Our Team

Our Team 2018-07-16T18:48:17+00:00

Dr. Dustine Rey is the founder and Executive Director of The Gratitude Garden Preschool and co-founder of TESLA Country Day. Both schools are committed to nurturing curiosity and creativity through balancing innovative STEM curricula, artistic expression, entrepreneurship, leadership, and emotional well-being. Over the past twenty-five years, Dr. Rey has worked in multiple facet of education; from teaching preschool to graduate students, to school counseling and administration, and most recently educational entrepreneurship. She attributes becoming an entrepreneur to her own search for an innovative education for her daughter. Her daughter, Satya, is her inspiration and she includes her daughter in the school leadership.

Dr. Rey holds a Doctorate of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California where she completed a higher education teaching fellowship in the Rossier School of Education. She earned her Master of Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University, a Bachelors of Science in Clinical Psychology from San Jose State University, a California Teaching Credential, and a California Child Development Program Director Permit. Dr. Rey presents at various conferences and workshops on the topics of emotional well-being, human development, and educational leadership.

Currently, Dr. Rey is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University and conducting research in the measurement of pro-social behaviors among young children and the development of a pro-social curriculum for children ages 4-7. Her dynamic and dedicated approach has garnered her a reputation as a significant leader in both early childhood education and higher education. In 2013, San Diego Magazine nominated her for “Women of the Year” for her service to the community and education.

“I feel blessed each day to be a mother and an educator. I am grateful to be part of a community that helps me to grow and that through my work I can help others to grow and thrive. My family, health, animals, and nature continue to inspire me and for that support, I am always in awe.” ~Dr. Rey

Mr. Kuzcynski was drawn to education upon graduating from the University of Washington and began practicing and teaching engineering design and analysis principles at the General Motors Advanced Engineering Center in Michigan. His STEM experience broadened as a Registered Patent Attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office where he prepared and prosecuted U.S. and PCT patent applications in various technical arts. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Engineering, a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA), and a Juris Doctorate (JD).

He brings his scientific, financial, legal, and business background to strengthen and broaden the STEM educational offerings of the school.

“My vision is to create a thriving educational experience by providing a safe and purposeful home away from home for children and their parents.” ~Mr. Kuzcynski

Ms. Eason began her professional journey with early childhood education through the City of Fullerton’s Parks and Recreation Department as an After-school Program Specialist & Mentor. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from CSU Fullerton, a Site Supervisor permit and a Program Director permit with the State of California.

Ms. Eason found her purpose in making a difference in the lives of children through teaching; she had an unprecedented reputation of providing high quality education and connection with her families. She soon graduated from her teaching position and moved into an administrative role as a preschool director. She is committed to her local community and continues to create ways for our school to connect to our community and serve its needs.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the Gratitude Garden where I will continue to grow. I love spending my time outdoors and am eager to explore the beaches of Southern Orange County.” ~Ms. Eason

Mrs. Amy Stoicevich was raised in Michigan and graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She holds a California K-5 Clear Teaching Credential and has seven years of teaching experience.

Mrs. Stoicevich believes that teaching is the most rewarding, worthwhile career and she could not imagine doing anything else. Over the course of her teaching career, she has taught kindergarten, first grade, and Elementary Special Education students.

In 2012, she and her husband relocated to San Clemente from Michigan and shortly after they were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. She feels fortunate to have stayed home to raise their son, Miles, who is now five.

In her spare time she enjoys working out, playing with her son, going on date nights with her husband, and enjoying the beach with her family.

“I can’t wait to start each amazing school year full of fun and exciting learning! I am grateful for many things in my life but mostly for my son, my husband, and our dog! I am more than thrilled to be part of the remarkable team here at Gratitude Garden Preschool!” ~Mrs. Stoicevich

Mrs. Casalderrey is from Venezuela and has been working with children for four years. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Communications from Argentina Universidad Del Salvador and her Child Development Degree from Mira Costa College. She loves the sense of wonder from children and discovering the joy of our planet through their eyes. Since she was young she took care of her family’s children and loved working with young ones so much, that she knew she would become an educator. Mrs. Casalderrey lives in San Clemente and practices yoga and meditations, she enjoys being in nature, cooking healthy dishes, and walking on the beach.

