"Free the child's potential, and you will transform them into the world." - Dr. Maria Montessori

A Montessori Education

Our mission is to offer a Montessori education that encourages intellectual, social, physical, creative and moral development, preparing students for academic excellence, confident, lifelong learning and responsible, caring lives.

The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child's inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.

Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children's innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.

Meet The Staff

Felicia Danon North


Director & Owner

Ms. Danon North received her American Montessori Society Certificate in 1995 and taught and served as assistant director in a dual language program in Seattle. 

In 2002, she joined the Sunrise staff as a teacher, and purchased the school and began her tenure as the Director in 2007.  Felicia brings a deep love and creative appreciation for young children into the classroom, augmenting the program through her abilities in gardening, music, and languages.  

Her extensive international travel and experience growing up and living overseas has deepened the geography, languages, and culture programs at the school. The Sunrise Staff and Families love how Felicia runs her school with passion and heart. 

Stars Group Teachers

Mallory Carlson


Montessori Lead Toddler Teacher

Mallory first started at Sunrise as the assistant teacher in 2017 and since then she has become the Montessori lead toddler teacher of the Stars Group. She received her BA in Educational Studies from Principia College where she also spent time as an intern in a first grade classroom and as a volunteer at the college daycare. Mallory received her Infant and Toddler Montessori training from the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Jose and is currently working towards her Associates in Early Childhood Education at Santa Barbara City College. 

Mallory has felt that her heart has been with teaching and helping others from a very early age. Her passion for teaching has led her here to Sunrise Montessori. Mallory takes her knowledge of Montessori philosophy along with her first hand experience of working with children and strives to create an environment that is peaceful and inviting to our youngest Sunrise community members. She loves working with the Suns Group because she feels that there is so much importance in learning the social dynamics and learning styles of this age group. She loves working with children because she feels she has the opportunity to watch their unique personalities unfold and flourish through their experiences in and out of the classroom. Mallory truly believes that what we do here is special and she feels honored to be a part of the loving community that is Sunrise Montessori Preschool. 

Mallory loves the outdoors and spends her free time working on different creative projects such as photography or baking. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending her weekends with her husband and two kitties. Her favorite Saturday morning activities are the Santa Barbara farmers market and spending time at the beach or on a hike. The Sunrise staff and families love Mallory’s loving and nurturing disposition towards every child and family in our community.  

Devyn Watt


Toddler Teacher

Devyn has a passion for working with young children and is pursuing this career by furthering her education in Early Childhood Education. Devyn is currently enrolled at Santa Barbara City College, finishing up her Early Childhood Education certificate and her Associates in Science. Once she completes her time at SBCC she plans to further her education at Cal State Channel Islands where she will pursue her Bachelors in Liberal Studies and her teaching credential. Devyn is passionate about what she does and feels that her heart is in working with children and families. 

Devyn started with us here at Sunrise in the spring of 2018 in the Stars Group. She is a natural with the children and her kind and gentle demeanor makes her a perfect fit for Sunrise. Devyn works to get to know each child's personality so that she can then teach to each child's unique learning style. 

In her free time Devyn enjoys yoga and hiking and beach days with friends. The Sunrise Staff and families love Devyn's nurturing and patient demeanor that she constantly expresses every day. 

Suns Group Teachers



Montessori Lead Primary Teacher


Margarita came to Sunrise in the Fall of 2010, after seven years at Montessori Center School and 5 years in traditional preschool. In addition to earning her Associates in Early Childhood Education with Honors, from Santa Barbara City College, and specialized training for children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders in 2011, she received her Associate Montessori Teacher Credential, from the American Montessori Society in 2013. 

Margarita fell in love with the Montessori Philosophy 14 years ago. She fully believes Maria Montessori's idea that children have an absorbent mind and that they learn best using their senses and having hands on experiences. With her knowledge of Montessori philosophy she follows the child, and through careful observation she provides an environment that stimulates their interest.

She believes that children are not just our future they are also our present and as teachers we have the honor of being part of their daily lives. She wants to instill in the students a curiosity and natural desire to learn about the world and its people. Margarita wants to encourage them to practice the fundamental values of sharing, caring, listening, trusting, and honesty. 

Margarita has been married for 26 years to her best friend. They are blessed with two wonderful children and a small dog. Besides spending time with her family, she loves to cook and is passionate about continuing her education. The Sunrise staff and families love Margaritas motherly love and her ability to make every child and family feel welcomed into our sweet community.  

Kimberly Reeder


Primary Teacher


In 2010 Kimberly decided to become a teacher and immediately began her formal training in Early Childhood Education receiving her certificate from Santa Barbara City College. Just after her daughter Sullivan graduated from preschool she began playground set up/supervision at Sunrise. In 2011 she started helping in the Stars Group classroom. 

Kimberly had no idea she wanted to be a teacher until she came across Sunrise. She was immediately attracted by the love and guidance they provided her daughter. Her mood always lifted the minute she walked through the blue gate to pick up her daughter. Kimberly adores connecting with children. She loves finding out what makes them laugh, what gets them excited, and how they learn. For her, there is no better profession than helping a young child grow into their awareness.

