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Kinder Department

The Kindergaten Department consists of 2 classrooms of kindergarten students. 

  Jennifer Dill  

My name is Jennifer Dill and I’ve been teaching in Fremont Open Plan since 2008. Many years ago, my husband and I chose this school for our children and fell in love with the community and learning environment it provided for our children. Therefore, when a classroom position became available in Fremont Open Plan, I was able to bring my fifteen years’ teaching experience to this community where I have continued to learn and grow as a professional and found great joy bonding with the families in our program. The comradery that exists among staff is also special here in Open Plan. We work hard to learn and grow professionally, having had many trainings in common, and strive to uphold the tenets of our open education philosophy. I believe strongly that education should have children at the heart of all decisions. Children’s paths look different as they learn, grow and find their passions and those are very exciting journeys to witness!

  Sarah Lepe  

I joined the Fremont Open Plan community as a kindergarten teacher in 2008. I have a background in early childhood education and have taught preschool - 2nd grade. I was looking for a school that would allow me to teach the whole child as well as to teach children at their own individual rate of learning.  I have been an avid reader since I was a child and love to inspire and develop an enthusiasm for reading in my students. Being a child’s first teacher is one of the most amazing privileges and my hope is to instill a love for learning and curiosity in my students.

Primary Department

FOP’s Primary Department consists of our 1st & 2nd graders and they are divided between three homerooms. However, they rotate between all three teachers for various activities. Our Primary Department staff includes:

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  Dana Roy  

Hello, I’m Dana Roy and I am one in the trio of Primary Department teachers.  My husband, Matt, and I were first introduced to Fremont Open Plan as parents when our boys, Zach and Josh, attended this amazing school. Over the past twenty years, I have taught preschool, kindergarten, first grade and now 1st and 2nd grades at FOP.  I have a strong desire to honor children and where they are developmentally, socially, emotionally as well as academically.  I have seen how this amazing school fosters a great love of learning in its students, and I am so excited to now be one of its teachers.

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  Deena McGrath  

I am very excited to be back at FOP, this time as a teacher. I was a very active Open Plan parent for twelve years and it has been a personal goal to make it back to this amazing learning community as a teacher. Although my children are now adults, we still cherish our time together in Open Plan and my children are just as excited as I am to be back.


My teaching background is grounded in child development. I spent ten years teaching at The Montessori Schools of Tracy and Modesto, with close to half that time as the school director at the Modesto school. Then, I taught science and social studies as a Traveling Teacher through The Great Valley Museum, which allowed me to teach in all grade level classrooms throughout the Central Valley while enjoying the flexibility I wanted to be an active FOP parent. For the past five years, I have been teaching, fourth grade, kindergarten and first grade in Manteca. I loved my time in Manteca, but there’s no place like FOP! I feel like I have come home.

  Amber Shortlidge  

Hello!! I am so excited to be here at Fremont Open Plan. This will be my second year teaching and I am looking forward to hopefully having a “normal” year. My first year teaching was spent teaching first grade in Newman. I was drawn to Fremont Open Plan due to their whole child approach. My passions include providing a collaborative classroom environment where every student feels like they are part of our classroom community and family. 

     My husband and I have been married for seven years and are currently expecting our first child. In my free time I enjoy walking my dog, facetiming my mom in Missouri, and spending time outdoors with family and friends. 

Middle Department

Fremont Open Plan’s Middle Department consists of our 3rd & 4th Graders. They are assigned a homeroom, but rotate between the two teachers for various studies. Our Middle Department staff includes:

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Geraldine Cavalli

Hi! My name is Geraldine Cavalli. I am beyond thrilled to be joining the FOP community as a teacher and parent. Being an educator is my passion and I am very proud of this role.  This is my 16th year as a classroom teacher. I have had the fortune of teaching in 3 different states (TX, IL, and CA) and multiple different grade levels. This career gives me the distinct honor of watching each student develop new skills, find their own passions, and become amazing community members. In my spare time, I love experimenting with new recipes, listening to American History podcasts, and exploring Northern California.

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  Danita Thomson  

I am married with 2 children. I joined the Open Plan family as a parent in 2004. My son and daughter spent all of their elementary years here and I believe they have blossomed into the amazing young people they are today, because of the foundation of education and social skills they received in FOP. After several years volunteering in FOP classrooms as a parent, and being a stay at home Mom,  I went back to school for a second career and received my Masters in Education and a teaching credential from UOP. I was so lucky at that time to be hired as a middle department teacher.  Throughout my education I was amazed to learn how much the Open Plan way of teaching is so beneficial for children and understood why it aligns so perfectly with my teaching philosophies.

Upper Department

Fremont Open Plan’s Upper Department consists of our 5th & 6th Graders. They are assigned a homeroom, but rotate between the two teachers for ELA, math, art and other studies. Check out our Upper Department Website for department wide updates.

Our Upper Department staff includes:

  Dorene Arnold  

Hello,  I'm Teacher Dorene and I love that I landed teaching at our amazing school, F.O.P.  I have been teaching for 24 years now, with 14 of those years being here at our school.  I have a special ed. minor and credential from San Jose State University.  Also, I am very passionate about being a life-long learner.  So, I further my knowledge with regular trainings as a coach in STEM education, Project-based learning, design thinking, technology and the arts.  Open Plan has a special place in my heart, for not only what it has offered my own son, Noah; but also for the thematic approach that allows for learning to come alive for kids.  I enjoy watching our Upper Dept. students strive for their learning goals and grow into kids that project confidence.  Guiding all students to find what they love in reading and learning is especially important to me.  What makes F.O.P.  a special community  is that it has a network of parents that partner with us to help all students achieve.  It is a place like no other.  

  Levi Hanzel-Sello  

Hi, I'm Levi, and all of my best jobs have included children, from camp counseling to soccer coaching.  Before teaching at FOP I taught 1st grade in Hayward, Kinder in Richmond, English in Moldova and Autism Preschool class.  I love that we are process and development oriented. Working with parents have allowed our classes to accomplish some amazing projects.  I love helping with student council as well as reducing single-use plastic in our community. My passions include being outdoors hiking, playing soccer, cycling, and playing tag.

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