The Puma Pulse Family Newsletter

Meet Our New Teachers Edition 2022


SDC Preschool

My name is Mary Murphy. This is my third year teaching and my second year at WJUSD! I just received my credential in Early Childhood Special Education in May of 2022. I started my master's program this summer and I spent most of my summer working on an intensive writing class! My goal is to create a positive and collaborative experience in the classroom so each student is able to be successful.

Dual Immersion Transitional Kindergarten

My name is Juana Meza Mendoza. I am 35 years old and a wife and mother of three. I am a Sac State graduate. I love teaching young minds and enjoy their high energy. I value collaboration and input. I enjoy daily walks and unwinding with a family movie.

1st Grade

Adam Taylor is 25 and freshly graduated from UC Davis. He has an interest in singing, painting, and taking walks and listening to audio books. He is a fan of all sorts of coffee and tea. And will be starting his master's program during this year as well. He's looking forward to meeting everyone again and getting into the classroom. Best of luck to everyone for a good year.

2nd Grade

Last year, I joined Woodland Prairie as your parent liaison and I’m thrilled to write another biography to introduce myself as a second grade teacher! I have been on campus at Woodland Prairie for a total of four years. I spent three years as a teacher at the childcare center formerly known as Child development Center (CDC) where I would help enrich the social emotional development of our students. This past year I had the pleasure of connecting our families with the school and the district to build a sense of community and ensuring that our families were supported. With the knowledge, experience, and bonds that I have gained these past couple of years, I hope to continue to help guide our students to strive for success and to of course be safe, respectful, and responsible.

Resource Specialist Program

My name is Alex Balasek, and I am the new K-3rd RSP teacher at Prairie, and I am so excited to be part of this great community! A little bit about me, I come from a long line of teachers, and both my mom and I are sped teacher in Yolo county. This is my 5th year teaching, but I have to say, no two years have been the same (thanks Covid) so I am so excited to learn and grow more this year. I was enrolled in the dual immersion program in Winters from Kinder to 5th grade, and took many years of Spanish in high school in college. Although I am not fluent, I want to practice, so por favor pueden hablar conmigo en español!

Can’t wait for an amazing 2022-2023 school year!

Dual Immersion 2nd Grade

Hi, I’m Miriela Santos Toledo (yes, I have two last names), and am 44 years old. I come from an island in the Caribbean called Cuba and I’ve been a teacher there for more than 10 years. This is my second year as a teacher in California, US, and I am studying to add knowledge and experience to my career. I consider myself an English Learner, that’s why I love the Dual Immersion setting and being able to support English Learners while we honor our home culture and language. I have a lovely family with one daughter who also attends Prairie Elementary. I believe in family-school collaboration as a means for the students to succeed at school.

Dual Immersion 3rd Grade

Hello all! My name is Alicia Chávez Alcaraz and I am so excited to be teaching 3rd grade this year. Last year, I was a student teacher in 6th grade with Socorro Lizarraga and I am so happy to continue my journey here at Woodland Prairie. I have worked in WJUSD for the past 4 years and it is a great feeling to give back to the community I grew up in. I attended Woodland Community College and received my Associate’s degree in English. Afterwards, I transferred to UC Davis and received my Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Education and my credential in Multiple Subject Education. Schools and our students are something I am very passionate about so I am looking forward to supporting the Prairie staff, students, and families! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing with my dogs, and traveling to new places. I look forward to meeting new people and furthering the bonds with those I have already met!

Physical Education

Hello! My name is Cody Weinzheimer, (Coach Cody) and I teach PE at Woodland Prairie! This will be my fourth year teaching and my first year teaching in the district. Prior to teaching, I spent some time as a personal trainer and high school football coach. I graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s in Health and Sports Science Education. I earned a Master's degree in Education and my teaching credential from National University. In previous years, I taught students from 4th-8th grade, and I’m excited to focus on the elementary students! I enjoy staying active. I like to workout, read, and be outside (camping, mountain biking, kayaking).

4th Grade

Hello, my name is Yamilex Martinez and I’m a first-year teacher. I’m thrilled to be part of the Prairie family and to be teaching fourth grade.

5th Grade

Hi everyone! My name is Joseph Saís and I am so excited to be joining the Puma family in 5th grade. I enjoy coffee, spending time with my family, and video games. My favorite subject to teach is Science. My favorite food is sushi and my favorite movies are Into the Spiderverse and Encanto. I can’t wait to meet everyone and get to know everyone better!

6th Grade

Hello! My name is Mark Murnane and I will be teaching Grade 6 this year. I am originally from the Bay Area, went to college at UC Davis, and have just recently returned to the United States after teaching at a major international school in Jakarta, Indonesia for 20 years. My wife Icha and I have two children. Our daughter Bella is about to start her senior year in high school and our boy Jacob will be entering the 8th grade in a few weeks. I enjoy sports, reading, spending time with family, and travelling. This past summer the four of us took a 4 week road trip throughout the Southwest United States highlighted by stops in Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas! I look forward to joining the team and Prairie and a wonderful school year.