Aside from teaching, one of Kimberly’s other passions is dancing. She has been dancing since she was 6 years old and her love for it has never ceased. Now Yoga has become a passion as well for Kimberly. She loves all animals, except spiders. She says taking her little rescue Chihuahua for long walks is much more fun for her than it is for him. One of her favorite things is grabbing a picnic basket and finding a beautiful spot to enjoy with her family. Finally, becoming a "volleyball mom" has ignited a new found love of sports that she never knew she had. The Sunrise staff and families love Kimberly’s nurturing and attentiveness to each child’s unique and wonderful personality. 

Cynthia Sanchez


Primary Teacher


Cynthia graduated from Santa Barbara City College with her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education in the Spring of 2016. During her completion of the program she had the opportunity to work as a student teacher in the Orfalea Early Learning Center for a year where she was able to apply her classroom knowledge and allow her skills as a teacher to flourish. Growing up Cynthia always knew she wanted to be a teacher, however it wasn’t until she had her son when she knew she wanted to work with pre-school aged children. 

Cynthia joined the Sunrise staff in the Fall of 2016 as a primary teacher in the Suns Group. She believes in giving the children the time and space to explore and engage in their environment. Cynthia see’s herself as a guide to the children and teaches with a kind and gentle approach. One of Cynthia’s favorite parts about teaching is having fun with the children and watching the small joys in life bring them such happiness! She feels they are a good reminder in today's day in age to enjoy ones life.

When Cynthia isn’t teaching she loves spending time with her family going to the beach and trying new restaurants. She also enjoys getting outside and going on hikes with friends. The Sunrise staff and families love Cynthia’s creative and fun personality that blends perfectly with the children’s creative nature. 

Playground & Afternoon Teachers

Daisy Aguirre


Primary & Afternoon Teacher 


Daisy’s love for teaching came from watching her mother Margarita, who is the Montessori lead primary teacher here at sunrise. The work and dedication that her mother had for the children inspired Daisy and she knew she wanted to be a teacher from that moment on, and since then has been pursuing her love for education. She has done over 200 hours of volunteer work at Montessori Center School in addition to two semesters of student teaching at Orfalea Early Learning Center, which is part of Santa Barbara City College. 

Daisy first started here at Sunrise as a substitute teacher in 2016, and is now a full time teacher. She finished her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education at Santa Barbara City College in 2017, and is currently working towards her BA in Early Childhood Studies at California State University Channel Islands. 

What Daisy loves most about teaching is being able to be a part of the children's lives, to watch the children progress, and to see the sparkle in their eyes when they achieve something new.

Aside from teaching Daisy enjoys taking walks to the beach, either with company or on her own while she listens to music. She also enjoys spending her free time either reading, writing, or drawing. The Sunrise staff and families love Daisy’s gentle presence and her wonderful sense of creativity when creating activities for the children. 

Bailey Lortscher


Playground & Afternoon Teacher

Bailey is our Playground and Afternoon Teacher. She has her Associates in Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition, she has her Associate Childcare Teacher certificate and her Early Childhood Education certificate. She graduated from Santa Barbara City College in 2018 and has worked in an infant and toddler classroom, a preschool classroom, and kindergarten classroom. 

Each of these classes has allowed her to learn the importance of understanding each and every age. Bailey strives every day to learn and grow more to help her become a better teacher.

Bailey is a big family person and loves to spend time with her family on her days off. Some of her hobbies include snowboarding, wakeboarding, boating, playing with her dog, and hiking. She has always been extremely adventures and loves to travel. 

The Sunrise staff and families love Baileys constant upbeat energy and her sweet and gentle disposition. She is a joy to have on staff. 

Office Admissions

Rosy Peterson




Rosy received her Associates Degree from Santa Barbra City College in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Humanities in 2011 and completed her Bachelors in Psychology through CSU Channel Islands in 2015. She started with Sunrise Montessori in 2013 creating the outdoor environment for the children's playground time and assisting some teachers in teaching their afternoon classes, such as Spanish and Gardening/Sports. 

In 2015 Rosy started her first year teaching in the Sun's group. It did not take her long to witness the magic that is the transformation and growth of each child. Rosy admires the excitement and enthusiasm the children exude on a daily basis. Their perspective helps to remind her to take full advantage of each day, appreciate the little things in life, and to do what she loves. In the Fall of 2017 she changed avenues and focused her efforts in assisting our school director in administrative tasks. 

On her free time, Rosy enjoys yoga, camping and exploring new environments, hiking and looking for mushrooms in the rainy season with her husband and dogs Zippy and Po, and running or walking on the beach. Rosy and her husband welcomed a third member into their family with the birth of their daughter in December 2017 and have been enjoying spending time together as a family of three.  The Sunrise staff and families love Rosy’s loving and friendly demeanor that she brings with her every day.