Haynes Charter for Enriched Studies is proud to have a staff of teachers that are passionate about making a difference in students’ lives through tireless dedication to education. Get to know each of our team members below.

Meet The Team


Dayna Leo


Welcome to Haynes Charter! Haynes is known as, “The Best Little School in the Valley.” It’s a special place. Both my children attended Haynes. My son is a high school graduate and heading to UC Davis this fall,  and my daughter is heading into 9th grade at Calabasas High School. This is my 11th year at Haynes, and my 23rd year of teaching. Most of my years have been in LAUSD, either in the classroom or as an Instructional Coach in the areas of reading/writing and math. I have three CA credentials and a Masters in Educational Leadership. I’ve taught all elementary grades TK-5 throughout the district and in schools ranging from special educational facilities to high performing. I LOVE teaching kindergarten–the foundation of all the grades. I also am an active Mentor Teacher with local student teachers seeking to fulfill their requirements to student teach.  Please contact me at

Have a great school year!


Jennifer Best


My name is Jennifer Best. I have been teaching in LAUSD for over 30 years. I have been teaching Kindergarten/Transitional Kindergarten for the last 15 years. Before joining the wonderful kindergarten team, I taught 1-6th grade, managed a high school special education/work program, and worked as a teacher/director with the extension classes at UCLA. I am originally from southern Oregon. I have a background in psychology, special education, and know sign language. I have 3 grown children. My mission is to create a class of students who believe they are learners. I will provide them with guidance and support to become strong productive learners. Children will gain the skills they need to read, write, and compute as well as to be effective communicators who can express their needs and assertively stand up for themselves. Students will learn to treat others with kindness and to believe in themselves.


Melissa Gallegos


Dear Haynes Family,

My name is Melissa Gallegos. I originally joined the Haynes family in 2014, but my teaching background involves many years of previous teaching experience in Preschool (3 & 4 year olds), Kindergarten, Fourth grade, and First grade. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in history from California State University of Northridge.

Originally from Utah, I have grown up and lived here in the San Fernando Valley for a long time. I am happily married to my husband Scott, and have been for 16 years. We have three beautiful daughters, Chloe, Tayler, and Penelope. We love spending time with each other, family and friends.

As far as my personal teaching philosophy goes, I feel that education helps to build the very foundation of the lives and community we live in and around. As your child’s teacher it is my goal to maintain a positive attitude towards education. I will demonstrate the ideas, beliefs, and characteristics of acceptance and patience for each individual. I will provide an organized classroom full of comfort, and open-mindedness. I will keep all communication open as well. I believe that communication is one of the main factors in providing student success as well as my own. I will be a nurturer as well as a disciplinarian. I will provide guidance and support for all the families and students I work with.

I want this year to be fun and memorable. A smile translates a thousand words, and I want to encourage excitement about learning. To do this I will make sure that I always have an active role in working with administration, my peers, my mentors, the students, and you the parents to make sure that we are providing the very best educational programs.

I encourage you to take an active role in your child’s education, and know that our collaboration will provide your child and his/her peers with the optimum classroom environment.


Geri Wetanson

First Grade

Hello Haynes Family,

I have been teaching at Haynes for the past 16 years. This is my second career, the first being in the restaurant business as a Pastry Chef and Food Purchaser. I have taught third grade for two years and the last fourteen years I have taught first grade. I am originally from New York and been in Sunny California for 21 years. I have two incredible daughters, Carly and Melanie.

As far as my teaching style, I allow children to explore and discover for themselves. I am a firm believer in children being developmentally ready. I treat every student as an individual and always try to reach everyone’s needs.

Looking forward to another wonderful year!


Michelle Dalzell

First Grade

Hello! My name is Michelle Dalzell and this is my second year at Haynes Charter.


In May of 2018, I graduated from USC (Fight On!) with my Master’s in the Art of Teaching. I continued my education after graduating from CSUN with my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies to learn even more about my passion: teaching!

