Meet our Team!

Xavier Lopez, Founder and President of Jardín

Xavier Lopez, President of Jardín Spanish Immersion Academy

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Education and Trainings

  • Founder of Jardín (Co-Founder of Jardín Mágico)

  • Lic. en Administración de Empresas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Baccalaureate Degree in Business Administration)

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plans

  • Rainbow Families Training

  • Staff Trainer with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers

  • Membership with National Association of Child Care Professionals, MinneMinds,  mnAEYC, Association for Talent Development , Minnesota Community Education Association, and Local Businesses-Global Network BNI 

Xavier grew up in México City, learning his strong work ethic and dedication to family from his parents.  Xavier’s inspiration and persistence, as well as his drive to achieve the creation of something completely unique, make Jardín what it is today.  Xavier is a leader by example, spending time in the Centers to show our teachers what makes Jardín different, and ensuring that each child in our program receives the best we have to offer.  His work as an entrepreneur in his community has been recognized as an example of the type of positive leadership that our Twin Cities community needs.  

In 2001 his first child, Kylie was born.  As a working parent, Xavier could not find a daycare that aligned with the values he held for his family.  After seeking referrals and suggestions from friends, family, and neighbors, not one daycare in his community could provide what believed to be necessities for his precious daughter.   Believing that his child, and many other children, deserved simply the best start possible, Xavier co-founded a unique child care center that prioritized early academic achievement, bilingual education, cultural competency and diversity, organic eating, environmental stewardship, and clean, safe, loving spaces filled with teachers who care.

Since then, Xavier’s family has grown to include his son Colten, and Jardín has grown to include Centers throughout the Twin Cities.  Xavier excels at executive and program level management,  providing responsive customer service to our families, giving staff trainings, and fostering positive and fun work environment.  His vision includes going above and beyond to offer staff excellent employment benefits, access to career-advancing trainings, and opportunities for professional growth and longevity in a field they love!  His knowledge of DHS day care licensing regulations coupled with years of implementing best practices allows Xavier to plan strategically and lead critically to ensure that the Jardín Centers remain at the forefront of early learning.  

In his freetime, Xavier enjoys spending time with his two children, being outdoors playing soccer (GO CHIVAS!!), going to movies, and Salsa dancing.

Sandra Uribe, Curriculum Development & Training Coordinator at Jardín

Sandra L. Uribe, Curriculum Development & Training Coordinator at Jardín

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Education and Training

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Pedagogy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico

  • Certification as a Spanish Teacher from the University of the State of Morelos

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plans

  • Staff Trainer with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers

Since joining Jardín in 2012, Ms. Sandra has infused many ideas and advancements into the education that our Centers provide.  Her experience in the field of education and her passion for Latino culture drive her work and contribute to our mission of providing your child with the highest quality education in a multicultural environment.

Mrs. Uribe’s position with Jardín has had a constant and committed focus on our curriculum at each age level as well as providing continuing education to our teaching staff.   Most recently, she has been focused on infusing our Spanish curriculum with important additions that reflect best practices in not only early learning, but the acquisition of the Spanish language along with  bi-cultural awareness.  Our company believes in her knowledge and experience with teaching and learning Spanish as a second language, and we are excited to begin implementing these new key components!

Her contributions have also led to the formation of our sister training company, “Mis Niños”, a resource dedicated to providing our teachers on-site training with courses related to early childhood development, promoting creativity and safety for children, and best practices in education.   In addition, Mrs. Uribe has supported 18 teachers to become Lead Teacher Certified through specialized trainings she delivers.  Through these trainings, fully funded by Jardín, teachers obtain their Child Development Associate (CDA) degree and become even better educators, ready to care for your children!  We are proud to say there are 6 more teachers going through the CDA training process with her currently.

Mrs. Uribe began her career 35 years ago as a Spanish teacher in her birthplace, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.   She came to Minnesota in 2001 and she has since worked in charter and public schools along with nonprofit organizations such as Resource Center of the Americas, Resource Center la Conexion, and Global Citizens Network, where she taught Spanish and developed curricula for grammar workshops and Spanish Literature courses.


