Theresa Embry


Theresa was born and raised in Santa Barbara. For the twelve years prior to joining the Oaks, she worked with The Outdoor Classroom Project in Santa Barbara County and nation-wide, delivering workshops and trainings to increase the quality, quantity, and benefits of outdoor learning experiences for young children. She taught at Antioch University as adjunct faculty in the Nature-based Early Childhood Education Program. She was a teacher, a lead teacher, as well as the Preschool Coordinator at the University of California, Santa Barbara Early Care and Education Program. Additionally, she has worked as a teacher and director for a local non-profit, and for private child care programs. Theresa has presented nature-based workshops for professional organizations such as CAEYC, NAEYC, and Nature Explore. Theresa earned her Bachelor and Graduate degrees at Cal State Northridge in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys gardening and long walks on the beach with her husband and their two dogs, Sadie Sue and Bella Boo. Playing with her four grandchildren is the best! She loves to camp and is looking forward to more camping trips throughout the United States. 

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andrea Howell

Assistant Director

Andrea is originally from Kansas and moved to California thirteen years ago. Soon after arriving, she found a home teaching preschool at Wagon Wheel School in Los Angeles. Her expertise and love of teaching served her well; she was instrumental in opening Wagon Wheel's sister school in Malibu. Andrea now lives in Goleta with her partner Drew.


On the weekends, Andrea loves camping with Drew in their 1990 VW Vanagon Westfalia, playing beach volleyball, rock climbing, cycling and hiking.


Thamara Fleming

Afternoon Program Head Teacher

Tamara is originally from Brazil and has been living in Santa Barbara for the last 13 years. She fully realized her passion for Early Childhood education after completing the ECE program at Santa Barbara City College. 

During her 10 years experience working with children she had the incredible opportunity to work at Lou Grant Parent Child Workshop and Story Teller Children’s Center where she worked with at risk and homeless children.  Her last 5 years were spent at the Learningden Preschool where she was able to fully engage and provide learning opportunities for toddlers and preschoolers. In addition to this, she had the opportunity to develop a strong relationship within the community.


In her free time she dedicates herself to studying to achieve her Holistic Nutrition Certification.  Her dream is to write a book on how nutrition can impact children's development.  She also loves being outdoors, running, hiking, traveling, learning new cultures, cooking and developing healthy meals.  

She's delighted to be part of the Oaks community and run the afternoon program. She's looking forward for a great year with all of you! 

Sara Escarcega

Afternoon Program Assistant Teacher

Sara was born and raised in Santa Barbara and some of her fondest early childhood memories are of The Oaks Parent-Child Workshop.  Sara attended The Oaks as a preschooler with her parents. And, in 2015 Sara enrolled as a parent with her two sons. Sara was elected to the parent governing board, participated in the annual auctions and in a number of leadership roles at The Oaks.


While participating at The Oak, Sara discovered her passion for working with children and decided to continue her education at Santa Barbara City College. She currently is attending classes and working towards her AA in Early Childhood Education.  In 2018, Sara began teaching in the Oaks Nature-Based Summer Program. In the fall of 2019, she joined the teaching staff of the Afternoon Program.

In Sara’s free time she enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time outdoors with her family. She is excited to continue her journey at The Oaks as the Afternoon Program Assistant Teacher. She can't wait for another great year with all of you!