Hazel Woods Director

Patti Binder
Dedicated to the idea of a public Waldorf school, Patti was actively involved in the opening of Ocean Charter School and has been involved with the Ocean Charter School community and governance for the past ten years, including a three year term on the Board of Trustees, as a dedicated parent, and as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher. 

Patti studied Early Childhood Education and Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles Pierce College, CSUN, and UCLA Daniel Freeman.  She then pursued a career in Emergency Medicine where she ultimately became the Director of Continuing Education at the UCLA Department of Emergency Medicine before she took a hiatus to be home with her young children.

Patti has been a licensed Paramedic for over 25 years

(CA EMSA license # A11658). 

After graduating UCLA Daniel Freeman she spent several years as a 911 Emergency Paramedic, Field Training Officer and Preceptor.

She has been a Paramedic Educator at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, where she taught primary lectures as well as Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Wilderness Medicine.  


Patti is a member of the (NAEYC) National Association for the Education of Young Children and the (CAEYC) California Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Additional Waldorf Training

 Art of Teaching Preschool - Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, Ca

The Developing Child from Birth to Seven Years - Sanderling Waldorf School, San Diego, Ca

Lifeways Early Childhood Training Program - Rudolph Steiner College, Fair Oaks, Ca


Painting, art collecting, hiking, non-profit work, cooking and travel.  Patti is also an Expert Licensed Skydiver #D9993, 

a PADI Certified Scuba Diver,

and a Master Gardener through the UCLA Cooperative Extension Program.

Hazel Woods Teacher

Kelly Rodriquez
Kelly couldn’t be happier working at Hazel Woods Preschool, which she discovered while looking for

a place to complete an observation for a class assignment while enrolled

in UCLA’s Early Childhood Education Program. 

She fell in love with the website, and then the school itself, and then the people, and amazingly became a part of the team.

Kelly received her B.A. in Art History from UCLA in 2009, but discovered a love for teaching her native language while living in Paris. A certified ESL teacher since 2011, Kelly went on to teach English to children ages 2-12 at a primary school in Andalusia, Spain.

After that experience, Kelly realized she really wanted to work with young children, not just teaching them English, but simply taking part in the amazing process of guiding children into emotionally and physically healthy individuals.

It took some soul-searching, but she decided to leave what was quickly becoming a promising career in the ESL field, and do what her heart was telling her… 

Kelly doesn’t just love teaching, she loves learning too: she is fluent in Spanish and French, is quickly mastering Arabic, and while at UCLA took courses in Russian, German, Chinese, Italian and Hebrew. She hopes to master all of these languages too, someday!

Other sundry things that make Kelly’s heart sing, besides working at Hazel Woods and learning languages, are reading, cooking, baking bread and patisserie, henna design, cycling, traveling and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.


Meet Our Wonderful Teachers

Hazel Woods Preschool

Shannon Mahoney

Hazel Woods Teacher

​Shannon's background is colored by an exceptional variety of education/training, work and life experience, and exploration in the arts and healing fields. Not only has she taught preschool prior to coming to Hazel Woods, but theater, dance and artistic expression as well. She was a massage therapist for 10 years and deeply understands the need for compassion, patience and understanding in all relationships and communities. One of the things she loves about preschool is not only the opportunity to nurture and access these qualities in herself, but to encourage them in children in their crucial developmental years. Before they face the necessity of academics, they are learning how to relate, form friendships, and develop basic empathy and kindness. She feels Hazel Woods is a truly loving and supportive environment with this as the priority. Not only is it a safe and beautiful place, it is absolutely a second home and family.
Outside of school Shannon paints, writes, dances and works with other visual and performing artists to develop and realize their ideas and support their creative process. Working with children is a wonderful way to stay inspired and light-hearted in these and all things. She also enjoys the invigoration and education of travel and the peace of mind found in meditation and yoga. She is always open to try or learn something new!