Meet Our Teachers

Our Staff…

Our teachers are what really make Discovery Learning Center special. They are educated, experienced, nurturing, and dedicated early childhood professionals. DLC teachers come to work everyday because educating young children is their passion and their career.

Our school requires teachers to be professional, interactive, get dirty, collaborate, nurture, sing, and to laugh. In return, DLC provides a work environment for our staff where their intelligence and creativity is valued. They are given the freedom to explore new topics and create projects and activities based on our student’s emerging interests. Our low ratio (typically 1:6) allows teachers to meet all of our student’s needs.

Linda Smyth – Founder/Co-Owner

With 40 years of experience as the owner of DLC, Linda has her B.A. degree in Human Development, and a M.S. degree in Child Development. Linda also taught Child Development at the college level for over 24 years. Linda created DLC based on a dream. This dream included a special place for children to grow and develop according their individual timeline. A place where kids could just be kids, get dirty, get loud, explore, and create. A place where children are not simply being prepared for a rigid path, but where a unique path is being prepared for each child based on their talents and interests. This dream also included a place where preschool teachers were valued, respected, and cherished for the true heroes they are. DLC is constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of our students as they grow, but Linda has always guarded her original dream and philosophy. The rest is history!

Jami Charlton – Program Director/School-Age Teacher

Teacher Jami has been at DLC her whole life as she attended DLC as a child. Starting as a volunteer at the age of 17, Jami worked up to an aide/substitute teacher throughout her college years, and finally became a full time teacher in 2006. She first earned her A.A degree in Early Childhood Education from Sierra College in 2002 , then her B.A. degree in Psychology from Notre Dame de Namur University in 2004, and her M.A degree in Child Development from CSUS in 2011. Over the last few decades teacher Jami has worked with every age group at DLC. In 2013 teacher she became DLC’s program director. Teacher Jami is very active in the program, always building relationships with the children, teachers and parents. She is also the current school-age teacher!  When not at DLC, teacher Jami enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and riding her bike!

Bonnie Ward – Preschool/School-Age

Teacher Bonnie began teaching at DLC in 1987. Bonnie holds an A.A degree in Early Childhood Education. Before coming to DLC Bonnie had many years of teaching and director experience at a preschool in El Segundo, Ca. Teacher Bonnie leads the Dragonfly group (middle to older 4’s) during the regular school year and is with the school-agers in the summer time. Bonnie is a gifted teacher with an amazing knack to make children laugh and smile. She can draw out the shyest of children and quickly learns their likes and dislikes, making them feel right at home. And she is famous around here for her story times. Her voices and funny ad-libbing have every one cracking up! Bonnie has a passion for art and always finds a way to incorporate a variety of media, tools, and materials to enrich her student’s learning experience. She has a great sense of humor as well! Bonnie is an amazing mentor to all staff at DLC, sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience on a daily basis. She is the heart and soul of our program!

Stephanie Parkes- Preschool/School-Age 

Teacher Stephanie has been at DLC since 2011. She earned her B.A. degree in Human Development from UC Davis. Stephanie has worked with all age groups at DLC, and is now co-teaching the Blue Dinosaur group (young to middle 3’s)! Stephanie is gifted at crafting a beautiful and rich learning environment that invites children to touch, explore, & create! She is a keen a observer of her student’s interest, and masterfully weaves them into the group time curriculum. For a child, growing and learning are always easier with teacher Stephanie’s help! She is incredibly kind and loving!

Teacher Stephanie loves spending time with her large family, creating gorgeous succulent arrangements, shopping at Trader Joe’s, eating chocolate and drinking coffee, but strongly dislikes frogs!

 Kimberly Dillon – Preschool Teacher

Teacher Kim began working at DLC in September of 2013. However, she has been teaching in the field for many decades now. Kim team teaches the Blue Dinosaur group (young to middle 3’s).

When Kim walked in our doors she said, “I feel like I’ve been searching for this school for forever.”  This is because DLC is similar to teacher Kim’s preschool which she attended as a child in Santa Cruz, CA. Her preschool experience was so profound that it led her to pursue a career as an early childhood professional.

Kim values individuality, TRULY hands-on art & science projects, literacy development, and creative movement. She has attended various child development conferences on curriculum approaches, as well as different areas of development, and has a sound understanding of appropriate child development practices. When Kim is not at DLC she enjoys photography, gardening, and traveling, and spending time with her husband and son Anthony!

Justine Matteucci- Preschool/Assistant Director

Teacher Justine came to DLC in October of 2014. Justine graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A in English and a minor in educational studies, studied ECE at Sierra College. While at UC Irvine Justine volunteered in Jumpstart, an Americorps program to prepare low-income preschool children for school success. For several summers now, Justine and her family have run the Royal Family Kids Camp for foster youth. For one week in July they create an environment for foster youth where the kids feel safe, loved and valued. They have birthday celebrations, Christmas in July and so much more!

Justine teaches the Butterfly group, the oldest preschoolers (4’s & 5’s) and is also the assistant director. Justine’s outdoor classroom is full of art, “loose parts” for kids to build and create with, plants, a garden and most importantly, lots of laughter and love. Justine is a master at creating a small community within our larger community. Meaning, the kids in her group take pride in Butterfly group! They love their “jobs” that help them care for and cultivate their learning space. They cherish their circle times, story telling opportunities, and their sharing time. All these little things give Justine’s students a strong sense of group identity. Justine is fun, kind, and calm! She is also a mama to two DLC kids (Adriel & Estelle). When not a DLC Justine enjoys reading, exercising, spending time with her family and traveling. DLC is most definitely a more organized and functional space with Justine…and there is a lot more laughter too!

Monique Lobaugh- Preschool 

Teacher Moe came to DLC in February of 2018 with over 20 years experience in the child development field! We are so glad she finally found DLC. Moe works with the Red Dinosaur group, our youngest preschool friends. If you have a two year old, then you know this can be a particularly challenging time in a child’s life. Moe has the most kind, gentle and patient approach to working with very young children. She sees each individual child and notices their strengths and challenges. Her voice is always soft and understanding. This is just how Moe is all the time…kind, thoughtful, and loving.

When not a DLC Moe loves spending time with her family. She and her husband are high school sweet hearts, and they have son named Antonio. Moe is also very close with her two sisters.

Dannia (Danny) Gonzalez – Preschool Teacher

Teacher Danny began working at DLC in March of 2020…literally days before the COVID quarantine began! Danny has shown so much passion, commitment and grit while learning how to teach in this very new preschool landscape! Danny originally became interested in working with young children while caring for her younger siblings. She used to dress as a clown to entertain kids at their birthday parties, and this actually turned into her first job! Danny still pulls out the face paint for the DLC kids and is truly an amazing artist! Teacher Danny puts so much thought and energy into all her planning and activities. She creates a special environment for her afternoon preschool group (Butterfly and Dragonfly combo group) where every child feels loved and safe. Danny also brings her Mexican heritage into her classroom through music, language, stories, clothing, customs and so much more. Danny is so hard working, thoughtful and gifted…we are truly lucky to have her!