Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Director: Dawn DiMarzo, PhD

A little bit about me: I have been a mentor of beginning teachers and practicum teachers throughout most of my career. Some of my past experiences have included being a Director for an intergenerational child care/senior center in Rhode Island, a Director for an employee child care center for Health Professionals in Rhode Island,  I taught Kindergarten in Fort Lauderdale Florida for seven years and served as Grade Chairperson, before relocating to San Diego.  I currently am a Professor and Department Chair here at Miramar as well as Program Director at the Child Development Center here on campus.  I have been with the district since 1999.  I am committed to assisting students in pursuing their educational dreams.   My Education includes: A.S In Child Development from the Community College of Rhode Island B.S. In Child Development/Elementary Education from Rhode Island College with a concentration in Theatre and Communications. M.Ed In Early Childhood/Elementary Education form Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island, Ed.D In Child and Youth Studies with a Concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida .  My dissertation was on Improving Attrition in Early Childhood. I was born and raised in Rhode Island and have lived here in San Diego since 1999.. I have a daughter who is going to be a Senior in the Fall at San Francisco State where she is majoring in Astrophysics. I love hiking, spinning classes, traveling, and have a passion or Country music and line dancing as well as catching up with friends and family on the East Coast by visiting them as often as I can. You can reach me at and my number is 619-988-6386. Enjoy your time at Miramar, we are glad you are here.  

 Carrie Green

I am the Sticky Bear teacher with our two year old classroom.  I little bit about me, I grew up on a small farm in Wisconsin and in 2001 I relocated to San Diego. I started my career in Child Development at Miramar by taking classes so that my children could attend preschool at the Child Development center.  I have my A.S. in Child Development from Miramar, and am close to completing my B.A. in Child Development at SDSU.  I am also a California Mentor Teacher.  Prior to my current position I was a lead teacher at the UCSD child development center for three years.  Having the opportunity to experience different college preschool settings has helped me develop my teaching style.  My future goals include getting my Master's degree in Child Development.  
My husband David and I have three children, Jorden (18), Madison (13), and Lincoln (8).  We love animals and have an English bulldog, a cat, bird, guinea pig and fish. In my free time I enjoy camping with my family, gardening, the beach, road trips and of course traveling back to Wisconsin when I can.
I hope you enjoy your experience here at Miramar.

Rudy Arce

I am Rudy Arce with several years of teaching experience as a visiting teacher for the SUSD for grades pre-K to 12th grade. I have an AA degree in Liberal Arts from Santa Ana  College, a BA in Behavioral Science from CSUDH, and a Master Teacher Certificate from Miramar College. My daughter Michelle graduated from UCI and my daughter Melanie graduated from UCSB.
I believe the early childhood years are the most developmentally important years in a child's life because they form the foundation for life-long learning. I believe children learn best by exploring their environment to learn and by having  many opportunities to be creative in their learning experiences.
I enjoy working at Miramar College CDC because I value the learning environment the center has provided relevant to children's needs, abilities, and interests for their social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development.. 

Rekha Chhabra

Namastae (Hello in Hindi, India)!!!  I have been working with Miramar College since 2009 and I love every bit of it.  I started my journey with the center as a parent and a student. In the process, I got fascinated and intrigued by this field and decided to pursue my degree in Child Development even after my daughter graduated from the center.  I have a B.S. in Zoology (honors) and a Diploma in Naturopathy and Yoga Science.  I hold a Site Supervisor permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I have worked as a teacher assistant as well as Language Arts coach for children at the center. Currently I am working as a Project Assistant to Dr. Dawn DiMarzo.  I have also been working as a tutor/SI to assist college students taking Child Development classes and enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with them.  At the same time, learning something new from them expands my horizon of understanding and perspective on different aspects.
I was born and raised in Delhi, India and moved to the United States in 1994. I have lived in New York, Ottawa (Canada) before moving to San Diego in 2006. I have been married for over 21 years and am proud mother of two beautiful children, a 19-year-old son who is a sophomore at UCSD majoring in Computer Science and an 11-year-old daughter in the middle school. I enjoy gardening, interior decoration, dancing, and watching my children grow!