Rebecca Maki, Controller at Jardin

Rebecca Maki, Controller at Jardin Spanish Immersion Academ

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  • Bachelor’s Degree from Metropolitan State University

Rebecca Maki joins our administrative team as our Controller with over 15 years of accounting experience. She grew up just two miles away from Jardin's Powderhorn location which makes her appreciation of the community that much higher. She spent her teenage years living in Annandale which is located 50 miles west of the Twin Cities, returning to the Twin Cities to begin her studies and start her career.

Before starting her career, Rebecca studied accounting at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. She enjoys her field and has previous experience including 13 years at Range Development Company, an assisted living and memory care provider and 5 years at Campus Club at the University of Minnesota, a catering and restaurant venue. With her education and previous experience she uses all the skills she has learned to enhance and maintain an organized and up to date system at Jardin.  Rebecca enjoys the investigative aspect of accounting and strives to make processes more efficient. Her role supports the administration team and all of the teachers at Jardin with an effective, clear and organized accounting system.

As a mother, Rebecca knows how important care and education are for children and she enjoys working with a company that emphasizes quality care and education though a unique program. She appreciates the focus on diversity and Jardin’s language-based multicultural curriculum.

During her free time Rebecca enjoys walking, biking, swimming and preparing and/or trying new foods! 

Danisbel Montano, Quality Improvement Specialist at Jardín

Danisbel Montano Sosa, Quality Improvement Specialist at Jardín

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  • Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the Central University of Las Villas, Cuba. Translated and evaluated by an approved US foreign credential evaluation agency as an equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree in Law in United States.
  • Earned a Director’s Credential with a Prekindergarten Endorsement from Florida State in 2010
  • Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credential 2014
  • Serves as Professional Development Specialist on behalf of the Council for Professional Recognition, Washington D.C., observing and providing feedback that allows educators to earn their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • 9+ years of progressive experience and bilingual education in the early childhood field
  • 3 years’ experience as a practicing judge
  • CPR and First Aid Certified
  • Trained in SUID, AHT, and Risk Reduction Plan

 

Danisbel enhances the Jardín team with extensive experience in many aspects of early childhood education. She began her professional career in Cuba as a judge, mastering keen observation and discernment skills. She soon realized that those same skills when coupled with her passion for children were a perfect fit, allowing her to assess and support children at an individual level to ensure their success. In 2009 she became a licensed teacher in the state of Florida, and the following year earned her Director’s Credential with a Prekindergarten Endorsement from Florida State. Additionally, she earned her national Child Development Associate Credential in 2014. Her professional experience as an early childhood educator includes over nine years of classroom experience at the preschool level, including three years as a Spanish teacher in a Montessori setting.

Once again combining her education and experience, Danisbel expanded her teaching capacity to include supporting adult learners as a Professional Development Specialist on behalf of the Council for Professional Recognition, serving as a mentor and coach for educators seeking to earn their Child Development Associate Credential. She is knowledgeable in five different early childhood curricula including the Creative Curriculum, Montessori Approach, Reggio Emilia, Theme-Based Curriculum, and High Scope.  

Danisbel is a goal-driven educator, passionate about discovering the motivation behind children’s behaviors, addressing their needs at each developmental level, and working with our team to support both kids and staff with strategies that ensure positive growth.  Her role at Jardín includes leading our innovative program through the NAEYC accreditation process, the Parent Aware rating system, facilitating the program’s participation in Child Care Assistance Programs, and enhancing our unique Spanish immersion early education curriculum to provide individualized teaching to children along professional development support to teachers.

Danisbel has deep understanding of the meaning and purpose guiding her career, based on three main principles: 1) Commitment to professional ethic, standards of practice and the care and education of young children as an educator who wants all children to be successful learners 2) Solid commitment to support teachers in their professional growth 3) Fostering understanding of cultural diversity.

In her free time, Danisbel enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and expanding her professional knowledge.

 

Carol Munguia, Administrative Assistant

Carol Munguia, Administrative Assistant with Jardín Spanish Immersion Academy

Education & Trainings carol.jpg

  • Collegiate level credits in Elementary Education
  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan
  • CPR and First Aid Certified 

Carol Munguia joined our administrative team with previous experience at Jardin as an infant teacher and a receptionist. Having collegiate level education credits in Child Development she is a perfect fit for our growing team. Her skills are shown in our central office and all our centers as our Administrative Assistant. She is a positive, responsible and problem-solving multitasker. Originally from Los Angeles, California Carol finds it is very important for children to respect and love every single creature and living being. She describes children as the joy of this world and considers her position to be a positive impact for the fostering of their education.