Before being welcomed to teach at Haynes Charter; I had been teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Discovery School in Tarzana for five years. From my Preschool experience, I have really learned to take a humanistic approach in my teaching. I encompass whole child teaching to assure all Students’ needs are being met. Not only should students be learning their academics, but also how to be kind, caring individuals!

When I’m not teaching; I love to attend Dodger Games, watch Football (go Vikings!), relax on the beach and go on hikes!

I look forward to a fantastic second year in first grade!


Tracy Olivia

First Grade

Hi my name is Tracy Olivia.  Welcome to first grade!  I was fortunate enough to be placed at Haynes 20 years ago for my student teaching.  I am originally from New Jersey and completed my dual master's degree in elementary and special education in New York.  I taught fourth grade in New York and have been teaching first and second grade in California.  After a few years of teaching first grade at Haynes, I decided to try coaching.  I worked in two nearby schools as a math coach.  It was a great experience but I soon realized I missed working with the students and I went back to the classroom at a school in Northridge.  I had the opportunity to return to Haynes in 2012.  I have been teaching second grade for the last few years and I am so excited to be back in first grade!  In my free time I enjoy being creative, working on hands on projects, watching sports, vacationing in Lake Tahoe, and spending time with my husband Jim, daughter Ashlyn, and my little dog Ruby.  Education is very important to me.  Working with children, on a daily basis, is both a passion and a privilege. I believe that every child can learn, therefore it is my goal to create a positive learning environment where students feel safe to push themselves and take chances on more challenging tasks.  I believe in a balanced environment where children will learn and grow academically, emotionally, and socially.  I am thrilled to be a part of such an amazing community and doing a job that I love!  I look forward to a wonderful family-school connection this year!


Molly Preece

Second Grade

Dear Haynes families, 

Welcome to Room 11! My name is Molly Preece. This will be my sixth year teaching at Haynes Charter for Enriched Studies! I look forward to another incredible year teaching second grade. Over the past few years, our community at Haynes has become a family to me and I believe my students should feel the same. I begin each year by developing a classroom community that is welcoming, warm, and comfortable. With that nurturing foundation, I work each day to positively impact the lives of our children and I receive immense joy in helping them thrive. Teaching is a gift and I truly love what I do. 

A Greater Los Angeles native, I was born and raised in Calabasas, California. I attended Calabasas High School, which is only a few miles away, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. GO WILDCATS! When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy yoga, the beach, movies, and spending time with family, friends, and my dog, Charles. I hope to bring that active and educational lifestyle to the classroom each day.

My goal is to ensure that every day is a new adventure for every student in Room 11. We will explore reading, writing, science, math, and history. We will also embrace physical education, the arts, theater, technology, and more.  With your support, this will be a wonderful year together. I am looking forward to seeing our students shine!


Allison Schneidewind

Second Grade

My name is Allison Schneidewind and I have been teaching for over 25 years. I have spent the last several years teaching second grade. I am married and I have two awesome children who keep me very busy outside of school. I enjoy trailer camping with my family, reading during school breaks, being involved with my church, and spending time with my dog. I look forward to many more wonderful years of teaching!


Sandi Black

Second Grade

This will be my 33rd year of teaching! I have taught all grades 1st through 5th, but 2nd grade has a special place in my heart. It’s a year with so much growth and I love helping my students mature and thrive. I have a 28 year old son who is in the MBA program at UC Irvine. I live in beautiful Thousand Oaks where I enjoy hiking outdoors as much as possible. When I’m not at school I might be found at the Rose Bowl cheering on my UCLA Bruins football team, at Staples Center rooting for the Kings hockey team, or at Dodger Stadium celebrating a baseball win. I am an avid theater goer and enjoy all kinds of plays and musicals. My latest hobby is golf, which I find to be a great challenge and a lot of fun. I look forward to an amazing year!

