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, Co Principal &
Kathy Osterhout, Co Principal

Ms. Sarah Saulta – Education Director,


Ms. Kathy – 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. SDCCS truly supports 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. Bernie McFarland – Vice Principal,

Deb Schabel – TK (Transitional 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. Savonia Guy – Kindergarten,

Ms. Jocelyn Calica – Kindergarten,

Ms. Gabby Ray – 1st Grade,

I have been a part of the SDCCS family since my son started kindergarten in 2006. 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. I believe that nurturing relationships with my kids and within our classroom and school family is at the core of a successful learning environment. Children learn best when they feel safe, important, and loved, so this is my foremost goal always; to shower my kids with love and support so that they feel safe, happy, and inspired to learn.

I love my hometown, San Diego! I live here with my beautiful family, my son, my husband, and our white bellied tree frog, Bilbo. My favorite ever is spending time with my family doing most anything as long as we are together. I love going to the beach, hiking, reading, learning, and going to Padre games.

Spending my days at SDCCS with my all my kids and amazing colleagues and parents is a joy and honor. It just makes my heart smile. Come see us! You will feel it too.

 Ms. Georgia Daubert – 1st Grade

I am originally from the Antelope Valley high desert area of California, but I have called San Diego home for more than 14 years now. I received my degree in journalism from San Diego State University and worked in the Internet marketing industry for over five years before deciding to make the switch to the world of education. I also received my teaching credential from SDSU and am currently in the process of obtaining my Masters Degree in teaching literacy there as well. Go Aztecs!

I feel so fortunate to be returning from maternity leave to continue my teaching career at SDCCS. I am in love with our school and our community. Every day is a new adventure and I couldn’t be happier to get to experience it with you all. When I’m not teaching, lesson planning, or prepping something for class, you can find me hiking with my husband, Tom, our son, Harrison, and our dog, Dart. We also love to go camping, and enjoy going to concerts and the theater as well.


Ms. Abby Stephenson – 2nd Grade,

Ms. Jen Beazley – 2nd Grade,

I am so excited to be a part of this SDCCS family!

I am a native San Diegan who moved to Dallas and lived there for 17 years! I am so glad to be back in our wonderful city – close to family and old friends.

While in Dallas, I worked my way through a Bachelors in Human Development/Family Studies with a Minor in Theatre, taught Music in a Montessori school, taught Kindergarten in a private school for ten years, earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education along the way, and started my family. Both of my children are lucky enough to attend our school, too!

For fun we like to camp, ride bikes, and I sing (in the Alto section) of a local non-profit choir.

I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of the SDCCS family and I am thrilled to be teaching in PMA!

Ms. Clancy Rickard – 3rd Grade,

Ms. Shelby Barthold – 3rd Grade

Ms. Zuleikha Hester – 4th Grade,

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but moved to the east coast for college and graduated from Wesleyan University. My interests were in international affairs so I moved to Washington, D.C. to work on government projects focused in the Middle East and North Africa. After five years of enjoying every moment of fall leaves and snowy days, I moved back to sunny California where I received my Masters in Education. When I have a spare moment, I love to enjoy my garden, hang out with the Amur leopards at the zoo, go camping, and I will never turn down a day at the beach.

Feeling so fortunate to have started my career teaching at SDCCS surrounded by such caring co-workers and families. Looking forward to contributing and learning from the SDCCS community.

Thank you!
Ms. Zuleikha

Ms. Angela Lathem-Ballard – 4th Grade,

Ms. Kyley – 5th Grade,

If I look familiar it’s because I am! Maybe… I also just have one of those faces. I’ve been involved in SDCCS since the fall of 2018, first as a student teacher, followed by my role as in house substitute. This year, I feel honored to continue the magic of SDCCS’ developmentally based, student centered approach in my own classroom as the 5th grade Humanities teacher. I believe in a classroom environment where social emotional intelligence is developed equally with content related skills and every learner is empowered.

Originally from Arizona, I grew up riding horses, in a family that rescued almost every animal under the (very hot) sun, which has amplified my desire for all beings who need an advocate. One day I will have a rescue ranch! I made the move to California shortly after completing my undergraduate and have lived in the San Diego area since 2016. When I am not hanging out with my dogs or being a surf groupie to my husband, I like to listen to podcasts, read, oh and I love to cook.


I received a BA in English Creative Writing from ASU, along with a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and teaching credential from USD. As a first generation college student, I pioneered my way through the, let’s call it: trying, process but ended with a more intense love for learning. I teach so I can help students cultivate their own love for learning, wherever that may take them.

Ms. Whitney Schulze – 5th Grade,

I am a native San Diegan, who left home to explore the world after graduating from Point Loma High School. I received a degree in International Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and pursued a career in Human Resources in Washington, D.C. After 4 years of training adults I decided to make the switch to teaching your nation’s youth. I moved to San Francisco where I received my Master’s in International and Multicultural Education and spent some time teaching English in Ecuador.

In 2016 I moved back to San Diego and had the pleasure of joining the SDCCS and Bridging community. I began my education career here, starting as an Instructional Assistant, then becoming a Substitute and Student Teacher, and finally being hired as the 5th grade teacher. I am incredibly passionate about math and science and enjoy sharing this love with my students. When I am not busy teaching and planning, I enjoy traveling (although not so much at this moment), hiking, and spending time in nature with my soon to be husband, Eddie, and our beloved pets. And if you’re ever interested in discussing environmental conservation and finding low waste alternatives, I am your girl!

