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Meet The Team

Tara Tate, Director 
It is great honor to fulfill a dream I've had since I was a little girl... One of my first memories is pulling up a carrot in my preschool garden. I can recall the joy of the moment, my teacher's elation reflecting ours, the sunlight and blue skies surrounding us. A seed was planted in me.
Thanks to my father's Air Force career, I bounced around the States and beyond, spending my formative years in Guam and Virginia, both leaving an indelible mark on my spirit. As an adolescent, I landed in San Jose, California, where I honed my childcare skills with many babysitting gigs + fostered my love for nature as a cross-country runner (trail runs and hill repeats amongst the California oaks).
With the inherent knowledge that my path was with guiding young children, I chose to study Child Development at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. During my time in SLO, I worked at the SLO Children's Museum, which offered many opportunities to observe and engage with children in their play. After graduating, I moved to the Santa Cruz mountains and commuted down to San Jose to teach kindergarten at a private school. Eventually, my college family of friends all relocated to San Francisco, which proved to be a pivotal move in my preschool teaching career. I taught at an incredible play-based preschool that reinforced the practice of: being a facilitator of play, acting as a support and resource for children, and documenting the process of their learning. The school was empowered by the special community of families that flowed through each year, giving me a glimpse of diverse parenting styles and golden nuggets of wisdom. 
In the 15 years I lived in San Francisco, I met my brilliant husband and became the mother of two talented and clever girls (ages 17 + 9). Although it was terribly difficult to leave my head teaching position, my husband's work brought us to the North Bay. We feel incredibly lucky to have discovered Sebastopol. (We like to call it SeBESTopol). In the last 10 years, I've worked as the Operations Manager and now, Director, for the nonprofit, Animals United Movement, become a very invested soccer coach and WESCO Board member, and had our son, the OG (Original Gnomie, age 3).
I'm a big fan of live music, running with my dogs, hiking with my family, disco-ball dance parties, activism, and shuttling my kids to all their activities (it's a revered moment of deep convos). 
I'm fully aware and infinitely grateful for the gift I've been given to create this special school, where all I've learned and lived and loved will be actualized. I hope to instill in our little gnomies the seeds of compassion and empathy for all living things, model a reverence and regard for Mother Earth, and create a kind and inclusive community.



Fidelina Schlegal, Teacher

My name is Fidelina Hera-Schlegel. I am a Bilingual teacher, speaking fluent English and Spanish. I was born in Mexico and came to the U.S when I was eight and a half years old. I started third grade at Harmony Elementary School in Occidental and have been living in Sonoma County ever since. I have two beautiful daughters, ages seven and ten.  I enjoy walking and going on hikes, cooking meals for my family, and crafting. I especially enjoy sketching and painting animals and nature.

I have been working as a Teacher’s Aid at Apple Blossom Elementary School since 2018, helping students in grades K-5. I have really enjoyed working with teachers and kids of all ages. 

I am very excited to now transition from elementary to preschool. In the last two years, I have taken child development coursework at Santa Rosa Junior College in an effort to complete the Child Development major.  I’m excited to bring Spanish into the program and join the Gnomies team!

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