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 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 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

Karen Gutt- Executive Director I am very excited to serve as Executive Director at Discovery Preschool and Family Center. I was immediately drawn to the beauty of this school,  the warmth and strength of the staff, and the innovative program goals. I have been honored and thrilled to be an Early Childhood educator for over 30 years. I love to share in the discoveries, joys, and learning moments that abound in the complex world of guiding young children, and to join families and colleagues in their dedication to bringing excellence and innovation to these pivotal years in children’s lives. For the last 10 years I worked at the Google Children’s Center at the Woods, first as an educator, and for the last 5 years as the Preschool and Pre-K Site Director. I also love partnering with families, and spent 17 years teaching at the Soquel Parent Coop. Respecting people is the heart of my work, starting with the children. I earned my Master’s Degree in Human Development through Pacific Oaks College in May 2012. My thesis is titled “Listen-the Children are the Teachers. The Power of Creating Authentic Relationships with Young Children.” I love to create dynamic learning communities that are grounded in the value of play as an essential medium for children’s development. I believe in the strong competence of children, and love to support the process of co-creating curriculum based on their interests and curiosities. I am very inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to education as it embodies these values and offers such an exciting innovative model that brings them to life. Mostly, I love to create strong relationships with these incredible people who have so much to teach all of us. When I am not at work, I pursue my love of writing, improv theater, piano, cooking and being outdoors, as well as spending time with friends, and my family. Email: karen.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com  

Karen Gutt- Executive Director

I am very excited to serve as Executive Director at Discovery Preschool and Family Center. I was immediately drawn to the beauty of this school,  the warmth and strength of the staff, and the innovative program goals.

I have been honored and thrilled to be an Early Childhood educator for over 30 years. I love to share in the discoveries, joys, and learning moments that abound in the complex world of guiding young children, and to join families and colleagues in their dedication to bringing excellence and innovation to these pivotal years in children’s lives.

For the last 10 years I worked at the Google Children’s Center at the Woods, first as an educator, and for the last 5 years as the Preschool and Pre-K Site Director. I also love partnering with families, and spent 17 years teaching at the Soquel Parent Coop.

Respecting people is the heart of my work, starting with the children. I earned my Master’s Degree in Human Development through Pacific Oaks College in May 2012. My thesis is titled “Listen-the Children are the Teachers. The Power of Creating Authentic Relationships with Young Children.”

I love to create dynamic learning communities that are grounded in the value of play as an essential medium for children’s development. I believe in the strong competence of children, and love to support the process of co-creating curriculum based on their interests and curiosities. I am very inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to education as it embodies these values and offers such an exciting innovative model that brings them to life. Mostly, I love to create strong relationships with these incredible people who have so much to teach all of us.

When I am not at work, I pursue my love of writing, improv theater, piano, cooking and being outdoors, as well as spending time with friends, and my family.

Email: karen.scdiscoverypreschool@gmail.com

 

Ellice Apostolos- Health and Wellness Coordinator 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. She is back working with staff here at Discovery on implementing best food practices, meal planning and the power of setting a calm eating environment! 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, The Woods (where she met our Executive Director Karen Gutt). Shortly thereafter, her love for dance led her to Santa Cruz Dance Company. 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 making our eating choices, habits, and routines healthy and purposeful. Ellice is a great resource for any families curious about how to improve their own routines around eating in their own home!  Email: nourishthewellness@gmail.com Nutrition Website: nourishthewellness.com

Ellice Apostolos- Health and Wellness Coordinator

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. She is back working with staff here at Discovery on implementing best food practices, meal planning and the power of setting a calm eating environment! 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, The Woods (where she met our Executive Director Karen Gutt). Shortly thereafter, her love for dance led her to Santa Cruz Dance Company. 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 making our eating choices, habits, and routines healthy and purposeful. Ellice is a great resource for any families curious about how to improve their own routines around eating in their own home! 

Email: nourishthewellness@gmail.com

Nutrition Website: nourishthewellness.com