Growing up with parents from Latin America and being bilingual herself Carol values the importance of bilingualism in early education and how it plays a role in their development. As a mother of bilingual children, she recognizes the impact of bilingualism as an advantage for children giving them a broader and more accepting outlook on other cultures and diversity. She loves interacting with children in the center, participating in classroom time, outdoor walks and field trips.

She considers the little things in life to be the most special and that every moment should be valued and appreciated. She enjoys spending her free time with, as she likes to call it, “her little family” by going out to eat, playing outside, watching movies and just hanging out. 

Victoria De La Mora, Enrollment Specialist at Jardín

victoria_bio_pic_1.jpgVictoria De La Mora, Enrollment Specialist at Jardín Spanish Immersion Academy

Education, Trainings

  • Bachelors of science in Kinesiology with a Spanish Studies Minor from the University of Minnesota 
  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Victoria began her work at Jardin as a lead teacher at the Longfellow location then joined our Program Administration Team as the Enrollment Specialist. Victoria grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with her roots coming from Mexico City, Mexico. As a child Victoria grew up in a bilingual household and was educated though an Immersion program. Having had teachers and professors from all over Latin America, she has the highest level of respect and appreciation for Immersion programs as she would not be the same without one today. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Victoria knew that her calling was to be a part of an immersion program to provide the same amazing experience she had growing up.

Her previous work experience includes being an interpreter in the medical field and an Academy Director for a youth soccer organization. Being part of the Jardin team has merged her love for the Spanish language and passion of working with children into one. In her current position Victoria provides enrollment support to both new parents looking for a program and our multiple administrative office locations. She emphasizes the importance of clear, effective and constant communication to provide the best experience for all parents looking for the perfect care for their children.

Victoria is proud to work with an organization that prioritizes environmental awareness, healthy values, embracing diversity and the Spanish language! Her favorite aspect of Jardin is being part of such a loving, compassionate and positive group of teachers and administration team while being able to be a positive impact on the lives and education of young children.

Victoria has a passion for sports and loves being active! Outside of work you can find her running, swimming, roller-blading and coaching/playing soccer. She also enjoys hanging out with friends and family by going out to eat, traveling or spending time having good conversations. 

Suleydi Linares, Center Director at Longfellow

Suleydi.JPGSuleydi Linares, Center Director at Longfellow  

Education & Trainging:

  • Collegiate level credits from Normandale Community College 
  • Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • CPR and First Aid Certified
  • Trained in SUID, AHT, and Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan

  • Mis Niños continuing education

Suleydi is originally from Morelos, Mexico she has a very strong passion for sharing her native language of Spanish with young children willing to learn. She joins our administrative team as the Director of our Longfellow location with previous experience at Jardin as a lead teacher, receptionist and assistant director. She is willing and ready to provide support to her staff, care to the children and attentive service to all families.

She started her career with Jardin in 2013 as an assistant teacher at our Longfellow location in our infant classroom. Throughout her work at Jardin, Suleydi has grown professionally. She completed her CDA training along with taking classes at Normadale Community College while teaching to broaden her education and experience. After the completion of the CDA credential she became a lead teacher. While she was teaching she soon realized that she had a passion for administration and leadership which brought her to be our Director at the Longfellow location.

Everywhere Suleydi goes she brightens up the room with her contagious smile and laugher! In this role Suleydi provides support to her staff by helping in classrooms, communicating with parents and always having a positive attitude. She is the definition of leading by example. Her organization skills, clear communication and responsibility are just a few of the many qualities that make Suleydi a perfect fit as Director. Suleydi believes that children are special in the fact that they are constantly exploring and learning new things! She is proud to work with a company that teaches children different cultures and language, has fun while learning and takes care of mother nature.

During her free time Suleydi loves to read accompanied by a good cup of coffee. She also enjoys running in the summer time and exploring new places throughout Minnesota. 

Nancy Lopez, Assistant Director at Longfellow

Nancy Lopez, Assistant Director at Longfellow  

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  • Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credential 2016
  • Trained in SUID, AHT, and Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan
  • Mis Niños continuing education 
  • CPR and First Aid Certified 

Nancy Lopez joins our administrative team as the Assistant Director at our Longfellow location with previous experience at Jardin as an experienced Aide Staff, Lead teacher and Receptionist. She is eager and excited to work with children, parents and teachers to provide the best care and experience for all children and their families at Jardin. Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico Nancy’s passion is to educate children in her native language.

