Meet the Founder

Celina Aguilar is a dedicated and passionate Early Childhood Educator Consultant, Trainer, and Personal Development Coach. Celina completed her B.A. in Science of Education and her M.A. in Competences in Education.

In 1993, inspired by her first son she opened an Early Intervention Program and Preschool in her hometown; Sonora, Mexico. In 1996 she moved to LA and started working for a private preschool as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE). Advancing her career, she became the Executive Program Director of an Early Intervention and Preschool Program. Later in her career she joined the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC) as a Head Start Education Supervisor. She is also committed to PITC (The Program for Infant/ Toddler Care) with West Ed as an infant toddler specialist training and coaching. 

Celina has been recognized as an Early Childhood Mentor with the Los Angeles Mission College, and soon thereafter, became part of the Mentor Selection Committee where she has been a member for the last past 15 years. Her journey as an independent ECE includes participating with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Los Angeles Child Care Alliance, serving as an authorized trainer.

Celina’s two sons have been her constant inspiration to meet her personal and career goals which has led her strong background in parent education. She is dedicated to empowering parents and though her practice finds value and joy in serving the community in creating and building stronger foundations.

  • Competent Communicator, Toastmasters International
  • DRDP, Desired Results Developmental Profile, Certified Trainer
  • Inward Journey, Coaching Program
  • NLP Master Practitioner, Neuro-Linguistic-Programming
  • NVC, Non Violent Communication Practitioner
  • Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (Zero to Three)
  • STEP, Systematic Training for Effective Parenting
  • TeachStone certified Pre-K Class Observer
  • The Art and Science of Self, Personal Development Practices
  • The Total Transformation Program, Empowering Parents
  • Trauma-Informed Care Practices

Meet the Admin Team

Aminta Pootaraksa

Aminta Pootaraksa is the Program Director of Developing Mindful Lives (DML). She has over twenty years of experience working in the field of Early Childhood Education and working with families. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Psychology from Phillip’s Graduate Institute in 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development. Throughout her career, Aminta has served as an Early Childhood Educator, Preschool Director, and Early Intervention Director. She is devoted to combining her knowledge in behavior and child development to promote healthy family relationships and connections through DML’s DOT principles (Dedication, Observation, Thoughtfulness).

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and close friends, practicing meditation being outdoors, and cook.

Susie Buffa

Susie Buffa is the Supervisor of our Center-Based Program. She has more than 25 years of experience working with young children. Her philosophy in Child Development is based on child-initiated play provided within a nurturing environment. Her approach in early intervention is to strengthen and extend each child’s skills and abilities in collaboration with parents and families.  

Susie has held different positions in her career as an Early Childhood Educator that includes being a program coordinator, child development specialist and center-based supervisor. She has coordinated curriculum and mentored Child Development Specialists along with facilitating Parent Education.  

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling along with practicing Zumba.