Our Staff

Our staff is required to hold credentials from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing. Staff members also participate in professional growth including continuing education, seminars and annual conferences in order to keep abreast of new developments in early childhood education and continue to provide a quality program for the children.


Our staff is carefully selected to provide a loving and nurturing Christian environment while stimulating the children academically and socially. All staff members are experienced, well-qualified, and knowledgeable in child development. Kindness and consideration are modeled in both words and behavior. Positive reinforcement is used to guide children and help them develop a strong self-esteem. 


All staff members are CPR & First Aid Certified.


Teacher/Child ratios are 1:8


Parent Teacher Conferences

We offer formal parent teacher conferences in October and May to review your child's growth and development.

Meet Our Preschool Staff Members


  • miss carla - Director and Jk Teacher

    Carla Leveratt, our Director, is a native Californian. She and her husband, Neil, moved to Rancho Santa Margarita in 1987 where they raised three children. Carla, her husband, and all three children are graduates of California State University at Fullerton. Carla holds a Masters of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. She has participated in the California Mentor Program for over ten years and she has taught at Saddleback Children’s Center for twenty-five years. Carla enjoys outdoor adventure and has climbed a number of the fourteener peaks in the Eastern Sierras including eight successful summits on Mt. Whitney.

  • miss meagan - Assistant Director

    Meagan Kraszewski, our Assistant Director, was born and raised in San Juan Capistrano. She attended Purdue University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Minor in Psychology. Meagan also met her husband, Kyle, at Purdue and upon graduating they moved out to Chicago where they lived for almost five years. One year before moving back to California, God surprised Meagan and Kyle with two blessings, twin girls. Meagan began her career in banking, but from the moment her children were brought into her life she has since been inspired to work with children as a profession as she is continually amazed at the world through the eyes of a child. Currently, Meagan currently holds a California Child Development Permit as a Teacher and is working toward a Site Supervisor Permit and an  Associate of Science in Child Development from Saddleback College. For fun, she loves spending time with her family, being outdoors, drawing and just laughing.

  • Miss Marijane - Jumpstart Teacher

    Miss Marijane is very grateful to be teaching at Saddleback Children's Center. She believes in the connection of home and school and enjoys working together with her families. Children in her class will have many opportunities to explore and grow. Her hope is to guide and facilitate their learning, as she nurtures them as individuals. She respects the ideas of children and views them as capable. She approaches her classroom with warmth and care and strives to help her students form a positive first school experience.


    Marijane began teaching in music and movement, and gymnastics at various local preschools. She then transitioned to the classroom setting for several years in Irvine. She completed her student observation hours at local public elementary schools and also worked as an elementary assistant. She stayed home with her children for many years and studied with Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). She home-schooled one of her children for two years, and then went back to preschool teaching. She began her Masters in Education and Elementary Teaching Credential, however her true heart is with early childhood education. She is committed to researching and furthering her knowledge in this field.


    Marijane's Education:

    • Commission on Teacher Credentialing: Child Development Site Supervisor Permit
    • Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on education
    • Associate of Science in Child Development
    • Early Childhood Education Teacher Certification
  • MiSs Jennifer - Preschool Teacher (Younger 3's)

    Jennifer Lak has lived in Southern California her whole life. Her almost 3 grown children make her a seasoned parent. Her son is a graduate of USC, her daughter is in college and her other son is in high school. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts at Long Beach State in Child Development and Family Studies. Her love of teaching has kept her in the classroom for 6 years, 1.5 of those years at Saddleback Children's Center. Her love of hiking and paddle boarding keep her active.

  • Miss Linda B. - preschool Teacher (Middle 3's)

    Linda Burkholder is currently a teacher in the Yellow Room with the 3-4 year-olds. First and foremost, her passion is truly teaching and she looks forward to every day she gets to spend at Saddleback Children's Center. This will be her eighth year at this school and she has worked with four-year-olds, three-year-olds, and two-year-olds! She has an  Associate of Arts degree and has completed the Early Childhood Development courses at Irvine Valley College to receive her teaching credential. She has also taught Sunday School for eleven years with two-year-olds, so you can see where her heart lies! Prior to working at the school, she and her husband had their own business for 35 years. 


    Miss Linda has been married for 51 years and is the proud Mother of two beautiful daughters, and has six wonderful grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, reading, drawing, sewing, cross-stitching, playing the piano, gardening, going to the beach, and spending time with her grandchildren. She believes that teaching is an incredibly important profession and feels very blessed to be a part of it.

  • Miss Sandi - Preschool Teacher (Older 3's)

    Sandi Becerra has thirteen years of experience in teaching children in which she has truly enjoyed. She has taught three and four-year-olds during the morning preschool hours along with the Full Day and Summer programs.


    Her background includes completing Early Childhood Education courses at Irvine Valley College and receiving her teaching credential. Her goal is to further her education and to obtain a Master Teacher/ Site Supervisory Certificate.


    She lives with her daughter, Natasha, who graduated from The Art Institute of Orange County, and their dog Penny. She enjoys movies, walking, writing and spending time with her immediate and church family.

    She is a strong advocate for children and considers it a true blessing to be teaching God's precious children here at Saddleback Children's Center.

