Playgroup Staff

Lonna Corder

Lonna Corder

Founder & Director

Lonna started her career as an Early Childhood Educator over thirty years ago. A Bay Area native, Lonna graduated from St. Mary’s College, Moraga with a MA in Teaching, BA in Child Development and an American Montessori Society pre-primary teaching credential. Lonna taught in the East Bay and Marin until she had her son in 1993.

In 1997, Lonna established a Montessori program in the home of San Francisco philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty. For over two decades, Lonna presided over the cultivation of a well-respected and sought after pre school program.

Lonna and her husband of over twenty-five years are proud of their son, a Playgroup alum whom they have traveled the world with and graduated from UCLA with much success.

Noelle Clothier

Noelle Clothier

Assistant Teacher

Noelle was born and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in 2009 and earned her BA in Psychology from the University of San Francisco.

Noelle has over ten years of experience working with children and has worked as a full-time nanny for the past four years. Her love for being around children and wanting to be in the classroom has led her to peruse her AMS Montessori credentials. She is currently finishing up her program at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Noelle is very excited to explore a new path by working as a teacher in the pre school classroom.

She has a passion for cooking, living an active lifestyle, and diving into creative projects.

Chili Corder

Chili Corder

Music Teacher

Chili Corder is a proud San Francisco native and original Playgroup alumnus. Chili studied Ethnomusicology at UCLA and taught 4th Grade at Pilgrim Elementary in Los Angeles before returning to San Francisco to focus on teaching piano and pre school music.

Playgroup’s Music Monday classes place a strong emphasis on singing, dancing, and self-expression with the goal of building musical literacy, coordination, and self-confidence. In addition to leading Music Mondays for Playgroup’s toddler and primary classes, Chili also offers in-home and at-school private piano lessons.

Stephanie Crisostomo

Stephanie Crisostomo

Head Teacher

Stephanie was was born and raised in San Francisco. Her family hails from El Salvador in Central America and the Philippines and is the eldest of two.

She received her BA in Liberal Studies and US History from Dominican University of California. Stephanie has always had an interest in history. After a particularly inspiring teacher, she decided that teaching was to be her future.

A placement in an Early Education classroom during her practicum changed her path forever. 12 years later she continues to learn something new everyday from the smiling faces that enter her classroom.

She’s had the opportunity to combine her love for teaching and travel when she spent two years in the Philippines teaching English as well as spending time in Oahu.

During summer and her free time she enjoys taking courses in Viticulture to learn about the perfect grape. Her favorite book is Gone With The Wind, favorite color is yellow. Disneyland is in her estimation, the happiest place on earth. Rainy days are her favorite days. She is a great lover of music specifically the Beatles, Queen, the Eagles and the New Kids on the Block.

Emily Dwyer

Emily Dwyer

Assistant Teacher

Emily was born in San Francisco and raised in New Delhi and Singapore. She returned to California with her family at age 12, and has since become a performer and costume designer. Emily has worked with many community and professional theaters across the Bay Area, and her designs have been showcased in a number of local theater productions, short music films and local fashion shows.

Emily recently played the role of an alien in New Conservatory Theatre Center’s YouthAware production “Let’s Get Galactic,” that toured over 35 schools within the SFUSD. Dancing around in her alien spacesuit, Emily taught K-2 students about healthy choices, germs, basic hygiene, friendship and respect. This experience led her to deeply value positive teacher-child interactions, and enabled her desire to pursue additional educational work.

Emily hopes that her experience with musical and physical theater training will help foster classroom environments that inspire creativity and independence. She is currently studying fashion and apparel construction at City College of San Francisco, and plans to pursue her ECE credits.

Emily’s favorite color is yellow, her favorite holiday is Halloween, and her favorite Disney villain is Ursula.

Joey Edeli

Joey Edeli

Head Teacher

Joey is a fourth generation San Franciscan. He has a degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and AMI Montessori certification from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California.

Joey comes from a family of San Francisco educators and has over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages. For the last 7 years he has been the head Montessori teacher in a bilingual, international school in Nosara, Costa Rica.

In his free time, Joey enjoys surfing, gardening, traveling and spending time in nature. He is very excited to be back in his hometown to share his passion for Montessori and bilingual education with Playgroup.

Megan Jakobson

Megan Jakobson

Assistant Teacher

Megan was born and raised in Connecticut. The oldest of seven siblings, she has extensive childcare experience. Some of her earliest memories are helping her mom care for her four brothers and two sisters.

