​​​​​​​​​​​​​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 fifteen 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 was a 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 married to Josh Binder a Battalion Chief for LA County Fire Department,  who she met in Paramedic school in 1989.  They have 2 daughters:  Kathryn is 22 and is a Senior at University of Wisconsin (Madison) with double majors in Legal Studies and Political Science, and is currently applying to Law School.  Her younger daughter Laura is 21.  She is a Junior at Tulane with double majors in Public Health and Psychology.  She plans to attend graduate school to become a child psychologist, and take over the family business when Patti retires.


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. Hazel Woods Preschool is a member of the (LAPP) - The Los Preschool Partnership - a collaborative of 100 Los Angeles Preschools which represent the interests of children in opu community.

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.

Assistant Teacher 

Wendy Mendoza-

(bio & photo coming soon)

Hazel Woods Teacher

(New Teacher for 2021-bio and photo coming soon!)


Hazel Woods Preschool

Meet Our Wonderful Teachers

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!  

Hazel Woods Teacher

Ana Zelaya

I feel very fortunate to have found Hazel Woods Preschool!  I am continually amazed by the amount of love and support I have found in this lovely school and am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this magical place.  

I have always believed that children learn best through play as it is where they are able to learn problem solving, social skills, gain self confidence, and learn about the world around us.  I love watching children learn, and experience new challenges and grow into capable, happy young children as they play. 


I feel blessed to be part of a Waldorf school where the whole child is recognized, and art, music, and appreciation of our earth are at the core of our philosophy. 

I have an educational background Family and Child Development and Special Education.  I have worked for several years as Preschool teacher, and an elementary school tutor for children with disabilities.

In my free time I love nothing more then being outdoors with my three young sons, my husband, and my grandfather.