A graduate of UC Irvine with a B.A. in psychology, a Masters in Education, and teaching credential from UCLA, Mr. Fineberg brings a wealth of knowledge, high expectations, and a commitment to insure that all students learn at the highest level. He has taught for Long Beach, Irvine, and Capistrano before joining Tustin Unified School District in July of 2009. Over the past 26 years, Mr. Fineberg has served as an instructional aide, teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Among his accomplishments, Mr. Fineberg has been appointed to the California Department of Education’s Title I Committee of Practitioners, received the Order of Omega National Honor Society award, presented strategy workshops for teachers and has written several articles for various educational publications. Under his leadership, Mr. Fineberg’s schools have received multiple honors including, National Blue Ribbon, California Distinguished School, Title I High Achievement and CBEE Honors School. He was also named the 2021 California Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
Lead Elementary Teacher
Administrative Designee Emily McCourtney
Mrs. McCourtney is a passionate educator who has worked in Tustin Unified since 2006. Before opening Tustin Connect, she worked for two years as a Digital Learning Coach. After completing the summer as a fellow in the UCI Writing Project Summer Institute in 2012, she quickly became an Associate Director and spends her summers coaching teachers in reading and writing at UCI. As part of her work at UCI, Mrs. McCourtney co-authored the book Thinking Tools for Young Readers and Writers: Strategies to Promote Higher Literacy in Grades 2-8. Mrs. McCourtney has presented her ideas at the annual Computer Using Educator (CUE) conference in Napa and Palm Springs, as well as the December Writing Conference at UCI. She is a Level 2 Google Certified Educator, GATE certified teacher, and an Apple Teacher. Mrs. McCourtney also has microcredentials in Mindfulness and Grit & Resilience. In 2021, she was honored as Tustin Connect's first Teacher of the Year.
Lead Middle School Teacher
Since 2000, Mrs. Dove has been an enthusiastic educator for Tustin Unified School District. Having been a product of TUSD schools, Mrs. Dove knew that she wanted to give back by returning to TUSD as a teacher. After earning her bachelor’s degree from UCI in just three years, she obtained her Master of Education degree from Pepperdine in 2000. Mrs. Dove has served as a middle school teacher in TUSD for sixteen years and has been involved in various leadership positions at the site and district level. She has also served as an honors, AVID, and ASB teacher, and has hosted several beginning teachers and international guests in her classroom. She received her second master's degree in reading and dedicates time beyond the classroom to refine her knowledge about educational technology, curriculum, and adolescent learners. Due to her commitment to her profession, she was recognized as a Teacher of the Year in 2004 and 2014. When she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children exploring other cultures and learning about the world around them through books, food, museum visits, and travel adventures.
Lead High School Teacher
Mr. David is a dedicated and impassioned educator who is ecstatic about joining the Tustin Connect team. Before joining Tustin Connect, Mr. David taught various levels of English at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, where he also served as English Department Chair, Instructional Coach for Teacher Observations, and Senior Class Moderator. Concurrently, Mr. David joined the PLACE (Partners of Los Angeles Catholic Education) cohort (2012-2014) within Loyola Marymount University, where he lived in community with eleven other teachers and earned a Master of Arts in Reading Instruction. When he is not teaching, reading, or grading, Mr. David loves to hike, cook, and enjoy the beaches of Southern California.
High School Teacher Kimberly Fairburn
Mrs. Fairburn has been a passionate Mathematics teacher for the last 16 years. Mrs Fairburn has been teaching at Tustin Connect for the last 5 years and has found great joy in teaching all levels of Math to such an incredible group of students. She has also founded the leadership program at Tustin Connect where she has had great success working with students who would like to impact their community. She has taught for Los Angeles Unified School District and Orange County Department of Education. Mrs. Fairburn has also worked in Virtual education as a Mathematics teacher, Department Chair, and Principal. Mrs. Fairburn has a Bachelors from University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters in Education. In her free time, Mrs. Fairburn enjoys watching her daughters sporting events, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
High School Teacher Tara Bullock
Mrs. Bullock is an enthusiastic educator who is excited to be teaching at Tustin Connect. She enjoys her interactions with the students and she especially enjoys seeing them succeed. She has taught various levels of Science in Utah, Colorado, and at Hewes Middle School in the Tustin School District. This is her 11th year of teaching Science and her fourth year with Tustin Connect. Mrs. Bullock has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Brigham Young University and a minor in Health. She also has an endorsement in Geosciences. Mrs. Bullock is a Level 1 Google Certified Educator. At her previous schools, she has served as ASB advisor and has coached multiple sports teams. Mrs. Bullock has four children and a dog. She spends most of her free time with her husband and family volunteering, and running her kids to their various activities.
High School Teacher Ashlee Romberger
Mrs. Romberger teaches Spanish and Ethnic Studies at Tustin Connect High School. She is currently a Doctorate of Education candidate at USC's Rossier School of Education. Mrs. Romberger grew up in Brea in Orange County and went to the University of Redlands for her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Single Subject Teaching Credential. She earned her Master’s degree in International Development and Human Rights from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Before classroom teaching, she worked on education programs in Peru, Ethiopia, and Washington, D.C. This is Mrs. Romberger's third school year at Tustin Connect and her goal this school year is to promote Spanish reading/stories and incorporate food and music from the Spanish-speaking world. When she is not teaching, she enjoys trying new food, going to the beach, and traveling with her husband and puppy.