Megan has known Lonna since early 2012 when she made her first trip to the Bay Area and fell in love! After graduating from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY with a degree in Mass Communications she decided it was the right time to try life on the West Coast.

With a passion for kids and early childhood education Megan will join us as an assistant teacher as she figures out the next steps to take towards a Montessori certification.

When she isn’t learning and having fun at Playgroup Megan enjoys the outdoors, painting, cooking, playing tennis and soccer, and exploring and learning about her new home.

Nicole Kanai

Nicole Kanai

Head Toddler Teacher

Nicole graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling Psychology in the School of Education.

Nicole has always enjoyed working with children. Some of her early experiences include working at summer camps and after school programs. For the past 7 years, Nicole has assisted Corinne Vernon in the toddler class helping to set the children up for success in their first educational experience.

Rebecca Mellin

Rebecca Mellin

Teacher’s Assistant

Rebecca was born in Budapest, Hungary and has lived in San Francisco since she was 5. She attended Abraham Lincoln High School in the Sunset where she assisted kindergarten classes at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School.

Rebecca fell in love with working with kids in high school. In addition, all the females in her family have been early childhood educators. She started babysitting infants and toddlers in high school and has worked as a nanny close to 8 years.

Rebecca earned her Child Development credentials at SF City College, where she started taking classes in 2014. She taught English to children in Ecuador in 2015. She attended Corvinus University of Budapest, after that studying Communication.

In her free time she loves to travel, swim, watch soccer, and brag about her Hungarian culture. Her favorite Disney movie is “Hercules” and her favorite color is green.

Susie Mellin

Susie Mellin

Assistant Teacher

Susie was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary where she began working as an educator after earning her BA in 1993. She started her 20­year career as an elementary school teacher, then for a few years she taught German as a foreign language for middle school students. Susie’s family moved to San Francisco in 2001 where she worked as alead teacher at SFMA for six years and fell in love with Montessori education. Currently she is working toward her AMS Montessori Certification.

Susie is passionate about teaching literacy through puppets and drama, and giving children the opportunity to perform their favorite stories.In her free time, she enjoys camping, kayaking, skiing and traveling with her husband and two children.

Jessica Nascimento

Jessica Nascimento

Assistant Teacher

Jessica was born and raised in Southern California and moved to the Bay Area in 2010. She is passionate about visual arts and psychology. Jessica studied Art and Psychology at Las Positas College and began her career in education by teaching art classes in community centers around the Bay Area. Jessica is a firm believer in the healing properties of art and encourages creativity and individuality to all her students.

Jessica met Lonna in 2017, and immediately fell in love with all things Montessori. She started her career at Playgroup by teaching weekly art classes where students study the history and artistic process of famous artists. Jessica eagerly began studying to receive her teaching credentials and quickly transitioned to an Assistant Teacher.

In 2019, Jessica moved to San Francisco to dedicate her career to teaching at Playgroup. She is currently working on becoming a certified Montessori Teacher.

Samantha Metzer

Samantha Metzer

Assistant Teacher

Samantha recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Literacy, Leadership and Learning and a minor in Special Education.

Just over a year ago Sam and her family relocated to the Bay Area from the East Coast. Sam is ecstatic to be apart to join our Playgroup family while she pursues her education. In her free time Sam enjoys spending time with her family and friends and being able to travel.

Ashley Sedillo

Ashley Sedillo

Assistant Director

Ashley was born and raised on the coast of California. After receiving her AA in Visual Communications followed by her BS in Technological Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, she embarked on a career in business operations, human resources and financial management. Ashley merges her love for visually pleasing aesthetics and efficiency through technology as People Operations Manager at Playgroup.

Ashley comes from a family who is entirely immersed in Child Development and California public schools. With this background she is an engaging communicator, projects enthusiasm and warmth, while motivating other people.

When she isn’t taking care of Playgroup, Ashley enjoys spending time with her rescue dog, being outdoors, shopping and visiting Disneyland as often as humanly possible. She is overjoyed to be
a part of the Playgroup family.

Maria Zambrana

Maria Zambrana

Assistant Teacher

Maria was born and raised in Masatepe, Nicaragua. She is the youngest of three siblings and is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. Maria completed her B.A. in Sociology in Madrid, Spain.

She has always been passionate about child development and has worked with children in many different respects. In Madrid, she worked as a private English teacher and school tutor for kids ages 5-8. In San Francisco, Maria has volunteered as a tutor for the Seven Tepees Youth Program. Maria has also worked as a private child care worker for kids ages 1-3.

Maria’s additional interests include traveling, trying new foods and restaurants, spending time in nature, and with friends and family.