Before Jardin, Nancy worked in an administrative position at a recruiting firm. While enjoying her previous field she felt as though there was more out there for her. Nancy realized that she loved working with children and found Jardin in 2014 where she started as a receptionist at the previous Edina location. During her time at Jardin, Nancy has grown professionally and completed her CDA certificate to broaden her education. During her CDA studies, she gained experience in the classroom as an experienced Aide Staff leading up to the completion of the CDA certification where she moved to the Longfellow location as a Lead teacher at the Pre-school level.

Her hard work, experience and leadership skills are what brought her to be our Assistant Director. Nancy’s favorite part of the day is welcoming all the wonderful children and parents to our Longfellow center daily. She provides great support to her team and is a clear example to all teachers whom she works with. Nancy describes Jardin as “more than just a day care” but a place where children receive quality education and love from their teachers. For her Jardin is unlike any other due to the mix of various cultures, diversity and respect shown to all children, parents and teachers.

During her free time Nancy enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, going out to eat, and enjoying the wonderful Minnesota weather (as long as it isn’t freezing!). 

Victor Manuel Gavilan, Center Director at Powderhorn

Victor Manuel Gavilan, Center Director at Powderhorn

VictorGavilan.jpgEducation and Trainings

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Metropolitan State University

  • Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Minneapolis Community and Technical College

  • Served 600 hours as an intern in Twin Cities family-centered organizations

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan

  • Staff Trainer with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers


Mr. Victor Manuel Gavilan is originally from Morelos, Mexico.   Growing up with many siblings, both older and younger, he always knew he had a great passion for working with children.   Through his work at Jardín, he has discovered that kids light up his days, and help him to realize that life is less complicated than we adults think it is!

After arriving to the U.S. as a young child, he had the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Metropolitan State University.  However, his education didn’t stop there.  The way he approaches life is that of a scholar - he believes there is always something new to learn, and new people to learn from!  Victor came to us with two years’ experience as a preschool teacher and one year of experience as a Youth Development Coordinator.

His career with Jardín has given him the ability to grow as a person, but also the opportunity to meet amazing children, parents, and coworkers, who he feels care about and appreciate him as an individual.  Victor is a great leader to his staff and has been recognized for his ability to thoroughly train and support incoming teachers.  

During his free time, Victor enjoys sharing time with family and friends over a meal and reminiscing over past memories and stories of growing up!  He likes to take walks, going to the movies, and swimming.  His positive attitude is contagious, and keeps his Center in high spirits and ready to take on what’s next!

Stephanie Ortiz, Assistant Director at Powderhorn

Stephanie Ortiz, Assistant Director at Powderhorn

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Education and Training

  • Bachelor’s of Science in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota

  • Trainings in Customer Service, MN DHS Day Care Laws (Rule 3), Curriculum Development

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan

  • Staff Trainer with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers

Ms. Stephanie Ortiz joined our Administration team in fall of 2015 as the Assistant Director at Powderhorn, following her experience as a Lead Teacher in one of our infant classrooms.    Her current role allows her to help children, families, and staff understand human relationships and form secure bonds in a safe and loving environment.  Stephanie supports her team and enrolled families through strong organization and a passion to see them succeed.

Her studies in Family and Social Science led her to Jardín - a school where she believes children receive caring support and foundational experiences to help them grow into independent and prepared learners. While completing her college education, Stephanie also supported the community as a volunteer kindergarten classroom assistant and homework tutor, gaining valuable teaching experience.  At work, she enjoys learning new things, interacting with her team, and spending time with the babies in our program!

During her free time, Stephanie enjoys dancing, listening to music, and going shopping.  

Gaby Cabrera, Center Director at Eden Prairie

Gaby Cabrera, Center Director at Eden Prairie 

Jardin_Assistant_Director_Eden_Prairie.jpgEducation and Training

  • Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Augsburg College

  • Collegiate level credits in Elementary Education

  • 3 years of administrative experience

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan

Ms. Gaby Cabrera joins our Administration Team with previous experience at Jardín as both a Preschool Teacher and Receptionist.  She is excited to put her responsibility, organization, and solution-minded thinking skills to work as your Center Assistant Director!  Originally from Cuenca, Ecuador,  Gaby finds great worth in educating young minds in her native language.

