Sara Balla- Owner   Each day I am humbled by the strength of community, family and early childhood education created here at Discovery! It has truly been an honor to care for so many children here in our beautiful County of Santa Cruz. Along with my husband's support and guidance, I opened the doors to Discovery in July of 2015 with the intention of creating a community hub for new parents to build strong relationships and find solace in the nurturing environment created here for our children. I started my education career as an elementary teacher in 2004, working with children between Kindergarten and third grade, collaborating with amazing and innovative educator teams in the wider Bay Area and more recently at Pacific Elementary in Davenport. After the birth of my daughter, my husband and I opened a home-based preschool on Glen Canyon Rd. and eventually created and established today's Discovery Preschool and Family Center. My vision for the school is to foster the professional development and personal growth of our educators to become life-long learners and strong leaders in our educational community; additionally, I strive to create programs for families to feel supported and nurtured throughout the often challenging and ever-changing lives of early childhood!  Email:  sara.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com

Sara Balla- Owner

Each day I am humbled by the strength of community, family and early childhood education created here at Discovery! It has truly been an honor to care for so many children here in our beautiful County of Santa Cruz. Along with my husband's support and guidance, I opened the doors to Discovery in July of 2015 with the intention of creating a community hub for new parents to build strong relationships and find solace in the nurturing environment created here for our children. I started my education career as an elementary teacher in 2004, working with children between Kindergarten and third grade, collaborating with amazing and innovative educator teams in the wider Bay Area and more recently at Pacific Elementary in Davenport. After the birth of my daughter, my husband and I opened a home-based preschool on Glen Canyon Rd. and eventually created and established today's Discovery Preschool and Family Center. My vision for the school is to foster the professional development and personal growth of our educators to become life-long learners and strong leaders in our educational community; additionally, I strive to create programs for families to feel supported and nurtured throughout the often challenging and ever-changing lives of early childhood!

Email: sara.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com

Susie Stakkestad- Director   I have loved working with children, families and staff for over 30 years now in various roles as a teacher, a curriculum specialist, a program quality specialist and a site supervisor (for over 20 of those years). I received my BA in Child Development from San Jose State University and I consider myself a lifelong learner, continually evolving my skills and deepening my understanding of how children develop and what inspires them. In the words of Rachel Carson, a writer and naturalist, "If a child is to keep alive his/her inborn sense of wonder.... he/she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him/her the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." I strive to be that person for each child. It also applies to how I support our amazing teaching staff, empowering them to grow, discover and share their best teaching practices.  I live here in the Soquel mountains with my husband and two children. I enjoy parenting, connecting with people and nature, spending time at the beach, hiking, camping, cooking, music, and being with family and friends.  I am truly honored to take on this new role at Discovery, to be collaborating with each of you and discovering the wonder of each child!

Susie Stakkestad- Director

I have loved working with children, families and staff for over 30 years now in various roles as a teacher, a curriculum specialist, a program quality specialist and a site supervisor (for over 20 of those years). I received my BA in Child Development from San Jose State University and I consider myself a lifelong learner, continually evolving my skills and deepening my understanding of how children develop and what inspires them. In the words of Rachel Carson, a writer and naturalist, "If a child is to keep alive his/her inborn sense of wonder.... he/she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him/her the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." I strive to be that person for each child. It also applies to how I support our amazing teaching staff, empowering them to grow, discover and share their best teaching practices.

I live here in the Soquel mountains with my husband and two children. I enjoy parenting, connecting with people and nature, spending time at the beach, hiking, camping, cooking, music, and being with family and friends.

I am truly honored to take on this new role at Discovery, to be collaborating with each of you and discovering the wonder of each child!

Ellice Apostolos- Director   Ellice has had an interest in the development of Discovery Preschool and Family Center since we broke ground in 2014. Prior to opening our doors, Ellice had an integral role in developing the design, procedures and policies for the center. Ellice left Discovery closely after its opening date to pursue and complete her degree in Nutrition. Ellice has an evolving career and a clear understanding of holistic health and wellness for children. Starting as a theater arts major and early childhood educator, Ellice 's almost 20 year early childhood education career involved time at Cabrillo and the Google Childcare Center. Shortly thereafter, her love for dance led her to Santa Cruz Dance Company and towards opening her. own studio! Did you know that before Discovery Preschool existed, the building was owned by Santa Cruz Dance Company? Ellice and Sara Balla met during the change of ownership and became good friends and colleagues. Today Ellice works part time at Discovery focusing on supporting educators and professional development, curriculum, and administrative work. We all benefit from time working with Ellice, sharing ideas and deepening our practice.  Email:  Ellice.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com

Ellice Apostolos- Director

Ellice has had an interest in the development of Discovery Preschool and Family Center since we broke ground in 2014. Prior to opening our doors, Ellice had an integral role in developing the design, procedures and policies for the center. Ellice left Discovery closely after its opening date to pursue and complete her degree in Nutrition. Ellice has an evolving career and a clear understanding of holistic health and wellness for children. Starting as a theater arts major and early childhood educator, Ellice 's almost 20 year early childhood education career involved time at Cabrillo and the Google Childcare Center. Shortly thereafter, her love for dance led her to Santa Cruz Dance Company and towards opening her. own studio! Did you know that before Discovery Preschool existed, the building was owned by Santa Cruz Dance Company? Ellice and Sara Balla met during the change of ownership and became good friends and colleagues. Today Ellice works part time at Discovery focusing on supporting educators and professional development, curriculum, and administrative work. We all benefit from time working with Ellice, sharing ideas and deepening our practice.

Email: Ellice.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com