Livermore Staff

Rebecca Hardesty
Executive DirectorScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.32.45 AM

Hello, my name is Rebecca Hardesty and I have been working with Smart StartCreative Learning Center since Newark opened in early 2010. I was introduced to Smart Start when my own son, Caleb, was 2 years old and attended the first Smart Start preschool.

I have been married to my husband Grant for 17 years and we are blessed with 3 children who keep us very busy. Caleb is 14, Connor is 13 and Olivia is 11.I have a Bachelor’s degree is Early Childhood Education and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. I have had the opportunity to work in many diverse settings, including Belmont Hills Psychiatric Hospital, San Mateo County Youth Diversion program, and several youth and family service organizations. I have over 18 years experience including my current position as Director for the past 6 years, teaching preschool, and providing counseling services to children and their families. In addition, I spent several years teaching Parenting Classes working for the reputable organization “the Parent Project”. Weekends we spend most of our time attending all the sporting events our kids are involved in. Soccer, Basketball, Cross Country, track etc., multiplied times 3 kids equals lots of running around from one thing to the next and traveling. I am incredibly grateful and thrilled to be involved with this program. Smart Start offers a unique learning environment that provides children opportunities to learn at their own pace in a joyful, fun and very creative environment. The teachers at Smart Start give 110% everyday and make sure each interaction with every child is meaningful. Smart Start staff challenge one another and your children to be the best they can be every day. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this exceptional program.

Francesca Pollock 
DirectorScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.51.13 AM

Hi! My name is Francesca Pollock and I’m thrilled to be joining the Smart Start team. From a young age, I’ve always had a love of working with children which led me to pursue my teaching credential and a Masters in the Art of Teaching. After moving from the East Coast, I taught elementary school for over 5 years before deciding to spend some time at home with my young children. My daughter, Roslyn, was fortunate enough to attend preschool at the Smart Start campus in Newark last year and we couldn’t be happier that she did.  This year, Roslyn is 3 years old and will be in the Slippery Fish class and Conrad will be joining the Tadpoles in August. I’m looking forward to getting back into the education world and getting to know you and your families well!

Teresa Weidner-Valentine
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.51.58 AM

I have been working with children for  over 20 years. I have worked with  children ages 18 mos to 12 years old. I attended Las Positas College where I received my teaching permit and have over 40 units in Early Childhood Development. I enjoy continuing my education by attending monthly workshops through child care links.
I grew up in Livermore, where I still reside with my husband and our 5 children: Rebecca 19 , Cierra 17, Amanda 17, Trent 15 , Katelyn 8. We enjoy staying busy with our family, attending weekend soccer games and visiting our local regional parks where we participate in fishing, hiking, and boating. I believe all children are unique and grow and learn at their own pace. There is no greater pleasure than helping a child build their self confidence , social skills and love of learning. I am very excited to be joining the Smart Start team and I look forward to a fun and happy school year .


Alondra Sanroman
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.50.53 AM

Hello my name is Alondra Sanroman. I was born in Hayward, CA and raised in Union City, CA. Ever since I was eighteen I have been working with kids aged five and twelve. In the past two years I have been working at a preschool. I am a student at Ohlone College. There I have earned various child development units and am currently studying to receive a degree in Early Childhood Studies. I am hoping to transfer to SJSU by next year. Working with children is a great passion of mine, I enjoy every moment of it. In my free time I love spending time with my family. I have a four year old sister who means the world to me. I am beyond excited to be part of the Smart Start team and can’t wait to start building new memories and meeting each and every one of you.


Adriana Andrade
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.49.51 AM

Hi my name is Adriana Andrade. I am teaching in the Guppy’s classroom which I enjoy to the fullest. I’m very thrilled and excited to begin this new year with similar faces and new faces as well! I was raised here in Livermore, CA. Currently I live in Tracy, CA with my husband. My husband and I recently got married July 2013. We enjoy spending time at home with our pets as well as gardening and spending time with family and friends. I have been working with children since high school through babysitting, after school programs and church groups. I have always had a passion for working with children. I enjoy seeing the progress children make while learning new things and the role that I play in the learning process.

