Staff

Durkhana Dar-Director and Lead Teacher

Dar was born and raised in Pakistan. Growing up in a big extended family, she was always eager to look after younger children to nurture them with care and affection. She moved with her family to the United States in 2010. Her increasing passion for child development and early childhood education led her to get a degree to learn more about it and become qualified to teach young children. She graduated with an AAS (Early Childhood Education) in 2019 from Wake Technical Community College, North Carolina in 2019. She also became certified as an Infant-Toddler and Preschool Specialist.

As a teacher who believes in the importance of life-long learning, she has continued with her education by taking additional coursework to obtain her Administrative Certification, allowing her to become a Preschool Director.  Further, she is currently making plans to enroll to get her BA degree with a Major in Psychology.

Dar began her career as a preschool teacher and has enjoyed working with different age groups ranging from infancy to toddlers and preschoolers. Having worked with children for more than 6 years, she has developed strong skills in providing instruction to children. Dar believes in the importance of developing children’s creativity, learning through play, providing children with many choices, and having a structure that allows for teaching of pre-academics to prepare children for kindergarten. Philosophically, Dar draws from different philosophies, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Vigotsky, etc. Dar knows how to encourage interpersonal and age-appropriate communication, and to be patient and calm, especially from having worked with younger kids in large groups.

Previously Teacher Dar also worked as a Behavioral Technician with a private company because of her skills and ability to provide emotional support for distressed children and uses that skillset at First School with an environment full of affection, security, and comfort.  Seeing the children grow every day and developing their cognitive and social-emotional skills has been one of her greatest rewards in teaching.

Dar’s position as Director as well as Lead Teacher at First School requires high physical stamina and perseverance for many kinds of activities that are age-appropriate for kids. She also designs, plans, implements, and leads educational programs and activities. These activities require her to demonstrate good decision-making, critical thinking, evaluation, and problem-solving.  She has received high marks from the Board and parents for the skills she has brought to First School in her various roles.

Dar enjoys working with parents to support them, and has received commendations from them for her work in building relationships. She especially likes working with families to help their children reach the milestones that have been set for them.

In her free time, Dar loves spending time with her family, listening to music and exercising. She also loves cooking and painting.

Christian Ford-Marchelos- Director Delegate and Teacher

Teacher Christian is pleased to be a part of the First School family. Growing up in a large family, he learned early to care for others. For him, becoming a teacher has been a natural step in moving forward in nurturing children, families and his community. He has worked with and educated children for several years as a swim instructor and a preschool teacher. Teacher Christian was born and raised in the Bay Area, and feels very lucky to be able to call this place home. He looks forward to supporting students and families here in Palo Alto.