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Staff

Our Staff
Victoria Staff

Administration

Dr. Peralta

Aaron Peralta, Ed.D., Principal

I am excited to enter my fourth year as the principal at Victoria Elementary. I came to Newport Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) after spending ten years in the Downey Unified School District as a teacher, coach, and vice-principal. I have spent the past twenty years in education and believe that education has the power to change the lives and futures of our scholars.

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach, my Master’s Degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in Educational Leadership, and my doctoral degree from the University of Southern California (Fight On!). 

I am passionate about learning for all students and staff and I view the learning process as a lifelong experience. I look forward to another great year at Victoria where I will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve student achievement…Go Voyagers!

 

Danielle CsergeiDanielle Csergei, Office Manager | Administrative Assistant

My name is Danielle Csergei and this is my first year being an Administrative Assistant at Victoria Elementary and I am so excited to join the team! I was born in Bakersfield, CA but spent most of my years growing up in Minnesota! Dontcha Know! J I came down to Southern California to attend college at Hope International University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and meet my husband of now 16 years!

Over the past 10 years I have been in leadership positions with non-profits, where I directed multiple community events and was able to encourage & support families here in Orange County.

I am the mother to three boys, Jack and Luke are my twin 14-year-olds, and I have another 11-year-old son named Brent. They keep me busy with their excitement and passion for the sport of soccer, which I am growing to love myself, especially as they develop and begin to travel around the world.

When I am not carting them around to practices and games, I enjoy drinking a good cup of a coffee, walking down at the beach, baking up some yummy treats, going to Disneyland, and trying new foods of all cuisines!!

 

Maria V. HernandezMaria V. Hernandez, Office Assistant

I was born in the Imperial Valley and moved to Orange County twenty years ago. I have been working at Victoria for 15 years  as the School Office Assistant. I started here when my son was in fourth grade in Mr. Norris' class. Seth has since graduated from high school and is doing well. My husband Art and I have been happily married for 27 years. Art is the unofficial cookie baker for the Victoria staff - and can oft be found delivering warm baked cookies and brownies to the team.

 

In my spare time, I enjoy relaxing with my family, reading, watching movies and searching for treasures at thrift shops. In the future, I'd love to live on a farm with my husband taking care of the animals!

 

Paula GordonPaula Gordon, School Community Facilitator

Hello, I am Paula Gordon; I began my career in education as an Instructional Aide in 2007. I am passionate about helping students succeed and develop their full potential.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my 4 children. As your School Community Facilitator, I look forward to working with you and your student(s). The best way to reach me is via email. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

Redding
Robert Redding, Psychologist

I was born in Hollywood, CA.  I spent most of childhood in Chino, CA.

When I turned 19 I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Spain for two years.

I attended BYU and studied Microbiology, Chemistry, and Spanish. After college I taught Chemistry for 3 years.  I then went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in School Psychology. I was hired by NMUSD right out of school and have worked for the district for 13 years.  I have been married to my wife, Heather, for twenty years, and have 4 adopted children (one son and three daughters).

Teachers

Anita PeacockChristine MillikanAnita Peacock and Christine Millikan, Kindergarten

We are so excited for this amazing school year. Our Class is a fun  filled classroom where Transitional Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners work as a team to learn!  We love to teach our kiddos to read and math and all the other amazing kindergarten standard .  We also make sure to have fun by singing and dancing and painting too. When we aren’t in our classroom, you can find us spending time with our lovely families at the beach!

 

Wooten
Jill Wooten-Markovsky, and Heather McCormick, Kindergarten

My name is Jill Wooten-Markovsky and I am a kindergarten teacher at Victoria Elementary. I have taught Kindergarten, 2nd and 3rd grade at Victoria. This is my 23rd year teaching. 

I was born and raised in Newport Beach. I went to University of Southern California for college and then went to Pepperdine to get my teaching credential and Masters in Education. I now live in Costa Mesa with my husband and 3 children.  I love being a part of the Victoria family. 

