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Preschool

Cathy Rempe
Director of Preschool / Preschool Lead Teacher, Room 1

Cathy Rempe holds a bachelor’s degree in education with a math major. She was going to be a high school teacher, but began working at the El Montecito Presbyterian Nursery School in 1974 and discovered her passion for early childhood education. Through the years and with the school name changes since she has loved every day with her preschoolers. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see them grow, not only in size, but in their relationships with friends, their connections with the teachers, and most of all, their love for Jesus,” she says. “That love just grows in them every day as they learn and sing songs about Jesus, God’s love, and the fruits of the Spirit.” Cathy and her husband have two grown children and two grandchildren. Her children attended El Montecito Nursery School in the early ’70s.


Tracy Larson
Lead Preschool Teacher

Tracy Larson has been teaching preschool students for over 20 years. She also finds joy in sharing the love of Jesus with her Sunday School kids at Calvary Chapel. She has a BA in French from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and after a career in retail/fashion merchandising, she was led to further her training in early childhood education at Santa Barbara City College and in a sensory processing summer camp in Washington, D.C.  Both of her daughters, Jamie (a high school physics teacher in Los Angeles) and Niki, (a ballerina and model in New York City) were El Montecito School graduates and she is grateful for how the school helped shape their hearts and minds. 


Carolina Chavez
Preschool Lead Teacher, PreK

Carolina Chavez discovered her love for teaching and working with children while working at summer camps and volunteering at Girls Inc. during her high school years. She took early childhood education classes at Santa Barbara City College and taught in their NAEYC-accredited laboratory school. Ms. Chavez is now attending Antioch University Santa Barbara where she is working on a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, child development, and education. She joined the El Montecito School preschool faculty in 2017.


Nina Graybill
Preschool Lead Teacher, Room 1

Nina Graybill discovered her purpose of teaching young children through serving in the children’s ministry at her church. She earned early childhood education credentials through Santa Barbara City College, where she spent a year learning hands-on at their NAEYC-accredited laboratory school. She considers herself a lifelong learner and continues to take courses in early childhood education. 


Hannah Salerno
Preschool Teacher, Room 1; Extended Day Program

Hannah Salerno has a B.S. degree in zoology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and she earned her early childhood education credentials from UCSB and Ventura College. Hannah previously taught preschool-age children how to swim at the Wendy Fereday Swim School and she has worked as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She joined the Providence team in August of 2017. Hannah is passionate about showing children the love of Jesus Christ and providing a joyful, creative, and fun preschool environment.


Catheleene Ooley
Preschool Lead Teacher, Room 2

Catheleene Ooley has been teaching preschool students since 1981. After operating a daycare in Carpinteria, where she grew up, she joined the staff of El Montecito School in 1988. She holds early childhood education credentials and an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education degree from Santa Barbara City College. She is passionate about providing an enriching environment for learning and exploring God’s creation. Catheleene’s son lives in Australia and is an El Montecito School alum.


Ana Rosa Rodriguez
Preschool Teacher, Room 2; Extended Day Program

Ana Rodriguez’s career began at Star King Parent-Child Workshop in Santa Barbara. She then followed her three sons to Peabody School and eventually worked at Hope School. After earning an early childhood education credential through Santa Barbara City College she joined the El Montecito School faculty. She enjoys providing a warm, caring, and fun environment for children. The San Roque campus location is both in her neighborhood and is her church home. 


Melody Schloss
Preschool Lead Teacher, PreK

Melody Schloss has over 30 years of experience in the early childhood education field. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Wheaton College, with an emphasis in the lower primary grades. Before coming to Santa Barbara in 1981, she taught first grade and served as a vice-principal at Gateway Christian School in St Louis, Missouri. After taking a break to stay at home with her three boys, she returned to teaching in 1989, taking a position as a PreK teacher at the then El Montecito Early School. She has been happily teaching four- and five-year-old students ever since.


Shannon Zamora
Preschool Lead Teacher, PreK; Extended Day Program

Shannon Zamora joined the Providence Preschool faculty in 2015. She has been teaching preschool classes since 2008, serving previously at El Montecito Early School (2011-2015) and Trinity Preschool (2008-2011). In addition to teaching preschool, Shannon taught art at UCSB’s Summer Day Camp from 2011-2015. Shannon earned her Early Childhood Education credentials at Santa Barbara City College. She is a dynamic teacher who has a passion for teaching children about the love of Jesus and enjoys providing a fun, creative learning environment for her class.


Melinda Holm
Preschool Music Teacher

Melinda Holm’s two greatest passions are a love for music and a love for teaching children. She taught elementary school music for 14 years in the Bay Area, in both public and private schools. She also was the children’s ministry/worship director for preschool children at her church. In 2017 she joined the El Montecito School faculty. She has a bachelor’s degree in child development from Cal Poly with a minor in music. She also is certified as an Orff teacher. Melinda and her husband Kurt, a chaplain at The Samarkand Retirement Community, have two grown sons.


Mary Patterson Hurt
Preschool Worship Leader

Mary Hurt taught music classes at El Montecito School from 2007-2017. She holds a degree in music from Westmont College and has sung and played piano professionally around Santa Barbara as well as directing musical theater summer camps for children. She and her husband, Providence high school science teacher Taylor Hurt, are the parents of a young daughter. We are happy to have Mrs. Hurt back twice a week to lead preschool chapel.


Rebecca Jane (“RJ”) Purdy
Extended Day Program Director / Preschool Aide

RJ Purdy earned a B.A. degree in intercultural studies from Biola University in 2016. She is in the process of earning early childhood education certification at Santa Barbara City College. She is a Providence Hall alumnus, Class of 2012. Miss Purdy joined the El Montecito School faculty in 2017 and discovered she loves teaching. She has spent many years as a Sunday school teacher and VBS shepherd at Reality Carpinteria. She has a passion for missions, art, and connecting with young hearts and minds.

Debbie Corazza
Librarian

Debbie Corazza earned a B.A. in English and French from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. in English and American Literature from Claremont Graduate School. She earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Point Loma Nazarene University and has many years of classroom experience. She joined the Providence faculty as the librarian in 2013 and is dedicated to instilling a love for reading in children. Mrs. Corazza and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four SBCS graduates.


Julie SommersJulie Sommers
San Roque Campus (PS-6) Office Manager

Julie Sommers has worked as a Christian educator for many years in churches and for the past 16 years in administration at El Montecito School. She holds a master’s degree in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Westmont College. She and her husband Dave are the parents of three grown children, including Hannah, the 2012 Providence valedictorian. 


Annette Hildago
Receptionist

Annette came to El Montecito School in 2015 after serving the Buellton School district for 16 years as office manager. She is the warm and cheerful greeting for almost everyone who walks through the reception office on the San Roque campus. Annette’s dedication to serving wherever she is needed has led her to a variety of campus jobs where she has enjoyed getting to know faculty and students alike.