Linda Vista Teachers & Staff

Welcome to the new school year! We are so excited to be your administrative team and support system here at school. As many of you know there have been several staff changes this school year with new staff members on campus and other staff shifting into new roles. We truly feel our hiring committees have found wonderful individuals who match our philosophy and cannot wait to meet all of you. As this is a transition year, we are embracing the changes and committed to holding firm to everything that makes SDCCS the warm and wonderful community we are.

We have an open door policy, and welcome your input. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us if you have a concern, or if you would like us to celebrate something with you. As a school community we know by working together we can accomplish our goals.

Our children are our greatest treasure and our goal is to provide each child with the tools they need to grow academically, emotionally, artistically, physically and socially. We thank you so much for sharing your children with us and we welcome the opportunity to be educational partners with each of you.


Sarah Saluta, Principal &
Kathy Osterhout, Vice Principal

Ms. Sarah Saulta – Principal,

I am honored to be the Principal of San Diego Cooperative Charter School! I have been working at this school since 2005. Over the years, I have seen the school grow just as I have. My teaching career brought me from Michigan to California via Arizona. I have taught in schools with 4,000 students (I called them student factories) to our small, close-knit community where I have taught kids from 2nd to 8th grade. I am in constant amazement at the work that teachers do. Four years ago, I began my journey as an administrator, and my goal is to innovate and inspire. I want to know every student and parent in our school so that I can support you in your family’ s educational path. I believe in having some fun while educating kids. I will continue the work of creating amazing innovative, educational programs and I plan to continue to build on what I believe to be the best school community ever created.

When I sat down to write this principal message I googled other principal messages, to see if something inspired or informed me. The messages I read were well written and carefully crafted and they were NOT SDCCS. This illustrated to me the strengths of our school community and what we not only believe, but know to be quality learning. Our focus is on academic excellence but it is through collaboration, critical thinking and commitment that children get there. Our focus on the whole child is developed through relationships, social emotional teaching and amazing courses like art, PE, music and dance at all grade levels. I believe strongly in what we do and know that we are innovators in education.

I have four kids and a loving husband who have supported me in my journey here at The San Diego Cooperative Charter Schools. Two of my children have graduated from SDCCS and I currently have two in middle school. I have enjoyed my times on campus or on camping trips when I am just wearing my parent hat however I hope that you know that no matter what hat I am wearing that I am here to support you and your student(s).

Ms. Kathy Osterhout – Vice Principal

I love being a part of the community at SDCCS, and to be your Vice Principal. This will be my 7th year at SDCCS, and my 3rd year in administration. I began my career as a counselor in my hometown, just off the Navajo Reservation. My husband and I moved to North County in 2000, and I have worked in a variety of settings from traditional schools K-12, to a school devoted to students with special needs ages 9-22.

Throughout my career, I have never seen a school as amazing as this one. The CoOp Schools truly support growth of the whole child. Our staff members have a genuine love for kids, and this shines through with authentic learning experiences, meaningful projects, and challenges to think critically. Curriculum is adjusted to the students being served, and social emotional learning is emphasized. It is an honor to work in an environment where expectations are not based on grade levels, or chronological age; but on a developmental approach and where the child is in the moment.

When I am not working, I am running around with my family. My husband, Vaughn, and I have 4 children, Collin, Brenna, Shaughn, and Kairi. As with most families, we are busy every weekend bouncing around from sporting events and band competitions. We love watching our kids pursue their passions. As a family, we love to go snow skiing/boarding every winter, and visiting Lake Powell in the summer.

I am excited to continue the work of supporting the mission at SDCCS, and providing a world class education to every child and family who joins our family.

Ms. Morgan Weir – Kindergarten,






Ms. Deb Schabel – Kindergarten,

This is my 21st year as a teacher. I was born and raised in Montana and graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in December of 1992. In 1993, I began my teaching career as a 1st grade teacher in Waco, Texas. The following year I spent in Connecticut as a nanny caring for a four year old and a one year old. In 1995, my husband, Erik, and I moved to Concord, California. I worked for a year at Canyon School District as a K-1-2 classroom aide, district secretary, and K-8 substitute teacher. In 1996, I began teaching at Byron Union School District; one year as a 1st-2nd multi-age teacher and two years as a Kindergarten and Reading Recovery teacher. In 1999, I began teaching at Sylvan Union School District; one year as a 1st grade teacher, fourteen years as a Kindergarten teacher, and last year as a Transitional Kindergarten teacher. My husband and I spent the summer moving into our new apartment in the Mission Valley area. We live with our two cats, Garth and Jack. We are very excited to be part of the San Diego Cooperative School community.

