Phone: 209-366-1012

Our Faculty

Jenni Nino
Director of Education

Faculty_JenniJenni Nino is a wife and mother of three. She received her B.A. in Communications from University of California, Davis. She went on to earn her Multiple Subjects Teaching credential as well as her Masters in Education, from Teachers College of San Joaquin. Jenni then discovered her passion for teaching young children during her four years of teaching kindergarten for Stockton Unified School District. As a teacher and Director of our school, she strives to ensure that each child reaches his/her own potential and to provide a caring atmosphere in which your child can learn. Jenni is very excited to have the opportunity to work with your child as they learn and grow with Lodi Montessori. When away from work Jenni enjoys exercising, spending time with family and friends, and supporting her children’s sports and activities.

“So many times during my tenure teaching kindergarten I observed that those children who were able to master the tasks presented, also developed a solid foundation to thrive with an eagerness to learn. Our goal is to provide our students with this solid foundation and to ignite their eagerness for learning.” – Jenni Nino


Jolie Zins
Director of Personnel

IMG_7575edJolie Zins received her Bachelors Degree from University of California, Davis and went on to explore a career in teaching. She began substitute teaching in the Lodi, Galt and Stockton school districts and quickly found her niche in the education field. She substituted at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels, gaining eight years of teaching experience. After discovering her strong connection to the elementary aged children, Jolie decided to obtain her Multiple Subjects Teaching credential. She is extremely proud to be teaching at Lodi Montessori, and works hard to ensure that each one of your children reaches his/her full potential. Jolie enjoys being outdoors, exercising, traveling, reading and spending time with her husband and her three children.

“There is nothing more rewarding than knowing I have developed the educational foundation of each child I work with throughout preschool and to know that they are fully prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond.” – Jolie Zins




Vy Ergonis
Director of Operations

Faculty_VyBefore joining Lodi Montessori, Vy Ergonis’ professional career has spanned 10 years in the Human Resources and Business Management/Administration field. Vy brings an extensive administrative and office management skill set along with significant customer service experience and interaction with increasing levels of responsibility and proven capabilities.

Through her experience at major corporations such as Hewlett Packard and Adecco Group North America, Vy has developed the knowledge and skills in Business Management/Administration and Human Resources that will only help to ensure a positive experience for both our students and their families. Vy’s work experience also includes volunteer work in the elementary school system and local daycare. It’s this experience that has sparked her desire to join Lodi Montessori. Vy enjoys hiking, traveling with her husband, and giving back to the community by participating in 5k charity runs.

“I admire the Montessori philosophy and its teachings. I have seen children learn at a fast pace due to the hands on Montessori materials available. I am proud to be a part of Lodi Montessori where I can use my work experience to give back to the children and parents in our community.” – Vy Ergonis


Natasha McDougal
Head Teacher/PreK & Kinder

Natasha McDougal has been inspired by the development of children for some time now. She has been caring for young children for over eight years, while working in a preschool setting, and as a private nanny. The inspiration of working with children has led her to attend Consumes River College where she received her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, and earned her Teacher and Infant Specialist certificates. She has plans to become a Montessori certified teacher in the near future, and has begun her journey towards obtaining her Montessori certificate. When not in school, Natasha enjoys going to the beach, camping, bowling, and hiking. She is always keeping busy with family and friends, striving to live a fun filled life.

“Our flexibility and willingness to follow a child’s lead will allow remarkable to happen, if we let them.” – Bev Bos, Educator and Author


Mahogany Binder
Assistant Teacher/PreK & Kinder 

Mahogany has always wanted to work with children at a young age. She knew she wanted to help inspire young minds and guide them to be successful individuals. Mahogany graduated from ABLE charter school, while obtaining her A.A. Degree in Liberal Studies from Humphreys College. She has recently graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education, in addition to obtaining her Child Development Permit. Mahogany’s long term goal is to become a second grade teacher, and eventually complete her Doctorate Degree in Education. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing, traveling and volunteering at various community events.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  – Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa




Alicia Dace
Assistant Teacher/PreK

Alicia Alicia Dace first gained an interest in the education field while serving as a teacher’s aide and tutored in high school. She has earned her Associate’s Degree in Humanities, Social Sciences and Liberal Arts & Science, and her Associate’s Teacher certificate from San Joaquin Delta College. She has over five years of experience working as a teacher’s aide in the Montessori setting, working with toddlers and preschool aged children. Alicia is currently in the process of obtaining her Montessori Certification through NAMC. When away from work, Alicia enjoys spending her time with family, traveling and reading.