Kiana Maillet

Manahu (Hello in Paiute)!  I am proud to say that I began my Child Development journey here at San Diego Miramar College many years ago as a student. Since that beginning, I have earned 2 degrees at Miramar (Child Development Site Supervisor and Liberal Studies), transferred over to SDSU where I earned degrees in Psychology and Child Development with a minor in American Indian Studies and then I went on to the University of Phoenix where I earned an MPA in which I focused on Child Development Public Policy.  Currently, I am attending CSU San Marcos working towards a Masters of Social Work Degree.  I also hold a Child Development Program Director permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.   My experience includes over 16 years of working in the field and includes many jobs from working in the classroom to management to training and everything in-between. In my spare time, I volunteer with the A.I.R. Leaders project and the Soaring Eaglles Dance Group. I am also a board member for San Diego Unified School District Title VII Indian Education Program and I am a board member for Inter Tribal Sports and help run the American Indian Recruitment (A.I.R.) teams.  

Elizabeth Thomas

I have been working for the Child Development Center for nineteen and a half years. I started at the Center as a parent/student with my son back in 1991. I was able to obtain my Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1997 from Miramar College. From 1996 to 2000 I worked as a teacher, a teacher's aide, kitchen aid and assistant to the front desk Child Development Instructional Lab Technician at the time.  You can say I wore many hats in the Center and loved every minute of it.  I became the front Desk Child Development Instructional Lab Technician from 2000 to current and I enjoy meeting all the new students and families we get each semester.  While I went to school here in my earlier years my son attended the Miramar College Child Development Center and he has many fond memories of preschool. My son has grown and left the nest leaving behind his two sisters that my husband and I are currently raising through middle school at this time.  As a family we love to go kayaking, swimming at the beach, playing board games, playing volleyball, basketball, going to the movies and enjoy cooking together. If you have any questions about our preschool program feel free to contact me at: 858.536.7851 or 619.388.7851.  Welcome to Miramar!

Zandra Acojido

Welcome to Miramar CDC! My name is Zandra Acojido. I was born and raised on the island of Guam – located in the Pacific Ocean few hours from Japan. My family and I relocated to San Diego in 2009. I have had the pleasure of working with children in preschool and elementary school for the last six years. I have been a parent volunteer to a room mom and accumulated tons of volunteer hours. I went from student to substitute teaching and currently I am the assistant teacher for the Astrogrover room here at the Miramar College CDC. 
I transferred from Argosy University, Mission Valley in 2010 to Miramar College. I majored in Business and worked as a bank teller for five years but I wasn’t happy with where I was and so after only a few weeks of being a parent volunteer I now major in Child Development/Early Childhood Education. I am hopeful after Spring I will have an A.S. in Child Development and also a certification as a master teacher. I hope to continue and obtain a B.A in Early Childhood Education and if the years are in my favor (slowly but surely) I hope to obtain a M.S. Degree and become an Occupational Therapist. 
When I am not teaching at school - I am teaching at home to my four incredibly crazy loving children. Yes, four children- I have two boys and two girls. My firstborn son is a middle schooler and my middle children are both in elementary school. My youngest is a Sticky Bear here at the Miramar CDC. When and if possible, I love going for runs, long high hikes, yoga, mix marital arts, listening to music whenever wherever, and taking my family on outings especially, eating out and trying new things together. Welcome again and enjoy your visit!  Mahalo! 

Erin Ligsay Gray

My name is Teacher Erin.  I am originally from the bay area (San Jose, CA).  Currently, I live in the Scripps Ranch/Poway area with my two lovely children, Lilianna (Lily) & Amelia (Mei Mei).  I have been working with young children since 1998.  As for my education/schooling, I am almost done with my Bachelor’s in Human Service Management (three more classes!!).  My background is in Human Development and Child Development with a focus on special needs and observations.  I am a life-long learner and you’ll always find me signing up for classes when I can.  I like to keep my brain sharp!
My hope is to finish my special education teacher credentials and possibly work as a counselor, family advocate, or in a special needs classroom. I also plan to finish up my educational goals by getting my MSW or MFT. Currently I work as an instructional aide and Child Development tutor at the Miramar Child Development Center.  My hobbies include, watching movies, reading, exploring new places, eating new cuisine, meeting new people, and spending time with my two girls.  Welcome to Miramar!  I look forward to meeting you and your family!

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