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Meet Our Teachers & Staff

Our elementary school teachers and staff are highly skilled and experienced professionals. Our staff is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of all their students. These caring adults are committed to nurturing your child, and ensuring that each child maximizes his or her emotional, social and academic development. We have the magic formula for student success!

Marci McCord - Del Mar Pines Director/Owner
Marci McCord

Mrs. McCord has been at DMP since 1990. She graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in economics. She earned her teaching credential from University of San Diego. She has taught kindergarten, second, third and sixth grades at Del Mar Pines. Marci and her husband have a daughter and a son who graduated from Del Mar Pines.

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Lora O'Leary - Del Mar Pines Office Manager
Lora O'Leary
Office Manager

Prior to coming to Del Mar Pines in 2014, Mrs. O’Leary was a substitute teacher in the Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas school districts for eight years. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from University of San Diego and worked at the Salk Institute for Biological studies for 15 years. She has three children – one in Medical School and two who are in medical residency. Mrs. O’Leary loves to bike and bake.

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Laura Murphy - Del Mar Pines Kindergarten
Laura Murphy

Mrs. Murphy began working at DMP in 2002. She was the recipient of a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in child psychology from San Francisco State University. She and her husband have three daughters. All of her daughters are graduates from Del Mar Pines School.

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Kate Sands - Del Mar Pines Kindergarten
Kate Sands

Mrs. Sands graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Political Science and Mandarin, with minors in Theology and Studio Art. After graduation, Mrs. Sands spent a year living in Taichung, Taiwan on a Fulbright scholarship teaching English and researching bilingual education. Since returning to the United States, she pursued her passion for early childhood education by teaching Kindergarten and illustrating children's books. Mrs. Sands recently moved to San Diego with her husband and two dachshunds. She loves the beautiful pine trees, incredible hikes, and running on the beach.

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Cassandra White - Del Mar Pines First Grade
Cassandra White
First Grade

Mrs. White joined Del Mar Pines in 2018 She has a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Cultural Literature and the Arts and a minor in education from the University of Washington. She also has a Master Degree in education. Prior to coming to Del Mar Pines, Mrs. White taught first grade in Washington state. She and her husband, Michael, have two daughters.

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Monica Sykes - Del Mar Pines First Grade
Monica Sykes
First Grade

Mrs. Sykes has been a part of Del Mar Pines School for much of her life. She attended DMP from kindergarten through sixth grade. After earning her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona, she returned to DMP as a resource and Aftercare teacher and then as a Second/Third reading/math teacher. She moved to Texas and taught fourth grade for two years and moved to Luxembourg to teach at the International School of Luxembourg for three years. Mrs. Sykes returned to San Diego in 2020 and worked as a co-kindergarten teacher that year and is currently co-teaching in first grade. Mrs. Sykes and her husband live in Mission Hills.

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Michelle Hancock - Del Mar Pines Second Grade
Michelle Hancock
Second Grade

Mrs. Hancock has been at DMP since 2012. She has her Bachelors of Arts in liberal studies/sociology from Pt. Loma Nazarene University where she also earned her multiple-subject teaching credential. Prior to coming to Del Mar Pines, Mrs. Hancock taught for several years in the Oceanside School District. She and her husband have two children.

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Tammy Colley - Del Mar Pines Second & Third Grade
Tammy Colley
Second & Third Grade

Mrs. Colley began working at DMP in 2013. Mrs. Colley’s credentials include multi-subject teaching credential from National University in San Diego, Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego, and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Mrs. Colley and her husband have two daughters.

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Julie Canzone - Del Mar Pines Third Grade
Julie Canzone
Third Grade

Ms. Canzone has worked at DMP from 2000-2004 teaching fourth and fifth grades and returned in 2010 to teach third grade. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and has a master’s degree in education from Mercer University in Atlanta. Ms. Canzone has a daughter who graduated from Del Mar Pines.

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Allison Cox - Del Mar Pines Third Grade Math
Allison Cox
Third Grade Math

Mrs. Cox started at DMP in 2017. She received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Arizona State University. She has taught at Leonardo da Vinci Health and Science Charter School in San Diego since 2012; Holly Drive Leadership Academy San Diego from 2009 – 2012, and was a student teacher in Scottsdale, Arizona. She sets high expectations for herself and her students, and is reflective and enthusiastic about teaching. Allison and her husband have three children and enjoy living in Carmel Valley.

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Rob Kelly - Del Mar Pines Fourth Grade
Rob Kelly
Fourth Grade

Mr. Kelly started at DMP in 2013. He received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, and his teaching credential from the University of North Carolina. He has been a classroom teacher at the third, fourth, and fifth grade level in Washington, DC; Wilmington, North Carolina; and San Diego, California. Before that he was a systems analyst at Merrill Lynch in New York City. Mr. Kelly and his wife enjoy traveling, surfing, hiking, camping and other outdoor sports.

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Nirupa Bhave - Del Mar Pines Fourth Grade Math
Nirupa Bhave
Fourth Grade Math

Mrs. Bhave came to DMP during the 2017-2018 school year. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in history from Prune University in India. Prior to coming to DMP, Nirupa worked at Del Mar Hills Nursery School for five years. She is excited to be working with students in a variety of capacities.
She and her husband have two sons.