High School Teacher Catherine Desrosiers
Mrs. Desrosiers has been teaching science for the past 7 years at Foothill High School in Tustin Unified. Having taught just Chemistry at Tustin Connect last year, she is thrilled to now be a full-time staff member. Mrs. Desrosiers graduated from Stanford with a bachelor's in Human Biology and a master's in Science Education. She has a passion for finding creative ways of teaching all students. While she loves science, helping students become their best selves is her favorite part of the job. When she's not in the classroom, she loves dining out, swimming, and hanging out with her two golden retrievers.
High School Teacher Stephanie Smith
Stephanie Smith is an educator originally from Detroit, Michigan. This is her second year at Tustin Connect and her tenth year teaching. She attended the University of Michigan for her undergraduate studies, UCLA for her teaching credential, and CSULB for her MA. She is passionate about making history come alive for students. Starting her career in West Oakland, Stephanie's passion for education led her to study SEL and the benefits of yoga for teachers and students. Since then she has supported students with a diversity of experiences and backgrounds in both traditional and independent study settings. Stephanie's goal is to support her students in achieving their full potential! When Stephanie is not working you can find her at the dog beach with her husband, daughter, son, and their pug, Popeye.
Elementary School Teacher Sharon Maeda
Mrs. Maeda is an accomplished and talented teacher, coordinator and principal Over her 23 year career in education most recently serving as Principal of Tustin Memorial Academy, Mrs. Maeda has made the decision to return to the place where it all started, the classroom. Mrs. Maeda began her career as a teacher and district coordinator in the Anaheim City School District where she was awarded the district’s Golden Apple Award and District Teacher of the Year Award. She was an Orange County Teacher of the Year nominee, and was nominee for the Disney American Teacher Award.
Her career has also included stops as the GATE Program Coordinator and New Teacher Induction administrator in Tustin Unified School District. Prior to TUSD, she worked in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education as the State's main consultant to gifted programs and districts throughout the state. She simultaneously worked for Houghton Mifflin Company delivering Professional Development to teachers and administrators nationwide.
Specialized Academic Instructor Lauren Sabella
I am a proud TUSD Alumni! I attended Santiago Canyon College where I played soccer and was awarded All-American in 2016. After completing 2 years as a student athlete at the community college level I received my Bachelors in Child Development from Cal State Fullerton. I continued my education through CSUF to receive my teaching credential in mild/moderate special education, as well as a Masters of Special Education. I am beginning my fourth year in TUSD as a Specialized Academic Instructor and have worked with multiple grade levels. Outside of the classroom I am a soccer coach for a local competitive club and enjoy spending time with my pug Louie!
Intervention Lead Teacher/MTSS Danielle Fancy
Mrs. Fancy is an energetic and compassionate educator who is excited to be a part of the Tustin Connect team! She began her career teaching Algebra and AVID, and she is passionate about helping students find success in the classroom and unleash their inner mathematician. Mrs. Fancy graduated from Cal State University Long Beach with a BS in Mathematics Education and a Single Subject Credential in Mathematics. Prior to teaching, she spent 15 years in the hospitality industry working in Training & Development, Facilities Management, and IT which helps her incorporate real world experience into her teaching. Mrs. Fancy enjoys cooking, watching TV, and hanging out at the beach with her husband, two kids (10th and 7th grade), and two dogs (Dutch Shephards).
Counselor Robyn Wijnhamer
Mrs. Wijnhamer is passionate about the wellbeing of students and is dedicated to creating a comprehensive school counseling program that supports students in their academic growth, social and emotional wellness and college and career readiness. Before joining Tustin Connect, Mrs. Wijnhamer has counseled at all levels across varying districts. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Master of Science in School Counseling. She is also a member of the American School Counseling Association and continues to educate herself in the field of counseling. Mrs. W loves to enjoy time with family, try out new coffee spots, and running!
Mental Health Professional K-8 Daisy Juarez
Ms. Juarez is a bilingual (Spanish/English) Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California- Irvine in Cognitive Psychology. She was intrigued by human emotions and behavior, which led her to further pursue her graduate education. Ms. Juarez received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from National University. Ms. Juarez utilizes a variety of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Client-Centered, and Solution Focused counseling to best meet student’s needs. She specializes in working with anxiety, depression, trauma, family problems, and life transitions. Ms. Juarez enjoys spending her free time playing with her dog and going to the beach.
Mental Health Professional 9-10 grades Bradlianne Reighter
Mrs. Reighter is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker passionate about making the school environment a more enjoyable experience for all students. Whether a student is struggling with their academic performance or with hardships at home, Mrs. Reighter believes that school should be a place where students are able to breathe. After graduating with her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, Mrs. Reighter spent 4 years working for Pomona Unified School District before joining TUSD. Mrs. Reighter works from an Attachment Theory lens and believes that connection with others is the beginning of all healing. Outside of work Mrs. Reighter can be found spending time with her son and husband, gardening, or binge-watching true crime.
