My name is Maria Mercedes, but I like people to call me “Gaby.” I first moved to Richmond twenty-one years ago and have four beautiful children. I’ve studied early childhood education in multiple settings, including City College of San Francisco, Skyline College and Contra Costa College. I’ve been working with children since 1988, beginning with Head Start. For the last eight years I have been working with preschoolers with special needs, which I greatly enjoy. I also provide support for different tasks at Peres Elementary, such as teaching Spanish in the after school program and tutoring children in the learning center. In addition to this work, I enjoy teaching children as a catechist. I am blessed to have many opportunities to watch children progress through their development. I have a healthy creative streak and love to work with anything that includes craft activities. In my spare time, I collect miniatures like elephants, and I am taking guitar classes.