My name is Heather McCormick, and I've been at Victoria School for over 20 years as a First Grade and Kindergarten teacher. It is rewarding to see the children grow and develop socially each year. I am eager to work with my students to explore and problem solve in math, emerge as readers and practice writing skills. It is a joy to work with all these new scholars!


FloresMonica Flores, Grades 1 & 2, Specialized Academic Instruction SAI)

Hello!  My name is Monica Flores.  I am very excited to be here as I recently joined the Victoria team this past school year.  I was previously a teacher of seven years for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where I taught special education middle school, and 2nd  through 5th grade.  I graduated from CSULB with my Bachelor’s degree and received my Master’s in School Administration this year from CSUDH.  I began working as a special education classroom assistant and it was there that I found my calling.  I love working with my students and seeing them grow.  I enjoy getting to know their families and building relationships with them. 

I was born in Guatemala and raised in LA.  I recently moved to Orange County with my daughter, Sam (13).  I love to travel and enjoy being outdoors.  I like hiking, swimming, and long distance running. 

Erin Gordon
Erin Gordon, Kindergarten Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI)

My name is Erin Gordon and I teach Kindergarten students with special needs at Victoria Elementary. This is my 19th year teaching kindergarten for the Special Education Department in Newport Mesa. I believe I have the best job in the world! I am grateful to have the opportunity to help my students learn and grow every day! I believe every child has the ability to learn, and I want to help my students reach their full potential to grow up to become productive members of society.

I was born and raised in Southern California. In 1997 I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I interned in a classroom with students with special needs while I was at UC Santa Barbara, and I knew that teaching students with special needs was exactly what I was meant to do, it was my dream job! I attended CSU Fullerton and obtained my teaching credentials for teaching students with Mild/Moderate special needs, Moderate/Severe special needs, and Multiple Subjects. I also earned my Master’s Degree in Special Education from CSU Fullerton. As soon as I graduated I began working for Newport Mesa and I absolutely love it!

For the past 13 years, my husband and I have lived in Huntington Beach with our 3 children: Graycie (9), Chloe (8), and Toby (7).  We also have a pet dog “Rusty” and a pet mouse “Snowy”. As a family we enjoy camping, going to the beach, playing games, and swimming together. During my free time I also enjoy cooking, crafting, reading, riding my bike, and doing anything outdoors.

I am looking forward to another great school year at Victoria!

Lauren Turner
Lauren Turner, First Grade

Hello Everyone! My name is Lauren Turner and I have the privilege of teaching First Grade here at Victoria Elementary School, the BEST school ever! This will be my fifth year teaching for the Newport Mesa Unified School District. I have been a Reading Intervention teacher at Newport Heights and Newport Elementary School, taught 1st grade at Andersen Elementary School, 2nd grade at Rea Elementary School and now I am THRILLED to be teaching First Grade again at Victoria Elementary School!

I graduated from the University of Arizona (Go WILDCATS) in 2008 and received my teaching credential from Long Beach State University in 2012. I am married to my incredible husband, Field and we have a little dachshund named Henry and a daughter named Ellie that we welcomed to our family this past March. I enjoy spending my time with my family and friends, going to the beach, exercising and being outdoors.

I LOVE teaching First Grade! The kids are such a joy to work with and they learn so much! I am looking forward to a great partnership with all of the wonderful families in my class this year. I am honored to by your child’s first grade teacher here at Victoria!

 

Lisa HarrisonLisa Harrison, Second Grade

I am a second grade teacher here at Victoria Elementary School. I have been at Victoria for the last two years, but as a Reading Intervention Teacher. Previously, I taught second grade for ten years at Seaside Elementary School in the Torrance Unified School District.  My family then moved to Arizona in 2006.  I stayed home with my kids at this time, but remained very active in the school and community.  I was elected into the Parent Teacher Organization as vice-president, volunteered as a classroom parent, school site council representative and as a Girl Scout Leader for several years. We have been back in California for three years now.  This is when I decided to continue my career as a teacher.   I am very excited to be a part of the Victoria Elementary Family!

