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Latrese Jackson, Head of School

Mrs. Latrese Jackson joined the Heritage Oak administration in 2007 after spending 17 years working as a Teacher, School Psychologist, Student Intervention Counselor, and Middle School Assistant Principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology as well a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology and an Administrative Services Credential. Additionally, Mrs. Jackson has extensive training in program development, classroom management, multicultural awareness, and character building. Mrs. Jackson and her husband have been a part of the Heritage Oak family for many years as parents to three former Heritage Oak students.

Jennifer Tafolla, Middle School Principal

Mrs. TafollaMrs. Jennifer Tafolla returned to Heritage Oak in 2022 as Middle School Principal. She was a much-loved, and well-respected leader in the Heritage Oak Administration for many years, prior to moving to Nevada in 2015. While at Heritage Oak, she served as the Upper Elementary Director for three years and Instructional Program Specialist for two years. Mrs. Tafolla brings over 20 years of experience in education working as a Teacher, Instructional Coach, Middle School Dean of Students, and Middle School Assistant Principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Development, Masters’ Degrees in Teaching and Educational Leadership, a Professional Teaching K-8 Credential, and a School Administrator K-12 Credential. Additionally, Mrs. Tafolla has trained with the National Institute of School Leadership, Executive Development Program, which provides educational leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to design and lead high-performing systems by preparing leaders to serve as strategic thinkers, instructional leaders, and creators of a just, fair, and caring culture. Mrs. Tafolla and her husband are excited be back in their home state of CA with their rescue cat, Milano and two dogs, Stella and Sterling.

Rachel Simmonds, Upper Elementary School Principal

Mrs. Rachel Simmonds is a graduate of Florida State University and has more than 20 years of teaching experience. She joined Heritage Oak in 2017 and has taught English, literature, science, and social studies. Prior to Heritage Oak, Mrs. Simmonds was an Instructional Team Leader in South Florida for a decade, where she was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2011 and 2016. She has extensive experience in curriculum development, supporting teachers in improving and implementing new teaching strategies, and overseeing trends by analyzing student data. Most recently, she was selected as one of Parenting OC’s Top 25 Teachers of 2021, and she is currently certified as an Apple Teacher, Common Sense Educator (digital citizenship) and Mind Up Facilitator, which focuses on social and emotional learning. She is currently earning a certificate in Leaders of Learning through Harvard University’s online program. Mrs. Simmonds is passionate about young children navigating the digital world, which lead her to writing her first book on how parents can help their young children in this area. Her son graduated from HOPE in 2021 and attends Troy Tech High School’s Tech/IB program. In addition to her son, Mrs. Simmonds has two daughters, a husband - who is also an educator - and a rescue dog named Max.

Julie Mullings, Lower Elementary Principal

Mrs. MullingsMrs. Julie Mullings graduated from Cal State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a minor in Special Education. She also holds her Early Childhood Administration Certificate. Mrs. Mullings has been a valuable part of the HOPE family since 2005, and  she has taught in each grade, kindergarten - 6th. Over the course of the past several years, she has been a middle school teacher along with an elementary, lead mentor teacher. Mrs. Mulling’s has also led Heritage Oak's iReady data analysis and implementation. Additionally, Mrs. Mullings has served as a testing and data analyst for the Educational Records Bureau. This involves collaboration with teachers across the country to establish testing norms and milestones in order to assist in the development of the CTP 5 standardized assessment. In 2015, Mrs. Mullings was honored to be selected as one of Orange County’s Top 25 Teachers. Mrs. Mullings and her husband have two daughters- both HOPE alumni. Their oldest daughter attends ALMA College in Michigan and their youngest daughter, a HOPE class of 2022 graduate, attends Brea Olinda High School.

Cindy Twomey, Early Education Principal

Mrs. Cindy Twomey earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from San Diego State University and has been with Heritage Oak since 2007, when she started the inaugural Early Learners class. She has provided her expertise as a teacher in Heritage Oak’s preschool and pre-kindergarten programs before stepping into the role of Director in 2016. Prior to Heritage Oak, Mrs. Twomey spent time as a director for a national childcare center. Mrs. Twomey has two children, Kyle and Taylor and enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike.