skip to main content

First Grade

Christine_Ballesteros Card IconChristine BallesterosTop of Page

The Ballesteros family with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland
Mrs. Ballesteros sitting on a butterfly bench
The Ballesteros Family at the Zoo
Hello! My name is Mrs. Ballesteros and I am very excited to be your child's first grade teacher! It is going to be a fun year full of learning and new adventures. I know we will get to know one another over the course of the school year, but here are a few things about me!
This is my tenth year of teaching, and my first year and Pioneer School webmaster! I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, with a concentration in World Literature and Cultural Studies, from UC Santa Cruz. I then received my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, followed by my Masters in Education, emphasis in Curriculum, focus in Reading Instruction, from Cal State East Bay. My teaching experiences range from kindergarten through 4th grade in the New Haven Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and here in Twin Rivers Unified School District!
Outside of school, I love spending time with my husband and son. We are a family who loves singing and dancing together. We also like going on adventures to fun places like Disneyland, the Zoo, or the SF Exploratorium.
I like butterflies, which is why our class is The Butterfly Class. I enjoy getting lost in a good book. My favorite band of all time is the Backstreet Boys! I am hooked on all things chocolate, Dutch Bros, and Jamba Juice. My favorite sports teams are the Oakland A's, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, and especially the San Jose Sharks!

Christine_Chellino Card IconChristine ChellinoTop of Page

I am so excited to be teaching first grade at Pioneer and look forward to working with you and your student this year..

As part of my teaching philosophy, I am a firm believer in teaching the whole child. Teaching students skills such as kindness, empathy, perseverance, and resilience are just as important as teaching them to read and write. I also believe that the connection between home and school are very important. I look forward to getting to know each one of you and building connections as we work together this year.

If you have any questions throughout the year please feel free to email me. Thank you for your cooperation and support. We are going to have a great year!


Michael_Espino Card IconMichael EspinoTop of Page

Mr. Espino

My name is Michael Espino and for the 2018-2019 school year I have this exciting opportunity to be one of Pioneer’s 1st grade teachers. The knowledge, organization, and confidence I have gained during the last 15 years of teaching Kindergarten, 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th grade levels has enabled me to provide an engaging, nurturing, and challenging environment to help all of my students become lifelong learners. I pride myself on being a lifetime learner and educator. I continually strive to improve my effectiveness by earning my Master’s degree in Education at UC Davis School of Education, participating in staff developments, collaborating with my colleagues, and evaluating feedback from parents and administration.

I am excited to make sure that I take your child to a journey where they learn and enjoy to appreciate reading. I would like them to develop strong comprehension skills and leave wanting more knowledge to enhance their learning here at Pioneer Elementary. I expect nothing but the best from a child and make sure that they strive to make efforts in their overall learning. With hard work, the students can also have a fun and enjoyable time in their first grade year. I would like to engage them towards becoming a successful student and member of the community.

I am also very fortunate enough to be part of the Education Technology professional development team working as a Tech Ex/TRUTECH member and now a TRIFORCE member at the Twin Rivers Unified District Educational Technology Department.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s education, please feel free to contact me via email or leave a message with the Office.


Alana_Thomson Card IconAlana ThomsonTop of Page

Welcome to the Ladybug Class First Grade!

My name is Alana Thomson and I'm your child's first grade teacher.  I have been teaching Kindergarten, first, and second grades for 30 years.  One of the great things about teaching young children is that there is something new every day--those little minds keep you guessing!

If you need to contact me, you can always talk to me before school (7:30) or after school (2:20).  I can also be reached on the school phone, 566-1940 and you can leave me a voicemail if I'm not available.  I also check email daily and my address is  You can also email me on this website and it will be forwarded to my Twin Rivers email as well.

I look forward to a great school year with your child.  It truly does take a village and I'm pleased to be a part of your child's life.