“I have a lot of respect for the Montessori Method, and I admire its appreciation for each child’s independence and individuality. Children flourish greatly in this type of environment and I am very pleased to be a part of it.” – Alicia Dace




Amber Lopez
Head Teacher/PreK

Amber Lopez has been working with young children since 2000. She began her Montessori teaching career in 2005 when she started as a full time Teacher Assistant for children ages 18 months through 6 years. With her growing passion for the Montessori teaching philosophy, Amber continued teaching in Montessori preschools in the surrounding areas such as Elk Grove and Stockton. She then became a certified Montessori teacher in 2012 at the North American Montessori Center. Since then, she has been working in the preschool and toddler classrooms. Aside from her desire to teach, she is also passionate about fitness and the performing arts. Outside of school, Amber spends 6 to 10 hours a week doing volunteer work in the ministry. Not only does Amber appreciate the Montessori Method, but she also has an appreciation for her friends and family, art, writing, orcas, the rain and pumpkins.

“I enjoy watching children learn and grow. One of the goals I have for my students is   to be confident in themselves, and to have the courage to try new things.” – Amber Lopez



Lizzet Picos
Head Teacher/Early Preschool

Lizzet Picos found her passion for working with young children at a young age. It was in high school that she began volunteering at her first job as a teacher assistant in a preschool classroom. Liz takes her work with children very seriously, and believes that education is most important during the early years of life, when children are building connections in their brains. She studies at San Joaquin Delta College where she has earned over 30 units in early childhood education. Additionally, Liz has received her Montessori certification from North American Montessori Center. Her experience in a Montessori classroom began in 2012 while assisting and co-teaching, where she remained for the next 4 years prior to joining Lodi Montessori. On her free time, she enjoys traveling, nature, and spending time with family and friends.


Noemy Anaya
Assistant Teacher/Early Preschool

Teaching and working with young children has been a lifelong passion for Noemy Anaya. She has worked as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, and was co-owner of a day care center. After taking a hiatus from the workforce to raise her four children, Noemy knew she wanted to continue to teach young children, and earned her associate teaching credentials from San Joaquin Delta College. It was here where she fell in love with the Montessori teaching philosophy, as it allows children’s self-discovery and creativity to blossom. Aside from working with children, she has a passion for interior design and working on any creative projects. When Noemy is not working, she loves to spend time with her family and being at her children’s sport activities. Just like the Montessori philosophy, she hopes to nurture the independence and individuality of her children, and hopes to engage them in individual tasks and group activities with other children.

“All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection.” – Alice Miller, Psychologist and Author


Alicia Ortiz
Assistant Teacher/Early Preschool

Immediately after high school, Alicia began volunteer work at an in-home day care. She helped children with their daily homework, and organized indoor/outdoor games to enhance motor development. This volunteer experience, along with her passion for working with young children, is what led her to take Early Childhood Education courses at Delta College. Alicia joined Lodi Montessori with over five years of experience working with young children. Three of those years were in a Montessori environment where she worked as a Toddler teacher. Alicia would like to eventually complete her coursework in ECE to earn a Master Teacher Certificate through California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, in addition to becoming Montessori Certified. She is so inspired by the Montessori Philosophy that she would like to open her own Montessori school in the future. Alicia’s goal is to ignite “love” within each of the children she works with: love for others, love for oneself and the love for learning. In her free time, Alicia enjoys using her creativity to create projects inspired by daughter. Fitness is also important to Alicia, so a good workout with friends is also something she enjoys.

“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” – Maria Montessori



Rosa Nguyen
AM Floater/Aide

Rosa Nguyen gradually acquired an interest in childhood education after taking a child development course at San Joaquin Delta College. She received her Associate’s degrees from San Joaquin Delta College and continued to pursue her new interest in childhood education by earning a B.A. in Child Development and minor in Counseling from Sacramento State. At Sacramento State, she was able to volunteer at the child center where she worked in a Montessori based classroom. Rosa appreciates and respects Montessori education which values open-ended time and creating a child centered environment. She also believes that children are capable of great learning when given the freedom and time. Rosa hopes to continue to help young learners grow as she explores her own growth in working with children. Outside from work, she enjoys spending time with her family, dogs and friends. She loves dogs, dancing, traveling, and venturing out for good tasting food.

“What a child can do in cooperation today, he [or she] can do alone tomorrow.” – Lev Vygotsky, Psychologist