By developing a trusting relationship, students feel valued, respected and successful, which can enhance academic and emotional growth. We focus on the WHOLE child and work with families to create a strong support system.
Nanci has a BS in Speech and Language, credentials in Learning Disabilities, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, General Education, and a M.Ed. in Education. Nanci moved to San Diego from northern California in 1986. She received a Certificate in Educational Therapy from UCSD in 1995 and opened Banyan Tree Learning Center in 1998, to help students “who fall through the cracks.” An educator for over 30 years, she has experience as a Special Day Class Teacher, Resource Specialist, and Mentor Teacher. She is a member of the Association of Educational Therapists, Learning Disabilities Association, and International Dyslexia Association. She is passionate about helping students overcome their challenges to find success, confidence and resilience. Nanci enjoys finding time to walk, write, and read, always a student herself!
Kay has a M.Ed in Special Education, a Multiple Subject K-12 credential, a Learning Disabilities credential. Her undergraduate work was in Speech & Language Disorders. Kay graduated from Oregon State University and moved to San Diego in 1977. She has worked in public schools, both as a classroom teacher and a special education teacher, was director of a franchised learning center, and had her own educational therapy business prior to joining Banyan Tree in 1998. She specializes in assessments, curriculum development, and program planning. She believes that achievement is usually preceded by challenges, and she often uses the quote by coach John Wooden, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” Kay is married and keeps busy with her three grandchildren.
Muriel has been involved in Special Education throughout her entire career spanning over 40 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Special Education and Administration from USC in LA, and ESL and Reading Specialist Credentials from Hamline University in Minnesota. Muriel started her career in Oceanside working with Autistic and Developmentally Delayed Students, incorporating a “holistic” approach, focusing on the development of the whole child. She continued career in Minnesota, where she and her husband raised their children. Now as back in San Diego as Principal, Muriel’s main focus is on Teacher Preparation and Support for quality instruction and services for our students. Muriel and her husband keep busy with swimming, biking, and caring for their two Shih Tzu dogs, Jake and Elwood.
Karina grew up in San Diego until her family relocated with the military to Hawaii, where she finished her last two years of high school. She returned to San Diego to receive her BA at Point Loma Nazarene University in Child and Adolescent Development, with a minor in Psychology. After an internship at Banyan Tree, Karina began teaching at BT Learning Center in 2015. Since then, she has spent extensive time teaching students at both Compass Academy and The Learning Center. She attended Acellus Camp and became an Acellus Certified Administrator in 2016. As Program Director, she is able to utilize her strengths in organization, leadership and development. Her favorite place to spend time is at the beach, where she enjoys paddling, swimming, and volleyball.
Since high school there has always been an educational theme to Tanja’s volunteer activities like peer tutoring, classroom support, recycling education, and “Sunday-school” education. Despite Tanja’s early interest in education, she took her parents’ advice to steer clear of teaching and earned a Bachelor’s of Science from U.C. Davis many years ago. As a result of raising a child with a unique learning profile, she could no longer ignore her passion for teaching struggling students so she obtained her credential as an Inclusion Specialist from High Tech High’s 3 year Graduate School of Education Intern Program. She is going back to school to get a masters of education. In her spare time, she enjoy spending time outdoors, playing board games with my family, reading and watching documentaries.
May is a dedicated teacher and parent of a young adult with autism. Her personal experience led her to get her BA in Child and Adolescent Development, MA in Special Education, and Moderate/Severe Credential from San Jose State University. After moving to San Diego three years ago, she co-founded COAST, Coastal Outdoor Adventures for Social Trekkers, providing social activities for teens and young adults with special needs. She also co-founded The Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education. She managed overall operations and finance-related activities, and conducted trainings for teachers and volunteers on special education teaching strategies. May is passionate about developing transition skills for young adults with autism, and is looking forward to expanding a program through Encinitas Foundations Academy and Compass Academy.