 Ms. Gabby Ray – Primary Multiage,

I love my hometown, San Diego! I live here with my son and my husband; our two white bellied tree frogs, Kermit and Bilbo; and our bearded dragon, Norbert. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, hiking, reading, learning, and going to Padre games. I have been a part of the SDCCS family since my son started kindergarten. He has now graduated and moved on to high school, but SDCCS is still family and I am honored to continue to teach, learn, and love here. Spending my days at SDCCS with my all my kids is an honor and it just makes my heart smile.


Ms. Ali Breidenstein – Primary Multiage,

I was born and raised in the farm country of Missouri and now live in San Diego with my husband, two kids, three dogs, and a tortoise. As a lifelong learner, education was a natural career choice for me. The most valuable lessons I’ve learned were taught to me by the children in my life.

I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in English and went straight to National University for my teaching credentials in English/Language Arts and Multiple Subjects. After teaching first grade for a few of years I returned to San Diego State University for my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and a credential in administration. Along the way I also I completed a Blingual-Spanish credential and my certificate as a language development specialist. I am currently back at San Diego State University to become a reading specialist, and I love the program. I am implementing new practices in the classroom and revisiting tried and true best practices.

Before teaching at the Co-Op Linda Vista, I taught first grade in for the Cajon Valley School District and was a Master Trainer in Literacy, providing writing and reading inservices to teachers throughout the state of California.

Books give me peace. Writing gives me life. Teaching gives me joy.

Ms. Carolyn Verhoye – Primary Multiage,

I’m a San Diego native, raised in Point Loma. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara and worked as a secretary before pursuing education. At Point Loma Nazarene University I earned my teaching credential and my Master’s Degree in Teaching & Learning. My first position was in Hesperia, CA. Soon after, I moved to Lima, Peru and taught 6th grade there. I returned to San Diego, teaching at a variety of public and private schools. In 2008, I left to teach grade 2 at the American School of Doha, in Qatar. I stayed for eight wonderful years. During that time, I was able to travel to many countries including: Japan, Turkey, Malaysia, Czech Republic, China, South Africa, etc. I love visiting world heritage sites, playing the drums, and riding a skateboard. I jog 4 miles a day and drink healthy green juice to stay fit. I’m single and currently reside in Point Loma. I’m extremely passionate about motivating and inspiring kids as an educator and look forward to new adventures at SDCCS.

Ms. Tiffany Alston – Primary Multiage,






Ms. Lillian Vania – Elementary Multiage,

I was born in State College, PA, but grew up in Richmond, VA and Syracuse, NY. I am the eldest of five children and have always wanted to be a teacher. Four years ago I relocated to San Diego from Massachusetts with my husband, Xerxes, and our two boys, Cyrus and Gabriel. The boys keep us quite busy with soccer, golf, swimming, and scouts. We all love the beach, baseball games, reading, hiking, cooking together, and the Natural History Museum. This summer I finally unpacked the last box; after moving into our new house Tierrasanta last year! We have enjoyed visits from family and friends from New York, Florida, and India this year!

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Ohio University. Throughout my 17 years of professional experience, I have had the opportunity to teach in a variety of multiage settings; preschool through fifth grade. I continue to be so thrilled to be part of the San Diego Cooperative School teaching staff, having my two boys attend SDCCS, and I am looking forward to a dynamic, engaging year!

Ms. Kathryn Brown – Elementary Multiage,






Ms. Clancy Rickard – Elementary Multiage,

I have been an educator in various settings for over 15 years. I love teaching and learning. I am Reading Recovery certified and a trained Interventionist. I love learning and take classes every chance I get. This will be my first year teaching EM, and I am looking forward to the learning experience and the kiddos!

I grew up in Colorado and have moved to many states throughout my career. My family has been in beautiful San Diego for over 4 years now. My son is a junior this year. He plays Lacrosse year round and we love the game. As a family we love the ocean, boating, hiking, and adventure.

I love reading books and writing. I love to travel. I have traveled all over the world and hope to keep experiencing this beautiful planet in new ways.

