Meet our Staff


Elishelah Wright— Owner/Director

I have been a State Licensed Childcare Provider, certified in Pediatric CPR and First Aide, since 2001. I have a Preschool Master Teacher Permit with the State of California and I am close to completing my degree in Child Development at Mira Costa College. I conduct parent education workshops relying heavily on my background as a Certified Parent Educator. I am also the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of three.

I was selected as an Outstanding Educator and represented the state of California at the 2011 Terri Lynne Lokoff National Child Care Teacher Awards in Philadelphia.

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I am originally from Colorado and grew up spending much of my summers in the solitude of the mountains and developed a deep love and connection with nature. As I grew I found an increasing desire to nurture and care for young children. When I was 16 years old I started teaching Sunday School and discovered my passion to make a positive difference in the lives of children. As a young mother I not only taught and cared for my own two children but also for eight other preschoolers. When I returned to school as an Experimental Psychology major at UC Santa Barbara, my research assignments always involved children. That desire to make a difference in the lives of children persisted and led me to various positions involving children’s welfare in different parts of the U.S. and in the world.

I returned to California in 1998 and received Montessori training at the Progressive Montessori Institute and worked at the Carlsbad Montessori School and Encinitas Country Day.

Other endeavors and positions I have held in the past include:

* Certified Parent Educator personally trained by Jane Nelson of the Positive Discipline and Developing Capable People Program

* Educational Seminar Leader training preschool educators throughout the central and eastern U.S. with the Applebaum Training Institute in Houston

* Presenter at the first International Education Conference in Costa Rica

* Children’s Education Coordinator at the World Headquarters for Unity Churches in Lees Summit, Missouri

* Youth Education Director at the large Unity Church of Christianity in Houston

* Principal’s Secretary at the Giessen Elementary school in Giessen, Germany, and at the Frankfurt American High School in Frankfurt, Germany

My professional memberships include:

  • National Center for Montessori Education
  • National Association for Family Child Care
  • San Diego County Family Child Care Association



Ellen Truelove – Lead Teacher

I’m originally from the East Coast. I worked for the government in Washington DC, ski-bummed in Aspen, and spent some time in the Bay area before I finally settled down in North County. I attended Palomar College where I received an Early Childhood Education Certificate and finished my BA at SDSU. Originally, my plan was to get a Masters Degree in Special Education but I got sidetracked and spent about 11 years working in food service. I owned and operated two successful family-style restaurants and pie shops. When I sold the restaurants, I returned to school for Montessori training. I have always enjoyed working with children, especially at the preschool level. Education begins at birth and young children are so eager and have so much enthusiasm and curiosity that with the slightest encouragement, they practically teach themselves.
Over the years, even when I wasn’t actively teaching, I have been involved with children on some level either as a foster parent, volunteer at my daughter’s school, setting play-groups for neighborhood children or teaching at Sunday School.


Marguerite Wright – Lead Teacher

I have been living in Encinitas for twenty-two years. I have been teaching preschoolers since 1977. I graduated with honors from Mira Costa Community College in Oceanside, California in 2000, earning my Associate Teacher Degree in Early Childhood Development. I have taken Infant-Toddler CPR/First-Aid three times.
I enjoy working with children of all ages, teaching, telling stories, listening, playing, singing songs and playing music together. I play the harmonica and get many requests from the children to play a favorite song as well as request to tell a favorite story or activity. It brings me great joy to work at a job where I can care for children.
I am a mother of three grown children, one son and two daughters. I have four grandchildren, two boys and two girls. I live with my husband Chuck and my cats. I enjoy children, animals, music, reading, sewing, beading, gardening and living in Encinitas near the beach.


Gloria Fonte – Spanish Teacher

I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. When I was 20 years old I moved to Los Angeles and was married 5 years later. We lived in Sherman Oaks where my 2 daughters were born. I began my studies in Child Development as Los Angeles Valley College. At that time, my girls were attending Head Start Preschool and I volunteered Full-time there for the next 2 years. It was then that I discovered the magic of working with young children.
A few years later, we moved to the Monterey Bay area where I attended Monterey Peninsula College. I worked at Monte Vista Development Center initially and later at St. Timothy’s Preschool. In 2007 my husband’s job brought us to Southern California and we settled in beautiful Encinitas.

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I finalized my studies at Mira Costa Community College and worked for two years at St. John’s Catholic Preschool. We are a busy family with two teenage daughters that play volleyball. My husband is studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I enjoy going to the gym. As a family, we like to go for nature walks, camp and play at the beach.
In 2009, I found my second family working at Shantivanam. I’ve had a great time working with the children, parents and staff. This experience has helped me to continue my learning while having the flexibility to maintain my personal and family life.



Laura Greer – Sign Language Teacher

About 18 years ago, I was introduced to using American Sign Language to communicate with my nephew as I babysat for my sister and brother-in-law. Little did I know that the 5 minute lesson on what he was doing would guide me through the next 2 hours. When my second nephew came along, it helped with both the preverbal baby and with the now verbal and mobile older brother. The sense of teamwork and connection that this language provided was amazing. When I had my own daughter, Jenna (now 14), and then my son Mason (now 12) I had to bring that same magic into our everyday lives. The connection for us parents to the children, as well as between the children themselves, was absolutely deepened by having trust in being seen and heard by each other.

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Born and raised in Southern California, and the youngest of three, I have always craved clear communication with a desire to understand and be understood by others. I first sought this out through visual communications as I received my Bachelors of Art in Illustration through CSU Long Beach. This is where I met my husband of 22 years, Keith. We then settled in North County San Diego for the surf and outdoor sports atmosphere that we love as I built a career in Illustration and Design. Discovering the use of American Sign Language as another form of visual communication awakened a desire to teach, support, encourage and empower other parents, caregivers, babies and toddlers in hearing families with this tool. My second business, Creative Signing, was created in 2002.I then pursued ASL language studies through the prestigious language program at Palomar College and Child Development credits through Mira Mar College. Over these years I have been offering instruction in the form of private family classes, workshops, Teacher/ Caregiver convention lectures, parent/baby classes, preschool and elementary school enrichment programs. I love to empower parents and teachers with their ability to understand the children they are caring for, and especially love to see the burst of growth and confidence babies and toddlers display in their successful attempts to communicate. Everyone is enriched by being truly seen and heard.I love to be outside running, surfing, SUP’ing, hiking, relaxing and traveling. All are enhanced when done with my family Keith, Jenna, Mason and dog Zorro. My family still finds these signs useful; Bathroom, Stop, Please, Yes, No, I Love You. :)


Gary Wright – Support Staff

Gary has been involved in various capacities since we opened our doors in July of 2001. Gary has completed the 25 hour course, The Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers given by North County WestEd and he is a favorite with many of the children.

Though Gary is employed full time elsewhere, he is also our yard and maintenance person and he keeps our electronic equipment running. As with everyone else on staff, Gary has a complete background check and clearance with the State Department of Licensing.