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 – Collaborative 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 – Collaborative 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.

 Deb Schabel – Primary Multiage,

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.

Bernie McFarland – Kindergarten,

Dear Families,
As excited as all of you might be to send your children off to kindergarten, I am sure you also have questions and worries as your child embarks on this magnificent milestone. I am a parent, so I understand how the beginning of kindergarten can be an emotional time. It seems like just yesterday I was sending my daughter Maddison off to kindergarten worrying about whether or not the teacher would help her with her shoes, make sure she could find the bathroom, and offer help as she needed it throughout the day. Just this past May, I watched Maddison graduate from The University of Minnesota, get married, and begin her work at the VA, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was definitely an emotional process of letting go! ! I also have a son Kyle who attends SDCCS and will enter middle School this fall. I have full confidence in the teachers at SDCCS to guide Kyle as he embarks on his own milestone moments in middle school. I am so happy to guide your children as they begin their journey at SDCCS.

I have been fortunate enough to be part of the SDCCS community for 9 years as both a general education teacher in primary multiage and a special education teacher/case-manager for K-5 students. The mission statement of our school is what guides me in every decision I make when developing curriculum and working with students and families. The San Diego Cooperative Charter School supports a progressive, developmentally-based, child-centered community for active and collaborative student learning where shared values of family, diversity, creativity and academic excellence flourish. I am so happy to be part of a learning community that keeps children at the center of everything and values family participation in their education. Prior to teaching at SDCCS, I spent 10 years teaching at The San Diego Cooperative Preschool where I taught 3-5 years old students and worked with families in a full inclusion preschool classroom.
Over the next school year, I will develop curriculum to meet your child’s unique social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs. The curriculum will have a heavy emphasis on developing empathy for others and learning to cooperate and collaborate with others in a loving and nurturing classroom community. In the constructivist classroom children are active creators of their own knowledge and through collaboration, shared experiences, and in-depth exploration of unique topics, they will construct their own meaning to develop a rich understanding of the world around them. I am honored to be your child’s kindergarten teacher and I look forward to spending the next year with your child and your family. I rely heavily on the wonderful parent volunteers to help in the classroom to help with cooking, gardening, and hands on learning activities. If you have a special skill or talent you would like to share with our kindergarten community, please let me know.
Bernie McFarland

 Ms. Gabby Ray – Primary Multiage,

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. Abby Stephenson – Primary Multiage,

 Ms. Georgia Daubert – Primary Multiage,

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. Jen Beazley – Primary Multiage,

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. Tiffany Alston – Elementary Multiage,

Ms. Shelby Barthold – Elementary Multiage,


 Ms. Zuleikha Hester – Elementary Multiage,

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. Clancy Rickard – Elementary Multiage,

Ms. Jean Dugan – Bridging,

Website: Bridging

I am a proud SDCCS parent of two current middle schoolers, and I am thrilled to be the 5th grade Math and History teacher. I add in various forms of Art whenever possible and call my core class HAM (History + Art + Math). 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 watching them take risks and make deep connections. I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for Math, History, Community, and Multiple Modes of Learning with our Bridging students.

I believe in constructivist, student-centered learning. I want to guide my students to be problem solvers, critical thinkers, reflective learners, good communicators, and supportive friends. I want them to have positive mathematical mindsets, to embrace risks and failure as the way to grow, and to be lifelong learners.

I received my B.A. degree in History from UCSD in 1994. In 2015, I earned my teaching credential through National University, and this year I will complete my Master’s degree in teaching mathematics.

Ms. Whitney Schulze – Bridging,

Mrs. 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),

2018-2019 marks Jeff Plapp’s 15th 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!


 Ms. Jennifer Kelly – Middle School (Math & Science 6),

My name is Jennifer Kelly. I am a middle school teacher, but I have taught grades 3-8 in a variety of subjects. This year I am teaching 7th grade STEM as well as 6th grade Nutrition and a multi-age foods class. I have been with SDCCS since its inception, as a parent volunteer and then a full time teacher, with a two year stint teaching in northern Virginia. My two adult daughters both graduated from SDCCS. I have a home near Cowles Mountain and actually enjoy my commute because that’s music time for me. Feel free to check out my weebly site, which is my professional/personal CV.

Mr. Zach Feigenbaum – Middle School (Math & Science 8),

Greetings! I am Zack Feigenbaum and I am thrilled to join the SDCCS team as the 8th grade math & science teacher for the 2018-19 school year. I grew up in Orange County, CA, and spent my youth playing drums and surfing with my friends. I attended UC Santa Cruz where I earned my B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy. Among the redwoods I pondered the mysteries of life and became skilled in the practical application of logic. It was there that I began my teaching career by coaching the drum line of the local high school marching band. When I finished school I followed my partner to Rhode Island where I worked as a substitute teacher and later as an Americorps Education Fellow at The Learning Community, a k-8 charter school in Central Falls. Afterwards my partner and I moved back to San Diego where last year I completed my credential work through San Diego State University and worked as a student teacher at Innovation Middle School. In my free time I enjoy playing drums, vibraphone and sax in the Crew De’Etat Brass Band, training jiu-jitsu, surfing and cultivating bonsai trees.

Ms. Jelena Opacic – Art,

After living in Serbia, The Netherlands, New York and Texas, the creativity and kindness demonstrated by the co-op 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 new 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 travelled 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,

Ms. Janna Hemphill (Director) – EDP,