Teachers

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 children on the autism spectrum as an undergraduate student at UC Irvine. After earning a degree in Psychology in 2001, Mrs. 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, Mrs. Suzy joined the staff at Newport Coast Preschool in Room 1 and has loved working with the school’s youngest students since! Mrs. 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 Irvine with her husband James, whom she married in August of 2020. Mrs. Suzy enjoys spending weekends catching up with both sides of the family as much as possible. She loves warm weather, Sunday afternoon naps, organizing, and hula dancing.

KIMBERLY CHRISTENSEN

TEACHER

Kimberly Christensen’s passion for playing a vital role in the shaping of young children’s lives started at an early age. As a teenager she was a mother’s helper and in high school she volunteered as a Kindergarten Teacher’s aide. During her time at Cerritos College she worked as a Preschool Teacher’s assistant in Huntington Beach. Upon completing her Early Childhood Education Certification became a Lead Teacher for 2- to 3-year-olds for six years before moving to a Pre-K class. Most recently Miss Kim has been a stay-at-home mom to her daughter, Julia. She is extremely excited to be back in the classroom, joining the Room 1 team in 2018. Her hobbies include frequent trips to Disneyland and the beach, educating others on the power of essential oils, as well as studying and practicing mindfulness.

McKENNA MERDA

TEACHER

McKenna Merda studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Miss McKenna’s passion for kids started at a young age; she was a mommy’s helper at the age of 8 and nannied for multiple families as she got older. She thrives on helping children grow and develop, and she is so excited to join the Room 2 team in 2020! In her free time, McKenna enjoys going to the beach and being with her family.

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.

JENNIFER RAMIREZ

TEACHER

Jennifer Ramirez knew she wanted to be a teacher since high school, from the moment she volunteered for the preschool located on campus. After graduation she became a preschool teacher’s assistant while completing her Early Childhood Education at Cerritos College and spent the next 18 years as a lead teacher for a preschool in Huntington Beach. Miss Jen is thrilled to be a part of NCCDP and the Room 2 team starting in 2020! In her free time she enjoys reading, going to the beach and spending time with her family, especially her niece Julia. 

McKENNA MERDA

TEACHER

McKenna Merda studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Miss McKenna’s passion for kids started at a young age; she was a mommy’s helper at the age of 8 and nannied for multiple families as she got older. She thrives on helping children grow and develop, and she is so excited to join the Room 2 team in 2020! In her free time, McKenna enjoys going to the beach and being with her family.

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 and her hobbies include yoga, fitness and the beach.

MELODY EASTMAN

TEACHER

Melody Eastman grew up in Orange County and has been an instructor in various forms for over ten years. Her love for teaching began in high school, when she worked as a gymnastics and cheerleading coach. While attending Azusa Pacific University, Miss Melody volunteered in a special needs community called Younglife, she interned at a youth camp in Hawaii, and taught elementary children in Africa. After graduating, she taught English abroad for two years in South Korea and Indonesia. During this time she realized her passion to educate and teach children of all ages; she joined NCCDP in 2019 as an assistant teacher. In her free time, Miss Melody enjoys surfing, playing ukulele, and being with her family!

CINDY TRINKLE

TEACHER

Cindy Trinkle studied early Childhood education at Cerritos College. She has been teaching preschool for 13 years in Los Alamitos and is very excited to be a part of the team at NCCDP starting in 2020.  Ms. Cindy is a California native and loves the beach, hiking and the outdoors, and gardening in her succulent garden.  She has 3 children of her own and her love and passion for children inspired her to become a teacher.

ROOM 4

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

JACKIE SHEEHY

LEAD TEACHER

Jackie Sheehy has been with the NCCDP family since 2013 and was originally the administrative assistant/substitute teacher. Through those subbing opportunities, she realized that the classroom is, and always has been, where her true passion is. She is thrilled to be Lead PreK Teacher in Room 4. Mrs. Sheehy 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 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.

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.

ROOM 5

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

AMANDA VALENTI

LEAD TEACHER

Amanda Valenti joined Newport Coast Preschool in 2005; much of that time has been 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.

SABRINA HILL

TEACHER

Sabrina Hill graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Child Adolescent Development. She has always had a passion for working with children and has been teaching since she was 14. Mrs. Hill was working as a dance instructor teaching ballet and tap to all ages when she realized she wanted to be in the classroom full-time. Since then, she has worked in many preschool classrooms, as a lead teacher in a Jr. Kindergarten class, and as an assistant instructor to 5th and 6th graders with the Orange School District’s Music and Performing Arts Program. She lives in Los Alamitos with her husband and spends her free time traveling, painting, and going to baseball games.

ROOM 6

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

KRISTINA SAD

LEAD TEACHER

Kristina Sad (pronounced sah-jee) joined the NCCDP staff in 2015 as an assistant teacher and was promoted to Lead in 2018. 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.

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 St. Geme joined Room 2 in 2016, and moved into PreK in 2019. She enjoys spending time with her many siblings, family and friends, going to the beach, and cooking!

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.