Judy Bencivengo


Interim Preschool Director

We are pleased to introduce Judy Bencivengo, who joins the Little Dolphins community as Interim Preschool Director after a rich and colored curriculum of experience and expertise in the world of education. Hailing from the good-natured town of St. Louis, MO, Judy had the privilege of growing up in an environment where most of the adults were educators and artists. It is no wonder - given her upbringing - that she embarked on a lifetime of being in service of education.

Over the past 55 years, Judy has specialized in the field of early childhood education, with a concentration at the preschool level. She earned her Master's Degree in Human Development, with a special focus in Early Childhood, Language and Cognitive growth from the University of Kansas. When Judy left Kansas she moved to Rio de Janeiro. From there she traveled to San Francisco, and then after coming to visit just one time, she packed her bags and moved to Santa Monica to be warm and close to the ocean. Since then, Judy has spent the last 33 years at UCLA working with the Early Care and Education Dept. Throughout the years Judy has advised West Side Schools in their growth and direction, has sat on their boards, and has served as a transition-focused Interim Preschool Director at five other institutions prior to Little Dolphins by the Sea.

Judy's appreciation of the individuality in each child - and adult alike - is constant and obvious in her person. She approaches each day with optimism and a playful sense of adventure that comes through with her lifetime of stories and practical information.

In all her time, she has never encountered a preschool quite like Little Dolphins by the Sea. As a true collaborator, Judy looks forward to being a pillar of strength and guiding light for this wonderful community of teachers, parents and delightful students.

Judy has offered resources to a thousand families from all over the world who needed help finding and choosing programs for their children. Through that, Judy formed strong connections with local schools and was instrumental in the development of many new programs. Before coming to UCLA Judy set up and directed 8 pre-schools and childcare centers, including the center on the University of Kansas campus, where she is still a leading force in the Midwest early childhood community.

Judy has lived in Santa Monica for the last 40 years and is the loving matriarch of one son, two grandchildren and a great granddaughter. She still enjoys a demanding work schedule and a daily three-mile walk, regular dance lessons to many kinds of music and her early morning read.

Daniel Asres


Assistant Director

For the past 18 years, Daniel has dedicated himself to Early Childhood Education with a goal to instill confidence and happiness in each child, while creating awareness about the joy of parenting.

After receiving his BA degree in Sociology and Education from the University of California, Riverside, Daniel began his career as Head Teacher at a local low-income preschool in Los Angeles.

But Daniel is no newcomer to the Little Dolphin’s community. In the summer of 2002, Daniel became the Assistant Director and Head Teacher of the Little Dolphins’ Summer Program, eventually, becoming the Director of the Roots & Wings Enrichment Program. Working side-by-side with the leadership of the school, Daniel reestablished Roots & Wings to become a thriving and successful program, including a rotation of over 200 students through Parent & Me, afterschool preschool, and elementary classes all held within the Canyon. When the school moved to it’s current location in Santa Monica in 2005, Daniel was instrumental in supporting the Leadership and Administration with all logistic and education-related transitions. For the next 5 years, Daniel worked alongside the Administration and Teachers to help provide a thriving environment for the Little Dolphins Community.

Daniel moved to Ethiopia in January of 2013. There he became the Director of Preschool and Elementary at the British International School to lead and consult in curriculum development, teacher training, and parent workshops. During this time, Daniel became a TEDx Addis speaker and presenter at Yale’s Young African Scholars program.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, Daniel founded an educational Consultancy called Genius of Each, focusing on a tailored one-on-one approach to benefit the needs of each family’s individual needs. Through Genius of Each, Daniel has continued to serve the Westside Community to bring about emotional confidence, academic success, and intra-family communication.

Daniel is very excited to have returned to Little Dolphins and thrilled to dedicate himself to serving as a liaison among the Administration, children, and parents – always with the intention of upholding curriculum and community.

Daniel is a huge music lover, an avid sports and Lakers fan, and plays basketball with dads from Little Dolphins and Palisades once a week. Along with running GofE, Daniel serves as Board member for California Charter Collegiate School, located in South Los Angeles, right where he was born and raised. He supports the African Communities Public Health Coalition by providing parent workshops to various members of the community. He looks forward to expanding his vision of supporting children and their families at Little Dolphins and the greater Westside community.