OUR TEACHERS

EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON WHUCH YOU CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD -NELSON MANDELA

Our dedicated teachers have been meticulously chosen for their expertise in the field of Early Childhood Education, their individual talents and unique teaching styles. They participate in annual and ongoing professional development to stay abreast of the latest research and best practices in ECE. Each classroom enjoys a low teacher-student ratio with one Lead Teacher and one or two Assistant Teachers (depending on the age of their students). All teachers have completed a federal background clearance and receive CPR and First Aid training biannually.

TEACHERS

PROGRAMS

DAILY LESSONS

SONGS

ROOM 1

HALF DAY PRESCHOOL - AGES 2.5 TO 3 YEARS

SUZY PENDON

LEAD TEACHER

Suzy Pendon started her career with young children in 1998 doing ABA therapy, working with autistic children as an undergraduate student at UC Irvine. After earning a degree in Psychology in 2001, Miss Suzy began working at a preschool in Long Beach that served special needs children. It was during this time that she obtained her Master Teacher certificate from Long Beach City College. In 2005, Miss Suzy joined the staff at Newport Coast Preschool in Room 1 as an Assistant Teacher; she became the Lead Teacher in 2006 and has loved working with the school’s youngest students since! Miss Suzy was born and raised in the border city of Calexico, California, growing up speaking three languages and fully immersed in a small town rich with culture. She resides in Long Beach with one of two older sisters, and stays active in Orange County with church activities. Miss Suzy takes advantage of her weekends by visiting her parents in Rowland Heights, and her other sister, brother-in-law, and niece in Brea. She loves warm weather, Sunday afternoon naps, organizing, and hula dancing.

MORGAN COOK

TEACHER

Morgan Cook is originally from Northern CA and moved to Southern CA when she was cast as a Dancer with Disney performing in shows and parades. She attended CSULB as Dance Performance major. While she was there, she took a class called Dance For Children where Miss Morgan found she had a niche and joy for teaching young children. She went back to school to study early childhood development and is so excited to have joined the NCCDP family in 2016! Miss Morgan is currently a children’s recreational and competitive dance instructor, a Disney dancer, and works in professional theatre/dance throughout OC and LA. She enjoys volunteering and advocating for organizations such as The Giving Keys and The Kind Campaign.

CHRISTINE GONZALEZ

TEACHER

Christine Gonzalez was a Behavioral Therapist for children with autism before transitioning to preschool at NCCDP in 2015. She graduated from Concordia University Irvine in 2014 where she studied Psychology and Sociology and was a member of the Women’s Water Polo Team. She began working with children at the age of 16 through summer camps and volunteering in her mother’s preschool classroom, and was a nanny throughout college. Miss Christine grew up in Los Angeles with her parents, sister and two brothers. She moved to Orange County for college, and still lives in the area with her sister. She is fluent in Spanish and embraces her Hispanic culture; her hobbies include looking at model homes, hiking/camping and (her guilty pleasure) binge watching reality TV shows.

ROOM 2

HALF DAY PRESCHOOL - AGES 3 TO 4 YEARS

LARISSA CHERNISHOV

LEAD TEACHER

Larissa Chernishov joined the NCCDP team in 2011 as an Assistant Teacher, and took the Lead role in Room 2 in 2014. While studying Early Childhood at Fullerton College, she worked at a preschool/daycare for 7 years. There she gained experience with a variety of ages, from infancy to 2nd grade, and she learned that her real joy is in the 3-year-old classroom. She loves engaging the children and being an important part of such a formative year. Miss Larissa comes from a large family and enjoys spending time with them. She loves to go fishing, hiking, camping and exploring California’s many beautiful natural landmarks.

LAUREN HEINZ

TEACHER

Lauren Heinz has loved teaching preschool since 2008, when she finished her Early Childhood Education at Orange Coast College. In 2013, Miss Lauren was hired as an Assistant Teacher in Room 2 at Newport Coast Preschool. She loves the children, environment, staff, and wonderful families that come to NCCDP. Miss Lauren grew up in Orange County and feels so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with amazing beaches. She enjoys spending time with family, serving at church, and swimming in the ocean.

