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Grandmother, granddaughter teach together at Sage Canyon

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Erica Byrne and her grandmother Barbara Schulman taught class together at Sage Canyon Elementary School.
(Karen Billing)

Sage Canyon Elementary School became home to what might be the first-ever grandmother and granddaughter teaching team when last month longtime educator Barbara Schulman, who turns 82 on Dec. 5, shared a classroom with her substitute teacher granddaughter Erica Byrne.

Schulman has been a teacher for 55 years, starting her career in Kansas. After moving to San Diego to be closer to family, she found herself volunteering at Ocean Air School when Erica was a student there. Eventually she became an employee and she has now been with the district for 15 years, spending the last three at Sage Canyon as a classroom aid.

After graduating from Torrey Pines High School, Byrne went on to attend UC San Diego. The 23-year-old just graduated college and asked her grandma about where she might be able to find a job. Byrne started substitute teaching in the district about a month ago.

With the regular teacher out of the classroom on Nov. 15, grandmother and granddaughter subbed together.

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“I have always admired my grandma’s job, it’s a lot more fun than I thought it was,” said Byrne.

While Schulman said teaching might be in her granddaughter’s DNA, Byrne has plans to attend flight school and become a pilot.

“It was surreal in a way, it was fun and very satisfying,” said Schulman of their day working side by side in the classroom. “And it was touching. You don’t think about that ever happening.”


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