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1ST GRADE

Kristi Hanretta
1st Grade

Kristie Hanretta

 I’m Kristi Hanretta. I went to the University of Santa Barbara for 5 years. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and then got my Teaching Credential there. I became a teacher at Sycamore in 2014, after Simi Elementary was closed. I had been teaching kindergarten through 2nd grade at Simi Elementary for 21 years, 8 of which I taught a 2nd grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) cluster class. Sycamore has become my new home!
 I am married and have 2 sons. Nathan is 20 years old and Kevin is 12. I attended schools in Simi Valley from kindergarten through 12th grade. I went to Garden Grove Elementary, Sequoia Junior High, and graduated from Simi Valley High School. I enjoy music and dancing. Growing up, I took ballet, tap, and jazz classes, and now I like doing Jazzercise. If you are looking for the shortest teacher on the staff, that would be me! I truly enjoy working with young students. I love watching the children grow academically, as well as, become more independent, confident students. I feel honored to get to be a part of their educational journey here at Sycamore.

 

 

 

Tracie Garfinkle
1st/2nd Grade 
Tracie Garfinkle

Hi! I’m Tracie Garfinkle and I have loved being a teacher for more than 20 years. I originally went to CSUN to be a school psychologist, but I realized that what I really loved about working with children was forming a learning community with them. To watch them learn and grow with one another is such a privilege, and to encourage their curiosity and development is a responsibility I cherish. I love being with my family, playing with our dogs, learning new crafts, and roasting coffee for our family and friends! My husband, two grown children, and I recently moved back to Southern California, to the same school district where my kids grew up and I taught for 20 years. Our family followed a job opportunity for my husband to Washington, but we all missed the Simi Valley community and, when we moved back and I started teaching first grade at Sycamore, it felt like coming home. I love Sycamore's great staff and vibrant learning community! It's good to be home!

 

Megan Suzuki
1st/2nd Grade Special Day Class
Megan Suzuki

I am Megan Suzuki, and I am a special education teacher here at Sycamore.  I earned both my Bachelors Degree in Child Development and my Education Specialist Credential from California State University, Northridge. I have been teaching in the Simi Valley Unified School District since 2002. I worked as an inclusion specialist for my first four years in the district and had the chance to work at several of our district's schools, including Sycamore. I enjoyed working with the teachers and students at Sycamore, and when the opportunity arose to take over one of the special education classroom here, I jumped at the chance!  Both of my daughters attended Sycamore throughout their elementary school years, and I loved having them on campus with me.  
I have worked with children in a variety of settings for all of my adult life.  In addition to being an elementary special education teacher, I've also worked as a preschool teacher and early intervention teacher.   My favorite parts of teaching are getting to know my students, watching them learn to do something for the first time by themselves, and seeing students' pride and excitement in learning.