 

Kim Barone
Kim Barone, Second Grade

My name is Kim Barone and I am currently teaching second grade at Victoria.  I began my teaching career in Capistrano Unified School District, but have been in the Newport Mesa district for 20 years.  I have previously taught kindergarten through 3rd grade.  I grew up in San Francisco, graduated from U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) with a business degree and then went back to school to get my teaching credential at U.C. Irvine.  I also have a masters degree in education.  I have a son and daughter who are both college graduates, so now it's just my husband and me at home.  My husband is from France so I speak French.  We love to travel, camp, hike and go to the beach.

 

Sandee Gordon
Sandee Gordon, Teacher, Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI)

This is my 20th year teaching. I love teaching Special Education. I taught 5/6 for 18 years and have been teaching the little ones for the past couple of years.  I was born in California and raised right here in Costa Mesa. After working for a non-profit homeless shelter as an Executive Director for 15 years I changed careers. In 1998 I started working as a special education teacher for Victoria Elementary School. My husband works for Fountain Valley School District as their Heating and Ventilation Tech. He is set to retire at the end of this year.  My husband and I have one daughter, Sierra, she went through the NMUSD system and graduated from Estancia in 2012. She then went on to UC Santa Barbara and is now working in the Human Resource department of tech company in Costa Mesa.  

I graduated from Cal. State Long Beach with a bachelor's degree in 1983.  I attended Cal. State Fullerton and earned my teaching credential and my master's degree in Elementary Education with emphasis in special education. I have held extra position here to keep our students and staff safe by being co-coordinator of our disaster plan.  I love our Victoria Family and hope to see you all this year! 

 

Patty Poveda

Patty Poveda, Third Grade

Welcome to the third grade. My name is Patricia Poveda, and I am starting my 31st year of teaching.  I have loved everyone of those years.  It has been such a joy to get to know each student I have had the opportunity to teach.  I was raised in Huntington Beach from the time I was 3 years old.  My mother was a teacher in Newport Mesa and then worked as a principal for many years at our neighboring schools.  So I guess you could say teaching is in my blood.  My husband, Jose, is also a teacher at Costa Mesa High School.  My daughter, Marisa, is currently a Chemistry major at the University of New Mexico.  Whenever she is home for a visit, she often comes in the class to get to know the kids.  I am looking forward to another fantastic year!

 

Michelle Thrall
Michelle Thrall, Third Grade

I started teaching in 1999 at the elementary level. I have taught kindergarten through sixth grades, with the exception of fourth grade. My passion for becoming a teacher started when I was very young, as I would grade papers that my father brought home from his class (of course I’m sure he would double check my work!!).  I absolutely enjoy working with children and watching first hand, as they have their “ah-ha” moments!

I am a native of Huntington Beach, with two children. My daughter graduated from U.C.I. and is currently student teaching in high school, and my son is completing his Fire Academy for Los Angeles.

In my spare time, I am on a soccer field either coaching or playing. I also love my family getaways to Lake Havasu for water skiing and water toys! This past summer I was able to visit New Orleans and a piece of Texas.

 

Amy Bogdan

Amy Bogdan, Fourth Grade

My name is Amy Meunier and I’m a 4th grade teacher at Victoria Elementary. I’ve been a teacher in Newport Mesa for the past 18 years. In addition to my teaching credential from Long Beach State I also have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and an Administrative Credential. I love working with children every day and feel very grateful to be a part of the Victoria Family!

 

My boyfriend and I have a beautiful, blended family of five children, three boys (Riley (11), Connor (10), and Brody (9) and two girls Sydney (13) and Ava (13). We live in Newport Coast and our children attend schools in Newport-Mesa. During the summer we love to travel and enjoy our favorite beach Crystal Cove. In the fall/winter we love to ski, snowboard, and watch our boys play football and lacrosse.

