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John Cushing

5th Grade, Room 41


John CushingOriginally from Vallejo, California, I have spent the previous past 12 years living and working in Hanoi, Vietnam and Beijing, China. I hold a K-12 Master’s degree in Education with a Special Language enhancement, Bachelor’s in Organizational Behavior, from the University of San Francisco, a TESOL Certification and have completed my Principal’s Certification in International School Leadership.


During my 8 years in Vietnam, I enjoyed working for the United Nations International School in Hanoi as an EAL/ELL Coordinator, Grade Level Leader, Grades 2 and 3 Homeroom Teacher, Reading and Writing Faculty Trainer, ES English Coordinator and the Faculty Consultant to the Board of Director’s all within the structures of the PYP/IB philosophies.


I moved from Hanoi to Beijing to assume the position of Elementary Principal, eventually appointed as Head of Campus for the ES and MSHS sections within a bilingual international school. The past 6 months I was responsible for overseeing the setup and renovations of the new expansion international campus in Kunming, China.


I began my teaching career here in Vallejo and am excited to bring my experiences and knowledge to challenge and engage my Grade 4/5 students here at Dan Mini. I previously taught at Glen Cove and Patterson Elementary before moving to the San Ramon Valley School District to assist in the opening of a new elementary school as literacy and mathematics site leader.


Outside of education, I enjoy travelling, scuba diving, underwater photography, music, reading, cooking and spending time with my family. I have two grown daughters in Benicia and two step daughters who are just beginning their first year of college.


My international experience affords me a deeper appreciation of value of diversity and cultural values that make the Bay Area and Dan Mini such a wonderful community to be a part of. It is a privilege to facilitate the learning journey of these students as they move towards their final elementary years, assisting them to acquire the tools to be responsible and successful future leaders. 



Charlotte SanchezCharlotte Sanchez

5th Grade, Room 42


Welcome to fifth grade!  My name is Ms. Sanchez and I'm very excited to be part of this fabulous 5th grade team! But more importantly, I am thrilled to be your child's teacher. While I'm getting to know your child, let me tell you a few things about myself.  


I was born in Los Angeles but raised in Anaheim just two miles away from Disneyland.  My mom immigrated to the United States from Mexico and my father is 3rd generation Texan.  I believe my upbringing helped me to value hard work and education.  So when I became a teacher, I went on to obtain a Master's degree in Education.   I've taught at Dan Mini for the past 11 years and I continue to learn new skills that will help me become a better teacher each year.  


I have also lived in Vallejo for the past 11 years.  I love to run around my neighborhood and I just finished my first half-marathon this summer.  In addition, I love to travel.  This summer I've visited the Big Island and Kauai.   I'm proud to be a member of this community and to teach in the same town that I live in.  I look forward to a productive year!


Jennifer Castro

5th Grade, Room 40


Mrs. Castro. I am one of the 5th grade teachers. I am excited to work with you and your student this year. Here are some facts about me. I have been teaching in Vallejo for for 9 years. I began my career teaching a 2nd/3rd grade combo class at  Federal Terrace Elementary. From there,  I moved to Dan Mini where I was a Support Teacher for two years and a 5th grade teacher for the remaining years. 


 I am an alumni of Dan Mini which gives me great pride. I had some amazing teachers while attending  Dan Mini. It was my third grade teacher at Dan Mini who inspired me to become a teacher. I hope to inspire my students one day as well. 


 I graduated from Sacramento State and eventually got  my Master's Degree in Education from Touro University. When I'm not working, I like to hang out with my husband, son and my two Cockapoo pups. I absolutely love teaching 5th grade and enjoy working in the community that I group up in. Each year, I try to find new ways to engage my students and help instill the love of learning in them. I believe your student will have a positive and rewarding experience in my class.