Meet Some of Our Staff
Meet Our Founder:
Great Start Preschool & Daycare, Inc. was founded by Pastor Mark Di Bernardo in 2006. Inspired by his eight grandchildren, he envisioned a school that felt like a family, and an environment that felt like home. It was important that in addition to an outstanding curriculum, developed by a certified teacher with over 40 years of experience, that learning is always fun!
All of Pastor Mark's grandchildren still attend Great Start! At our school, all of our curriculum and activities are focused on learning with a hands on approach. Students don't just count objects on a page, but can reach out and count the toes of our visiting certified therapy dog, or practice their colors by creating their own finger painting masterpiece. A lesson on sharing and kindness may come from Spiderman or Optimus Prime! Perhaps Cinderella will visit and read them a book. "Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
Meet Our Director:
A note from Rachel: "I am so excited to be the Director of Great Start Preschool! I have a passion for young children and want to make a positive difference in their lives. I love a play-based and hands-on learning approach and believe that high quality care in the early years has a beneficial and lasting impact far into a child’s future. I look forward to getting to know you as we partner together to provide the most enriching preschool education possible."
Rachel has worked in the early childhood education field for over 20 years, including both private and corporate childcare facilities, attending to children from infancy through Pre-K. Before accepting the director position at Great Start, she was an assistant director and preschool teacher for the Chandler Unified School District. This summer Rachel will receive a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ which is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education. CDA is based on a core set of competency standards and provides additional knowledge and training on how to put these Competency Standards into practice and help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. Simply put, CDAs know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual and social development of children.
Rachel has been married to her husband, Tony, for 19 years. Tony is a special education teacher for Gilbert Public Schools and together they share 3 boys, Levi (15), Drew (13) and Jaxson (9). When she's not at work she enjoys swimming, bicycling, fishing and hiking with the two dogs and attending church services at Mountain View Church in Queen Creek.