JILL ST. GEME

TEACHER

Jill St. Geme grew up in Orange County and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Communication. She always knew that she wanted to work with children and after working at NCCDP while home from college in the summers, decided that she wanted to be a preschool teacher. After graduating, she studied Early Childhood Education and completed her units through UCLA while substitute teaching. Miss Jill joined Room 2 in 2016, and is so excited to be a part of the NCCDP staff and community. She enjoys spending time with her many siblings, family and friends, going to the beach, and cooking!

ROOM 3

EXTENDED DAY PRESCHOOL - AGES 3 TO 4 YEARS

DESERIE DAVIS

LEAD TEACHER

Deserie Davis began her relationship with NCCDP as a parent – her two youngest children attended preschool here! She came on staff as a Substitute Teacher in 2010, quickly moving into full time positions and landing as Room 3 Lead Teacher in 2012. Ms. Deserie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development at San Jose State University. She lives in Newport Beach with her three children ages 17, 13 and 10. Her hobbies include yoga, fitness and the beach.

ANGELA ESTRADA

TEACHER

Angela Estrada joined team Newport Coast Preschool in 2010, as a part time teacher. Mrs. Angela earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development, as well as her teaching credential from Cal State University, Fullerton. Prior to finding a home at NCCDP, she was a group counselor for the County of Orange, an Elementary School Teacher, and a stay at home mom to her two delightful children. Her experience over the last 20 years has centered on building character and empowering growing minds. In her free time, Mrs. Angela enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and engaging in a variety of outdoor activities.

AMANDA VALENTI

TEACHER

Amanda Valenti joined Newport Coast Preschool in 2005; much of that time has been as the Assistant Teacher in Room 4’s PreK program. Mrs. Valenti holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from Cal State Fullerton. Prior to NCCDP, she taught in Montessori programs since the age of 15! Born and raised in Southern California, Mrs. Valenti currently resides in Irvine with her husband and daughter, and their pug Barkley. In her free time, she shops, exercises, and loves to craft.

ROOM 4

PART-TIME PRE-KINDERGARTEN - AGES 4 TO 5 YEARS

TRICIA WEINSTEIN

LEAD TEACHER

Tricia Weinstein is originally from New York; she taught PreK for four years on the upper west side and moved out west after college to be close to her family. Starting at NCCDP in 2006, she was the Lead Teacher in Room 2 for eight years and in 2014 transitioned to PreK in Room 4; she was thrilled to get back to teaching the age group that she adores. Miss Weinstein attended Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!), where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Development. Miss Weinstein currently lives in Belmont Shores and loves living next to the beach in the fabulous Southern California weather. She considers her experience at Newport Coast as extremely rewarding – working with great families and inspiring staff members, she could not imagine working anywhere else!

JACKIE SHEEHY

TEACHER

Jackie Sheehy has been with the NCCDP family since 2013 and was originally the Admin Assistant/Substitute Teacher. Through those subbing opportunities she realized that the classroom is, and always has been, where her true passion is. Mrs. Jackie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Cal State San Bernardino, and truly enjoys reading stories to children while exposing them to new words and storylines. She began as a swim instructor out of high school and has been working with children ever since. Mrs. Jackie met her husband at an Angels baseball game in 2006 (she is an avid Dodgers fan), and they married in 2012. She enjoys attending all types of sporting events, taking her dog to the beach, and singing along to the music at rock concerts with her husband.

ROOM 5

FULL-TIME PRE-KINDERGARTEN - AGES 4 TO 5 YEARS

ANNIE DONNELLY

LEAD TEACHER

Annie Donnelly is a Northern California native and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Child Development, minor in Psychology. After graduation, she was the Assistant Director and Lead 3-year-old Teacher at a preschool in Arroyo Grande. Upon her move So Cal, Mrs. Donnelly joined the Newport Coast Preschool team in 2010. She is committed to making families feel comfortable and welcomed in the classroom while getting to know and highlighting the unique qualities of each student. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of her students and their families. Mrs. Donnelly lives in San Clemente with her husband and enjoys cooking, being active, traveling, painting, and spending time with her family and friends.

