Faculty

Director

Sandra Tolmasoff

Welcome to the Newport Center United Methodist Preschool! My name is Sandra Tolmasoff, and I’m the new director at the NCUMP. For the past 15 years, my professional background has been in the field of early childhood education where I worked both as an educator and director. I hold my Bachelors in Human Services and my Associates degree in Child Development as well as a California Program Director Permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

As a recent arrival here at NCUMP, I’m struck by several things. The dedication of the teachers shines through immediately and I’m impressed by the collective longevity of the staff. The outdoor learning space is absolutely amazing. We have the best yard in all of Orange County! And of course, the Christian values here are apparent. It’s a joy to work in an environment that incorporates God’s love into every aspect of the classroom and daily life.

 

Assistant Director

Rochelle Armendariz

Hello Families! My name is Rochelle Armendariz, and I am the Assistant Director at Newport Center United Methodist Preschool. For the past 22 years I have worked in the field of early child education. I am pleased to say that I have been a teacher at NCUMP since 2004, and a parent of three alumni students. My oldest attended NCUMP in 2008 and is now a Junior at Newport Harbor, my other two children recently graduated from NCUMP and attend Woodland Elementary. The genuine warmth from the staff and involved parent community create a beautiful learning environment and I could not be happier to be the Assistant Director.

My education in the field of Early childhood Education started at Orange Coast College where I earned my ECE teaching certificate. I completed my Montessori Certification in Infant/Toddler studies at the University of Irvine Extension Program and I hold a BA in Early Childhood Education from Brandman University. I maintain a California Site Supervisor Program Permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Most recently, I obtained Outdoor Classroom Specialist Certification.

I love our beautiful and spacious outdoor educational environment at NCUMP. The children have an array of opportunities to explore nature, create, and participate in learning experiences with their peers and loving teachers.

Lead Teachers

Jennifer Hett

I have both a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I also hold a Children’s Center Instructional Permit. I joined the NCUMP family in 2007.

There are so many reasons to love this school, but topping my list would be the ability to create an environment in which the “whole child” will thrive.

Louise Rense

I received my Master of Arts in Child Development and Family Relations. I’ve been teaching at NCUMP since 1997.

I love to teach and love to learn. In addition to the academic curriculum, we all teach the children how to get along with others, solve problems, join groups at play, feel confident, and work together in groups, as well as other life skills. Most of all, I’m thrilled that all of our staff is warm and friendly to each other, the parents, and especially the children. We love them and feel so fortunate to be their teachers.

Maggie Brewer

I earned my B.S. in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Emphasis and have been a proud member of Newport Center United Methodist Preschool staff since 2000.

NCUMP has always represented a safe and special place to me. I grew up attending church at NCUMC and taught Sunday School in the preschool classrooms as a teenager. Now, after all these years of teaching here, I still feel the magic of our environment. The joy, love, and total commitment to excellence make me proud to be a part of the most amazing staff ever!

Shawnte Behn

I received my Associates degree in Liberal Arts while studying Early Childhood Education. I’ve been a proud staff member at Newport Center since 2007.

The loving staff, families, and community make NCUMP a very special place. The play-based curriculum allows children to learn and grow through cooking experiences, gardening, outdoor exploration, and creating art.

Dani Palomares

I started substitute teaching at NCUMP and fell in love.  I’ve been teaching at NCUMP since 2016.

I love working at NUCMP because of the wide open outside space, the talented staff, and the wonderful families!

Michelle Johnson

I received my B.A. in Psychology. I’ve been happily teaching at Newport Center since 1998.

My greatest joy, professionally speaking, is being witness to the tremendous strides of growth and development that occur in the early years of childhood. Preschoolers are my favorite people on the planet, and it is my privilege to spend the greater part of each day with them.

Kari Hoffman

I have 20 years of experience in the field of early childhood education and joined the NCUMP family in 2021. I fell in love with working with children after being a summer camp aide after high school and immediately enrolled in child development courses at Irvine Valley College. I have experience teaching toddlers through kindergarten and believe this is my calling. I absolutely love getting to know the children and their unique personalities.

I appreciate all the NCUMP offers! The outdoor space is amazing, and I am excited to have an outdoor space to get messy and have fun. I love getting to know the families and connecting with the children. 

Associate Teachers

Emily Colbaugh

I started teaching at NCUMP the summer of 2020 but have been on staff with the church youth group since 2018. I got my Certificate of Teaching in 2019.

My favorite thing about NCUMP is the community it provides for families and the creative experiences the children get to participate in.

I-Fen Wu

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Interior Design and an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Development Education. I also hold a Child Development Master Teacher Permit. I joined the NCUMP family in 2020.

I enjoy working with children through the discovery process and watching them develop their skills on a daily basis. The most important thing to me is to be able to share the love of Jesus with the children through my teaching. I am proud to be a part of this amazing preschool where I can utilize my experience in order to help children become successful learners.

Viola Campos

I am happy to say that I have just completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Development from Cal State Fullerton! I also hold an Associates degree in Arts and Human Expression. I have been working as a preschool teacher for about three years and have loved every moment.

What I enjoy most about NCUMP is that the children are able to thrive while they enjoy learning, socializing, and growing together. Being in such a beautiful environment among great teachers is just an added bonus!

Katherine Reyes

I have my associates in Human Social Services. I am currently working on my BA in Child Development. I grew up in the kids ministry at my local church, and that is where my love for teaching bloomed. I love kids and it fills my heart with joy to watch them grow.

What I like about NCUMP is the loving space created for both staff and children, with the beautiful gardens and orchard.

Jennifer Trujillo

I have been in the Early Childhood field since 2008, I have an Early Childhood Education Permit and Coastline Regional Certificate on “Careers in Education”. I joined the NCUMP family during the fall of 2021.

What I enjoy most about NCUMP is that everyone is so welcoming and supportive. I enjoy the loving environment that the children get to experience, I have seen the dedication and passion that help enrich the children’s growth and I am proud to be a part of such wonderful school.

Kayla Lindenberger

I’m currently a student working towards a bachelor’s degree and have been working with kids for almost 10 years. I started substitute teaching at NCUMP during 2020. One of my favorite things about being a teacher is watching children be so independent when it comes to their self-discovery and play. At this age children are curious about everything, and I just love experiencing things through their eyes.

I have worked at many schools in the past but started working here in 2020 and have loved every second of it. I fell in love with the kids, our wonderful families, the space of our beautiful playgrounds and of course, our staff.

Ana Tecuanapa

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences with a specialization in Early Childhood Learning and Development from UC Irvine. I have worked with children for more than five years and taught preschool-age children for the past three years. I joined the NCUMP family in the fall of 2021.

I am so happy to have joined the NCUMP and everything it has to offer, from the beautiful outdoor playgrounds to its academics! I love to teach and be creative.

Support Staff

Deb Conger

Gardening Teacher

I earned my BS in Dental Hygiene before returning to school to study Early Childhood Education. I’ve been a member of the NCUMP staff since 1999.

I brought all three of my children to school at NCUMP. When my third child was leaving I told the director I’d be back as a teacher!

Carol Hoppe

Music Teacher

I have been teaching music at NCUMP since 1987. I have a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Music and a California Teaching Credential.

I have loved every minute of teaching at NCUMP.  It is amazing to see how creative children are during music and how much they love singing.