 

Lori Wilburn
Lori Wilburn, Fourth Grade

Victoria School is near and dear to my heart. I have been here since the reopening in 1992, in fact I was one of the parents that helped open the school. I have always believed in neighborhood schools therefore both of my children attended Victoria. I have really enjoyed being a part of the Victoria family for the past 25 years. I even helped design our logo and helped paint a few murals at our school. I began teaching in the fall of 1993.

I received my Bachelors from Cal State Fullerton and my teaching credential from Long Beach State. I also have a Masters in Teaching from Grand Canyon University. I enjoy thinking of creative ways to engage students. I look forward to working with your children.

 

Tracy Scofield-Darbee

Tracy Scofield-Darbee, Teacher, Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI)

I am a proud product of Newport-Mesa USD, having attended Killybrooke, Davis and Costa Mesa High School. After graduating from SCC, now Vanguard University, I started my career at Victoria.  Twenty-three years later I am blessed to still be working with the great families and students at our school. Together we will continue to build a team for each student that encourages them to thrive as individuals and as part of their community.

 

McNamaraBrandi McNamara, Fifth Grade

My goal as your child’s new teacher is to make his/her fifth grade experience one that is full of knowledge! I will also be concentrating on preparing your child for the sixth grade. My motto is, "Enthusiasm is caught, not taught!" I hope to make your child enthusiastic about learning!

Just a little about me...I have spent the last 22 years teaching. Teaching is truly my passion and something I have wanted to do since I was in the first grade. I have three daughters that keep me very busy! Loula-Rae is 10-years-old and in the 5th grade. Lenix-Rain is 7-years-old and in the 2nd grade.  My youngest daughter Laci-Rose has just entered Kindergarten and is 5-years-old. These girls keep me very busy with softball and soccer which is where we spend all of our weekends.  This summer I celebrated my 13th anniversary with my husband Shawn. We live in Ladera Ranch and are truly blessed to have our amazing little family!

 

I have an open door policy, so please feel free to stop in before school anytime. I would love to talk with you about your child. I look forward to having a successful year with you and your child!

 

Chris Breen

Chris Breen, Sixth Grade

Hello, my name is Chris Breen and I am very excited to be a part of the Victoria family. I have lived in Costa Mesa for most of my life, while also venturing out to Orlando, Florida and South Lake Tahoe for some added adventures. I have spent the first part of my career as a Landscape Design and maintenance company owner and then transitioned to teaching in 2013. I received my teaching credential from Vanguard University in 2014, and have been working in the Newport-Mesa District ever since. I have worked at schools on the West side of Newport-Mesa for my entire career and truly enjoy the community and families I have encountered. I have also taught grade levels from 3rd through 6th and enjoy the challenge that each bring to my growth in the teaching profession.

I am married to my wife, Holly, and we have been married for 9 years. While we do not have any children, I have a very child-like German Shepard named Ciera, who keeps us plenty busy! We love to travel and share our adventures with the class to introduce them to new and exciting places.

I am dedicated to impacting the lives and learning abilities of all of my students, and work hard to provide a challenging, but fun, learning environment. I use strategies that are engaging for all of my students and continue to develop my education through professional development and trainings to provide the optimal learning environment for my students. I am excited meet and learn about my students and families, and hope to get the chance to meet each and every one of you throughout the year. My door is open at 7:45 daily and open for any thoughts, questions, or concerns.

Joe Norris
Joe Norris, Sixth Grade

Although I've been an elementary teacher for nearly a quarter of a century, teaching actually is my fourth career change...or is it my fifth?  I began as a paperboy the day I turned 11 and continued until I was 16.  I have delivered pizza, sold shoes, worked in clothing stores, did a stint as a sandwich maker, and even got a stipend as a coach for a high school cross country team (yeah, that was me, with a body build that never should have attempted competitive running.  Just ask my orthopedic surgeon!).  I also have been a volunteer youth counselor, a Sunday School teacher (still doing that), and worked for a time putting out the church newsletter.  

