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Our Staff

Marty Herron
Director / Lead Teacher

Marty Herron is the lead teacher at the Susan Phillips Day School. She holds a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from the Ohio State University.


Ms. Herron has been nurturing young minds since 1990. Prior to operating SPDS, she taught kindergarten for three years at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar. She also taught at Burbank Elementary in Columbus, Ohio.


She is a member of the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC). Ms. Herron completed several workshops in the “Handwriting Without Tears” program and is working towards becoming a handwriting specialist. She has also taken numerous courses in American Sign Language (ASL) and frequently incorporates signing into her classroom curriculum.


In addition to her 27 years’ experience as a pre-kindergarten educator in both Ohio and Orange County, Marty and her students have assisted numerous families locally through various outreach programs, such as Toys for Tots, Share Our Selves (SOS), and Lion's Heart.


In 2012 and 2016, Ms. Herron traveled to the Mbhae School in Tanzania, Africa to teach disadvantaged children and volunteer at Tudor Village’s Light in Africa. She’s passionate about involving local families and school children in global causes that help the less fortunate and raise money that makes a difference.


Ms. Herron is certified in child CPR and first aid and feels blessed to have had an opportunity to teach so many amazing and wonderful children throughout the years.


Marty has two children ages 19 and 16 and says, “I think being a parent gives you extra insight into the parent/child relationship. I was a good teacher before having children, but real life parenting scenarios have definitely helped me become more credentialed."

Kelly Eckles

Kelly Eckles grew up and attended school in Newport Beach.  She has over a decade of teaching experience.  Prior to joining our team at Susan Phillips Day School in 2020 she taught at St. Andrews Preschool for 9 years, where she was fondly known as Miss Kelly.  Mrs. Eckles received her education in Early Childhood Development from both Orange Coast College and Irvine Valley College.  She also maintains her certification in child CPR and first aid.

Mrs. Eckles lives in Costa Mesa with her husband and teenage daughter who attends Newport Harbor High School.  She has also raised three young men who have successfully graduated from college and are now pursuing their professional careers.  Mrs. Eckles has spent her life parenting, volunteering, and serving in many capacities with youth programs.  In her spare time she enjoys vintage shopping, cooking and long peaceful beach days with her family.

Mrs. Eckles is very excited to be a part of the Susan Phillips Day School Family!

Lisa Albert
Art Instructor

Lisa Albert is our beloved art teacher. She comes to class every week to help our students learn basic art techniques and gain appreciation for creative thinking.

Mrs. Albert has over 32 years of experience bringing art to children, adults and special education students in Australia, Los Angeles and Orange County.  She owns and operates her own art studio in Costa Mesa and is contracted through the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa as an art educator.  Lisa specializes in teaching Mindful Art to adults and adolescents suffering from substance abuse.

Mrs. Albert teaches art to children and young adults with special needs through the Friendship Circle of Newport Beach.  She also started a big buddy program with at-risk teens and special education students through the Orange County Department of Education in Santa Ana.

Lisa was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, where she attended New South Wales University and studied Fine Art Education.  She earned her Applied Behavior Analysis certificate through the Newport Mesa Unified School District.

Mrs. Albert has had the privilege of enriching the lives of thousands of students through art and believes that art connects people, promotes creative thinking and is the universal language that everyone can appreciate.  She lives with her husband and has three successful adult children.

Stephanie Thorp
Occupational Therapist

Dr. Stephanie Thorp is our occupational therapist who comes to class every Wednesday to address fine motor and visual motor development.  In addition, Stephanie and Mrs. Kate Nichols offer the "Write Start" program which is an after-school program for Susan Phillips Day School students to address fine motor, gross motor, and handwriting development for Kindergarten readiness. 


Dr. Thorp holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of California at Davis, Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy and a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) from the University of Southern California. 


She worked for twelve years for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District as an occupational therapist where she had the opportunity to work with students ages 3 - 18 in a variety of classroom settings. 


Both of Stephanie's daughters attended Susan Phillips Day School and she has been an integral member of our team for over ten years.

Lauren Turner
Reading Specialist

Lauren has been an educator and reading specialist for the Newport Mesa Unified School District from 2012-2022. She has had the pleasure to teach at Andersen, Newport Heights, Newport El, Rea, and Victoria Elementary schools. Her classrooms have ranged from kindergarten through fourth grade with the majority of her tenure teaching first and second graders.


In 2015, Lauren became a specialist in a new phonics/reading curriculum and intervention model designed to enhance student achievement. She was honored to be awarded this position and trained principals, teachers, and other school-related faculty on these new methods. The focus of her teachings included delivering systematic instruction in phonics, phonemic awareness, and sight word instruction. After the success and positive feedback she received as a specialist, in 2016 Lauren went on to be a TOSA for NMUSD where she assisted in launching the Summer Literacy Academy. She was given the role of lead trainer where she coached teachers on the new reading curriculum. That summer she was hired as a teaching consultant for West Covina United School District to teach these best practices to their principals and teachers.


Lauren deeply loved working with principals and teachers district-wide however, her passion lay in the classroom where she built individual relationships with her students and got to witness firsthand the tremendous growth her students made throughout the year. This lead her back to the classroom where she taught second and first grade from 2017 to 2022.


Lauren come to the realization that her passion resides in teaching students how to read properly at an early age which led to the launching of Reading Ready in 2022.  The rewards Lauren and her students receive time and time again are priceless. Reading Ready offers in-classroom support, at-home small groups as well as intensive summer camps. Lauren offers these programs to students ranging from Pre-K to Second Grade.


Lauren looks forward to having the opportunity to work with your child to instill a love of learning and give them a strong reading foundation. Once this is achieved you will see their self-esteem soar!

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