Our Staff

Kelly Perez

Kelly Perez

Director

Hi, my name is Kelly, and I am excited to continue my journey as Center Director of Bethlehem Community Preschool.  My passion and purpose for working with children and families has blossomed during my time at Bethlehem, both in administration and in the classroom.  I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing and loving learning environment.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in Child Development and have many years of experience working with young children in various capacities, including early childhood education, hula instruction, volunteering in our local elementary schools and the Encinitas Little League program.

I am a fourth generation member of North County and love meeting families, both new and old, in our amazing community.  When I am not at Bethlehem, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two boys, Makai and Liam. We enjoy the beach, hiking, biking, and sailing.  I also enjoy arts and crafts, cooking, and taking care of our basset hound, Hanz.

I am looking forward to another amazing year of learning and new discoveries at Bethlehem.

Patti McDuffie

Patti McDuffie

Teacher

Hi, I’m Patti McDuffie. I’ve been a member of the Bethlehem staff since 1996 with both of my children having been students prior to that. The loving family atmosphere brings me back year after year with the joy of teaching young children through hands-on learning.

I have a Master Teacher State Permit and am a member of NAEYC. I taught art at Ocean Knoll Elementary School for 11 years and have been the Art-in-the-Garden teacher at Bethlehem. I have been a Girl Scout leader, team and room mom, and an active member of the Encinitas Arts Alive Banner Project.

My hobbies include painting, reading (I belong to 2 book clubs), walking, and cooking. I have been a cake decorator, potter, and freelance artist. I live a very contented life alone in a tiny beach bungalow in Leucadia.

Robin Secades

Robin Secades

Teacher

Hi, my name is Robin Secades and I am a San Diego native, living in North County all my life.  I am a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and I have an Associates in Early Childhood Education and a Child Development Associate Teacher certificate.

My family includes my husband, two grown sons and our black lab named Tulip. Our Carlsbad family is a scouting family; active in Boy Scouts both leading and mentoring youth and participating in voluntary service projects in our community for over 11 years.

In my free time, I love Jazzercise and running with my friends.  Prior to joining the Bethlehem community, I worked in the public school supporting the learning activities in Pre-k and Kindergarten, including fostering the needs of preschool children in special education.   This experience, along with my education and being a parent myself, has made me the teacher I am today; meeting children where they are, with patience, kindness, and encouragement to be their very best.

I can’t wait to get to know you and your child here at Bethlehem!

Tara Nelson

Tara Nelson

Teacher

Hi Families, I’m Miss Tara. Welcome to Bethlehem Preschool! Many moons ago, I was a preschooler here at Bethlehem so it’s fun to be back where I first started school!

I grew up in Encinitas and have lived in the area most of my life.  I am a fifth generation of coastal North County and feel lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful place.

I have worked with children since my teens in a wide variety of settings, however I have found that my passion is the preschool/TK age!  One of my favorite parts of teaching this age group are those little “light bulb” moments, I live for those!  And of course, all the giggles and hugs!  I strive to be the best teacher I can be and love learning and exploring the Child Development field. My goal each day is to provide your child with a loving, fun, changing and exciting environment where they can thrive and build on the foundation of future learning.

I live in Encinitas with my husband Cory and furry children Marley and Martini.  Some of the things I enjoy doing in my free time are, traveling, concerts, riding my Ebike, going to the beach and pool, a good Netflix binge, shopping at Target, spending time with my family! I am a fun, happy, loving, positive person and I look forward to getting to know you and your child this year!

XOXO

Eman Gantus

Eman Gantus

Teacher

Hello, my name is Eman Gantus. I am very excited to be part of the Bethlehem Preschool Family.  I was born and raised near Nazareth, Israel, where I attended a Catholic school and went to church regularly. I live in Carlsbad with my husband and three beautiful children.

My love and passion for children led me to attend Mira Costa College and earn a child development teacher certificate.

I have worked in a childcare facility for eight years co-teaching, implementing lesson plans, engaging with children with different activities, and making sure that the children are developing emotionally, cognitively, and socially in a safe and fun environment. I will continue to take child development classes to enhance myself and better help the children with more knowledge.

My biggest hobby is cooking. I make Mediterranean food and sweets. I hope that one day I can share my love of cooking in the classroom.

Looking forward to getting to know you!

Gigi DeWeese

Gigi DeWeese

Teacher Assistant

Hi Families, I’m Gigi and I am so excited to be an official member of the Bethlehem family. I first joined the Bethlehem community when my daughter went to preschool here and I knew then, this is a very special place.

My husband, Mark, daughter, Grace, and I live here in Encinitas, just around the corner and over the hill. Grace is currently at Oak Crest Junior High, heading to San Dieguito Academy next year.