Once I graduated with a B.S. degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1976, I worked as a radio news director for an AM radio station in Redding, California.  From there, I spent about four months as an intern for the press secretary of the California Assembly Minority Leader at the state capital and then went into sales and marketing back here in Orange County, working for an athletic shoe and clothing company. While there, I transferred to the promotions department and did quite a bit of work with elite athletes.  For about a year, I tried to make it as an outside salesman selling sporting goods equipment but kept gravitating toward a career working with kids.  Although I enjoyed working with young people, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it full time. I also didn't know what age group I wanted to work with.  When an acquaintance of mine invited me to come and observe her elementary classroom, I took her up on her offer.  After a day working with those second graders, I immediately knew I had found my passion!

Even though I have mostly taught fifth grade here at Victoria Elementary (a career I began in 1994), I have decided to work with sixth graders this year.  I was a long-term sub in sixth grade here in Newport-Mesa years ago and, last year, I taught the 5/6 combo.  I love learning about ancient civilizations, and I can't wait to take my students back to Outdoor Science School.  What's more, I feel confident that having such a rich and varied background in the "real world," helps me relate well with students who, in such a short time, will be taking on the challenges of the 21st Century, a lifetime pursuit.  Indeed, I wholeheartedly endorse the belief that everyone should be a life-long learner, having completed by masters degree in curriculum and instruction at the ripe old age of 59 3/4.  Not bad for an Ohio boy!  As long as I'm teaching, nay, as long as I'm breathing, I plan to be learning!    

I am thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to pursue my teaching passion, and I can't think of a better place than Victoria to do it! I am looking forward to watching my current group of students grow this year, especially academically, and I plan to grow right along side them!

 

Ivy Harwick
Ivy Harwick, Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) 5th-6th

I teach the 5th and 6th grade SAI class and love every second of it. I graduated from Azusa Pacific University with my Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Liberal Studies and an emphasis in Psychology. I knew I had to teach special needs students, so I continued my education at Azusa Pacific University and received my Moderate/Severe Teaching Credential as well as my Master’s Degree in Special Education.

My heart is most full when I am teaching my students; I discovered this while spending time with special needs individuals throughout my education. These students are the most hard-working, talented, and loving individuals out there! In our classroom, I love to build upon our students’ strengths and provide a safe and positive learning environment. I cannot wait to work alongside your families in doing so.

In my spare time, you can find me hanging out with my husband and family, crafting up projects, cooking meals, drinking good coffee and paddle boarding! Fun fact: I am vegan so I love cooking up some good ol’ plant-based food. I currently live down the street from Victoria in Huntington Beach and when I’m not teaching I love to be at the beach. I love to run and go on hiking adventures.

 


BellNatalie Bell, Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) Teacher TK-6th

My name is Natalie Bell. I am a new teacher and new Voyager this year at Victoria Elementary. I pride myself on being an organized and driven teacher who implements evidence-based practices of teaching, while focusing on individual needs of students. I can proudly say I earned my Mild/Moderate Education Specialist teaching credential from California State University of Fullerton and I earned my undergraduate bachelors of science degree in Exercise Science from California State University of Long Beach. 

 My pure passion is to encourage each student to discover their optimal path of learning and remind them that this path looks different for every student. I have had strong experiences in the classrooms for the past several years working as a Paraprofessional and Substitute Teacher in Special Education.  While working in classrooms, my love for helping others has only grown. Being given the opportunity to witness students overcome learning obstacles and master subjects is an overwhelming, unmatched experience.

 In my recent free time, I had the opportunity to travel to the University of Eichstaett in Germany, where I worked in inclusive schools and attended workshops with preservice educators who work with students with disabilities. 