JESSICA WINGER

TEACHER

Jessica Winger is originally from the small town of Monroe, Michigan, where she taught for four years at a curriculum-based preschool before moving to sunny California. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Science and Social Studies from Saginaw Valley State University, then obtained her professional teaching certificate and Early Childhood endorsement.  Miss Winger has always had a strong passion for working with children and began teaching at sixteen, to students in a first grade Catechism classroom. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, listening to country music, photography, and writing.

ROOM 6

FULL-TIME PRE-KINDERGARTEN - AGES 4 TO 5 YEARS

SARAH YAHNKE

LEAD TEACHER

Sarah Yahnke first came to NCCDP in 2006 as an Assistant Teacher with our youngest students in Room 1. Since then, she has taught in all the different age groups available at the preschool, as well as taken some time off to pursue her degree. In 2013, she found her niche as the Lead Teacher in a PreK class and now happily holds that position in Room 6. Miss Yahnke received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science and Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Prior to NCCDP, she spent time traveling around the world and volunteering with children in countries including Vietnam, Australia and Colombia. Miss Yahnke grew up in Omaha, NE and has been living in Laguna Beach for the past 9 years. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, mountain biking, and any activity involving the ocean.

KRISTINA SAD

TEACHER

Kristina Sad (pronounced sah-jee) joined the NCCDP staff in 2015 as an Assistant Teacher. She studied Child Development at The University of San Diego and furthered her studies abroad in English as a Second Language. She taught English to children ages 4-13 in five different countries, Brazil being her most recent international teaching experience. At home between her international studies, she taught preschool and Kindergarten locally. Mrs. Sad is an Orange County native and remains close to her family. In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, and tending to her succulent garden.

ELIZABETH NOSAL

TEACHER

Elizabeth Nosal first taught at Colorado State University’s Early Childhood center; it was there she knew she wanted to continue her education in the field of Early Childhood. She spent time in an infant classroom and preschool classroom in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska before moving to Chicago to pursue an Early Childhood degree. She completed multipleinternships citywide throughout her schooling in Chicago. Most recently, she has nannied for a family and assisted in a preschool classroom before relocating to Corona del Mar with her husband. Mrs. Nosal enjoys traveling, photography, various outdoor activities, and spending time with her family and friends.

ROOM 7

FULL-TIME JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN - AGES 5 TO 5.5 YEARS

TARYN JONES

LEAD TEACHER

Taryn Jones began her teaching career as an assistant teacher for children with autism and ADHD, focusing on social, emotional, and academic skills. During this time, she earned a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. For 7 years, she taught Kindergarten at a private school in Placentia, where she developed an academic Kindergarten program that stresses the importance of communication: written and oral. In 2002, the Orange County Register named her Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Jones joined Newport Coast Child Development Preschool in 2006 to teach Junior Kindergarten and in 2013 added the role of Curriculum Coordinator. While teaching Junior K, she realized her passion for teaching children to read and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Education at Cal State Fullerton, and earn a Reading Specialist credential. On campus, you will see Mrs. Jones break into song or dance; she is known for her enthusiastic teaching strategies, entertaining children and parents alike. In her spare time Mrs. Jones enjoys hot yoga, walking around Balboa Island or trying the bevy of new restaurants in Orange County with her husband, Ryan and two children, Rylyn and Quinn – both of whom attended NCCDP!

STEPHANIE BERGER

TEACHER

Stephanie Berger is a Southern California native. Her first and foremost passion has always been children. Mrs. Berger began her NCCDP journey in 2000 when the first of her three children started in the program . During that time, she served several years on Parent Council and volunteered at each of her children’s schools thereafter. Mrs. Berger has recently gone back to school to pursue Early Childhood Education. She feels extremely fortunate to return to NCCDP family as a teacher. She enjoys baseball, the beach, cooking and treasures her time with her family.