My name is Gloria Hodge and I have been in the education and early learning field for nearly 16 years. My experience includes work in South Korea, Southern California and Washington. I also volunteer for Renton School District in various capacities. During my free time, I love spending time with family, watching movies, and traveling.
I am excited to be part of Hoa Mai as the center will provide children the opportunity to learn in both English and Vietnamese while preparing for kindergarten. I am also thrilled for the Vietnamese community as Hoa Mai will be the first Vietnamese-English bilingual preschool in Washington State. We are setting a model for others to follow! Hoa Mai’s dual language program is the first step in preparing our children for a multilingual, multicultural world. Being bilingual provides an individual with so many added benefits, both professional and personal. In today’s global economy, a bilingual person truly can gain easier access to clients by being able to communicate in a different language other than just English.
I believe the quality of the classroom environment activities, both indoors and outdoors, are essential components in early learning education. I am passionate about ensuring an optimal learning environment for children at the center. What I enjoy most when working with children is being able to engage in classroom activities and see children reach their goals. I also feel caring adults play a crucial role in helping children develop and dedicated volunteers have so much to offer. I look forward to working with Hoa Mai parents and community to build a solid support foundation for our children.
Liam Nguyen, Administrative Assistant
Xin Chao!! My name is Liam Nguyen and I’m a recent college graduate majoring in Economics at the University of Washington. I moved to the States at the age of nine and during those times, I was fortunate enough go back and visit Vietnam on many occasions. While I was there, I’ve had the opportunities to connect with my roots and learned to appreciate my culture. I am excited to join the staff at Hoa Mai and offer my support to the team as an Administrative Assistant. I am thrilled to be a part of the very first Vietnamese-English bilingual preschool in the State of Washington. I truly believe in Hoa Mai’s mission in providing quality early childhood education and I can’t wait to have my work at Hoa Mai reflects its vision and values.
Diem My Nguyen, Preschool Classroom Teacher
Hi! my name is My Nguyen and I am from Vietnam. I graduated from college and I was a teacher at a preschool for almost 3 years in my country. I love to work with children and that’s why I began to study Early Childhood Education. I was a volunteer at Denise Louise, in Chinatown for almost two months and that was the first time I worked with children in the US. I feel really excited and happy when I work with children because I feel they are my family. I am a student in Seattle Central College now and this quarter is my second quarter in college. At the school, I study a lot about children, how we can understand them, and how we can help them to develop.
Hoa Mai is a great preschool because here, I can have a chance to work with children. I like to use my knowledge and share my experiences towards my goals. I can speak Vietnamese and English and it is always a place to support each other with a dual language program. It is important for me to share my culture with everyone.
Wan Chang Li, Preschool Classroom Assistant
My name is Wan Chang Li and I was born in China. I can speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Taishanese fluently. English is my second language. I am married and I have two children. We live in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. We love Seattle.
I went to school in Taishan, China. I am currently continuing my education to gain more knowledge in the field of Child Development. I will keep learning to expand my knowledge to help our children to be more confident to grow and learn.
I got my first job at the International District Chinatown Community Center where I supervised toddlers for about nine months. Our main program “play and learn” let our toddlers learn how to play with various materials and fun social activities. I have several years’ experience working with infants to preschoolers. I have transitioned from Little Eagles Child Development Center, a sister center to Hoa Mai. I love working with children. I am very excited to meet the staff, the children and their families at Hoa Mai.
In my spare time I like to travel and take photos of nature and people with my camera. I like collecting stamps, gardening and cooking.
Jeri Bellinger, Preschool Classroom Teacher
Jeri Bellinger first started working with children as a provider of public library services to preschools and child care centers. She is passionate about language and literacy, and thrilled to be part of a learning community where home languages are valued and retained. She uses storytelling with puppets and other props to promote vocabulary acquisition, and incorporates Total Physical Response in classroom instruction. She is a graduate of Pacific Oaks College, where she completed her BA in Human Development with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. She is currently a student of massage therapy at The Cortiva Institute in Seattle. An Avid Reader, she also likes baking, camping and hiking. She lives in Rainier Beach with her two dogs.
Duy Quoc Nguyen, Preschool Classroom Assistant
Hi! My name is Duy Nguyen. I’ve graduated from University of Tourism in Vietnam. My favorite hobby is to travel and enjoy all of the best cuisines around the world. I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries throughout Asia, and had a chance to teach in Japan a long period of time.
I love learning new languages. Currently, I can speak Vietnamese, Japanese, Mandarin, and English. I’m also taking classes at Seattle Community College to improve my English. I am really excited to join Hoa Mai families and I take pride in my job as an educator. I will try my best to share my experience and knowledge of the Asian’s culture as a whole and Vietnam’s culture in particular. I believe language is an important key when it comes to learning about the culture of a place and I want to provide that opportunity for the children.
Mary Hendrix, Toddler Classroom Teacher
Hi my name is Mary Hendrix. I will be the Toddler Teacher at Hoa Mai. I have been in the Early Childhood Education field for 28 years. I worked at Zion Preparatory Academy for 23 years. I have taught all preschool grade levels from toddlers to Pre-K.
I am a mother of six children and grandmother of two. Four of my children are grown and the two youngest are in middle school.
I have my AAS in Early Childhood Education/Para educator from Shoreline Community College. I received my degree in 2008. I am hoping to start on my BA from North Seattle Community College winter quarter.
I am looking forward to working with the staff at Hoa Mai, the children and the families.
Iz Zah, Toddler Classroom Assistant
Xin Chao, My name is Iz zah and I am currently a college student at Seatte Central Coolege. I was born and raised in Vietnam, where I was studying to be a teacher. After moving to the states two years ago, I continued on with my studies and dreams in becoming a teacher.
I am actively involved in my community and recently had the opportunity to volunteer as a student teacher at Bailey Gatzert Elementary. I am blessed and excited to be part of Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool family as the new assistant teacher. I hope that my experiences can contribute to Hoa Mai’s mission and values.
Nursalam Ibrahim, Floater
Thanks for taking the time to read a little about me.
A’Salamualaikum (Peace be upon you)
Some know me by Nursalam (pronounced Noor Salam, meaning the light of peace), others know me by Noor (Light). Having been born and raised the past 22 years here in South Seattle I’ve definitely lived and learned not only a lot about myself but what a beautiful impact it can make when you’re able to build with both the communities that have been here before you and after you.
I come from a background where English is my second language, endless struggling through academia and the school system myself, never thought I’d be able to experience child care here at Hoa Mai/Dragon’s Den. I want to be an advocate for young people in ways that I wish I had growing up. To be able to support young peoples in becoming their own leaders and organizing community, help guide them through teachings and actions of anti-racism/anti-bias and creativity.
On my free time, I enjoy documenting people and events in the city through photography, building and organizing through the lens of Black and Indigenous Liberation movements not only here but globally.
This summer I plan to practice linocut printing, riding a bike and taking care of myself.