 

REading Specialists

 

Rebecca ThirkettleRebecca Thirkettle, Full Time Reading Intervention Teacher 

I am excited to join the family at Victoria as the full-time reading intervention teacher. I have worked in Newport Mesa for the past 16 years, having taught grades TK, K, 1st and 2nd in Westside Costa Mesa. I'm excited for the opportunity to support so many students in the reading teacher roll. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, my teaching credential from Vanguard University, and earned my Master’s Degree in Reading from Grand Canyon University. 

I live in Tustin with my 13-year-old son who ensures that most of my free time is spent at a baseball field, and our dog, Bo, who ensures I get a neighborhood walk most days. I try to read at least 2 books a month and have recently found many podcasts that I can't live without.

I am so excited to be a part of the Victoria Elementary team and excited for the amazing growth and opportunities that await all students.

 

Susan MillerSusan Miller| Reading Intervention Teacher 

Susan Miller is a reading teacher at Victoria Elementary.  Originally from the East coast, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Sociology from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.  After college she moved out west to California and began her educational studies.  She earned a K-8 multiple subject teacher credential  at University of California, Irvine and Master’s degree in Education Administration at National University.  In her almost 20 years as a Newport-Mesa teacher, she has taught 3rd and 5th grades as a classroom teacher.  As a former classroom teacher, she took her reading instruction knowledge and transitioned into her role as reading teacher at Victoria Elementary where she is in her 6th year already! She loves sharing her passion for reading with her students.

 

Savannah OnalSavannah Onal| Reading Support Teacher 

I am excited to be Victoria Elementary’s Support Teacher this year.  I am passionate about helping students improve their reading abilities through our structured reading programs.  The best part about my role is that I work with each grade daily.  Teaching is the most rewarding profession, and I treasure every moment of it. 

I have worked in Newport Mesa Unified School District for the past 3 years, most recently teaching first grade at Cloud Campus.  Previously, I taught kindergarten and first grade at Adams Elementary, as well as upper and primary intervention.  I have a master’s degree in education.

I love golf, tennis, pickleball, surfing and mountain biking.  I enjoy being outdoors and taking advantage of all Southern California has to offer. 

I am looking forward to a year of engaged students, dedication and hard work.  We will focus on improving reading skills, instilling a growth mindset and cultivating a passion for learning. 

Health Office

Shelley ClarkCortney Hagerman

  We are very fortunate at Victoria to have a team to help with health issues. Shelley Clark, our Health Assistant is here Monday through Friday from 8:30-2:30 pm; while our School Nurse is with us Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. 

Academic Assistants

Joy Dula
 
Chris Larkins

Joy Dula
Teacher's Assistant

Christina Larkins
Reading Resource Tech.

Kathie Mellin  

Kathie Mellin
Teacher's Assistant

 

 

Specialized Academic Instruction Assistants

Ms. Erin Gordon's Assistants:

Gricelda BecerraNuria Granados
    
Gricelda Becerra, Nuria Granados

 

Ms. Monica Flores' Assistants

 Kim HahnEllen Gentling
 

 Kim Hahn, and Ellen Gentling

 

 

Ms. Sandee Gordon's Assistants

Brenda Crites  Daniella Trujillo
 Alejandra Olvera
Brenda Crites, Daniella Tinajero, and Alejandra Olvera

 

 

Ms. Ivy Harwick's Assistants

Koizumi, Akemi   Corina Sosa
Akemi Koizumi and Corina Sosa

 

 

Ms. Tracy Scofield-Darbee

     StrangeGina Ataalla
  

Tabatha Strange, and Gina Ataalla

 

 

 

Ms. Natalie Bell's Assistant

Rendon Velazquez

Claudia Rendon-Velazquez

Custodial Staff

Victoria's Custodial Staff is second to none! With our dedicated team, Bobbie Geller and Dan Pham, our school sparkles!

Roberta GellerDan Pham

Bobbie Geller and Dan Pham

 

Nutrition

Our Nutrition team, Sue Hanley and Pam Cates, can be found here early in the morning preparing breakfast and lunch. Sue's legendary oatmeal is a perennial favorite of our students!

 Hanley Cates

Sue Hanley and Pam Cates