Ms. Andy Berger – Elementary Multiage,






Ms. Jean Dugan – Bridging,

Website: Bridging

I am Jean Dugan, and I am thrilled to be the 5th grade Math and History teacher. I add in Art whenever possible and call my core class HAM (History + Art + Math). I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for Math, History, Community, and Multiple Modes of Learning with our Bridging students. I am also a dancer and have been teaching dance for over 20 years, so don’t be surprised if you see me dancing through the hallways. My favorite part of teaching children is witnessing their creativity. I love to spend time with friends and family, especially my husband Eric and our two kids, Scotty (6th grade) and Kelly (4th grade).



Ms. Beth Temple – Bridging,






Mrs. Ellen Berg – Middle School (Humanities 6, 7, 8),

Ellen Berg has taught English and history at SDCCS since 2006 and is currently Lead Humanities Teacher. Prior to that, she taught sixth grade for nine years in St. Louis, Missouri. Ellen has been published in several professional journals including Middle Ground and Education Week and was a longtime teacher diarist at Middleweb back before blogs were popular.

Ellen believes whoever is doing the work is doing the learning, so she strives to put students in problem-solving situations that are developmentally responsive and support students’ growth as readers, writers and citizens of our world. She believes her job is to help every child become the greatest, truest expression of themselves and to nurture their talents, spirits and academic growth.

At home, Ellen is owned by two cats and has yet to leave the house without their fur stuck to her clothing. She’ s been married to Greg Berg, a multimedia storyteller and marketer, since 1999 and enjoys writing, traveling and reading. She may or may not turn naughty children into boots. Dark chocolate and good coffee make her day infinitely better, so if you’ re feeling like spreading some joy around, that’ s the way to her happy place.

Mr. Jeff Plapp – Middle School (Humanties 6,7,8),

2014-15 marks Jeff Plapp’s eleventh year with SDCCS and his thirteenth total as a teacher. Jeff graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art. He continues to paint and sculpt as time allows.

Jeff earned his teaching credential and Masters Degree through National University after a long career in the coffee industry as a warehouse manager. Jeff has always enjoyed being active, whether in his career or his pastime. He enjoys hiking, yoga, rock-climbing and even took part in a Tuff Mudder Run with fellow SDCCS staff.

Mr. Plapp lives in South Park with the super-talented, beautiful, love of his life, Tara Gasparian. Jeff is at the mercy of the extreme cuteness of his three cats, Django, Willow and Ivy and the adorable dog Frankie.

He loves nothing more than to see his students work hard and challenge themselves while learning and having fun; well, that is, except for pie.

Mr. Julian Rico – Middle School (Humanities 6,7,8),

This is Julian’s first year teaching English and Humanities at SDCCS. Julian has been teaching for the past five years and has accumulated a myriad of experiences teaching in conventional and unconventional settings. He has taught English at San Diego High School, engineering at Pershing Middle School, History at Wilson Middle School, English at EC Language Centers and was lead tutor for Doctrina Tutoring – a company that provides in home tutoring to English Language Learners.

Julian is a native San Diegan and a huge Charger fan. He attended San Diego State University where he earned his Bachelors degree in English, his Teaching Credential and his Masters Degree in Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in an Urban Environment. He is also a fellow of the San Diego Area Writing Project Summer Institute.

In his free time he can be found at the gym, walking his dog or reading a book about astronomy.

Ms. Crystal Lopez – Middle School (Math & Science 6),

For the past 9 years I have taught 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade at a few different schools and feel I am in the right place at SDCCS. I am currently teaching math and science for 6th grade. My favorite thing about teaching math is creating and implementing projects. I know that when students can figure out real life problems they are actually doing math and not simply repeating what the teacher does.

I graduated from CSU Long Beach with a BA in psychology, and CSU Fullerton with an MS in math education. I have a multiple-subject teaching credential and a single-subject math credential. In my free time I love to do anything outdoors. Mostly, I enjoy snowboarding or skiing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, backpacking, working in my yard, and taking my dogs to the beach. I also love to sew, create works of art, and cook. I have been enjoying snorkeling in La Jolla Cove for the past couple years and am ecstatic about being a new mother.

Mr. Dan Reding – Middle School (Math & Science 7),

I am a writing teacher because I love stories in all their forms. Whether it is getting lost in the description of a sci-fi novel, the imagery of a poem, or the plot of a personal narrative, I don’ t care. It is my firm opinion that it is my job to teach students to love writing and storytelling at this age. If I do my job right, it means that class time will feel like fun explorations instead of work. I want my students to make up wild fantasy tales, write from their life, and write about things they know, and I want them to be excited about it. This will be my fifth year teaching and fifth year at SDCCS. I dig the energy, the compassion, and the dedication of the staff and parents here. SDCCS truly prepares the next generation to be effective citizens of the world.