  • Miss Linda H. - Pre-K Teacher

    Linda Hafemann has been a teacher at Saddleback Children's Center for three years. She previously taught for seven years in the Capistrano Unified School District. She currently holds a California Child Development Permit as a teacher as well as a site supervisor. Previous to this, she was employed as a substitute teacher in The Woodlands, Texas. 


    Miss Linda is married and has two grown children. Her oldest, Christine, is also a teacher. Her son attends Cal Poly San Luis Obispo majoring in chemistry. When she is not working she likes going to the movies, concerts, and plays. She also loves reading and spending time with her family. She thanks you for entrusting your precious children with her! She will work with each child towards kindergarten readiness and school success. With God's direction, she looks forward to an exciting year of guiding them in their early learning.

  • Miss Diane - Full Day ProGram Teacher &

    Assistant Teacher

    Diane McVicker is extremely excited to be a part of Saddleback Children's Center and its remarkable staff. She works with Miss Carla in the Junior Kindergarten class and as the Teacher in the afternoon for the Full Day Program. She has been at Saddleback Children's Center for 7 years and she absolutely loves it. 


    Outside of school, Miss Diane loves to work out every chance she gets. She also loves going to dinner with family and friends. She has an awesome son Ryan who is attending college in San Francisco. She is looking forward to another exciting and fun year!

  • Miss Jessica - Assistant Teacher

    Jessica Ilfeld is thrilled to be a part of the Saddleback Children's Center family. She has a love for Disneyland, Star Wars, and is currently studying Early Childhood Education and Child Development. She hopes to take what she learns and apply it toward her dream of becoming a teacher.

    Miss Jessica absolutely adores working with children and helping them grow. She can't wait to meet all of you!

  • Miss Valerie - Assistant Teacher

    Valerie Varela lives in Ladera Ranch with her husband, Brent, their two high school international students from China, Skyler and Mike, and their dog, Scout. Their daughter, Alexis just graduated from Seattle Pacific University and has opted to remain in Seattle, Washington at this time to pursue her career in ministry related non-profit work.


    Her interest and career in early childhood education has spanned the past seventeen years and is supported by a bachelors degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Development earned at Vanguard University. She has also received training and experience in ABA therapy and various reading intervention methodologies. Educating young minds and sharing God's love with your children at Saddleback Children's Center is an honor and a privilege for which she is truly grateful!

  • Miss Geneva - Assistant Teacher

    Geneva is in her 5th year as a teacher's assistant at Saddleback Children's Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly University. Geneva is currently attending Saddleback College to attain her Master Teacher Certificate. 


    Miss Geneva resides in Rancho Santa Margarita with her husband Dave and two children, Siena who is in eight grade and Jacob who is in fifth grade and their dog Mocha. Aside from work, you can find her volunteering at her children's schools, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and sports. For leisure, Geneva is interested in the art of calligraphy, photography, architecture, and horticulture. Geneva also enjoys outdoor sports and traveling with her family.

  • Miss Alicia - Assistant Teacher

    Alicia Quesada studied Early Child Development at Riverside Community College and at Saddleback College. She says that working at Saddleback Children's Center has been a true blessing! Words cannot express how thankful she is to be working with an amazing staff.


    Outside of SCC, Miss Alicia has been married for 20 years with her husband, Edward. She has 3 beautiful kids: Joshua 16, Alyssa 12, and Vanessa 11. She was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for some time. She loves cooking and baking and enjoys running and working out at the gym. 


  • Miss Kristina - Jumpstart Teacher

    & Full Day Program Assistant Teacher

    Kristina Amante began working with children in 2006 in an after school program. She began taking Child Development classes at Santa Ana College. In 2007 she had her first child, Alyssa, and began working as an assistant in the infant class. She later received her Associate of Arts in Child Development and became an infant teacher. In 2013 she had her son Levi. She later realized that she wanted to get experience working with other ages and decided to work at Saddleback Children's Center. 


    Aside from being a mom, wife, and teacher's aide, Miss Kristina loves being outdoors running. She loves being able to watch children grow and know that she is able to make a different in their lives.

  • Miss LIgia - Full Day Program Assistant Teacher

    Miss Ligia is very happy to be working in the afternoon program this year. She considers it a great blessing and honor to be part of the education process and care of our precious children. She is looking forward to a fun time supporting them to discover their talents and interests through play and engaging activities. One thing that always fills her with wonder and reverence is the amazing developmental growth that the little ones are experiencing in front of our eyes. Also, not in the least, she finds it an incredible blessing to share God's message of love and grace with them!


    Miss Ligia move from Romania with her husband and her daughter to the United States 17 years ago. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Romania and, once in the US, she worked as a Computer Programmer for many years. In 2012, she had the chance to follow her heart's desire and to make a career change. She realized that being a part of the education process of young learners would bring joy to her life. Following her passion, she started Early Childhood Education classes and is now completing her last class at Saddleback Community College in order to receive her Early Childhood Teacher Certificate and Permit. She currently has an Associate Teacher Permit. Her wonderful daughter, Diana, is 26 years old and lives in Phoenix, AZ where she is pursuing her doctoral degree at Arizona State University. Her family enjoys hiking, travelling, and visiting relatives in Romania. She loves nature, animals, and science is one of her favorite subjects.


    She is looking forward to getting to know you and your special children and to a great school year full of adventures and discoveries!