Science: Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science. I am also a certified CACFP Child Nutrition Professional (CCNP). And have my ServSafe Managers Certification. I have been able to combine my love of cooking and healthy living and share that with our children and staff. I believe that children learn healthy eating habits by receiving nutritious meals early in life. This, as well as being physically active, is critical to the establishment of positive lifelong habits. I enjoy training the kitchen staff and providing them with skills in food prep and food safety as well as team work and nutritional knowledge. Things that I take pleasure in outside of work are going to church, spending time with my husband and our baby girl and the rest of our family! Also trying new recipes, learning new cooking techniques, taking road trips, long walks with our Siberian husky and reading!