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Michele Damodaran - Del Mar Pines Fifth Grade
Michele Damodaran
Fifth Grade

Mrs. Damodaran earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from U.C. Berkeley, but after
working in business for a short time, she turned to teaching and never looked back. She taught
in New York City private schools while earning a master’s degree in Elementary Education. She
holds teaching credentials in New York, New Jersey, and California. While raising her four
children, Mrs. Damodaran stepped away from full-time teaching. She continued to work as a
substitute teacher and served as board member for a non-profit and as a Court Appointed
Special Advocate for foster children. Since moving back to California five years ago, Mrs.
Damodaran has worked full-time at St. Paul’s Lutheran School and the Evans School, serving as
a second-grade teacher, a fourth-grade history teacher, and a middle-school language arts and
writing teacher. When she is not in the classroom, Mrs. Damodaran enjoys hiking, biking,
cooking, and time with her family--especially her two grandchildren.

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Ryan Fortin - Del Mar Pines 5th and 6th Grade Math & P.E.
Ryan Fortin
5th and 6th Grade Math & P.E.

Mr. Fortin began working at DMP in 2014. He received his Masters of Arts in teaching, and has a Dual Credential in multi-subjects and special education from Point Loma Nazarene University. He grew up in Carlsbad, and continues to live there with his wife. He taughtP.E. at La Costa Heights Elementary School to over 750 children in grades K – 6. Mr. Fortin serves as a role model through extensive participation in fitness activities and noncompetitive activities with a focus on sportsmanship, physical strength, endurance and flexibility. Mr Fortin and his wife are the proud parents of triplets and a younger daughter.

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Janie Stoke - Del Mar Pines Sixth Grade
Janie Stoke
Sixth Grade

Ms. Stoke has been with us since 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Maryland, and received her teaching credential from California State University San Marcos. She has been teaching since 1992 in the Del Mar and Solana Beach school districts where she has taught second through sixth grades. Ms. Stoke’s daughter graduated from Del Mar Pines School and is starting college in the fall.

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Nicole Lewis - Del Mar Pines Upper Grade Writing
Nicole Lewis
Upper Grade Writing

Ms. Lewis joined DMP in 2020. Her previous experience includes over 20 years of teaching language arts, humanities, and writing from primary grades to the college level and 2 years of experience creating, curating, writing, and managing all published content for a local college's social media platform. Her writing has been featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune and regional newspapers in San Diego.

Ms. Lewis has a B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in creative writing and poetry from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. In addition, Ms. Lewis also has a Montessori teaching credential and is a certified yoga instructor. She enjoys cooking, writing poetry, and doing yoga in her free time.

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Emily Fritz - Del Mar Pines Spanish/Hands-on Science
Emily Fritz
Spanish/Hands-on Science

Ms. Fritz began working at DMP in 2015. She taught Spanish and English bilingual classes in Seville and Herrera, Spain for three years. She taught Spanish at a public K-12 school in Wisconsin for two years. Ms. Fritz has a B.S. in business administration and Spanish from University of Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in teaching from University of Southern California. She enjoys fishing and spending time with family and friends.

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Scott Spurgiesz - Del Mar Pines Music & Performing Arts
Scott Spurgiesz
Music & Performing Arts

Mr. Spurgiesz joined DMP in 2021. He taught general music education classes at All Hallows Catholic School and St Mary’s School for three years. He is the owner of Music Pillars which is an afterschool music and theater school. Mr. Spurgiesz has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University and an MBA from UC Berkeley. He is also a professional pianist. He is married and has four children.

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Terry Sanchez - Del Mar Pines Technology
Terry Sanchez

Mr. Sanchez joined DMP in 2020. He previously taught photography, video/film, and digital media at Torrey Pines High School for 4 years and was a substitute teacher in various elementary schools for 5 years. He is certified in Google, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. He has an excellent technology background and also directed live evening newscasts for KUSI-TV News for 12 years. Mr. Sanchez has a double major in Economics and Visual Arts Media, as well as a minor in Science and Technology from University of California, San Diego. He also has a degree in Educational and Instructional Technology from National University in San Diego. He enjoys photography, video editing and is a licensed pilot.

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Tanya Robinson - Del Mar Pines Visual Arts
Tanya Robinson
Visual Arts

Mrs. Robinson joined Del Mar Pines in 2005. Although she has been a resident of San Diego for the majority of her adult life, her background includes residency in three continents. Her education includes training received in British boarding schools and Francis Parker High School, culminating in a bachelor’s degree in communication and visual arts from University of California at San Diego, and a master’s degree in telecommunications and film from San Diego State University. She is the founder of ASK, an image and protocol consulting firm, a member of NAEA, and a graphic arts designer. Mrs. Robinson and her husband have one son.

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Bette Davis - Del Mar Pines Library and Resource Teacher
Bette Davis
Library and Resource Teacher

Mrs. Davis began working at DMP in 2002. Mrs. Davis has taught at the elementary school level for over three decades. She was an Honors Graduate in Child Development from California State University, Fullerton. She and her husband have one son in college who also attended Del Mar Pines.

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Dr. Lourdes Perez - Del Mar Pines Psychologist (4-6)
Dr. Lourdes Perez
Psychologist (4-6)

Dr. Lourdes Perez-Williams has been consulting at DMP since 2000. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Spanish from Rutgers University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She has been in private practice since 1985, and is licensed as a Psychologist, and Marriage, Family and Child counselor in the State of California. Dr. Perez-Williams is a child development expert who specializes in working with children and their family members. She is a consultant to private and public schools and works with children of law enforcement professionals. She and her husband’s son graduated from Del Mar Pines and is a graduate of Brown University.

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