Eastgate Teachers

Our excellent team of early childhood educators are specialists in early childhood education. We will work hard with you to ensure a secure and fun learning time during your child’s school hours. Please know that we take our job seriously and will do our best to meet the needs of your family.

Call us at (858) 453-7430 to enroll your child.


Tantiani Budiman


Ms. Tan started at Eastgate Christian School in 2013. She has a Master’s Degree in Christian Education and has been teaching since 2000. She enjoys working with children because of their passion and excitement for the world around them. Eastgate feels like her second family. Her passions are teaching, working with student families, reading, and cooking. She believes that the purpose of a Christian school is to assist parents in fulfilling the Biblical mandate of raising the children in the way of the Lord.


Loleta Nelson

Assistant Director
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Ms. Loleta started at Eastgate Christian School in 2021. She studied at Saddleback College and CSUF and has worked in the education field for over twenty years. Ms. Loleta loves her daily interaction with families and being to share Jesus with students. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her family, cooking, and reading. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6


Katelyn Au

Sub Teacher
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Miss Katelyn started working at Eastgate Christian School in September of 2023. She is currently a second-year undergraduate student studying linguistics with an emphasis in speech and language science, along with psychology at UCSD and hopes to become a speech pathologist for children in the future. Katelyn loves working with the kids at ECS and watching them grow and learn as they interact with their environment, and she hopes to be able to guide them and to pour out Jesus’ love to them. Miss Katelyn really enjoys reading, getting boba, and hanging out with friends in her free time and her favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 4:32, which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God has forgiven you.”


Lisel Soria

Room 6 Teacher (Pre-K)
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Ms. Lisel started at Eastgate Christian school in 2021. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies emphasizing Child and Family Development. Lisel comes from a background working with children who are diagnosed with autism. She finds joy in witnessing how far each child comes at excelling to their greatest potential. Ms. Lisel loves the fact that Eastgate has a faith-based integration within the school’s teachings. Her passions are reading, writing, dancing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Claudia Ma

Room 8 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Ms. Claudia started at Eastgate Christian School in 2011 and has a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Ms. Claudia enjoys working with young children because these are the most formative years in their life. She loves Eastgate because it’s a caring community and she feels blessed to be a part of the staff. Ms. Claudia strives to give herself fully to serve and love the children and their families just as Jesus gave His life selflessly for our salvation.


Janina Niu

Room 8 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Ms. Janina first began working at Eastgate Christian School in 2010 as the 3–4-year-old teacher.  She has her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development and has been working with children since 2005. She enjoys teaching children and helping to strengthen their social, academic, and spiritual growth. As a teacher she desires to create a safe, positive, and fun learning experience for all children. Ms. Janina loves working at Eastgate because of its loving and Christ-centered environment!


Ms. Yolanda

Room 9 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Ms. Yolanda started at Eastgate Christian School in 1988. She has a Certificate in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching for over 30 years. She enjoys working with children because they are such a gift from God and loves the Eastgate community of believers! Her passions are working with youth, spending time with her grandchildren and volunteering at church. “I believe God has a divine and perfect plan for each of us. I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ that has only grown with the trials and joys of my adult life.”


Joanna Saucedo

Sub Teacher
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Ms. Joanna started working at Eastgate Christian School in 2009. She graduated from San Diego State University and has been teaching in early childhood education since 2006. Ms. Joanna loves interacting with the whole ECS community and feels blessed to work with such a great staff. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, singing, and spending time with her family. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7


Ligaya Yamrick

PE Coach
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Enrichment Program Teacher/Physical Education Coach Ms. Ligaya started working at Eastgate Christian School in 2013 as the sports enrichment coach with Playball. Coach was warmly welcomed back into the Eastgate family in 2021 as part of the teaching staff and has also created a PE curriculum for the school. She has a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction and has been in Elementary Education since 2002. Her dedication to teaching goes far beyond the 4 walls of the classroom by bringing in interactive movement and engaging curiosity among her students. Coach loves playing sports, enjoys any outdoor adventures, reading, journaling and she’s very passionate about learning and traveling to new places. – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).


