Phyllis Cygan, Executive Director
As a daughter of the school’s original owners, Mrs. Cygan was well trained to ultimately take the position as Executive Director of Heritage Oak Private School. Mrs. Cygan began a teaching career that included physical education as well as teaching pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. After several years of managing the school office and operations, Mrs. Cygan and her husband, Greg Cygan, purchased the school from her father in 1992 and moved it from the original Fullerton campus to Yorba Linda. The school has blossomed from 123 students at that time to well nearly 700 students in preschool through middle school. The Cygans now have seven children, many of whom have graduated or are currently attending Heritage Oak.
Latrese Jackson, Middle School Director
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.
Rachel Simmonds, Elementary School Director
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.
Cindy Twomey, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Director
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.
Heather Kyte, Summer Specialty Camp Director
Mrs. Heather Kyte has been a member of the Heritage Oak faculty for over 20 years and is currently the Summer Specialty Camp Directorr and a Kindergarten teacher. Prior to taking on the role of Summer Specialty Camp Director, she was the school's Enrichment Director. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Hope International University and earned her Certificate in Early Childhood Administration, Management, and Leadership from Saddleback Valley College. Mrs. Kyte’s four children have flourished at Heritage Oak and her youngest son is currently in middle school.