She comes from a large family and visits Latin America frequently. She is excited to teach our students Spanish and introduce some Latin cooking to them.

“I practice gratitude each night before going to sleep. I give thanks for my home, the people I have met, my family, and the opportunity to do what I love to do.” ~Mrs. Casalderrey

Ms. Forte has had a love for working with children since her first job as a mentor at the YMCA. Her experiences there led her to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Adolescent Development with an Emphasis in Early Childhood and a minor in Special Education from San Francisco State University. Her lifetime of participating in sports has influenced her active teaching style.

She enjoys engaging children in hands on activities and reading with them. She has excellent literary experience as she previously volunteered at Reading Partners providing individualized reading comprehension support to young children. Ms. Forte grew up in Dana Point and she is so happy to be back in the area doing what she loves! In her spare time she enjoys working out, going to the beach and spending time with family.

“I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful team at the Gratitude Garden Preschool. I am also thankful for my family and friends who continue to support me in my career.” ~Ms. Forte

Ms. Jade Black has been teaching for the past four years. After graduating from Westmont College with a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts, she began her teaching career in a private school for elementary students. She is inspired by creating moments for students to explore their natural curiosities with hands on experiences.

Ms. Black is currently obtaining her California Teaching Credential with Vanguard University. She has completed student teaching in the Newport-Mesa School District and has taught surfing to young children since 2013.

She resides in Dana Point and loves spending her free time surfing and being outdoors. She values precious time with her family and baby niece. Ms. Black is grateful for opportunities to travel and explore other cultures. She has spent time volunteering and working with children in Rwanda, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic and she feels grateful to be a part of children’s education.

“I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the Gratitude Garden Preschool community. I am excited to learn and explore with the kids this year. I am grateful for my beautiful family, the ocean, and the blessings nature provides.” ~Ms. Black

Ms. Sterling has always known that her passion in life included working with children. Her passion for children led her to pursue obtaining her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Special Education at Azusa Pacific University. She enjoys working with children in whatever stage they are at and working to meet their needs while still helping them learn new things.

This passion even led her to travel to both Pietermartizburg, South Africa and Pucallpa, Peru to gain a greater knowledge in working with young children. These experiences encouraged her passion in wanting to love on all children regardless of their background.

She grew up in the San Clemente area and holds family and friends close to her heart. She competitively showed Quarter Horses for nearly ten years of her life, which taught her many lessons that she utilizes in her everyday life. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes all of her young nieces and nephews, going on adventures with her friends, and traveling the world. Her kind and gentle presence is known wherever she goes, and she continuously strives towards making people feel seen and loved.

“I am so grateful to be a part of the Gratitude Garden Preschool! I am very thankful for this opportunity and for all who continue to believe and support me in each new season of life. I cannot wait to be a part of the lives of the students in this stellar school community.” ~Ms. Sterling

Mrs. Fuentes has had the pleasure of working in a preschool for the last twelve years while also continuing her education in Child Development and outdoor educational practices. She holds a certificate as a Master Teacher in early education and a Child Development Master Teacher Permit from the State of California. She is passionate about nature, backpacking, and gardening. Her greatest joy is spending time with her six children (yes, 6 children!), her husband, their Australian Shepard and extended family. She has lived in San Clemente for most of her life and is deeply connected with our local community.

“I am grateful for my family, the beauty of nature, and the joy of working with children. I feel fortunate to be a part of The Gratitude Garden Preschool.” ~Mrs. Fuentes

Mrs. Stacy Feinberg holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with minor in Child Psychology from Cal State Northridge. Stacy has worked as a Lovaas Certified Therapist and has a long history of caring for children with special needs. Stacy has three young children of her own and remains very involved in the community as a volunteer for various charity organizations and is an active member of the school board. Since 2013, Stacy has worked with the Center for Autism, a foundation based in Southern California dedicated to supporting children.

“I am grateful for my family, the opportunity to work with gifted people, and a way to embrace the community that I love by sharing my enthusiasm with children.” ~Mrs. Feinberg