Cynthia Luna

Room 3 Teacher (Pre-K)
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Ms. Cynthia started working at Eastgate Christian School in February 2024. She has been working with young children for over 10 years now. She has a Child Development associate degree. She always had a passion working with children; Her experience working with children started when she was a volunteer at her home church in downtown San Diego. As a teacher she strives for creativity and maintains a loving, peaceful, and safe environment. In her spare time Ms. Cynthia’s like to read. As the scripture says in Colossians 3:23 "whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."  I truly believe that everything we love doing and have passion about should be dedicated to the Lord. 


Marcella Chavez

Sub Teacher
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Miss Marcella has been at Eastgate 5 ½ years. She studied Child Development at Mesa College and has worked in the Child Development field for over 30 years. Miss Marcella loves to share the joy of Jesus and to be blessed to work in all the classrooms. Miss Marcella is very versatile in her skills, besides teaching she is excellent at keeping and maintaining an organized and clean Library and Art room. She finds joy in helping others and has a positive outlook. In her free time, she loves Zumba, Hiking, Rollerblading, cooking, and spending time with family attending church together. Galatians 5:22 But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness.


Karianne Kraetsch

Room 7 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Ms. Karianne (Kari) started at Eastgate in 2022. She has a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Psychology. She has worked with preschool children for the past 6 years and worked with children of all ages since she was a teenager. She has taught over 15 years of Awana, Sunday School, and VBS. She loves the enthusiasm children have for life and the joy on their faces when they learn new things. There is no greater privilege than to come alongside parents to help children learn about Jesus.  She loves reading, watching movies, playing games, singing, and hanging out with family and friends. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the old order of things have passed away.”


Summer Knowlton

Room 7 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Ms. Summer started at Eastgate Christian School in 2021. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development at Point Loma Nazarene University. Ms. Summer has been working with children since 2016, her passion has always been to work with children. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, crocheting, and spending time with friends and family. As a teacher she strives to create a positive, welcoming space where children feel safe to learn and explore in their own ways. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” -Ephesians 4:2


Jacquelyn (J.J.) Fogel

Room 4 Teacher(3's)
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Ms. Jacquelyn (J.J.) started at Eastgate Christian School in 2021. She Studied at UCLA and the University of San Diego where she earned her master’s in history.  She’s been teaching in the education field for over 8 years. Ms. JJ enjoys working with children because of their innated curiosity for everything around them.  She wants to help them grow during these most important developmental years.  Ms. JJ loves teaching children through art to help facilitate their growth as a whole person.  In her free time, Ms. JJ enjoys going to the theatre and music concerts, taking dance classes, baking, traveling, and going on long walks. Ms. JJ loves working at Eastgate Christian School because of the friendly and very supportive staff!  


Sinyoung Choi

Room 1 Teacher (3's)
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Ms. Sinyoung started at Eastgate Christian School in 2023. She graduated from UCSD with an Education major and loves working with her bright young students in Room 1. She desires for every student to be kind, courageous and loving. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds... all the more as you see the Day approaching. " - Hebrews 10: 22-25


Samthia Chui

Room 10 Teacher (3's)
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Mrs. Samthia started at Eastgate Christian School in 2021. She has a master’s degree in English Language Teaching, postgraduate diploma in Education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has been teaching in elementary school since 2009. Mrs. Samthia loves teaching because that’s one of the most rewarding professions. It gives her an opportunity to make an impact on a future generation. She feels very fortunate to work at ECS because of her wonderful colleagues and amazing students. She is looking forward to helping your child succeed in their education and participation during their school day. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Kristen Joy Gillespie

Kristen Gillespie

Room 9 Co-Teacher (2's)
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Miss Kristen started working at Eastgate Christian School in November of 2023. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She has been working with children since 2015 and believes that it is important to acknowledge the intelligence of the youth. She aspires to be someone who they can trust, learn from and challenge. Her passions include journaling, surfing, vlogging, photography, painting, skating, singing, dancing, adventuring, and playing guitar. One of her favorite worship songs to play on the guitar is Gratitude by Brandon Lake and she enjoys applying daily bible readings to her life.

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