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, Executive Director
Kathy Osterhout, Principal
Bernie McFarland, Vice Principal

Ms. Sarah Saluta – Executive 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,

The SDCCS mission statement is what brought me to this community and the teachers, leaders, and parents who work to keep the mission statement front and center, has kept me here for 11 years. I feel so fortunate to be part of a team of educators who are passionate about providing a progressive education that is focused on developing self-aware people, lifelong learners, and critical thinkers.

During my time at SDCCS, I have had the joy of teaching kindergarten through fourth grade as a general education teacher and as an education specialist. Children begin school curious, and eager to learn. My goal is to create a community of empathetic students who develop the skills to collaborate while maintaining a love of learning. I believe empathy and love for others is the highest form of knowledge and helping students to develop these qualities will create the citizens and leaders we need to make a better future for all of us.

It has been an honor to collaborate with innovative educators to develop an equitable, responsive, and relevant curriculum that supports all students with a wide range of abilities and experiences. It has been a great opportunity for me to continue using my knowledge and love of teaching in my new role as Vice-Principal. My new role has given me the privilege of getting to work with so many more wonderful teachers, students, and families. I continue to be inspired by how the members of our community work to make a wonderful place for students to thrive.

When I am not at the school I love spending time with my husband, my 16-year-old son, and my fur babies. We love any reason to get outside including camping, hiking, and spending time on the beach, and in the ocean. My daughter Maddison, will graduate from Law School at the University of  Wisconsin this year and spend several years in Washington D.C.

Ms. 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. Abby Stephenson – 1st Grade,

I studied Elementary Education at Purdue University and graduated in May of 2001. My husband and I moved to beautiful San Diego in 2002 where I soon began teaching at a small private school. I completed my Master’s at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Child and Adolescent Literacy in 2007. My daughter was born in 2009 and after a year of teaching and being a mom, I decided to step away from teaching in the classroom and went on to complete a yoga teacher training before my sons were born in 2011. I taught kid, family, and adult yoga while raising my three young children. I joined the SDCCS community as a parent when my daughter began first grade in 2015. My sons followed as part of the TK program the following year. I began volunteering and substituting and was soon in awe of the classroom communities at the CoOP, the differentiated academics, and the important role cooperation takes during project work. I joined the SDCCS staff in the spring of 2018 on the primary team. I love our amazing community of students, families, and staff at the CoOP. I work with my students to create a kind, supportive, and creative environment where mistakes are welcomed and growth flourishes. In my free time, I hang out with my family, drive my children to practices and games, practice yoga, and enjoy spending time in nature.

Ms. Jen Beazley – 1st 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. Gabby Ray – 2nd 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. Loralee Flemings- 2nd Grade

Ms. Zuleikha Hester – 3rd 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. Georgia Daubert – 3rd 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. Clancy Rickard – 4th Grade,

Ms. Shelby Barthold – 4th Grade

Nicolette PictureMs. Nicolette – 5th Grade,

I grew up in Orange County, California, before moving to San Diego for college. Once here, I never left. San Diego is my home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I studied Communication and Social Psychology in my undergraduate before pursuing a Master’s in Education at UCSD. I have worked in a variety of classrooms from kindergarten all the way to sixth grade. I work as a reading specialist with Horizons National Nonprofit during the summer months. Teaching is my passion and every day brings me immeasurable joy.

I believe in building relationships with my students and their families from the beginning, so I am so lucky to join the SDCCS family. I enjoy many hobbies, including horseback riding, cooking, baking, gardening, gaming, writing, painting, and reading. I love to start new hobbies and share them with the class when I can. On my weekends, I enjoy curling up with my cat to read a good book. I look forward to meeting my students and creating a love for the humanities in their hearts.

“I believe that education is all about being excited about something.” Steve Irwin

“It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.” Bob Ross

“Listening is where love begins, listening to ourselves, and then to our neighbors.” Mister Rogers



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, hiking, and spending time in nature with my husband and our beloved pets. And if you’re ever interested in discussing environmental conservation and finding low waste alternatives, I am your girl!

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

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. Brian Haley – Middle School (STEM 6),

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

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. Jared Gualtieri – Middle School (STEM 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. Ellen Berg – Middle School (Humanities 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.

Ms. Jean Dugan – Middle School (STEM 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,

Ms. Jelena grew up in Serbia. She received Bachelor’s degree in art from the Royal Art Academy in the Netherlands, and Master’s degree from the New York State University. This is Ms. Jelena’s fourth year teaching art at the Coop.

She loves to help students express their ideas through art, and introduce them to many art techniques, such as marbling with shaving cream, making glow art in the black light, embroidering, building a teepee, making dreamy installations, sewing, etc.

In her free time, Ms. Jelena loves to spend time with her daughter Mila and husband David, visit museums, make art, travel, and research crafts around the world.


Ms. Mayra – Dance Teacher,

TBD– Music


Coach Rita Aloisio, PE –

Ms. Nahomi Rosas –

Hello, I am Nahomi, the School Psychologist at SDCCS. I joined the SDCCS family in 2019. I received my B.A. degree in Liberal Studies from SDSU in 2013, and earned my Masters of Special Education with a specialization in Autism in 2015. I was a Special Education teacher for five years before finding my true passion in School Psychology which led me to earn my Masters of School Psychology from Alliant International University in 2019.

I love to travel and have a special place in my heart for Australia where I studied abroad twice throughout my education career and where I got engaged! My husband and I love to go to Mexico during the weekends to visit our families and hope to build a family of our own sometime soon.

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 Adapted 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.

Amy Spitler

Ms. Amy Spitler –

Amy Spitler joined SDCCS in 2018 after working in Non-public Schools for 20 years. She enjoys the creative aspect of Special Education that allows her to work collaboratively with staff, faculty, students and parents to find solutions for students’ unique learning needs. She has a degree in Comparative Literature from UC San Diego and completed her Multiple Subject and Education Specialist Credentials through CSU San Marcos. She has worked with students with learning differences since 1998 in a variety of subjects from elementary art to high school physics. In addition, she has been trained in the Orton-Gillingham methodology to support students with reading challenges. Her goal is to support both the academic and personal growth of her students and to cultivate and nurture passions for learning.

Evelyn Ingram

Ms. Evelyn Ingraham –

My name is Evelyn and I am an Education Specialist/Case Manager here at SDCCS. This will be my 3rd year teaching here and I truly love this community! This is my 5th year teaching special education. My practices really align with our mission here at SDCCS and working with students holistically. In my free time I love time outdoors spent with my dog, Ella, and close friends. Whether it is surfing, skating or just being a lizard in the sun; I love all that SoCal has to offer.


Ms. Janna Roper (Business)