Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center 


Nora Caruso

Program Director

Nora has been working with children and their families for over 30 years, and as Program Director at the Toddler Center since 2006. Nora deeply believes that young children are competent individuals, and that respect for children builds respectful children. She has been recognized by Exchange Magazine as a Master Leader and as a Community Hero through the United Way. A long time Santa Cruz resident, her two grown children were born and raised here. In her spare time, she can be found riding her bike on the beautiful Santa Cruz coast line and spending time with her friends and family.

Sandy Davie

Administrative Director

Sandy has overseen the fiscal, business and advocacy duties of the Toddler Center since 1990. She has been acknowledged by the California State Department of Education for administrative excellence, by the Santa Cruz County Women's Commission on behalf of the Toddler Center, and as a Community Hero by the United Way. Sandy has an M.A. in History from San Jose State University and a B.A. in American Studies from UCSC. She teaches U.S. History classes at Cabrillo College. She is an avid reader and loves biking around Santa Cruz, playing cribbage, attending local theater productions, and singing with her friends.


Lesley Crable

Morning Head Teacher

Lesley’s initial relationship to the Toddler Center was as a parent of a child in the program, when she also served on the Board for a couple of years. She joined the Toddler Center as a head teacher in 2014. Lesley holds an AS degree in Early Childhood Education from Cabrillo College, a BA in Child Development from San Francisco State University with a young child and family emphasis, and began work on her MA at the Mills College School of Education with a focus on leadership in early childhood education. She is a Santa Cruz native and loves being at home in her 1950s Seacliff house with her daughter, a dog, a cat, and two guinea pigs. She volunteers as a co-leader of her daughter’s girl scout troop and likes to cook, especially vegan food. Lesley enjoys working at the TCC especially because of the team’s shared commitment to the RIE philosophy and emphasis on quality and respectful care and education of children.

Raeleen Avila-Benabides

Afternoon Head Teacher


Morning Teacher

Jennifer joined the Toddler Center in


Afternoon Teacher

Miriam joined the Toddler Center in 2018


Morning Teacher

Hannah joined the Toddler Center in 2017

Afternoon Teacher


Lindy joined the Toddler Center in 2018


Afternoon Assistant Teacher

Lauren joined the Toddler Center in 



Nanette joined the Toddler Center in 2011

Amy joined the Toddler Center in 2018.


Food Program



Substitute Teacher