She first began working with children in 2008 when she served as a Children’s Ministry Director at her church.  She enjoyed interacting with the kids and taking part in their learning.  The relationship she developed with parents also showed her the importance of maintaining effective communication to best support each child’s growth.  This experience encouraged her to pursue a teaching career, leading to her enrollment at Augsburg College.  While studying in their Elementary Education program, Gaby began her career with Jardín, and as a receptionist also realized her passion for administration and leadership.

In her current position, Gaby happily provides support to our wonderful teachers and attentive service to our families.  She believes that kids bring life to our days at Jardín, and feels so pleased to see them learning new things each day!   In her free time Gaby enjoys exercising, reading, volunteering, and salsa dancing!


Liz Briones, Assistant Administrator at Eden Prairie

Liz Briones, Assistant Administrator at Eden Prairie

Training, Education, and biography coming soon!

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Hortensia Leon, Center Director at Summit Hill

hortensia_bio_pic.JPGHortensia Leon, Center Director at Summit Hill 

Education and Training

  • Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University

  • Child Development Associate degree (CDA) earned in 2013

  • Trained as a Qualified Safety Instructor through the Red Cross

  • MnNAEYC- MnSACA Board Member 

  • University level credits in Nursing

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, and Behavior Guidance Techniques and Risk Reduction Plan

  • Staff Trainer with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers

At Ms. Hortensia Leon’s core is a passionate and evident desire to help people - she is constantly seeking to support her team and enrolled families with new experiences and opportunities. With our program since 2011, she first joined us as an Aide Staff in one of our busy Toddler classrooms.  Her passion for teaching was evident from the beginning, and earned her Child Development Associate’s degree (CDA) to work with Infants & Toddlers as a Lead Teacher in 2013 through our sister training company, Mis Niños.  Through her studies and strong work performance, Hortensia was also recognized for her leadership qualities and received a promotion to Assistant Director, and eventually Center Director.   Leaning on her previous nursing studies, she also then became a Qualified Safety Instructor through the Red Cross, and continues to provide CPR and 1st Aid trainings along with other subjects that support continuing education for teachers.  She takes pride in the cleanliness and care for health and the environment that Jardín takes, and believe that these are standards that all young children deserve!

Originally from San Diego, California, Hortensia also spent time in Oaxaca, Mexico before coming to Minnesota.  As a mother of a young daughter herself, she is honored to care for children and understands firsthand the trust it takes to allow others to care for your child.  She recognizes her profession as a way to empower other women to continue in their own career path, and prides herself on giving them the peace of mind that their children are not only being cared for, but educated and loved.  Recognizing the many doors being bilingual has opened for herself, she is proud to share that gift with her enrolled children during their critical first five years old life,  giving them a global perspective and an appreciation for differences.  

In her free time, Hortensia likes to spend time with her family, walking around the lakes, and working on continuing her education.

Learning Center Facility Assistants

Facility Assistants -  Alex Valerio, Edwin Pastrana & Adolfo Porras-Basurto

 Education and Trainings

  • Certified Food Managers through the State of Minnesota

  • Certified Food Safety Managers through the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals

  • Child Passenger Restraint Trained

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

  • Trained in SUID, AHT, Behavior Guidance and Risk Reduction Plan

  • Staff Trainers with Mis Niños, continuing education for Jardín teachers

 

Our program ensures clean, colorful, and safe centers for both children and teachers through the help of our fantastic Facility Assistants!  Their varied backgrounds give them insight into the many moving pieces that come together to effectively operate a school, and their warm smiles let you know that they are here to help make sure each child in our program gets the healthy start they deserve.

The support each of our locations so that Jardín Centers are always clean, toys and equipment are in good repair, and safety features such as security systems, fire alarms, safety cameras, and ultra-violet air purifiers are running effectively.  They also make sure your children are well-fed by picking up our fresh produce, hormone-free milk, healthy snacks, and more each week from our local vendors.  You can catch them in the summers safely driving our little learners to fun places in our community, and even helping grill some carne asada for our annual staff celebrations!

Through careful and constant observation, our Facility Assistants make sure that classrooms and play areas are safe, our kitchens are fully stocked, and that our Centers feel as comfortable as home to our enrolled families!