Opinion: Teachers power La Jolla Cluster board

By Sharon Jones

Parent representative

La Jolla Cluster Association board

The La Jolla Cluster Association (LJCA) has a long list of projects that are in the works right now. Rather than talk about these projects, though, I want to talk about the teachers who are working behind the scenes. Their input and involvement is vital to the success of this organization.

Ten teachers — two from each school — have stepped forward to serve on the inaugural cluster board.

Representing Bird Rock Elementary are Ginny LaRowe and Laura McCord. LaRowe has been working in San Diego Unified since 1992. “I wanted to be a part of the La Jolla Cluster because I believe that we can impact our students/schools/teachers more profoundly as a (smaller more focused) parent/teacher/community/student TEAM ... and the La Jolla Cluster’s ‘ultimate dream’ is to do just this,” she says.

Debbie Balmat and Stephanie Cole represent La Jolla Elementary. Cole has a master’s in education literacy and has been teaching at LJES for eight years. Balmat is a fourth-grade teacher who is passionate about science.

“I like the idea of a cluster, being able to work together toward a common goal and actually be able to make a change,” says Balmat.

Chris Ramirez and Erika Saldivar are at Torrey Pines Elementary, Ramirez teaching fifth and Saldivar teaching fourth grade. At Muirlands Middle, there is Demian Hartmann, an eighth-grade history/geography teacher, and Suzanne Serafin, a physical education teacher.

La Jolla High is represented by Malcolm Jarvis and the husband-wife team of Rachel and Howard Tenenbaum. Jarvis is a special education specialist and runs the math learning center.

“There needs to be improved communication and coordination among and between the La Jolla elementary, middle and high schools and I thought the cluster group was a step in that direction,” Jarvis said.

Rachel and Howard both teach college-level science courses. They live near the high school and have two grown boys.

“It just seemed like an important role to serve,” says Howard of the LJCA. “We live in the community where we teach and this is an amazing opportunity and responsibility.”