The Discovery School Staff

Michelle Barreras

Interim Head of School, The Discovery School

Michelle joins The Discovery School after having spent the past three years teaching Kindergarten at the Nueva School in Hillsborough. Her professional career in early childhood education includes teaching preschool ages and kindergarten in both the Chicago and Winnetka Public Schools. While teaching in Winnetka, historically known for their leadership role in progressive education, she took part in the early stages of bringing the Reggio Emilia Approach to the Chicago area. In addition to teaching young children, Michelle has presented multiple times, including for the Progressive Education Network (PEN). As a lecturer and student teacher coordinator/supervisor in higher education, and as a mentor teacher in her classroom, she has supported the development of new teacher’s understandings of the value of progressive education for all children. Through her professional affiliations, various conference presentations, and professional development, Michelle is a staunch advocate for play and joy, social emotional learning, and the implementation of a progressive pedagogy in the classroom. Most recently, while presenting at The World Forum in New Zealand, Michelle joined The Working Group on Children’s Rights.

Elisa Pagliarulo

Enrollment Coordinator & Lead Educator, The Discovery School

Elisa joined The Discovery School team in fall 2014. She has worked in various roles at the school, including manager, interim director, and now enrollment coordinator and lead teacher. In fall 2015, she spearheaded and taught The Discovery School’s Toddler & Parent Exploration program. Previously, Elisa taught at Cow Hollow School in San Francisco, and Stretch the Imagination in San Francisco and Corte Madera. She received a B.S. in human development with an emphasis in early childhood and a minor in education from University of California, Davis. She is currently working towards her master’s in early childhood education at San Francisco State University.

Danielle Dong

Preschool Teacher, The Discovery School

Danielle joined the Bay Area Discovery Museum in summer 2015, developing and implementing curriculum for the museum’s preschool-aged summer camp, Big Discoveries. After receiving an M.A. in museum studies from New York University, she returned to the museum in summer 2016 as a Program Coordinator. Danielle then began serving as a teacher in The Discovery School, supported by an extensive background in museum education and directly paralleling the work of her master’s thesis – an analysis of The Discovery School, the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, and twenty-first century learning. Prior to working in the classroom, Danielle facilitated classes and tours in fine arts museums, documented and preserved the work of older adult artists, and worked with Jumpstart to provide positive early learning experiences for children from under-resourced communities. She also holds a B.A. in art history and mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.