Our immediate family includes two dogs, a leopard gecko, a bunch of fish and a tortoise named Sadie. Mark and I both grew up in Del Mar and our parents are still there. We have a lot of extended family in the area and large family gatherings are one of our favorite events to host. I volunteer at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society when I can, and I always have my eyes open for the next addition to our family. I love to read, play in my garden and crafting of almost every kind.

I previously spent almost thirty years in the corporate world but realize that now I am doing some very important work – supporting the growth of the children in our care. I went back to school and am finalizing my AA in early childhood education so that I can bring as many tools as possible to this year with your kiddos. I look forward to sharing this amazing experience with you.

Kelly Simcoe

Kelly Simcoe

Teacher Assistant

Hi, my name is Kelly Simcoe, and I am excited to be part of Bethlehem Community Preschool.

I am delighted to be able to work with children and their families. My love of working with children started when we had our 1st daughter and decided to become part of a wonderful and vibrant homeschool group. I have spent time as a homeschool educator for the last 12 years and have loved absolutely every minute of it.

I hold a Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

I live in Cardiff with my husband Jim and our two teenage daughters, Kaya and Noa. We are lucky enough to also share our home with our 3 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats. Our children currently attend San Dieguito Academy and Oak Crest, and we are happy to be part of those exciting communities.

I enjoy spending time with my family and our pets, travel, spending as much time as possible outdoors in nature, hiking, and getting to explore new places. I also enjoy reading and am always excited to learn new things.

I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know you.

Meredith Toraason

Meredith Toraason

Teacher Assistant

Hello!

My name is Meredith Toraason. I love being a part of the Bethlehem teaching staff. I was born and raised in the awesome town of Encinitas, California.

I graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and an emphasis in Child Development. I then went on to obtain my teaching credential from CSUSM. I was a full-time substitute teacher in the Encinitas Union School District.

My husband Matt and I had five beautiful boys: Nolan, Wyatt, Quinn, Jonas, and Theo. My oldest son first attended Bethlehem in 2009. I immediately felt a connection to the school and the unique sense of community that exists among the parents and staff. I feel so fortunate to have had 4 of my boys attend this awesome school and my 5th will when he’s old enough.

When I’m not in the classroom, my family and I love escaping to Mexico for the weekends to surf and eat fish tacos. I also enjoy taking barre classes at Studio Barre. Reading, crafting, and cooking are passions of mine too!

Looking forward to a great year!

Pam Tilley

Pam Tilley

Teacher Assistant

Hello!

My name is Pam Tilley. I am delighted to be joining Bethlehem Preschool. I love watching children learn and grow and it so amazing to help navigate that process. I have worked in the preschool setting as both a lead and assisting teacher since receiving my degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Oklahoma State.

My husband, Alec and I have four kids of our own. My daughter Emma lives in Boulder and is getting her PHO. My son Grant recently graduated from UCSD as an Aerospace engineer. My daughter, Claire is a senior this year and my youngest, Zane is a freshman at San Marcos High School. Our family loves animals. We currently have two dogs, fish, and three foster puppies that we get to take care of. They are fosters# 17,18, &19!

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, going on walks, doing yoga, and traveling. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your child’s preschool experience.

Victoria Godinez

Victoria Godinez

Teacher Assistant

Hello Bethlehem families! 

My name is Victoria Godinez, I am known here as Ms. Vicky. I grew up in Chula Vista. After high school I began working at an in-home daycare in Cardiff, owned by a family friend and I fell in love with the area, so I relocated here. During this time, I learned that I really loved working with children. I have been working in the child development field for over 15 years and can’t imagine doing anything else. I am so happy to be part of the Bethlehem Preschool community.

I live in Cardiff with my two daughters Malia and Luna. They keep me pretty busy, but I am currently taking classes at Mira Costa College and working on my child development degree.

In our free time we enjoy going to the park, beach, and being outdoors. When I have a few minutes to myself, I enjoy reading and doing crafts and art. I am excited to meet you all. This is going to be a great year!

Tracy Girvin

Tracy Girvin

Teacher Assistant

Hello!

My name is Tracy Girvin and I am so excited to be a part of the Bethlehem family. It has always been a dream of mine to become a teacher, and there is no better place to start than where I went to school myself.

I am currently working towards my Child Development degree and have been working with children of all ages as a nanny for about six years. It has been such a joy and blessing to be a part of their lives and families – I look forward to being a part of yours, too!

I am born and raised in Encinitas and truly, what better place is there? In my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with friends and family (and my dog, Frank!), cooking and going to the beach!

I cant wait to meet you!

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