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Mrs. Ali

Third Grade

I have taught for over 20 years, and each year brings new challenges along with opportunities to try new strategies with my students. In past years I have taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade. Before moving to 3rd grade, I was in 4th grade for 12 years, so I am well aware of what students need to know to be well-prepared! I look forward to another fabulous year of teaching alongside Mr. Canedo & Mr. Lebovitz. 
Apart from classroom teaching, I am also on the STEM and safety committee at Haynes. Science is my favorite subject to teach and I am always looking for new ways to engage students in science & engineering practices. I also serve as the liaison for Haynes in the district’s monthly Instructional Leadership Team meetings, so I am off campus half day once a month. 

I was born in Canada, but have lived in Los Angeles since I was four. I attended LAUSD schools and pursued my Bachelor’s and post-graduate Multiple Subject Teaching credential at CSUN. I enjoy teaching and I try my best to engage students in the love of reading and the many worlds that literature can take them into. I hope to work on developing a strong sense of global awareness/humanity as well as a strong work ethic in my students. I have traveled to many different countries around the world and often share those stories/experiences with my students. 

I live with my family in West Hills. I have two daughters, one who’s starting college, and one who is in 8th grade. Both my girls were students at Haynes and had the chance to be taught by my wonderful colleagues. Outside of school, I love to try new recipes, organize my house, read, travel (when I can) and spend time with my children.

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Jim Lebovitz

Third Grade

A Little About Mr. Lebovitz

I was one of the original teachers who helped reopen Haynes back in 1997.  I taught fifth grade for 11 years, and have been teaching third grade for over 10 years.

I am married to Meg Foss, and we have a daughter, Briana, who is a civil engineer working in water resource and environmental engineering.  She is also an avid climber and loves the outdoors.  She lives in Philadelphia.

I am a strong believer in public education, and my daughter attended LAUSD public schools from K through 12th grade and received a great education.  Besides being a fully credentialed teacher, I have a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from CSUN, a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from New York University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Penn State University.  In addition to my responsibilities as a teacher, I am the math lead teacher at Haynes, the UTLA representative, and serve on governance.  

Before becoming a teacher and moving to Los Angeles, I lived in New York City for 15 years and worked in the film business as a cameraman.  I have been fortunate to have worked and traveled all over the world, and gained many experiences that have had a great impact on my life.  In addition to the love of travel, I like biking, hiking, hanging out in the mountains, going to movies, and spending time with good friends.  I also love music, good Chinese food, a strong cup of coffee, and I play the ukulele.

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Jay Canedo

Third Grade

Mr. Canedo

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Rhonda Richard

Fourth Grade



This is my 15th year teaching elementary school, after staying home for many years with my own children and then returning to school to get my teaching credential at CSU Dominguez Hills.  I got my undergraduate degree at UC San Diego in Communications/Visual Arts with a minor in Political Science and worked for many years in the video/film business in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I’ve taught almost all the elementary grades now, and I especially love teaching fourth grade with its emphasis on studying California. 


I have two children of my own, a daughter in college and a son now getting his MBA in Philadelphia. When I’m not working, I love to bicycle or take public transit to explore our exciting city. Another hobby of mine is music, and I really enjoy singing in the classroom with my students, accompanying them on guitar or ukulele. My strongest passion is the environment. My students always learn a lot about sustainable living in their year with me, and I devote much of my time outside the classroom to campaigning for a healthy planet for our children’s future.  


I believe that my students learn best in a peaceful, friendly, and nurturing classroom community, studying content that is relevant to their lives. We use technology daily in different subjects, and I try to integrate the arts and movement into our days whenever possible. I want to help all my students discover new interests and thrive as learners and caring citizens. 


I’m very happy to be teaming up again with my fourth-grade partner, Ms. Ohan, and I look forward to an exciting year with all our new fourth graders!  

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Ivette Ohan

Fourth Grade

Salutations! My name is Ivette Ohan and I am so excited to welcome a new set of students to my classroom. This will be my third year at Haynes and my 12th year teaching fabulous fourth graders. I have a Master’s Degree in Education and two teaching credentials. Teaching is my passion and I absolutely love what I do. Every day I have the pleasure and privilege to surround myself with an amazing group of children. We tell jokes, laugh, try experiments, get messy, and enjoy our time together.  I especially love the, “Oh, I get it now!” moments.