Martha (Lupita) Zavala
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.51.51 AM

My name is Martha Zavala but everyone calls me Lupita. It’s been my nickname since I was little. I was raised in Oakland, CA and currently live in Livermore. I am studying sociology at Las Positas College. I enjoy going on hikes with my dog Nala or spend time with my big family. I’m family orientated and try to spend as much time as I can with them. I don’t have kids of my own but I have a niece and two nephews that mean the world to me. I enjoy working with kids, I’ve been working with children for five years ages 0-12 year olds. I’m happy to join Smart Start and look forward to meet you all.


Jessica Medina
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.51.44 AM

My name is Jessica Medina. I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I grew up in a big family and always enjoyed taking care of my twin sisters and relatives. I went to San Jose State University and earned many child development credits. I love working with children and being part of their development and growth. In my spare time, I enjoy being with my family and spending time with my princess daughter, Samantha. I am so looking forward for a new journey here at Smart Start and building new memories.


Nesau Azadan
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.52.55 AM

Hi Smart Start families! My name is Nesau Azadan and I joined the Smart Start team in March 2016. I first began as an intern and substitute teacher at various centers while completing my certificate in early childhood education before becoming a full time preschool teacher in Livermore at the start of summer 2016. I discovered my passion for teaching as a young child and have been working with children ranging from infants to pre-teens for nearly ten years. Continuing my education in this field is very important to me as it gives me useful resources and guidance to expand my teaching methods and explore my creativity and silliness. My journey so far as been incredible. I’m thrilled to have already created so many connections with the Smart Start children and I look forward to many more to come!  I find it so rewarding to be a part of a child’s learning and development. They teach me just as much as I teach them, and it helps me to grow as an educator of young minds. I truly believe that the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

Gabriela Vega
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.51.27 AM

Hello, my name is Gabriela but everyone calls me Gaby. I am currently attending Chabot College to continue my education in Early Childhood Development, and gain my Associates for Transfer in Communications. I hope to transfer to a CSU here in the bay area to finish my schooling there. I joined Smart Start in August of 2016 and have enjoyed every moment of it since. In my spare time I enjoy taking pictures. I consider myself an amateur photographer but I have been gaining experience to one day hopefully have my own photography business on the side. My favorite is taking portraits of children, especially in outdoor settings because I love to capture their quick little moments that make you smile. I also enjoy taking my camera for a hike on weekends, especially in the Redwood Forests. I was born and raised in the bay area as part of a tight-knit matriarchal Mexican-Guatemalan family that has taught me to “always leave something or someone better than how you found it”. I am delighted to have this opportunity to create a better future for our children with your partnership.

Shaina Wear
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.53.10 AM

Hi, my name is Shaina Wear. I’m very excited to be a part of Smart Start. I was born in Castro Valley, CA, and raised in Livermore, CA, where I still reside. I received my Associate Teaching Certificate from Las Positas College in May of 2016. I discovered that teaching was what I wanted to do in my teens. I had a wonderful teacher who always supported and believed in me, and it is my dream to be that person for another child. I love having the opportunity to watch children grow and learn. It is an amazing experience and I am beyond lucky I get to be a part of it.

Gabrielle St. Julien
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.52.39 AM

Hi, my name is Gabrielle St.Julien but everyone calls me Gabby. I was born and raised in San Ramon, California and currently still live there. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher to help and inspire kids on their journey through education. I started working with kids during high school through babysitting and an internship in a pre-k special needs classroom at Walt Disney Elementary. It was then that I knew I wanted work with younger kids. From there I started working at a gym daycare with kids from the age of 6 months to 12 years old. I am currently in the process of earning my AA in Early Childhood Education and an AA in Sociology and plan on transferring to get my BA in Liberal Studies. I’m excited to be a part of the team and to help your children grow!

