Tours: (831) 429-NBCC (6222)

Linda Swan ~ Master Teacher

Linda is a former licensed family therapist, having a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology along with her Early Childhood Development degree. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the NBCC Community. She spearheads our monthly parent education workshops which cover topics that include parenting guilt, 'Raising Adults', positive discipline, sibling relationships, and so much more! Linda has a gentle and loving approach to working with our youngest age group, and provides her students with a positive first time school experience. She is a wonderful teacher to our students, as well as a mother and teacher to 3 of her own awesome kiddos.

Allie Maffei ~ Co-Founder/Director/Teacher

Allie has a passion for all things Early Childhood! She’s been teaching on the Central Coast now for over 9 years and earned her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. Allie specializes in Relationship-Based Teaching, and believes that when children develop relationships based on communication, trust, and positive regard they can reach their fullest potential as young learners. She is a language and literacy specialist who’s certified in the Handwriting Without Tears Program. She has a great love for children’s literacy, and with her background as a previous Kindergarten teacher, she also specializes in Kinder-readiness for those students moving onto elementary school. Her final certification is in Mindful Teaching and Communication through Mindful Schools. Allie has great admiration for the Play-Based and Inquiry-Based approach, as she shines when it comes to the observation and assessment of young children. Her thoughtful and informative assessments of students have been known to build bridges between home and school. When she is not playing with and teaching kids, she enjoys time at the beach, watching Bay Area sports, and cooking and eating with her big Italian family!

Administration Team

Jonnie Cardinale ~ Owner/Founder

Jonnie's childhood dream was to become a teacher. She is fascinated by child development and brain research and believes that investing in early education is investing in our future. Her understanding of child development stems from her range of experience as a teacher. She has taught children ages 3-12 years and grades preschool through 1st. She enjoys observing children's growth & development and has a keen eye for scaffolding learning. Jonnie's biggest passion is helping children see themselves for the amazing human being's that they are!  She says, that watching them grow in their own capabilities and in their understanding of their world, keeps her smiling and hopeful for the future. Jonnie has degree's in Early Childhood Education and  specializations in the areas of Curriculum Planning, Anti-bias Education, Families & Diversity, & Children’s Literacy.  She is a nationally certified handwriting specialist and has helped hundreds of children acquire skills for their elementary academic success.  Jonnie's advocacy extends from the local to state levels, sitting on the Santa Cruz Childhood Advisory Council and the Central Coast Association of the Education of Young Children (CCAEYC).  Jonnie takes joy in communicating with the greater community, the important work of early education. She has been a part of the Santa Cruz community for over 40 years and has 2 grown daughters and husband who loves to fish. For fun, she enjoys mysteries, cruising, and drinking great coffee. A goal of Jonnie's is to write a children's series.

Courtnay Schmidt ~ Classroom Teacher
Courtnay teaches in our Honu classroom, and has a gift for working with our youngest learners. She has a background and education in Child Development, and has always known she was meant to work with children! Her previous experience in facilitating Art & 'Messy' camps has aided the thoughtful curriculum she develops in the classroom. She specializes in creating sensory experiences for our students, as well as supporting children's creative development through art and play. We can always look to Teacher Courtnay for hours of fun and learning!


Karyn Schmidt ~ Co-Founder/Director/Teacher

Karyn has been in the field of Early Childhood for two decades! She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of social and emotional development and in the sharing of community and family resources. After receiving her degree in Child Development, she went on to specialize in creating family supported communities to encourage collaborative learning and growth. Her certificates include Anti-Bias Education, Families and Diversity, Administration, and Curriculum Planning. Karyn appreciates a plethora of teaching philosophies. The ones that speak to her the most involve the Reggio-Emilia approach, play based learning using the constructivists theory; where it is believed that children learn best through observation, documentation, and children’s involvement in their curriculum and education. Her greatest experience however, comes from raising three children of her own. She loves spending time with her family gardening, taking hikes, playing and watching basketball, and enjoying the community that they’ve been a part of for generations.

​​Teaching Team

Jody Holt ~ Master Teacher

Jody has a fun and energetic way about her.  The kids all call out, "Yay, Jody's here" when she arrives!  Jody has her degree in Early Childhood Education, Science in Liberal Arts and a degree in Arts in Graphic Design.  She has a wealth of knowledge for developmentally appropriate practices and brings with her fun and exciting curriculum. She loves to follow the children's lead and dive into the learning even deeper.  Her documentation of the learning is something we all appreciate as we follow all the activities through her display boards, photos and The Learning Foundations for Preschool Years.  Jody is a team player and all the children and staff enjoy to see her at work everyday!