Mental Health Professional 11-12 grades Claire Skomsvold
Ms. Skomsvold is an empathetic therapist who walks with students as they embark emotional hardships, relational conflicts, and academic distress. She is passionate in helping students overcome tumultuous challenges to reach academic success and socio-emotional growth. Ms. Skomsvold received her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis of Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University. Ms. Skomsvold specializes in working with Mood Disorders, Anxiety, Trauma, and Impulsive/Conduct Disorders. She is eclectic in her therapeutic approach as she works from a Client-Centered and Strengths-Based framework and integrates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and Experiential Therapy to meet each student’s needs. Outside of work, Ms. Skomsvold is an avid Dodgers fan, an animal lover and enjoys spending time with family or going to the beach.
Secretary Kerri Alpay
Mrs. Alpay is the secretary for Tustin Connect and is dedicated to helping students easily transition to the Tustin Connect Program. She worked as a clerical substitute for Tustin Unified School District in 2015 before joining Tustin Connect in 2016. In addition to managing the high school office, Mrs. Alpay is a member of the School Site Council and a former classified representative for the Superintendent Advisory Council. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, cooking, and traveling in her spare time.
Secretary Juana De La Torre
Hi, my name is Juana De La Torre. My dedication of being involved as a parent in School Site Council, ELAC, DELAC, PTO, team mom, and parent booster member for high school baseball at my children's schools was a motivation to become a part of a school district. In August 2018 I was hired at TUSD as a sub clerk, June 2019 I became an attendance clerk at Loma Vista, March 2020 moved to Special Education Department as a secretary. In 2022 I joined the Tustin Connect family continuing as a secretary at this awesome school. Having fun with my children is the best thing in life. Soy bilingüe en español.
Office Assistant Georgina Griego
Hi! I am Georgina Griego and I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA. After moving to Los Angeles in 1996, I worked as an LAPD 911 Operator/Instructor for nearly 26 years, helping the citizens of Los Angeles at their most difficult moments and times of crisis. In April 2022, I made the decision to make a change and retired. Knowing I had much more to offer, I was drawn to schools. In August 2022, I came to Tustin Connect as an Office Assistant. I am incredibly thankful to be working at such a unique school with an amazing group of teachers and staff. When I am not at work, I love going to dinner with family and friends, road trips, hiking, attending sport events, traveling, and watching Alabama Football. Roll Tide!
Paraeducator Amanda Doran
Ms. Doran is a 2020 graduate of California State University, Fullerton where she earned her degree in Geography and a certificate in GIS. Ms. Doran has been a swim coach for the city of Irvine as well as a USA swim coach since 2014. She currently coaches for Northpark Riptide in Irvine and Patriot Aquatics in Tustin. Ms. Doran was recently employed by Capistrano Unified as a Paraeducator for a Kindergarten/1st grade combo class. Ms. Doran is currently assisting our wonderful teaching staff at both our Tustin Connect K-8 and high school campuses. She is excited to explore our blended learning atmosphere! During Ms. Doran's 'free time' you can find her and her husband poolside with their 6yo daughter who swims and plays water polo for Patriot Aquatics.
Paraeducator Flora Mallawong
Hello! I’m Ms. Flora. I am so happy to be working with an amazing team at Tustin Connect. I am originally from New York and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Child and Adolescent Development from Cal State Fullerton. I am so excited to get started and work alongside you all.
In my spare time, I love to spend the day at the beach with my family. I also love to learn and teach Zumba fitness classes.
Library Media Technician Ana Vukov
My name is Ana Vukov. I was born and raised in Serbia, Europe, where I graduated at Pedagogical Academy for the Teachers, and obtained Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. When I moved to California, for two years I worked at the learning center, Kinder Care with children from 3 to 12 years old. I performed daily activities, to meet the cognitive, social-emotional and physical needs of children. In 2007 I was hired by TUSD and started working as a librarian at the Lambert Elementary School, where I introduced students to all aspects of the library resources and reinforced library skills. After fulfilling nine years at Lambert, the school closed and I was transferred to Helen Estock in 2016. Some of my duties at Estock include: processing, maintaining, distributing, inventorying and collecting of all library materials, textbooks and devices. Also, I perform repairs and troubleshooting on electronic devices as a support to students. I enjoy reading daily to students and organizing different roll plays and competitions. Since my early childhood I was fascinated with the educational system, and I would often play with my older sister pretending to be a teacher. I am very passionate working with children, and I enjoy being a part of their education and growth. Also, I was always passionate about books. That passion led to writing my own children’s picture books, Noory Tree series. Self-publishing my books and sharing them in the library, I wanted to give an example to our students that with a dream, persistence and positive attitude everything is possible. When I am free, I love to spend time with my family. I enjoy long walks in the nature, and reading more books.
I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity to join Tustin Connect as a Library Media Technician.