Sarah Winfrey
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.53.02 AM

My name is Sarah and I was born in a suburb north of Dallas, Texas. I moved to the Central Valley when I was in the eighth grade. I have always enjoyed working and interacting with children. I taught a Sunday school class for three through six year old’s at a church I attended and was always willing to babysit every chance that I got. After high school, I pondered about which direction to go in my career. This wonderful opportunity that I was given to work here at Smart Start has influenced my decision to pursue my education in early childhood development. Currently, I am completing my certificate as a child development associate teacher. I plan to continue my journey and grow in this gratifying field.

Megan Murphy
TeacherScreen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.52.48 AM

Hi Smart Start family and friends! My name is Megan Murphy and I’m very excited to be joining the Smart Start team! From the time I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to work with children. Growing up in a family of six, with three brothers, I knew that one day I would be a teacher. I’m thrilled to start my teaching career here at Smart Start. I’m currently pursuing my degree in Child Development at Las Positas College focusing on child nutrition. I have many years experience working with children from newborns-teens. Most recently, I volunteered at Rancho Las Positas Elementary in the TK and Kindergarten classes. This is where I found my passion for working with young children! Outside of work, I’m a full time mom to my wonderful six year old son Justin. We are a big soccer loving family! I have been playing since I was four years old and continue to play now as an adult. I currently play five times a week and Justin plays on Saturday’s. We recently moved to Livermore and love everything the city has to offer! I’m looking forward to furthering my education and career, and can’t wait to meet you all!

Jessica Amezcua-Sanchez
TeacherJessica Amezcua Sanchez

My name is Jessica Amezcua-Sanchez. I was born in Redwood City, CA but now currently reside in Tracy, CA. I am currently a student at Las Positas College where I have received my AA in Social Science and certificate as an Associate Teacher. I hope to soon receive my AA in Early Childhood Development and then transfer to San Jose State to further my knowledge and receive my Bachelors in Liberal Arts and a minor in Teaching. My family is the most important thing in my life and being around them makes me the happiest. I am a kid at heart who loves comic books and listening to music. I have always loved school and being in a learning environment. I enjoy learning new and interesting things. Currently I have been teaching myself how to read and speak in Korean so I could achieve my dream of being an English teacher in S. Korea. I am very happy I have become part of the Smart Start family and look forward to meeting everyone!

Danielle Hoefner

Hello everyone! My name is Danielle Hoefner and I am very excited to be a part of the Smart Start team! I was born and raised right here in the beautiful Livermore, CA. I currently still live in Livermore, and I am attending Las Positas College with hopes to transfer to a university to further my education and obtain a degree in Early Childhood Education. I developed a great joy for working with younger children very early on in life. Babysitting, nannying, working at a daycare, volunteering at the childcare center for Shepherd’s Gate, and now working at Smart Start have all helped me realize my true passion in life is working with children. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work for this wonderful program, and I look forward to meeting you all and helping your children be the best they can be!

Sierra Adams
Substitute TeacherSierra Adams

Hello, my name is Sierra Adams. I was raised in Brentwood, CA, and I currently reside in Livermore. I’ve known since a young age that I wanted to be a teacher and help others in any way I could. Wonderful teachers and supporters I had in my youth are who inspired me to try and become that same person to the new generations of children, and to anyone in need. I started my journey with children 3 years ago, when I became a nanny for two different mothers, both having young boys aged 6-8 years old. From then I ventured towards music therapy, where I worked in an elderly home called Grandma & Grandpa’s place, located in Brentwood. Having decided I wanted to pursue teaching, I recently enrolled in Las Positas College. I am thrilled to now be a part of the Smart Start team here in Livermore. Working as a substitute has given me the opportunity to get to know each student individually, and has showed me even more so now than before, that working with children is what I enjoy most. I am delighted to continue this journey and look forward to creating a positive impact on young minds.