I live in Southeast San Diego in a tiny little house on the top of a hill. I am an avid fish keeper and I love tinkering with technology and computers. I grew up in the Chicago area and have since fell in love with San Diego. Occasionally I miss my deep dish pizza and a sopping wet Italian beef sandwich, but San Diego has its own great food.

I have since learned to appreciate burritos and Thai food. I went to school in Peoria, IL at Bradley University originally intending to get a major in Physics. Upon discovering I enjoyed teaching more than doing science for science’ s sake I got my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. I have worked with Northwestern University’ s Center for Talen Development which is a gifted summer program. This last summer I became Waterfront Safety Instructor certified through the Boy Scouts of America and I staffed and taught at a Summer Camp with my Brother in Northern Wisconsin called Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation. I am an Eagle Scout and very comfortable in the wilderness.

Mr. David Cooper – Middle School (Math & Science 8),

David Cooper graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a degree in Multivariable Calculus. He has taught 8th grade Mathematics and Science for the last five years at SDCCS. Prior to that, David was a paratrooper for the U.S. Army where he jumped out of perfectly good planes with a radio as a part of Alpha Company 50th Signal (Airborne).

David strives to make his classroom a balanced learning community. It is his goal to help students become self-starters who believe they can accomplish anything if they apply themselves. He also wants to help students understand that persistence and effort can make you into a great mathematician.

David is a dedicated board and card gamer. He enjoys teaching students board games and is always up for a session with new friends. He is lucky to be married to Heidi Schneider. Together they enjoy spending weekends on the beach with their family: Tristan, Arianna, Isaac, Ashley, and Frida (the puppy).

Ms. Allison Bell Hoyt – Art,

Website: Miss Bell’s Art Class

My name is Allison Bell Hoyt and I am the K-8 art teacher at SDCCS. It has always been my dream to focus on art education and I am lucky to have found the perfect place to be an art teacher.

I was born and raised here in San Diego. Growing up in San Diego was amazing. I spent my childhood enjoying all the things San Diego has to offer. My Father and Mother were once both teachers, and they instilled a deep love of learning in me. I’ve always had a passion for anything creative and at a young age and I knew art would play a big role in my life.

I attended the University of Arizona in Tuscon and recieved my bachelors degree in Fine Art with a concentration in painting and drawing. I recieved my multiple and single subject art credential from National University. I taught at Ocean Beach Elementary and Brooklyn Elementary before I moved to SDCCS.

In 2002 I helped start SDCCS. I was lucky enough to be a part of the team of teachers who opened the schoool. I originally taught second grade and in 2005 I became the K-8 art teacher.

It is now my 14th year at SDCCS. Each year is better than the last. SDCCS gives me the freedom to be an inovative art teacher and to design my curriculum around students interests and passions. SDCCS is the perfect fit for me. I feel blessed to be able to work with so many wonderful students, families and teachers.

Mr. Alex “Maz” Mazevski – Music,

I (Alex “Maz” Mazevski) am originally from Syracuse, NY. I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2004 to attend college at Coastal Carolina University from 2004-2009. I graduated from CCU in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music; specializing in Classical Guitar Performance and again in 2009, with a Master of Arts in Music Education. I lived in South Carolina from 2004-2014, performing with various professional musicians and substitute teaching in York County and Horry County school districts. I taught K-5 music as a long-term substitute at Carolina Forest Elementary School in Myrtle Beach, SC in winter 2013.

I moved to Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California in June 2014 and started substitute teaching in the San Dieguito Union High School District in Encinitas, CA. I taught Beginning and Advanced Band classes as a long-term substitute at Diegueno Middle School in Encinitas for the entire second semester of the 2015-2016 school year.

Starting my official music teaching career at SDCCS has been a dream come true! I am truly blessed to work with such a great group of kids and teachers everyday and to receive support from such great parents. I look forward to meeting more and more parents as the year progresses. Parents are always welcome to come in say hello!

Ms. Lindsay Gonzalez –PE,






Ms. Mayra Alejandra – Dance,






Ms. Janna Hemphill (Director) – EDP,






Ms. Crystle Morris (School Psychologist) – SPED,