I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I hope to instill this same love of learning in my students. The mind’s capacity for information is limitless and I feel as an educator, it is my responsibility to motivate and encourage my students to reach their full potential. When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy traveling to new destinations, reading, archery, and discovering new coffee shops with friends. I am delighted to be teaching alongside my fourth-grade partner, Mrs. Richard. We are so looking forward to a new and exciting school year!

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Jessica Booth

Fifth Grade

Teaching is an absolute passion of mine. I am so excited to work with you and your parents this school year. It’s going to be a year full of fun, learning, and lots of adventures! I cannot wait to see what the year has in store for us.

I grew up in the valley attending schools in the Las Virgenes Unified School District and received both my Bachelors and Credential through the Integrated Teacher Education Program at California State University, Northridge.I have a six year old daughter named Olivia who is in First Grade at Haynes. She takes up most of my time out of school, but in my free time some of my hobbies are archery, painting, drawing, playing board games, video games and reading.

This will be my third year teaching at Haynes Elementary School, but this will be my eleventh year teaching fifth grade. All of my lessons make real-world connections and most incorporate technology. I love Haynes Elementary School and being part of this amazing family!

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Denise Isensee

Fifth Grade

Hello, and welcome to the 2019-2020 5th grade school year in room 22!

   My name is Mrs. Isensee and I am thrilled to be teaching fifth grade at Haynes again this year with Ms. Booth. I love teaching elementary school and am so very honored and excited to be a part of the Haynes CES community.


  My husband and I live locally in West Hills and enjoy all that this beautiful neighborhood community has to offer.  We share a love of the outdoors and enjoy hiking, kayaking, bicycling, and long walks in our neighborhood. Other activities that we enjoy include going to concerts, movies, theatrical performances, and playing cards and board games with friends. We have two lovely grown daughters: Maggie, who just graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Marine Biology, and Beth, who is studying Communications and Environmental Studies at UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara).

   I love teaching all subjects, but I especially enjoy teaching math and science. We will be fully implementing the new, NGSS Science Standards this year so be prepared to explore new 5th grade topics with hands-on activities and technology.  

   Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked as an Actuary using mathematics to make financial projections and evaluate the economy. I had fun solving real world math problems daily! In addition to a bachelor’s degree in economics from CSULB (California State University at Long Beach), I hold both an elementary multi-subject teaching credential, and a secondary mathematics teaching credential from CSUN (California State University at Northridge). I have been a teacher for eleven years; including eight years at Haynes teaching first, third, and fifth grades, and three years in middle school teaching seventh and eighth grade mathematics. I really enjoy the challenge and variety of teaching multiple subjects in elementary school, and I am privileged to be doing that here at Haynes.  

   I feel a growing excitement and anticipation with the beginning of a new school year and a new class of students. Fifth grade is an amazing year filled with learning and activities: field trips, art, music, reading and writing, problem solving, exploring history and science, gardening, traveling to overnight camp together, and learning to be leaders in our school community. I am looking forward to sharing this year’s learning journey with all of you!

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Elaine Mattar

Preschool - Special Ed PALs 

Hello and welcome to Haynes!

I began my educational career as an assistant to three wonderful kindergarten teachers here at Haynes in 2005. After my first year, I was introduced to the wonderful world of special education and began to work as an assistant to two amazing little kids. I loved my job so much I decided to go to school and get my ECSE credential. In  2008 I left this wonderful school to begin teaching in my very own classroom. I have been a preschool education teacher ever since. I was recently given the opportunity to come back to our wonderful school last year.


I believe that preschool is the very first step in our children’s educational  lives and I want to make the experience as positive as possible, so they may grow to love school and also be ready for the challenges that await them.


I am happily married and have two magical kids. I am a very big Disney fan and on my days off you are most likely to find me there!

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Edith Longmire

Special Education 3rd, 4th, 5th

Mrs. Longmire


(818) 716-7310

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