5qf photo 500 Desiree Viray MG 2760Desiree comes to Nueva with a wealth of experience in education and child development. She began her career in early childhood education as an infant-toddler teacher before going on to earn a BA in child and adolescent development and a MA in early childhood education, both from San Francisco State University. Most recently, Desiree worked as an educator and site director for Google Children’s Centers. When she was ready to make a change, Desiree’s value for and appreciation of innovation, inquiry-based learning, social-emotional learning, and child-centered practice eventually led her to Nueva.

A proud, native San Franciscan, Desiree was blessed to have been cared for and nourished by her parents and both sets of grandparents. Growing up in the Lower Haight, she cultivated an early love of and appreciation for city life. During her free time, you will find Desiree engaged in activities such as cooking, Pilates, traveling, making her way through the list of Top 100 San Francisco restaurants, and spending time with her family (partner Melvin; Ari, age 7; Amerie, age 4.5) and friends.


1. How did you end up at Nueva?

I attended an ITP Roundtable at Nueva in the past, and a number of children who graduated or transitioned out of the Google Children’s Centers are currently enrolled at Nueva. When I was ready to make a change, I took inventory of what I was looking for in a role and of my values (personal and around education) to help guide my process. My value for innovation, inquiry-based and social-emotional learning, and child-centered practice eventually led me to Nueva.

2. What is something that people might find surprising about you?

I am an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I can be a social butterfly and enjoy meeting new people; however, I very much value the time, space, and solitude to process, unwind,and recharge.

3. What do you like to do in your free time? Any personal hobbies or passions?

During my free time, I engage in stimulating activities such as cooking, baking, Pilates, reading, taking ballet classes, traveling (“culinarycations), making my way through the list of Top 100 SF restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. Cooking and baking are my means for coping with life- and work-related stress. Indulging in a good meal, glass of wine, and conversation is one of my favorite ways to connect with others.

4. What book has most inspired you?

It’s a children’s book, actually — Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Very early in my career, Good Night Moon acted as an entry point into my partnerships with children, including my very own stepchildren, Ari (7) and Amerie (4.5 — but she thinks she is 40). I love the simplicity and rhythm of the narrative and illustrations, the magic (finding the mouse on every page), and how relatable the storyline is.

5. If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

To heal others. Anxiety, cancer, and heart-related diseases run rampant through my family, so it has been especially difficult to witness and experience firsthand the emotional, physical, and mental impact of it all. Life is already hard. I would love the ability to lessen the negative impact that such things have on us as individuals and those around us.


 September 15, 2017



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