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

Ellen Berg has taught English and history at SDCCS since 2005 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 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),

2020-2021 marks Jeff Plapp’s 17th year with SDCCS and his sixteenth 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. 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. He hopes one day to climb Mt. Whitney.

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 two cats, 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 fourth year teaching Humanities at SDCCS. Before he became a part of the SDCCS family he taught English at San Diego High School. On his journey to become a teacher he taught in a number of different settings: from in home tutor, to ESL teacher and long term substitute where he taught Engineering at Pershing Middle school and History at Wilson Middle School.

Julian is a native San Diegan and is no longer a Charger fan since they moved to LA. 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. Julian is also a fellow of the San Diego Area Writing Project Summer Institute.

In his free time he can be found at the gym, driving his car through the mountains, walking his dog or taking a couch nap.

Mr. Jared Gualtieri – Middle School (Math & Science 7),

My name is Jared Gualtieri, and most students call me Mr. Jared. I grew up in the East San Francisco Bay Area before going to college at UC Santa Barbara. It was there that I began to understand an important distinction between Northern and Southern California beaches, and also earned a B.S. in Biological Psychology. After graduation, while trying to figure out what to do with my life, I discovered I had a latent passion for education. I began my journey towards teaching by working in a variety of roles for four years, culminating in the completion of my student teaching at SDCCS in 2018. After such an amazing experience as a student teacher here, I was absolutely thrilled to join the team as the 7th grade Math and Science teacher. See you around!


Mr. Brian Haley – Middle School (Math & Science 6),

Ms. Jean Dugan – Middle School (Math & Science 8),

Hello and welcome. I am the 8th grade Math and Science teacher and SDCCS Math Lead, K-8.  I joined the SDCCS family in 2010 when my son entered kindergarten. In 2015, I became a classroom  teacher and loved teaching Math and History to Bridging (5th Grade).  This year, I look forward to transitioning to 8th grade and working with many wonderful, familiar students.  I received my B.A. degree in History from UCSD in 1994. I earned my Masters of Education with a specialization in Teaching Mathematics in 2019.  I have taught dance at Creative Dance Theatre for over twenty years.  I am an Illustrative Mathematics Certified Facilitator, K-5.

I believe in constructivist, student-centered learning that addresses the whole child. I want to guide my students to be problem solvers, critical thinkers, reflective learners, good communicators, and supportive friends.  I am passionate about providing the space and experiences for all students to ask questions and construct a deep understanding of mathematics and science  through hands-on experiences and problem-solving.  I want students to develop positive academic mindsets, to embrace risks and failure as the way to grow, and to be lifelong learners. Learning is rewarding and fun!

Ms. Jelena Opacic – Art,

After living in Serbia, The Netherlands, New York and Texas, the creativity and kindness demonstrated by SDCCS students and staff have made me feel at home. For me art is a way of living, and I am excited to inspire my students to make art, wear art, and express themselves through art. We are going to transform mundane actions into magical moments, and we will color the world together.


Mr. Remington Cox – Music,

My name is Remington Cox and I am the music teacher at SDCCS.  My passion for music and education has taken me on a journey around the world.  During my studies at San Francisco State University, I had an internship conducting creative writing workshops in juvenile hall.  After graduation, I traveled on to teach dramatic arts to Italian youth at the Color Your Life Dreamer School in Loano.  I went on to teach ESL in Taiwan at an emotional based learning academy.  While teaching outdoor education on the banks of the American River, I had the opportunity to serve diverse student populations from all over California.  After guiding the graduating SDCCS class downstream in 2015, it was clear to me that I was in the presence of an exceptional community of learners.  In 2017, it is a privilege to have joined the amazing educators and parents who make this school possible.  

My travels have taught me that music is the language of the world.  My multicultural approach to music education ensures that every student is empowered, engaged and having fun.   

When I’m not singing at SDCCS in the Magical Mystery Musical Theater, you can find me playing the harp from West Africa I helped build, writing my next record, or booking my next tour.  I enjoy surfing, kombucha, and listening to nature.    

Ms. Lindsey Gonzalez –PE,

My name is Lindsey Gonzalez and I am the K-8 Physical Education Teacher. I have been teaching at SDCCS since 2009, and my goal is to guide children in the process of becoming physically active & healthy now and for their lifetime. I find myself passionate about teaching others techniques & strategies of how to maintain a balance of physical activity and fun, while completing the challenges throughout one’s life. While teaching PE I focus on continuing the child’s growth in physical education and knowledge from their previous years and experiences, but with modifications based on students’ successes and challenges which are discovered.

I have spent most of my life in Northern California, growing up in Roseville, CA and then studied Kinesiology at CSU Chico. I am very involved in physical activity & maintaining a healthy lifestyle, by participating in activities such as swimming, running, and team & individual sports. I recently have made an addition to my family, giving birth to my son in the summer of 2016. This has been such a magical and joyous new adventure for my husband & I!


Ms. Mayra Alejandra – Dance Teacher,

Mr. Ben Werner – ,

My name is Ben Werner and I moved to San Diego from Boston in 2015 (Though I grew up in the DC area). I joined the SDCCS family in 2016 after earning my dual credential in teaching Multiple Subjects and Special Education and have been working here as an Ed Specialist ever since. Last year I also stepped into the Adaptive PE Teacher role and love helping students stay active and healthy. When I am not teaching, I enjoy relaxing with my two dogs, Bug and Bowie, getting in the ocean to surf, watching movies, or listening to some good tunes.

Ms. Janna Hemphill (Business)